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Old 01-26-2019, 07:53 PM   #1
Cootey
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Unhappy Annotation and syncing

I've posted about this before last year or the year before, and thought it was time to revisit the topic since I'm still frustrated. Maybe some of you have suggestions that will help.

I have only two major complaints with my Kobo experience.

The first is that I find highlighting to be a cumbersome experience on my KA1 (and earlier) devices. Having a game of "find the handle" every time I want to highlight something is made even more frustrating when the highlight mechanism is so inaccurate that it highlights partial words, under and overcompensates, and often misses the sentence I want to highlight entirely. In short, it's a lot of work, especially considering how easy highlighting is on my Kindle Paperwhite.

This leads to my next bugaboo, which is the lack of syncing between Kobo apps and eReaders. Initially, I compensated for my Mini's and KA1's lousy highlighting ability by just opening up the Kobo app on my iPad. It was easier to type notes on the iPad, and highlighting in that app was gloriously easy. I spent weeks highlighting that way until I discovered that my annotations didn't sync back to my Kobo eReader. davidfor and I discussed previously how the sync happens one way, from eReader to app, and only the first time the book is opened on the iOS app. I haven't seen any improvements.

In short, I want to be able to interchangeably highlight and annotate from eReader to app. I can do this seamlessly on my Paperwhite and Kindle app. There was a day when Whispersync wasn't so hot (around 2010), but Amazon fixed it. Kobo hasn't made much progress in years. I annotate a lot. I resent not being able to do it easily with my KA1.

First of all, do any of you have these problems? Secondly, do you have any suggestions? Is there a patch that fixes this? Thanks.

Last edited by Cootey; 05-31-2019 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cootey View Post
I've posted about this before last year or the year before, and thought it was time to revisit the topic since I'm still frustrated. Maybe some of you have suggestions that will help.

I have only two major complaints with my Kobo experience.

The first is that I find highlighting to be a cumbersome experience on my KA1 (and earlier) devices. Having a game of "find the handle" every time I want to highlight something is made even more frustrating when the highlight mechanism is so inaccurate that it highlights partial words, under and overcompensates, and often misses the sentence I want to highlight entirely. In short, it's a lot of work, especially considering how easy highlighting is on my Kindle Paperwhite.
Adjusting the highlights using the handles has always been terrible. But, I find the initial highlighting works well on my devices, except maybe the Aura ONE. This means that if I don't get it right the first time, I just tap away and do it again. Most of my annotations are to mark an error, so I'm marking enough to make it easy to find in the editor. The highlighting was drastically improved early last year.

The problem for the Aura ONE is that the calibration of the touch is off. And it isn't consistent across the screen.

For adjusting the highlight, this changed in 4.11 and is a bit broken. It might work better, once you can actually get it going. As of 4.11, using the handles takes two actions. Firstly, they won't move if the menu is displayed. And it seems the best way to get them is to tap and drag a bit, release and do it again. The handles don't move the first time, but they do the second time.
Quote:
This leads to my next bugaboo, which is the lack of syncing between Kobo apps and eReaders. Initially, I compensated for my Mini's and KA1's lousy highlighting ability by just opening up the Kobo app on my iPad. It was easier to type notes on the iPad, and highlighting in that app was gloriously easy. I spent weeks highlighting that way until I discovered that my annotations didn't sync back to my Kobo eReader. davidfor and I discussed previously how the sync happens one way, from eReader to app, and only the first time the book is opened on the iOS app. I haven't seen any improvements.
It's weird, as sometimes it does work. I've been doing a little reading on my Android phone, and occasionally, the annotations (including bookmarks and highlights) will sync to and from it. And I fired up the app on my iPad, and they synced there, an annotation I created there synced to the phone, but not he Aura ONE. And, they aren't syncing to the other devices. That seems fairly new, as it has worked perfectly before. I can see some annotations from a week or so ago that have synced between the Aura ONE and Clara HD. Though, there is another reason that could be happening for me.

I wonder if the sync will happen to the other device or apps if they haven't been opened there? That is the only pattern I can see at the moment.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:36 PM   #3
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Now, for me, the highlights don't sync from the eReader to the app on my tablets and after syncing on the eReader the highlights disappear from the ebook but are still in the list of annotations. I tried the "repair account" function on the eReader and the app, but there was no change.
I had a similar with annotations in another ebook but even after the repair nothing immediately happened but after a day or so, the highlighting appeared in both the app and the eReader!
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Old 05-31-2019, 12:53 AM   #4
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Thank you for your replies. Unfortunately, my experience is very different from yours, davidfor.

I decided to test what you were reporting, and this is what happened when I examined the same book on four devices.

1. eBook on iphone app had no annotations or recent bookmark data.
2. eBook on iPad had recent bookmark data, but no annotations.
3. eBook on KA1 had recent bookmark data, but not all of the annotations. Syncing took seven minutes, stuck on "Updating annotations".
4. eBook on KA had the most recent page and annotations since I had been using it last. Syncing took seven minutes, stuck on "Updating annotations".
5. I repaired my accounts on both the KA1 & KA. No noticeable change in annotations. I could not repair the account using the iOS app. I could only pull to refresh. Syncing always only takes seconds, though.
6. I decided to remove the eBook from all devices except the KA since it had the page number and annotations I wanted.
7. I removed the eBook from the KA1 and synced. At first it took seven minutes, but the subsequent sync took only two. I resynced the KA. It still took seven minutes.
8. I removed the eBook from my iPad. This had the alarming effect of removing the book from my KA. I synced again. Two minutes.
9. I restored the ebook on my KA. NO ANNOTATIONS
10. I restored the ebook on my iPad. Current bookmark and annotations restored, but only from before Wednesday. The dozen or so annotations I had created on Wednesday were gone.
11. I restored the eBook on my KA1. NO ANNOTATIONS, but current bookmark was correct.
12. The eBook on my iPhone has no annotations and an no current bookmark.
13. Syncing on both KA & KA1 now takes under two minutes, but still sticks on "Updating annotations".

That was this morning. This evening the firmware update rolled out to my kobos. I installed it, repaired my accounts, and synced. Still no annotations, but current bookmark is finally correct.

Thank the digital gods that the iPad retrieved most of the annotations I made over the past six months. I'm still frustrated, though. I'll hold off asking further questions until you respond to this.

Last edited by Cootey; 05-31-2019 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 05-31-2019, 12:58 PM   #5
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The IOS app synced my highlights made in the Kobo Glo HD and show them both in the eBook and the List of Annotations. So far, the Android app has not. When the Kobo Glo HD goes into Sleep Mode, on "awakening", the highlights are not displayed in the ebook but are in the List. When it goes into Power Off Mode, on powering up, the ebook displays the highlights in the List of Annotations as well as the eBook (even if they had previously disappeared after "awakening" from Sleep Mode).
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:00 PM   #6
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Exclamation

This implies that there is a software bug in the Sleep Mode.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:55 AM   #7
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Davidfor,

Any ideas on how I can fix this to get my syncing to work as well as it does for you? I still do not experience annotation syncing. At this point, my iPad has dozens of annotations on a recently read book, but my KA1 and KA have none in the same book. Even after removing the download and redownloading the book, the KA1 didn't recognize the bookmark location from the iPad, though the iPad soon recognized the KA1's bookmark location. Annotations are still missing from the KA1. "Updating Annotations" still takes about 90 seconds or more. Marking the item "Finished" on the iPad changed the book's state on the KA1. The syncing is spotty at best.

Annotation syncing on my Kindle, in comparison, is seamless, painless, and complete across devices and platforms.

~Dˢ

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Old 06-13-2019, 02:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
The problem for the Aura ONE is that the calibration of the touch is off. And it isn't consistent across the screen.

For adjusting the highlight, this changed in 4.11 and is a bit broken. It might work better, once you can actually get it going. As of 4.11, using the handles takes two actions. Firstly, they won't move if the menu is displayed. And it seems the best way to get them is to tap and drag a bit, release and do it again. The handles don't move the first time, but they do the second time.
This explains so much. Yet I am already familiar with the dance I have to go through with the KA1 to get those handles just right. They require two taps and they are not very accurate. It is as you say. The best solution is to release and do it all over again.

I see this as a secondary issue to the sync issues I am experiencing. I tried highlighting on my daughter's Clara HD, and although zippier, the handles were just as abominable to align correctly. Yet I'd far prefer Kobo to fix annotation syncing across devices and platforms over fixing those fiddly handles.

While I await Kobo to eventually fix annotation sync, is there something I can do to force a sync? My Kobo devices are out of sync with my iOS Kobo apps.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cootey View Post
While I await Kobo to eventually fix annotation sync, is there something I can do to force a sync? My Kobo devices are out of sync with my iOS Kobo apps.
Sorry, I don't know. The above is how it was working at the time I tested. I don't read enough on the apps to need to try and sort this out. Plus my annotations are transitory, to mark errors or something to look up when I am at a computer. I generally remember that I have an annotation in each place to handle.
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:34 PM   #10
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So, I chatted with Kobo today and seemingly couldn't get a very straight answer. Something about an eight day delay, and something about not syncing between types of devices.

