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Old 02-19-2015, 04:19 PM   #1
hx0
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Lightbulb RemoteInk - a tool for using PocketBook e-reader as a computer monitor

My eyes get tired when using a computer, that's why I bought an e-reader several years ago. After buying I got an idea to use the reader instead of a PC display not only during reading books, but during other activities (when color transfer and monitor reaction time don't significant): browsing the Internet, writing texts, programming etc.

It's clear that you can't watch videos using the reader but writing texts on the reader is quite comfortable (remember your feelings during using a keyboard on a reader's touchscreen). I was surprised that I didn't find complete solutions to replace a PC display with my reader. There are several similar projects (some of them were referred on this forum), but, unfortunately, they weren't compatible with my reader or their use has not seemed to me quite comfortable. Nevertheless, their existence confirmed to me a relevance of this topic.

So, I developed RemoteInk program that allows to use Pocketbook Pro/Touch E-Ink reader as a computer monitor. The goal was an ability to comfortably use and control a computer's GUI using only the reader's screen without a typical display.

Note that at present only computers on Linux (and X11 window system) are supported.



Photo: Using Geany on Linux Mint with RemoteInk

With the current version you can:
* Connect a reader to a computer using Wi-Fi or USB
* Configure connection parameters in UI on the reader
* Change the reader's screen orientation (portrait or landscape)
* Select which part of the monitor is visible or zoom it
* Track windows (active window is always visible) and save its own scale for each of them
* Easily switch between windows
* Adjust active window's size to dimensions of the reader's screen
* See a cursor and restrict its movements to the area visible on the reader
* Invert screen colors
* Customize keyboard shortcuts for most of the actions above
* Set a password for a connection
* Use the application with a typical computer (with i686/amd64 architecture) or Raspberry Pi

The program's sources with full features description, installation and usage instructions are available on GitHub.

The project doesn't pretend to be perfect or widely used, but I hope that there are people for whom this program will be useful or insteresting. I'll be glad your comments.

Last edited by hx0; 02-25-2015 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Fix typo
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:20 AM   #2
ManDay
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I don't have a Pocketbook, yet (I'm waiting for the 13.3" CAD Reader), but let me be the first to say that this is pretty great! I really hope it will work on the CAD Reader
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:19 AM   #3
Dr. Drib
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:53 PM   #4
hx0
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hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.
 
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Oh, sorry for my carelessness. I've changed the image size.

Last edited by hx0; 02-20-2015 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 02-22-2015, 02:54 PM   #5
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Bravo ! Many users want to have this usage with their Onyx M92/M96 device. And the doc in Github is very intersting.

I've made a new topic on your project in the Onyx's forum :For a developper : PocketBook e-reader as a computer monitor

Last edited by Randy11; 02-22-2015 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Add of the link on the Onyx's forum.
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Old 02-23-2015, 01:29 PM   #6
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I wonder if this software can be tweaked in the future to work with the Pocketbook CAD Reader and PB CAD Reader Flex, which have 13-inch screens and should come to market later this year. That would increase the value of those devices dramatically... Or will the firmware be completely different? I guess we will see!
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:51 PM   #7
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Does this work on Inkpad?
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:58 PM   #8
hx0
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I haven't tested the app on this device, but it should be compatible with it. Please let me know if you test the app on this device.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:45 AM   #9
hakim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hx0 View Post
I haven't tested the app on this device, but it should be compatible with it. Please let me know if you test the app on this device.
I will definitely test it once I have a bit more free time.
Is your software based on some other library? Can you mention some other tech details apart from using X11 forwarding?
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Old 02-28-2015, 02:19 AM   #10
hx0
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hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.hx0 seems famous, but is in fact legendary.
 
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Images of a captured region from X11 are taken using xcb library (and some its extensions, e.g. xcb-shm) and transformed (scaled, etc.) using Imlib2. Shortcuts and managing windows are also implemented using xcb.

Further, the images are compressed and transferred through the network using a self-made protocol (third-party libraries aren't used on this step). I tried to implement a simple protocol, which considers reader's screen characteristics, and which will be easy to port to other platforms, but, actually, now I don't think that it was a best solution (because its implementation was laborious and doesn't brought considerable benefits).

On the reader the transferred image is drawn using standard Pocketbook API (libinkview). It seems not hard to port the client to another readers.

Last edited by hx0; 02-28-2015 at 02:21 AM.
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:27 PM   #11
hakim
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I am getting:
Code:
make: arm-none-linux-gnueabi-gcc: Command not found
Which package do I need to install to get that "arm-none-linux-gnueabi-gcc" on Linux Mint?

Edit: sorry, I need to learn to read...

Last edited by hakim; 03-01-2015 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:30 PM   #12
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I managed to get it working with Pocketbook Inkpad and Linux Mint. Some of the things I noticed:
* There is no package named "libxcb-shm-dev" but there is one called "libxcb-shm0-dev" in the latest Linux Mint version (I guess same goes for Ubuntu and Debian)
* My device does not have physical back button, but pressing next and previous page buttons at once seems to have done the trick. Anyway, some touchscreen buttons would be nice.
* My device resolution is 1600x1200 on 8" screen. So everything was quite tiny and it was a bit difficult to press buttons on the client interface. Some zoom/DPI option in the client or some similar hard coded option would be nice.
* Refreshing of the image via WiFi was quite slow, but that might just be because my router & internet is pretty bad right now.
* I couldn't test USB mode because there are only two USB modes on my device - "PC Link" and "Charge". I am using firmware version 4.4. Which one do you have on your device?
* When using landscape mode, "PocketBook" text on my device is upside down. It would be a bit better if landscape was rotated 180 degrees.
* Do you plan to add touch screen or mouse support on the client side?

EDIT:
* Are you using raw bitmaps or compressed images? Are you sending full color or grayscale images? It seems to redraw the images on the client side much faster when using low screen resolution and a simple black and white text is shown on the screen.
* Pressing next and previous page buttons at the same time on the client side actually crashes the server...
* Sometimes I have to manually force ereader's screen refresh by using power/sleep button
* Can you add a command line switch to the server which would enable full log printing in the console or some plain text file, so I would know exactly what it's doing?

Last edited by hakim; 03-01-2015 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 03-02-2015, 03:45 PM   #13
hakim
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A small update: Just tested with a good internet connection and I can say that it's working really well. Super cool application. Thank you very much for sharing the app and writing a good installation and usage guide

Edit: here is a poorly lit picture showing remoteink working on Inkpad.

Last edited by hakim; 03-02-2015 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 02-07-2016, 07:37 PM   #14
murraymint
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Has anyone got this app working on a Pro model?

Quote:
On the reader open menu Settings -> Connectivity -> USB Mode and select Network over USB.
is impossible because no such mode exists on the Pro firmware. When I try to use it via WiFi it just hangs for a while and then does nothing.

On the Touch, I'm sure I've had it working over USB with a previous install of Linux Mint. Now when I try it from Linux Peppermint it works over WiFi but when I disable WiFi and connect via USB it says "Network connection disabled."

The author said he had only tested it on the Touch so I guess he doesn't know what USB modes the Pro models had. Anyone else tried it out?
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