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Offline Wikipedia Reader For iRex Iliad

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the don't-panic dept.

Books 112

An anonymous reader writes with a link to "an offline Wikipedia viewer for the iRex Iliad e-ink e-book reader (similar to Amazon's Kindle). Take it anywhere — and you don't need to be connected to the Internet in any way!" (You'll need a 4GB flash card and the ability to follow the directions.)

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first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23511878)

I win first post. I am #1

rickyaires (5, Funny)

rickyaires (1269860) | more than 6 years ago | (#23511904)

Very good. Now do the same with Megarotic!

Re:rickyaires (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23511918)

MOD PARENT UP

pricey (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23511924)

I think I need to take out a small loan to buy an iRex. (or a Kindle!)

Re:pricey (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 6 years ago | (#23513564)

Whoa, no s**t... the iRex is $600-$700 and only comes with 128 MB of storage, so tack on a few more dollars for some flash memory.

12 hours on a single charge and stylus input is nice, but that's a lot of money for a grey-scale display and a short list of supported file types (PDF, HTML, TXT, JPG, BMP, PNG). At 8.5 x 6 x 0.5 inches and nearly one pound it's not that much easier to lug around than a laptop. I'd love to give one a try, but I'll wait until the price dips under $300.

Re:pricey (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23514904)

Whoa, no s**t... the iRex is $600-$700 and only comes with 128 MB of storage, so tack on a few more dollars for some flash memory.
You call this pricey ?
Try buying it over here. It sells for 600 €.

They haven't heard of change rates apparently.

We're probably lucky the dollar is low or it would sell for the price of a small car.

And don't get me going with software (Photoshop is 1 075€ - $650 in the US -, extended 1 600 € - $1000 in the US).

Re:pricey (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 6 years ago | (#23516150)

So they have heard of exchange rates, but they're doing it backwards?

Re:pricey (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23518172)

Ah, you've noticed the reversed rate as well ?

Re:pricey (1)

redxxx (1194349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23516544)

iRex isn't slightly cheaper than anything, and does not have anything helpful in large friendly letters on it's cover.

If I had opted for the n800, rather than the n810, I'd have both those things resolved.

Follow the directions? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23511940)

That instantly puts this technology beyond the capability of 95% of the population.

Re:Follow the directions? (4, Funny)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512052)

More like 70% - about 25% will pester and insult the 5% online until they get it to work.

Re:Follow the directions? (2, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512204)

pfttt... directions are for wussies anyway!

Re:Follow the directions? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23513454)

Yeah, and the price puts out the other 95%. Jeeze! Is 600 dollars that insignificant now?

weird (4, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23511966)

I don't even have an iRex whatchamacalit, and just today i was reading a book at a coffee shop without being connected to the internet at all!

Re:weird (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512020)

Did you carry an entire encyclopaedia with you to the coffee shop? I have an iLiad, and I carry a small selection of textbooks on it as well as a new novels. I've only got a 1GB card in it, but it's a long way away from being full. It accepts compact flash cards, so I'll probably pick up a 16GB one soon. That's enough for all of Wikipedia and most of Project Gutenberg in something light enough to carry with me.

Re:weird (4, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512126)

"Did you carry an entire encyclopaedia with you to the coffee shop?"

I did not need to. I was only going to be there for 11 and a half hours, so i just needed 2 books.

Re:weird (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512260)

Hmm. For print encyclopedias, you rarely know ahead of time exactly which volumes you will need. One entry may reference, or suggest an entry in another volume

Re:weird (2, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512282)

sigh. logic nazis ruining a perfectly good joke...

Logic nutsies (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23515750)

sigh. logic nazis ruining a perfectly good joke...
If logic nutsies can ruin a joke so easily, then perhaps it wasn't perfectly good to begin with.

Re:weird (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512572)

'War and Peace' and 'Atlas Shrugged'?

Re:weird (0)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23514102)

woah, if I was suicidal, I'd pick a quicker way than boring myself to death and choking myself on horseshit.

Re:weird (4, Interesting)

mewyn (663989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23513056)

I very recently bought a Kindle, and I love having access to wikipedia on the device, as well as a built-in dictionary. If I don't know the meaning of a word, now instead of guessing the meaning I will look it up really quick, if it doesn't break my rhythm.

I was reading a book the other day on it, a weapon was mentioned in the book, and I quickly looked it up in Wikipedia to see the image, and then got back to my book with a much better mental image of the scene in question.

Re:weird (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23514800)

I very recently bought a Kindle, and I love having access to wikipedia on the device, as well as a built-in dictionary. If I don't know the meaning of a word, now instead of guessing the meaning I will look it up really quick, if it doesn't break my rhythm.

I was reading a book the other day on it, a weapon was mentioned in the book, and I quickly looked it up in Wikipedia to see the image, and then got back to my book with a much better mental image of the scene in question.
These are the very reasons why ebook readers are such a great idea, but it is a shame that they need to be encumbered by DRM.

Personally, if amazon were to begin providing buyers, of tradition dead-tree books, with the option to download a DRM free file of a book with the purchase of the dead-tree version I would purchase a kindle tomorrow.

The lack of being able to sell a DRM encumbered kindle book makes the purchase very unappealing. I can't loan the kindle ebook to someone without giving them my kindle. I can't make copies of any of the pages, for use as reference material in writing a paper for example. I can't sell the book to anyone or a used bookstore. I can't even give it away or burn it to stay warm.

I just can't understand why so many people have jumped at the kindle. The list of features and the abilities that it affords when reading are amazing, but the trade off is enormous.

Re:weird (1)

elp (45629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23515254)

Itunes used to sell DRM only songs, but it never stopped the IPOD from taking off. Just get a non drm copy of the doc. Now you have the doc and your friend can have his own copy of the doc. Even better than dead-tree. Besides if the kindle becomes even slightly popular there will be a crack for it.

Re:weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23515214)

In other news, Homeland Security now rates Iliads as "terrorist devices" and will issue a permanent ban, because it's possible to carry around and look up pictures of weapons on it.

Re:weird (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512236)

Sure, you may be able to fit all those bells and whistles into something you can fit in a large pocket, but what are you going to do during the impending zombie apocalypse? Suddenly you're going to want to be friends with the guy who wears a backpack of encyclopedias and cricket bats.

I'll stick with my methods, if you don't mind.

Re:weird (3, Funny)

mewyn (663989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23513318)

http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Survival-Guide-Complete-Protection/dp/B000FBJAOG/ref=ed_oe_k

All I gotta say. :D

Re:weird (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512550)

Did you carry an entire encyclopaedia with you to the coffee shop?

On the plus side, he didn't carry Wikipedia to the coffee shop either! Sounds like win-win to me ;)

Re:weird (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23514008)

But how long would it take for you to *download* WP and PG? Seems like it would be fairly prohibitive.

Re:weird (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 6 years ago | (#23516206)

I can't speak for wikipedia, but PG has a 4gb DVD iso that has A LOT of books, not to mention the smaller "Sci-Fi bookshelf" CD iso. Both are torrentable at decent speeds so you won't kill PGs server. Or (unless I'm mistaken) you can get a mail-order copy the old-fashioned way.

Re:weird (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23517034)

Getting a book takes a few seconds, and I tend to only download things I am likely to want. That said, Wikipedia is 3.7GB for the latest dump. If I got it at work, the bottleneck would be the speed of writing it to flash, which would be around 3MB/s for a cheap CF card. Google tells me that would take about 21 minutes [google.com] . Getting it at home, my Internet connection would be the bottleneck and it would take closer to two hours. I'd imagine that Project Gutenberg would take a similar amount of time. It ought to be possible to fetch it once and then merge in the day's updates every night.

Re:weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23512048)

By "not connected" do you mean without wires? I don't understand this concept...how are you able to read without being connected?!

Re:weird (2, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512134)

Obviously, I had the usual wires (cat5) connecting my eyeballs to the pages. I just meant that I wasn't connected to the WAN

Re:weird (1)

iamstretchypanda (939837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23514414)

Not fast enough to run Cat6?

I kid i kid ;)

Re:weird (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512284)

Were other people turned off by the cloud of smug coming out of your book?

Re:weird (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23516010)

They couldn't see past their Macbook Pros so it didn't matter much.

