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Posts Tagged ‘Handwriting’

Developing for Tablet PC: Handwriting recognition in Windows really works!

Oct
20
2009

In the last month we have been able to give ten select software developers their first hands on experience with Tablet PCs. Without exception, the feedback has been something like this:

“Hey, this handwriting recognition really works!”

windows-7-handwriting-recognition 
We love working with software developers because without them the compelling reasons for deploying Tablet PCs thin out considerably.

However, in our experience, the majority of software developers assume that developing a user interface for a Tablet PC is the same as developing for a PDA. But it is not…

Developing an application for a Tablet PCs is not the same as developing for a PDA

With a PDA, you would use lots of drop down boxes, large tick boxes and radios and big buttons. Keeping it simple… You have to, because touch screens of all flavours are  not sensitive enough for fine input. Handwriting on a tiny little touch screen is nigh on impossible.

So keeping it simple is a great approach for PDAs with touch screens, but for Tablet PCs it can represent a lot of missed opportunities.

There are a couple of important distinctions about Tablet PCs that you should examine before you embark on your Tablet PC software project:

  1. Unlike PDAs, digitizer based Tablet PCs allow for very fine cursor control – easily more accurate than a mouse
  2. Modern digitizer Tablet PCs have little to no pen – cursor lag due to the speed of the current PC hardware
  3. Handwriting recognition really works – particularly with Windows Vista and especially with Windows 7 – even with the worst handwriting! It is way more advanced than anything you’ve seen on a PDA
  4. Digital ink and handwriting recognition capabilities can be easily built into your application making data input a snap for your end users!

The holy grail for Tablet PC development is integrating pen and handwriting input directly into your application. Here are a couple of ideas for functions that can be built in for Tablet PC:

  • Search can be ink enabled saving your users lots of time
  • Filling out forms makes a lot more sense if you can write straight onto the form
  • Gestures for repetitive functions can easily be built in to your app (e.g. save, open, new, copy, paste, space, enter etc).

Adding features like this for your Tablet PC software can give your software a competitive edge. Talk to us to see some examples of these ideas.

If you are developing for Tablet PCs you really should be thoroughly familiar with the platform before you kick off. Fortunately we have several solutions for software developers.

  1. We offer preferential pricing on Tablet PCs for your own internal development use – give them to your staff to use and get familiar with.
  2. Our Tablet PC hire program was especially designed for software developers. Get hold of the latest Tablet PC models to test your software and demonstrate to clients for much less than the cost of a Tablet PC.
  3. Partnering – Tens of thousands of people visit this website every month to find out about Tablet PCs, but the majority of them don’t have a software package or software developer to help them make it all work for them. We partner with a select group of software developers to promote their solutions to our customers. Whilst we do not develop applications, we have Tablet PC software development experience in house available to assist your team.

If you are a software developer, contact us on 03 9999 1601or email us to discuss your needs.

 TabletPC.com.au

How good is Windows Handwriting Recognition?

Aug
4
2009

In view of our last post about the handwriting recognition improvements in Windows 7 you might be wondering how good windows handwriting recognition is…

As an experiment, I’ll tell you to the story of my handwriting got so bad in digital ink with Windows Vista and I’ll show you the recognition results below:

 mywritng

And here is the recognised text version…


I was born in South Australia but grew

up in Victoria. So I started learning

to write at primary school in Victoria. The Victorian Education Department at

the time decided to change the

writing style taught from printing to cursive script.

In grade four, we moved from

Victoria to South Australia where kids

had always been taught cursive. When

I turned up, they decided to

switch to painting… And so, my

handwriting became a hacked up version of print and cursive…


One error… not bad!

TabletPC.com.au

Windows 7 – Tablet PC Handwriting recognition Updates

Aug
3
2009

Tablet PC users have been amongst the few friends of Windows Vista to date due to the significant improvements of handwriting recognition, pen and touch input from Windows XP.

Background: Microsoft Windows XP Tablet Edition, Microsoft Windows Vista and now Windows 7 all include sophisticated multi-language handwriting recognition software. They are capable of recognising even the worst handwriting. They recognise your natural freehand writing style (cursive script or printing) so you don’t have to print or learn a special way of writing.

Thankfully, as Windows 7 hits the market with much better mainstream acceptance, Tablet PC users will no longer have to apologise for their choice of operating system!

There are some significant improvements in the way that Windows 7 handles recognition, even after the leap forward that we had with Vista.

It’s all thanks to an enormous amount of work from the Windows Engineering Input team. You can read more about their incredible work here:

Some of the features that you can expect to see in Windows 7:

  • Inline text recognition – less mental power required!
  • New correction gestures and options
  • Improved support for East Asian Languages – Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese
  • Math Input
  • Easier web addresses
  • Touch optimised keyboard.

Here are some video previews (bear in mind that screen capture programs don’t do well at following tablet input due to the graphics intensity, so the videos don’t do it justice… but you get the idea).

