Sugar unusable as an e-book reader

david at lang.hm david at lang.hm
Mon Oct 27 00:19:17 EDT 2008


I just gave up on trying to use my XO to read e-books (build 767)

I downloaded the book (~250 pages) from Baen in every format they offer, 
and used openoffice to convert the rtf to .pdf.

I'm not surprised that it couldn't understand any of the propriatary 
formats, so that left .rtf, .html, and .pdf

opening the document in .rtf sometimes works, but about half the time the 
XO sits and works for about 30 seconds then goes back to the screen you 
were on before. even when it does work it opens the document in write, not 
in reader, so you have the cursor moving around (for editing) and it's 
very hard to page through things to just read the document

I was completly unable to copy the doument from the USB stick to the local 
system and have it show up in the journal. when I hit copy things blinked 
for a few seconds and then nothng.

opening the book in .html just produces a lot of errors becouse the book 
is spread across lots of files, and the jurnal isolation mechanisms copy 
the file being opened to a temporary directory, where all the links to the 
other files don't work.

even worse, it produces what look like multiple overlapping error 
messages, but the first one just keep reappearing when you try to clear 
it, so it's impossible to see what the other errors are.

opening the book in .pdf comes the closest to working. I was still unable 
to copy the document, so I had to try and read with the USB stick haning 
out of the machine. I could zoom so that the text is the width of the 
screen, but after doing so I was unable to center the text (the arrow 
buttons move the text in overly large steps.

the fit-to-screen option works well if the text goes all the way to the 
margins, but most documents don't do that. what's needed here is an 
ability to say 'fit the content on the page to the screen' and have it 
zoom and center based on the actual content, not on the page size (I know 
this issignificantly harder to do, but it really is needed)

the full-screen mode is useless as the large icon to revert back to normal 
covers up the text in the upper corner.

paging through the book was difficult becouse of the overlap betwen the 
pages, after each page-down action I had to re-locate where I was (could 
you do something like put a light grey background under the text that 
overlaps?

it also takes 2-3 seconds to paint each screen.


I actually purchased 25 e-books, but couldn't get the rtf zip file to 
work. when I tried putting all the html versions on a USB stick I was 
completely unable to find anything becouse there ended up being >1300 
individual files on the USB stick, and with the journal insisting on 
flattening them out to one long list it was impossible to do anything 
useful with them.

even when I just had the one book in different formats the journal made it 
very difficult to tell them apart (I had to go to the command line and 
touch the files so that they had different timestamps and then remember 
'the one from today is .rtf, the one from yesterday is .pdf, the one from 
the day before is .html, etc)


David Lang


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