Tuesday July 29 , 2014
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ComicRack for Android

ComicRack for Android is the little brother of the Windows Version. It is available for download as a free and a pay version in the Android Market.
This is a short introduction of its main features and how to use ComicRack for Windows to synchronize your eComics with your mobile device.

1) After the Installation

You usually will be greeted by an empty list as there are no eComics. The default path ComicRack looks for eComics is the folder /sdcard/Comics. But you can change that in preferences. You can either manually copy CBZ/CBR files into this folder or go to 4) and read how you can automatically synchronize your PC with your handheld device.

2) The Library

 

help_library
This is the screen where you can browse all the eComics on your device. Please note that on small screen devices (like phones) the left and the right list are split into two different screens.
  1. Shows you the current list. Tapping the ComicRack icon shows/hides the sidebar
  2. Here you can select what list group you want to browse. The "Comics" list contains all the synced list from your PC and some auto generated ones. You can access the other list sets by tapping the caption and making your selection in the drop down menu (some options are by years, story lines, writers etc.). There's also a button to refresh the library and pin the sidebar (on bigger devices). On the full version (and if the device is paired) there's also the Wifi button visible.
  3. These are all the lists in the current set. Selecting a list will display its eComics to the right. The sidebar can be shown/hidden either by tapping the icon on the top (1) or by swiping from/to the left border
  4. Tapping this will open a drop down menu where you can change the sort or stacking order of the current list (original, by series, by story line)
  5. In the Action Bar you can search for comics in your Library. Note that you can also enable ComicRack for your devices quick search functionality and you are then be able to search for comics from your home screen. Continue Reading opens the last comic you've read in the current list. The menu button will open a popup menu with some additional commands like preferences. On device with no Action Bar you can access these commands with the menu button.
  6. The All button toggles the display to list All, Unread, Reading or Read comics. The Cover/Details/Stacks button toggles the display of the thumbnails. In Details mode you'll get a small overview about the comics (if the data is available). Stacking will group comics with the same values (as selected in (3)) into stacks.
  7. For each comic the cover issue information is displayed. The bar below shows your reading progress. Gray is not read, dark green has already been read and light green is the current position.
    Selecting a thumbnail will open the comics for reading. A long touch will open the context/action menu for the item. This menu contains commands to show other comics of the same series or display detailed information about the comics

    help_detailsIn the full version you can edit the detailed information by tapping the pen icon.
    When stacking is turned on, all eComics of the same series are put into one "Stack" and only the first comics is visible. Tapping the stack opens it. Normally single issues are not put in a stack and will open directly. You can change that in preferences.
3) The Reader
help_reader
This is where you read your comics. The page display has the usual touch controls. You can pinch and zoom and drag the image around. Double tapping will toggle between zooming and normal display. If you change the zoom mode when you've "double tapped", ComicRack will remember this the next time you make this quick zoom in.
The display is separated into a grid of nine rectangles. Single taps or long touches will invoke the defined action. The default is

- Top Left:  Open previous comic
- Top Center: Scroll to previous part
- Top Right: Open next comic
- Middle Left: Scroll to previous part
- Middle Center: Open controls
- Middle Right: Scroll to next part
- Bottom Left: Open previous page
- Bottom Center: Scroll to next part
- Bottom Right: Open next page

You can change these and other actions in the preferences. Left and right flings go to the next/previous page. This can also be changed in preferences.
You can access the overlay controls by touching the center of the comic display. Please note that small screen devices will not show all controls because of space constraints. You can access the missing commands with the menu key.
  1. The title of the current comics and the cover. Clicking the cover will show details of the comic. Depending on the size/orientation of your device you will also get buttons for bookmarks, reading direction, quick rating dialog and information icon.

    In the bookmarks dialog you can add new bookmarks or quickly jump to existing bookmarks.



    The ratings dialog allows you to type in a quick review and rate the comics. You can also share your rating on twitter.



