Pleco for Android Beta 1+2 Feedback Thread

benzhen

进士
mikelove said:
That may take a few more betas, unfortunately; it actually requires a bit of a redesign, since we no longer have a dedicated file container area like we do on iOS and hence can't store document bookmarks alongside the original documents in hidden .plecobookmark files (as we'd have no way to ensure that the bookmarks would accompany the file if it were moved). We have to store them in a central database instead, which means a lot of new code to match files up to their bookmarks / a new screen to let you manage and delete bookmark sets for documents you're no longer interested in / etc.
That is tricky. one, maybe not too ideal solution could be to require everyone to put their documents inside a designated folder in PlecoData or something?
 
I have a Viewsonic gTablet (10.1", Android 2.2) for a few days. So, I installed the free/demo version, rather than transferring a license. Here's some feedback, some specific to the device, some more general

Apologies for repeating things but I have to give it back very soon, so have been quite rushed.

It has a front facing camera only, so OCR reverses the images. It would need a way to process the image in "mirror" mode to make OCR work, I guess, since I haven't found any camera settings to reverse the image.

I'd like to suggest a single demo document preinstalled that can be put into reader to show off things. I did manage to copy over a large document that was recognized, by first installing a DOC file reader. Normal txt files didn't seem to get recognized by the native Android file reader correctly. They would open in the wrong encoding. Perhaps I was missing a BOM, not sure. A preinstalled text would have shown off the features and help make sales, IMO.

I would really like to see font / screen resize working with pinch/expand gestures, rather than the digital slider and font size selectors.
At least 3 modes:
- Off/Locked screen,
- Coordinated (all elements resize together),
- Individual (able to resize one element independently)
This would be much more friendly than current settings dialog.

The Viewsonic gTablet doesn't have "Ctrl" key for copy/paste stuff. The DOC reader had it's own copy paste stuff in a menu.

A link to the online manual from the Pleco pop-up menu would have been nice.

"Contact Support" wants to start up bluetooth. The gTablet already has wi-fi internet but Pleco doesn't seem to recognize that wi-fi is available. (Even my Nokia phone has wi-fi as one option, and it's "free" when you're already at a wi-fi hotspot)

I'd like to see a "one line characters / one line pinyin" option. It would be much easier to read the entire text if the pop-up wasn't always covering things, making it hard to read something in context. I don't care if the entire "pinyin line" had pinyin, or only the word selected. Just, make it inline with the text.

Generally, things seem slower to get at, more movements, etc. than with a stylus on my Palm. I guess that's the price of using finger/touch...
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
stephanhodges said:
It has a front facing camera only, so OCR reverses the images. It would need a way to process the image in "mirror" mode to make OCR work, I guess, since I haven't found any camera settings to reverse the image.
Interesting, but I'm not quite sure how useful a front-facing camera would be - wouldn't the thing you're recognizing block you from actually seeing the screen?

stephanhodges said:
I'd like to suggest a single demo document preinstalled that can be put into reader to show off things. I did manage to copy over a large document that was recognized, by first installing a DOC file reader. Normal txt files didn't seem to get recognized by the native Android file reader correctly. They would open in the wrong encoding. Perhaps I was missing a BOM, not sure. A preinstalled text would have shown off the features and help make sales, IMO.
Good idea - probably also helpful on iOS. Though since the demo document reader can't open text files, this would be more of a welcome-new-customers thing than a convince-people-to-buy-it thing.

stephanhodges said:
I would really like to see font / screen resize working with pinch/expand gestures, rather than the digital slider and font size selectors.
At least 3 modes:
- Off/Locked screen,
- Coordinated (all elements resize together),
- Individual (able to resize one element independently)
This would be much more friendly than current settings dialog.
People have been pitching us on that for iOS too, but honestly it doesn't quite feel like the right use for that gesture - the reason pinching is such a nice, natural gesture is that the content on the screen is literally stretching out to match the spreading of your fingers (like you're stretching a piece of Silly Putty); font size changes aren't like that, the page margins remain the same. We could look at adding a faster-access font size menu item, though, I suppose.

