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Old 08-23-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
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Firmware Upgrade Ideas?

Forum Goers,

I just answered some questions about any news on firmware for the PP or old 6" devices. The answer is simply that we don't have any upcoming firmware upgrades scheduled.

However, my boss also said that we should open up a discussion for any new firmware suggestions. Are there any features or fixes you would like to implement on your PP or 6"? If we receive a good response or some good suggestions, we can use these ideas to create a new update.

Jenifer
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:26 PM   #2
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Forum Goers,

I just answered some questions about any news on firmware for the PP or old 6" devices. The answer is simply that we don't have any upcoming firmware upgrades scheduled.

However, my boss also said that we should open up a discussion for any new firmware suggestions. Are there any features or fixes you would like to implement on your PP or 6"? If we receive a good response or some good suggestions, we can use these ideas to create a new update.

Jenifer
As I see it, there are 3 groupings for Firmware changes:
1) Bug fixes (software that mis-behaves when used)
2) 3rd party Vendor updates (latest ADE,CR...)
3) New or improved features (File delete,copy, additional language, dictionary)

I expect #1 to be done
I would like to see #2 happen (after a settling out trial)
I might even pay a small amount (under $10) for enhancements (not fix of a bug and calling it an enhancement )

So here is my list:
G#1:
1) fix the Mobi lockup on idle problem.
2) Make the recently read list KEEP the order current., regardless of the booklist sort. Last book read is on top. (If you read book 5, it moves to the # 1 slot. A new book, pushes the list down.)

G#3:
1) Allow a item to purged from the Recent list (eg. opened in error), NOT delete the book.
2) Lbook like delete/copy
3) Integrate a Calibre generated, "On device Catalog", to Jump to the title, from the Calibre Catalog (you would now have a cover/tag browser)

Last edited by theducks; 08-23-2010 at 03:30 PM. Reason: wrong name fixed
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:23 PM   #3
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Hi Jennifer,

Robert started a poll regarding our wishes for firmware. You can find that link and our responses here. http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89134

The main thing I would love to see is file management, like LBook has. I would like to be able to copy and delete books, as well as the ability to open epubs in Coolreader, without having to change anything on the epub. With LBook, you just do a long press of the number of the book you want to open, and it gives you the option to open (in CoolReader), copy, or delete the book. If I could choose just one option, I think I'd most like to be able to open epubs in CoolReader without changing the name of the file on my computer.

Although I like LBook, if Astak came out with a similar firmware I'd definitely try it, as LBook really seems to slow down my Pocket Pro. Page turns are fine, but the initial time it takes to open the book is much slower than the Astak firmware.

Thanks for asking.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:59 PM   #4
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Hi Jenifer,

My thoughts on updates are;

- Include Coolreader 3 (was put in April2010 FW).
- Allow the option of opening non-drm epubs with Coolreader or ADE (user choice). LBook offer this by the user giving a long-press of the button and giving the user the option to open in CR3. This works well.
- There are a vast array of file formats, unfortunately very few of them work. I have never been able to open a .DOC or .PPT (I assume the .DOC needs to be from an early version of MS Word), .MOBI locks up and has done since the PP release, and apparently .LIT isn't even worth trying. Other than .TXT and .RTF I havent tried any of the others outside of .FB2, .EPUB and .PDF.
- Provide some documentation and allow us to change the TTS voice. Nice feature, I don't particularly like being read to by a robot. The Kindle TTS sounds more human.

- Not sure if Astak can do this, but can the implementation of ADE NOT display those pesky page numbers down the right hand side?? Unfortunately I'm losing some good screen real estate by having to set a margin on the right side just to make room for the page numbers so they don't interfere with the text of the book (and then some poorly formatted ebooks I find with a font size increase the page numbers increase themselves making the ebook a narrow strip like a newspaper column down the middle). Better still, allow ADE to ignore (user setting) margins in a DRM'd ebook.

Now a nice feature if the programmers have the inclination (though this is a personal request and not a required fix to the firmware), would it be possible to display the cover of the ebook when you lock the screen instead of just a blank screen with the 'locked' message at the bottom?

Second nice feature is the ability in the Bookshelf view having the ebook title/author split over two lines;

eg;
The Eye of the World
Robert Jordan

Someone did post pics a while ago with the LBook firmware having this feature (I did never get it to work).