Me
My annotations are not syncing from my e-reader to my desktop app.
Chat started
Customer Service
Thanks for your message, please wait a moment while we connect you to one of our agents.

Support joined the chat

Support
Hi! Thank you for contacting Rakuten Kobo. My name is
Support and I will be more than happy to assist you. Could you please allow me a moment to read your request?

Me
yes

Support
I see.
Give me a moment
The reason is that sometimes the sync may take around 8 days

Me
Can you explain that a little further?
What exactly takes 8 days?

Support
The syn of the notes, marks or annotations when is from the eReader to the desktop

Me
I see. So, I should be able to look at a book that I read months ago on the e-reader and see the annotations on the desktop now after syncing the desktop?

Support
Yes

Me
Let me check.
So to clarify..
it's eight days after the e-reader is synced?
then the desktop should be able to sync and see them immediately?

Support
Correct

Me
I'm not seeing them :-(

Support
Give me a moment

Me
e.g.
I opened an old book on the desktop.. and don't see any annotations.
My e-reader detected that I opened that book and put it first in my book list on the e-reader.
I opened the book on the e-reader and see all of the annotations.

Support
Before that, you need to sync the device, with the desktop too

Me
I've synced them both multiple times.

Support
After you sync the device, please allow 8 days

Me
And the e-reader has been synced every day for the last 3 months since I read this book.
it was synced every day months ago while I was reading and annotating it every day
but none of those annotations are on the desktop
I also just now added an annotation via the desktop and don't see that on the e-reader either.

Support
Whenever you make sync it's like the time reset for the device, so you have to allow again 8 days

Me
uh, I don't understand.
are you saying that all of the desktop annotations are deleted for eight days after an e-reader is synced?
"desktop annotations" = annotations made on e-reader that were previously synced to desktop
like.. I should be able to see the annotations that synced from my e-reader a month ago, right? even if I sync my e-reader again today?
the 8 days should only be for new annotations on the e-reader since last sync, no?

Support
Apparently, the sync is only between devices
Or apps, the only way that the annotations will appear on the desktop is when you sync 2 desktop apps

Me
Do annotations show up on apps (ios/android)?
"show up" = sync to apps from e-reader

Support
Yes

Me
Let me check.
Is there any delay before showing up?
I'm not seeing the annotations there, either :-(

Support
It usually takes 8 days

Me
Is there a way for me to export the annotations I've made on my e-reader?

Support
Basically, eReader will sync the annotations with another eReader, App to App and Desktop to Desktop

Me
Ok, so e-reader will NOT sync to app?
will not sync annotations, that is
Is that correct?

Support
Just like I said before
Between the same devices or apps

Me
Ok, thanks. So is there a way to export the annotations I've made on my e-reader?
Or in some way get them off of my e-reader?

Support
Let's try to sync it today please
After 8 days check if there was any change in the Desktop
I'll be pending on you
If something happens

Me
Okay, I'll try.
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:19 PM   #11
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To answer my "export the annotations" questions from the Support chat, I found this: https://www.matteopezzi.com/how-to-e...-on-kobo-aura/

While this doesn't help with syncing, it does at least let me preserve my annotation history.. just in case.
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
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To answer my "export the annotations" questions from the Support chat, I found this: https://www.matteopezzi.com/how-to-e...-on-kobo-aura/

While this doesn't help with syncing, it does at least let me preserve my annotation history.. just in case.
For the record, there are several ways to get annotations from the Kobo devices. If you search here you will find posts from me outlining them, including that one. It's probably been a couple of years since I last posted the list, but, nothing has changed and it is still correct.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:36 AM   #13
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It depends on what you are doing with the annotations, if Annotations Plugin or Kobo Utilities plugin (both in Calibre and both work) is most suitable.
Annotations Plugin: Can fetch for ALL books and puts result in book Custom Metadata. Works for other things than Kobo.
Kobo Utilities: Quickly fetches for selected book. Best suited for copy/paste into an external file per book, such as when proof editing one large novel.
AFAIK, "davidfor" maintains both of these.
There may be a third method in Calibre.
It's only with the Sony eReader that I DON'T use Calibre for Annotations, and its PC application is only Windows/Mac and horrid. So I use Calibre and Kobo as I have entirely migrated to Linux after nearly 30 years, though I've done Linux servers since 1998.
I only occasionally use the Kindle for annotation.
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