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Old 02-01-2009, 11:36 AM   #1
KAM
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Noob request: teach me to fish

Hi there

I've just recently been given a PRS-505 as a gift and, finding the Sony software as I've found most other Sony software (i.e. almost as if it came from a completely different company) I went searching elsewhere. I'm a regular at a forum for music collection & cataloging software (http://www.fnprg.com/forum) so I asked the neighbouring book collection group for advice and they pointed towards Calibre and this forum. So far so good.

Except I've clearly not grasped some really fundamental aspects of using Calibre. I can edit an original RTF file and just do a copy to the PRS-505 'drive letter'. This seems to work. Obviously there are issues about page widths, justification etc. Expecting a major improvement I attempted a conversion of the same file to LRF in Calibre. This produced some weird effects when I view it in Calibre. Most significant of these are -

- Italics get ignored
- Line feeds get ignored
- Hard page breaks are ignored
- Paragraph marks are observed unless there are multiple consecutive ones. Then only one is observed.

So I'm not necessarily looking for the answers to these right here (don't give me a fish), but surely somewhere there is a comprehensive set of rules which both Calibre and I should obey. Where do I find these? (teach me to fish).

And if I were to be a real heretic, can someone define the purpose and benefit of Calibre? Have the missed the point somewhere?

Apologies for the naive level of these questions. I've never been an e-book reader before (I've got a few thousand hard copies) and I'm getting nowhere fast. I have searched for days trying to teach myself without success. I suspect a signpost is all I need.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Ken
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:53 AM   #2
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i like your perspective.

to learn to fish, i suggest you take a look at the calibre forum, where you can read some questions / explanations other people have posted (and the official calibre faq), and the epub forum, to learn about the new industry standard format. since you have a 505, if you want to convert your files to a different format, this is the best one. you can also use feedbooks.com to create very high-quality epub files ; if you don't want to publish them, you can put in your text and just request a preview to get the file. in addition, for more general questions about book formatting and creation, there is the workshop forum.

please don't hesitate to post specific questions ; you will find a lot of very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly people here.

as for calibre, it is designed as a library management tool, with three main functions :
1. organisation of your library using a "logical book" system, meaning you have one database entry for each title, with the appropriate metadata (which you can edit as needed), but under that entry you can have multiple files in different formats ;

2. conversion of files to the format you need ;

3. managing the files on your device by displaying the contents and sending the file to the device, when it is connected.

i hope this helps you get started. have fun with your 505, and learning to fish !
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:57 AM   #3
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Welcome, Kam. You've come to the right place.

Keep asking questions, (perhaps in another thread?) until you get the right answer. Its here......and so are the people who can help.

Enjoy!
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for the prompt responses - much appreciated.

I'll work my way through some of the links. One thing I've already spotted is how quickly Calibre is developing: new releases are tumbling out all the time. I've seen examples of where a thread with multiple pages started with a particular query, and by the time it closed a few pages later, several new releases had been issued along the way which fixed the problem. As a result when I search for a problem similar to my own, I read through multiple posts only to find that that problem has already been cured and I only happen to share a few symptoms with it.

Is there such a thing as over-supported software where the developers are too responsive to users' needs?

Ken
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:46 PM   #5
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Is there such a thing as over-supported software where the developers are too responsive to users' needs?

Ken
if there is, calibre must be it. you are right, there are often new releases every day or every two days.

if you get bogged down in only partially-related threads, please feel free to start a new one to ask your own question ; that's what the forum is for.

it's great to see a new member who takes the time to search and read the existing threads first ; a lot of questions do tend to come up repeatedly.
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:59 PM   #6
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Regarding RTF conversions. RTF is the second worst supported format for conversions, ahead of only PDF. You may have better luck if you convert the RTF to HTML first (you can use Save as HTML in word)
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Regarding RTF conversions. RTF is the second worst supported format for conversions, ahead of only PDF. You may have better luck if you convert the RTF to HTML first (you can use Save as HTML in word)
Aaah, that's the sort of thing I need - "you're wasting your time fishing there at RTF - try down at the HTML pool or the epub bend in the river."

So, I'll pick up all my equipment and move along the banks a bit ...

Wish me luck - I'm sure I'll land one soon.

Ken
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:50 PM   #8
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Aaah, that's the sort of thing I need - "you're wasting your time fishing there at RTF - try down at the HTML pool or the epub bend in the river."
Let me guess, you do alot of fishing?

BOb
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:13 PM   #9
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Absolutely none! It's just that having started with a fishy metaphor in my first post I'm now feeling trapped in to continuing the theme. It seemed a good idea at the time

I'll have to start a new thread with a different idea, or else come clean and admit I'm still fumbling around in the shallows here (oh, hey, swimming, Maybe that's an alternative metaphor. But unfortunately I don't do much of that either.)

Hmmm... I wonder how book reading works as a metaphor for book reading. Or is that too self-referential. Oh why did I start this! Why couldn't I just have asked for help?

Ken
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:15 PM   #10
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Absolutely none! It's just that having started with a fishy metaphor in my first post I'm now feeling trapped in to continuing the theme. It seemed a good idea at the time

I'll have to start a new thread with a different idea, or else come clean and admit I'm still fumbling around in the shallows here (oh, hey, swimming, Maybe that's an alternative metaphor. But unfortunately I don't do much of that either.)

Hmmm... I wonder how book reading works as a metaphor for book reading. Or is that too self-referential. Oh why did I start this! Why couldn't I just have asked for help?

Ken
that'll teach you to come up with clever metaphores ! (i do recommend you get familiar with the epub end of the pool.) (<-- helping you shift your metaphor)
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:21 PM   #11
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... and with another 24 hours under my belt I'm getting along much better than before, EPUB does indeed seem to be the way to go (with a few reservations at this stage) but has any single medium ever thrown up so many different incompatible and obscure formats?!?!
And having searched a bit further around the Interweb I'm still trying to get my head around the concept of ebook reader software that requires a computer to run it. If I wanted to read something I wouldn't take a computer with me, I'd take a ..., oh what did we call them all these years ago... , oh, I remember, 'book'.

So far I've only tackled about 6 books. I don't seem to be able to get a sans serif font in the PRS-505 when using EPUB: everything I start from ends up as the same serif. No big deal, it's quite readable, and at least italics, bolds, page ends, paragraphs etc are observed.

So I'll tinker some more and then come back with some properly formulated and structured questions. Who knows, I may even find time to do some reading

Thanks again to all who responded, and especially to Kovid - excellent software, well supported, filling a real need.

Ken
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:41 PM   #12
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as for calibre, it is designed as a library management tool, with three main functions :
1. organisation of your library using a "logical book" system, meaning you have one database entry for each title, with the appropriate metadata (which you can edit as needed), but under that entry you can have multiple files in different formats ;

2. conversion of files to the format you need ;

3. managing the files on your device by displaying the contents and sending the file to the device, when it is connected.
4. Newspaper and magazine subscription service.

E.g., Calibre's free Newsweek magazine is such a perfect copy of the print edition, that I just let my Newsweek subscription run out and donated the subscription price to Calibre (plus a little extra in gratitude for the ePub View that works splendidly on a tiny touchscreen PC that I have--skimming newspapers is lightning fast on a PC compared to an e-Ink device).
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:04 PM   #13
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4. Newspaper and magazine subscription service.
right, sorry, forgot that one ! 4 functions. (and we can add RSS feeds as well, since they exist for other things in addition to newspapers and magazines).
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