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Living with the digital copies

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Lester Caine04/06/2011 09:50:47
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Having dropped to the on-line versions of the mag, I was at the time somewhat annoyed that I could not simply download a copy to my laptop to read down at the bottom of the garden where there is no internet access. However having lived with things for some time now it's time to review if I bother continuing the subscription. 6 months ago I was probably just thinking I'll put up with this for the year, but since then I've 'fine tuned' things, and being restricted to single page download is actually quite helpful. I only download the pages that have anything interesting on! Also I'm now saving the pages in 'article' order so I can easily drop back to previous sections of an article while reading a new section in detail.
Only the advertisers loose out since I simply kick past their pages - just like I do on the TV nowadays as well - you can only watch an advert so many times anyway
 
My only remaining problem is with the resolution of the PDF version. This is ACTUALLY a problem with many of the adverts anyway. They simply do not come up clean enough to read prices and other small print anyway. But the main problem is with some of the drawings which are simply unreadable at all. Even blown up, the recent drawings of the coach chassis are no use at all to work from.
 
Is there ANYTHING that can be done to make this information more usable? It's only SOME drawings but always seems to be the ones I want to look at closer.
John Stevenson04/06/2011 11:45:30
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Lester,
I am also having this problem but I find it's not the quality of the mag viewer but how it converts it to pdf.
 
This screen shot is what I see from the mag viewer, double click to enlarge.
 
Quality is decent and all text readable.
 

 
 
This next pic is what I see in the print preview window, seems about the same.
 
 
last pic is that above page saved to pdf.
 
Quality in this is degraded.
 
This was saved with PDF Factory Pro, also tried with CutePDF and the one supplied with solid works.
 
For some reason the problem is away from the mag reader and how it saves the pdf, played about with settings but can get it worse but not better.
 
John S.
Lester Caine04/06/2011 13:18:50
25 forum posts
1 photos
I'd classify that as a 'not too bad' drawing in the first place. I'm running 1920x1200 on the screen and have the magnify screen function enabled. Drawings like the one on page 637 of the last issue (ME4404) are just indecipherable directly on the screen and the raw data is simply not there to allow blowing them up
I know what you are saying about the print to pdf functions though - Bullzip creates tiff files direct from the screen page, and they run into vextractor quite nicely to give something which is more than acceptable in Turbocad.
It's the latest page 705 that prompted me to actually 'complain' - but I'm not sure how good that would have been printed in the mag? It's not usable on-line.

John Stevenson04/06/2011 14:32:17
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Sorry Lester I can't comment on this as I don't take ME, only MEW.
 
Perhaps someone who does can comment or I'm just off out down town and I'll have a look in W.H. Smitt & Co. [ GMBH ] and see if they have this copy.
 
John S
Andrew Johnston04/06/2011 14:37:10
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The drawings are pretty much indecipherable in the printed magazine too.
 
Regards,
 
Andrew
Lester Caine04/06/2011 15:46:25
25 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Andrew Johnston on 04/06/2011 14:37:10:
The drawings are pretty much indecipherable in the printed magazine too.
 
I did suspect that was the case with these drawings, but hopefully the previous issues drawings of the 5" carriage Bogie are a little more usable in the magazine? If not perhaps we should all be complaining about the quality?
_Paul_04/06/2011 16:15:07
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Rather than convert to PDF I use a utility called Zapgrab which lets me capture any portion of my screen by one simple mouse drag, this copies it to the Windows clipboard which I then normally paste into Paint Shop but you could just as well paste into Word, Paint, Corel or whatever
It's beauty is that whatever you select at it gives you the same quality copy proper WYSIWYG, aside from copying complete drawings I find it useful when only a portion of an image or drawing is required just selecting the bit I need.
 
Oh almost forgot to mention it's freeware from here Zapgrab
 
Regards
 
Paul
Gone Away04/06/2011 16:37:48
829 forum posts
1 photos
As far as the quality of pdf's produced by the online reader goes, the publishers have made it plain in the past that they are concerned about copies of the magazines ending up on the internet. With good reason actually: there are copies of other magazines freely available in high definition as soon as they are published.
 
ME/MEW have apparently taken a course midway between that and precluding digital publishing altogether:
 
- they have configured the reader to allow only one page to be printed at a time, making it tiresome to print (to pdf or otherwise) the full copy.
 
- they (or the reader) have limited the resolution available when printing so that the copy is, while hopefully usable, relatively poor. Of course if the original drawing or whatever is poor to start with (as evidenced by the magazine version) it will only get worse in this case.
 
 
It's curious that the publishers of those other magazines appear not to take similar steps. I assume that they think the problem has a minimal effect on their paid circulation, perhaps rationalising that 98% (plucked out of the air) of their potential base wouldn't have the wherewithall to find the pirate copies anyway.
 
It's also true that some book publishers put full pdf copies of their books out there as "trial copies" knowing that most people dislike reading on a screen and that anyone who is seriously interested will likely buy the book (I've done it myself). I'm not suggesting that the magazine publishers are doing this but they may consider that effect in the pirate copies.
harold04/06/2011 17:43:44
35 forum posts
I agree with these comments regarding the pdf quality, especially relating to diagrams. The original magazine viewer produced far better pdf's. It may be that the new viewer is designed to degrade any images saved to pdf in order to discourage such activity. However, the mag owners have forked out for the software now, so we're stuck with it.
Pat04/06/2011 17:44:15
94 forum posts
1 photos
Hi Paul
 
Out of curiosity I followed your link to Zapgrab. Unfortunately it is paid for software at $6.99 per operating system. I have not taken this further as I have Acrobat Pro. My gripe is about the quality of the early issues where it is all but impossible to read the dimensions on some of the drawings and the text gives me a headache by the time I have read one article.
 
