Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Iliad: nice screen, but work in progress (3)

Yesterday I indicated that the iLiad was neither a tablet nor a PDA. AS it stands now the it is a container which can hold particular text documents with a mechanism to leaf through the documents. This sounds very basic. At present I have not seen interactivity, which I was already used to in the second generation of e-books.

Having entered a few books, I started to look at the table of content and select a chapter to look at. No dice. In a printed book you can see the page number and go to it. The iLiad has a page bar on the bottom, indicating the number of pages (see photograph). Every page is represented by a symbol, but not by a page number. Once you know the page where a chapter begins, you take your stylus and guess where the chapter starts. You tick on a symbol of the half of the amount of pages if you have to hit page 63 out of 100. From there you will have to refine your page search. A feature to make the table of content interactive is badly needed.

One of the advantages of digitisation is the hyperlinking. You jump through the text back and forth in order to pick up relevant information. If a document contains hyperlinking, iLiad will not offer this facility yet.

Another facility which I took for granted was the zoom-in and zoom-out or the text bubble in order to enlarge text. I supposed this facility to be present as in the photographs of among other the newspaper De Tijd the image of a page is kept and the article that you are interested in can clicked upon with the stylus. So far I have been unable to discover such a facility. The document in the 7 point font will not be magnified nor can you zoom into the text fragment.

For this instalment I will close the electronic book. Next time I open the device it will not automatically come back to my last page, where I left off. If I want to continue reading, I have two choices. One is to leave the device on with the page I was reading; remember only turning pages consumes power. Or I will have to power up the device again, I will have to select the book, remember the page and try to find this on the page bar.

Another luxery feature missing while we are talking about reading. There is only one way the pages presented on the iLiad. The top of the page starts under the iRex logo and has a portrait lay-out. But you can not use the iLiad in landscape mode.

So far there is not much interactivity available yet in the iLiad. There are basic functionalities, which hardly go beyond the functionalities of a printed book. So it will need a real boost in software development. It is surprising that after the demise of the second wave of electronic books, the software developed for that generation has completely been ignored or even bought from Gemstar. I still have a working Rocket book and I would love to have the screen of the iLiad on it.

Tags: e-book, ,

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