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Friday, 10 June 2011


The distributors of e-books and the manufacturers of e-book readers wax long on the foolproof digital rights software that they incorporate to prevent users copying book files between each other.  But the great strength of the electronic ink that e-books use - namely that it works by reflected light, making reading comfortable - is also a great weakness.  You can put an e-book in an ordinary scanner and take the text straight off the screen.

Above is a scan at 600 dots-per-inch from an e-book.  I ran it through gocr to extract the text:

Sherlock Holmes swallowed a cup of coffee, and
turned hi_ attention to the ham and eggs. Then he
rose_ lit his pipe, and settled himself down înto his

I'll tell you what I did first_ and how I came to
do it afterwards_ '' said he. ''After leaving you at the
st8_on I went for a charming walk through some
admir8ble Surrey scene_ to a pret_ little village
called Ripley_ where I had my tea at an inn, and
took the precaution of filling my nask and of
pum'ng a paper of sandwiches in my pocket. There
I remained until evening, when I set off for Woking
ag8in_ and found myself in the high-road outside
B_8rbrae just after sunset.

Well_ I waited until the road was clear-it is
never  a  ve_  frequented  one  at  any  time,  I
fancy-and then I clambered over the fence into
_e grounds. ''

Surely the gate was open.! '' ejaculated Phelps.

That was with the program running its defaults and not tuned to, and taught, the e-book's font.  Neither was it run through a spell-checker.  If one did all that the result would be even better.  Put a couple of wires into the e-book's next-page button and solder a MOSFET across them driven by one bit on the scanning computer's parallel port, and you could scan an entire book to text completely automatically...


4ndy said...

When the software hackers haven't found a way around the security yet, there's always the hardware way. :)
This post doesn't have enough 'like' buttons to mash.

drf5n said...

The analog hole strikes again.

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