I’m reading a PDF book

I posted a
couple of days ago
about my difficulties in reading PDF files
on the Nokia
. I also started a thread on the maemo-users
, which you can read here.

The upshot is that I discovered that although the interface is
quite misguided in a number of ways, if you pull your stylus out
and fiddle with it enough, you can in fact read a PDF.

I still think it’s odd that a program that’s called a “reader”
doesn’t present the user with one button that always moves to the
next text to read. The way I actually have to read is to stroke
the stylus up and left to move the page around on a screen, and
then tap an invisible button on the right side of the screen to
move to the next page.

If they wanted to call it a “viewer” and not a “reader”, I
could understand this interface — it actually does let you go to
any part of the PDF file and view it at a wide variety of sizes.
But to me “reading” means going continuously through the text, and
this “reader” just doesn’t seem to be designed for that.

Another interesting point about that thread is that at least
two of the four people who participated (I’m one of them) were
interested in the problem because we were trying to read the
packet of Hugo award nominees which you can get by going to the Anticipation
website and joining. Without joining, you can read or download
(but not vote on) a large number of the nominees from the Hugos page
on the anticipation site.

Although you would expect Hugo nominated Science Fiction
writers and publishers to be more interested in how to implement
mobile technologies than the average publisher or writer, a large
fraction of the material is provided as PDF’s formated for the
printed page. No matter how good the interface design on the PDF
reader, a reflowable format is always going to be more flexible
for being read by a wide variety of people on a wide variety of

If you’re interested, the book I’m reading is Zoe’s
by John Scalzi.


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