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Old 05-01-2009, 09:17 AM   #1
gwitt
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BeBook, (Hanlin V3), Openinkpot, experience report

BeBook (Hanlin V3) user experience with standard and openinkpot firmware


Dear eBook friends

Finally I got it! After reading ebooks only on my notebook and/or Sharp Zaurus I am holding my brand new ebook reader „BeBook“ in my hands.

Buying Decision
-------------------------------
After some search on the web (mobileread and other sites) I finally decided to buy the „BeBook“ reader (also known as „Hanlin V3“, „EZreader“, „Walkbook“, etc.).
Main reasons were:
- many formats supported by the original and openinkpot firmwares
- the quite normal price
- openinkpot compatibility as described at the German Linux Magazine
http://www.linux-magazin.de/online_a...der?category=0
- 32 MB RAM and
- 512 MB internal ROM


Managing / Un-Boxing
-----------------------------------------
The packaging is like many other electronic devices safe and seems shock-proof.
The Li-ion rechargeable battery can easily be installed using the supplied screw driver coming with the device. It must be charged for 12 h prior to the first use. Luckily I already had a mini USB power supply. Other distributors sell the device for the same price including the power supply as I saw on a Spanish website.
After charging I tested the BeBook for 3 days:
The original software seem absolutely usable. The bookshelf representing the directory structure is felicitous, intuitive and you can comfortably reach all the complex sub-directories which I prefer to use.
The display of books in .txt or pdb format proved to be the most useful to me as you can read much text on one page without the need to flip pages too often.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:17 AM   #2
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Legibility / Fonts
--------------------------------------
The pre-installed font is very good legible; but I personally prefer the open source font „LinuxLibertineO“ http://linuxlibertine.sourceforge.net/Libertine-DE.html , which could only be installed on a SD-card and had to be reloaded every time after removal and reinsertion of the SD card. (By the way: OI comes with that font from beginning on and there it does not always have to be reloaded.)

File formats
-----------------------
In my eyes .doc files are not very well displayed. It's a pity that the OpenOffice.org .odt format is not supported by both the standard as well as the OI firmware. That would be a very nice feature.
I cannot really accept the excuse in the manual FAQs sounding like “.. why don't you use the .doc export in OpenOffice.org instead?”
The Display of PDFs is also usable, but slooooow...; but this is also true for OI. The bottleneck here seems to be the limited computing power of the processor.
Unlike the OI PDF you only have 3 PDF zoom steps with the BoBook PDF software, but with a reasonable 90° page turn at the 3rd step. Such comic books or else (e.g. PerryRhodan) can be displayed legibly enough. By the way, I am missing this 90° turn feature in OI but this lack can be compensated by using OI's multiple adjustable zoom steps.

DRM format

According to the device manual Wolf and mobipocket DRM format is supported. But I didn't test DRM formats, yet.


PC-connect
-------------------
The USB connection to a PC / notebook with Linux OS is quite “notchy”.
Sometimes both storage units (internal and SD) could be recognized and accessed as USB mass storage, sometimes not. Also there were drop outs during the connection even during file transfers to the device or SD card. It turned out that the only safe way to transfer files under Linux is the SD card. (Don't know how it works with other OS).
With the standard firmware you can even not delete files on the device. For this purpose you would need a PC-connection. (If you us OI instead you can do that easily with the device itself and without a PC)

Apart from this my overall impression of the device is that it is well serviceable also for non-Linux-enthusiasts. To me BeBook is a useful and easy to use device.

Last edited by gwitt; 05-01-2009 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:18 AM   #3
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OPENINKPOT
---------------------
In my hurry to install openinkpot I unfortunately didn't find a way to extract the original firmware V903xxx before I switched towards OI.
Therefore I use d BeBook's V902xxx release (February 2009) for flashing back to BeBook standard firmware. But for the untrained eye on the first as well as the 2nd sight there is no obvious difference to the release which originally came with the device. Maybe the difference lies in the depths of the system concealed to the layman's view.

As a real “Linux” I decided for the upfront test version „re-0.2 20090326 snapshot „ of http://openinkpot.org/ .



Dictionaries / look up feature
---------------------------------------------
Besides the adventure the main reason was my desire for a system with integrated dictionary look up feature. The dictionaries I head already on my notebook. I installed them according to the guide in the German “Linux Magazin” article on http://www.linux-magazin.de/blogs/re..._e_book_reader .
That makes much sense to me as I like reading English books but do not know the meaning of each and every word.
The look up works very well. I quickly got used to the way entering the look up words which is similar to the T9 mobile phone character recognition. The lexicon comprises approximately as many words as a small travel pocket dictionary. If one of you knows an even more comprehensive version as “dict”-type (“*.dz” format) in German-English I would be very interested in it and you might post it here.
Compared to the original firmware this is THE killer feature to me. I had experienced a similar but even better feature with OpenOffice.org and the extension „EuroOffice“ dictionary (http://www.multiracio.com/eurooffice/ ) on my notebook before. I would not like to miss this feature.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:19 AM   #4
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File conversion, e.g. using OpenOffice.org
---------------------------------------------------------------
DRM free content can be displayed usefully per the original firmware but even excellent per OI. Especially the CoolReader3 (cr3) really is 'cool'.
If you want to go to a certain page it automatically generates a table of contents using chapter head lines (as can be seen on my photos below). And you have 8 bookmark slots available to jump forth and back wherever you want.
Actually almost everything is adjustable such as font size and family, kerning, line spacing and so on; just as the real Linux user likes it.
Book files or office content can be exported to PDF via OpenOffice.org using page size 90 mm x 120 mm and a reasonable font size of your choice.
Just as well you can use the export filters for .pml (odt2pml => http://extensions.services.openoffic...projectodt2pml ), resp. the formats .txt, .rtf, .pdb, .html, but also .swf. for other E-Reader devices or maybe coming features of OI.

Of course there are a lot of other commercial as well as non-commercial and open source applications for conversion purposes. With Linux there are also some for the command line.


Battery Life
-----------------------------------
Until now I charged the battery only 1 time. Meanwhile I switched and flashed firmwares approx 5 times and flipped pages approx. 3000 times as well as (using OI) left the device lay on the table several nights (as recommended). There is only a shutdown script in OI; the on/off button is more or less useless here; and it seems there is an autos-uspend (You can read that in the boot-up messages). I suppose it will suspend if not used for a while.
After 8 days of use now it reached the last battery charge mark on the display. FB reader says 19% now. I am curious when the battery will run out. As Li-ion batteries take several charge/discharge cycles before they reach their full capacity I expect even more capacity in the near future.

As long as I don't buy a DRM book I will stay with OI.

STABILITY
---------------
I didn't experience any OI of BeBook firmware stability problems, yet.
We'll see what the future brings.




I hope this article is useful for you.
Enjoy reading

gwitt


P.S.: As there is no pre-installed or otherwise manual available for openinkpot I converted the OI website's manual to a BeBook legible PDF format. I hope not to violate rights when I post it here for download (Licenced according to: CC-BY-SA 3.0: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

[[Thks dottedmag]]
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Attached Files
File Type: pdf UsersGuide.pdf (215.6 KB, 435 views)

Last edited by gwitt; 05-01-2009 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwitt View Post
I suppose it will suspend if not used for a while.
Actually it suspends all the time, just after 1 second of inactivity

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwitt View Post
I hope not to violate rights when I post it here for download
Sure. It's under CC-BY-SA 3.0: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Just add somewhere that the pdf is also covered by the same license.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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Thanks dottedmag. I will do.
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:55 PM   #7
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I tried the live version of OpenInkpot on my BeBook and it looks nice. But I don't replace it yet as my firmware because: 1) it doesn't read PDFs, 2) when reading TXTs the line endinges (CR/LF) aren't read correctly, even though I created the TXT with GNU/Linux, 3) seems slower than stock firmware, 4) generally needs some polishing with buttons etc. So from a user perpective, OpenInkpot needs work. But being able to see a booting penguin with system messages on e-ink is really an awesome experience.