Sounds good, but... (-1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512030)

Does it run Linux?

Re:Sounds good, but... (3, Informative)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512076)

Yes. Kernel 2.4

oblig. wiki link [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sounds good, but... (0, Redundant)

lemnar (642664) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512106)

Yes, it does. [irexnet.com]

Re:Sounds good, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23513796)

No.

Don't Panic (4, Funny)

Laur (673497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512042)

Do the instructions include printing out a sticker saying "Don't Panic" to attach to the cover?

Re:Don't Panic (3, Interesting)

ramsejc (671676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512440)

My thoughts exactly. This is the second 'prototype' of a HHG that I've read about in the past two weeks: http://www.hackaday.com/2008/05/13/pocket-hitchikers-guide-to-the-galaxy-wikipedia-style/ [hackaday.com]

At the rate that we are evolving, we will see/discover the first babel fish in the next 100 years, and the first improbability driven space ship by the year 2400.

Re:Don't Panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23514736)

That doesn't seem likely.

Re:Don't Panic (1)

ramsejc (671676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23518454)

Which is just another way of saying 'That seems improbable.'

Coincidence? I think not?

Re:Don't Panic (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23516142)

I can't wait for the Babel fishes release, then we won't have to worry about all these religious folks anymore.

Re:Don't Panic (1)

ramsejc (671676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23518552)

Then again, a Tower of Babel Fishes out in the desert would smell very horrible, I would imagine.

Who tagged as Toy? (4, Funny)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512062)

Whoever tagged this as toy should be given the whole Encyclopedia Britannica in print form and then be forced to lug it around for a day.

Re:Who tagged as Toy? (1)

Miladinoski (1280850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512184)

But, but, ... what about Encarta??

Re:Who tagged as Toy? (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512390)

You search the Encyclopedia Britannica, but in MS-land, the Encarta searches you!!!! harrrrrrr

I badly want one (4, Interesting)

hairykrishna (740240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512190)

I really, really want a decent e-ink ebook reader which can handle wikipedia and pdfs. £400 ($800) is just far too much though. I'm amazed that anyone is buying them at that price. They need to get down to ~£100.

Re:I badly want one (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512430)

I think that would happen in due time. I imagine some manufacturer will find a way to make eink cheaper.

Re:I badly want one (2, Informative)

Shagg (99693) | more than 6 years ago | (#23517514)

There are several cheaper eink devices. The one in this story is by far the most expensive. It has the largest screen and most hardware features though, which is what you're paying extra for.

Re:I badly want one (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512968)

Concur; I looked at this after reading about it on Slashdot, tracked down the Australian distributor, and fell off my chair when I saw the price (~AUD$1000).

I'm currently reading ebooks on a 3-4 year old HP iPaq that I got for around $200. It's not awesome - screen res is only 320x200 and Microsoft Reader seems to be the worst-designed application in terms of fitting # of words on screen (not as bad w/ HTML ebooks).

But - it's backlit, can read any format, has wifi and web browser, takes SD cards - it's a pretty awesome flexible device, so much so that I'm considering upgrading to a more recent model so I can take advantage of bigger SD cards, newer Windows Mobile, etc.

Unfortunately the base new iPaq classic still is only 320x200 - the higher-end model does 640x480 but costs almost 3 times as much.

I am definitely keen to get an eInk one but just can't justify the cost at the moment.

Re:I badly want one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23513188)

Get a Nokia N800, you can find it for about $220, includes Dual SDHC slots (you can use 16GB card in each one, 32GB when avaible), 800*480 screen, wifi, bluetooth, Linux OS, lots of apps avaible from de repositories, and fbreader it's an excelent ebook reader, pdf support, youtube downloader, mplayer, etc. I have a big library on a 512MB card and lots of music in a 8GB. I just love this thing.

Re:I badly want one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23515108)

I'd rather that they put a (small) LCD display on the thing for menu and status operations, entering page numbers, etc. It could flip off when not being used.

Re:I badly want one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23515136)

The Sony Reader PRS-505 is $300.

