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Old 12-09-2023, 07:10 AM   #1
Savate
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Improve method for highlighting text?

On the Inkpad 4 the method for highlighting text is quite clunky, not agile.

I once owned a Touch Lux with a 6" screen. I do not recall it being so awkward to highlight text. Does the screen size make a difference?

I hope the following is a reasonably clear description of my issue with the text highlighting procedure on the Inkpad 4. It’s a bit long but I need to be explicit.

(i) the method requires one to first press the beginning (or end) of the text section, then drag the pointers to mark the text region, and then to choose to commit highlight from the popup menu bar.

That is rather long winded! I must say I think that the method on the Kindle (oops!) is so much simpler: as you drag the highlight is formed. Only one integrated action as opposed to one with three steps.

I don't want to say that the method used by a rival is better but it *is* a bit more intuitive and involves only one action. Also, it is unlikely to be copyrighted, so why not adopt this approach?

(ii) dragging the highlight pointers across a screen break is woefully difficult! almost impossible in most cases. I have decided that the only reliable approach is to highlight the first part on the first screen and then move to the next screen and highlight the next part.

Highlighting across screen breaks can be done (it seems to work better, but not much) if you start at the end of the section and highlight to the beginning - negotiating the screen break seems easier in that direction for some reason).

The simplest, but for me a clunky strategy, is to highlight one screen at a time. That works but where you hoped for one single section of highlighted text the downloadable notes display it as two highlights.

A major point issue with the software seems to be that dragging the highlight pointers is too laggy - they do not keep up with your finger tip. Thus by the time I have dragged to the bottom right corner of the text section, hoping to jump to the next page, my finger has arrived well before the pointer!

And of course the pointer simply stops because my finger has stopped; there is no more movement across the screen.

Sometimes too the procedure gets 'confused'. E.g. because my finger often ends up in the 'previous page' screen zone as I drag to go to the next screen, and there is no more movement as described above, after a pause the Inkpad seems to assume that you want to go back a page! OR if you try to avoid coming to a stop in the previous page zone the Inkpad will suddenly 'wake up' and extend the highlight markers across one or more of the following screens, because my finger is now resting in the ‘next page’ zone! (Note that part of the software works too quickly!)

It is very frustrating to use, not very agile, and not subtle.

As I said at the beginning, I wonder if this is because the screen size makes a difference. On the old Touch Lux the pointer lag was not so obvious because the distances are much less and, as I recall it, the gap between pointer and finger was much, much less.

Incidentally, my use case: I do a lot of research that involves a lot of markup in mostly non-fiction books, hence my frustration. I do read a fair bit of fiction but I do less mark up for that (though the same issues apply but not so frequently). I am finding this markup procedure on the Inkpad 4 something of an impediment.

Thanks for reading to the end! Suggestions and feedback appreciated.

Update: 19:50 9thDec23 - forgot to mention that when trying to highlight from the beginning of a paragraph, the last character or word of the previous paragraph is also selected. An annoying little bug!

UPDATE: Hi - a couple of helfpul replies to this post. Thanks @wold and @cellaris. I need to spend a bit of time to think about and try what you have said.

I looked through the manual this morning and realised that buried in there is info about the Notes toolbar. I hadn't really paid attention to this before but I can see now what the model is for PB. However, it is still very difficult to use and remains very hit and miss. It still requires too many steps just to markup an interesting/useful block of text.

The manual is badly written/organised as well, lacks clarity and is difficult to follow. As I have said (somewhere) I don't want to make invidious comparisons with other ereaders but the Kindle handles this action very well. It's also fast.

Update #3 - 20:33 14thDec23 - well I have really worked at this! I have re-read the manual carefully and have carefully practised the technique using the Notes tool bar. When you press the 'Mark Text' icon the text layout noticeably shifts and you can highlight text in what I would call the conventional manner (I suppose I am so used to Kindle's that its method looks like the conventional way).

Three things to say here: (i) it does work more conventionally, i.e. as I expect and which, to me, is the obvious way to do it, but (ii) it takes so many operations (open the toolbar, click the markup icon, select text and, a final but, (iii) it is so buggy it is not reliable at all! Sometimes it works as it should and sometimes it doesn't. I did read somewhere that the screen has a glass layer - perhaps this reduces the sensitivity of the e-ink layer to a finger touch?

Anyway the InkPad text selection method feels like is a bug ridden shambles. I am going back to Kindles which I wanted to escape from because it is so 'locked down'. However, I use markup a lot and the Inkpad is just infuriating! The limits of the Kindle are worth living with - at least the damn thing works reliably and is nippier.

Last edited by Savate; 12-14-2023 at 03:56 PM. Reason: Update to post content
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Old 12-10-2023, 04:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savate View Post
(i) the method requires one to first press the beginning (or end) of the text section, then drag the pointers to mark the text region, and then to choose to commit highlight from the popup menu bar.
Yes the current PB selection method is waaay clunkier. I kinda got used to it though. It will have to do (and supports PDFs as well).

