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Windows App Woes… Trying an Android Emulator

There are lots of great apps for tablets out there. They can help you be effective, efficient and entertained. The problem: I own a Windows tablet (a Surface Pro 3) and it’s an iOS and Android world. The eventual workaround I arrived at: an Android emulator. But first, let’s explore how I got there.

Why not get a tablet running iOS or Android? Well, first, I want to own less devices, not more. Second, I need a desktop — running Windows or Mac OS — to use software like Clip Studio Paint EX and Photoshop.

And there are many great apps built for Windows tablets of course, but my issue is with reading apps: Comixology and Kindle.

A screenshot from my Comixology account showing the Backups screen which lists comics and links to download them in CBR or PDF format

Comixology’s “Backups” screen on their site. You can see that certain publishers (Image for one) allow downloads of comics in both CBZ and PDF format. Other publishers, like Marvel and Dark Horse, do not allow such backups.

With Comixology, reading offline is not possible in the web reader, the only option available on Windows. I am aware you can download backups of comics to read offline but only from certain publishers. Contacting customer support, suggesting they release a Windows app, was not helpful (as expected).

The Kindle app for Windows has several issues for image-heavy books. There are a lot of UI elements that keep you from viewing a book in true full screen. And you can’t zoom in on images in a book. Amazon also discontinued the Kindle app for Windows 8/10, not that it was much better.

It might appear that I’m picking on Amazon (both Comixology and Kindle are Amazon services). But, of course, I want to use these services. I want to be able to use them as any iPad or Kindle Fire user can.

The solution: use an Android emulator

I can have the functionality I want and can also choose the device I want to use. The emulator I chose was DuOS.

A screenshot of my Windows desktop showing DuOS (Android emulator) running in a window

DuOs running on my Windows desktop with the DuOs Configuration Tool open as well. The Configuration Tool lets you set fullscreen, RAM and other options.

So why did I pick it?

DuOS is not free; it costs $15 USD. That’s quite a deal. There are many free options out there but none that were quite as easy. I could figure out one of the other offerings but I didn’t want to take that time. I wanted something that worked, right out of the box.

How’s it working out?

Great. You can switch back and forth between Android and Windows with ease. I had one issue with screen rotation not kicking in, but that was because screen rotation wasn’t working in Windows either. A quick restart and it was fine. As always…

via GIPHY

Are there more persistent issues?

It’s slow to load and it tends to slow down Windows a bit too. Though that was expected; it is an emulator after all.

For the Comixology and Kindle apps, it’s great. When I’m reading a comic or a book I don’t want to be interrupted. I don’t want to be checking email or Facebook. For my purposes, those “issues” are more features. You may have different needs. I should also note that a more powerful machine, one with more RAM, would probably alleviate those concerns quite a bit.

Why I’m happy with this Android emulator

I’m always trying to own less, to simplify my day-to-day activities. I like to have options but I also don’t want to have to maintain many devices.

With this solution, I’m able to have that simplicity. I can have one device to do my work and leisure activities. However, I still like reading prose on e-ink readers. But that’s for another post.

Tools I’ve been favouring this month.

via Instagram http://ift.tt/101Gbfi

Great Manga Studio 4 EX tip I just learned

Just did a quick search (why I didn’t do it before I don’t know) to see if you could create connected dialog balloons in Manga Studio. Turns out you can very easily. See this forum conversation for full details.

Basically you just use MS4’s built in “text folders” to store your text layers. Just create your balloons as always. The magic happens when the text folder is closed. Any overlaps, in tails or balloon edges, are visually merged (note that the layers are not merged and are still completely editable).

I also discovered that a balloon can also have more than one tail. Perhaps this is old news to most people — I’ve just never tried to do it before I guess.

Example screenshots from a page I’m currently working on:

With the text folder open:

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.41.39 PM

With the text folder closed:

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.42.07 PM

 

Before I was creating manual white “patches” to get a similar effect. Wish I had known this earlier!