2010/08/04

Duokan system on Kindle DX (Kindle DX上的多看系統)

P2171954

Just found out DuoKan, a good substitute of the default reader application on Kindle DX last week. It's written by Chinese and a forum is hosted for this purpose too (check out the official forum below). Its feature set is well beyond what we already have with the default app.

In my opinion, the development of Amazon's Kindle app (on its devices) is sluggish. I waited for so long that finally the "collection" feature is out. However, the usability is not good, especially concerning about the tons of books I already had in my Kindle. Still no easy way to quickly categorize all my books; let alone the long-waiting uniode support, which is eventually out on Kindle 3 and don't know whether it will be back ported to old kindle devices.

The DuoKan system includes many features that I long for. To name a few:
1. Chinese support
1.1 native support of  Unicode characters: at least, support of GB2312、GBK、UTF-8、UTF-16 is claimed.
1.2 Chinese input!! on Kindle. It's useful for taking notes, and search for words in books.
1.3 Chinese TTS. It can read Chinese for you! I don't think that Amazon is gonna support this in near future, or even far future.
2. More ebook format support and more features on these formats
2.1 support formats:Text、ePub、PDF、mobi、CHM、Zip. Wow, epub format is supported too. Thanks to the popularity of iBooks on iPhone/iPad, ePub resources are everywhere. I can easily get what I wanna read, and just put it on my Kindle DX without any format conversion. How nice is it!
2.2 details for each format: basically, DuoKan supports TOC (table of contents), bookmarks, highlight, notes, text reading(both in English and Chinese), automatic page turning, font type/size change, etc.
2.3 support dictionaries in stardict format. If you have sound files for the dictionary, it can pronounce the word for you too.
2.4 Dual boot system: if you prefer some of the features in kindle default app, you can easily reboot the device, and back to original Kindle system.
3. Enhancement on what default app already has
3.1 PDF zooming support: it supports not only the zoom function by ratios, but more: user can define the cropping area on his own. This is more useful in most scenarios.
3.2 PDF viewing support: you can darken the pdf display by several degrees. with default kindle app, sometimes it bothers me that the pdf viewing experience is not good because of the font color are so light. I need to turn the orientation to landscape in order to get larger font and darker font color. However, with Duokan, you can darken the font color directly. This feature saves me from buying a new version of Kindle DX, which claims to have better color contrast.
3.3 all functions are accessible by number/character shortcuts: tired of using the navigation key to select a book in the bottom of the list, or trigger an action on the bottom of the menu? Now, all of them are marked with a letter or number. You can use the number or letter to get direct access. In this way, suddenly the tiny keyboard is much more useful for me, cause I don't take notes often.
3.4 FASTER page turning speed: this is a must have too. I don't know how the Duokan development team work on it, but it's true. There are three options for page turning on Doukan system: one of them is "fast turning". And... it's really fast. I doubt the new Kindle DX can compete with its speed. Anyways, I am pretty satisfied with the new page turning speed.

Well well well, after all these features are described, I hope you are as impressed as I do, especially when you know it's a FREE system so far. Just download the system and install it, you can enjoy the wonderful features too as I do now. With all these great features, does it have any flaws? Sure, but don't forget, this application is still under intensive development right now. the Duokan development team is doing the release every week on its forum and accepts comments, bug reports too.

As an owner of both iPad and Kindle DX, I do like the simplicity of Kindle DX. The device is elegant, light (comparing to heavy iPad, which I can't hold it long for rreading) and simple. it's for reading! When I take it at hand, all I wanna/can do is to read the books that I stuffed inside before. Not much distractions. But with iPad, I'd rather say it's an entertainment toy for me. I can play games, browse websites, watch videos, and a lot more with it. Reading a book on it is not in my priority list at all. I can play games for hours with it, but it's hard to keep concentrated on reading a book with it. I can have more fun with it, why should I bother reading a book when iPad is available.

Thanks to the Duokan team who developed such a good system for all the users (if not only users that can read Chinese). My Kindle DX sits on my laptop more often than before.