On a Lux5 selecting text does feel slower on recent firmwares, which is perhaps what you are describing. Auto-selection has become smarter though w/r to including special characters at the end of a sentence (.?!, etc). That was always a pet peeve of mine

Removed seems to be selecting a whole paragraph, by dragging to the empty space at the end of that paragraph. It usually kicked in when unwanted, and when now wanted it skips to the line above or below

Next to Kindle, Kobo and Sony also use the touch and select-by-drag approach. It is more intuitive. With Sony being the lesser one (not auto-detecting word edges, ugh).


Quote:

(ii) dragging the highlight pointers across a screen break is woefully difficult! almost impossible in most cases. I have decided that the only reliable approach is to highlight the first part on the first screen and then move to the next screen and highlight the next part.

Highlighting across screen breaks can be done (it seems to work better, but not much) if you start at the end of the section and highlight to the beginning - negotiating the screen break seems easier in that direction for some reason).

The simplest, but for me a clunky strategy, is to highlight one screen at a time. That works but where you hoped for one single section of highlighted text the downloadable notes display it as two highlights.
My current method is to make a selection on page #1, use the page buttons to flip to the next page - and reposition the end marker from topleft. Alternatively, there's drag to the bottom-right corner to flip, but that sometimes flipped multiple pages (IIRC this seems fixed).

BTW, neither Kobo nor Sony can do multipage selections. This kinda surprised me.

Having written all this, recently on my Lux5 selecting and dragging text hasn't been all that accurate. Not sure it's the unit (calibration) or a software problem.

And this stuff is complex to program: assume its javascript running in a HTML browser. With JS/C there are enough 'less-optimal' ways to do it (rebuilding regex objects for one ). There was someone here recently complaining about the older (=slow) processor/socs used in PBs.


Quote:
As I said at the beginning, I wonder if this is because the screen size makes a difference. (...)
It can add to the problem. With screen PPI/resolution increasing there's ever more pixels to be rendered to the screen. Would you know I got the Lux5 over the HD3, for this very reason (and the SD card).
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Old 12-10-2023, 06:59 AM   #3
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I have assigned an area of the screen (top centre) to the function of adding a new note. I click on it and select the text. This makes it much easier and more precise for me.
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Old 12-11-2023, 06:24 AM   #4
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Thanks for this - see my original post for an update
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Old 12-11-2023, 08:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savate View Post

UPDATE: Hi - a couple of helfpul replies to this post. Thanks @wold and @cellaris. I need to spend a bit of time to think about and try what you have said.

I looked through the manual this morning and realised that buried in there is info about the Notes toolbar. I hadn't really paid attention to this before but I can see now what the model is for PB. However, it is still very difficult to use and remains very hit and miss. It still requires too many steps just to markup an interesting/useful block of text.

The manual is badly written/organised as well, lacks clarity and is difficult to follow. As I have said (somewhere) I don't want to make invidious comparisons with other ereaders but the Kindle handles this action very well. It's also fast.
You are right in what you say. PB Reader is very limited in some respects, compared to other devices from other brands or other reading software. The text highlighting function has only those options. If you use it frequently you might want to switch brands (Kindle is indeed very good in that area and in general in everything it does) or reading software (KOReader is also a very good option).
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Old 01-02-2024, 05:43 PM   #6
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Has anyone communicated this problem with the company?

I am new to PB with my verse pro. I am doing a lot of reading, sort of for research. So I am marking text to remind me to go back and work on some things. This is just not going very well. Last night I spent, maybe 15 minutes, trying to get a couple of sentences highlighted.

Thes sentences were in the middle of the page. When I long pressed the first word of text, I began to highlight everything from the beginning of the page. I tried everything: bring the top of page marker down (no good). Move end of text marker then move first marker (no good either). Retry. Close book. restart. Go to note tool and try that. Fiddlesticks.

I never got the text I wanted highlighted. I ended up bookmarking the page and writing a short cryptic note to myself. Maybe I will be able to work with this when I get back to it.

Now someone. Is this a warranty issue? As anyone talked to the company on the subject, or will I be the first?

I think this problem is real showstopper for someone who is wanting to try another reader and thinks PB is it. I really like the reading experience. I want this to work. But, my goodness, what a frustration.
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Old 01-02-2024, 07:21 PM   #7
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If you are reading this and have a similar problem, try switching to EPUB 2 reader. See Amalthia's post elsewhere. https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=358186 Epub 2 seem to improve. I'll have to test for a few days.
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Old 05-12-2024, 06:26 PM   #8
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The solution to this problem is to install KOReader. It has a much better implementation of the highlgihting process.
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