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QST Digital Version - Got to be a better way

Jan 16th 2013, 13:37

KB2HF

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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To whom it may concern. I have read the digital version of QST for several issues now. My problem is the reader ARRL uses is very slow and awkward. Why cannot the ARRL use a reader like Kindle or Ipad?

It would also help if the reader displayed (or at least an option to display) one page at a time.

I do have a older PC (XP-32 with 1GB ram), so that may be the problem, but I have used this same machine with other readers and have noticed much better performance.

I am not an Apple snob nor do I even own a Kindle (but I do have access to both).

Seeing that the ARRL is to lead technology (arguably in the RF field), it would seem that they (the ARRL) would use more advanced technology. Or if not advanced, perhaps just "better"?

73
Larry KB2hf
Jan 17th 2013, 13:35

N0NB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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My guess is that a contract is in place that locks ARRL into this provider for the next several years. My gripe would be solved if the online reader worked like a Acrobat or any other PDF reader. The animation and sound effects don't add to the reading of what is ostensibly a technical journal.

73, de Nate >>
N0NB.us
Jan 19th 2013, 19:14

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
It does seem that ARRL chose the worst way to implement digital qst (lower case done on purpose). I think that many of us were hoping for a .pdf file that could be downloaded from the members web site. Instead we got a monstrosity that is a royal pain to use.
Jan 21st 2013, 01:58

WB4GLJ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I've got a Kindle HD 8.9-inch and I subscribe to four other digital magazines that I read on the device. Three use the Zinio reader and one is a hi-res PDF. All four look great, with crisp type and good photos, and I can use the pinch method to enlarge the text to whatever size I want for easy reading. I really enjoy reading these mags on my Kindle. On the other hand, the Nxtbook reader required for the digital QST is crappy...the text is soft, even when using the single zoom setting that is available (which is also a huge limitation). The quality doesn't look much better on my desktop PC with a 24-inch monitor. As a result, I just don't even bother to fool with the digital QST. I just recently I got an e-mail from the ARRL asking if I wanted to opt out of the print edition and go exclusively to the digital version. As long as they stay with this pathetic e-reader application I will never do that.

de WB4GLJ
Jan 21st 2013, 16:33

NN4RH

Joined: Nov 12th 2002, 07:47
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I agree the QST digital edition is crappy. On my laptops the text is fuzzy and too small even on the one zoom setting that's avaialble. Not any better on my iPad. It looks like they scanned the magazine at about 72 dpi to make the page images.

I also got that email asking me to opt out of the print edition. No way.

Print edition text is too small, too. But but least it's clear and sharp, and with the print edition I can use a magnifying glass or reading glasses to read it.

I also have online subscriptions to other magazines and technical journals. NONE of them are this poor quality, or use such clumsy reader applications.

Feb 15th 2013, 16:10

AD0FH

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas and it is amazing! Besides the Kindle format stuff, I can read any Adobe epub material with Aldiko. QST needs to get with todays eReader technology if they ever want to get rid of printed matter
Feb 27th 2013, 19:27

KE6PIJ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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It would seem that given the statistics that the ARRL published regarding iPad,iPod, IPhone ownership (QST, March 2013 pg 144) that it is clear, more than half of hams don't own any of these devices.
I have a Nook, and Kindles are popular.
It would be very nice if the publication followed one, or both, of these standards as an outlet.
Mar 11th 2013, 22:52

KD2ADL

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I'm sure that the reason they don't do PDFs is security; those PDFs would be going out to fellow hams who choose not to join ARRL. For those of you with iPads, there is a QST app, but it suffers even more from the same fuzziness and slowness to load criticized here on the PC version.

I find the online version only really useful for one thing. I prefer not to keep my old QSTs, so I have in the past copied interesting articles and then passed them on. Now I don't have to copy stuff out of the magazine, I can just print the pages of interest. The paper copies go to our local library's magazine exchange table, where perhaps they may inspire someone who always wanted to be a ham to study up and join us.
Mar 13th 2013, 12:18

KJ3P

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I guess I'm in the minority here when I say that Digital QST looks absolutely great on my four-year-old PC! I find navigation easy, and the graphics are crisp. The embedded videos also play flawlessly. Not sure why so many folks seem to have trouble.
Mar 13th 2013, 12:37

N0NB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by KD2ADL
I'm sure that the reason they don't do PDFs is security; those PDFs would be going out to fellow hams who choose not to join ARRL.


If that's the sole reason, then it's a rather paranoid one. For example, for several years the Handbook has included a CD-ROM with the entire Handbook in PDF and I don't see links popping up all over the place for downloading a copy. I don't see other League publications showing up all over the place either. Perhaps I'm not really looking but I do participate in other forums and if illicit file sharing were an issue in amateur radio circles I'd be aware of it.

Besides, a PDF can be easily water-marked such that it would be a pain to scrub it to conceal its originator. Also, as a dues paying member I'm not willing to assist free loaders get the main member benefit for nothing and I suspect most members think the same way.

This is one of those issues where HQ should be a little be forthcoming on the "why" behind choosing this provider.

73, de Nate >>
N0NB.us
Mar 14th 2013, 00:27

KD2ADL

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Nate, I wasn't suggesting commercial distribution, just friendly "would you mind passing along your QSTs to me, you know I'd love to join ARRL but money's a little tight now..." kind of redistribution. Watermarks won't help here.

I share your view about not assisting freeloaders. I used to bring my old copies of QST to our radio club meetings, but then I decided that folks who are sufficiently interested in the hobby to join a club ought to be paying members of the League. That's when I started dropping them off at the library.

I also agree that HQ should talk a bit about the decision-making behind the selection of nxtbook technology; maybe a topic for one of Harold Kramer's Inside HQ columns.
Mar 15th 2013, 12:46

N0NB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Quote by KD2ADL
Nate, I wasn't suggesting commercial distribution, just friendly "would you mind passing along your QSTs to me, you know I'd love to join ARRL but money's a little tight now..." kind of redistribution. Watermarks won't help here.


That's exactly the kind of redistribution I was referring to. The only thing that prevents such sharing with the current digi-QST is the sheer size of a printed PDF--something on the order of 300 Megs the last time I tried to make an archival copy by printing to PDF.

I also agree that HQ should talk a bit about the decision-making behind the selection of nxtbook technology; maybe a topic for one of Harold Kramer's Inside HQ columns.


Does that column only appear in the digi-QST? ;-)

ARRL really does function in a very different way than most organizations of its size. Conventions do not have floor meetings as one might expect. It's really quite different which, it seems to me, allows some of the decision making to not be as transparent as it ought to be. Another thing that burns me just a bit on the current digi-QST is the top-down way it is being pushed now where we're told it's a "member benefit" but is only fully functional when accessed from a certain operating system. I thought the world had learned to move beyond a certain vendor's lock-in. Evidently not as this is still practiced in certain quarters.

Still, it's the implied mistrust of the membership by only offering digi-QST through some DRM provider that discourages me the most. Perhaps this shows that ARRL membership is primarily a magazine subscription and not membership in an altruistic organization where membership is desired because of the ongoing work ARRL does. That's not to minimize the good that ARRL does on behalf of amateur radio but it does show that HQ agrees with most of the membership that ARRL membership is primarily a magazine subscription.

73, de Nate >>
N0NB.us
Mar 22nd 2013, 00:19

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Hi Guys. According to the ARRL letter, THE AMATEUR RADIO PUBLIC SERVICE HANDBOOK is available from Amazon as a Kindle ebook. This means that it is formatted for the e-ink Kindles. Hopefully all other ARRL publications including qst will soon follow. Graphics may not display very well on these e-ink devices, but this would allow non-memebers to purchase qst, and members could download the Kindle version of qst via the members web site for free.

Maybe I am hoping in vain, but maybe a small glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.
Apr 11th 2013, 01:27

N5LB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
I find that it loads slow on my iPad and am also disappointed that I cannot save a PDF. The IEEE Spectrum e-reader isn't much better so I suppose we are early in magazine distribution technology though I can save a PDF.
May 11th 2013, 20:40

W9CMG

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I have found it easy to view the digital QST if I go to the toolbox settings in the upper right corner and select the one page option. Then left/right arrows turn the page; up/down arrows zoom in and out; the page up/down keys move the page

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