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Nov. 8th, 2016

I have a new e-reader

After the untimely destruction of my last one (lesson learned: don't read while walking, at least not unless you have seriously rugged your e-reader to take a lot of impact), I got a replacement today. I briefly considered just getting the same model again, because I liked my PocketBook Lux Touch 3, but actually it now cost 12€ more than eleven months ago when I bought it, and it would have been kind of depressing to get just the same again for more money now that the tech is almost a year older.

So instead I spent a little more still to get the new PocketBook Touch HD, which as the name indicates has a HD display, is faster with twice the memory and can play audio. My preference for PocketBook is that I want to be able to use my e-reader without having to register it anywhere or be associated with any store. PocketBook offers a cloud backup and synchronization service too, but you can just skip that. Also it supports the Adobe DRM my public library uses.

One thing that made me apprehensive is that while most reviews liked the hardware they cautioned about bugs in the firmware. Some reviews also claimed that it stopped working entirely when they tried to update said firmware, but I put these down to inexperience in coping with technical difficulties.

I was already familiar with how horrible and glitchy their firmware updates are from my previous PocketBook, but they also offer multiple ways of troubleshooting, restoring corrupted systems and their support is decent.

And true to form the thing hung during the initial firmware update, but actually it resolved more easily than last time. After a call to their support line, it took only one reset and connecting the e-reader to my laptop during the update for it to finish correctly. Apparently the thing likes to be connected to a power supply while updating, and may hang if it is not, even if it is nearly fully charged. Only the manual doesn't tell you that. (I was clever enough this time around to try this during their office hours, whereas last time I tried over the weekend and only got an answer to my, then slightly different, problem via mail on Monday, when I had already managed to resolve it with a lot of trial and error.)

Anyway, once I was past that (and disabled automatic updates), so far it seems to work okay when I tried stuff, though some problems might only show with longer use. I mean, my previous one has glitched a few times with books for no reason I could discern, like it would sometimes not display a page but exit to the menu, even though when I checked the ebook source code in that place on my computer I could never see anything unusual (like broken formatting or code or such) that might explain this. It wasn't happening often, maybe half a dozen times per several hundreds of files, but still annoying. And a few times it crashed for no reason, so even picking the old one again I would not have been bug-free.

The HD display of the new one is noticeably nicer and crisper than my previous one, and it is faster when loading things, when browsing the library and when reacting in general. So that is very nice. It connects fine to Calibre (though the translation of Calibre tags into "genres" is not ideal for my use of tags in particular with fanfic), and its own library organization got even better than previously.

Anyway so far I'm happy with it.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/595083.html. | comment count unavailable comments
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Dec. 17th, 2015

e-reader advice?

Currently I use a 7-inch Nexus tablet for e-book reading, and that suits me fairly well, i.e. I like that I can't just read books but also have a browser, can check email etc., the screen works well enough except in bright sunlight, and the features of the ebook apps are decent, but I run into issues with the battery life semi-frequently, and the tablet does not recharge very quickly either.

I don't think I have extreme battery demands, but say I recharge it fully overnight, then take the tablet with me, use it intermittently throughout the day, and it connected to wlans a couple of times, and then back home I want to read an e-book for several hours that same evening, that may not work without recharging, or at least without running the charge really low. And then recharging it from something as low as 10% battery to full again can take longer than seven hours, which is annoying.

So I am considering whether I shouldn't get a dedicated e-reader for those times when I want to read an e-book or fanfic for several hours. I would consider a newer tablet, but I'm not sure those are really significantly better when it comes to battery life, especially the ones priced in the mid-range. Also there don't seem to be many 7-inch ones around anymore, and I don't actually want a larger device. Mine easily fits not just in my purse, but also into the inside pockets of coats and parkas and such, which a 10-inch or even 8-inch one wouldn't, whereas e-readers, which tend to smaller sized would.

So now I'm wondering which e-readers are good. I do not want an Amazon Kindle, because most of the non-fanfic e-books I read come from my public library which uses epub (often with Adobe's DRM), and I don't want a device that doesn't support different formats natively. And all the fanfic I have already downloaded for reading on my tablet is in epub too. I know that I can convert things via Calibre, but I refuse to get a specialized e-book reading device that then can't even read different e-book formats. That is just ridiculous, IMO.

