PocketBook firmware update – 20110312

Today, I took the plunge to update the firmware in my ebook reader. I wish the version number made sense, but they already reused the 2.0.4 number, and supposedly the new firmware update function offers a 2.0.6 that’s really 2.0.5, so there you have it – this release is D903.2.0.5 20110312_174324. And for some reason, the update archive is named sw_20110312_903_LIBRI_2.0.5_libri_user. After reformatting the internal storage memory I found out where Libri came from – this firmware has a link to libri.de instead of bookland.net for a main screen widget.

Anyway, on to the impressions.

The release notes list three versions back – which as far as I know, means all the way back to the release firmware for the x02 series. I recognized some functionality under 2.0.4 was indeed included in my 2.0.4. I think the direct TTS controls on the directional ring were not, but I’m not certain. The volume buttons certainly were not. As there’s more than one 2.0.4, and the two changes I know of are not listed, I find the list a bit unrealiable. One point I find really worrying, as it implies the device can refuse to operate at all based on a rejected license. That sort of sabotage is really bad form.

Confirmed changes in my firmware update

  • There’s a new firmware update choice in the maintenance menu. This makes the Pocketbook more usable standalone, and allows users to not learn the bootloader tricks.
  • The calculator widget is now a working calculator. The feature of starting the calculator application didn’t work, because the new applications directory was not installed.
  • The games directory is removed without warning, with all its contents, repeatedly. There’s no need to reboot for this to occur.
  • The reloading picture shown when I disconnect from USB storage mode is incorrectly rendered (only half of it shows, streteched out, like a 2bpp image shown as 1bpp).
  • There are now working button controls for the TTS in AdobeViewer. Sadly, there’s still no way to select the correct language within a book.
  • Note editing with the stylus is finally in, along with text notes. This was the major gripe in missing features, good job!
  • Changing pages with the Dictionary up no longer hangs the reader. For some reason I had to select my dictionary again, it had randomly changed to Polish-English.
  • The keyboard now has shaded grayscale buttons. A simple waste of time, in my opinion, but it doesn’t seem to slow it down notably. More importantly, it now works with the buttons, so I’m not left without recourse if I lose my stylus.
  • The connection window now lists 3G, which is kind of pointless as I have no SIM card.

There are some new niggles (silently removing an entire directory, repeatedly!). Some niggles I don’t know if they were around before – when I pop up the last open window on the main screen, pretty soon the clock draws over it. This also suggests that the clock widget spends a lot more time drawing itself than makes sense. The Bookland web browser doesn’t seem to offer going anywhere else anymore, and the website is still horrible, so that feature has gone from bad to useless. PocketNews, on the other hand, contains a usable web browser that I had not seen before. Why we have three different ones I’m not sure.

In order to recover the Applications folder, I had to reformat the internal memory and restore the other contents from backup. It still removes the games folder, however, so if you have things to save there, put them elsewhere. Once that was done, I could open the new calculator – and it’s much improved! They weren’t kidding when calling it a scientific calculator, as it now has base conversion, trigonometry, exponential functions and so on. It also uses the entire screen.

Another new program is a customized Links 2 web browser. This is the browser used in PocketNews, but also added in the Applications folder as links. I used to have it as my main browser on all my lower powered machines. It works decently, although I can’t help wondering how horizontal scroll without the stylus should work, I’m missing the settings and bookmarks, and more importantly – it doesn’t know to quit when I hit Home (which is called Menu in the manual, I mean the house button – calling the book button Home makes even less sense) to go to the main menu (it exits on a press of Return). One thing really sets it apart from midori, which appears to be unchanged; Links allows simple paging with the next/previous page buttons.

The manual has been updated as well, but I haven’t yet checked what the changes are (the obvious thing is a much too large font). I’ll be updating the Problems article with which are fixed, and which are new.

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