Kinda cool (4, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512196)

This is a neat hack; I'm mildly surprised that you can fit a decent version of Wikipedia in under 4 GB. The text, sure (especially bzip2 compressed), but a decent set of images? Anyone have a breakdown of exactly which version of Wikipedia this is?

The static Wikipedia pages [wikipedia.org] appear to have not been updated since April 2007 (the February 2008 ones stop just before "en"). That version comes in larger than 4GB, but static HTML pages are less efficient, I would think, than what this guy did parsing the XML data.

These days, though, WiFi is available in so many places that even if I owned one of these devices I probably wouldn't use up the flash space with an offline version of Wikipedia.

Side note about the iRex. The ebook version of the reader (which, notably, lacks WiFi compared to the more expensive version) appears to be $599 MSRP [irexshop.com] . I personally thought the Kindle was expensive at $400, wireless service included. The WiFi iRex is $700, which is getting into the territory of a few low-end (or used, I'm sure) tablet notebooks. I understand that the battery life and screen readability of these things is supposed to be pretty good, though.

Anybody know if the iRex or any other ebook reader has the capability to annotate PDF files? I do a quite a bit of reading of PDF documents, and I find myself printing them all too often so that they're easier to read and I can make notes. These ebook screens are supposed to be easier on the eyes than a standard laptop screen, so all that's left is the ability to make annotations.

Re:Kinda cool (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512278)

It'll be text, no pictures. The Wikipedia image dump is several hundred gig.

Re:Kinda cool (2, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23514546)

That's for full-size color images, and other non-visual uploads as well (eg. audio clips).

If we're preparing a wikipeia dump specificly for the iLiad, we can convert all of the images to 16-level grayscale, and resmple them down to a resolution appropriate for the device. Recompress, and the resulting image should be much, much smaller.

Wikipedia should probably start implementing some sort of tagging system for images to help strip out non-essential media for a "condensed" version on platforms where bandwidth/storage is limited. Images that are only peripheral to the article should get some sort of tag so that they are omitted; images that are vital to the comprehension of the article should get another so that they are sure to be included; there should be some sort of identifier to separate photographs from diagrams/maps that haven't yet been converted to SVG for devices that cannot display photos, and so on....

Re:Kinda cool (3, Informative)

georgeav (965554) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512346)

On iliad you can annotate, but the method ain't perfect. See the end of this article [arstechnica.com] for a review.

Regarding the price.. Iliad has a bigger screen and Wacom style touchscreen. And if you are a Linux user you can install apps [mobileread.com] that were already ported to Iliad.

Re:Kinda cool (2, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512484)

On iliad you can annotate, but the method ain't perfect. See the end of this article [arstechnica.com] for a review.

Ah, it stores everything separately, and doesn't seem to have anything but a "pen" mode. Since my handwriting is somewhat poor (and my tablet-writing is even worse), the ability to add typed notes would be nice (via a little on-screen keyboard, perhaps? I'm not asking for OCR to read my scribbles). The biggest thing for me is underlining/highlighting - this can be done neatly and efficiently in any PDF which isn't simple scanned. Okular [kde.org] for KDE4 seems to do a decent job at it (the annotations are also stored separately), but it's still a bit in the early stages of functionality.

The big screen is nice - if/when I ever get an ebook I'd be tempted to want one that's about a 8.5x11" screen to view pages 1:1. Still, the eink and battery life would have to be awfully nice to choose it over a low-end tablet (e.g. HPs start at $900).

Re:Kinda cool (3, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512610)

with wifi on and modifications done to use the irex as a web browser, battery life is about a day, usually less. without wifi on all the time your talking a couple of months depending on how much you read.

e-ink's to main features are no back lighting and they only update the page when you change the page. with refresh in the high milisecond range(ie you can watch it change)

Re:Kinda cool (2)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512814)

...a decent version of Wikipedia...
If EVER there was a glaring need for the words "citation needed" then the above statement surely is it. "Decent" and "wikipedia" are not words that should be used together.

Re:Kinda cool (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23515902)

"Decent" and "wikipedia" are not words that should be used together.
Then what Free encyclopedia is decent?