So does anyone have good experiences with current non-Kindle e-readers that would fit my criteria? (Not too big, good battery life, support for different e-book formats including library e-books, easy transfer of fanfic e-books to the device via Calibre, decent search and sorting options for finding books again on the device are sort of the essentials)

From looking at tests, comparisons and my library's e-reader info sheet, the ones I'm currently considering most is the Pocketbook Touch Lux 3 and the Bookeen Cybook Muse Frontlight. I also looked at the Kobo Glo HD, but I am not thrilled with this forced registration you apparently have to do to use your own device.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/579005.html. | comment count unavailable comments

Aug. 30th, 2013

retail therapy...

I bought myself a Nexus 7 tablet. Right now I'm still really confused by it. It doesn't help that the thing has no instruction manual whatsoever. Seriously, just a slip of paper with a URL for Google's online help that also points out on an image which button to press to turn the device on, which I guess is somewhat useful because there are no symbols near the two buttons, so nothing to tell you that the smaller is the on switch and the larger the volume control, but it is a *bit* minimalist as far as documentation goes. This is especially hilarious as the warranty information card tells me that I ought to read the instruction manual and only use it in accordance with that to not void the warranty...

Also I have barely looked at two or three things and Google already prodded me four times to sign up for Google+. I mean, I expected to decline once during sign-up, but it wants me to turn on various Google services with bizarre frequency, as seemingly every icon I look at wants me to agree to allow Google to sign me up for something, or track me and share my data even while I'm not using that particular thing to "enhance" something or other, like it wants to share location info with search services and then turn on the Google web search history (which I have disabled), and allow it to share that data with whomever.

I still have to find out how I can get stuff I already have on my computer, like ebooks, onto it easily. And decide which ebook reader app I ought to use. There seem to be quite many of them. In case that you use an android device as an ereader, do you have a favorite? Also what other apps do you like? This is the first time I'm using something like this, so I'm a bit lost.

ETA: And now it just signed me up for Youtube without me doing anything besides clicking on a demo video for an ereader app, wtf?

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/528334.html. | comment count unavailable comments
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retail therapy...

I bought myself a Nexus 7 tablet. Right now I'm still really confused by it. It doesn't help that the thing has no instruction manual whatsoever. Seriously, just slip of paper with a URL for Google's online help that also points out which button to press to turn the device on, which I guess is somewhat useful because there are no symbols near the two buttons, so nothing to tell you that the smaller is the on switch and the larger the volume control, but it is a *bit* minimalist as far as documentation goes. This is especially hilarious as the warranty information card tells me that I ought to read the instruction manual and only use it in accordance with that to not void the warranty...

Also I have barely looked at two or three things and Google already prodded me four times to sign up for Google+. I mean, I expected to decline once during sign-up, but it wants me to turn on various Google services with bizarre frequency, as seemingly every icon I look at wants me to agree to allow Google to sign me up for something, or track me and share my data even while I'm not using that particular thing to "enhance" something or other, like it wants to share location info with search services and then turn on the Google web search history (which I have disabled), and allow it to share that data with whomever.

I still have to find out how I can get stuff I already have on my computer, like ebooks, onto it easily. And decide which ebook reader app I ought to use. There seem to be quite many of them. In case that you use an android device as an ereader, do you have a favorite? Also what other apps do you like? This is the first time I'm using something like this, so I'm a bit lost.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/528334.html. | comment count unavailable comments
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Feb. 7th, 2013

computers are weird sometimes

A few weeks back I thought my laptop had died because it wouldn't turn on, but shut down again after I pressed the On-button. And then after a while for no reason I could discern after several tries, when I was ready to bring it in for service, it worked again after all.

