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Old 04-30-2009, 03:05 AM   #1
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Talking New reader software for Windows Mobile!

Hi everyone,

I have created an eBook reader program for windows mobile and I need some guinea pigs to try it out and help me to make it as good as possible. It is very easy to use and it's FREE!
At the moment it only reads RTF files, so if you have a Windows Mobile device and some books in RTF format then go ot my website (www.zuluexpress.com), download it and see what you think.

When (and if) you install it you will find a copy of Jules Verne's 20,0000 Leagues Under The Sea has been installed with it.
To add more books copy them to the My Documents\My eBooks folder (which is creatd on installing ZuluReader.
Before copying the files to your device you should change the name of the file to the same naming convention as the sample book.

Author Name(space)(hyphen)(space)Book Title.rtf
This allows ZuluReader to sort the books in your library by title and or author.

If for example you have an rtf copy of Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carrol then you should change the file name to:

Lewis Carrol - Alice In Wonderland.rtf

If you have a JPG file to use as a cover image then give it exactly the same name(except for the file extension of course).

Lewis Carrol - Alice In Wonderland.jpg

That's it. Pretty simple huh?

If you have any questions or problems you can respond here or email me directly at stvedales@gmail.com

Cheers, and happy eReading.

ondabeach.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:14 AM   #2
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so you have hardcoded the my eBooks folder when that is the exact same place that Mobipocket places their eBooks. Do you think that is wise?

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Old 04-30-2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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It would be better to make it a configurable option, I agree.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:57 PM   #4
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Hi Dale and harry, thanks for that info. I am so glad I joined this forum, this is exactly what I need. The My Documents\My eBooks folder is the default library folder when you install the program but you can easily cange it to whatever you want. You just click the options button on the home screen and select the folder you want to use for your ZuluReader library.

If you think I should change the default location please let me know.

I want to make ZuleReader the ultimate in eBook readers for the Win Mobile platform and once everyone likes it as much as I do then I will create a version for as many other platforms as I can.

Thanks so much for your input, I look forward to receiving more suggestions for fixes and new features. I am working full time on this project because as I said in my original post I haven't found a single reader for Win Mobile platform that I like.

I live in Vanuatu in the south Pacific and my time zone is GMT +11 hrs so please forgive the delay in my respone.

Thanks again.

Steve (ondabeach)
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:56 PM   #5
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May I ask why you picked RTF of all the various ebook formats?
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:10 PM   #6
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RTF is the simplest format for people to convert to and from. One day epub will take over but that will take a while as it is much harder for most people to work with (IMHO).
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondabeach View Post
RTF is the simplest format for people to convert to and from. One day epub will take over but that will take a while as it is much harder for most people to work with (IMHO).
That is a steep hill to climb. MobiPocket for the PocketPC is REALLY good. The only thing I think that is missing from MP4PC is Text-to-Speech.

Anyhow I wish you luck!

Just a question why go after a market that has a really good solution, why not go after a market that lack good readers. For instance the BlackBerry/ Android/iPhone do not have good eBook readers. Mobipocket and eReader are just okay for the BB?

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Old 05-01-2009, 06:09 PM   #8
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Hi X,

I actually find mobibpocket a terrible program to use. Features are easily implemented by any competent programmer but the secret to a good piece of software is it's UI. To appreciate the term UI you have to think about what it really is, obviously everyone knows it stands for user interface. But.... rather than seeing it as a paradigm, which is how we perceive things, if you look at mobipocket User Interface it is woeful, not to pick on mobipocket, I think they're all pretty terrible.

People read books for pleasure, well that is the market I am targeting anyhow, and it is crucial for app developers to imagine that their users have never seen a computer before.

User Interfaces should be as intuitive as a paper book. The UI should tell you exactly what to do to achieve your goal. In the case of a mobile device book reader it is (IMHO) crucial that you can do everything with the touch or flick of a thumb. When I'm lying in bed at night reading, the last thing I want to do is pull out the stylus and hunt through menus just to increase the font size. Basically that rules out any kind of traditional menu which requires the use of a stylus or that you have tiny fingers or long fingernails AND really good eyesight.

Being an app developer is about having real empathy for the user and catering to people of all levels of exposure to computers/gadgets etc.

