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Old 02-15-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
tali3sin
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Cool Tips for reading on a laptop?

So, I'm new
Hi.
Introduced myself in the appropriate place, but hey, it's my second post - so hi again.

Right, anyway. Question.

I'm poor (by my standards), woefully poor. I quite literally can't afford to buy books any more, and having recently moved to a non-English speaking country... I'm having a hell of a time borrowing them as well.

Can't buy 'em for pennies, because shipping costs as much as a book. The same thing applies to the online book lending sites - still have to pay shipping. Sigh.

And I've run out of things to read.... Enter Project Gutenberg/etc
Saved!

But, reading on a screen - it physically hurts.
Is there a particular piece of software, or any tips, that anyone can offer, which will reduce the pain of reading a book from a laptop screen? Hopefully with the aim of being able to put in several hours of reading on a lazy Sunday, without too much strain?

Any and all replies are appreciated

Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:54 AM   #2
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Are you able to go to the Sony ebookstore and download their software? It's free. They have a full screen option that I find pretty swell. Let me get a screen shot...
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:56 AM   #3
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:31 PM   #4
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Welcome, Tali3sin.

Take a look at our wiki, which has a page on ebook software:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_software
and experiment with the different options.

(You'll also find pages with lists of free ebook sources etc. There's a link to the wiki at the very top of this page.)

I find that it helps if the screen is not too bright, so I dim it a little. Also, I don't want a very wide page, so if I'm reading in Word then I adjust the size of the display by
1. clicking on the view as print layout option
2. adjusting the size of the window by clicking on the restore down button, then pointing the mouse to the bottom right corner and dragging open the window to a convenient size. I want to be able to read a whole line without moving my eyes, so that they don't tire so quickly.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
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The Windows MobiPocket Reader also has a 2-page display option and a "paper book aspect ratio" option.

The same things that help on a small LCD screen may help on a large screen. Some people find a dark background is best and colored (vs white) text, others like a colored background with black text. Also reducing the brightness may help. The Windows MobiPocket Reader can adjust these properties, but other reader software may be able to do an equally good job. You should also minimize glare off the screen from lights and windows.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:50 PM   #6
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Whoa, I disappear for a little while... and so many responses already

Okay, I'll take a look into all those and see what works for me

Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:54 PM   #7
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Also, lilac_jive - love your avatar, Mucha is great
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:11 PM   #8
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Also, lilac_jive - love your avatar, Mucha is great
I totally agree
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:40 PM   #9
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I used to read from an old (*very* old) notebook.
My favorite setting was black background and gray text.
I had a notebook with a very small screen. Perhaps that helps too. It means less light generated by a screen. Also, do not read in complete darkness.

It took me quite a long time to find the right combination of reading software, screen colors, and other factors.
At the end, with the right settings, I was able to read many hours quite comfortably.
However, if I can make a recommendation I suggest you to buy an e-ink reader. Perhaps a refurbished or second-hand Sony reader. Or at least try some "reader" with an old LCD screen (the one that works also without backlight). Cassiopeia A-20 is an example of such device.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:55 PM   #10
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Not in complete darkness? Is this something to do with consistently focusing on a light source with the wider pupils that the dark usually produces? Just curious.

I would love to get an eReader. But, I can't justify purchasing a single book. That's how tight my budget is

So, my only hope in that regard is a BeBook referral code, or a very happy birthday in a couple of months.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tali3sin View Post
Not in complete darkness? Is this something to do with consistently focusing on a light source with the wider pupils that the dark usually produces? Just curious.

I would love to get an eReader. But, I can't justify purchasing a single book. That's how tight my budget is

So, my only hope in that regard is a BeBook referral code, or a very happy birthday in a couple of months.
Surely by now you've figured out that there are multiple 'free' ebook sites. Simply buy a decent ebook reader (hit a rich neighbor over the head, maybe ) and then download free ebooks in the format you want.

(Okay, I'm kidding around. I sympathize with you. Have you thought of checking out a used Sony or Bookeen ebook reader?)

Derek
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Old 02-15-2009, 03:39 PM   #12
tali3sin
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Surely by now you've figured out that there are multiple 'free' ebook sites. Simply buy a decent ebook reader (hit a rich neighbor over the head, maybe ) and then download free ebooks in the format you want.

(Okay, I'm kidding around. I sympathize with you. Have you thought of checking out a used Sony or Bookeen ebook reader?)

Derek
Hmm, rich neighbours eh?
And yep, I've found a few sites full of eBooks both free and "free" for the reading

As for used/refurbished/out dated/etc eBook Readers... Well, as I've said, I literally (semi-pun?) can't afford to buy a book. All money that comes into my possession is for food, train tickets, household supplies, and rent - if I can manage all four at once.
So an eBook reader is out of the question, unfortunately

Fortunately, I already have a laptop (two actually, from wealthier days) so this widens my reading options a little bit, as long as my eyes are up for it, and I only read at home
Or continue reading the five books I brought to this country over and over ;-)

Anyway, I don't suppose you'd like to give away an old reader? Or stop by somewhere nearby, so I can knock you over the head, lol.

Seriously though, if there are any book-filled sites you'd like to recommend (here, or PM), or tips on reducing eye-strain/improving the laptop-reading experience, I keenly await your words
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:04 PM   #13
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Seriously though, if there are any book-filled sites you'd like to recommend (here, or PM),
Tell us what kind of books you like.

Have a look at our wiki. You can find link at the top of this page.
Also see the E-Books link at the top of this page.

in the meanwhile visit Baen Free Library, check up their [semi] free CDs they sometimes bundle with their books (available on the net)
and visit www.craphound.com

If you are looking for a particular book or an author, you are probably out of luck. But if you are just looking for some good books there is plenty of free reading material (including quite a few contemporary (understand non-Guttenberg) books) available to carry you through a lean times.
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:32 PM   #14
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Tell us what kind of books you like.

Have a look at our wiki. You can find link at the top of this page.
Also see the E-Books link at the top of this page.

in the meanwhile visit Baen Free Library, check up their [semi] free CDs they sometimes bundle with their books (available on the net)
and visit www.craphound.com

If you are looking for a particular book or an author, you are probably out of luck. But if you are just looking for some good books there is plenty of free reading material (including quite a few contemporary (understand non-Guttenberg) books) available to carry you through a lean times.
I'll certainly be checking out the wiki, and recommended sites

Thanks a bundle!
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:44 PM   #15
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Hi

To read is good and doing it, for “free” with the devices one already has is, in today’s environment, an intelligent decision for sure.

I advise you to check if you have the Cleartype option for the fonts in your laptop.
Also check if the reader (the software) as it also active and with the most comfortable option for your reading habits - per example you can control this in Microsoft Reader.

Choose a good lid and comfortable place for reading, and take care to stay away of any possibility of glare, attention to the lights and inclination of your screen can make a much better reading.

Finally check if the software for reading as an option to invert the colours - per example to let you read in a black background with white or grey letters, some people find this much more comforting for long periods of reading.

Good reading,
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