Handwriting conversion as you go:

New correction gestures and options:

Improved web address entry:

For Tablet PC veterans, some of the changes may take a little getting used to. Seeing your chicken scratch turn into nice legible words on the go is a little disconcerting initially.

It was only when I read the articles above and analysed my method of working in the TIP (Tablet Input Panel) that I realised how much concentration it takes to work that way. Windows 7 lowers the requirements significantly by converting your handwriting as you go.

image

Since in Windows 7 you can see the recognition results without moving your gaze far- up, down, across, etc – it takes much less effort to write and correct. Even a mac user could do it! ;-P (Please, it’s a joke! I love mac users and l even have an iPhone!)

image

As with Vista, Windows 7 recognition keeps getting smarter. You can train the recogniser to work with you particular writing style and the system also learns automatically from your corrections.

The correction methods are awesome in Windows 7 and it is very difficult to work on Vista now without them!

We can happily say that Windows 7 will be a big boost to your Tablet PC productivity.

TabletPC.com.au

Tablet PC 101: #20 Type With A Keyboard

Aug
2
2008

acer-keyboard-in-a-pile-of-com When I talk to uninitiated people about Tablet PCs (not intelligent people like you), I am truly surprised by the number of people who say:

“I can type way faster than I can write.”

Well, duh!

It seems that some people think that Tablet PC pen input is an exclusive technology that supercedes and overrides all other input methods.

Now, before you decide to throw away your keyboard and mouse because you’re going to buy a Tablet PC… stop and pay attention:

Handwriting recognition and Tablet PCs are not designed to stop you from using a regular keyboard and mouse!

…or touch, or speech, or blink input, or deep brain magnetic resonance commands*, or whatever other new input technology comes out in the next 15 years!

Guess what? I too can type way faster than I can write.

Therefore, because my Tablet PC is my everyday computer, when I’m in the office I use a docking station with a large LCD screen, an external DVD writer and a wireless keyboard and mouse.

I also keep a convertible keyboard in my car for those situations when pen input just won’t do.

Of course, the addition of pen input means that you can use your computer in so many new ways and so many new places.

The fact is, no one is going to stop typing altogether on a keyboard any time soon!

TabletPC.com.au

*I haven’t invented deep brain magnetic resonance commands yet, but will keep you posted.

Tablet PC 101 #10 Email in your own handwriting

May
27
2008

Dealing with email overload is one of the greatest challenges in running a business. Often, many of the emails that flood your inbox are internal communications that need a quick response.

Email – meet Tablet PC

Email-Handwritten

With a Tablet PC and Office 2007 (or Office 2003) you can send email in handwriting. That enables you to send emails from places like:

  • An airport lounge
  • A doctors waiting room
  • A cafe over coffee

Tablet PCs allow you to maximise your working time by enabling you to use a fully functional PC in places where you generally wouldn’t use a laptop.

Brush up your handwriting skills, because you’re going to need them again. Tablet PCs are great productivity tools.

TabletPC.com.au

Tablet pC 101 #8 Take notes in meetings with your clients

May
21
2008

Are you lugging around an A4 notepad and pen in that portfolio of yours?

There are so many places where Tablet PC is practical and a laptop just isn’t. Meetings with your clients are a perfect example.

You wouldn’t generally use a laptop in a round table meeting because the laptop screen creates a barrier between you and the client. Your clients also can’t see the screen, so they will be suspicious about what you’re doing in there…

If you place your Tablet PC flat on the table, there is no screen barrier and your clients can see the notes that you’re taking.

Also, when you get a Tablet PC, you will be showing a more impressive front to your clients. That’s because when you go into any meeting with a Tablet PC you will look more:

  • Professional
  • Impressive
  • Technically superior
  • Organised.

But the real kicker is that you can actually be all that!

A Tablet PC will allow you to:

  • Never lose a note again
  • Search through your handwritten notes
  • Email handwritten notes
  • Mark and action notes for follow up
  • Audio record the conversation in sync with you handwritten notes.

It’s perfect for meetings, especially with clients.

TabletPC.com.au

Tablet PC 101 #6 Recognise Handwriting

May
19
2008

With a Tablet PC you can turn your handwriting into computer text… or not, the choice is yours.

If you’ve ever used handwriting recognition on a PDA or Palm Pilot, you’ll know that it can be a tedious affair. Tablet PCs hare a far superior system of handwriting recognition that takes advantage of their computing power.

The Tablet PC input panel allows you to write multiple lines of text, suggesting and correcting as you go. It is a very quick and accurate input method, and it’s even better now in Windows Vista.

But one of the real beauties of Tablet PC is that you don’t have to bother with handwriting recognition if you don’t want to. Programs like Microsoft OneNote and Journal allow you to leave your notes in handwriting and convert them to text later. In fact, OneNote recognises your handwriting automatically and stores a copy in the background as searchable text.

TabletPC.com.au

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