Agree about the piracy issue raised by Sid Herbage. However if the eBook publishers have it cracked so that the down load is encoded for that device only may be Model-Engineer will move in that direction eventually.
 
Regards - Pat
 
 
Lester Caine04/06/2011 18:13:05
25 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by _Paul_ on 04/06/2011 16:15:07:It's beauty is that whatever you select at it gives you the same quality copy proper WYSIWYG, aside from copying complete drawings I find it useful when only a portion of an image or drawing is required just selecting the bit I need.
Oh almost forgot to mention it's freeware from here Zapgrab

Bullzip is freeware - and provides quite a nice set of facilities. But for screen dumps I'm still running the free version of Paint Shop Pro which cuts out the transferring from clipboard
 
My main problem with the ME 'player' is the difficulty freezing the bit you want to look at when zoomed in. The current 'tool' is so mickey mouse that I've always downloaded the pages anyway so I can zoom in on what *I* want to view.
 
I accept the 'security' issue, but there is nothing stopping this being distributed anyway, so since I AM paying for the service, an easier to use service would be nice, then I would simply download the advertising as well rather than just the articles ...
David Clark 104/06/2011 21:11:34
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3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi There
The latest issues are taken from the original PDFs.
The older issues are scanned as we don't have pdfs for them
That is why the quality is not quite so good.
Nothing at all to do with printing them out.
I printed some early ones out and they were fine.
 
We changed the reader because the old one was far too slow.
It was so slow that I could not open the magazine on my old slow broadband.
It is very fast now.
regards david
 
David Clark 104/06/2011 21:16:25
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3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi There
I have no idea why you can only print a page at a time.
I have n o access to the software but assume it is a limitation of the reader.
I could never print out more than one page of the old reader.
It would not do it in the time available.
regards david
David Clark 104/06/2011 21:31:41
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3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi There
I will talk to the office on Monday.
Printer quality is not good enough.
regards David
LADmachining04/06/2011 21:52:41
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124 forum posts
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Hi David,
 
I have to disagree with your comment about the print quality from the new eMag creator software.
 
Attached are two screengrabs taking of my PDF viewer displaying MEW 153 p13.
 
The first was printed from the website when the old magazine viewer software wass being used.
 

 
The second was taken a few minutes ago from the website.
 

 
Both times the same computer was used, with the same PDF printer software (PrimoPDF).
 
OK, the second one is readable (to an extent), but it is not easy on the eyes at all.  The text is quite pixellated and some words are not easy to decipher. 

Edited By LADmachining on 04/06/2011 21:54:21

Edited By LADmachining on 04/06/2011 21:57:04

Lester Caine04/06/2011 21:56:28
25 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by David Clark 1 on 04/06/2011 21:16:25:
Hi There
I have no idea why you can only print a page at a time.
 
David - the ability to download the document in one hit is a function provided on the function bar of the smaller view. YOU have specifically had it switched off. The sample articles used to have this function switched on so it could simply be made available again? It is a little academic trying to restrict access nowadays since the file download con sites already have the content anyway? So you are just irritating paying customers.
 
As for quality ... I have many of the older traction engine articles scanned from my own stock of mags and the quality is rather better than that currently being supplied on the on-line service. It WOULD seem that some of the poor quality drawings are actually as bad in the printed copy as sampled above? And in general advertising items like Tracy Tools are very difficult to read on the new reader especially since one can't use the mouse to help as it simply keeps pushing the page up and down, and downloading to look at zoomed in a little more does not help
Still I just go direct to the advertisers site anyway
Paul Boscott04/06/2011 22:22:25
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99 forum posts
21 photos
On the up side I know exactly where the magazine is and do not have to rummage the cupboards or wish I had kept then in order or justify storing copies that are years old just in case I might one day want to know how to set up a fixed steady as I did today the MEW number 44 was right in front of me.
 
 
Paul
 
 
David Clark 105/06/2011 09:13:57
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3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi Lester
I have not had it switched off.
Nothing to do with me.
I con't get involved with digital issues.
regards David
Gray6205/06/2011 09:55:59
1057 forum posts
16 photos
If you look at the help page for the reader, you will see that the icon that allows skip to page function, is actually part of the navigation menu. The publishers of the digital editions have deliberately disabled some of the functionality of this menu, this is where download as pdf would be enabled.
The quality of pages downloaded as PDF are totally unacceptable. Even the new editions produce unreadable copy. There is no justifiable reason for this if the originals are produced as PDF's then the printed output should be the same quality as the original printed magazine.
 
DC1, I think you need to get involved in this issue as representative of the subscribing community. THis needs to be sorted ASAP.
 
regards
 
Graeme
Lester Caine05/06/2011 19:27:19
25 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by David Clark 1 on 05/06/2011 09:13:57:
Hi Lester
I have not had it switched off.
Nothing to do with me.
I con't get involved with digital issues.
Lets try again - god I hate being forced to do this on line !!!!!
 
David - I think it somewhat surprising that you can't get involved with publications you are putting your name to! As a web only subscriber do I simply assume that you are not responsible for anything I am looking at?
This therefore begs the question "Why is dictating the rules for our copy?"

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