Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

More Foxit eSlick / eReader woes

by Rob - January 14th, 2010.
Filed under: ebooks.

Trying to read the book The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, purchased from Fictionwise, locks up the Foxit eSlick (a dedicated ebook reader using e-ink technology, sold by Fictionwise and Foxit). You can turn pages until you reach the page with the dedication (page 8 at the default font size in portrait mode), and then the unit locks up.

Checking the same book with the Windows version of eReader, I see that the next couple of pages are a hyperlinked table of context. Of course, the eSlick doesn’t support hyperlinks (since it has no way to select text in eReader books), but it should not crash when it encounters them.

It took a reset to get my eSlick functioning again.

So far, I’ve tried to actually read three books on the eSlick, and two have failed. The first, Harnessing Complexity: Organizational Implications of a Scientific Frontier, was unreadable because it dropped words or lines at the end of the page every time a bulleted list was included in the book.

The one I could read at least didn’t lock up the machine, and did display all the text, but, of course, with the myriad awful formatting errors the eSlick exhibits with every eReader book (plus a new one I hadn’t noticed before: the last line of each paragraph before an illustration was centered rather than flush left):

The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society by Frans de Waal

I see now why the eSlick firmware can’t return you to the last page you were reading when you power-up; if it did, you’d never be able to get out of a book that locked it up. So, instead, it takes you to a higher-level menu, and only then lets you select the book you just read for re-opening, at which point it does take you to the page you left off at.

(That whole process, by the way, takes an irritating 23 seconds from hitting “on” to getting back to the page you were last reading, whereas on my Palm OS Sony Clie TH55 or even an ancient Rocket eBook, it’s instantaneous. In the TMI department, I like to read on the toilet, and was keeping my eSlick in one of my washrooms — but I now keep it on my desk so that I can start the boot up as I walk with it to the washroom, and have it be just about ready for me by the time I’m — ahem — seated.)

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2 Responses to More Foxit eSlick / eReader woes

  1. Hmmmm… next time threaten to throw the thing in the toilet. I've found that threats and intimidation are the only way to deal with some electronics. :)

  2. Ugh! I know you are just trying to illustrate a point, but that's definitely too much info. Maybe it would be OK from a lesser writer. You're good enough the image is going to stick we me for days.

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