I expect to be able to replace my firmware with OpenInkpot soon as I see that development goes fast. I would even like to help in any way I can if I find some time, but I will first have to experiment more with it.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by oddity View Post
it doesn't read PDFs
Do you mean it does not read them well? There is a PDF Viewer (locoPDF) included. I don't use PDFs much, but this does seem ok for PDFs designed for small screens (e.g. from FeedBooks). I was less sure about letter/A4 PDFs although the zoom and 4 quadrants approach seemed possibly ok with some more work. It definitely needs a clip margins option and a landscape option.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:03 PM   #9
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Do you mean it does not read them well? There is a PDF Viewer (locoPDF) included.

Sorry I was talking about OpenInkpot from a user perpective, and as such I was talking about version 0.1 and specifically its live SD release (it couldn't recognise any PDF on my tests).

I have also tried the non-live installable 0.2 preview release, it does read PDFs, only problem is that's a preview.

So I guess it depends what you consider the current version to be. I consider the current version of OpenInkpot to be 0.1 because that was the last release, and I do this because I evaluate it from a user/production environment perspective. From a development/tinkering perspective of course the current version is the 0.2 preview (or the source tree).
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:21 PM   #10
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I was talking about the 0.2 preview. With a project as early in development as this one, the latest version is likely to be your best bet even if it isn't described as "stable".
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Old 05-17-2009, 02:05 PM   #11
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update BeBook experience report:

I learned some new things about the BeBook.
After download of a DRM protected mobi ebook from mobipocket.com I flashed back to BeBook orginal FW as well as to the most recent HanlinV3 FW.
In both cases the result while opening the DRM-mobi book was the same:
I got a message that I should re-download the book after registering the mashine's PID. But even after doing that I could never open the DRM-protected mobi ebook.
BTW the ebook could be opened nicely on my wife's Cybook G3 after activating it under her windows Mobipocket reader software while access directly to the Ebook Reader's storage area.

That experience leads to some conclusions:

1) Either I am too stupid to do the right things
2) Or the book is faulty (what I don't believe because of the Cybook experience)
3) Or the mobi-DRM-recognition does not work, neither at the most recent HanlinV3 nor at the most recent BeBook firmware
4) Or there are some variants of the Mobi-Format, of which especially this did not work

Frustrated I flashed back to the super OI FW which still has a lot of advantages compared to the other 2, except the officially stated DRM ability (which I could not verify, yet)

How does it work with Calibre?
Well, the BeBook was never recognized by Calibre under both proprietary firmwares (Hanlin and BeBook) under Linux.
But you can store books on the reader if you mount the storage areas (internal as well as SD) using the "store on harddrive" option.

If anyone of you knows how to activate and use DRM protected Mobi books on the HanlinV3 or BeBook firmware please let me know.

regards
gwitt

Last edited by gwitt; 05-17-2009 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 02:53 PM   #12
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If anyone of you knows how to activate and use DRM protected Mobi books on the HanlinV3 or BeBook firmware please let me know.
Be sure to register the PID as found under Menu -> 6. Settings -> 4. About. I never had any problems opening DRMed .mobi-books.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
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If anyone of you knows how to activate and use DRM protected Mobi books on the HanlinV3 or BeBook firmware please let me know.

regards
gwitt
No problem with DRM'ed mobipocket books for me. I use the last avalaible firmware from lbook (btw, it's the best I tried, including OI).

The firmware is here:
http://lbook.com.ua/downloads/V3upda...20090409-2.rar

Regards,

L.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:44 AM   #14
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Thks, leandroide

I'll give that Lbook FW a try then.

Regards
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:00 PM   #15
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I have had no problem reading the few DRM'ed Mobi files I've thrown at my BeBook.

Two possiblities:
1- Did you enter the BeBook's PID into the PC Mobireader before the purchase? In other words, does the vendor have the BeBook PID listed for your account? You might have to re-download the file so the DRM wrapper is BeBook-aware.
2- Are you using a version of PC MObireader that recognizes BeBook as a hardware device by name. (The version available at mybebook.com does.)
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