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Old 07-07-2008, 03:10 AM   #13
Arno Wouters
Junior Member
Arno Wouters began at the beginning.
Posts: 3
Karma: 10
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Device: Palm Tungsten E2, iRex iLiad 2nd ed.
NRC ePaper is disappointing

I was among the 500 or so NRC subscribers who bought an iLiad in combination with a subscription to the ePaper in the first week that it was available. According to the site of the NRC web shop delivery time would be 4 to 5 days, the confirmation of payment said delivery time would be about 10 days, the iLiad arrived after 21 days.

This was only the start of a series of disappointments. The NRC advertises that the ePaper is easily available via wifi everywhere in the world at any time you want. This is more than slightly exaggerated. I took me a month and the extra costs of a router to be able to download the ePaper. Initially, the iLiad refused to connect both to my wifi network at home and to the network at work. The NRC help desk does not answer technical questions and refers to iRex. iRex support was of no use in solving the problem (initially they bluntly refused to help me because my desktop computer runs Mac OS X rather than Windows XP, later they answered many questions I hadn't asked but ignored the question I did ask 'namely how to connect to the unprotected network set up bij my iMac') but one of the users on the special forum for ePaper subscribers discovered that the iLiad is not able to connect to what is called 'ad-hoc networks' set up by computers, PDA's or mobile phones and that I had to buy a router. The iLiad does not connect to hotspots either, nor to secure networks (except if they use the WEP protocol). In effect, the ePaper can be downloaded only at home (if you have a router).

The ePaper itself is a half-baked product. The ePaper is produced by extracting text from a pdf of the paper edition more or less OCR like. The results are what you can expect from such a process. Many articles are unreadable because they are scrambled. Columns with short articles appear as one paragraph without any typography. Articles end half way and continue 50 pages later. And so on.

The NRC Handelsblad runs a dedicated forum which is open to ePaper subscribers only. This forum is a sop that is largely ignored by the NRC staff. The NRC has promised a biweekly update on their progress and a list of known problems. The 'biweekly' update appears irregularly (the interval varies between 16 and 45 days) and does not address the questions brought up by the users. The list of known problems is still missing.

Those of you who read Dutch can find my experiences on

Last edited by Arno Wouters; 07-07-2008 at 03:22 AM. Reason: there is so much more to say .....
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