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Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by TeknoBlast, Aug 19, 2013.
First day of classes was today, and I must say, I had quite the same experience. Using my eTextbooks/notes on my Surface, others stuck in the past.
Interesting! Do you face a problem with the aspect ratio of the Surface while reading textbooks etc.? This is one of my biggest problems with the RT (and other Android tablets which share the same or similar aspect ratio). I had to go out an buy an iPad only to be able to read my books (for work and which are primarily in PDF format) with ease. For everything else, however, the RT rules! My Nexus 10 has now become my primary media consumption device.
I use my Surface strictly in landscape orientation, and use Online Textbooks, eTextbooks, textbook eBooks, exam copies | CourseSmart for 3 of my 6 textbooks (only three I needed were available as an eTextbook, but I have the option to add 3 more to my account for the semester). Coursesmart is run directly from their servers and since I'm on campus for my classes, I am always connected to my school's wifi. The default view mode for the textbooks is annoying, and in that matter, I would agree with you about the aspect ratio. However, change a few settings on CourseSmart's interface and it eliminates most, if not all issues. I can access my books offline if I act with the premonition that I might not have wifi; I can also print off entire textbooks, as well as share individual pages with professors/classmates via email or other social networks. Keeping in mind that CourseSmart does not have an app in the WStore (and does have an app for iOS/Android), it has, and still is, taking some time to adjust to the interface they use - once you are acclimated, though, it's just as simple and effective as a traditional textbook (navigating pages, highlighting text, adding notes via text or stylus to specific pages, bookmarks, etc.) - I just save money, weight, and time with this method.
You can buy or rent books individually, or purchase a subscription - I chose the latter. The subscription is $200 and allows you to add up to 6 textbooks to your bookshelf for 150 days (slightly longer than 1 semester). If I had rented my eTextbooks, I would have spent $225 for the three I have - if I had purchased traditional textbook renditions, I would have paid $476.89 - and that's excluding the materials for my other courses.
Long story short, I have not experienced any problems using my Surface for eTextbooks. In fact, many classmates have been impressed at both my Surface and the utilization of eTextbooks. If you are mentally aware of what's going on, staying ahead of classmates, and on par with the professor, is a breeze. My CompLit II professor was also impressed to hear my answer of 8.1 when asked what OS I was using on my devices.
I will have to play it by ear, as it is early in the semester, but initial experiences are very positive.
Thanks. Very interesting. I wonder if it would be possible for you to post two screenshots of any one of your textbook pages as rendered on the Surface - one in portrait mode and the other in landscape mode. From my experience of trying to read PDF documents on 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratio screens in portrait mode, the experience is less than optimal (reading EPUB is much better though). But surfing and watching movies is excellent. It's just the opposite on the iPad. I am enjoying reading books on the iPad.
Edit: I checked out the link you posted and looked at some of the demos they offer. The rendering on my large screen desktop monitor looks very much similar to what PDF books look on my iPad. But on the Surface and Nexus 10, not so good. Lots of scrolling (in landscape mode). In portrait mode, the text becomes rather small and requires zooming etc.
I'll try to remember to take some screenshots this morning when I head out to class. You're right about scrolling, and I'll address that this afternoon along with some pictures.
Is there anything else you'd like a shot of, while I have it on my mind?
Thanks. Ummm...nothing that I can remember off-hand. But thanks very much for asking. If I remember something, I'll bug you again! :>)))
Well, I'm a little late to the party...better late than never, I suppose.
Here are some of those shots you asked for, KS.
I actually enjoy using my Surface (more specifically, eTextbooks) in portrait orientation. I found it very fluid and easy to use, but only when my device was out of its case. Aspect ratios were no problem, even when switching back and forth from landscape to portrait. I do prefer landscape, simply because I don't have to hold the device, but for one of my classes, portrait is a must! It's reading-intensive and I really enjoyed being able to use my RT in that manner. Anyway, on to some shots...let me know if there's any questions you have, a lot of my points about the differences are not coming to me right now.
Paper is obsolete. This was my "tablet" before Surface Pro: