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Old 09-09-2008, 09:56 AM   #1
hockeynut
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Any programmers out there - what reader do you use?

I am a programmer, looking for an eReader to use with programming reference books, PDF documents (all sorts), and the occasional read-for-pleasure book.

Looking at the Kindle and Sony. Sony sounds like it has better PDF right now, but who knows about Kindle 2.0.

Cellular access to content isn't a big deal, my laptop will normally be close by.

Available content is important - Amazon vs Sony store - who has the most/best content? From the publisher point of view, is one preferred to the other - meaning is this a VHS vs Betamax situation?

External storage is important - SD, CF, MS (duo) are all OK with me (I have plenty of 'em all!) If SD does it support SD-HC?

Clear screen is critical, of course. My eyes will be very angry with me if there is significant squinting involved

I suppose I can just go visit the Sony store to check out their unit, then order a Kindle and try for a month...but I'd like to hear from people who have similar requirements to mine.

Thanks!
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeynut View Post
I am a programmer, looking for an eReader to use with programming reference books, PDF documents (all sorts), and the occasional read-for-pleasure book.
I gave up trying to get/read reference ebooks on my reader. It is just to small and the code/graphics just don't translate well to the smaller screen. Although O'Riley and Pragmatic are both working on reflowable ebook formats.

I am personally looking forward to plasticlogics 8.5x11 screen sized reader which is supposed to be out first half of next year for this type of content. It will also be nice cause it will display word and excel documents and it could be used in meetings (since I don't have a laptop at work.)

BOb
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeynut View Post
I am a programmer, looking for an eReader to use with programming reference books, PDF documents (all sorts), and the occasional read-for-pleasure book.

[cut]
Available content is important - Amazon vs Sony store - who has the most/best content? From the publisher point of view, is one preferred to the other - meaning is this a VHS vs Betamax situation?

Thanks!
Keying in on your "occasional read-for-pleasure" comment and then your paragraph below, let me respond:

At this time, Amazon has the most content.

Who has the "best content" is entirely subjective. What may be best for you and your reading habits, may be horrible for me.

Do you like sleazy murder mysteries? - I do.
Do you like highly regarded works of art, such as Anthony Trollope and Charles Dickens? - I do.

I personally own a Sony PRS-505, but I'm not wedded to the device, although I "love" it. People can be very protective of their Readers and their reading tastes. When someone tells you his or her unit is the best, RUN AWAY FROM THAT PERSON'S OPINION!

I would, however, suggest that you find an e-ink reader near you so that you can demo the unit and see for yourself. Remember, there's already starting to be a lot hype from the manufacturers, from both Sony, Cybook, and Kindle.

Look at what YOU like to read, get information (from people who are not merely telling you their device is the BEST), then make an informed, educated decision.

Get other individual's opinions from this forum. Please remember, however, that some of those opinions are very biased.

I hope this helps.

Don
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:26 PM   #4
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Thanks Don and Bob - that helps a lot. I know a lot of things like this become religious wars, and that doesn't really help someone like me trying to figure out which one to go with.

Ideally all devices would have access to the same content and I (and others) could just select based on the look/feel/features of the device, but this purchasing decision is clouded by the additional issue of different worlds of content.

I do have a Sony store where I can play with the Sony, I will certainly do that. Then I need to think about whether or not to try the Kindle for 30 days.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:31 PM   #5
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I agree with Dr. Drib the best will be to see a unit for yourseft.

this thread is from people willing to show their devices:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26574

I'm a programer and use an iliad. I can read programming reference books in pdf format just zooming to eliminate the margins. For content you only have mobipocked.

I test a sony reader 505 and is a wonderfull machine but I found the 6 inch screen a bit small for pdf.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:40 PM   #6
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I would also suggest that you check the iLiad. The larger screen may make it worthwhile for you (especially when reading PDF files), and you can get good support for a very wide variety of file formats if you're willing to install additional software, which shouldn't be too intimidating for you. If you're willing to remove DRM from files, you can get plenty of content beyond what's in the Mobipocket format. You also have more options if you want to modify the software on the iLiad in some way-- I believe it's currently the most open system.

But it really is a matter of personal taste, and you know your needs best. Good luck!
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeynut View Post
Thanks Don and Bob - that helps a lot. I know a lot of things like this become religious wars, and that doesn't really help someone like me trying to figure out which one to go with.

Ideally all devices would have access to the same content and I (and others) could just select based on the look/feel/features of the device, but this purchasing decision is clouded by the additional issue of different worlds of content.

I do have a Sony store where I can play with the Sony, I will certainly do that. Then I need to think about whether or not to try the Kindle for 30 days.

Since you live in Austin, maybe RickyMaveety will show her Kindle to you (if you ask real nice ).
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
I gave up trying to get/read reference ebooks on my reader. It is just to small and the code/graphics just don't translate well to the smaller screen. Although O'Riley and Pragmatic are both working on reflowable ebook formats.

I am personally looking forward to plasticlogics 8.5x11 screen sized reader which is supposed to be out first half of next year for this type of content. It will also be nice cause it will display word and excel documents and it could be used in meetings (since I don't have a laptop at work.)

BOb

You pretty much summed up my position right there. I've converted some specs and books to read on my Kindle but it's just not worth it. I like having a small reader for novels and such, but when a good large-screen option comes out, I'll be getting it for work. Out of the current options, the iLiad is the only one I would consider for reference PDFs but I didn't feel it was quite there yet for my needs so I decided to wait a bit.
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:01 AM   #9
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i can only speak for the sony reader because that's all I have at this moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeynut View Post
I am a programmer, looking for an eReader to use with programming reference books, PDF documents (all sorts), and the occasional read-for-pleasure book.
The sony reader is very suitable for reading books containing mostly text (novels) and not so for books with lots of diagrams or where the formatting is important.

Even the new PDF scaling feature doesn't work very well for programming reference books; source code listing becomes messed up (making it hard to read), diagrams are shown out of place etc.

You could try converting pdf to lrf as images (with appropriate cropping / layout using programs like PDFRead or pdf2lrf), it actually makes references books much more readable. However, most people do not read reference books moving forward sequentially. You would usually want to backtrack a lot to locate certain contents that you've read, so the small viewing area and slow page turning would be testing your patience in the long run.

As some people have said above, I would recommend you to get the Iliad instead if you can afford it, unless cost is an important factor to you as well.

Overall I would give the sony reader:
8 / 10 - novels / dense text books
7 / 10 - programming and IT books
6 / 10 - science and math books

Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeynut View Post
Available content is important - Amazon vs Sony store - who has the most/best content? From the publisher point of view, is one preferred to the other - meaning is this a VHS vs Betamax situation?
Content-wise is not a problem as long as you don't mind getting it from 'ahem' source. Most PDFs can be viewed on the Sony Reader, although some might require conversion / pre-processing beforehand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeynut View Post
External storage is important - SD, CF, MS (duo) are all OK with me (I have plenty of 'em all!) If SD does it support SD-HC?
PRS-505 with the latest firmware supports SDHC i think.

Last edited by joewandy; 09-12-2008 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 09-12-2008, 11:21 AM   #10
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I do not recommend the Sony Reader for computer texts/programming books. The screen is way too small to be of any use and there isn't that much *legal* content for it. If you're lucky enough and get some Wiley Press physical editions with the included link to d/l the e-Edition; i.e., CHM, you can convert that for use but PDF's are a no-go. Trust me, I have a Reader and it's terrible for reference books... great for fiction, etc., but terrible for anything larger than a paperback book.

Not sure about the iLiad yet, but I'll soon know. Hopefully the Plastic Logics item in the works will be available for the public & not just businesses. That, my friend, looks like it will be just perfect for this and meet most of my needs short of color!
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:11 PM   #11
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I'm a programmer, but I don't use my eBook reader for looking up reference materials - my PC's large screen is a lot better for that. I have a widescreen monitor and generally work with my development environment on one side, and a documentation window alongside it.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:14 PM   #12
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Do not depend on Mobipocket format for any programming text. It does not support any fixed width fonts which makes an unsuitable format for display code or any computer interaction.

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Old 09-15-2008, 12:25 PM   #13
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Sorry to disagree, Dale, but that's not entirely true.

What you can't do on many Mobi platforms is display a specific portion of a book in a fixed pitch font - the format supports it, but many Mobi implementations ignore the instruction. It is (I believe) supported by the Windows desktop Mobi reader.

However, all implementations of the Mobi Reader (that I know of) allow you to change the overall font used to display the book to a fixed pitch one - "Courier New", for example, is one of the standard fonts supplied on the Gen3, and selecting this will display a book in fixed pitch.

You could, therefore, temporarily switch the reading font to "Courier" (or whatever other fixed pitched font you prefered) in order to look at a portion of a book for which fixed pitch was vital.

Generally speaking, however, I agree with you - this is probably one case where something like PDF is a better choice of format (and I don't say that very often!)
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:29 PM   #14
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Yea, I hadn't thought about switching the entire font to a fixed width one. That would solve the code problem but make the rest of the book harder to read. I agree that PDF is probably the best in this case but there are reader formats that can mix variable and fixed fonts inside the document.

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Old 09-15-2008, 12:34 PM   #15
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I agree that PDF is probably the best in this case but there are reader formats that can mix variable and fixed fonts inside the document.

Dale
Absolutely. Sony's BBeB format does it very nicely, for example.

In the Mobi books I create myself, where fixed pitch is necessary for something, I work around the problem by displaying the fixed pitch item as an illustration (I format it in "Notepad", then save the image as a GIF file). A bit of a kludge, but it works well enough for small bits of text. Not something you'd want to do for a code listing pages long, however .
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