I think I now know what happened, because just now I accidentally selected "suspend" rather than "shut down" from the log off menu, and unlike the automatic suspend that happens after a certain time to save power, and out which I can rouse my laptop like it is supposed to (by pressing the then blinking on button for slightly longer), it wouldn't come out this suspend. And when I turned it off completely and then on, it went into the same half-inert state, where you can't turn it on anymore, but it just makes some noise, blinks a little, and then powers off again. However knowing that it was a suspend gone horribly wrong, after turning it off via the on-button, I disconnected it from the power completely and took out the battery too for good measure (though I didn't do that last time) on the theory that being completely without power ought to stop any "suspending", and then put the battery back in, and afterwards it turned on normally.

So I assume that last time when I thought I had shut it off I also accidentally landed on the "suspend" which is apparently buggy in some way. (I have to look into whether I can customize that stupid option out of the menu to avoid clicking it accidentally.) It's reassuring that knowing this, it seems much less likely that some hardware part is going in a glitchy way, and that maybe I don't have to be so anxious about the laptop after all.

I still have been much better about backing up since then, and keep doing that.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/509826.html. | comment count unavailable comments
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Jan. 15th, 2013

my laptop died :( :( :(

My laptop won't boot anymore. It just makes some noises and then shuts down again. :(

I did have the foresight to buy a four year extended warranty when I got it, which is useful, since it is just after the two year usual one (quite suspicious that), so I ought to get it repaired on that. But of course I was less than scrupulous about backing up all my stuff (my last full backup is some weeks old), and my creaky, old desktop is not as nice to use, and of course you can't take a desktop to use it from the comfort of your bed covered by a warm blanket either. And who knows how long the repair will take.

So I'm likely to be around less online with this inconvenience. :(

ETA: Maybe it's not quite dead? Just before bringing it to the store I tried one last time to boot it, just to be sure not to embarrass myself (I've had that happen in the past that in the store a computer suddenly changed its mind about being broken), and this time, unlike the last four or five times I tried to turn it on, the laptop booted normally, pretending it hadn't played dead brick for the last few hours. Obviously right now I'm scrambling to do the backing up I'd neglected, to get all my data.

The logs I looked at, do not show anything for the time around 2am last night when I turned it off and the boot now. Obviously right now I'm highly suspicious of the laptop. Once all my data is copied, I'll risk turning it off and see whether it'll start again. I hope it'll remain non-dead *crosses fingers*, to spare myself the repair hassle, though even if it does, my trust in it is severely shaken.

ETA2: I finished the backup, and the laptop turns on again after I turn it off. So for now I'll hold off from bringing it for repair, as obviously I can't reproduce its total failure, which is both good (because I have a functioning laptop) and bad (because it feels more unreliable than the usual computer having failed me for no reason I can discern). I guess I just have to be very diligent about backups and hope for the best.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/504020.html. | comment count unavailable comments

Jan. 12th, 2013

I accidentally inverted the color of my Firefox tabs

Does anyone know how to undo this? I must have pressed the wrong key combination, but I don't know what I pressed (I wanted to press Ctrl+T to open an new tab), and now instead of dark on light my Firefox tabs except the active one have light writing on dark background. It's a bit disorienting. I can't find a corresponding setting in the menu.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/503208.html. | comment count unavailable comments

Sep. 13th, 2012

why do they always have to fiddle with everything?

I've accessed Google Docs for the first time in a while, and apparently they are discontinuing it? Instead there will be a "Google Drive" for which you need to download some program that doesn't even have a Linux version? *siiigh*

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/482006.html. | comment count unavailable comments
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Aug. 16th, 2012

WTF?

What happened to the AO3? It doesn't load for me, instead some "parked domain" page with sponsored advertising shows for me. Argh. I really need to learn to save stories I'm in the middle of reading, rather than just have FF remember the URLs in its tabs.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/477200.html. | comment count unavailable comments
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Dec. 6th, 2010

I bought a new laptop

It is a rather cheap one, having cost €400 (plus a bit over €20 for an extended repair warranty lasting four years which I thought was worth it to reassure me that I'll get use out of my investment for a while), but this was still quite a big expense for me. It's a HP 625, and it came with a SuSE Enterprise Linux trial thing, but I've just installed Ubuntu on it, because from what I understood you have to pay Novell for using the updates or something like that. I suppose I might already have paid with the computer and would have just needed to register, but I couldn't find any sensible instructions, and while I used older SuSE Linux in the past, this one's interface wasn't all that great when I checked it out.

