By OB1 Actually the laser and other printer era is over. The pdf and gif era is here. If your c[l]u[n]stomer is unable to use vector graphics, because they have not heard of a laptop or PC yet, give them a free ebook reader or laptop. They will be thankful. And send them pdf format files. Sometimes, gif or jpg files are even more efficient. Paper[clip]less office was announced many times in the past. It silently made it's inroads. Some have not noticed yet.
On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Sep 2009 12:36:10 -0400) it happened Phil Hobbs wrote in :
Paper is amazing, but it has its drawbacks, in the sense that you can use the eraser only so many times, and any change destroys the original, etc. I have drawn on CRT screens with pencil and markers, have not dared do it on LCD yet, It all takes a bit of discipline. I have used little instances of xterm too on the screen as notes; xterm -geometry 30x2 & gives you a very dynamic note, you can place it anywhere and do anything possible in it. Make it a script under an icon, and all you need to do is click. You can save he whole desktop if must be, too.
In the old days I used tons of paper to write software or do diagrams. That was when the assembler only allowed labels in the form of lnnn:, and no comments, But as soon as comments were allowed, and better labels, no need for paper. In electronics, with modern software, like PCB layout programs and spice, no need for paper. Math related programs will do the math for you, and save it too. It is all a matter of discipline really. All that said: I still use paper sometimes for simple diagrams for things I just want to try out and solder together,
Jan, I'm actually kind of interested. I'm pretty miffed about having to become, over the last decade and more, a print-on-demand company. I need the ability to read, away from computer. And the ability to make notes, which stay. I have finally succumbed, recently, into looking into the book readers but from what I can tell so far they are not a solution for me, yet. I must have the ability to read a PDF file -- any PDF, not just certain ones that have been set up in a certain way
-- and I need the ability to make notes that do not go away. I don't have to have color, though in some cases (mostly reports in Nature and Science, for example) I need to be able to see color. (I have a color printer that I use for selected color pages that must have the color preserved, but I otherwise use a duplexing laser printer that does not support color for the rest, inserting the few pages with color into the final document.)
The readers I've seen have screens that are too small for some of the work (much would work, but not all by any stretch of the imagination.) So far as I'm aware, they don't support as many documents as the Adobe
9 reader may -- which likely will become a too frequent irritation. I can't make notes and drawings. And I'm way, way not willing to use a notebook for this. Been there, done that, and it's not convenient enough, yet. Too short of battery life, for one thing. Too cumbersome, etc.
If I find something that is the size of a 100-page tablet of paper, weighs about like one, is durable, accepts fine line pen writing and remembers it, handles almost all PDF files and ebooks as well as various still image formats like tiff, gif, jpg, and so on, and will run a few days, at least, on battery... then I may consider moving further away from a laser printer. I just don't think we are there, yet. Or maybe I haven't been exposed to the right devide. (I've looked at Amazon's and Sony's offerings, so far. Sony comes closer but doesn't cut the mustard if my reading informed me correctly.)
On a sunny day (Sun, 13 Sep 2009 19:51:04 GMT) it happened Jon Kirwan wrote in :
A quick search via google shows that those features exist in all professional pdf creation tools: From google 'adobe adding notes to a pdf file':
E-Book readers are for now based on e-paper, and that is almost always black and white (may change in the future to color, but even then - not good color).
Modern notebooks can do 8 hours on a battery charge. For several days (as you state) you could use several battery packs, it is a bit long really. You need a big screen probably. that means more power.
Well, why do I need not make notes on paper? I use Linux, and fvwm, 9 virtual screens, 8 xterms or rxvt open, sometimes I just do a screen grab of a pdf document, for example pin out of a chip that I need all the time: In an other xterm: import pinout.gif Use the ctrl Curusr keys to move back to the pdf I want to grab from, left click mouse to grab that window. Then put it in xv viewer xv pinout.gif select the area I want to keep (as small as possible) with the mouse. Select 'crop'. Select save as 'pinout.gif', overwrite the old one. In my working directory for that project I now have that note. Here is such a 'note': ftp://panteltje.com/pub/PIC16f690_pin_layout.gif taken from the (large) Microchip pdf. To view it and keep my command line clear for other 'notes' and other things: xv PIC16f690_pin_layout.gif & All cut and paste takes a second only.
So what is it? Familiarity with the system you are using? I have this problem sometimes myself, no time to read the manual and learn all those instructions for a program. And modern software releases, be it Linux of MS windows, are not at all helpful on these basic things, but more focussed on imitating a stupid MS windows GUI, or being one.