REF:
Doukan Official Site
Kindle DX + 多看 才是王道

= = = =
最近發現一個可以在Kindle DX上運作的系統 -- 多看,它可以取代掉原本Kindle DX上的軟體,提供更多更強的功能。這個軟體是對岸寫的,而且還有官方的論壇(請看上面的連結)。它所提供的功能遠遠超出原本Kindle XD內建的軟體。


個人認為,Amazon的軟體開發進度很慢。不知道是他們覺得使用者需要的就這麼多?還是因為他們沒有放太多心力在Kindle的軟體開發上。等了很久的書籍分類功能,最近終於推出了。但是在使用上還是沒有很直覺和順手。對於已經在device上有幾十本書的人來說,要一本一本經過好多個步驟才可以加入到某個類別,加幾本就懶了。另外,就更別提對於Unicode的支援了。很久以來,都是要透過第三方的軟體才可以更換字型。雖然聽說在Kindle 3上會支援,不過,還不知道是不是可以讓舊的Kindle也享受到這好處。

接下來,就大概介紹一下多看系統中,比較吸引我的特色。
1. 中文支援
1.1 原生支援中文編碼。目前至少有支援GB2312、GBK、UTF-8、UTF-16。
1.2 中文輸入!! 可以用來新增筆記,或是查找書籍中的內文。
1.3 中文朗讀. 多看系統可以讀中文。Kindle應該短期(甚至是長期)之內,都不會支援這項功能吧。
2. 更多的格式支援,以及更多的功能
2.1 支援格式有:Text、ePub、PDF、mobi、CHM、Zip. 哇,epub也支援了。隨著iBooks愈來愈多人使用,ePub格式的電子書比以往更容易找到資源。找到epub格式的文件後,只要直接傳送到Kindle上,就可以閱讀,不用再經過複雜的轉檔過程。這樣還不吸引人嗎?
2.2 針對每種格式所支援的功能:這些在原本的Kindle上就有的功能,多看全都有支援。TOC (table of contents), bookmarks, highlight, notes, text reading(both in English and Chinese), automatic page turning, font type/size change, etc.
2.3 支援stardict格式的字典字庫。 除了可以使用stardict的字庫外,多看系統也支援字典發音,不過前提是要先有聲音檔。
2.4 雙重開機系統: 雖然多看系統很強大,但是有的時候你可能還是想要使用原本kindle上的reader來閱讀一些檔案;這時,你可以在設置中,重新開機,切換到原本的Kindle DX軟體。要再回到多看系統的話,也是再重開機就行了。
3. 針對Kindle軟體原有功能的加強
3.1 PDF放大功能: 除了固定的縮放比例外,多看還支援讓使用者自訂邊界。自訂邊界比固定的縮放比例要有用多了。
3.2 PDF閱讀: 可以設定文字顏色加深的程度。在Kindle DX上,雖然已經可以很方便地看pdf的文件,但是有些時候還是會遇到書藉內的文字顏色顯示過淡的問題。 一般的作法是把畫面轉成橫的,當字體變大時,文字顏色就會加深一些。但是在多看系統內,只要直接設定加深程度就行了。這個功能讓我降低了些購買新一代Kindle DX的慾望。
3.3 所有的功能在畫面上都設有快速鍵,可以透過鍵盤一鍵就取得。 還記得在Kindle DX中,面對書庫一大排的書藉清單,要閱讀最下面的書籍時,要用方向鍵不斷地往下移動;或是在選單中,也必須透過方向鍵上上下下地來選取想要的功能。在多看系統中,這個功能得到了很好的改進。在所有的選項前,都會標有一個數字或字母,或是後面會標有快速鍵的按法。透過鍵盤的操作,讓使用者可以啟動畫面上看得到的書籍或功能,大大減少了使用方向鍵的需求。
3.4  快速切頁: 這是個超棒的功能。當朋友看到Kindle DX時,都覺得很特別;但還是有的人覺得切換畫面時的閃動有些刺眼而難以接受。雖然我自己是沒有這樣的困擾,不過如果這點可以改善的話,應該可以吸引更多的使用者。不知多看開發團隊是怎麼克服這個問題的。Kindle出來這麼久了,怎麼Amazon自己不花點時間把這一點好好改善一下。在多看中,有三個翻頁的選項: 其中一個就是快速翻頁。有Kindle的人一定要試一下那速度感。這是多看系統所有功能中,我最喜歡的一個。

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