Friday, August 8, 2008

PDF support is ... not impressive

After buying "Making Money", I also downloaded a set of different papers on Arrows , Category Theory, Lambda calculus and of course, Philip Wadler's excellent paper on monads (to honor him) into the Gen3.

Of course, one expects to be able to zoom if the pdf doesn't fit well. This is what I thought, but alas; no. The pdf in question was not readable unless I used an electron microscope, even if I set the layout to "Landscape" and "Fit to width", searching the documentation for zoom availability, it is never mentioned how you zoom manually. After some time, I resigned, accepting the harsh fact that there is no manual zoom levels available for the Gen3, what is referred to as "zoom", is actually the three different fits "Fit page, Fit to width, Fit height", which can be used in combination with "Landscape" and "Portrait", giving a total of 2*3 = 6 different "zooms" (most being equally or worse unreadable with a PDF).

A bit shocked by this, I surfed in on the Bookeen page, and found the forums, doing a quick search on "PDF support" or simply "PDF", reveals yet a shocking fact! Most readers out there seem to have the same problem! So, the solution?

Cropping. Simply remove all the white edges on your documents, (another forum post suggested converting the whole PDF into images), I must admit I haven't tested that, since the cropping method worked fine for me. Of course, you must have some program for this, but Adobe Acrobat Pro will suffice perfectly. On linux, imagemagick's convert should work as well. There are surely hundreds of different solutions to this, but It did the trick for me; fortunately I had Adobe Acrobat Pro in Windows Vista, thus making this easy.

It sucks not to be able to zoom with different manual levels, it sucks that almost no portable eBook reader handles PDF in a descent way. Cropping is your answer for the moment, converting the PDFs into another format will only degenerate the PDF-file to something unreadable. This must be fixed in firmware releases.

Selecting Advanced -> Advanced Editing -> Crop Tool -> "Remove white margins" made the PDFs extremely more readable with Landscape -> Fit to width.


No comments: