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User Experience.

Posted: Sat May 29, 2021 7:31 pm
by FreeRepublic
I bought my first tablet. It's a relatively inexpensive Android 9 tablet - Lenovo, 8" screen, $100. It's lots of fun. I mention this as tablet limitations could translate into apparent App limitations.

I downloaded the COW App. I don't know what a new COW user would think. I have been using BookUp/COW for years. It's nice to see COW on a tablet.

I tried Dropbox. It took a while to set-up, but now it's on both platforms - PC and tablet. My COW files tend to be very large. For example, I have all 3Bg5 Queen's Gambit Declined (QGD) games/moves in one database. It is about 3.5 million positions. I managed to put it into Dropbox and retrieve it from my tablet. It was my first try, complete with new user learning. It seemed to take a while and I think it caused my laptop to run hot. Frankly, I still want to do my analysis sessions on a PC. So I need to develop useful, sensible strategies.

I decided to work with a smaller file. So I made a COW eBook of the Cambridge Springs Defense in the QGD. I put it into Dropbox and it soon (not instantly) came up in my Tablet. My PC did seem to warm up briefly, but not a cause for concern. All in all - success! I am thinking of buying the Gambit publication book on the Cambridge Springs for my tablet. Gambit only supports tablets. Working with their eBook and my COW eBook should be a breeze as I have already learned how to switch between apps. At some distant date I can go to my PC and integrate the Cambridge Springs eBook into my larger 3Bg5 QGD eBook.

Back to the COW App. I like it. It's new and, of course, has a long way to go compared to COW for the PC and Mac. Feature requests:
A "select all" command for text would be nice. I had to backspace through a lot of text.
I would like to be able to adjust the width of the text box. On my screen, the candidate moves take up two thirds of the screen when only half the screen is necessary. So the text area gets one third the screen, when it could use half the screen.
Moving a candidate move up the hierarchy works fine for small moves (one or two) but is awkward if you have to make 5 or so moves.

In retrospect, I should have cleaned up my custom COW Cambridge Springs eBook on my PC before moving it to my tablet.

That's it for now.

Re: User Experience.

Posted: Sat May 29, 2021 9:10 pm
by FreeRepublic
I strongly suggest including a link to the Bookup e-book catalog:

inside the Android App.

That would provide new App users with content, generating additional eBook sales. I see now that there is a Cambridge Springs COW eBook available for purchase.

Another way to get chess content is to go to and download pgn games, to upload into COW. For example, they have 1,497 games in the PGN format that are available to download. This works fine on the PC, but perhaps not so easily on a tablet.

There may be other sites that provide games as PGN files.

Re: User Experience.

Posted: Sun May 30, 2021 12:15 pm
by FreeRepublic
Using my PC, I went to and logged into my account. From my account, I added a new device, my new tablet. Back to the tablet, I downloaded Kindle and signed into my Amazon account.

My kindle chess books are now available on both PC and tablet! I created a new COW eBook on my tablet. On my tablet, it's easy to switch between a Kindle chess book and my COW eBook.

I also have ePub books on my PC. I set up Dropbox on my PC. I downloaded the Dropbox app on my tablet and signed into Dropbox. You want ONE dropbox account to be used by PC and tablet both. I moved an ePub chess book from my PC to my tablet. There are several ePub readers. I chose ReadEra and installed it onto my tablet. It brings up my chess book, and again, it is easy to rotate over to my COW eBook.

Both Kindle and ReadEra permit me to copy text. However the COW app does not, as far as I can tell, support a paste command into the text box. Consider that to be a new feature request.

I've previously mentioned that PGN files (books) purchased from import flawlessly into COW Professional on my PC. I am hoping to get a similar experience using the COW app.

Re: User Experience.

Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:04 pm
by jws555
Hi, FreeRepublic,

In another post, you state your tablet screen does not autorotate. This may be because the "Autorotate" setting is turned off. Swipe down from the top of the display twice. You should see an icon labeled Auto rotate, looks something like a small phone surrounded by two circular arrows. Touch it to toggle the setting and see if your screen now rotates. Hope this helps!


Re: User Experience.

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 6:15 pm
by FreeRepublic

Thanks. I tried that. I gather that blue is enabled and grey is not. It does not work either way.

For "serious work," I am very happy using my PC with a Kindle (or EPub) window open and COW Pro book, side by side. I am still tinkering with my 8" Lenovo tablet.

Kindle chess books work across PC and tablet provided that you buy your book straight from Amazon. I think the files are "in the cloud," and easily accessible to any device that I might have.

I have some Kindle eBooks purchased from Everyman chess on my PC. I can send them to my tablet but have been unable to link one to the Kindle reader.

Once I get an EPub book onto my tablet, I can open it with a ePub reader.

Re: User Experience.

Posted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 3:38 pm
by FreeRepublic
Mike made it easy to import one's last Lichess game into Chess Opening Wizard Professional on the PC. I look forward to having the same functionality on my tablet. As an aside, the chess playing sites I use on the PC work fine in the tablet: lichess, ICC,, and Chess24.

I previously mentioned that the auto-rotate feature does not work on my tablet. No change there. However I downloaded a free app that allows me to rotate the screen for COW and other apps.

Does COW support split screens on tablets?

I opened COW Pro on my laptop and turned on the engine. I opened COW on my tablet and tried connect to server for analysis. It can't find the server.

Re: User Experience.

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:16 pm
by FreeRepublic
FreeRepublic wrote: Sat May 29, 2021 7:31 pm A "select all" command for text would be nice. I had to backspace through a lot of text.
O.K. I figured that out. (The method is not obvious, at least not to a new tablet user.)

Mike's video on using an engine (tablet to PC link) briefly displays an Android and an iPad. The iPad shows evaluation (=, etc.) symbols as one would expect. The video was too blurry for me to see if there were any evaluation symbols for COW on the Android tablet.

I have COW on my 8" Lenovo Android tablet. It does not display evaluation symbols.

C) Bookup sells eBbooks in the COW format. These have excellent content and provide a basic structure to which one can add. I think this can be an excellent way for users to obtain chess content for their tablets. However, when it comes to pricing, I suggest you consider that many of these titles were first published many years ago. While the basic content may not have changed greatly, players gravitate towards newer titles. I can think of 5 major publishers of chess ebooks that have current (as well as older) titles. I suggest that at least some titles be provided at a discounted rate to get new tablet COW users instantly productive and hooked on COW.

Re: User Experience.

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:28 am
by FreeRepublic
jws555 wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:04 pm In another post, you state your tablet screen does not autorotate.
I finally solved this little problem.

My tablet is a lot of fun, but came with no instructions, tutorial, etc. I searched the internet for advice. The best I could find was a statement that said to rotate and lift the tablet. That does not work. I accidentally discovered what works. I now rotate and tilt the tablet, and it works every time.

Re: User Experience.

Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 3:47 pm
by FreeRepublic
I am now quite proficient using my Android tablet. I often connect to a chess playing site (LiChess, ICC,, and Chess 24) and play a chess game. COW Pro on my Windows 10 computer makes it easy to import the last LiChess game. It would be great to get the same functionality on my COW App, especially as I play the game on my tablet.

I mistakenly downloaded the chess engine server onto my tablet. Try again. So I downloaded the Chess Engine Server to my Windows computer. I opened COW Pro and the remote engine server on my computer. I requested the server from my tablet. The server (in Windows) tells me the two (tablet and PC) are connected. At this point analysis should show on my tablet. It does not. Does it matter if the tablet is in portrait or landscape orientation?

A split screen capability for the COW App might prove useful.

I realize the COW Android App is inexpensive (free?), limited compared to PC and Window versions, and is a work in progress. At present I can use it to play through the enclosed game files. I just played through game 17 from the Kasparov-Anand match, a Sicilian Dragon. It was a pleasure to play this out and read comments on COW on my Android tablet.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I created an eBook on my PC, put it in DropBox, and opened it on my tablet. O.K. That is a step in the right direction. However I get more out of working with that eBook on my PC. There are COW eBooks available for purchase. That is good, but they should be updated or reduced in price.

I have tried several tablet chess book products. They all have their advantages and limitations and I could make a table listing what each can and can not do. None cover all the bases.

On the PC, I can use COW in concert with other products. For example, I can bring up a Kindle (or ePub) book on the left, COW on the right and work with both to maximum effect. Or I can download PGN games, and create an eBook on COW. I can not think of any other PC solution that is as good.

A few notes about COW import strengths and limitations. Books (PGN files) from upload flawlessly into COW for Windows. Just about perfect. Sometimes I cut a comment about a move and then paste into the next or previous move. No big deal. I am able to add my own comments or analysis. I try to be disciplined and type END at the end of a variation, so as to distinguish between author analysis and further analysis of my own or by Stockfish. I consider backsolving to be magic. It would be more magic if user input to a book would get a colored dot or some other indication so as to distinguish it from the original book.

Books from Everyman require discussion. Their Kindle or EPub files (when available) come up on-screen and, as mentioned before, I can then work with them and with a COW file. As COW does not read CBV files, I can not read Everyman CBV files. Everyman book downloads usually include PGN files. They import imperfectly into COW. Some of it imports, some of it is garbled. Curiously, Everyman has a PGN reader for tablets (tablets only) that works just fine in importing their PGN files. (It also supports engine analysis. However, you can not add comments, analysis, new candidates moves, or extended analysis to the sacrosanct book that you purchase.)

Re: User Experience.

Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:49 am
by FreeRepublic
Mike's recommendation to use Dropbox has proved very useful. Thank you. Using COW Pro on the PC, I created an Ebook from 4,700 annotated games from Chess Publishing corresponding to ECO C. There's a lot of meat on those bones! I was able to get that to my Android tablet. That's a huge accomplishment. Kudos to the developers! Now for the bad news.

It works, but it could be easier. I forgot the procedure and could not find the video explaining it.

I acquired wrong habits from using a competitor's product. With their product, I move a PGN file to Dropbox, receive it in Dropbox on the tablet, click on it, and it opens their tablet application and reads in the file. Easy.

I expected a file association between a COW Pro file (in Dropbox) and the tablet version of COW. However clicking on the COW Pro Ebook merely brings up a dialog that the file type is unreadable. It's a failing of the Android OS that it does not prompt me to find an application on my tablet (COW of course) that can open the file.

I have wasted hours trying to move files (ultimately successful) and with setting up an engine (fail). I don't doubt that this all works, but
both processes need to be made easier.

I can name three competitors who sell playable Ebooks that run on tablets. Each has an integrated engine. I don't know how they do it. I don't know if the engine is on the tablet or in the cloud, but it works.

I would be amiss if I did not point out advantages of COW on a tablet. While competitors may claim to sell the perfect Ebook, users are not allowed to write in their books. Users can not add their own moves or comments. The advantage that COW has over these competitors is that users can add their own moves and comments.