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Building An Open Hardware EBook Reader
#1  ZodWallop 11-04-2019, 12:19 PM
Read this article about a guy building an open hardware ebook reader. I wouldn't be likely to build one myself, but I like the ambition.

There's already work being done on open source software.
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#2  FrustratedReader 11-04-2019, 01:23 PM
It's not hard and most of the needed software has been available for years open source.
The problem is cost, especially a decent eink screen.
A decent case is harder than a PCB.
Certainly having decent battery life by having the system mostly sleep apart from touch and buttons needs thought. I'd use a tablet SoC for main part and a separate PIC to manage touch screen & buttons. I'd use IR too. It would only scan properly when an initial touch is detected.
I'd use AAA or AA NiMH so if camping with no charging you can put in Alkaline cells. I'd design the cover flap as part of the case because otherwise a case is adding more thickness at the back and sides.

I think putting extended descriptions rather than part ID on the PCB silk screen is a waste. It's an ereader! Put all the HW docs in the onboard user manual. The silk screen info on a bare PCB isn't enough to build one anyway.
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#3  Philippe D. 11-06-2019, 05:05 PM
I understand the drive to build a reader that won't leak information to a manufacturer/bookseller, but does this have to happen on open hardware? Wouldn't it be simpler to root an existing reader and just install software on it? (the reader would have the advantage of coming with a pre-built case, too)

Any idea how costly such a reader might be? (I'm half wondering if this might make a viable inderdisciplinary project for students in my university)
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#4  ZodWallop 11-06-2019, 05:34 PM
Quote Philippe D.
I understand the drive to build a reader that won't leak information to a manufacturer/bookseller, but does this have to happen on open hardware? Wouldn't it be simpler to root an existing reader and just install software on it? (the reader would have the advantage of coming with a pre-built case, too)
Really, I don't have an issue with buying a reader and just sideloading/leaving WiFi off. The book store will always have a record of your purchases I guess. But that is inherent with non-PD eBooks.

Mostly I just liked seeing someone do it.
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#5  Philippe D. 11-06-2019, 07:30 PM
Quote ZodWallop
Really, I don't have an issue with buying a reader and just sideloading/leaving WiFi off. The book store will always have a record of your purchases I guess. But that is inherent with non-PD eBooks.
I don't either, to be honest. I'd still like to have the possibility of accessing online ebook stores from my reader, ideally through a neutral interface.

Being naturally lazy, I will occasionally turn on the WiFi on my Kobo and buy a book from where I stand (I did this from Norway where I was on holiday last summer - finished a book, bought the next in the series right there). But then, well-made open source software could do this, without the risk of giving Kobo (or any other reseller) get a peek at my library and whatever I've been reading at which speed.
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#6  FrustratedReader 11-07-2019, 05:31 AM
Quote Philippe D.
I understand the drive to build a reader that won't leak information to a manufacturer/bookseller, but does this have to happen on open hardware? Wouldn't it be simpler to root an existing reader and just install software on it? (the reader would have the advantage of coming with a pre-built case, too)

Any idea how costly such a reader might be? (I'm half wondering if this might make a viable inderdisciplinary project for students in my university)
The decent case is the absolutely x1000 NRE cost most expensive compared to PCB. The 3D printed ones are very slow to make, weak and poor finish. You need injection moulded. A mould made in China from your own CAD is the way to go. A 3D print can be used for a one off prototype to check the CAD, though 3D shape needed for a mould and shape needed for 3D printing are not always compatible.
The most expensive ongoing item in volume is the screen. Far more than every other part together.

The PCB can be quite small, much smaller than example. PCB size and number of layers sets the price. Likely about $15.

Bookshops / ereader Vendors:
1) In EU there is now GDPR. You have to be asked to opt in. Kobo seem to have at least added options. However Google in the past added "disable tracking" options that actually didn't stop tracking.
2) Disable WiFi. Only use USB transfer. You can enable WiFi at home if you block the domains on your router. Not all routers allow that, nor are people expert at doing it.
3) Don't buy ANY TV, eReader etc (only phones/tablets) using Android, or if you do never connect it to the Internet. Don't buy IoT stuff that needs a internet connection to work (Nest, Amazon doorbells). One security camera sold by a US retail chain now is bricked due to turning off of servers.

Amazon and Google are the two worst risks due to size. Also the larger companies tend to ignore laws and ethics unless fined painfully. Next will be making directors, chairpersons, boards personally liable. EU will increase the regulation and oversight to protect consumers. US is more concerned with a level playing field between big USA corporations, though California State is making progress despite tens of millions of Dollars spent in lobbying by big corporations in USA.

Open PC, open Phone, open Tablet sales are miniscule. There is no "open TV set", TV set solution is to drive "smart" features via laptop, phone, tablet (HDMI is best), never use WiFi/Ethernet direct.
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#7  bookyboy 11-07-2019, 01:34 PM
I would just love something that is like the nook hardware but runs simple, tweakable, software and is really built for those of us that sideload only.

I don’t want or need a book or App Store
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#8  FrustratedReader 11-07-2019, 03:25 PM
You can root a Nook eink ereader.
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#9  ZodWallop 11-07-2019, 05:41 PM
Quote Philippe D.
I don't either, to be honest. I'd still like to have the possibility of accessing online ebook stores from my reader, ideally through a neutral interface.
You know, I don't think I've ever bought a book directly from my ereader. But that's because I like to convert them to ePub and check the formatting with Sigil. Just as a hobby, really.

Quote
Being naturally lazy, I will occasionally turn on the WiFi on my Kobo and buy a book from where I stand (I did this from Norway where I was on holiday last summer - finished a book, bought the next in the series right there).
Hmm...

If I am travelling, can I buy books with my Kobo that are geo-restricted in my home country? I live in the US, but went to Japan earlier this year. Never thought of turning on the Kobo wifi to see what came up in the store.
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#10  Philippe D. 11-07-2019, 06:12 PM
Quote ZodWallop
If I am travelling, can I buy books with my Kobo that are geo-restricted in my home country? I live in the US, but went to Japan earlier this year. Never thought of turning on the Kobo wifi to see what came up in the store.
I seem to remember that my Kobo account remembers where I live, and won't let me buy books that are not for sale in France. Tried this from Scotland once I think.
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