Also the guy in the store where I bought it recommended installing an new Linux anyway, saying that the Linux on it wasn't a regular version, but he had assured me that he had installed Ubuntu without problems on this model. And because I didn't have to pay for a Windows license, I got more memory and a larger hard disk than the version of the laptop that was sold with Windows at this price. So I have 4GB RAM and a 320GB disk.

So far everything works really nicely. The Ubuntu install went okay overall, though my first try, when I choose to download updates right away stalled with a bizarre I/O error at the end right before the restart, and left me with a non-starting system, but my second try to install what was on the CD then download updates later worked out. Unlike with my old laptop (may it RIP) with this one the power management and battery monitor works under linux, and the wireless worked right away, also it can do the better encryption, so now my wlan is safer since I could enable that in my router. Sound, touchpad, graphic acceleration work too. The fan is not too loud, and it doesn't seem to heat up too much either. The keyboard is quite nice too, though I keep thinking the keys ought to be further to the left, because unlike my last one this laptop has the special keys on the left side, but I ought to get used to that soon enough. I haven't yet checked everything, and still have to customize a lot, but it seems really promising.
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Nov. 27th, 2010

there goes my last hope to get my data back

I managed to get a decent screwdriver, and got the disk out of its metal frame and connected to another computer, but the desktop doesn't even recognize the thing as a hard disk. I mean, not just that it can't read the file system, but it doesn't recognize what manner of thing hangs onto its USB port. So short of CSI-level data recovery technomagic, which I can't afford, I won't get anything on that disk back. Waaaahh.
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Nov. 26th, 2010

computer woes, continued: defeated by screws

In the last installment my beloved laptop died, not recognizing its hard disk any longer, without the option to rescue anything from a Live CD, as its DVD drive had died a while ago.

Anyway, in an attempt to maybe salvage some of the lost data (my first HD failure since 1998, I've been complacent about frequent backups) I got myself an SATA/IDE to USB converter thingy, hoping to plug that into the disk, and then follow a data recovery guide, which explains how to image a damaged disk (I also got a shiny new external hard disk with plenty of space so I can store it) to then do repair work on that image and hopefully salvage stuff.

However, before I even got to that stage I've been defeated by screws. I got the disk out of the laptop okay, but it is in a metal frame you slide in, and the cable of the converter does not fit onto the disk while it is in the metal thing. But I can't get the screws loose. They don't budge at all, the only effect I'm having is denting my screw driver head. Admittedly said tool is a cheap and dingy little thing (I got it with some computer part or other), but I suspect if the screw driver was harder I'd only end up damaging the screws instead. :(

Nov. 22nd, 2010

my laptop just died

It was not unexpected, seeing how it predates 2005, but still. Also, being the lazy moron I am, I was lackadaisical about backups despite this. Maybe I can salvage something from the hard disk still, though I have never done that with a laptop hard disk before, because this was my first laptop ever. Also this is my first data loss since 1998, so I guess I had a pretty good run wrt to disk and computer failures, which explains my abysmal backup habits.
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Feb. 17th, 2010

argh. software rant

You know what I hate? When a program, for no discernible reason, changes what it does so that an action you have done a thousand times in exactly this manner just doesn't work anymore, because inadvertently you changed some setting or clicked something or picked something without meaning to, but you can't discern anywhere what has changed and fix it. So after trying for some time you have no choice but to save and restart the program in hopes that the default behavior will be restored.

Just now I tried to do a simple copy & paste in GIMP, and it inserted the new layer just fine, but the moving tool refused to work on this newly inserted layer, so I couldn't move it to the right place. There was no symbol attached to this layer in the layer view that indicated it being in any way different from any of the other layers that I had previously inserted and moved. I have no idea what I did that suddenly broke the move tool without warning. I hate that. And now I find that even with a restart the default setting hasn't been restored, so it seems to have remembered whatever messed up option caused this. I still can't move the layer I pasted, WTF? Why are you doing this to me GIMP?