  2. These are the display controls. Depending on the space available some of the icons/commands will be moved into the drop down menu. There are the following commands available:

    - Toggle between single/double/auto rotate page display. Please note that portrait and landscape have each their own settings. When autorotation is turned on, single pages are displayed in portrait mode and double spreads in landscape mode.
    - Change the brightness of the screen (you can change the presets in preferences)
    - Opens the color controls to change saturation, brightness and contrast
    help_color_controls
    - Changes how the page is fitted into the display (by width, by height or always everything visible)
  3. This is the preview of the pages in the comic. In the center is the thumbnail of the current page. Here you can also quickly scroll through all the pages. A long touch on a thumbnail allows you to edit the page type (cover, ad etc.). On the right are following commands buttons:

    - Previous comic
    - Previous bookmark (long touch first page)
    - Next bookmark (long touch displays goto page dialog)
    - Next comic

    At the bottom is the same reading progress bar that is also displayed below cover thumbnails in comics lists.

4) Preferences

 

 

In Preferences you can tailor ComicRack to your needs. You can change the path to your eComics (the default is /sdcard/comics). You can change the default values for the different screen brightness settings.

ComicRack can also remove same colored borders around pages to make better use of small screen displays. Additionally you can change animation settings and bindings of commands to tapping, keyboard and gestures.

6) Widget & Livewallpaper

ComicRack also comes with a widget and live wallpaper. Add and set them depending on your device and Android version.

7) Synchronizing with ComicRack for Windows

The cool thing of ComicRack for Android is that you can synchronize smart lists automatically with ComicRack for Windows. Synchronizing has the following advantages to manually copying the files:

  • You have direct access to your synchronized smart/reading lists
  • The comics are automatically converted and optimized so ComicRack for Android can display them fast and reliable
  • Reading stats and positions, bookmarks and ratings are synchronized back to ComicRack for Windows
  • You can read all your eComics on your handheld as PDFs, CB7, CBR, DJVU, CBT and WebComics get automatically converted and optimized

If something is not working, as a first step always make sure you've the latest version for Android and Windows.

Following steps are required for USB synchronization:

  1. Connect your Android device to your PC with the USB cable. Pre Honeycomb devices (phones) have to be mounted as disks (or MTP mode if available). Tablets automatically mount in MTP mode. Note that you must have run ComicRack on the device at least once.
  2. In ComicRack for Windows open the "Devices Dialog" and press the "Pair with Device" button. ComicRack will now search for valid devices. After your device has been found you can pair ComicRack with it. You can pair multiple devices with ComicRack.
  3. Now select the lists you want to synchronize. On the right you can additionally for each list define if only unread comics should be transferred to the handheld device.
  4. Close the dialog
  5. Select the "Synchronize Devices" command. If this is the first time and you have selected lots of comics this can take some time. In the future ComicRack will only copy changed or new comics to the device.

If you have the Full Edition (the pay version) you can additionally sync wireless without connecting your device to your computer. You do need a local wireless network of course. These are the steps to synchronize with WIFI:

  1. Start ComicRack for Android and make sure that "Wireless Synchronization" is enabled in preferences. ComicRack does not have to run for wireless synchronization.
  2. In ComicRack for Windows open the "Devices Dialog" and press the "Pair with Device" button. ComicRack will now search for valid devices. If you're device does not show up, please check your firewall settings on the PC. You may have to add an exception for ComicRack.
  3. All the other steps are the same as with USB synchronization.

After pairing you will also see a new Wifi Sync button on the Android device. Tapping this button initiates a sync from the device.

Troubleshooting (wireless) synchronization:

First, always make sure that you're running the latest version of ComicRack for Windows and Android.

If ComicRack for Windows can not find your device, it is usually because of firewall settings. For test purposes you can try to temporarily turn your firewall of and see if it works. If that is the case, turn your firewall on again and add an exception for ComicRack.

If ComicRack for Windows is still unable to find the Android device, it can be because your router blocks broadcasts/multicasts. Search for a "Filter Broadcasts" or "Filter Multicast" setting in your router and toggle it.
If this still does not help, you've to manually tell ComicRack for Windows where it can find your device. Open Preferences/Advanced in ComicRack for Windows and type in the IP address of your device. With the test button you can check if you entered the correct address.
Restart ComicRack for Windows and you should be able to Pair your devices, and the settings will persist through upgrades.
If nothing is working, it is a good idea to clean or delete your whole comic folder on your Android device, start ComicRack and repair the device.
Also check out the user form for help.
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