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Old 01-30-2010, 03:31 PM   #1
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Cool Design the Academic E Reader Solution

I represent a non-profit startup company interested in software and hardware solutions for today's academic community.

If you could design the ideal academic solution for research and collaboration what would it be?

You can give your input here at this survey. Thanks for your help!

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewf...Z1I0NXdLdVE6MA
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:38 PM   #2
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As a professor I really want something kind of like the iPad, but with very good stylus mark up support so I can mark up PDFs, word documents etc. just like I can a PDF.

But I also want the internet, e-mail, video, music apps etc. to make the tablet more functional, vs. only using it for reading and marking up academic documents etc.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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Can I suggest a look at Entourage Edge as a starting point? I think it is a good start towards the stated goal.

Is there anything more needed?

http://www.entourageedge.com/devices...rage-edge.html

A couple of the demos illustrate highlighting, note taking, and internet look up.
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Old 01-30-2010, 04:20 PM   #4
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I'm not big on the two screen design of that--or the MS courier.

Really want something along the lines of the iPad as I more want a digital legal pad.

Lighter, easier to hold and write on, easier to hold and read etc.
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Old 01-30-2010, 04:29 PM   #5
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Are you wanting to do an ereading device, or something for research and collaboration? In my mind that is two different products, except for maybe the enTourage eDGe. Many people don't want something to do more than just read their textbooks.

Myself, I don't want to collaborate with others, except for on my computer, where I have everything I need.

I don't want annotation, but my etextbooks don't allow that. I can see where it would be hepful if it was allowed.

Good luck.
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Old 01-30-2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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For me I need something for research related tasks.

Put all my pdfs of research articles on it, be able to read them and highlight things and scribble notes in the margins like I do on printouts now.

Ideally I want it to be something like the iPad so I can have full internet to do searches and download pdfs right on it, e-mail colleagues, work with Word documents (mark up students papers etc.).

Something I could just read on would be useless to me for that purpose. It's fine with my Kindle since I'm just reading those, but for my research work I need a more full featured tablet.

And would prefer it had movies, magazines etc. to make it more worth the money. Afterall I can print PDFs out to my heart's content on the university's dime so I probably wouldn't buy something that I could only use for that purpose--thus no interest in an e-ink device like the Que or iRex.
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:56 PM   #7
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First of all, it's a nice effort.
Your radio button implementation on your survey is a bit slipshod though, as you can only choose a single yes and one no for the first section, rather than a yes or no for each question, as seems the most logical. For example, I read on a computer screen, I prefer the printed page, and I am dissatisfied with current solutions, but I cannot choose all of these.

As far as an academic reader is concerned...there's more than one side to this coin. If the device is more a passive one, then I largely agree with dmaul1114's preference of a tablet with good annotation capability. By "good", I mean something that allows handwriting quickly and accurately, not the ability to slowly scribe "WOW" on the screen and vaguely circle/underline words as is demonstrated in so many real reader devices and tablets. It's essentially an "on the go" document handler and connectivity device. A concept like the Que was intriguing and seemed like a step in the right direction, but their use of e-paper and slow processing are too crippling to make the device feasible. The iPad is also interesting and helps do away with some of the speed issues, but also has too many limitations to be really considered. However, I do think it would be easier to push the iPad into academic use than it would be to push something like the current e-paper devices. If students or professors are going to contrive to use one of these devices, I expect to see a lot more iPads than Skiffs, Ques, or similar devices.

I'd be very intrigued if the basic concept for the Que's document-oriented UI were to mate with the iPad's hardware (or something like the Tegra2 and Pixel Qi combo of the Notion Ink Adam) and a good, precision stylus input method. The Microsoft Courier concept would be interesting too. Might still not be complete, but it'd be a hell of a lot closer.

As for screen...of currently available solutions, Pixel Qi seems the best compromise. EPDs are way, way too slow, and pure transmissive screens lack visibility in bright ambient light and have poorer battery life. Could Mirasol and Liquavista take this on? Possibly, but we don't know yet what they'll be like in real products.

Last edited by LDBoblo; 01-30-2010 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDBoblo View Post
By "good", I mean something that allows handwriting quickly and accurately, not the ability to slowly scribe "WOW" on the screen and vaguely circle/underline words as is demonstrated in so many real reader devices and tablets.
Agree 100%.

I need to be able to highlight and annotate with the stylus pretty much as quickly and easily as I can with pen and paper printouts. Otherwise I'll stick with pen and paper.
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmaul1114 View Post
Agree 100%.

