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Old 09-29-2006, 12:28 PM   #1
CommanderROR
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2.7 delayed and not worthwhile anyway?

I just saw the news at iRex forums...

i'm too mad right now to write a proper post, so I'll give you a copy and past of my post at the irex forums:
Quote:
Well...I'm sorry but i'll have to get a bit mad now...

Not that I mind the delay of 2.7 much...but the features...

Quote:
Herewith some information on the features that can be expected in 2.7:

Key lock: Lock and unlock keys using the toolbar
Key buffering: Optionally do not buffer keys during exection of a command
Improved Power Management: expected 5 to 10% additional battery life
Searh file: Search a file using part of the file name as search criteria
Rename function: A rename function to rename your files on your iLiad

The target release date for software release 2.7 is mid October


Excuse me if I sound impolite...but 5% to 10% increase in battery life...no way.

I just don't believe it.

I've been wating for the power-saving breakthrough ever since Henrycat got his device back in March (or was it even earlier?) and it has been announced for "the next release" ever since that time (though less frequently in the past 2 months...).
Now the increases are still hardly noticeable. I bought this device because I fell for the 10000+ PageTurns. This is the number I got from YOU, from iRex, after a direct question about battery-life back in April.

The other features are fine, searching will make some folks happy, keylock is OK, but without Power, you can't use the Iliad as it was intended to be used...How am I suppose to use a paper-like device in a paper-like way if I have to switch it on and off all the time (whch takes AGES!!!) because it will run out of juice after a few hours of doing nothing???

Please iRex, either get this fixed yourself or get somebody to do it for you. I've supported you and given you the benefit of the dobut for about half a year now, but sometime, even my faith ends, and that end is not far away right now!!!
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Old 09-29-2006, 01:23 PM   #2
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Commander: See the poll I have posted both in the main iLiad forum here and on the iRex board.

You are certainly not the only person getting annoyed by this and other issues.

Last edited by Riocaz; 09-29-2006 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 09-29-2006, 05:18 PM   #3
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So I guess that means the zoom and pan for PDF's got axed from 2.7?

I can't understand that, Postscript zooms, pans, sheers, slices, dices and does Julianne fries! It took me a couple screens of code to write a tool to rotate and crop, it wouldn't be any more difficult in xpdf for crying out loud.

They need to release the sources and get out of the way, this is getting embarrassing.
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Old 09-29-2006, 05:32 PM   #4
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@scotty1024

I've often dissagreed with you, but this time I'm 100% on your side!
I myself am not a programmer...I couldn't do any better than iRex does, but I think there are MANY people out there who can!!!
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderROR
I've been wating for the power-saving breakthrough ever since Henrycat got his device back in March (or was it even earlier?) and it has been announced for "the next release" ever since that time (though less frequently in the past 2 months...).
Now the increases are still hardly noticeable. I bought this device because I fell for the 10000+ PageTurns. This is the number I got from YOU, from iRex, after a direct question about battery-life back in April.
v2.5 - my battery life was 5 hours.
v2.6 - my battery life was 7 hours.
v2.6.1 - my battery life is 9 hours.

It looks like they have been making progress in power management to me.
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Old 09-30-2006, 02:13 AM   #6
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but at that rate it will take a year to get my 21 hours, wasn't the device supposed to be released in the next few months before they decided to give it to is early.
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Old 09-30-2006, 04:43 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by deadite66
but at that rate it will take a year to get my 21 hours, wasn't the device supposed to be released in the next few months before they decided to give it to is early.
That's correct. So the device still isn't finished yet.

Like I've said before, I expect to see IMPROVEMENT on each new release - and so far I have.

When iRex says "we are done", then I'll compare what I have to what they originally promised. Then, and only then, will I have the right to complain that something doesn't work as promised.
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Old 09-30-2006, 05:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
When iRex says "we are done", then I'll compare what I have to what they originally promised. Then, and only then, will I have the right to complain that something doesn't work as promised.
I guess that's the problem. iRex will never say "we are done" - why should they? It's much cooler to talk about "constant improvement" than to say you're done and provoke complaints of those who showed patience.