I purchased Adobe, already, and I'm aware of adding "notes." It requires a keyboard and they are horrible, in practice. I've used them a lot to provide corrections back to authors... they are good for that much. But the drawing pencil and text notes and so on under Adobe are completely inadequate.
What I need is a hand-held pencil and a digitizing drawing tablet on top of the screen and the software underneath to record the notes where placed and as placed. And as I pointed out earlier, laptops don't cut it. Even if they include a drawing tablet on the side.
I can accept a system that does a 'good' job (possibly one which allows some manual correction, I suppose) of converting colors into something I can read in gray scale and distinguish. The problem with automatically doing that is that there are so many ways color can be placed in some document and automatic software (so far as I've seen to date) doesn't always generate discernable differences when they are important to me. Which makes some graphs quite literally unreadable. Which is why I'd need some additional capability -- one of them being the ability to pop up a color dialog box where I can match discernable gray scales with colors I select from the image using an eye-dropper technique (I can have the original document running on my regular computer where I can see the color so I know what I'm picking out.) It would then need to remember that.
I mentioned a few days, because that is the MINIMUM acceptable period. And no, I will NOT go around carrying battery packs with it. We are back to a laptop really quick, plus if the battery system is expensive (and specialized, which means it won't always be supported) we are talking way too much money, weight, and inconvenience. Personally, I loved the HP 300, which would sleep in exactly the place I left it for more than 3 weeks off of a few AA batteries I could buy anywhere in the world. And it weighed almost nothing, as well. (Still have it.) That's what I'm talking about (except, of course, it isn't designed for this purpose and doesn't include a digitizing tablet on the screen, nor a large enough screen, nor the software -- obviously -- though it runs Win 3.1 just fine.)
Point is, there's nothing to fit the need just yet. If more power is required for a bigger screen (and I'm not arguing that point), and the existing power situation is already unacceptable then this additional fact only argues my point more.
As I said, I have a need which at the current time requires paper. Paper doesn't require power. Paper lasts long times (cripes, we still have a fair amount that has survived almost two millenia from its invention following the use of dried animal skins and stone tablets.) In many cases, much much longer than magnetic disk drives, optical disks (there are entire articles on just how difficult it is to properly store cd and dvd disks for archival purposes and it's not particularly encouraging to read), and other electronic means. It is easy to file. It is easy copy onto other sheets for others to use, or for me to use in adding different comments going to different people. It's easy to hand out in a meeting. It's light weight, durable, doesn't melt, takes quite a bit of heating to damage, etc. In other words, it stores in a wide variety of places. I can tear off pieces and use them. When it is damaged, it's usually just a small part of it and the rest is "recoverable."
It's really going to be hard to replace.
However... I think many purposes can be achieved with a tablet that is light weight, runs a while on simple battery systems, accepts manual drawings easily, and can be passed around to others to look at or add their own comments, so long as they can also get copies of the work and share them back.
Laptops don't cut it. None of them I've seen. And it goes without saying that desktop computers don't come anywhere close. It needs to be light weight, thin and portable, no keyboard at all (unless they can surprise me in ways I can't imagine right now) except as an overlay, digitizing tablet on the screen itself, good visibility, and support common document and image formats with similar ease. For example, once I print something on paper I can use ALL of the usual tools on it -- protractor, ruler, pencil or pen, felt pens, and so on. Doesn't matter which printer or technology. Once it is on paper, manual unpowered tools work fine. I'd like to be able to place down a ruler by hand and draw a line with a pencil (or appropriate tool for the digitizing tablet that is equally effective) or place a protractor down, etc. It should accept the use of an eraser (a real one or a pseudo one) handled manually over the tablet, as well.
click mouse to grab that window.
those instructions for a program.
on these basic things,
Um. No desktops. Sorry. No laptops, either. The Lenovo X series tablet (laptop) comes closest, in terms of hardware. But it is unacceptable for a variety of reasons mentioned above. Besides being too expensive. (Not anyone's fault, they are serving a much broader need... not merely a paper-replacement function.) And the battery system gets about those 8 hours you are talking about... not enough.
I need something I can carry to a restaurant and place on the small table between me and someone else I'm meeting with, just as I would a tablet of paper, right now. It cannot require more space than that, neither in height nor girth. There should be NO risk of the battery running out at that time, either. (I should be allowed to 'forget' having to keep it charged all the time and still have very few failures to operate when I need it to, which means more than a few days of operating capability in my case -- by this, I don't mean continuous __active__ use, but I mean that it keeps it's state held properly.)
