How do you read electronic documents?

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How do you read electronic documents?

Post  neutralrobotboy on Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:34 am

I'm curious about how people make use of electronic reading material. I don't know if I'm an unusual case, but there's only so much time I can spend in a chair looking at a computer screen these days before I start to find the experience pretty miserable. When I'm reading on a computer screen, my concentration level goes way down. Does anyone else have similar issues?

As an anecdote of the extreme this can reach, there was an article a friend sent me to read, it was only a few pages but it was in-depth material and densely written. It was subject matter that really interested me, but I could not face down the prospect of reading it on a computer screen. It sat unread on my desktop for about a year before I coincidentally stumbled across it in print and was able to read through it quickly and without issue.

As a result of the above, I will often print something out if it's long and I really want to read it. I've got a reliable HP laserjet and can print things reasonably cheaply these days, though there is still some cost for paper and toner refills. Do other people do things like this? Does anyone here read on ebook readers or other portable devices rather than the computer screen? It seems like this could be something useful to know for a project like digimob.

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  Frater_NS on Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:51 am

I've got the same problem, I can only read eBooks on a computer screen for a short time before giving up and ending up printing it. Rolling Eyes
There is something nice and tactile about having a dead tree in your hands.

Perversely, I can read from the iPhone screen and often convert eBooks and use Stanza to read while traveling to work on the train.

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  sendoshin on Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:30 am

I've been working my way through the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (I don't have #12, but I have the rest, including the short stories (unless he's written more than the three I have)) on my Palm LifeDrive. PalmOne doesn't make LifeDrives anymore, which is a shame. It's a PDA with 4GB of onboard storage (64MB application memory, if I recall accurately...) and an SD slot, which makes it pretty handy for all sorts of things. I've had it for around four years now, and I still use it often. Mostly for reading these days. I'm hoping its recent trip into the bathtub hasn't ruined it forever. Sad

Update: A few of the buttons are a bit messed up, but otherwise it's working just as well as it did before it played submarine. All is well with the world!

I can read things on a computer screen for hours on end, but I tend to multitask more in front of a keyboard, so when I want to read seriously I tend to turn to my trusty PDA. PDFs don't convert awesomely to such a small screen, but they are usable. More often I use the Palm eReader software (not from Palm, incidentally). A simple converter brings .lit (Microsoft Reader) documents over to a format I can use (.pdb), and away I go. Being able to read the various offerings in the releases on my PDA would be pretty nice. But it would be difficult to offer everything in every format that readers would want or need. The releases are already fairly hefty as it is.

Maybe we can put together a software release, with some simple (and free) converters for PDF-to-whatever? That way, we can continue to offer files in PDF format, and users can convert them (if needed) to whatever format they wish to use them in? Alternately, we could place links to the download pages for our favorite converters in the .nfo file planned for distribution with future releases. One or the other is worth a shot, I'd say.

- Sendoshin

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  neutralrobotboy on Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:44 pm

Those buttons might work again in a few days, once the water evaporates. I've found that small devices like that usually recover eventually. I don't think that including conversion software is a very good idea. That's almost a separate project, you'll never think of every type of conversion, maintenance and support would start to be an issue, and most importantly: If the end-user really wants that done, he/she probably already has the tools for it.

I also think that including links with releases is not such a good idea. Web resources shift around. Personally I think a good links page would do the trick if this seemed important. Maybe standardized formatting could be something to think about too? Dunno.

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:19 pm

I print pages or sections and put them in three-ring-binders. All my e-reading is done from my home terminal. If I'm on my laptop I'm probably busy doing etc.

I don't have an iPhone, but my phone is dreadfully obsolete and I've every intention of getting one in the relatively near future. But I may just as well get an iTablet or whatever the fuck they call it! Very Happy
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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  sendoshin on Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:59 pm

I should have mentioned the possibility of a links page, too, while I was at it. I had certainly thought of the idea. The easiest method would be a forum post that is maintained regularly. The problem I can see is if we change hosting at some point after providing the link to the links page. A minor issue, really, since we've dealt with similar changes in the past.

Ultimately not up to me, though.

- Sendoshin

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  Khephra on Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:52 am

I should have mentioned the possibility of a links page, too, while I was at it.

We have a thread for that. Smile




As for the OP, I also have an iPhone and make liberal use of Stanza. Smile

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  individ on Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:13 pm

I use an Iriver Story (which lacks the copy protection of some of the other ereaders) so that downloaded content is fine.

The display is an e-ink screen, it doesn't use light to display.. it feels like reading from slightly glossy cardboard (like a grey cereal box) I'd absolutely recommend it as I'm the same and reading from a monitor for a prolonged time isn't something I can bring myself to do.

I didn't realise those kind of ereaders existed until I found the digimob downloads and was looking for a way to read all the content that interested me.. even with the price tags on ereaders the amount of money (and effort in finding the content) saved is unbelievable.

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  neutralrobotboy on Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:59 pm

individ wrote:I use an Iriver Story (which lacks the copy protection of some of the other ereaders) so that downloaded content is fine.

The display is an e-ink screen, it doesn't use light to display.. it feels like reading from slightly glossy cardboard (like a grey cereal box) I'd absolutely recommend it as I'm the same and reading from a monitor for a prolonged time isn't something I can bring myself to do.

I didn't realise those kind of ereaders existed until I found the digimob downloads and was looking for a way to read all the content that interested me.. even with the price tags on ereaders the amount of money (and effort in finding the content) saved is unbelievable.

Interesting! I've really liked the few iriver products I've used. I'll probably check that out, actually. Printing is a pain also, though I think there's always gonna be something about holding a stack of pages in my hands...

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  neutralrobotboy on Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:09 pm

Khephra wrote:
I should have mentioned the possibility of a links page, too, while I was at it.

We have a thread for that. Smile




As for the OP, I also have an iPhone and make liberal use of Stanza. Smile

Almost forgot to reply to this one. One thing that would be excellent about a separate links page is that people could come here and not have to go hunting through forum posts to find it. Also, I don't think that every time a new link comes up in the forums, it also goes in that thread...

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  sendoshin on Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:03 pm

neutralrobotboy wrote:Also, I don't think that every time a new link comes up in the forums, it also goes in that thread...
Given that I've taken a peek at the thread in question and it didn't really contain anything, I'd have to agree with NRB. After all, how can links end up someplace that not everyone is aware exists?

Whether via forum thread or separate links page, the list should be maintained by someone. There should be a way for users to submit new links, though links should be checked before actually being added to prevent abuse, and existing links should be checked for accuracy regularly, i.e. in case of a linked site moving elsewhere or shutting down.

Just my thoughts on it.

individ wrote:I use an Iriver Story (which lacks the copy protection of some of the other ereaders) so that downloaded content is fine.

The display is an e-ink screen...
I've wanted an e-ink device for some time now... Ought to look into that...

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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:16 pm

sendoshin wrote:Whether via forum thread or separate links page, the list should be maintained by someone. There should be a way for users to submit new links, though links should be checked before actually being added to prevent abuse, and existing links should be checked for accuracy regularly, i.e. in case of a linked site moving elsewhere or shutting down.

In case you haven't noticed, man-power is a premium around here. There are dozens of things that might be nice, but if the essentials aren't covered it's all for naught.
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Re: How do you read electronic documents?

Post  sendoshin on Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:01 pm

I've noticed. However, I'm here.

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