stephanhodges said:
A link to the online manual from the Pleco pop-up menu would have been nice.
Said manual hasn't been written yet, but we'll add one once it is :)

stephanhodges said:
"Contact Support" wants to start up bluetooth. The gTablet already has wi-fi internet but Pleco doesn't seem to recognize that wi-fi is available. (Even my Nokia phone has wi-fi as one option, and it's "free" when you're already at a wi-fi hotspot)
That's a new one... all we're actually doing with Contact Support is firing up the built-in Android email client; are you able to send / receive email on your tablet over WiFi?

stephanhodges said:
I'd like to see a "one line characters / one line pinyin" option. It would be much easier to read the entire text if the pop-up wasn't always covering things, making it hard to read something in context. I don't care if the entire "pinyin line" had pinyin, or only the word selected. Just, make it inline with the text.
Where would you want that one line characters / one line Pinyin option? In the results list or definition screen or somewhere else?

There's an option to anchor the bubble on the bottom of the screen on iOS and we plan to bring that option to Android too; the reason we do it this way by default is that it means less eye movement and feels more natural / instant (we spent a lot of time testing it both ways before deciding to use the floating bubble).

stephanhodges said:
Generally, things seem slower to get at, more movements, etc. than with a stylus on my Palm. I guess that's the price of using finger/touch...
It is indeed, but given the current state of the market it seems quite unlikely that we'll go back to stylii anytime soon...
 

Loriquero

秀才
mikelove said:
That may take a few more betas, unfortunately; it actually requires a bit of a redesign, since we no longer have a dedicated file container area like we do on iOS and hence can't store document bookmarks alongside the original documents in hidden .plecobookmark files (as we'd have no way to ensure that the bookmarks would accompany the file if it were moved). We have to store them in a central database instead, which means a lot of new code to match files up to their bookmarks / a new screen to let you manage and delete bookmark sets for documents you're no longer interested in / etc.
What about save the position in the very same document? when I go back to the menu of my cellphone and then go back to pleco, the document is in the beginning again.

There is another thing, the sound of the voices is really low on my cellphone. No matter I have it on max volume. (Samsung Galaxy SII) I have to put the speaker on my ear in order to listen to them well.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Loriquero said:
What about save the position in the very same document? when I go back to the menu of my cellphone and then go back to pleco, the document is in the beginning again.
That's odd... sounds like a bug.

Loriquero said:
There is another thing, the sound of the voices is really low on my cellphone. No matter I have it on max volume. (Samsung Galaxy SII) I have to put the speaker on my ear in order to listen to them well.
This has been reported a few other times - we'll eventually get around to remastering those files at a higher volume, probably closer to the finished release.
 

benzhen

进士
mikelove said:
Loriquero said:
What about save the position in the very same document? when I go back to the menu of my cellphone and then go back to pleco, the document is in the beginning again.
That's odd... sounds like a bug.
i've been able to reproduce this on my atrix.

if while reading a text file i hit the back button or exit out of the reader before i leave the pleco app OR i enter the pleco app by using the recent apps list (long hold the home button) i have no problems returning to the last viewed position.

however, if i hit the home button while a document is open and then use the pleco shortcut on my home screen, the main dictionary page pops up (not the document reader) and when i enter the document reader, i am returned to my the spot i was the last time i used the method above to exit the reader.


in other news, since this is a feedback thread...performance on 2.3.4 on my atrix is astoundingly fast. the scrolling is so much smother than iOS (itouch 4) in the main dictionary and reader. and the pop-ups in the reader are also instant. NO LAG WHATSOEVER!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
benzhen said:
if while reading a text file i hit the back button or exit out of the reader before i leave the pleco app OR i enter the pleco app by using the recent apps list (long hold the home button) i have no problems returning to the last viewed position.