Re:Kinda cool (3, Informative)

Nicolas Roard (96016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512848)

I posted a blog entry with some pictures: http://camaelon.blogspot.com/2008/05/iliad-irex-pictures.html [blogspot.com] and a previous post about the iliad and other stuff: http://camaelon.blogspot.com/2008/04/iliad-irex-note-taking-and-hand-writing.html [blogspot.com] The Mobile Read forums [mobileread.com] are also pretty informative. On the capacity to annotate pdf, I think that's one of the great use case of the iliad -- you can easily read & annotate on the iliad, then transfert back the PDF+annotations, and merge them in a new PDF -- or even only create a PDF with annotated pages.

Re:Kinda cool (2, Interesting)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23513076)

Neat stuff. Still, I'd probably only be willing to pay about $300-400 for the Iliad's functionality, not $700 (I'd want WiFi). The cost of the eink screens needs to come down quite a bit so we get low-end readers in the $100-200 range and $300+ occupied by the really hackable ones like the Iliad.

Regarding Wikipedia, the Kindle has a distinct advantage over this: free access to Wikipedia through the cell phone networks rather than WiFi. That almost completely negates the need for an offline (especially if crippled) version. I still think the Kindle is too expensive for what it gives you at this point, but the tie to the cell phone network for no monthly fee was a really good idea. It's hard to imagine any of the smaller ebook players working out a similar agreement.

Re:Kinda cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23517702)

hi would anyone please clarify me
is there any way of creating a new document by gathering together all pieces of annotations and(most importantly) HIGHLIGHTED text on this iliad? i just want to click a button and have this done. thanks in advance

Re:Kinda cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23514350)

This is what would be used
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Database_download

Re:Kinda cool (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23515656)

I understand that the battery life and screen readability of these things is supposed to be pretty good, though.
They are. Battery life is notably longer compared to regular laptops. The screen readability is excellent, and for long reading sessions (when you are reading novels rather than glancing at references) the experience is beyond compare.

Re:Kinda cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23516410)

There's also wikidvdpedia.com for a laptop version, looks like a custom plug-n-play package they want money for.

Still likely much cheaper than an iRex if you don't have one already.

Or an iPhone (2, Informative)

rfunk (765049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512274)

Apparently you can fit an offline copy of Wikipedia in 2GB on an iPhone or iPod-Touch.
http://collison.ie/wikipedia-iphone/ [collison.ie]

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23512326)

I wonder how many people would be around who could afford the Iliad AND also have the extra time and inclination needed to hack it.

It costs $700 (2, Insightful)

Necron69 (35644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512426)

I got all excited about a Kindle competitor... until I saw the price.

Lop a zero off the price guys, and I'll consider it. Give me a fscking break.

- Necron69

Re:It costs $700 (3, Informative)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512472)

The iRex has a Wacom tablet screen. The cheap, screenless Wacoms that you connect to your computer cost about $200 by themselves. $700 may be too much, but the device is in a higher class than the Kindle.

why offline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23512478)

Kindle has free online access to wikipedia via cell phone networks so it is accessible virtually anywhere (don't need a hotspot).

Offline Wikipedia/Mediawiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23512486)

It's not so hard to build a offline browser for mediawiki, since the foundation provides bz2-compressed xml-dumps.
I myself once wrote one for using with Apache+PHP (without a database or MediaWiki, e.g. for USB-sticks or laptops).

See
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Alternative_parsers [mediawiki.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Database_download [wikipedia.org]

Misses One Important Point (4, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512496)

One of the charming, and important, features of Wikipedia is the timely updating on current events. Often by the time I've read something in the daily news the Wikipedia article has already been updated with even better information by the people who care about and watch over their articles. This feature is missed in any offline reader.

Also having to download the entire Wikipedia DB to update the offline version each time will be time consuming for the user, and bandwidth killing for the Wikipedia site if this becomes popular.

Now if Wikipedia could organize themselves in a manner that allowed you to download the updates since your last update, you'd have a win-win on both sides.

Re:Misses One Important Point (1)

Kickersny.com (913902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512556)

Now if Wikipedia could organize themselves in a manner that allowed you to download the updates since your last update, you'd have a win-win on both sides.
What, like `wget -m`?