The other thing is that "constant improvement" will not suffice for battery life, IMO. Being something like a programmer myself, and having programming students, I know a little bit how these things work. Essentially, you can spend some time and implement the main powersaving method (turning off things between updates), that will give you a big boost in battery life. But afterwards, everything you can do is minor improvements, tweak a parameter here and there, optimize some code somewhere and so on. But each of these minor steps is difficult, and gives just small battery life improvements.

And this is what happened - in 2.5 and 2.6, they got the big boost from implementing PM, resulting in a factor of over 2. And now there will be a few small steps ("5-10%"), barely noticable, and then it will stop there. So "10 hours" is the final answer, unless they throw away their software design and begin basically from scratch, with something better - which will likely not happen.

It's a stone old lesson in software design (resp. anything design) - if the basic structure is bad, you can't go too far. And the Iliads software design is made such that you can get first results really quickly, but then get stuck. It's a power management nightmare.
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Old 09-30-2006, 05:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ali
I guess that's the problem. iRex will never say "we are done" - why should they? It's much cooler to talk about "constant improvement" than to say you're done and provoke complaints of those who showed patience.
Yes, they will. When they announce that they device is no longer in beta test and is "official". I expect that to happen by December.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ali
And this is what happened - in 2.5 and 2.6, they got the big boost from implementing PM, resulting in a factor of over 2. And now there will be a few small steps ("5-10%"), barely noticable, and then it will stop there.
You are confusing what they are offering for the 2.7 release with what they are going to offer after that.

The way I read it was that battery life was extended 5-10% for the 2.7 release. Probably because they wasted their time on useless features like PDF pan/zoom (which will not do what many users expect) instead of power management.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ali
So "10 hours" is the final answer, unless they throw away their software design and begin basically from scratch, with something better - which will likely not happen.
Where did they say this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ali
It's a stone old lesson in software design (resp. anything design) - if the basic structure is bad, you can't go too far. And the Iliads software design is made such that you can get first results really quickly, but then get stuck. It's a power management nightmare.
And that old lesson became history when more modular software designs were used.
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
Yes, they will. When they announce that they device is no longer in beta test and is "official". I expect that to happen by December.
I can't imagine that to happen. Think developer guy goes to marketing guy and management guy, and he says "That's it, we're done". Now there's two options: First, publish it, giving users a reason to sue or get refunds; where several already said they'll loose their patience in reaction to that announcement. Option 2: Say nothing, stay in the state of no liability because users signed they can live with unfinished software.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
Yes, they will. When they announce that they device is no longer in beta test and is "official". I expect that to happen by December.
You are confusing what they are offering for the 2.7 release with what they are going to offer after that.[/quote]
Nope. I just know something about how these things work, so I made a guess. When 2.5 came out, I predicted (and wrote it in these forums several times) that there will be some more improvement, and then just mini-steps, with a long-term result of 10 hours. So far, it happened precisely how I figured it would.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
And that old lesson became history when more modular software designs were used.
Woo. Not at all. The benefit of modular software design is that you can get lots of features with small development effort, in short time. It speeds up everything because you can use stable, tested, general-purpose code without having to worry for details.

The downside (and this was also tought in my software engineering courses, btw) is that the resulting code is suboptimal, and breaks down when your system has unusual constraints that were not known when the modules were developed. You get stuck in the situation where improvement is only possible by refactoring all of the general-purpose modules for the new constraint. (Say, skim through xpdf, gtk and matchbox to see where floating-point arithmetic is used out of laziness) None of the Iliad's modules was written for a system with a .5 Hz screen refresh rate, and hence, there is complex, frequently failing code to handle the screen refreshes. There is a full-blown window manager running that can draw windows, window borders, move and resize windows, maintain stacks of partially visible windows - but all of these features are useless, though they waste energy. (If you are good at working the stylus: A double-click-and-move with the stylus onto the invisible border of the toolbar window will move that window.)

