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Old 04-23-2009, 04:09 PM   #1
recordsmith
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Device for a Professor Research and Grading

Hello all,

I was wondering if you could help me. I am trying to figure out what device would work for two tasks. I need to be able to read research documents in PDF and Highlight/Annotate them (take notes). I would also like to use it to read and correct the numerous research papers that I have to read every semester.

I know that the best answer is probably a tablet PC. However, the PCs on the market are far to heavy to carry in one hand and I am a Mac user and I would not like to have to transition back. If I have to go that way i will but it is not ideal.

What are my options in the e-reader field of devices? It would just be great to have a device that can store all the papers and research and have it the size of a magazine. It would cut down on a lot of paper hauling I do.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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Old 04-23-2009, 04:24 PM   #2
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I believe the following would fit you quite well, having a 10.2 inch display:

Digital Reader 1000S



Work Interactively with Documents

interactiveExperience how it feels to work efficiently and interactively in a digital, paperless workflow. With the iRex Digital Reader 1000 S you can make handwritten notes in your digital documents, just as you would with a conventional pen.

Print paperless

Print any document directly to your iRex Digital Reader. Microsoft Office documents, e-mails and Adobe PDF documents, can be directly printed into a readable format on your iRex Digital Reader, allowing you the convenience to always have all your paperwork at hand.


You can look them up at: http://www.irextechnologies.com/irexdr1000/specs

hope that helps,

kaas

p.s.: we have also dedicated forums here for the Irex readers. This one is for the one above: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174

Last edited by kaas; 04-23-2009 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:22 AM   #3
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I also have the need to read scientific papers, but I don't need annotation.

The Chinese ebook company Jinke works on V9, a 9.7inch near-A4 ebook reader that supports PDFs. It isn't ready yet, though.

Another product of Jinke, V3, is at 6inch but has a landscape zoom level that sometimes works good sometimes not so good for scientific papers and supports PDFs but no annotation/notetaking. This is what I currently use, but due to its small size I am looking for something bigger!

The iRex readers are probably the best you can find now.

As for me, I wil either buy an iRex or wait for V9 (probably for V9).

Note that Jinke's readers also support DjVu, which replaces PDF in some scientific papers.
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:08 AM   #4
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Digital Reader 1000S. I am not Professor. I am graduate student of CS. What I can tell you is I use DR1000s read all papers, docs, books my professor gave me.
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:03 PM   #5
recordsmith
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Thanks guys for the answers. I think I will invest in one. It seems expensive but when the closest tablet costs almost three times as much it really is a good deal.

Las thought, will it work with a Mac? I guess I can go over to the forum and find out. i have got to be able to get the annotated docs out to get them to my students! Where is the best place to find them?
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:25 PM   #6
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Yes. Indeed. I use it with my MAC. You need a software call Hidden cleaner.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordsmith View Post
Thanks guys for the answers. I think I will invest in one. It seems expensive but when the closest tablet costs almost three times as much it really is a good deal.

Las thought, will it work with a Mac? I guess I can go over to the forum and find out. i have got to be able to get the annotated docs out to get them to my students! Where is the best place to find them?
If you want large format (and you should for your purposes), I would wait awhile. I don't usually recommend waiting. There will always be something new around the corner. However, IMHO the field for large format devices is a bit defficient right now.

First, you must understand that I don't own the Digital Reader 1000S -- I'm going by third hand reports. If you look around via google you'll see reports of a sluggish and somewhat clunky interface. There are also lots of reports of bugs. These reviews are dated September '08 through January '09, and there was a new firmware released in February. I don't know how that improved things.

Secondly, I would be quite nervous about buying a large format device until this fall. e-ink screens are somewhat fragile. I have broken one myself . At least one manufacturer has decided to pass on large format devices until flexible screens are available. The purpose of these flexible screens, is not to actually bend, its to provide the necessary robustness so that shocks do not break the screen. In the second half of this year, you should expect to see large format devices with flexible screens.

However, one of the biggest concerns I would have with the Irex is the work that it would take to get documents to it. As I understand it, you would have two choices for transferring documents. If your documents are in pdf you can send them across from the PC. Other documents (e.g. Word) can be opened on your PC and "printed" to a file on the Irex.

This process sounds great for one-at-a-time file handling. However, I am also a professor, and I have some experience editing files electronically. Frankly its a bit of a pain opening up attachments and entering markup mode in Word -- multiply that times about 50 for all of the students in both of my classes. It doesn't appear to me that the Irex has the ability to browse the web or run email directly. This means that you would need to download files first to the PC. Unless you can require your students to turn in PDF files, then you would need to open each on the PC and tell the PC to print the files to a printer which is actually the IRex device.

Of course, when you are done you would need to get the documents back off the device. I assume you want the annotation so that you can share the files back with the students? Anyway, I don't have all the information here, but the first hurdle would be making sure that your annotations and the original text are all saved in one pdf file. If not, you'll need to convert them to pdf. Then you would send them back to your PC.

