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 … )

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Understanding Ebay A Little Better

In this posting, I had announced that a recent trend in the Ebay page layout had confused and disappointed me. Specifically, the detailed item description now only appears in our desktop / laptop browser, after the type of information I would think is a footer, which lists similar items that “other buyers also viewed” (even before we have made sure that the current item we clicked on, is in fact the correct item we are interested in). Because this detailed description appears after what seems to be the footer, I would not think to scroll down that far and look for it there. Yet, I tend to require this detailed description.

What I think I have learned, is that the Ebay page layout is the way it is, specifically with their mobile app in mind. More recently, I actually bought a few items from them, using their (Android) phone app. And in that layout, there was no detailed description panel. I had to choose my items based solely on the terse, ‘1-line description’, and based on their photo.

I think that this recent adjustment was really just a sign, that I am behind the times. I am still used to surfing using a PC or laptop. I guess Ebay is partially vindicated through this.

Dirk

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