How the EPUB2 and MOBI formats can be used for typeset Math.

According to This preceding posting, I was experiencing some frustration over trying to typeset Math, for publication in EPUB2 format. EPUB3 format with MathML support was a viable alternative, though potentially hard on any readers I might have.

Well a situation exists in which either EPUB2 or MOBI can be used to publish typeset Math: Each lossless image can claim the entire width of a column of text, and each image can represent an entire equation. That way, the content of the document can alternate vertically between Text and Typeset Math.

In fact, if an author was to choose to do this, he or she could also use the Linux-based solutions ‘LyX’ , ‘ImageMagick’ , and ‘tex4ebook’ .

(Edited 1/9/2019, 15h35 … )

Continue reading How the EPUB2 and MOBI formats can be used for typeset Math.

Trying to bridge the gap to mobile-friendly reading of typeset equations, using EPUB3?

One of the sad facts about this blog is, that it’s not very mobile-friendly. The actual WordPress Theme that I use is very mobile-friendly, but I have the habit of inserting links into postings, that open typeset Math, in the form of PDF Files. And the real problem with those PDF Files is, the fact that when people try to view them on, say, smart-phones, the Letter-Sized page format forces them to pinch-zoom the document, and then to drag it around on their phone, not getting a good view of the overall document.

And so eventually I’m going to have to look for a better solution. One solution that works, is just to output a garbled PDF-File. But something better is in order.

A solution that works in principle, is to export my LaTeX -typeset Math to EPUB3-format, with MathML. But, the other EPUB and/or MOBI formats just don’t work. But the main downside after all that work for me is, the fact that although there are many ebook-readers for Android, there are only very few that can do everything which EPUB3 is supposed to be able to do, including MathML. Instead, the format is better-suited for distributing prose.

One ebook-reader that does support EPUB3 fully, is called “Infinity Reader“. But if I did publish my Math using EPUB3 format, then I’d be doing the uncomfortable deed, of practically requiring that my readers install this ebook-reader on their smart-phones, for which they’d next need to pay a small in-app purchase, just to get rid of the ads. I’d be betraying all those people who, like me, prefer open-source software. For many years, some version of ‘FBReader’ has remained sufficient for most users.

Thus, if readers get to read This Typeset Math, just because they installed that one ebook-reader, then the experience could end up becoming very disappointing for them. And, I don’t get any kick-back from ImeonSoft, for having encouraged this.

I suppose that this cloud has a silver lining. There does exist a Desktop-based / Laptop-based ebook-reader, which is capable of displaying all these EPUB3 ebooks, and which is as free as one could wish for: The Calibre Ebook Manager. When users install this either under Linux or under Windows, they will also be able to view the sample document I created and linked to above.

(Updated 1/6/2019, 6h00 … )

Continue reading Trying to bridge the gap to mobile-friendly reading of typeset equations, using EPUB3?

I now own a Kindle PaperWhite (eBook Reader).

I know some friends, who are about my own age, and who would swear, that as long as they own a tablet, on which the Amazon Kindle app can be installed and run, they see no need for a physical, Kindle Device. And the main reason seems to be their old-school thinking, that one highly-versatile device, need not be replaced by more-specialized devices, the features of one are a subset of another.

( Updated below on 07/30/2017 … )

My friends date back to the era, before Lithium-Ion batteries, when the more-versatile devices were simply plugged into an A/C outlet, and assumed to run indefinitely. They would probably ask me, ‘You own a more-versatile Tablet. Why did you go ahead and buy a Kindle Device?’

I can think of two answers:

  1. I want to have the technology, and
  2. I actually want the leisure, of being able to read an entire book and relax while doing so.

A long time ago, essentially all forms of 2D displays were active displays. There existed LED and LCD, which had in common, that they had their own light-sources, which during full sunlight, need to overpower the sunlight, in order to define white as anything brighter than black. While the origin of LCDs was to overcome this – during the last century – the fact that LCDs needed to be transformed into high-res, full-color displays, meant that they needed backlights, approximately 50% of the light-energy of which they did not absorb and allowed through, for typical images. Their claim to being ‘transfelctive’ was long on the transmissive, but short on the reflective. When this sort of an ‘improved’ LCD was required to act as a reflective display, it generally scattered back less than 50% of the incident light-energy, and with the typical glass shields in front of them, the glare during bright light was made even worse.

As some of my readers already understand, when the Kindle was first invented, it also pioneered the use of a kind of passive display, which was at some point in time named ‘e-Paper’. It’s quite apart from LCD-technology, in that in reflective mode, the pixels of it that are meant to be white, actually scatter back more than 80% of the incident light. And black pixels are truly dark. So the surface is as readable by default, as a sheet of paper would be, with ink printed on it. And it requires about as much battery-charge to run, as a sheet of paper (exaggeration intentional here), since it’s not generally required to act as a light-source.

Now, in the way some people think, this fact might get obscured, by the fact that modern Kindles employ a kind of e-Paper, with an additional backlight. In theory, I can turn the backlight completely down, to conserve the battery-life as much as possible, at which point the bright pixels take on a slightly yellowish tint, much like older, browned paper would. But the text is just slightly more readable, when there is non-zero backlight. And, if I am ever to read in a dark room, I’ll need non-zero backlight for sure.

Because I’m a slightly older man, I also have slightly poorer vision, than I did as a teenager, and so I think I actually need slightly more backlight (a level numbered ’10’) , than an average teenager would need, to read in a partially-lit environment. In a completely dark room, I’d turn up the backlight even higher than that.

To be completely up-to-date about it, the back-lit Kindles are not even the most-modern, because by now, there exist Kindles with e-Paper and a Front-Light. But on my own terms, I actually consider the slightly more-basic Kindles, such as the PaperWhite, to be better, than the most-recent models, that offer endlessly-more features, and that consume more battery-charge than mine would.

On an Android tablet, the battery actually prevents us from reading anything for more than a few hours – maybe 2 or 3 tops – at a time. This used to stand in my way of rediscovering reading. Now, a Kindle will allow me to read more than a whole book, at whatever time of day seems convenient, and without interrupting me with a depleting battery.

Continue reading I now own a Kindle PaperWhite (eBook Reader).