I know I have a tough road ahead of me, but hey, I like a challenge. I honestly believe that if you were to try ZuluReader you would understand what I mean and think 'wow, so that's what a UI should be like'. As far as features go at the moment, forget it ZuluReader is just out of the womb. But I am looking for beta users now so that I add the features that people want and need in a prioritised manner. If I whacked in a heap of features that I thought people wanted before beta testing I only have to go back and reinvent the wheel.

If you can convert your books to RTF and you simply want to read novels on a PPC then ZuluReader is an absolute breath of fresh air (IMHO).

On the topic of platforms, I will be creating versions for other platforms once I am satisfied that I have satisfied the requirements for users on Win Mobile.

Anyhow, thanks for the comment..... and watch this space.... I'm a dog with a bone.... a horse with the bit between my teeth.... a man on a mission..... etc etc.

Cheers,

Steve.
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:29 AM   #9
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Talking ZuluReader and ePub Files

Hi all,

I have become convinced that ePub is the format of the future and although ZuluReader will still support RTF files I am now working on handling ePub files. It should only be about a week or so until I have an update on the site so you can try ZuluReader with ePub files.

Cheers,

Steve.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:32 AM   #10
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I just installed the app.

A few things:

1. At install I got the message that the application was for an older version of Windows Mobile (I use Windows Mobile 2003 SE). But it works, so I'll skip that one...

2. When I opened the book, I got 2 letters on my screen. The lettering was huge! I had to click about a dozen times to make the font even readable... This may have something to do with point 1 though...

3. It doesn't remember the font I choose. I put it from Tahoma (the default) to Fontin, but when I closed and opened it, it was Tahoma again. The same with the font-size. It keeps reverting to 10 point.

4. The paging is nice and fast, but...

5. I like the large buttons, easily touched using my finger instead of the pen. But it's annoying that the "menu" will pop-up and cover half the screen if I accidentally touch the screen.


6. This is a major drawback for me: it doesn't respond to my buttons. I can go to the next page using my scroll wheel. I can't use the buttons. And I almost never use that scroll wheel.

An image of my PDA:


It's a Fujitsu Siemens Loox 720.

7. I just got an error because I changed my default folder. The book I had already opened wasn't in that folder (naturally!), but it did show on the first screen. So, I clicked it. And got an I/O error because it couldn't find the book

8. So, I moved that book to the new ebook folder (which is the same as my mobipocket folder), but according to the reader there are no books in there (if I move it back, it will find the book again)

I assume that green bar with the green ball on it, when you open the "menu" is a progress bar? I'd like to see that always...

So, overall, it looks nice, but in my case, because of point 6 (and somewhat because of point 5), not really handy to use. And I'd love to have a good epub reader!
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:41 AM   #11
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Hi Sweatpea,

Thanks for installing ZuluReader, and for pointing out those bugs/issues. I will look into them and let you know when they are fixed. If you drop me an email at stevedales@gmail.com then I can let you know directly how I am progressing. Also, the mobileread site only seems to notify me of new posts to a thread once a week so this isn't a good place for me to sort out the issues for you.

I could easily change the action that brings up the menu from a single tap to a double tap, or even make that a configurable option.

Hmmm, don't know why it doesn't respond to your up and down buttons to turn pages. The best thing to do there I think would be to, once again have a configuration option that allows you to dsignate hardware buttons to perform certain functions, like turning pages, adjust font size or whatever.

I would like to work with you until you are so happy with ZR that you will want make it your first choice for eReading on your pda. So please do drop me an email and we can get ZR into shape ASAP.

Cheers,

Steve.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondabeach View Post
RTF is the simplest format for people to convert to and from. One day epub will take over but that will take a while as it is much harder for most people to work with (IMHO).
Hi. just wondering if there is possibility that you will do it in PDF?




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Old 06-03-2009, 07:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondabeach View Post
I would like to work with you until you are so happy with ZR that you will want make it your first choice for eReading on your pda.
That won't happen, I've too many DRM'd books And while I'm in the progress of liberating them, it'll take some time.

And I first need to get it to work again, with the changed library folder....
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:23 PM   #14
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Your avatar and website both have that garish green font on black background - is the display for this software the same? I cannot read on black background for more than a few minutes without headaches!
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:14 AM   #15
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Hi Sweetpea,

Yes DRM is a problem, but it is on it's way out thank goodness. I should have said your first choice for reading DRM-free books

If you change your library folder then you need to delete the files in the ZuluDat subfolder, also delete the tempEPUBfiles folder. This is only a temporary requirement, this is on my list of things to do.

Cheers,

Steve.
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