Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Once Said...

... that:

"We'll see how this [blog] goes. If it works, great! If not, well, I lost next to nothing."

about me dumping my thoughts onto this blog. Well, it wasn't happening for over 2 years!

Time to change that! All too often, I get some ideas, peeves, suggestions and other stray thoughts which ought to be jotted down, just in case anyone out there does a Google search and has a tendency to stop by and read about something they happen to take an interest in, despite the fact that it isn't actually something they have been looking for. So, if you have such a tendency to do just that, these partial brain dumps are for you!

Because I haven't been writing, some topics of discussion have been lost into irrelevance and are probably not worth resurrecting, although I often feel that they still ought to be considered due to the very fact that they have been forgotten and ought to be retold (I'll set up useful contexts for them if I have to!).

Another reason why I have not been writing is because my fingers caress computer keyboards more than anything else. Writing is now a skill I actually have trouble with since typing is the means I exclusively use to transcribe words onto paper for the last 20 or so years! Inkwell (and Newton) has been one way I have forced myself to write with something that resembles a pen, but granted, l can still write faster with a pen on paper... but with a computer and a graphics tablet, l actually have a better chance of writing text that others can actually read! To have Inkwell itself be able to read my utterly messy handwriting is actually impressive, despite the fact that I often have to re-write some small or obscure words to get it right. On the other hand, it is immensely gratifying, often essential, to have a means of correcting your handwriting as easily as you can edit typewritten text in a word processor. This is the best reason to write using a computing device like a Nintendo DS, one of a vast number of personal digital assistants, or even a Mac or a tablet PC. And to have text that is actually searchable after you have written it... that's progress in itself over the traditional pen and paper! Another benefit of writing over typing on a computing device is that you do not need to worry about what keyboard settings your computer is configured with (QWERTY, Dvorak, or an international keyboard setting) and depending on the capabilities of the handwriting recognition system, you can even mix multiple languages in a piece of hand written text, saving from having to tell the computer what language you are actually writing in! And obviously, using a tablet—whatever size—saves you a USB port or Bluetooth bandwidth because the one device can be used to point, write and draw; you don't need two or more devices to offer a complement of input capabilities. And the iPhone demonstrates that you can even dispense with a separate graphics tablet; all you need is your finger (or if you really need to, you can probably use an electrostatic pen to draw on your screen with).

On that note, this is the first blog entry I have ever made entirely written on computer. I hope to continue doing so, which does say something about my interest in promoting lesser-used, perhaps more advanced human interface technologies. So far, my application of Inkwell on Web browsers on the Mac is adequate for literally writing into this blog, but there are some other problems that ought to be investigated with other applications I use on a daily basis; for example, most applications on the Mac will need to be modified to work adequately with Inkwell. The only application I see where writing on a computer may never make sense is when cutting code. I'll have to insist on a keyboard and mouse when it comes to working with that!

So here marks the end of my first brain dump in over 29 months! Hope it doesn't take that long to post another blog!



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