however, if i hit the home button while a document is open and then use the pleco shortcut on my home screen, the main dictionary page pops up (not the document reader) and when i enter the document reader, i am returned to my the spot i was the last time i used the method above to exit the reader.
Ah, that makes more sense - should be easy to fix, thanks.

benzhen said:
in other news, since this is a feedback thread...performance on 2.3.4 on my atrix is astoundingly fast. the scrolling is so much smother than iOS (itouch 4) in the main dictionary and reader. and the pop-ups in the reader are also instant. NO LAG WHATSOEVER!
Yeah, for all of my Java-bashing there actually are a few subsystems on Android that run way faster than their iOS equivalents, and the one that's making the difference in this case is text rendering - even though I believe they're both using FreeType as their font rendering core, Android's version of it seems to be better optimized or to have faster access to the screen; maybe it just implements more intelligent caching for Chinese characters.

The Android user interface layout engine is absolute crap - if it ever seems like it takes suspiciously long to change tabs or for a new entry to come up in landscape orientation, that's why - and both due to that and the iffy garbage collection practices of earlier Android versions, it still gets a reputation for being a bit less smooth than iOS, but in certain areas like scrolling through lists of Chinese characters it really does fly along. Hopefully they'll build on those and improve in the areas they still have trouble with in a future release.
 

Stump

秀才
Just switched from WM6 to Android, and I can't tell I'm not amazed by the great improvements in Pleco! Thanks a lot Mike.

I just played a little and added the OCR, I'd just have one comment so far.

The OCR works great on HTC Sensation from far or close up. The only thing is the displayed matrix-like green characters when the OCR is searching are quite annoying.
I'd rather have nothing shown on screen until the OCR confirms the character in blue.
Haven't found a way to turn that off in the settings.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Stump said:
Just switched from WM6 to Android, and I can't tell I'm not amazed by the great improvements in Pleco! Thanks a lot Mike.

I just played a little and added the OCR, I'd just have one comment so far.

The OCR works great on HTC Sensation from far or close up. The only thing is the displayed matrix-like green characters when the OCR is searching are quite annoying.
I'd rather have nothing shown on screen until the OCR confirms the character in blue.
Haven't found a way to turn that off in the settings.
There's an option to hide them when paused but not while the recognizer is running - we could easily add that in a future update, though. (IIRC, we actually supported it in one of the early iOS betas but for some reason we took it out)
 
mikelove said:
stephanhodges said:
It has a front facing camera only, so OCR reverses the images. It would need a way to process the image in "mirror" mode to make OCR work, I guess, since I haven't found any camera settings to reverse the image.
Interesting, but I'm not quite sure how useful a front-facing camera would be - wouldn't the thing you're recognizing block you from actually seeing the screen?
Don't have this tablet anymore. It's now in the hands of a friend in China.

Point was, this tablet only had a front facing camera. And, yes, it's quite possible to either hold something up in front of the camera AND view it, or turn the tablet around to point at the text. I don't need the feature, but thought I'd mention it so that you'd know about it :)

mikelove said:
stephanhodges said:
I'd like to suggest a single demo document preinstalled that can be put into reader to show off things. I did manage to copy over a large document that was recognized, by first installing a DOC file reader. Normal txt files didn't seem to get recognized by the native Android file reader correctly. They would open in the wrong encoding. Perhaps I was missing a BOM, not sure. A preinstalled text would have shown off the features and help make sales, IMO.
Good idea - probably also helpful on iOS. Though since the demo document reader can't open text files, this would be more of a welcome-new-customers thing than a convince-people-to-buy-it thing.
Well, I was imagining that in the demo, this document could appear already in the reader, by default. It does help the buying decision process to be able to try it out with something. Perhaps a document with two parts. a few simple sentences followed by some text. A "sampler" as it were.

