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Old 07-06-2010, 05:10 AM   #1
wowen
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Just bought the Iriver Story - impressions

I decided to get this model as I don't like being locked into a format (so no kindle), and I looked at the 5in screen of the Sony and thought I would prefer 6in, but the 6in of the Sony being touch sensitive is not quite as nice and is more expensive...... So Iriver Story looked ideal, and at £149.99 from play.com in the UK it looked a nice bargain. Four days later what do I think? Well I basically love it, but I do have a few niggles, if anybody knows the answer to solve them then let me know.

1) Book list screen is badly designed : Why waste screen real estate with a left hand column and then show the book names in a compressed column. The result is

William Shakespeare - A.....
William Shakespeare - A.....
William Shakespeare - T.....

So I haven't a clue what the books actually are.

2) Putting books in folders on the internal memory doesn't do anything, it still lists them sequentially irrespective of that. This was my proposed solution to (1) as I thought I could rename files "A Midsummer Night's Dream" within a folder called "William Shakespeare".

Solution: Solved this myself having spotted the difference between the BOOKS option and MY FOLDER option

3) Putting books into folders on an SD card does allow you to put them in folders....except I can't seem to get the search function to work to find a book on the SD card (Same when using the MY FOLDER option)

4) PDF Zoom is just clunky.

5) Bookmarks, again maybe I'm missing something, but I can only seem to get them to work from the classic books on the main memory which was preinstalled. I don't seem to get the option when looking at my own books which I have separately put on an SD card.

6) The most common thing I want to do when switching on the reader is to continue reading the last book. Why do I have to press 3 buttons to get there? MENU -> UP -> ENTER. Recent Book should be the default menu item when I switch on the device.

7) Again, a kind of wishlist rather than a bug/fault/niggle, but why can't I simply have an option for "Recent Books", where it lists the last 5 books I opened. I like to read 2-3 books at a time of varying levels of frivolity and don't want to have to individually find them each time. Also I do tend to browse the other books between sittings and then I've lost the "recent book" leading me back to the main book I'm reading often.

But it is a lovely thing. I'm sure soon enough it will be replaced with a mirasol device, or similar. But it is a very nice thing, and despite that list I'm going to get many many hours of joy out of it.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:51 AM   #2
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Great review. I agree with everything that you've mentioned.

Just responding to a few points you made:

5) Another thing about reading off an SD card is that the Story doesn't remember your last font size setting. Not good.

6) Well, you really shouldn't turn the thing off.

7) What you could do is to always sort the books based on date. The last read books will find their ways to the top of the list. Or use the favorite feature. Just tap on the space bar when you're at the book-title menu.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:50 PM   #3
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G'day wowen,
Good comments. I too agree with all you say.

A comment on your point 5: I've been told by iRiver that the Story doesn't have the capacity to write to your SD card, only to its own internal memory, and that's why it doesn't store bookmarks books being read from the SD card. You may have noticed that (unlike iRiver's mp3 players) it can't format the SD card either - it has to be pre-formatted in another device.

I strongly agree with your comment about the menu. It seems a real shortcoming that the menu supports so few characters in a book's title. It'd be nice, I think, if they could get it to wrap the text, even just one more line, before it disappears off the right side. (I was in Borders yesterday and had a look at the Kobo, and nearly drooled when I saw how visually attractive and readable the Kobo's menu is. I'm glad I didn't buy one, especially reading over on the Kobo forum all the problems people are having with the current firmware, but there are some things it does very nicely indeed.) Far as I know, though, iRiver hasn't acknowledged any planned upgrade of its firmware. It's said it was releasing two new models of eReader this year, so I hope that if it does upgrade the firmware the file is backwardly compatible.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:55 PM   #4
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I just bought my first ereader and chose the BeBook. It didn't work properly so I sent it back and they refunded me. Their support (via email) was phenomenal.
Now I am a bit sad I purchased the IRiver Story instead of another Bebook. The User Manual for IRiver is useless and there seems to be very little support (??)
And YES, I agree with so much here. It drives me crazy that I can't see a proper list of the books. I re-named them in Adobe Digital Editions so the title was first, but can still only see half the title.
Also, the bookmarks...am I missing something here? I bookmark the page I am on, but it doesn't delete the previous bookmark, it adds to it. So I am left with a long 'list' of bookmarks which I have to delete one by one, a very tedious process.
What am I doing wrong please?
I actually find this a clunky product in terms of how to access various areas. As you say, I just want the thing to open up at the last page I was reading.
I am also confused about how to file things...my folder, my books, my digital books, my recent books...they all seem to hold the same things and I don't know how to move them around.
I am pretty computer literate, by the way, but I just don't seem to 'get' this IRiver Story...
Would love some tips. Thanks
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:42 AM   #5
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You may need to use the Story for a few days before you get a hang of it. Takes a bit of experimentation.