I'm not looking to run Windows (I like Unix, having worked somewhat on Unix v6 'back in the day,' and am comfortable under Linux or 386BSD.) I am looking for a paper system replacement. And whatever it is, one thing is certain -- it must be designed from the ground up to compete against paper; otherwise it will fail in too many ways for me to use.
But if anyone knows of a viable system to look at, I'd be happy to do that. As I said, the Lenovo X200 tablet is close. But it requires software designed for the purpose that, so far as I'm aware, does not exist. And even if the software were there, the hardware isn't quite.
Like I said.. it'll be some time, yet, I think. Until then, I'm stuck with being a POD publisher, much as I hate the job. Real paper is still a lot better than the electronic alternatives I'm aware of.
You know? The tiny HP300 omnibook, almost 20 years ago, came close enough that I could taste it. (Though, at the time, electronics companies still gave away databooks.) It used standard AA batteries; I could close it and it would instantly shut down to a low power mode (no save time, at all) which would last for 3 weeks or more and would be exactly where I left off... down the last letter I typed and the cursor position held ... when I opened the lid again; it was a gray scale display; even included a cute mouse that 'popped' out on a slider bar and could be used directly on a desk (no weird tablet thing required); it weighed less than 3 pounds; and.. well, it was close. It was (is) Win 3.1 only, though.
Whoever worked on that one had managed to really do a good job with all the details. Including not requiring arcane power supplies. You'd think that after almost an entire HUMAN GENERATION, we'd be in much better shape. Memory is cheap; those old CPUs done up on the new small feature size would consume almost ZERO power, by comparison; etc. But no.
Nope. I'm not looking for internet, wi-fi, etc. I'm looking for a reasonable replacement for having to print so much paper -- something I can bring to meetings over coffee, where I can hand draw on anything it displays, that kind of 'etc.'
On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Sep 2009 00:59:32 GMT) it happened Jon Kirwan wrote in :
Well, you have so stated so many issues, and made so many contradictions, this is not the smallest one:
That thing almost looks like my eeePC. The hardware specs of the HP 300:
Now, my eeePC has COLOR, and will run the same amount of time with a larger battery pack, also it will save everything when you close it, and it runs Linux.
See? Get an eeePC-701.
I thought for a moment you need something like this:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Have fun.
And of course, well me personally I have learned, that if I need some software that does what I want it do do, I need to write it myself. Actually that is for a large part the fun of it. The eeePC or some notebook running Linux is just the ticket for that kind of people.
The rest will have to wait until Tera Hz Processors and MS Windows 9 come out, and the masses want what you want, that is 'it won't happen anytime soon'. Or wait until some Linux programmer needs exactly that feature, and writes it, and makes it available.
Well, I hope I've not stated anything that is a logical contradiction. If you saw something like that, it's more likely poor communication between us.
I will continue to use paper from my "print shop" most of the time until I find something that provides enough of the function of paper to be worth a change from that. It's not my fault that paper is so versatile. It just is. Pretty hard to beat. The idea of finding a replacement for it is simple in concept, very difficult to achieve by and large.
I can provide _some_ examples, though, where I think something like the Apple tablet (someday) might do well. If I were taking classes at a university again (or teaching there, again), placing textbooks into such a device (if readable and usable) would weigh a lot less, carrying it around. I'd buy one for that reason. If. But the textbooks and other materials would _have_ to be broadly available, otherwise I'd be carrying the missing books around with it which makes it less useful, all of a sudden. If it only adds weight and other concerns (like theft, breakage, and so on), then it's not a convenience but instead an additional burden.
We'll get to places like that. But it's not quite there, yet. Not to me.
I have a working HP 300 omnibook here. I love it. Very light, instant function when you open it. And I mean __instant__ as in zero wait time. So this means I can open and close it without paying any penalty at all. Which means I do that, a lot. Later incarnations, like IBM (Lenovo) A and T series laptops, even with their other advancements, take time to save and restore. And because of that, I don't want to close them nearly as much. I pay a price every single time. And that is not good. Especially in the case of it being as handy as a sheet of paper.
Yes. Larger battery system, for sure. That HP 300 omnibook runs on AA batteries!! Old tech, available anywhere in the world, cheap. It used old tech FAB feature sizes, too. So if the same device were fabricated with today's feature sizes, it would consume far LESS POWER than it actually did, providing exactly the same features at the same clock rates. It was fast enough for PDF display, back then, too. It doesn't have other features, like a digitizing tablet, though. But it is close enough that I can easily "see" how AA batteries could be used with modern tech to get something that is very easy to use as a book replacement. People seem to be stuck on making things overly complex, though, like including phone services, web browsing, and a host of applications none of which have anything at all to do with paper replacement. If a narrow focus were placed on that task, it could be easily done on time, on budget, with many of the features of paper and with a battery system that is cheap and widely available (2-4 AA.)
