Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - using as a general e-Reader

Anything about eReaders. If you want really deep discussion, though, go to mobileread.com.
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daniel_reetz
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Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - using as a general e-Reader

Post by daniel_reetz » 12 Feb 2014, 00:27

So, I finally bought a new ebook reader. I bought the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9".

Why did I choose this e-reader?
1. The screen. It is high enough resolution to handle any scan format, not just plain text.
2. I am a pretty big user of Amazon products and services, so their integration is less evil to me than, say, Apple.
3. The screen size feels about right to me (my phone is a Galaxy Note 2 and it is too small; I had a Sprint Flyer that wasn't far enough away from that phone to be right).
4. It's lightweight and has a good battery life so I won't mind hauling it everywhere.

What sucks about this reader?
1. Custom Android - no Google Play store. This can be hacked but it sucks not to have stock Android.
2. Amazon lock-in.
3. No high-quality stylus, like I have on my phone.

My hope is to put every book I've ever scanned or downloaded onto this device.

I'd like to be able to:
1. Read any/all of the books I've scanned or downloaded.
2. Search through all of them.
3. Annotate any of them by stylus, finger, or on-screen highlighter.
4. "Clip" any page, part of page, or bit of text into some kind of "notebook" archive thingy.

I'll be slowly working through this list.

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daniel_reetz
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Re: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - using as a general e-Reader

Post by daniel_reetz » 12 Feb 2014, 00:31

First thing I did was connect the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 to my Windows 7 64Bit Pro PC with a micro-USB cable. Thankfully, I got immediate direct access to the flash memory onboard:
KindleFireHDXflash.jpg
That gives me hope that I can just "side-load" all my PDF content onto the device. That means that, instead of using the Amazon/Kindle ecosystem, I can just read what I want and already have by copying the books onto the device.

Next I'll try actually doing that.

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Re: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - using as a general e-Reader

Post by daniel_reetz » 12 Feb 2014, 00:34

Here's a page on transferring content to this device. Basically, it says connect via micro-USB and copy the relevant PDF to the "Documents" folder. Seems easy enough.

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Re: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - using as a general e-Reader

Post by daniel_reetz » 12 Feb 2014, 10:42

Well, so it turns out that the built-in PDF reader is not usable for my purposes.

Positives:
1. It's VERY VERY Fast. Faster than a PDF on my desktop. Instantaneous in every way. For most books, the pages look great and I'm happy with the side-scrolling view.
2. It reads PDFs out of the on-device memory with no hassle.

Negatives:
1. No search.
2. No highlight.
3. No clip.
4. No save.
5. No bookmarks.

:\

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Re: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - using as a general e-Reader

Post by abmartin » 12 Feb 2014, 11:47

That's a great size for a reader. I have a ten inch which is great to read, but is a little big to hold with one hand while doing so (and I'm 6'6"/198cm). It's also awkward to carry. My Dad has a seven inch which is great for portability and comfort but just too small to read pdfs with small text in portrait mode. (On the 10 inch I only need Landscape mode for big dictionaries with tiny text. For things like my Oxford Latin Dictionary, I even have to do a little zooming) You've definitely picked right for size, in my experience at least.

I have about 1500 pdf/djvu files on my tablet. About half are Jstor-type journal articles, about half are books I've scanned in.

My process is to put all of my files in Calibre. Then, I can use the "save to disk" feature to save the files onto a MicroSD card. Unfortunately, my tablet only connects via MTP and PTP, so I can't just plug in like you. I have a couple different file-naming templates that I use depending if a book is in a series or not.

For reading on the Tablet, I use Document Viewer, a fork of Ebookdroid made after the developer went closed source. https://github.com/dschuermann/document-viewer. It renders pretty quickly with pdf and djvu files. (uses djvulibre and mupdf libraries) I haven't tried comic book formats. It has a search function and some notetaking functions as well. (I've never really tried them, so I can't speak to how they work) It is being actively developed. It has a bookshelf browsing view and a file browser as well. (The bookshelves seem to crash on me once I got the library up in size. I haven't yet filed a bug report on it though, so I can't complain. The file browser is more efficient anyway) It can also handle epubs, but I prefer other programs for that.

If you can't get the real play store, perhaps you might be able to install the F-Droid repository. They host F/OSS apps. https://f-droid.org/ I rarely need the play store for software now. If you can't install their repository, you can get binaries from their website. The downside is that you lose out on the update functionality. Here's their Document Viewer page: https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/? ... ure.viewer

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Re: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - using as a general e-Reader

Post by daniel_reetz » 12 Feb 2014, 23:00

Thanks for the software recommendations! I'm testing out ezPDF from the Amazon App store, and it's just OK in terms of speed, and it's UI is pretty ugly. I'll check out the others, as well as f-droid. Open source is really the way I'd like to go, but at this point I'll use anything that delivers on an excellent reading experience.

I am now convinced that the 8.9" super-HD display is the perfect mate to a DIY scanner. The images are incredible, no pixelation at all, and it handles camera images straight from the camera. There's also enough resolution to have two pages up in landscape mode with just a little squint.

With my hand spread out, I can *just* grab across the entire tablet in portrait mode. It's slightly too large for my hand that way, but the whole thing is so light and thin that it's not a big deal to grip it in my left hand from the edge.

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