Monday, August 22, 2011

eReaders (Part 3) - PDFs cute and EZ

 

Most anyone who regularly uses the computer and peruses various types of files must have encountered documents in the PDF format.

And you need a special reader, such as an Adobe Reader, to look at it.

The PDF contents - text, graphics, format - display much like a picture on your screen.

Compared with other formats - various word docs (PC or mac), rich texts, plain texts, xml, html, etc. - the PDF has its good points ... and also has its ... erm ... features.

The upside of PDFs

raison d'etre


PDFs - Portable Document Formats - were a standard created so that the content of a file could be displayed in a form that would look the same regardless of its medium.

This solution has worked for various platforms and browsers - which can seem fickle when they display non-PDF material on the monitor. Likewise, for printers that can go rogue, PDF inputs deliver the expected output on the printed page.   What you see is what you get.

One of the features of eReaders - such as Kindle and Nook, as well as others - is the ability to download and display documents in the ubiquitous PDF format.  I have downloaded many articles and books as PDFs and have enjoyed the convenience of reading them at my leisure on my Nook. But PDFs have not been without their problems.

The downside of PDFs

It's always something!

Generally, PDFs are not as easy to handle on my Nook as the ePub format. Especially if they are big files.  Some of my downloaded PDFs are downright nasty.   Though they display their goodies on my PC, these PDFs deliver nothing but big X's (instead of the text and pictures) when side loaded on my Nook.

What to do?

I did two things.  I googled the problem for answers, and I also called a friend with a Nook.

Googling

Google is so handy for picking the shared memory of the internet. Other have been there, done that. And they are more than happy to tell the cyber world all about it.  As a result of googling, I came to some forums of those who had the same PDF problem. They had a cute solution. Literally.

CutePDF

There really is a free program - CutePDF. (Here is one place I found it: CutePDF Writer.) What is required is a Windows application that is able to print.  Well, I had those things.  So I downloaded the freeware and gave this cute solution a try. 

After the installation of CutePDF on my windows based PC, here are the steps I did to convert my problem PDF files:

* Select the problem PDF file
* Print the file, but choose the printer output - CutePDF Writer, which will result in some messages during the conversion that the file is being flattened. (If it is a large file, the conversion may take some time.)
* A "Save As" dialog box pops up allowing to save the CutePDF output to a filename of choice and location on the desktop
* Use this CutePDF as the import to the Nook

When the deed was done, I side loaded the converted PDF to my Nook -  voila!

I could see the goods.  Best of all this cute solution was free.

As for my second solution ....

I called a friend

My friend said it was EZ - literally.

And there was an app for that :

ezPDF

(Here is some info: ezPDF Reader)

For my Nook, I purchased the ezPDF Reader through my Barnes and Noble account. The store delivered the app to my Nook, like any eBook I had purchased through them. The app cost at the time $.99, but was worth every 99 pennies - plus tax.

This video describes ezPDF app quite well:



Now, I can open any PDF on my Nook that I have tried so far, even the offending PDFs. The app works well and has a page turning feature among others described in the video above that are not provided by cutePDF.

Downside, it's not free (but close to it - a plus).  And I have to open up the ezPDF app first, then look for my specific PDF file to read the document with ezPDF.

Otherwise, the ezPDF app does provide tools, which are similar to those that work on ePubs.  And I'm sure future apps will get even better.

Question:  Any advice in managing your PDFs on your eReaders?

photo form everystockphoto.com: eReader Comparison

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