I know the last two are nice-to-have aesthetic changes, but with all ereaders now having nice menus etc, it is getting hard to recommend a PP to new users because of the good features when they all say "oh but this one looks so much nicer".
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:24 PM   #5
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Second nice feature is the ability in the Bookshelf view having the ebook title/author split over two lines;

eg;
The Eye of the World
Robert Jordan

.
I second this one
over 50% of my books have the run-off screen problem
an Vertical centered, Auto-wrap feature would be nice.
by vertical centered. I mean short titles display in the middle, like they do now. But if the need to split, the occupy 2 lines, 1 above and 1 below the center-line.
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:37 PM   #6
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Oh I almost forgot, one other thing that I feel could do with a fix, the MP3 player.

Currently you can start playing music and then load your ebook and read whilst listening to music. Pushing in the toggle wheel turns off the MP3 player, but to start it again you need to exit the book, navigate to the directory where you have your mp3s, start playing, then re-navigate back to your ebook, load and continue reading.

It would be nice if we were able to while reading be able to pause/play the music. Would save having to go through the whole process of opening/closing ebook/mp3 files when we just want to stop the music for a little while, eg: need 1/2 hour break from reading, and then want to continue on.

I love the MP3 player function, but unfortunately I'm finding myself using my little mp3 player instead of the reader because it is too hard to pause/play while reading.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:34 PM   #7
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Is there a firmware update for Mentor Lite in plan? Here are the features that I am expecting:
1. Dictionary lookup (search-through text)
2. PDF fit width view and auto remove margin
3. Highlighting
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:15 PM   #8
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Is there a firmware update for Mentor Lite in plan? Here are the features that I am expecting:
1. Dictionary lookup (search-through text)
2. PDF fit width view and auto remove margin
3. Highlighting
4. Either a persistant, variable zoom for images that is continuously variable instead of in steps or if the zoom has to be in steps, make a large number of small steps. A fit to width feature would also be nice.

5. Eliminate the added margin on images and display them on the full screen.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:28 PM   #9
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4. Either a persistant, variable zoom for images that is continuously variable instead of in steps or if the zoom has to be in steps, make a large number of small steps. A fit to width feature would also be nice.

5. Eliminate the added margin on images and display them on the full screen.
Quite right.
6. Panning a zoomed pdf document in small increment by holding down a certain key while using the 5-way controller to
nudge up, down, left, or right.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:37 AM   #10
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Quite right.
6. Panning a zoomed pdf document in small increment by holding down a certain key while using the 5-way controller to
nudge up, down, left, or right.
Actually being able to pan in screen sized blocks with just a bit of overlap by pressing an arrow key would be a lot more convenient.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:01 AM   #11
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Actually being able to pan in screen sized blocks with just a bit of overlap by pressing an arrow key would be a lot more convenient.
or something like automatically divide the page into 4 section and view them one by one.
7. Text to Speech
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:38 AM   #12
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1. File management on the reader
2. Search function for bookshelf
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:14 PM   #13
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Actually being able to pan in screen sized blocks with just a bit of overlap by pressing an arrow key would be a lot more convenient.
Yes, I agree that this would be better and nudging an e-INK screen is basically not workable. Here is the suggestion that I have already submitted to Jinke on May 1st along with 30 other suggestions.

Many technical books are difficult to read on a 5" or 6" device because they contain images that cannot be read properly. There is a need to be able to zoom these images to make them legible. This is particular true of PDF, ePUB, and DJVU files which are often used as the formats for technical books. Using landscape mode helps but it is not enough. Here is my recommended solution.

A long press 8 (zoom) key should enter the zoom mode on the first picture on the page that has a pixel size too wide or too long to be displayed properly. If the image would fit on the page but is currently split the long press 8 would not enter zoom mode but would instead scroll the book page down far enough to display the full image.

If the image is too big it would be zoom from its current displayed size approximately 2x horizontal and 2x vertical (maintaining aspect ratio) or displayed at full size if the pixel size is smaller than 2x size. That is, on a 600 pixel screen a 900 pixel wide image would be zoomed to be shown at 100%.

In zoom mode the behavior would be like that of too long of a line covered in another thread. The next page key would pan to the right to display the right half of the image, only enough to display the image at full screen width.

If the next page key is pressed while already panned then the image would be panned up the full screen (minus about 10 pixels to provide a bit of overlap) and set back to the left margin of the image.

