Sunday, July 20, 2008

I got an iPhone! I can't read big PDF's on it!

Whoopee! It's totally awesome and I love it! Thanks so much to Bryan, my brother-in-law, for giving it to me (I think he's getting a 3G one). And yet... I'm realizing that Steve Jobs has decided that I can only do with it what he wants me to. I want to read large PDF files on it (i.e. my D&D rulebooks), and this is not an approved activity. So getting it to happen is enormously problematic. The solutions I've seen on the web involve hacking the phone and installing an Apache web server on it, then loading the pdfs onto the phone and looking at them with the Safari browser. Ugh.

The other way I thought I could do this is to save the pdf as a series of .jpg files, and then use the photo browser to look at them. How clever I am! But the damn iPhone "optimizes" every photo you upload to it, i.e. reduces the quality to crap to save space, so the text is borderline unreadable. And of course there's absolutely no way to turn off this "feature".

I tried uploading the pdf to Google docs and then looking at it with the iPhone browser, but it barfs on anything over a few megs, and Google docs barfs on anything over 10 megs anyway.

You can of course email them to yourself and look at them that way, but the files I want to look at are too big for that.

This is a phone on which you can watch entire episodes of television shows by the way. So there's no lack of storage space or computational power. Apple is being deliberately obtuse in not letting people do what they want with it. Maybe now that they've released an iPhone SDK someone at Adobe will make an Apple-approved pdf reader.

Any suggestions on how to make this happen would be most welcome.


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