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ericn

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Apr 22 10 5:59 PM

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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. 



Download: SkimFlip.zip , updated Mar 23, 2010.

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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ericn

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Apr 22 10 6:13 PM

Original Reply by Matt Spence on April 4, 2010 at 6:16pm


Your SkimFlip works brilliantly. I would like to use Skim for more things, but it lacks an eraser, so using it to read and grade papers is difficult. (I have no idea how to script anything, but could something be created to provide an eraser in Skim?) I have been working a bit with Circus Ponies Notebook, and it is pretty good. Is there any way to adapt your script to that app?


Thanks for developing this!

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 Reply by EricN on April 4, 2010 at 7:55pm


The peculiar way the freehand tool works (it does work better in Presentation Mode), and the lack of eraser are the biggest drawbacks to Skim. When I learn Cocoa (I said ‘when’ didn't I?), one of things I'd consider doing is forking the Skim project. In the meantime, there is a hidden hack in SkimFlip already: If you open Skim Flip with AppleScript Editor in the first section of the script is the line:


property extraFunctions : false


change this to


property extraFunctions : true


This enables two added functions in the “Turn Pages with Stylus” mode. Tilting 30 degrees to be right toggles the Table of Contents, and tilting 30 degrees to be left does undo (one every 0.6 seconds). The latter, when used in Presentation Mode, conveniently erases my last few freehand annotations. Obviously, use of this, on the bus for example, is potentially dangerous, so be careful.


The last Time I used Circus Ponies' Notebook was early last year, and I was unimpressed with its performance When using ‘Ink’, and irritated with the difficultly in printing off individual pages of notes. So I use InkBook: it isn't pretty, but it works. I recall Circus Ponies' Notebook being AppleScriptable. Can you rotate documents?

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Reply by Matt Spence on April 5, 2010 at 1:20pm


I think I can rotate documents. One of my problems with Notebook is that the ink sometimes lags or is jagged. I tried InkBook before, but I seem to remember being frustrated by the tendency of the app to select whatever I had just written. Was I doing something wrong? I had contacted the creator of InkBook to see about extending the trial, and he said that I could delete something from my library to accomplish this. However, I cannot find that email. Any hints?

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Reply by EricN on April 5, 2010 at 10:35pm


When you are in ‘Ink’ mode, you have to tap on your script to select it. If you start a stroke on some previous script, it does not select it. Always turn Apple Ink's Write Anywhere off when using inkBook.


My guess is that, in order to renew your trial, you need to remove all (or some) of inkBook's support files:


/Library/Preferences/com.magesw.inkbook.reg


/Users/EricN/Library/Preferences/com.magesw.inkbook.LSSharedFileList.plist

/Users/EricN/Library/Preferences/com.magesw.inkbook.plist

/Users/EricN/Library/Caches/com.magesw.inkbook



I'll look at Circus Ponies again.




Reply by Tom J. Byrne on April 5, 2010 at 11:36pm


Thanks for this development. It's nice to be able to read with this. A pity that Axiotron doesn't take the same level of initiative.




Reply by Victor J. Santos on April 12, 2010 at 11:06pm


Hey! Your app works great! Is there any chance that you can get this to work with PDFpen or Acrobat Reader?

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Reply by EricN on April 13, 2010 at 5:40pm


I should look at adapting this to Acrobat Reader. Good Idea.


PDFpen, however, is pricey and I have no use for it, so probably not.


Eric

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