The Los Angeles Java Users Group's (LAJUG) study group recently started reading the book, JAVA: Persistence with Hibernate. The book is an excellent resource for anyone using Hibernate for their JAVA application, but at 800 plus pages, it's also an excellent way to build muscle mass. Despite the obvious Geek Cred gained by carrying this book around, I wasn't psyched about the inevitable backpain I would incur by toting the book around -- instead I opted for the PDF version. For the first few weeks, I read the chapters on my laptop. Provided I remembered to charge the computer and take appropriate battery life precautions, this was a workable solution. However, once I got my iPad, I knew the game was about to change....
ATTEMPT #1: CONVERT PDF FOR iBOOK -- FAIL The first thing I looked up when I got my iPad was how to get PDF's into iBook. iBooks uses a file format called ePub, and a quick Google search led me to "Calibre" for converting PDFs to ePub. Unfortunately, the results were less than stellar.
Variable font sizes
Clear text and easy to turn pages
Images and text styling did not transfer over
Difficult to go to a specific page based on page number (when other members would say "turn to page 390, for example).
Searching the document was slow
ATTEMPT #2: USE GOODREADER TO READ PDF -- SUCCESS I found the iBook route to be insufficient for my needs so I continued to search for PDF options. I had tried GoodReader for iPhone, but the display was too small, and navigating was too slow. However, when I saw there was an updated version for iPad, I knew I had to give it a chance. GoodReader is specifically designed for large PDF or TXT files and it performed admirably.
Image and text styling is maintained in PDF
Searching and navigation are very fast
Page composition is consistent with the print book ("look at middle of page 405")
Easy to load documents (Wifi, download, etc)
Does not use "iBook" style page turning
Cannot highlight text and make notes or annotations
Does not do "side-by-side" page display in landscape mode
Essentially, GoodReader accomplished exactly what I wanted in an e-reader for this specific book. It seems like the developers are actively working on this app, so I only expect even more refinement and features in the future.
The ease of use of GoodReader for the purposes of a textbook reader leads me to believe that all textbooks will eventually be stored and used in this fashion. The web is still a great resource for finding solutions to specific problems, but it is difficult to beat the effectiveness of a textbook for providing a more focused education on a specific topic. It's probably only a matter of time before Apple implements their own PDF solution on the iPad (such as Preview for OSX), but until then, it's tough to beat the $0.99 GoodReader App.
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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