If the previous page key is pressed in zoom mode at the image is panned right then it would be panned left to the left edge of the image. If the previous page key is pressed when the image is already left but shifted downward it would be shifted up.

To visualize this think of the image containing text. You start at the top and read a line, next page to continue on the line, prev page to return to read the next line. Using next/prev keys are required until you get to the bottom of the screen. Pressing the next key in this case moves the image up allow you to continue read the text.

Limiting the zoom to 2x means that there is only minimal need to pan left and right to minimize the problem of the user getting lost in the image. This amount of zoom should provide enough to read almost any image. If for some reason the user wants more they can switch to landscape mode which will behave exactly the same way on the rotated image provides a bigger image.

A second long press of the zoom key will exit the zoom mode permitting the user to continue to read the text. Adjacent text will not be displayed in zoom mode. Note that in zoom mode the banner will not be shown no matter what the user preference is.

The image viewer should also support this zoom capability with the following differences. The image will be best fit as today. the 8 zoom key will enter zoom mode with 4X zoom or 100% display, whichever is smaller. The 9/0 keys will pan in the direction they are physically on the unit, i.e. left right, while the next/prev keys on the side of the screen will pan up/down. Again the banner will be removed for this operation. Press zoom a second time will revert to the original size and key behavior.

Having this capability will not only improve technical manual ability but it will permit the support of CBR/CBZ reading ability.

(In another suggestion I also defined the next/prev page key functionality defined above for zooming to be applied to tables that were too wide for the screen.)

Dale

Last edited by DaleDe; 08-24-2010 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:56 PM   #14
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The easiest and most practical suggestion is to emulate what's been done in the 3rd party firmwares. Coolreader updates and just as importantly BASIC file maintenance.

The ability to do very simple things like delete or move a file (on the 3rd party firmwares its done via holding the "1" button down and getting a pop-up "File tools" menu), without having to hook up to a PC every time, is more of a necessity than a luxury, I'd argue. Your devices are tailored to hold hundreds, if not thousands, of files, and have a battery designed to be used on its own for days or weeks at a time. So having to hunt down a PC simply to deal with basic file maintenance should be a no-no.

The current third party firmwares are only part way there, in fact. They allow deletion and moving between SD card and built in memory. What they SHOULD have instead (and what I hope a professional developer could implement officially) is a more traditional "cut and paste" system, where you can cut and paste a file between any desired directories (and of course, still have the "Delete" function).

One thing which would be HUGE (but even the third party guys haven't come near it) would be some kind of file search (again, its something you can currently do with a PC, but to have to find, power on and use a PC every time you want to find a book is... tragic). Since the readers don't have alphanumeric keyboards, admittedly the input for a file search will be a bit awkward, but the code to use the number keys to do alphanumeric input (like on old cellphones) is already out there in the Linux public domain, I believe, so it should be adaptable (I think something like its already inside Coolreader, for example).

Oh. Here's a real simple one (but very convenient). Add a "Favorites" feature. The same way there's a "Recent files" item on the top level of the file browsing, there's should be a "Favorites" item--which should be populated by a "Mark as Favorite" option in the same "File tools" menu as the Delete and other file options. As long as the File tools menu overall is being implemented, adding this Favorites functionality should be easy.

Also, one issue with the already existing "Recent files" area is the limitation to 8 items. Honestly? That limitation is just dumb. It should be expanded to four times that, using the page turning buttons to see older stuff.

And finally we should get a bit more information in the file descriptions. ePub files should contain metadata, I think, which should allow author names and titles to be elaborated instead of just spitting out the file names. This isn't a make it or break it, since most of us are careful with our file naming, but it would be helpful. I think fb2 files may already do this in your interface, but FAR more people use ePub these days.

Pie in the sky (and definitely last on this list) might be the ability to show book cover thumbnails in the file view. The only reason I even mention it is because it might involve the same kind of coding needed to read author names and titles from the files, so if those are implemented, the thumbnails might not be all that far behind.

Last edited by Spiffy; 08-24-2010 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:50 PM   #15
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I'm reading through these suggestions and will keep this thread open until I feel like everyone has a say (if they want to have a say!). Then I can type up the suggestions and send it to the bosses. Keep the recommendations coming, I also have had my share of troubles with image quality on PDFs, that would be a good change.
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