Tag Archives: Windows 10

How to read ebooks without installing any additional applications on your PC

2018-03-26

Recently, one of my neighbors asked how she could read the ebook she had bought from a store. She had managed to download the book, but there was no way to open it. As many of us do in a hurry to start reading a new book, she had simply ignored all the prompts to download an ebook reader application to her device. Well, the problem was quickly solved once we installed a reader application for her. Microsoft has taken a step towards easier ebook experience by including ebook reading into the Edge browser application.

The thing is that every Windows 10 computer comes with the Microsoft Edge browser application that includes the feature to read ebooks.

ebook table of content in Mircosoft Edge browser
If your Microsoft Edge can not open EPUB ebooks, ensure your system has received all the security and feature updates from Microsoft.

This is how you can instantly verify if Microsoft Edge browser on your computer can open ebooks.

Open File Explorer.
Locate the EPUB ebook you want to open on your device.
Right-click on the EPUB file.
Select Open with.
Select Microsoft Edge. If it is not on the list, click Choose another app, and look for Edge.

The ebook should open in a tab in the Microsoft Edge application. If the book doesn’t open, the chances are that you are trying to read a copy-protected (DRM-locked) ebook. The rule of thumb is that ebooks bought and downloaded from a bookstore are copy-protected (you can always read them in the app the store provides), but free ebooks are not locked (and can be read in any EPUB ebook app). Kindle ebooks are a different story altogether, but the rule of thumb is that you can read them only in Kindle devices and apps.

In addition to non-DRM, not copy-protected ebooks you can download ebooks from the Microsoft Store to the Edge browser. It is still early days for ebooks on the Microsoft Store, which means that ebooks are not yet available in many countries at all.

Once you have an ebook in the Microsoft Edge, you can use the following useful features as you read a book.

Open the table of contents and jump to a page you want. Click the leftmost icon on the black bar above the book.
read aloud (TTS) in Microsoft Edge
Let the application read the book aloud to you. Click the loudspeaker icon on the black bar above the book.
highlight, make notes in ebook in Windows 10 Edge browser
Highlight or underline text. Select a section of text, and a small tool window opens up. You can also write notes that are attached to the position you selected.
change ebook font size in Windows 10 reader app Edge
Change font and font size. Choose A-icon, and you will see the options.
search any text in ebook in Edge browser EPUB reader in Windows 10
Search any text in a book. Click the magnifying glass and type your keywords.
Bookmark pages.

Especially, read aloud is a useful new feature in an ebook reading app. You can turn an EPUB ebook into an audiobook simply by asking the Edge browser to read it to you. At the moment, three voices are available for choosing which one pleases your ears the most. Edge can read web pages as well, so you can listen to articles you discover on the internet.

This is why the Apple MacBook sucks, but a Windows 10 laptop doesn’t

2017-06-25

Here is the nasty truth: the user interface software Apple uses in its MacBook laptops and iMac computers is seriously outdated.

In other words, Apple computers suck. Compare a Mac’s user interface to a modern user interface, like Windows 10, and you have to admit that someone has mastered her homework while the other one has lost her vision and only enjoyed success that once seemed never-ending. I claim that the user interface of macOS is 10 years behind Windows 10, at least.

I am talking about Apple’s line of computers, MacBooks and iMacs, that are running the macOS operating system (I am currently running Sierra version 10.12.5). This operating system is based on Unix software. Apple has developed its own graphical user interface on top of Unix.

In fact, Unix is the best thing in Apple’s macOS software. The Open Group has certified that it really is Unix. For anyone who codes anything – web pages, enterprise applications, php scripts – having a full Unix under the graphical user interface is a great time saver and testbed.
Apple MacBook desktop, macOS user interface
Apple introduced the OS X operating system software in 2000, and shipped it in 2001. MacOS is the same as OS X, Tim Cook just recently updated the name. When Steve Jobs introduced the brand new software 17 years ago, it was specifically the user interface that got people excited. It was simply amazing at the time.

Plenty of development has happened in OS X/macOS during the past 17 years, but in essence, the user interface is still the same. Yes, the dock icons are cute, but so what?

The worst thing is the windowing and the menu system of the macOS user interface software. Look at the user interface of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS. It is consistent. Or Android, or Windows 10. Consistent and intuitive. The windows and menus behave rationally and you find them in the same places wher you found them the last time.

The windows and menus in macOS live in parallel universes that are not quite sure how to interact with each other, if at all. An application window at the bottom of the screen has its menu at the top of the screen. An application window has problems of remembering all the other windows opened in the same application. Copying, moving and working with files in Finder is nearly impossible unless you open multiple Finder windows. The installation process of applications from outside the App Store occasionally reminds me of apt-get, a Linux command prompt installation program.

I understand that many Mac users open one application, fill the whole screen with it and are happy that it works the way it does. Because computers are very efficient multitasking machines, I want to exploit that feature and run several applications and windows simultaneously. On a computer, it must be easy and quick to switch between application windows.

I use both Mac and Windows computers at my work. Sometimes, I use both of them during the same day, but usually, I may work two weeks on a MacBook and then, two weeks on a Windows laptop. I also use smartphones, tablets, ereaders and perhaps a camera during a day. Experiencing many different user interfaces during an hour of work is normal. There is only one user interface that constantly bugs me: macOS on my MacBook laptop. It just doesn’t fit in today’s world. It lives in the past and is burying itself deeper in the past every day.

Microsoft has taken multiple courageous steps in order to keep Windows operating system’s user interface relevant. If we look back at the last 17 years of Microsoft’s PC operating system, Windows XP and Windows 7 were successful, although both included major changes in their user interfaces. Windows Vista and Windows 8 were less successful, many people hated them and switched back to the old version. Windows 10 development team could take all the learnings from the previous version that wasn’t popular, and created a really solid user interface for Windows 10.

Microsoft Windows is 10 years ahead of Apple macOS user interface, at least. Windows 10 fits right in to today’s world of tablets, smartphones, ereaders, cameras, and other devices we daily use.

MacOS was designed at a time when we purchased mobile phones for making phone calls and for sending text messages from a black-and-white screen of four rows of forty characters, two megapixel digital cameras were a novelty, Facebook didn’t exist, tablets only cured diseases, home automation meant buying a dishwasher, and being online all the time was impossible because of ultra-high mobile network costs.

One piece of software – in addition to the underlying Unix – on Mac computers is brilliant. It is the iBooks Author application used for creating ebooks. The books laid out in the iBooks Author may have video, audio and animation elements as well as interaction with a (human) reader. It is possible to create smart, useful and beautiful ebooks, like text books, travel guidebooks and other nonfiction works in iBooks Author. This Apple application compared to its competitive products reminds me of times when Apple computers were number one machines in everything that involved graphics and laying out publications.

Perhaps my only option is to wait and hope Apple does something about its software that is powering its computers. But I won’t wait for long. There are always other choices.
Windows 10 PC desktop user interface