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Old 04-04-2006, 09:42 PM   #1
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Gemstar/eBookwise reader picture

Hi all,

Wonder if anyone have a gemstar or ebookwise 1150 reader and can post some pictures?

I've read some conflicting reviews about these readers and wonder if they are really good, bad or ugly?

Would love to see it in both backlit and non-backlit mode. Indoor and outdoor usage would be good too! Thanks!
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Old 04-05-2006, 01:19 AM   #2
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Hi,

I have been using Ebookwise1150 for about 4 months now. Before it, while I purchased ebooks mostly from Baen.com, I would always print them since I could not and cannot read fiction on a pc/laptop/tablet even with very good reader software like uBook, the "magic of reading" is just not there for me. I own all of the above (pc/laptop/tablet) and I tried to read on them since especially the tablet looks like a hc book when in portrait mode, but I just cannot do it for long. I do not own a handheld, and while I considered buying one for reading, the small screen put me off.
On Ebk1150 I read pretty comfortably, mostly in bed and in the car, but ocasionally outside or inside in strong light without any problems. My backlight settings give me 18 hrs+ between charges, I can handle it easily with one hand and I can carry it like a paperback. I use only text based files of ebooks (rtf, html, doc, txt) that I convert to the Ebk1150 .imp format with ease using the free eti tool (www.ebooktechnolgies.com) and the 15$ ebookwise librarian, the last one mostly for shorter files, to edit info about the book and to transfer the book to memory card. You can drag and drop but the librarian splits the file for yourself (see below) so when you open the reader you get your new transfered books fast. I converted files up to 35Mb reasonably fast, the eti tool does batch convert and I have done up to 100 files at a time. There are 2 font settings and I use only the large one which tends to give roughly 3x pages for a corresponding x page hardcover and 2x for a corresponding paperback. There are enough free converters out there to convert any .lit, .prc, .pdb, text non drm'ed .pdf to one of the above formats so you can easily get content. I have not bought any book in native .imp format that is not available in other formats since I do not want to be locked into it and I do not know how to convert from .imp. I have read ~10 full novels, parts of ~50 other novels, and various magazines (Aeon1-6, BaenUniverse1, all the issues of NationalReview since I got the reader) on Ebk1150 and I am planning to migrate to electronic subscription on my Asimov's and SF&F magazines when my current print subscription expires.
Now for the bad: storage and image files
Ebk1150 uses crappy (dead so expensive, 128 Mb limited, fragile) SmartMedia cards and moreover it splits the .imp file on the card so it takes sometimes considerable more space than the file size. In particular while I would like to have short stories in separate files, I mostly cannot afford to and collate them with appropriate software. The only limited workaround I found is to use a xd to SmartMedia reader ($8 total cost Ebay) and 128 Mb xD cards - larger do not work with the card reader - (15-20$ Ebay) which work with my Ebk1150, though the compatibility with the Ebk1150 may depend on the card (I use only new Olympus xD cards) from what I have heard.
Where Ebk1150 fails completely is at image books like pdf/djvu math books in my case that cannot be ocr'ed to text due to formulas/diagrams and the like. Since Ebk1150 has low 318x448 resolution, you need to get readable jpg files of that size from your book and collate them in a doc file for conversion. It works, but you need to cut your original djvu page in 2/3 or even 4/6 if double page scanned, so it is tedious, takes a lot of space... I specifically installed colinux on my xp main pc to manipulate image files easily, and I can write simple scripts so automate the task to some extent, but still this is not a solution so I am eagerly waiting for the new eink devices that have 600x800 resolution. Why do math books on Ebk1150 and not read them on a tablet? Ultimately for the same reason as fiction books, I simply cannot read a long time continuosly on a pc.
I include 2 pictures, both taken with flash, though one is in a lighted room so it approximates how Ebk1150 looks in reality, the other one to compare with a paperback is taken in a dark room and approximates Ebk1150 in sunlight.
I hope that this helps anyone interested in the Ebk1150 to decide if the reader fits their needs.

Liviu
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:40 AM   #3
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Wow Liviu, thanks for your excellent and detailed review/overview of the ebookwise reader!

I've read that html files can be read natively. I've also read somewhere else that says, as you mentioned that they require conversion. Which is the case?

Ya, the only downer so far I see in it is the SmartMedia card. Ebooktechnologies has a higher-end device which uses CF card ... unfortunately they somehow decide to limit that to only vertical markets and not to consumers. *STRANGE*

Last thing. Is the backlight white in color? I know the LCD has the standard greenish back when viewed in sunlight, but does it have a white backlight?

Again, thanks for your information and pictures! Appreciate your time and review!
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:19 AM   #4
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Hi,

To answer you questions:
1. Ebk1150 reads only .imp files as far as I know so everything requires conversion. It is true that like most ebook formats outside pdf (e.g. .lit), .imp is just html (xml) with a wrapping. When the librarian converts anything, it transforms the file to html, and then deletes the intermediate files, so if you convert an html file sometimes it dissapears. I keep backups always, and I use mostly the eti tool which requires doc/rtf, but just to be aware. Also, there are people who care a lot about having "clickable" chapters, you can do it in Ebk1150 (and you can do search, go to page), but I do not know exactly how, the eti manual explains it, and it works for few of my books, but it was never important for me (since "I come from print" where you gotta go through the book) to bother doing it
2. Backlight is "light green", my first picture approximates it pretty well. It is the closest to print outside eink that I've seen.
3. The eti 2 device is the geb 2150, you ocasionally have the opportunity to get it on Ebay. However it seems to be kind of heavy, like the Cybook at ~ 1kg. It has better resolution, 480x640, so at the right price I would consider one, but its weight is probably the reason is not marketed wider.