Re:Misses One Important Point (-1, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512680)

"...by the same logic has now legalized Polygamy as well"

No. There are a lot of health and welfare issue's involved in Polygamy, not to mention some serious tax issues.

None of which exist for gay marriage, nice try.

Re:Misses One Important Point (1)

sillybilly (668960) | more than 6 years ago | (#23514908)

Downloading is time consuming and bandwidth killing, but on the other hand old copies of Wikipedia, from when you have read them, contain the then current info. You can always go back to something stable if you need to reference something, as opposed to the current Wikipedia pages, which, by the time you need to look up something you read a while ago, they are long gone and edited out by other users. I do have an issue with how some of the pages get edited, and it's nice to hang on to a copy that I used to like. I can even foresee a future when the assault on wikipedia is so strong, that its current quality goes to complete crap, but then the goodies oldies come in handy. I do agree with your idea of diff or patch updates, incremental update snapshots, weekly, monthly, yearly.

Re:Misses One Important Point (1)

priegog (1291820) | more than 6 years ago | (#23516974)

Like periodic torrents of the whole thing? That wouldn't take too much... actually it wouldn't even have to be done by wikipedia at all.

Competitors? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512518)

What other ebook readers are out there that use an e-ink display? There has to be more than the Kindle and the Iliad. Something cheaper that can at least display PDFs and text files would be nice.

Re:Competitors? (1)

dorix (414150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512790)

Here's a list. [mobileread.com]

I'm so ready for ebooks (1)

beej (82035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512520)

And as soon as the price comes down by an order of magnitude, I'll be the first to buy one.

$700? Is this really the best they can do in the era of the $100 laptop?

is this the start of the guide (1)

archshade (1276436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512536)

This seems cool almost Hitchhikers guide cool. You could download a new version of the static every time you had a spare night with an internet connection.

Would also be good if you could right entries off line and sync them later (although this would make the hole project next to impossible to manage).

off course i could just get the static version and put it on my EEE (a mem card any way) then I could write entries in vi and upload later as the readers well out my price range.

follow the directions.. (3, Funny)

brunokummel (664267) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512692)

...and the ability to follow the directions
What do you mean by follow the directions? Everybody knows that you are only supposed to follow instructions when everything else fails...

Another Option (2, Informative)

ninjapiratemonkey (968710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512838)

A similar project was covered recently on Hack-a-day [hackaday.com] . Same idea... different hardware.

So lets weigh this up (2, Insightful)

Anonimouse (934959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23512892)

At that price i could probably get an entire bookshelf of books that i can read offline at any time i want. Not only that,i think this is only going to be good for books that you read from cover to cover. If you reference books extensively or are looking for say coding examples, a lot of the time you may have several pages open in several different books at the same time. On a laptop browser that is manageable. A real physical set of books is also manageable if inconventient. But on a reader with the screen the size of a large paperback which displays one screen at a time i suspect it would be very hard to manage indeed unless the navigation is absolutely top notch.

RTFM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23512918)

"and the ability to follow the directions"

That rules out most people.

Tablet PC (2, Interesting)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23513080)

I prefer a decent tablet PC (yes! Running Linux!) for reading documents. A tablet PC in a Wifi hotspot is great for grabbing stuff off the Sub-Etha.

'Course, being a miser and a logical git, it's all down to TPCs being considerably cheaper than most ebook gadgets, and having a lot more functionality.

Once there's an ebook reader that costs the same as a decent TPC and can do the same things as a TPC, then I'll be happy. So happy in fact that I'll politely refuse to buy it, because TPCs will also have become better by then.

ebook readers need to become really, really good really fast before cheap consumer TPCs become 'cool' for families and start appearing in the shelves next to the eee PCs.

Re:Tablet PC (2, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23513202)

'Course, being a miser and a logical git, it's all down to TPCs being considerably cheaper than most ebook gadgets, and having a lot more functionality.
  Once there's an ebook reader that costs the same as a decent TPC and can do the same things as a TPC, then I'll be happy. So happy in fact that I'll politely refuse to buy it, because TPCs will also have become better by then.

I agree that at this point tablets look like a better bang for the buck, at least for me. These ebooks though blow away tablets in terms of battery life (from maybe a dozen hours with WiFi use to weeks of just reading, according to people here). Also, though I haven't seen one in person, I've heard that the eink screens are really nice on the eyes.

