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Old 12-02-2006, 12:28 PM   #1
firekat
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State of the device

Well, we are coming up on the date where the iLiad was supposed to be a fully operational and functional device that was to be marketed to the masses this month.

To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement.

I have paid a premium for a device that for all practical purposes is only half way finished. I have not recently seen any news that would indicate that completion is anywhere on the near horizon.

Just in the basic functionality we still have yet to see fully implemented power conservation, a realistic and usable boot time, a fully functional pdf viewer with bookmark support (as promised), a DRM material viewer, pen calibration, mp3 capability, and a myriad of other things.

When I purchased this device I fully understood that it was not completely functional and that there would be a protracted development period. They sold us the device with the intention of it being fully functional at the end of the year. What we have had is updates that have been issued infrequently and those that have been include only miniscule incremental improvements and usually include bugs that need further correction. Oh, but we did get the offer to purchase $75.00 software that would give additional functionality (that was originally promised as being inclusive) but yet without pen calibration the functionality is questionable at best.

The thing is that right now is it appears that the state of continued development for us, the non b2b beta testers has come to a complete standstill. There is no further news from iRex that would indicate that there is even anything to be expected in the near future.

One thing I would have to say though is that I really don't want to hear any spin or empty promises from iRex. What I want is the truth. What is going on with this device?

The shame of the matter is that while using the device at work and showing it to others it has always garnered a lot of attention, but there is always the same negative comments mostly centered on the speed of the device. I have a friend that is most definitely NOT a tech kind of person - still does not use a computer or do email. She is waiting with anticipation to get her hands on my iLiad after I get frustrated with it because she does a lot of reading and thinks that it's a great idea. Of course if she actually had to suffer with the current handicapped capacity she would be equally frustrated as well.

I am not ready to give up on the iLiad yet - mostly because of the cost, but I am massively disappointed so far. Too bad, because I basically like the device, it just needs to be finished.

I watch from the sidelines as talented individuals implement functionality and improvements that iRex has not yet seen fit to work on and they do it fighting a locked down device. Just how well could things work if there was more open cooperation between this community of talented developer/beta testers and iRex?

This has all been a painfully slow process, and there is no end in sight other than a possible Apple Newton like demise.


What is all your opinions?

Last edited by firekat; 12-02-2006 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 12-02-2006, 01:04 PM   #2
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basically the thing about the locked device is not really true. You are able to officially request the ability to execute .sh files from iRex. Which gives you a lot of options (dropbear ssh daemon for example).
Truth be told, the dropbear package was put together by a MR member.

Something about the speed, if you use your browser to open for example mobileread.com it will take some time to parse the document. The iLiad will in this case update the screen when the rendering is done completely I would think (which totally makes sense to me). Surely there are possibilities to optimize the software, but I still look at my Thinkpad running with 1.6 GHz and the iLiad with its 400 MHz does for me a good job.

What I would be interested in is Suspend, what Sony has been able to implement. So you wouldn't have to wait 30 seconds until the unit booted. The thing about suspend seems to be that there are limitations about waking the iLiad from suspend via the keys (so "display page -> sleep -> press key -> wake up -> display next page" would not work).

Personally I would like to see what sort of rescue/reflash possibility is coming up. There is something in the works, I think there was something mentioned in their forums. If this would add the ability to reflash the unit complete (like its possible with a Sharp Zaurus or a Siemens SIMPad), I'm pretty sure there would almost immediately be a alternative iLiad OS.

However, I doubt that is what iRex has in mind for the iLiad.
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Old 12-02-2006, 02:02 PM   #3
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Sure, I understand the shell thing to a certain extent. I did install the shell and the bionic reader (and uninstalled it as the ghosting is to much to tolerate - but I appreciate the effort and it shows that improvements can be made) I don't know how to do the dropbear and all the other stuff. The instructions I have seen so far are a little vague. I am not a hacker, so I have to be pretty confident with procedures so that I will not brick the unit.

The thing is that iRex has not made it easy for developers - at least that is the sentiment that has been stated here. Each time it has been the exploitation of a security weakness in an update that has allowed further independent development. After watching Scotty and others jump on this thing with enhancements and improvements all within a short time period it makes me question the motivations, capabilities and talent pool of iRex. I am not casting aspersions upon the employees of iRex, but maybe there could be some sort of consulation between the company and some of the talent that has been shown here. I would think that kind of nexus would certainly be an improvement over the current status.

Last edited by firekat; 12-02-2006 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 12-02-2006, 02:18 PM   #4
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as far as I have seen it there seems to be some talking between iRex and some of the developers here. For example from the iRex forums it looks like they used the .sh "hack" from a member here with little or no modification.
I'm still hoping iRex will open up the device some day. But I think at the moment that would be to much to ask.
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:23 AM   #5
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I am equally disappointed with the current state of the development, but tell you the truth I can not imagine myself living without the iliad any more.
I store all my books on it (scanned and downloaded), all learning materials, I could not miss the iLiad even for one day.

It is a serious problem that iRex has not enough capacity to develop this device in a reasonable pace. Unfortunately, even if we complain they do not seem to accelerate efforts.

The ipdf4 does a good job for me. It is much faster than the iliads own PDF reader. At first I did not notice this because of the prerendering, but when I had to turn quickly a few pages ipdf4 was as fast as always, whereas the original PDF reader has slowed down up to 10 seconds per page turn or slower.
If you don't like ipdf5 because of the ghosting, try ipdf4. Only thing that does not work is the zooming and panning, but I don't use that so much anyway.
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:56 AM   #6
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When is it going to be available to the masses? Im waiting for it to go down in price when it pops up in various webstores and local retailers in the area ( im in holland btw) Because I can buy it now and I want one but it's still ridiculously expensive.

Anyone have an idea? And if it even will drop in price? it's not very attractive being at a price of 650 EURO.

It should be between 200 and 300 euro
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:05 AM   #7
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I bought the Iliad as a book reader. I've been reading books, magazines, trade journals, reports and other items on it constantly.

I didn't buy it for the 'other' features. For me, it has been great. I'd buy it again.

As things develop, it can only get better - though I probably still won't be interested in most of the features time is being spent on now, other than some drm solution to expand the universe of books available (I know the arguments against, but we are unlikely to change the world here) and the ongoing battery life improvement.
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:32 AM   #8
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Village Reader,

Good point, but I would have to say even as a reader the device is a disappointment other than that it has a good display - except for the ghosting, which is still present in the iRex reader software.

The thing is that just for reading the device still comes up short. Boot time is still painfully long, page turns are long, bookmarks are not supported, it is difficult and requires much playing with source files to get them to read comfortably, and other things as well. Is it marginally functional? Yes, I will give you that.

Since they built the device with the capability of advanced functions then they should work. Wireless, sound, pen enabled touch screen capability are all installed on the device and the reason that a number of people bought the device versus just waiting for the Sony Reader. Having these funtions available and not running is a waste of time and resources and money. I paid for this stuff and it will really be nice to see it un-hobbled and up and running some time in the near future.

I understand that everything takes time, but with the lack of news from iRex, the sporadic & infrequent release of firmware updates which are usually with miniscule increments in functionality and/or improvements, it really gives one concern and pause for the investment that they made.

Last edited by firekat; 12-05-2006 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firekat
Good point, but I would have to say even as a reader the device is a disappointment other than that it has a good display - except for the ghosting, which is still present in the iRex reader software.
Um.... You must have a dodgy display as I have very rarely seen this, and not at all since 2.7...The only ghosting I've seen is when I've had to reset the device...

Quote:
Originally Posted by firekat
page turns are long, bookmarks are not supported, it is difficult and requires much playing with source files to get them to read comfortably, and other things as well. Is it marginally functional? Yes, I will give you that.
I fine now with page turns... And bookmarks are probably going to be around in the next release after 2.8...

Quote:
Originally Posted by firekat
I paid for this stuff and it will really be nice to see it un-hobbled and up and running some time in the near future.
Well... With the "run shell scripts update" I can turn my wired & wireless connection on and off at will... And with 2.8 you'll be able to use the other thing you mention quite well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by firekat
I understand that everything takes time, but with the lack of news from iRex, the sporadic & infrequent release of firmware updates which are usually with miniscule increments in functionality and/or improvements, it really gives one concern and pause for the investment that they made.
Well... The communication with Irex has much improved, and I think you will like 2.8 quite a bit...! Is Irex a bit slow...? Yep, but thats the same with any project under active development...!

Now I've seen the Sony Reader I much, much happier I bought the Iliad. Yep, its faster, but this morning I downloaded my daily newspaper wirelessly, as well as handful of rss feeds to read on my commute. And on my commute back I have several books & mags to choose from, and this all fits onto a device just larger than A5.

But anyhow, hang in for update 2.8. I think it will make the Iliad a very desirable device...!

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