Do any of you have an idea what can suddenly break a move tool like that so that you just can't grab a layer anymore to move it with the tool? I know I didn't pick this intentionally, so I must have clicked accidentally somewhere or something. Argh.

Does this kind of thing happen to other people, that your software just doesn't do a routine task anymore and you have no idea how you broke it?

Oct. 23rd, 2009

weirdness

Does anyone else have trouble with the Cascade Library site? I wanted to check something for fanlore and it didn't load right.

Right now for me sometimes pages load with the proper content, but sometimes some kind of weird spam site loads, with annoying links and I assume malicious Javascript. (I have NoScript on, and linux tends to have vulnerabilities different from Windows which is most commonly targeted by website hacks, so I don't know what it does to other computers.) Has skeeter63.org been hacked? I have the same problem with all the site's there, that sometimes they load okay and sometimes this crap loads. It might not be a good idea to go there right now if you don't have NoScript and adequate precautions enabled, but I'm wondering what is up with the domain.
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May. 14th, 2009

*kicks Google*

At first I thought it was just Gmail that had trouble loading for me, but their search engine is timing out on me as well. And I seem not alone. I actually found twitter useful for just about the first time and searched there for Gmail and Google complaints happening right now, and it seems I'm not alone with this problem.

Dec. 6th, 2008

argh

I'm so glad I finished, scanned and submitted my yuletart picture last night, even if I stayed up until 4 a.m., because today my desktop (the computer of the mysterious, intermittent hardware problems that don't materialize in the repair place) crapped out on me again. Incidentally that is also the computer with which my scanner works. Anyway, while my desktop fails to work once again *curses the stupid piece of crap*, at least I was lucky enough that I completed my assignment before.

Nov. 6th, 2008

wtf, photobucket?

What the frell did photobucket do to their image upload? It's been a few months since I last uploaded a photo to my account, but I never had a problem, though their flash(?)-thingy for bulk uploading never worked for me. But now I click on the upload button, and a small window with the title bar "select files" pops up, but I don't actually see anything in the window, just some wildly flickering movement, and then my browser crashes.

What is wrong with these people? Why did they have to break their site?

Are there other ways to upload to photobucket, like FF extensions or something, that don't use the website? Or do I just have to stop using their site entirely?

ETA: After looking at their help I found a way to use the old uploader, which I would have clicked had the link to it been visible in the box at my screen resolution and font size, but it was not, but cut off by the box frame and thus hidden. FAIL, photobucket, FAIL.

Sep. 2nd, 2008

Scott McCloud does Google promo...

That Scott McCloud drew the promotional comic for the upcoming Google Chrome Browser made me actually curious enough to read forty comic pages explaining why Google's browser is going to be better than the others. Unfortunately the comic doesn't say anywhere whether there'll be a Linux version any time soon.

The browser does sound neat (as it well should in its own PR material), and if it would really make bloated javascript applications run faster as they promise, I'd try it if only to see whether maybe there'll finally be a browser that might make the delicious tag bundle interface usable for me.

After I looked around some in the news covering the Google browser, I found that apparently Mac and Linux versions are planned, but I didn't see anything specific. :( However if you use Windows you will be able to download a beta version soon.

Mar. 7th, 2008

Gmail problems...

When I had trouble accessing Gmail yesterday afternoon I soon chalked that up to the more widespread problems accessing any Google service around here for a couple of hours, at least if you have the German T-Com as your ISP.

Okay whatever, my ISP broke their internet, it apparently happens even if they still can't explain what exactly caused the glitch. Though it is very annoying to have all Google services (not just the search engine and Gmail, but everything including Blogspot, YouTube and so on) return with DNS errors for you -- the internet looks very broken all of a sudden. Not to mention that this came on top of LJ's problems yesterday.

But a few hours later in the evening Google's search engine would load again for me, same for most of their other stuff, and I can get even to my mail through POP, which is something at least, but the Gmail webinterface still stubbornly refuses to load for me, just giving a DNS error.

This is very annoying. I also find it baffling -- how can everything be up again with the rest of the Google website, and my email be there too somewhere, seeing how I can get it through POP, but the two sides won't come together as webmail?

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