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Old 12-21-2009, 11:10 PM   #1
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Is there a way to stop the faded text at the bottom & top in horizontal mode?

Hi, I just got my 300. I am wondering if there is a way I can disable the feature where it shows "faded" text at the bottom and top of the screen.. I know it's doing it to try and "cue" you where you were before, but as I am not used to it yet, I find it a touch distracting. What's even weirder, it doesn't do this in vertical mode, only horizontal.
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:23 AM   #2
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It does it because in horizontal mode, a single 'page' is split across two halves. In vertical mode, that single page isn't split at all. It uses it as a cue because the single page is rendered and /then/ split, so images and the like will get split apart as well.

And as far as I know, you can't disable it yet (haven't even seen anything to do this on the 505 with the firmware access as of yet).
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:20 AM   #3
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The reason it's weird is because when you have the font size large in the portrait mode it doesn't do that "middle of the page" thing with the dotted line. So why do it for the horizontal mode? With the large font size you're only seeing a portion.

The other thing about it is, it wastes an entire line of text because that faded line at the bottom of the screen appears a second time at the top of the next.. if it was a proper pageflip render, it would simply just chunk it up into sections and consider the horizontal pane as a page by itself. On a small screen I think it is a bad thing to be doing to eliminate a line of valuable screen real estate. I am surprised at Sony for this error in UI design!
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:26 AM   #4
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The Sony always renders pages in portrait. Always.

Switching the orientation does not change this. What it does is take the same render for portrait and split it into two parts that fit the screen.
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:16 AM   #5
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I wondered about this as well. Normally I like the horizontal views of devices (like my iPhone....etc) but I find the horizontal view on the 300 to be pretty much useless for this reason. The faded line is just too distracting for me....Good info in the thread, now I at least know why it looks weird.
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:13 AM   #6
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Ok, but the faded text should be an option. One page I looked at last night actually had 2 lines at the bottom greyed. That's some weird software they're using. Just saying.
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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The behavior is a bit of a trade-off. When the 500/505 launched, it had native PDF support. The problem was that zero PDFs were actually formatted for the device and are instead formatted for larger print pages. There was no option for PDF reflow either at the time.

The answer was to offer a horizontal view that split each page in half. 800x600 has a ratio of 4:3, 1200x800 has a ratio of 3:2. They couldn't split each page exactly in half cleanly without a lot of white space, and so yeah, they decided to use that extra space as a cue of where the split happened. To keep the code consistent, the behavior is the same for BBeB.

When ADE and everything else got integrated into the 505, they didn't really revisit the behavior at all. Same as when the 300 launched (probably in an effort to keep cost down by reducing the dev time on the firmware).

Personally, I like having the cue on PDFs that aren't reflowed, but I can see how others wouldn't like it on text content.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:02 PM   #8
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This is a bug plain and simple. The problem isn't just the wasted line or the weirdness. The problem is that when you go to "next page" you have to visually scan the first couple of lines to find where the text continues! It destroys the continuity of the reading experience which is the reason one buys an ebook.

Sony: please fix it! Or, if you can't, then stop advertising the feature because it is useless and your claims are legally misleading. This is a fairly big deal because by going into horizontal mode it is sometimes possible to get text in a reasonable scale. Some books are rendered (in vertical orientation) in absurdly tiny text in "small" mode and excessively large text (with large margins) in "medium" mode. Horizontal offers the hope of a reasonable compromise.

For a device that's been around in a few incarnations for several years I am frankly shocked at the shoddy font rendering and pagination of the PRS-300. Surly this isn't the best Sony can do?
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspark View Post
Ok, but the faded text should be an option. One page I looked at last night actually had 2 lines at the bottom greyed. That's some weird software they're using. Just saying.
I agree, it's nonsense.
But it's not Sony specific, I have this "feature" on other readers as well. (I'd have to check. But at least BeBook One/Hanlin V3 does have it as well. I'm pretty sure, others as well.)
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:36 PM   #10
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Sony actually did away with the annoying greying of the divider text in the page center when in landscape mode for the PRS900. They also allowed for fully justified text in ePubs on the PRS900. so they know about the problems and can fix them if they will only update the firmware.

BTW, the greyed dividing text is not shown on the PRS300 when viewing a LRF (BBeB) book. I've actually started stripping the DRM and converting my ePubs into LRF format for a few reasons.
  • No greyed out dividing text in landscape mode
  • No stupid page number in the right margin
  • Option to use full justification of text (I like it better than left justified)
  • More control of font selection (see below)

I personally find that reading on an e-Ink or LCD screen I prefer a sans serif font, whereas when reading a printed book on paper I prefer a serif font. I wondered about that for a long time until I came across an article on web page design back in the early 1990's. The article suggested using sans serif fonts for web pages because scientific research indicated that the human eyes can read sans serif fonts on computer monitors much better than serif fonts. The reason, they said, was that the low resolution of computer monitors compared to a printed page caused human eyes to have trouble interpreting the serifs (small projections on letters). This made sense to me. Of course computer monitors have since gone from 640x480 resolution to several times that, but the e-Ink screens are still mostly 600x800 so they are still way below the resolution of a printed page. For that matter, the modern LCD screens for computers are still below the resolution of a printed page. Bottomline is that I get a lot less eye strain from reading sans serif text on my PRS300 than I do with serif text. And since you cannot adjust the contrast on a PRS300 screen, I convert my ePubs into fully justified LRf that uses the PRS300 system sans serif font and I make all the text bold. The result is a much easier to read book in which I can ultimately read for a much longer time before my eyes call a time out. Since I'm not embedding any fonts into the LRF file, it is only marginally (10-20%) larger than the ePub file and loads and turns pages as fast as the ePub.

Here's a sample of the difference:

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Last edited by jswinden; 03-25-2010 at 04:40 PM.
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