[rfc-i] tiny tablet text was Fwd: draft-flanagan-plaintext-00.txt

George, Wes wesley.george at twcable.com
Fri Jun 27 10:54:17 PDT 2014

On 6/27/14, 12:24 PM, "Dave Crocker" <dhc at dcrocker.net> wrote:

>Kindle and Nook sell ereaders that are comparable to the android tablet
>I cited.  The term 'ereader' is far too generic to be sufficient in a
>technical discussion on constraints and goals.
WG] I view E-reader as distinct from tablet, where the former is a device
that is purpose-built for reading e-books, and maybe PDFs, and as such
doesn't offer the user much choice on how to display content, while a
tablet is general-purpose device. That distinction appears to be too fine
a point based on a few of the replies I've gotten, but in the interest of
clarity, I also specified the e-ink screen, and used the words "Kindle 3"
which is the actual model I was referring to.

>> I think we should be able to support this
>> device due to its relative ubiquity and utility as a device for which
>> to do a lot of reading in a portable form, and to me that means we
>> shouldn't require ASCII art, lest we have to dramatically *reduce*
>> the maximum allowable width to have it display properly on this type
>> of device.
>OK.  An entirely reasonable point of view, IMO.
>There are, of course, counters to it.
>For example, there are a large number of 4" devices that qualify
>according to the criteria you've set.  Why not seek to support them,
>too?  That is, what makes the specific class you seek to support both
>distinctive and essential?
WG] I never said that we shouldn't support 4" devices. I'm not aware of
any 4" e-readers as I've described them above, but that's sort of beside
the point. We can't know all of the devices we need to support in the
future, which is why I've been advocating the removal of arbitrary
formatting restrictions so that the largest possible variety of devices
might be able to render the fundamental info (text and graphics) in a way
that is useful to its user, rather than trying to pre-format for all
possible permutations or worse, find a lowest common denominator fixed
format. Requiring support for ASCII art drives a fixed formatting

What makes this specific class of device distinctive is its limitations on
display of raw text (i.e. it word wraps instead of allowing the user to
scroll when text exceeds its display width), on account of the built-in
app that it uses for rendering e-books, and its inability to load an
alternate app to display it differently because it's not a general-purpose
device. While the size of the screen on a tablet or mobile phone has some
impact on how much you have to zoom and pan around to get the right view
of a diagram, that's still quite different from the ASCII diagram being
mangled by the app doing the rendering of the text enforcing a hard limit
on the number of characters per line.

Essential is harder to argue. It likely comes down to user base, which is
in the tens of millions, and they tend to be cheaper than a full-fledged
tablet due to simpler components, and due to the screen technology they
have longer battery life and some find them easier to read than tablets or
laptops, thus I think it's reasonable to assume the consumer of IETF
information might want to use one for this purpose.

Wes George

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