That's the problem: All of these things just waste a little bit of energy and run-time, but it sums up. And the only way to get real improvements is to rewrite them all.
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Old 09-30-2006, 01:10 PM   #11
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@ali

What you say makes perfect sense to me...especially the bit about power management.

I was expecting things to happen like this:
Henrycat's device had no power management onboard, it lasted for about 4 hours. WiFi was on all the time, Wacom was on, Processor running full-speed and lots of unoptimized code.
Now, Power.management is enabled and the battery-life goes to about 20 hours (everything is off or low-power as long as you don't refresh the screen, connect to network or write with the stylus).
Then it's time for the baby-steps we're seeing now, little tweaking here and there giving us slightly improved battery-life.
End of Story.

I've complained about this at the iRex forums a while ago, and was told that it is a difficult process, that some drivers don't like low-power mode and stuff like that. That made me seriously doubtful...and the announcement of 5-10% increase for 2.7 that was over a month of dev. work and will still be a good 2 weeks "under construction" sounds more like "cleaning code" than like serious base-level Power-management work.
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Old 09-30-2006, 04:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ali
I can't imagine that to happen. Think developer guy goes to marketing guy and management guy, and he says "That's it, we're done". Now there's two options: First, publish it, giving users a reason to sue or get refunds; where several already said they'll loose their patience in reaction to that announcement. Option 2: Say nothing, stay in the state of no liability because users signed they can live with unfinished software.
At some point, they have to say "we are production ready". It can't stay in test forever.

Now that doesn't mean that they will meet all their original promises then. Perhaps they were over-optimistic. But regardless, officially the iLiad it still in test. To judge it until it's officially production is unfair and inaccurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ali
Woo. Not at all. The benefit of modular software design is that you can get lots of features with small development effort, in short time. It speeds up everything because you can use stable, tested, general-purpose code without having to worry for details.
It also means that you can make significant changes to how the system works without impacting everything that it written on top of it.

Yes, it's suboptimal code. That's the trade off. But with very few exceptions (like systems that require 100Hz responses to real-time events), that trade off is worth it for flexibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ali
You get stuck in the situation where improvement is only possible by refactoring all of the general-purpose modules for the new constraint.
Actually, that's an attribute of special-purpose systems, not modular ones.

So, we have a choice: we can have a system that is optimized for the hardware, making the device fast and easy on the power - with the downside that any problems will probably require a large change to the system. Also, supporting new hardware is much more difficult.

Or we can have a system that is less optimized and modular, making the device a little slower and a little more power hungry - with the upside that problems are quickly and easily corrected and support for new hardware much easier.

I've already dealt with such a choice and that's why I haven't used a Microsoft product at home since 2001.
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Old 09-30-2006, 04:11 PM   #13
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I wish they'd release the SDK and the necessary tools to flash the iLiad ourselves. If they finally did, I couldn't care less about 2.7, 2.8 and whatsoever, and hang out with you guys here instead.
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Old 09-30-2006, 05:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
So, we have a choice: we can have a system that is optimized for the hardware, making the device fast and easy on the power - with the downside that any problems will probably require a large change to the system. Also, supporting new hardware is much more difficult.

Or we can have a system that is less optimized and modular, making the device a little slower and a little more power hungry - with the upside that problems are quickly and easily corrected and support for new hardware much easier.
We're on the same side here. I just think the Iliad uses just a few general-purpose pieces too much. Like the window manager (where there are no windows to manage), or gtk (where cairo would have sufficed), and such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
I've already dealt with such a choice and that's why I haven't used a Microsoft product at home since 2001.
Ca. 1997 here... basically. But the awful truth is I have a Windows (for the games!) at home, and give presentations using PowerPoint. Shame on me. But I swear, that's it! Believe me please!
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:44 PM   #15
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What makes me really mad is how long in takes them to implement trivial features. Usually you would expect such an update to be ready in a week (even with pan&zoom) and not in 2 months.

What are they wasting their time with?
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