One of the 'killer' applications for me since returning to the EPOC world at the beginning of 2003 has been EBook by Simon Quinn (www.geocities.com/ebookepoc/). Not surprisingly perhaps, it's an electronic book (eBook) reader. :¬)
I guess I first really got into reading eBooks when I'd strayed to the dark side (MicroSoft !) a couple of years ago and was trying out eBooks on an iPAQ. More importantly, I discovered that there are vastly more eBooks available to be read than I'd ever previously supposed. I'd assumed that one was effectively limited to two sources of eBooks - the free / out of copyright ones (i.e. the 'classics') and the more recent ones that you could purchase at various online stores. The only problem with the latter is that many authors/publishers choose not to publish in electronic format and hence there's still a big restriction on what's available.
I discovered however that there's a third option. There's a fairly active community of people scanning their own books and converting them into eBook formats on various newsgroups and elsewhere. Now before I go any further let me point out that this is an illegal activity and I cannot condone it. Approve or not owever, it's happening... The legality of downloading these illegally copied books is however slightly greyer. The fairly widely held view online is that; so long as you have a legally owned and paid for paper copy of the book, then it's not illegal to read electronically something that you've already paid for. And personally, I've found this to be a ideal way of reading. For example, I recently got into the 'DiscWorld' series of books by Terry Pratchet with the result that I went out and bought the entire paper-based collection and then downloaded the series from the internet. Compressed, the whole series of 28-odd books takes up something like 7Mb of memory on my netBook (not a vast amount these days) and I can carry the entire collection around with me to read at my leisure in a package no bigger than one or two of the original books! Of course, it means that there's an increasingly large collection of entirely unopened books sitting in my bookshelves - but they're very pretty to look at! ;¬)
Anyway, I digress somewhat. EBook by Simon Quinn was originally published as freeware but became shareware when it reached v2.1. However, in November 2002 - at v2.3 - Simon decided that he wanted to stop developing/supporting the program and made it freeware again by publishing an unlock registration key for it. It was always one of the best eBook reader programs available for the EPOC/Psion platform - but making it freeware again easily made it the best!
To summarise EBook's features:-
Simon has also made tools available on his website which enable you to create PDB and TCR format files from text, Word, etc. on the machine itself - a nice touch. :¬)
To summarise, EBook is a superbly executed program and the best there is for the EPOC platform (in my opinion). And it's freeware - so what have you got to lose! Highly recommended.
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Saturday, 1 April 2006