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Originally Posted by EricN on March 13, 2010 at 1:28pm
As the owner of an older, non-NVIDIA Modbook, which displays only a distorted portrait view, MacFlip was a fun project, that may have helped many in the Modbook community, but one that provided little utility for me.
The way it should look. The way it does look.
MacFlip would be most valuable to me when reading on my Modbook, which I mostly do using the PDF reader Skim. A while back, I built a very basic AppleScript for Skim, MacFlipSkim, which imitates MacFlip, rotating the Skim document I'm reading to match the orientation at which I'm holding the Modbook. Recently, I've spent some time extending MacFlipSkim to produce a mostly pen-free reading experience on Skim, letting me tilt my Modbook (or MacBook) to turn pages. The result I'm calling SkimFlip.
Like MacFlip, SkimFlip responds to a 90 degree tilt of the notebook with a 90 degree rotation of the document, but, in addition, a modest (about 20 degree) tilt to the right advances the document to the next page. Similarly, a modest tilt to the left goes to the document's previous page. More pronounced tilts (about 30 degrees), turn the pages more rapidly.
SkimFlip offers additional functionality when you flip your Modbook over so that the screen faces the ground. If you've changed pages recently, but now want to flip back to your last reading place. Hold your Modbook upside down just briefly (until you hear a tink) and the document will return to your previous spot.
Alternatively, if you hold your Modbook upside down for a count of three (until you hear a submarine sound that follows the tink), you will see the following dialog box:
Choosing the default option, "Pause SkimFlip", will suspend SkimFlip so that you can tip your Modbook as you wish without any document rotation or page turning. Flipping your Modbook over again for a count of three will reactivate SkimFlip.
Choosing the "Turn Pages with Stylus" option, disables the ability to turn pages by tilting. I often put SkimFlip in this state when riding on the bus to prevent unwanted page changes. (One can still turn pages in Skim's Full Screen and Presentation Mode by putting the pen near the bottom of the display and using the interface that pops up). To re-enable page change by tilting, flip your Modbook upside down again for a count of three.
The last option, "Send Escape key", just sends Skim an escape keystroke, which is useful for exiting Full Screen or Presentation Mode if a keyboard isn't handy.
That is all there is to it, but a couple caveats are in order. First, SkimFlip only works when Skim is the frontmost application. When you are using other apps, SkimFlip hibernates (this is also a quick way to pause SkimFlip). In addition, SkimFlip seems to work best when Skim's view settings are set to "Automatically Resize", but NOT set to "Continuous".
Finally, since SkimFlip needs to respond to smaller changes in Modbook orientation than MacFlip, it is especially important to make sure that the Sudden Motion Sensor (the accelerometer) in your Modbook is properly calibrated. SeisMaCalibrate makes SMS calibration a simple, five minute process. It is well worth the effort.
Skim, the PDF reader, is available at http://skim-app.sourceforge.net/index.html
If you have a favorite e-reader that you'd like to see improved in this fashion, let me know. If it can rotate pages and is scriptable, I might be able to adapt my script to work.
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