Mobileread
Hacks Kindle 2 and PDFRead 1.8
#1  daffy4u 03-02-2009, 01:19 AM
A thread on the Amazon Forums inspired me to revisit using PDFRead 1.8 to convert complicated PDF documents for use on the Kindle. I played with it for about 5 minutes once for Kindle 1 and didn't really explore it enough. The 16 gray scale Kindle 2 made me feel like trying again.

There have been several people who have wanted to read film scripts on the Kindle. Regular conversion is not so hot because the formatting is lost (see samples in posts 12 and 22).

Tonight I spent some time trying to come up with the right profile to get a script onto my Kindle 2. I tried 10 different test profiles and came up with one that works pretty well. Since the PDF is turned into images, the font can't be bumped up so the type is on the small side but the whole script page is visible in portrait mode. My results are below. Please remember that the screen grab makes thescript page look larger than it actually is.

I'd like for everyone to use this thread to test various types of PDF files with PDFRead 1.8 (math equations, charts, graphs etc) and share the profile that works best for each type.

Bring it on!
test script 9 works.JPG 
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#2  daffy4u 03-02-2009, 03:11 AM
I went back and visited another old thread. This one had a PDF file with illustrations and equations. Running the file through Amazon's conversion service and MobiPocket Creator caused some of the equations with Greek letters to turn into gibberish on Kindle 1. The illustrations looked fine.

I tried 4 profiles. The first 2 processed the file in portrait mode. The type was way too small although all the illustrations and equations looked good. The 3rd profile used landscape mode and split each page in half. The type was a little bit bigger and parts of a couple of pages had text lines that were cut in half and were unreadable. The last profile used landscape and was to split the pages in thirds. It didn't work and looked just like the pages split in half.

Below are a few of the original conversion images followed by the 1st and 3rd test profiles. I'm also throwing in the .mobi books of the 2 profiles so you can see them on your own Kindles (1 or 2).

There is probably room to tweak the profiles more but this will have to do for a start.

Note: The 4 images at the bottom are from the original conversion. I don't know how to move them up in the post.

Edit: For comparison, I know I should run the original PDF through Amazon again to see how it works with the new support for Greek letters. That will be a follow-up post.
rst1.JPG rst1.gif rst1 (2).gif rst1 (3).gif rst1 (4).gif rst3.JPG rst3.gif rst3 (2).gif rst3 (3).gif rst3 (4).gif rst3 (5).gif rst3 (7).gif     
[prc] Red Stapler Test 1.prc (208.5 KB, 572 views)
[prc] Red Stapler Test 3.prc (345.4 KB, 491 views)
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#3  unrequited 03-02-2009, 06:48 AM
I just knocked out (what I think) are the perfect settings for ebook pdf technical books that are heavy on diagrams & text. I played around with a bunch of everything and went over them A/B tested on the Kindle 2 itself for the past 2 hours. > )

My recommended settings:
image »

400dpi (best result on kindle display itself):
image »

600dpi:
image »

1600dpi (text is too wispy and light hard to notice bold):
image »

I felt that unpaper wasn't necessary because these pages weren't scanned, and it only hurt the quality of the text. On my PoS work laptop, a 600-page technical manual was converted in about 40 minutes with a final size of ~65mB making it about 10mB for every 100 pages. Not bad at all for graphics/diagram/table-rich technical documents, and a HELL of a lot better than Amazon's auto-service (when I submitted the 600page monster I never got a response back, and single-pages came back horribly misformatted without any images at all (basically plaintext stripped with wrong symbols and characters everywhere).
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#4  daffy4u 03-02-2009, 10:39 AM
Excellent! Do you feel you can read the text well enough?
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#5  pengrus 03-02-2009, 12:35 PM
-Unrequited,

With your profile setting, do you also experience text cut off problem?
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#6  daffy4u 03-02-2009, 12:59 PM
Here are the test results for a PDF Magazine requested in this thread.

This particular PDF is formatted in 3 columns and looks much better with conversion from Amazon or MobiPocket Creator (they look the same to me) than it does with PDFRead.

One thing I noticed on both the Amazon and MPC conversions. Some of the light colored text from the PDF comes out very light and barely readable in the conversions.

I've included the original PDF as well and the .prc files created by MPC and PDFR.

Edit: Removed original source material due to copyright concerns.
Amazon.gif Amazon (2).gif Amazon (3).gif Amazon (4).gif MPC.gif MPC (2).gif MPC (3).gif MPC (4).gif dt1.JPG PDFR.gif PDFR (2).gif PDFR (3).gif PDFR (4).gif 
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#7  nrapallo 03-02-2009, 04:30 PM
Quote pengrus
-Unrequited,

With your profile setting, do you also experience text cut off problem?
Quote daffy4u
Here are the test results for a PDF Magazine requested in this thread.

This particular PDF is formatted in 3 columns and looks much better with conversion from Amazon or MobiPocket Creator (they look the same to me) than it does with PDFRead.
In landscape mode, there really shouldn't be any text lost, as there is some overlap between the landscape 'halves' to allow you to read that line on the next page flip.

I also have recently addressed the sub-par image quality produced by Mobiperl's default code for creating .prc's which honour the PalmOS .jpg size maximum. See this post for more info and get the new NRhtml2mobi.exe.

Concerning the right Profile to use, the 'mobi-prc' is a landscape profile and 'mobi-prc-p' a portrait one. They just setup everything 'Kindle 1', which you can override with Colors 16, Layoutmode 'landscape-half' (ensures just two page flips for each .pdf page), etc. There should be no reason to use the generic profiles, unless, of course, you want to output .html and images instead of .prc ebooks.

I don't know anything about the Kindles 2's max image size, has it changed to 600 x 800 or is it still less that the max. screen size?

If someone can confirm which settings work best, I'll include a 'Kindle 2' Profile in the next release of PDFRead.

Thanks for testing this out!

p.s. daffy4u, the Kindle 2's increased color (grayscale) resolution to 16 shades is a big step forward; much better than the 4 shades of the Kindle 1. It's made me rethink .prc support within PDFRead.
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#8  daffy4u 03-02-2009, 04:40 PM
Quote nrapallo
In landscape mode, there really shouldn't be any text lost, as there is some overlap between the landscape 'halves' to allow you to read that line on the next page flip.

I also have recently addressed the sub-par image quality produced by Mobiperl's default code for creating .prc's which honour the PalmOS .jpg size maximum. See this post for more info and get the new NRhtml2mobi.exe.

Concerning the right Profile to use, the 'mobi-prc' is a landscape profile and 'mobi-prc-p' a portrait one. They just setup everything 'Kindle 1', which you can override with Colors 16, Layoutmode 'landscape-half' (ensures just two page flips for each .pdf page), etc. There should be no reason to use the generic profiles, unless, of course, you want to output .html and images instead of .prc ebooks.

I don't know anything about the Kindles 2's max image size, has it changed to 600 x 800 or is it still less that the max. screen size?

If someone can confirm which settings work best, I'll include a 'Kindle 2' Profile in the next release of PDFRead.

Thanks for testing this out!

p.s. daffy4u, the Kindle 2's increased color (grayscale) resolution to 16 shades is a big step forward; much better than the 4 shades of the Kindle 1. It's made me rethink .prc support within PDFRead.
I started with the prc profiles with the script pages in the first post but they just were not working for me. I'm attaching a zip file with my tests. I'd appreciate your input on them. The profiles and results are named alike, so it should be easy (ha ha) to see which profile goes with which results.

I know you've provided a lot more ways to tweak the results and I'm slowly getting to know them.

Thanks for your work on this!
[zip] pdfread tests.zip (4.70 MB, 562 views)
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#9  nrapallo 03-02-2009, 05:30 PM
Quote daffy4u
I started with the prc profiles with the script pages in the first post but they just were not working for me. I'm attaching a zip file with my tests. I'd appreciate your input on them. The profiles and results are named alike, so it should be easy (ha ha) to see which profile goes with which results.

I know you've provided a lot more ways to tweak the results and I'm slowly getting to know them.

Thanks for your work on this!
If you don't mind landscape mode, then you should have tried Layout mode 'landscape-half' with Test Script 2. I attach that layout mode below (first 6 pages only) as well as it's GUI screen:

EDIT: added another landscape-half test of Mod10 - 15to24.pdf!
EDIT: Attachment removed at the request of the writer!
PDFRead-landscape-half.jpg 
[prc] Mod10 - 15to24-16shades.prc (1.17 MB, 509 views)
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#10  daffy4u 03-02-2009, 05:40 PM
Quote nrapallo
If you don't mind landscape mode, then you should have tried Layout mode 'landscape-half' with Test Script 2. I attach that layout mode below (first 6 pages only) as well as it's GUI screen:
There are a couple of concerns with splitting a script page in half which is why I didn't try it (though the user may not mind).

- sometimes the split cuts through a line of dialog or description and could cause some confusion
- when a run of pages is mostly dialog from a long scene, that's a lot of page flipping

It's good to add another profile to the pot as an option. Yours is definitely easier on the eyes than mine. Thank you!
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