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Old 01-12-2010, 04:46 PM   #1
Davimee
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Confused about Firmware

I am looking at buying my first ebook reader sometime in February or March, and I'm looking at both the EZ Reader Pocket Pro and the Sony Pocket. I am a little confused about the firmware upgrades offered by Astak. If I bought a new Astak reader, would I need to install all of the firmware updates? Or is there a list as to which updates provide different fixes? Or would I just install the latest? I guess I don't quite understand what firmware is, or why it is needed. Sorry for my dumb questions.

Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davimee View Post
I am looking at buying my first ebook reader sometime in February or March, and I'm looking at both the EZ Reader Pocket Pro and the Sony Pocket. I am a little confused about the firmware upgrades offered by Astak. If I bought a new Astak reader, would I need to install all of the firmware updates? Or is there a list as to which updates provide different fixes? Or would I just install the latest? I guess I don't quite understand what firmware is, or why it is needed. Sorry for my dumb questions.

Thanks.
Firmware updates are almost always a Total replacement, so the simple answer is install the latest (which has been traditionally, the only one Astak has on their firmware list).
My personal recommendation, is that you keep a well labeled copy of all versions on your PC in case your favorite feature takes a giant step backwards .
You can roll back by simply loading the older version.
I think the special, "Asian language support" (if you need it)is the exception to the only replace the using the latest update by itself rule.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davimee View Post
I am looking at buying my first ebook reader sometime in February or March, and I'm looking at both the EZ Reader Pocket Pro and the Sony Pocket. I am a little confused about the firmware upgrades offered by Astak. If I bought a new Astak reader, would I need to install all of the firmware updates? Or is there a list as to which updates provide different fixes? Or would I just install the latest? I guess I don't quite understand what firmware is, or why it is needed. Sorry for my dumb questions.

Thanks.
Dear Davimee:

I work for Astak!

There are no dumb questions... only unanswered questions that should have been asked.

Firmware Upgrades are a way to make a device better. When a factory releases a new device they hope they have thought of everything but never do. This is because people get the device and say "why not do this or why not do that". Firmware Upgrades are free and they just make the device better. For example, the Pocket PRO came out with three graduations of font size. People said that was too few to get just the right size. So, we did a Firmware Upgrade to 9 sizes. Then others wanted to be able to do library books but that needed a visable clock. A firmware upgrade did that. Someone else wanted to read on the Pocket PRO in their THAI language and we did that.

You do not have to do all firmware upgrades; but why would you not? They only help make the device perform better. Another example is battery charge life. It was good; but people on this forum wanted it even better. A firmware upgrade did just that.

The Sony PRS-300 is a good device. BUT, I think it fair to say it is almost entirely stripped. You cannot even enlarge the memory as there is no SD card slot. The Pocket PRO is lighter (under 6 ounces), faster (Epson Controller with 400 MHz processor), far more full featured (scroll wheel, replaceable rechargeable battery and Text-To-Speech) and includes the crush-resistant case and ear buds. Plus the Pocket PRO comes in six beautiful colors hand picked by MobileRead Forum members.

I hope that this helps and I am listening. I thank you for a great post!!

Last edited by Robertb; 01-12-2010 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:40 PM   #4
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theducks, that's a good idea to keep all of the firmware updates in my computer, so I can go back one if I need to. Since I probably won't be buying until February or March, should I start downloading them now, or can I just start downloading if/when I purchase a Pocket Pro in the Spring?

Robertb, thank you! I will say, one thing that really impresses me about Astak is the customer service. I'm new to these forums (just found them a few days ago) but I've been trying to read as much as possible to make an informed decision, and from what I've seen here it looks like the customer service you offer is definitely above and beyond most other companies I've dealt with. For this, and the other reasons you stated in your reply, I am considering a Pocket Pro above the Sony, although I will still look at both in stores. Also, I sent an email to Astak's customer service earlier today with a question about shipping, and was surprised to receive an emailed response in less than an hour! Two weeks ago I wasn't even considering a dedicated ereader, because I wanted something with backlighting. But after doing more research, I'm beginning to think an e-ink device might be just what I want. As long as I can read it in the low light of the Pacific Northwest, that is. I realize I'll probably need to also get a book light, but hopefully the lights in our home will be sufficient starting out. If I think of any more questions I will ask! Oh, if I do buy the Pocket Pro in February or March, (I'm thinking of ordering it directly from Astak, even though Car Toys supposedly has them in the store, since they are $30 cheaper online. Why is that, by the way?) will I need all the previous firmware updates, or will they be included? For example, you listed one update that increased the speed of page turns. Will I still be able to find that firmware update, or will already be on the device? Thanks!
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:27 PM   #5
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theducks, that's a good idea to keep all of the firmware updates in my computer, so I can go back one if I need to. Since I probably won't be buying until February or March, should I start downloading them now, or can I just start downloading if/when I purchase a Pocket Pro in the Spring?
The RAR files are about 100M (you need to have a (there are free ones or Linux) program to un-RAR the files).
I had problems with the December update. I seem to be the odd man out on that one, there were onl 1 or 2 negative reports .
Check the sticky "release versions" at the top The November release made great improvements to Battery life, display. Forget the really old ones(I don't know if manufacturing updates their part they use to build with ) , so definitely update to Nov. or newer (probably 1 or 2 more revs by March. The great thing about Astak is the refinements continue)
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:04 PM   #6
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theducks, I see September and December firmware downloads on Astak's web site, but not November. Is there another place I should look?
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:13 PM   #7
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Is there another place I should look?
There is a collection of firmware updates here. (My personal preference is the Nov Astak.)
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:41 PM   #8
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How to install firmware:

1. After downloading the upgrade, you must first unzip the file.
2. After unzipping, put the ".bin" file on your SD card. Your SD card must be 4GB or smaller (for the 6" EZ Reader) or 16GB or smaller (for the 5"PocketPRO) to do this.
3. Turn off your EZ Reader, and then insert the SD card into your EZ Reader.
4. For the 6" EZ Reader: first holding down the silver "volume up" button on the right side of the EZ Reader, then press the ON button to turn on your EZ Reader. For the 5" Pocket PRO: while holding down the top "page turn" button on the left side of the device, then press the ON button to turn on your device.
5. Keep pressing and holding the buttons until you hear a beep-beep sound, then release.
6. The screen will display a message to ask if you want to update firmware, so press the Menu button (located at bottom right of your unit) to confirm, and you're done.



From http://theezreader.com/html under support.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:52 AM   #9
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My pet peeve with Astak's support site is they interleave the Models in the support instructions: Entering Support should ask you which model (click on the picture), From then on, all you see applies to your model ONLY.

The 5 inch and the 6 inch use DIFFERENT firmware files and slightly different procedures.



DO NOT use the wrong systems Firmware (it will probably balk at the file name, but I am not willing to test it on My PEz).
KISS
One set of instructions per device model on a Page, IF there is even one tiny difference.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
Firmware updates are almost always a Total replacement, so the simple answer is install the latest (which has been traditionally, the only one Astak has on their firmware list).
My personal recommendation, is that you keep a well labeled copy of all versions on your PC in case your favorite feature takes a giant step backwards .
You can roll back by simply loading the older version.
I think the special, "Asian language support" (if you need it)is the exception to the only replace the using the latest update by itself rule.
"Latest" of course makes sense. With one exception: There's an older firmware version for Mobipocket support. From then on, all the updates have been about Adobe Digital Editions. So the main decision is: DRMed Mobipocket or ePUB? Dependig on that, the correct fimrware version has to be chosen. The older firmware version is still officially available.
BTW: You can use firmwares from (at least) ASTAK, BeBook, Jinke/Hanlin and some other units, based on Jinke architecture, from Eastern Europe.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davimee View Post
theducks, that's a good idea to keep all of the firmware updates in my computer, so I can go back one if I need to. Since I probably won't be buying until February or March, should I start downloading them now, or can I just start downloading if/when I purchase a Pocket Pro in the Spring?

Robertb, thank you! I will say, one thing that really impresses me about Astak is the customer service. I'm new to these forums (just found them a few days ago) but I've been trying to read as much as possible to make an informed decision, and from what I've seen here it looks like the customer service you offer is definitely above and beyond most other companies I've dealt with. For this, and the other reasons you stated in your reply, I am considering a Pocket Pro above the Sony, although I will still look at both in stores. Also, I sent an email to Astak's customer service earlier today with a question about shipping, and was surprised to receive an emailed response in less than an hour! Two weeks ago I wasn't even considering a dedicated ereader, because I wanted something with backlighting. But after doing more research, I'm beginning to think an e-ink device might be just what I want. As long as I can read it in the low light of the Pacific Northwest, that is. I realize I'll probably need to also get a book light, but hopefully the lights in our home will be sufficient starting out. If I think of any more questions I will ask! Oh, if I do buy the Pocket Pro in February or March, (I'm thinking of ordering it directly from Astak, even though Car Toys supposedly has them in the store, since they are $30 cheaper online. Why is that, by the way?) will I need all the previous firmware updates, or will they be included? For example, you listed one update that increased the speed of page turns. Will I still be able to find that firmware update, or will already be on the device? Thanks!
Dear Davimee:

Thank you!