mikelove said:
stephanhodges said:
I would really like to see font / screen resize working with pinch/expand gestures, rather than the digital slider and font size selectors.
At least 3 modes:
- Off/Locked screen,
- Coordinated (all elements resize together),
- Individual (able to resize one element independently)
This would be much more friendly than current settings dialog.
People have been pitching us on that for iOS too, but honestly it doesn't quite feel like the right use for that gesture - the reason pinching is such a nice, natural gesture is that the content on the screen is literally stretching out to match the spreading of your fingers (like you're stretching a piece of Silly Putty); font size changes aren't like that, the page margins remain the same. We could look at adding a faster-access font size menu item, though, I suppose.
To me, it did seem natural. It's the same as looking at a web page (to me). I expand / contract the web page, which changes the font size. Magnify would have exposed "jagged" edges on the fonts, which doesn't happen.

mikelove said:
stephanhodges said:
"Contact Support" wants to start up bluetooth. The gTablet already has wi-fi internet but Pleco doesn't seem to recognize that wi-fi is available. (Even my Nokia phone has wi-fi as one option, and it's "free" when you're already at a wi-fi hotspot)
That's a new one... all we're actually doing with Contact Support is firing up the built-in Android email client; are you able to send / receive email on your tablet over WiFi?
Don't know what it was doing, sorry. Never tried email on it, since I was going to be delivering to a friend in China.

mikelove said:
stephanhodges said:
I'd like to see a "one line characters / one line pinyin" option. It would be much easier to read the entire text if the pop-up wasn't always covering things, making it hard to read something in context. I don't care if the entire "pinyin line" had pinyin, or only the word selected. Just, make it inline with the text.
Where would you want that one line characters / one line Pinyin option? In the results list or definition screen or somewhere else?

There's an option to anchor the bubble on the bottom of the screen on iOS and we plan to bring that option to Android too; the reason we do it this way by default is that it means less eye movement and feels more natural / instant (we spent a lot of time testing it both ways before deciding to use the floating bubble).
Sorry, I didn't mention that I was thinking of the document reader at the time. So, I meant one line of Chinese Hanzi, and below that, a line of pinyin.

When I returned from China, I found that my sister had bought a Galaxy 10.1 tablet with Android Honeycomb 3.1. Looking forward to a new beta! haha.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
stephanhodges said:
Point was, this tablet only had a front facing camera. And, yes, it's quite possible to either hold something up in front of the camera AND view it, or turn the tablet around to point at the text. I don't need the feature, but thought I'd mention it so that you'd know about it :)

Well I suppose we could consider it, but the iPad 2 does that too and we haven't had a single request for front-facing camera support on that yet. They're generally pretty low-resolution so I don't know if they're likely to do a good job with OCR even if we do support them...

Well, I was imagining that in the demo, this document could appear already in the reader, by default. It does help the buying decision process to be able to try it out with something. Perhaps a document with two parts. a few simple sentences followed by some text. A "sampler" as it were.
That's what that little bit of test text is designed to do now, but we probably ought to expand on it at least.

stephanhodges said:
To me, it did seem natural. It's the same as looking at a web page (to me). I expand / contract the web page, which changes the font size. Magnify would have exposed "jagged" edges on the fonts, which doesn't happen.
Well true, but you're not "stretching" it - with a pinch-zoom gesture, ideally the exact same content that was in between your fingers before you move them is in between them after, just zoomed in. Also, font size changes are a relatively infrequently-used function for most people at least, so if we did want to assign some sort of non-standard operation to pinch-zooming I'm not sure if we'd want to pick that one over something more common (switching dictionaries, e.g.).

stephanhodges said:
Don't know what it was doing, sorry. Never tried email on it, since I was going to be delivering to a friend in China.
Might be that it defaulted to Bluetooth when it couldn't find a configured WiFi or cellular connection then.

stephanhodges said:
Sorry, I didn't mention that I was thinking of the document reader at the time. So, I meant one line of Chinese Hanzi, and below that, a line of pinyin.
Ah, so a shorter document reader bubble basically. How about if we just add an option to keep the "bubble" anchored to the bottom of the screen as on iOS?

stephanhodges said:
When I returned from China, I found that my sister had bought a Galaxy 10.1 tablet with Android Honeycomb 3.1. Looking forward to a new beta! haha.
Should be forthcoming, we're just trying to get our big new search engine upgrade ready for testing in it first.
 