About the long titles that flow off the screen, well I've got the same issue with another reader that I have. I've come to accept things that couldn't be changed...

About where to file stuff, you could put them in any folder you create. To access the folders, select My Folder on the left panel. But if you put ebooks in other folders than BOOK, they wouldn't appear in your regular book list.

If you close a book and reopen it, it does jump straight to the page where you last left off. You don't need to make a bookmark.

Have fun exploring it.
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:51 AM   #6
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Thanks Greenapple...what are the bookmarks for if we don't need them?
Do I create any new folders via Adode Digital Editions on my PC..is that how it works?
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:53 AM   #7
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A bit further on in my own experience, lets look at these things one by one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melmike View Post
The User Manual for IRiver is useless and there seems to be very little support (??)
Yep, manuals are rubbish, and actually one area where I think paper works better

Quote:
And YES, I agree with so much here. It drives me crazy that I can't see a proper list of the books. I re-named them in Adobe Digital Editions so the title was first, but can still only see half the title.
Something so simple that you'd think it would have been spotted as soon as they switched it on. Stupid flaw, should be fixed.

Quote:
Also, the bookmarks...am I missing something here? I bookmark the page I am on, but it doesn't delete the previous bookmark, it adds to it. So I am left with a long 'list' of bookmarks which I have to delete one by one, a very tedious process.
What am I doing wrong please?
That is intentional. Think of bookmarks as little tabs you've added to the book so you can review them all later rather than a single bookmark of your progress. It does remember which page you are up to automatically on any book you open, and you can get your most recent book by pressing MENU -> UP -> ENTER.... but again clumsy and it should just default to a menu item for "Open most recent book" on turning on with a list of the 5/6 most recent books opened below it in my view.

Quote:
I actually find this a clunky product in terms of how to access various areas. As you say, I just want the thing to open up at the last page I was reading.
I am also confused about how to file things...my folder, my books, my digital books, my recent books...they all seem to hold the same things and I don't know how to move them around.
Everything in the books folder is my tactic (I've given up using the SD card now and decided to put all in its internal memory - so much for my plan of having all my books on an SD card for portability between multiple ereaders/tablets when they drop sufficiently in price). You can use subfolders however you like from there downwards - personally I have put about 5 folders for Sci-Fi, classics, modern fiction, modern non-fiction and biographies. As I've got lots of classics (copyright free) I've got them in further subfolders for each author. Then if you look at the "book" view you see all books in one list (and you can use SEARCH to find one). Or if you go to "My Folder" you can then navigate through the file structure to find the books if you prefer.
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:35 AM   #8
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Wowen, thanks! How did you find the Menu Up Enter thing?
Mine does NOT seem to open at the last page I was reading...I often fall asleep reading and then the reader of course shuts down during the night. When I pick it up again it is usually pages off where I was up to.
If I "close" a book (ie: not falling asleep!), do I just shut the reader off, or go back to Menu, or what? I have been switching it off.
I have also given up on the SD card - I have put music on it but actually don't listen to music while I read, so am not sure why I did that! I was just playing around to see how it all worked.
Thanks for the tips
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:38 AM   #9
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Oh, one other question please...what the &&** is Dithering Off under the Option key?
And what is dithering, and why can I only turn it off...when does one dither...does one dither alone, in pairs or in groups?
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Old 07-16-2010, 06:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melmike View Post
Wowen, thanks! How did you find the Menu Up Enter thing?
Well I just pressed Menu to see what it did Then the option is there to view recent book, albeit not the default....not intuitive but it works.

Quote:
Mine does NOT seem to open at the last page I was reading...I often fall asleep reading and then the reader of course shuts down during the night. When I pick it up again it is usually pages off where I was up to.
If I "close" a book (ie: not falling asleep!), do I just shut the reader off, or go back to Menu, or what? I have been switching it off.
I've only had it "forget" my position in a book once, and I can't reproduce why that happened I don't recall doing anything different, but generally I just switch it off after use by pressing and holding the power switch to the right.