Even though the Iliad is $700, I can't point to a new tablet PC that's cheaper than that. The cheapest I know about is the consumer HP line starting at $900. For my next laptop I'm looking at the Thinkpad line, and the X series tablet starts about $1500 (while the X61 series non-tablet starts about $1100). I think to beat $700 on a (full-featured) tablet you'd have to go used, but I'm definitely interested if you know of something else.

I had a completely opposite reaction to the price when I read about the Nokia N800. Full web browser, WiFi, 4" screen (bigger than ipod touch, significantly smaller than most ebooks) was being sold on Amazon for about $210 last week (they don't appear to sell them directly anymore). The new version adds a keyboard and GPS and goes for about $400. Still, $200 w/ WiFi seems like a much better price point. The full web browser is more useful than the Kindle, and the price is far and away better than the Iliad, provided the screen is big enough. Considering I've used a few Handspring/Palm-based devices as ebook readers before, I'm sure this Nokia thing could work for some people.

Re:Tablet PC (1)

priegog (1291820) | more than 6 years ago | (#23517164)

Agreed. Last month I got off ebay a Motion Computing M1300. With a new battery and all it was all a little over $200. A little extra ram, an Ubuntu installation later, and bam, this thing blows all of them right out of the water. Except for the nice screen and the battery of course, but that's to be expected. I am not tied to some proprietary system to sync it up, and am able to browse the web with whatever browser I choose. I too used palms as e-book readers back in the day, so this is really an improvement. And comics... In portrait mode, at fullscreen, nothing beats this thing.

My (3, Insightful)

ubergoober (151136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23513964)

Got to fiddle with an Iliad at the last tradeshow I visited. Looked like an Ikea cardboard computer, seemed about as functional. Honestly thought it was a mock-up until it finally managed to display a new page. Would rather gnaw my arm off than attempt to browse a cached wikipedia on that thing.

Best of luck to the early adopters willing to shell out. The world needs guinea pigs too.

The price tag hurts! (1)

Fuzuli (135489) | more than 6 years ago | (#23514892)

Really. I've had my eyes on this one for quite some time. I'm a PhD student, and I usually carry around at least two thick and heavy books with me depending on the subject I'm working on. A huge pile of books are scattered around my home, in the office where I work part time and in my car. It is quite usual that I have to go back to some books for reference and check for something. It is needless to mention the large amount of papers I have to read (but I've mentioned it anyways).
This is a scenario where Iliad can be a real saver, but it is simply very, very expensive for me. I also can not feel comfortable with a reading device that is too small, and Iliad has a decent screen size, but the damn price does not seem to be dropping at all!!!
Guys like me (with more money of course) should be buying this thing like crazy, but somehow it is now known very well. If IRex produces a color version of it, I'd probably consider selling a few personal belongings for it though.

Re:The price tag hurts! (1)

brent_linux (460882) | more than 6 years ago | (#23517662)

I too would like an iRex for similar type things, but the one problem that I have seen is that how many of the books you have laying around have electronic versions to put on it?

I have a bunch of books that I would like to read on something like this, but I have had near 0% success rate in finding electronic versions of them.

Compact flash card will drain the battery (3, Interesting)

Yeti7226 (473207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23515320)

I own an iRex and this is very cool. Problem with the compactflash cards is that is significantly drains the battery. The SD slot does not take anything over 1 Gig. Hopefully this wil be corrected in a next version.

iPhone / iPod Touch Version (1)

pswnet (614841) | more than 6 years ago | (#23515774)

I have an iPhone and don't necessary need e-ink to read something less than 30 minutes. this [google.com] is sufficient for my purpose.

lets see here.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23516348)

"You'll need a 4GB flash card ..."

check

"... and the ability to follow the directions."

damn it, always something stopping me from getting the cool stuff.

Finally! (1)

AskFirefly (757114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23516932)

A Kindle competitor for only double the price! I'm no economics expert, but isn't this counter to the effect competition is supposed to have on prices? Add more competitors, and prices go up -- is this why I see so many gas stations?
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