I need to be able to highlight and annotate with the stylus pretty much as quickly and easily as I can with pen and paper printouts. Otherwise I'll stick with pen and paper.
For me, it should allow pretty fine input, as I tend to write in 0.28mm pen or in sharpened pencil on paper. Otherwise, a fast unpinch-to-zoom or something similar in a document page could be a great compromise that allows me to annotate closer to the scale of the text.

Finger gestures can be fantastic for navigation and basic manipulation, but we need a good precision handwriting functionality too. No matter what though, it's gotta still be quick. If it's significantly faster and more convenient to write on paper, I'll write on paper. I got the "HaY Guyz I can ritez on m'PDA like paper LOL" affliction out of my system years ago. Whenever I see people talk about using annotation on an ebook reader device, my mind conjures images of the MacBook Wheel for some reason.

Edit: Hmm...for people who don't know what the MBW is...

Last edited by LDBoblo; 01-30-2010 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDBoblo View Post
For me, it should allow pretty fine input, as I tend to write in 0.28mm pen or in sharpened pencil on paper. Otherwise, a fast unpinch-to-zoom or something similar in a document page could be a great compromise that allows me to annotate closer to the scale of the text.
Yep, same here. I write small (and sloppy) so I need a fine point and high level of precision.

So I doubt the iPad with a capacitive stylus and handwriting app would work for me. Probably would be better off with a Wacom touch screen or some other resistive screen tech.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:16 PM   #11
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For practical use for research.

It needs to be fast, quickly scanning through a couple of articles should be possible. Flexible sensitive notetaking should be possible.
Multitasking, I want to quickly copy sections and figures to an open document to create my own overview, or start a review.

Sketching should be possible, it often is the best way to quickly explain something to someone or to help generate ideas. These sketches should be savable and properly indexed.

It should run some of the tools of the trade. I work in chemistry, so I'd like to be able to draw chemical structures that are properly recognized, can be manipulated etc. Oh, and a handwriting recognizing calculator would be convenient as well.

It should run a proper indexing system for articles/books. Something like Endnote.

It would be convenient to randomly couple a few devices together, sharing the articles and data between them. Combining the flexibility and overview of an article-covered desk with portability, copying, sharing and portability afterwards.
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:02 PM   #12
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Other than its size being double that of the iPad, your specs seem to lie right along with the Entourage Edge. I am buying the Entourage Edge exactly for the reasons listed so far. The biggest thing I see about the Edge is that those abilities that it is lacking can and will be built by the user community. Building applications for Android is simple and something that I believe the Academic community will take up heartily.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:11 AM   #13
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I've been experimenting with a lot of different devices for academic use. For me, "academic use" mainly consists of:
  • Brainstorming (sketches, diagrams, scribbles)
  • Taking notes at conferences and meetings, and in the lab
  • Reading PDF files of papers (journal articles) and marking them up
  • Reading reference books and documents (PDF)
  • Proofreading documents (PDF, Word and Powerpoint) - i.e. adding handwritten comments and annotations

I've owned the Lenov X61 tablet, Motion Computing LE1700 slate, Kindle DX, iRex DR1000s, Fujitsu P1630, Fujitsu T4215, and Fujitsu T2020. Some were successful to some degree; the X61 became my main PC for a long time, and after it broke, the T2020. Based on this experience, my ideal academic tablet would have:
  • PVA or IPS LCD display, at least 1000 pixels wide in portrait mode. At least 10 inches.
  • Active digitizer (Wacom style) is a necessity. If it has touch sensitivity in addition to that, that would be a nice bonus.
  • 8+ hours battery life, stretched to 10+ in the lowest power setting (screen brightness low, etc). A conference usually lasts all day.
  • Convertible is nice, but detachable keyboard would be OK.
  • Light weight as possible, naturally. 3.8 lb is almost unbearable for all-day use. 2.5lb would be nice.
  • Ideally it would run Windows. If not, there needs to be software that has the features of OneNote (i.e. handwriting input and network synchronization), and also a PDF markup software.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:32 AM   #14
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Is the survey only for people currently involved in academia? Only for teachers? One of the questions is,
Do you use personal computers in your classroom?
And the next several questions are about classroom practices.
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:27 AM   #15
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survey fixed

Quote:
Originally Posted by LDBoblo View Post
First of all, it's a nice effort.
Your radio button implementation on your survey is a bit slipshod though, as you can only choose a single yes and one no for the first section, rather than a yes or no for each question, as seems the most logical.
I just fixed this, thanks LDBoblo
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