This evening I have had great fun with Microsoft Windows7 and a VisTablet. I wrote a blog entry on one of my other blogs entirely on the tablet and am attempting to do the same thing with this one. This is not the first time I have tried handwriting recognition with blogging, but it is the first time I have done so without becoming frustrated. I am doing this with no special software I just the Operating System and MS Word, but I could have chosen to use Firefox to directly input the entry into Movable Type. The utility for “pen based input” is far from perfect, but the interface for it is great. I can see what the app thinks I wrote almost the instant I write it , allowing for almost instant corrections, using “pen flicks”, a new gesture system. It is interesting how the software reads my handwriting, since most humans can not. It has been a long time Since I have written anything longer than a grocery list with a pen. It is most terrifying seeing my penmanship on a large screen. From my experience so far it seems like Windows is using the general gesture of the pen more so than the resulting characters to create its conversion. The context also seems relevant to the process.
I am not likely to use this method very often as it is much slower than typing, however I could see the advantage to a person that is more accustomed to writing. For my purpose I like using the tablet for anything that doesn’t involve a lot of writing, as it replaces both keyboard and mouse input methods. The hardest part of using then tablet is getting used to the technology itself, which means adapting to what is written appearing on screen, and not on the writing surface.
One last annoyance I will comment on is that after correctly translating what is written, the app will sometimes second guess itself and convert it incorrectly , which is more of a problem when it does it several words behind your active focus and you don’t realize that it has occurred.