It could be the auto-power off causes a problem. You could try changing the auto-power off timer. MENU -> SETTINGS -> POWER OPTIONS and let it power off after 12 hours (enough time for you to have woken up and powered it down normally, but of course that will affect your battery life, but not too much.

Do you have the latest version of the firmware? Mine came with 1.71 (the latest), but it could possibly be a bug with earlier versions?

http://local.iriver.com/mas/download...ge=1&cateCode=
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melmike View Post
Oh, one other question please...what the &&** is Dithering Off under the Option key?
And what is dithering, and why can I only turn it off...when does one dither...does one dither alone, in pairs or in groups?
Dithering is, I assume in this context, related to the way it displays images to distinguish between different colours. You can use the different scales of grey but those are limited, or you can also combine them in different patterns to distinguish them.

http://www.webkinesia.com/online/gra...lor/dither.gif

that is an example of different dithering.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melmike View Post
Oh, one other question please...what the &&** is Dithering Off under the Option key?
And what is dithering, and why can I only turn it off...when does one dither...does one dither alone, in pairs or in groups?
Hi Melmike,
Welcome to iRiver!

"Dithering" is a term used for the way the edges of graphics are rendered on-screen. The edges of the strokes and spurs of the letters are reproduced with differing shades of grey, rather than merely two colours, black and white (1-bit). To the human eye, it makes the lines of the letters seem more fully-formed -- turning dithering off makes the letters seem more spindly. Dithering is also used in printed books and newsprint, so having dithering on makes the display seem less "electronic" and more "printed book". The downside is that it will slightly reduce the time between having to recharge your battery, since it increases the calculations necessary to display a page of text.

The menus of the iRiver seem on occasion to function by some parallel-universe logic, as well as occasionally being written in Koreanglish. When the menu says "Dithering off", it means that dithering is currently turned on, and so the menu is displaying the only available option.

It's personal taste whether you have dithering on or off. For myself, I keep it switched on, since I find the display more pleasing that way. (Uprights seem less spindly, serifs more fully-formed.) Unfortunately, iRiver seems to view this setting as a per-book choice, not as a global setting, and it defaults to dithering off (add that to the list of things I'd like to see changed in an update to the OS). So I find that each time I load and open a new book, I have to go into the menu and set dithering to on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by melmike View Post
what are the bookmarks for if we don't need them?
Depending on the type of book you're reading -- or if you're using it for reference -- you may want more bookmarks than just the latest point you were up to in sequential reading. It's the electronic equivalent of sticky-notes or ->shudder!!<- turning down the corner of the page.


Quote:
Originally Posted by melmike View Post
Do I create any new folders via Adode Digital Editions on my PC..is that how it works?
If you hook up the Story to your PC, it opens a file explorer window to show the files on your device (and a second one if you have an SD card in the Story). Then you can simply use the normal file explorer window to create or delete folders and add or remove files. I find that a lot easier than Digital Editions, and it also works for mp3 files.


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Originally Posted by melmike View Post
It drives me crazy that I can't see a proper list of the books. I re-named them in Adobe Digital Editions so the title was first, but can still only see half the title.
I completely agree. It drives me nuts -- if you have the 3 books in a trilogy, for instance, and put the name of the trilogy first in the book title, then the name of the individual volumes generally disappear off the side of the screen and they become indistinguishable. And just forget about trying to list the author, even if only by surname. I think that's a significant shortcoming in a device (whether it be by iRiver or any other manufacturer) that positions itself as an electronic library.

It seems to spring from the same family of thought that treats text as a mere string of characters, that can be broken after a certain number of them displayed in the line and not have negative consequences on the meaning of the text. That's what the Story does with .TXT files, and I can't help wondering if it's an offshoot of the device being Korean in origin and design -- that's the way Korean orthography works. But if it's going to sell in the English-language market, I think it needs to clean that aspect up.

I posted elsewhere that I nearly drooled in jealousy recently when I first saw a Kobo in a Borders bookshop. The menuing on that device is gorgeous, so it can be done. It just requires iRiver to recognise there are problems with its current offering.


Quote:
Originally Posted by melmike View Post
Now I am a bit sad I purchased the IRiver Story instead of another Bebook. The User Manual for IRiver is useless and there seems to be very little support (??)
Overall, I'm really, really happy with the iRiver Story, though I too have gone through moments of wishing I'd bought something else. I've had mine for about three months now, and when I'm sitting down by the nearby lake reading a well-formatted ePub on it, able to read the screen comfortably in almost-direct sunlight, holding a device which is large enough for my big hands but not so heavy it gets uncomfortable, then I find a lot of reasons to be glad for the choice I made.

