Friday, May 2, 2008

View PDFs on iPod Touch with FilemarkMaker

Ipod TouchImage by riccardodivirgilio via FlickrAfter playing around with my iPod Touch for a few days (didn't jailbreaked it yet though) I quickly came to the idea of reading PDFs on it - and as simple as that may sounds, it turns out it's not. Although you can sync quite a few things with your Mac, you can't sync PDFs.

At first I tried by just importing PDFs to iTunes, but you still can't copy them over to the iPod. Then I tried to save and view PDF as an image but although I was using pretty decent images, iPod still shrinks them down to 640x480 or something which makes them unreadable.

Two ways that I found to actualy work were mailing PDFs to myself and reading them in the Mail application or using Filemark Maker. Mailing PDFs would be acceptable, but it still feels a bit awkward to me personaly and I decided that for the time being I will be using Filemark Maker.

Basicaly what Filemark Maker does is that it uses data: URI scheme to encode PDFs as URLs which you can bookmark and - after syncing your bookmarks with your iPod Touch - open and read as if they were located localy on file system.

It works well with small files and until you bookmark a couple of PDFs - after that I noticed a bit of a lag (about 5-10 seconds) when starting Safari for the first time since restarting iPod. I suspect it caches bookmarks afterwards and all works well.

I am still wondering however why Apple decided not to support syncing of PDFs or giving iPod Touch and iPhone users some other way of storing PDFs and other formats that Safari/Mail support...