I looked at it. Not there. I also looked at the T91. Nope. I'm curious about the Apple tablet, Crunchpad, and maybe the T101P (or H?) when they come out and I get to look at them. Things are getting closer. Distribution of books and similar materials is NOT, though. Not from what I see, so far. Libraries are also generally NOT on board, at least those in my state. And that is an important ancillary purpose of books and research materials. However, I'd be happy right now without library system support and I am finally keeping my eyes peeled to what is coming out in this area. If the hardware and supporting software for some of my uses arrives soon, I might actually take a swing at it.
I looked. Someone's comment, "I don't think we'll be able to read from that..." is about right. That's more for Star Wars movies.
I do plenty of that. However, I have a limited supply of time. And I already have a solution called 'paper' and my 'POD print shop.' I can afford to wait and allow others to do this work, since I have a solution right now.
Well, doing things well is a lot of fun. Software, hardware, mechanicals, building a home, etc. Doesn't mean I can do everything.
I prefer BSD (because of my familiarity with its kernel and it's close design to the coroutine task system on Intel's x86, as opposed to Linux which at least in places looks like a veritable cut-and-paste design disaster to me), but Linux has my attention more because of its broader reach right now. Still, I'm investing time in both.
I expect to completely move away from anything Microsoft, soon. However, I need to continue testing the waters to make sure I'm not swapping one set of nasty problems for another set of still different ones.
That comment is way off the target, Jan. My need has no requirement for THz cpus. Cripes. I'm just talking about replacing paper. In fact, I'm pretty sure the cpu capability on the HP 300 omnibook is enough. Or close. I'm not looking for OCR. I just need something small, light, open and closable with instant response upon waking (which has been done with old tech, already), pen drawing, and serviceable for the simple purposes at hand. And no! to MS Windows. I'm moving away, not towards, that target. Geez. Now, that would require THz cpus. They've already managed to outpace Moore's law in computing and actually mire computers into deeper quicksand more quickly than their hardware advances can achieve! My wife's computer is crazy slow doing so much as barely responding to the merest mouse movement, running XP on 256 Mb with a 200MHz dram bus and 2GHz cpu. I'm told another 256Mb will help. But what in the heck? I ran faster stuff on 10us instruction time computers on 8k and 16k memory systems. I'm anti-software-baggage, anti-docking toolbars, anti-frameworks with background paint brushes going all the way down the sub-window rectangles, anti-.. well, you get the point.
On a sunny day (Mon, 14 Sep 2009 16:47:11 GMT) it happened Jon Kirwan wrote in :
What I was saying is that for MS to make it work they need THz CPUs.
You got it!
Well, you want something that: looks likes paper, behaves like paper, costs like paper, feels like paper, and performs like paper, so then the best thing for you is indeed paper.
But for the masses, those who are not a Rembrandt or Van Gogh, making a movie with the mp4 camera or webcam, high resolution video editing, audio recording. streaming to youtube, is why all that CPU power is put in place. Very very important, everybody a digital video camera, and directly to youtube. I did see the recent video from Germany about a demonstration against more control and for data freedom, the guy filmed how the police ripped a guy from his bicycle, smashed him to the ground, good video, in still I could make out the hate distorted face of that police man. The guy put it on youtube, some investigation is now ongoing. Here comes you with your brushes and paint it as evidence? So, it all is in motion. As to libraries, it is amazing how much stuff you can find online, from wikipedia to google books, I even found some pages of the Art Of Electronics online. Saving all this in one form or an other, with ever greater data densities, is an other interesting aspect. I could imagine them going to low temperatures and store in atomic lattices... A cubic meter to hold all data in all libraries we have now, and here is where the wireless connection comes in. Of course it can be destroyed very easily too. But same for papers from the ancient Greek, older cultures, libraries were burned on a regular basis in wars and such. Couple of nukes and you have good mass-erasure. There may come dark ages where nobody human knows what was actually in those chips, let alone would be able to make one. And then eons later when technology is re-invented... Seems to be the way humanity goes forward. There is this movie about a guy who invents a time-machine, goes to the future, only to find that all that is left of civilisation is a talking hologram that knows all about science that once was...