Liviu





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Originally Posted by Snappy!
Wow Liviu, thanks for your excellent and detailed review/overview of the ebookwise reader!

I've read that html files can be read natively. I've also read somewhere else that says, as you mentioned that they require conversion. Which is the case?

Ya, the only downer so far I see in it is the SmartMedia card. Ebooktechnologies has a higher-end device which uses CF card ... unfortunately they somehow decide to limit that to only vertical markets and not to consumers. *STRANGE*

Last thing. Is the backlight white in color? I know the LCD has the standard greenish back when viewed in sunlight, but does it have a white backlight?

Again, thanks for your information and pictures! Appreciate your time and review!
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:25 AM   #5
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Liviu, thanks for your quick response and clarifications!

No more questions, just a link I just found while trawling the web for other info. I chanced upon a site that had side-by-side pictures of a eBk, a Franklin eBookman and a Palm V.

http://www.flatmtn.com/computer/eBoo...s.html#REB1100

Didn't know that the three are not that different in actual screen sizes. But I guess an inch difference here and there adds up.
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:54 AM   #6
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Hi,

When I started migrating to digital books, I decided that since right now we are in the "prehistoric" age, time permitting, I try to spread the word as much as I can, and wherever people that can do something about it (like device makers, publishers) may drop by.
Regarding the Palm, before I went the Ebk1150 route I checked my local computer stores to see how they looked and they seemed too small for reading; also they are more expensive and I just do not need a handheld right now. Personally I am not too much into the convergence thing, I want music, I get an ipod, I want movies to keep my son quiet in the car, I get a portable dvd player and so on... The prices are low enough to make it affordable. If I will need a handheld I will get one for whatever it does best, just not for reading.
What I do not like are things that tell me you cannot do this or that with them as long as you do it for yourself, after I paid my money on them, so nothing drm'ed that I cannot easily convert (whether books, music, movies - I use itunes, ipod but I never bought a song from them, just buy the CD, get into a music club..., I never bought a book from Ebookwise, never even registered my reader for that matter).

Liviu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snappy!
Liviu, thanks for your quick response and clarifications!

No more questions, just a link I just found while trawling the web for other info. I chanced upon a site that had side-by-side pictures of a eBk, a Franklin eBookman and a Palm V.

http://www.flatmtn.com/computer/eBoo...s.html#REB1100

Didn't know that the three are not that different in actual screen sizes. But I guess an inch difference here and there adds up.
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:58 AM   #7
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I too started using an 1150 reader about four months ago (when it was offered over Christmas at a reduced price). Reading my down-loaded novels on it is a pleasure. Conversion using the eBookwise Librarian is quite easy. I also convert .lit titles using readily-available free conversion software. However, in spite of my pleasure with the 1150, I have just switched to the Nokia 770 as my primary ebook reader, the excellent features of which were initially brought to my attention at: http://www.teleread.org/blog/?p=3994. This was done primarily because my wife also wanted an 1150, after seeing the use I was making of it. But instead of ordering her a separate one, I gave her mine and purchased the Nokia 770 (which was also on sale at the time for $299). I can pleasureably read my novels on either reader, but for now I prefer the Nokia. I am dubious about the upcoming eInk readers. The lack of a backlight and delay in page turning would not seem to lend themselves to my established reading ease and habits. Anyway, there's another opinion for you.
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:05 PM   #8
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Liviu, I'm with you there actually. I started out thinking that I could find one device to do it all! But as I realised as you did, getting a car that lets you cook dinner (an RV!) is not very convenient, and given the low price of each item, it may be better to just get each simple device for its own simple task.

Seriously considering the Ebk right now! but ...

ascherjim, I was looking at the 770 as well. Maybe you could post some pictures? Thanks!
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:14 PM   #9
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Snappy: I regret I'm not equipped to provide you with pictures. However, you might take a look at this web site: http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/nokia770.ars. Regards, Jim
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:46 AM   #10
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Hi,

As mentioned I am looking also at another device to complement my Ebk1150. From the good reviews provided here for the Nokia, I am seriously considering it, and I am going to check it out at my local CompUsa which have one in store (Amazon has Nokia 770 to sell from CompUsa so I checked only with them) They may have it at some other store like CC/BestBuy/Staples and the like, so if you have any such nearby check the Nokia out to see if it fits your needs.

Liviu



Quote:
Originally Posted by Snappy!
Liviu, I'm with you there actually. I started out thinking that I could find one device to do it all! But as I realised as you did, getting a car that lets you cook dinner (an RV!) is not very convenient, and given the low price of each item, it may be better to just get each simple device for its own simple task.

Seriously considering the Ebk right now! but ...

ascherjim, I was looking at the 770 as well. Maybe you could post some pictures? Thanks!
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