But yes, the manual is ridiculous and rarely helpful, and there are too many features and functions and contexts where you want to know what to do that the manual makes no mention of whatsoever. I think that's unacceptable in a commercial product, especially one that's so ... ummm, eclectic ... in the way many of its options function or are accessed. I've mused on occasion on trying to co-ordinate a user-generated group effort that does a better and fuller job. Hopefully I would get my own questions answered that way.

What makes me pause is mostly the lack of user support by iRiver. There's no way I've been able to find to get user questions raised and answered. The company that distributes the iRiver in my country does supply a technical support team on the phones, and I've raised questions with them, but they seem to know no more about the product than I do. They've told me they get no support documentation from iRiver and have no procedure for even raising questions with iRiver and getting answers back, let alone tracking incidents and reporting back to the customer. Of the iRiver websites I've found, only the Korean one seems to be being updated; iRiver has recently launched a blog, but it doesn't have much to offer, seems more marketing guff than user-focussed and is mostly interested in getting people to "follow" on Twitter without actually posting anything of substance. It's made what I consider the classic website mistake: create an identity and then do nothing with it, and all you really do is confirm in people's minds that you're a lame duck.


So the iRiver Story is a bit of a mixed bag, isn't it?
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:16 AM   #13
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Wowen and MacEachaidh - THANKS! I'm having fun just chatting with you. In a former life I was a journo, and I never heard of dithering then, so am happy to learn about it now.
I will certainly check the firmware situation...I always forget about that.
Yes, I saw your other post on the Kobo...I was looking at that but something stopped me from buying it..can't now remember what!
I'm thrilled to hear about sitting out in the sun reading it with ease, as that's what I will be doing soon!
And I agree with you re the lack of support (FYI, I a Sydneysider also!)...I was VERY impressed with the speed and quality of response when I had the Bebook for a short time. I bought it from the Netherlands rather than Australia (long story! a mistake) and the Dutch were amazing in their long emails trying to help me solve the problems. After a week of messing about, I just sent it back and within 7 days had an email from PayPal saying the refund was coming through (I'm still waiting to see it appear on my credit card).
IRiver could certainly take a leaf out of their book in that department.
Again, thanks for all your detailed help
cheers
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wowen View Post
I've only had it "forget" my position in a book once, and I can't reproduce why that happened I don't recall doing anything different, but generally I just switch it off after use by pressing and holding the power switch to the right.
My observation for epub is that the page loaded after reopening a book is indeed the page you left, but considering that epub has virtual page numbering and one page can be multiple screens of displayed text, you end up on the top/first screen of the respective page which can be some screens off your actual progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacEachaidh View Post
It's personal taste whether you have dithering on or off. For myself, I keep it switched on, since I find the display more pleasing that way. (Uprights seem less spindly, serifs more fully-formed.)
MacEachaidh, this sounds like you are experiencing dithering on text? I had the impression dithering only concerns images/pictures. Dithering seems best for photos while diagrams look better without most of the time. In some books, I toggle a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wowen View Post
It does remember which page you are up to automatically on any book you open, and you can get your most recent book by pressing MENU -> UP -> ENTER.... but again clumsy and it should just default to a menu item for "Open most recent book" on turning on with a list of the 5/6 most recent books opened below it in my view.
I keep my book list in “Latest First” order (Option -> Change Sort Order -> Latest First) so the last read books are only a few button presses away. I tend not to page through my book list but to search for books that do not appear on the first (most recent) page. I do not use Menu -> Recent Book.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ischeriad View Post
My observation for epub is that the page loaded after reopening a book is indeed the page you left, but considering that epub has virtual page numbering and one page can be multiple screens of displayed text, you end up on the top/first screen of the respective page which can be some screens off your actual progress.
The one time it wasn't a partial page, it was about 30 pages of a book that it completely forgot I had read, has happened only once, but I have no idea what happened.

Quote:
I keep my book list in “Latest First” order (Option -> Change Sort Order -> Latest First) so the last read books are only a few button presses away. I tend not to page through my book list but to search for books that do not appear on the first (most recent) page. I do not use Menu -> Recent Book.
This is brilliant! That is a well hidden option but does exactly what I want in listing my most recently opened books. Thank you.
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