Hopefully along the way you've renamed the files. Student's will have sent them all using something like: CaseAnalysis1.doc. You hopefully did a rename to Smith, Roger Case1.doc . Of course, this renaming takes more time. Anyway, after you transfer them back to the PC you either need to attach each one to an email (ie, to Roger Smith) or you need to upload them through a digital drop box to Roger Smith.

The problem that I see is that the workflow is just too onerous. It is really no big deal for a single document, but it adds hours to grading a class or two of documents.

Also, e-ink tends to be a bit slow on page refreshes. Not a problem for reading, but I'm not sure its great for skipping back and forth while grading. I've heard that the Irex may be slow on pen input. Also, not a problem for an occaisonal note, but I'm not sure about continuous grading. Frankly, I'm not sure its not a general problem with e-ink and pen input.

The bottom line is that my opinion is that electronic grading is a bit more of a pain than I want it to be - I do it today on a normal laptop. What I picture for any e-ink reader and specifically for the Digital Reader 1000S would make it just too clunky and slow. If you really want to go to electronic grading, I'd really think tablet computer. I know they are a bit large -- but that's my opinion.

If this doesn't do it for you, wait this fall and see what happens with the new screens from pixel qi. These are supposed to be e-ink like for readibility, but they are LCD-based for faster refresh. Hopefully they will lead to more readable and higher battery life tablets that can both annotate and reach the web without requiring the use of a separate PC.

Good luck

Last edited by emellaich; 05-08-2009 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:15 AM   #8
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I agree with emellaich. My husband and I are both university faculty and have similar requirements for reading & marking documents and texts. In addition we both use our respective university CMS system for up-and-downloading course electronic materials, interacting with students online, reading email, and retrieving/marking/uploading student papers.

You're talking alot of money for an interim solution which probably won't meet your needs - at least I know that it won't meet mine. Less money would buy you an interim netbook that can do everything - and won't have you tearing your hair out trying to get it to do it! When you turn down the backlighting a laptop/netbook screen becomes much "gentler" on the eyes (we are in our 50s and have no trouble reading for at least 2-3 hours). I'd think you could then resell the netbook when something better comes out.

And I don't think we'll have to wait too long.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:07 PM   #9
recordsmith
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Thanks for the additional information! I really appreciate it.

A tablet net book would be great. It would be even better if there was one that ran OS X. But I guess I am just going to have to wait. I think caution is a good road right now. I was very excited for the Kindle DX but alas it too is not what I need. Thanks!
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:04 AM   #10
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Have similar needs (read a lot of research PDFs), however, no real need for annotating. I pre-ordered a Kindle DX (9.7" eInk screen and native PDF reader).
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:14 PM   #11
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Not to discount the personal labor cost in transitioning from Mac --> PC, and in babying two platforms, I just wanted to point out that the HP 2710p Tablet PC is now quite cheap refurbished from HP ($600-700), as is the newer 2730p ($1,000-1,250). The 2730p adds a scroll wheel, which is desirable when reading in portrait mode, and a scrolling pad when typing, worth the difference to some people (I'm a 2710p owner and wish I had those two features). But you must add in anti-virus and $70 for PDF Annotator, which is great for handwritten annotations. The 2710p refurb is competitive in cost with the DR1000S. OK, not nearly as light, but with color annotations (what's a professor without a red pen?)

These weigh less than 4 lbs. and have battery life around 5 hours, with an available slice extender battery that gives all-day battery life. The dock with built-in CD/DVD costs extra.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:01 AM   #12
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I do agree with pretty much all above stated. I am a teaching assistant (or graduate student instructor, as we are called in our alma mater) and I have been trying to use my Tablet PC to make my life easier. By no means I am trying to convert you back to the Windows "Sect," but a Tablet PC with PDF Annotator is probably the best option for grading and commenting; I would also strongly recommend that your Tablet PC uses Wacom digitizer (i.e. those which use a special pen, not anything), because passive touch screen for this purpose is nothing but pain in the neck - input is never smooth, plus you will have a lot of vectoring - crazy doodling that happen when two different objects touch the screen almost simultaneously. iRex readers use Wacom digitizers, but they have choppy input because of slow refresh rate of e-ink display; which will become annoying very quickly.
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:29 PM   #13
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iRex is crazy expensive I think, even more than the new large format Kindle DX that targets the academic market.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:49 PM   #14
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PDF Annotator sale Tues.

If you bought a Tablet PC, look on Bitsdujour on Tues. May 19 for a one-day half-price ($35) sale of the regular license PDF Annotator, and on Wed. May 20 the Student license also for half price ($15). (I just got an e-mail to that effect from the PDF Annotator folks.)
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:02 PM   #15
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Hi, I'm new to this forum, I found it through trying to figure out which tablet pc to buy for putting comments on student papers. Looking at the replies, I joined hoping I could get some help. Do people who are using tablet pc's to write on student papers find that the writing capabilities are sufficient to write, if need be, fairly extensive and readable notes in the margins of students papers? Do these functions vary between different tablet pcs? Thanks!
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