Zeldor

举人
I have played with the demo version only for a while, some notes, probably mentioned by people earlier:

- when I browse the dictionary and scroll down words [or anything] and then move to new entry, it stays at the bottom too, it should automatically by default move to the top of the definition
- handwriting input stops displaying input when I rotate my phone [HTC Desire] - it keeps track of it though and displays characters
- OCR has some matrix feel to it, with all that random stuff showing and changing around main text :p too bad you can't really see results in demo version. And from what I tried it had problems scanning some characters at the right end of the area, even though they were same quality as the rest.

I really wonder how will Pleco and OCR handle cookbooks, I have two to test it on with full version :)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Zeldor said:
- when I browse the dictionary and scroll down words [or anything] and then move to new entry, it stays at the bottom too, it should automatically by default move to the top of the definition
Thanks - don't know if anybody's mentioned that here, but it looks like it is in our bug database, so either someone emailed us or we found it on our own :)

Zeldor said:
- handwriting input stops displaying input when I rotate my phone [HTC Desire] - it keeps track of it though and displays characters
That one has been mentioned a few times - to be honest I'm surprised so many people are rotating their phones while in the middle of handwriting input :), though if your device is on a table it's easy to do that unintentionally.

Zeldor said:
- OCR has some matrix feel to it, with all that random stuff showing and changing around main text :p too bad you can't really see results in demo version. And from what I tried it had problems scanning some characters at the right end of the area, even though they were same quality as the rest.
We're probably going to add an option to get rid of the green non-matching characters in the next beta.

What do you mean about not seeing results? You can see the Pinyin, which should at least be enough to get a sense of whether it's reading the characters correctly. (that was about as generous as we could manage licensing-wise)

Re the issue with characters at the right end of the area, do you mean that you paused the recognizer and tapped on characters on the right side of the box, or that you were pointing to characters at the edge of a book and they weren't recognized as well as characters in the middle? That problem could have to do with angle distortion (was the page bent a bit?) or focus (were they a bit farther away)?
 

jamesquek

举人
For the popups, I think it's more intuitive to dismiss it with the physical back key than to retouch the subject text. Currently using the back key to dimiss the popup not only dismiss it but bring it one screen back.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
jamesquek said:
For the popups, I think it's more intuitive to dismiss it with the physical back key than to retouch the subject text. Currently using the back key to dimiss the popup not only dismiss it but bring it one screen back.
We've had one or two other posts about that - already fixed for the next beta, thanks!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
stephanhodges said:
下一个测试版软件将于何时公布?
Not sure, we're trying to cram a lot of new stuff in the next beta and honestly enough of it has been under-the-hood that an interim release is likely to come off as decidedly ho-hum.
 
I'm not sure how much trouble an actual release is versus reports, etc. but more often would seem to catch "new" problems, etc. more quickly, and also keep beta testing at a higher level.

But, that's the "average" audience. This group is much more gung-ho than average :)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
stephanhodges said:
I'm not sure how much trouble an actual release is versus reports, etc. but more often would seem to catch "new" problems, etc. more quickly, and also keep beta testing at a higher level.

But, that's the "average" audience. This group is much more gung-ho than average :)
It's a fair amount of trouble mainly because while we're in mid-development it's OK for some features to be temporarily unusable; any time we release a beta we have to clean things up so that nothing is noticeably worse than it was in the last beta.
 
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