The CommonsBlog

Android Devices and the Warescription

So, you’re interested in the Warescription, but you don’t know what to use to read the books?

From a PDF standpoint, Adobe Reader is free on the Android Market and works well with the books. I know there are some problems with QuickOffice and Documents To Go — however, I am having a bit of difficulty figuring out how to report bugs to those developers. I will try some other techniques to see if I can get a PDF that will work with those viewers.

From an EPUB standpoint, I know Aldiko works well with the books. However, because of their page-at-a-time display model, code listings are difficult to use, particularly in portrait mode. Landscape mode on a WVGA screen helps some. Someday, if Aldiko offers a plain scrolling model, that will help some more. I have not recently tested the EPUBs with other readers (e.g., FBReaderJ).

Reading technical books on a phone, though, IMHO is difficult in general. Maybe my eyes are just getting old. I picked up an Eken M001 briefly for some experiments with a tablet-sized screen. As expected, it helps tremendously. With the M001 hovering around $100, and a wave of new tablets showing up, I would steer you in the direction of a tablet if you want to read books on an Android device.

Note that the Kindle works, though the PDF format is a better choice than the native Kindle one. Because the Kindle file format does not support monospace, I have to do some fairly icky stuff to get the code listings to work (i.e., convert them into thinly-sliced JPEGs). I have a third-generation Kindle on order, and it will be interesting to see if they did anything to improve the PDF rendering (e.g., zoom).

The Busy Coder’s Guide to Android Development: the most Android knowledge allowed by law! :-)