Remember that Car Toys sells without any freight involved. As our site charges freight... the prices basically balance. Car Toys is a retailer and has to make some profit... that is why they charge the higher price. BUT... I think you gain a lot buying from Car Toys. Their staff is skilled and helpful and can guide you through buying a new device. Car Toys gives wonderful customer support and they often have the coupons from Books On Board where you can save money when you do buy eBooks from them.

Remember that we often order big amounts of Pocket PROs every three months. This means that you should always do the Firmware Upgrade(s) anyway just to be sure you have them. These are VERY easy to do and we list instructions right on our website (www.theEZreader.com). You can even call our staff to help you: 1-866-368-8788. Please do not "fear" firmware upgrades. They take only 2-3 minutes. The results are always pleasing. IF your delivered device already should have the Firmware Upgrade on it you lose nothing in trying. It will not hurt anything.

Yes, the speed increase Firmware Upgrade is still on there... just do the latest one for the Pocket PRO.

There is always an argument when I say this... but I much love E-Ink. It not only gives you an incredibly long battery charge life; but it is easy on the eyes and causes no eye strain like backlit often does.

E-Ink is good in low light; but Pacific Northwest weather can get really dark. I think you will be fine anyway, but consider a clip-on Mighty Bright Mini-Flex or UltraFlex 2. The UltraFlex 2 has dual LED so you get no bright spots. They come in colors to match the colors of the Pocket PRO. The best one normally runs around $15 on Amazon! That will chase away the darkest weather!!

I live in San Jose, California and we consider ourselves Pacific Northwest too!!
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
My pet peeve with Astak's support site is they interleave the Models in the support instructions: Entering Support should ask you which model (click on the picture), From then on, all you see applies to your model ONLY.

The 5 inch and the 6 inch use DIFFERENT firmware files and slightly different procedures.



DO NOT use the wrong systems Firmware (it will probably balk at the file name, but I am not willing to test it on My PEz).
KISS
One set of instructions per device model on a Page, IF there is even one tiny difference.
Dear The Ducks:

I completely agree!! I think we should seperate the Firmware Upgrades by device so you only see the ones you need!! Your thinking is spot on.

I will talk with the website guru and see if he can do this easily enough!! It is hard right now as Iris is moving (rather unhappily) back to Taiwan to be with her family and she handled all of this. It may be a bit until we can find someone good to take her place. She kind of beats the Website Master to do our bidding.

Your posts are always great and meant to be helpful to all!
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:56 PM   #13
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There is always an argument when I say this... but I much love E-Ink. It not only gives you an incredibly long battery charge life; but it is easy on the eyes and causes no eye strain like backlit often does.

E-Ink is good in low light; but Pacific Northwest weather can get really dark. I think you will be fine anyway, but consider a clip-on Mighty Bright Mini-Flex or UltraFlex 2. The UltraFlex 2 has dual LED so you get no bright spots. They come in colors to match the colors of the Pocket PRO. The best one normally runs around $15 on Amazon! That will chase away the darkest weather!!

I live in San Jose, California and we consider ourselves Pacific Northwest too!!
After the Nov update to the EZReader PocketPRO, my battery life is absolutely outstanding! I've been on the same battery charge for WEEKS (perhaps ~500 page turns) and my battery still has 3 bars! I consistently use the key lock when not using the reader.

I have the Mighty Bright UltraFlex 2 & found mine at the local Borders for $15. Love it!
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:22 PM   #14
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Javed, thank you for the link!

Robertb, I was able to get out to Car Toys this morning, and I was very impressed! Both with the Pocket Pro, and with the customer service! The store manager waited on me, and he was very helpful. If they carried purple in the store I might consider buying from them, but since I'd have to special order that, I think I might as well just order directly from Astak. I've pretty much excluded the Sony from my search, and am pretty set on the Astak. I thought the Astak was much more aesthetically pleasing than the Sony, and it didn't seem too difficult to navigate. It would have been nice if there were books loaded on the store model (there might have been on the displays, but both of the batteries were dead on the display models so he brought out a new one from the back) so I could see how the books looked on it, but I was able to see the PDF user guide, and I was very impressed with how that looked! The screen was even nicer than I had imagined, and I don't think I'll have any difficulty reading it. I will eventually look at getting a light, and thank you for the recommendation of the Mighty Bright lights.

This forum has been extremely helpful in educating me about ebook readers, and then helping me to come to the decision as to which one to buy. I can hardly wait to get it! Now I just get to exercise patience, while I continue to save... if only money grew on trees like my children seem to think! *lol*
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