Re: [NTLK] Palm LifeDrive

From: Lord Groundhog <>
Date: Tue Apr 17 2007 - 07:21:47 EDT

~~~ On 2007/04/16 05:43, Steven Scotten at wrote ~~~

> On Apr 15, 2007, at 5:27 PM, Lord Groundhog wrote:
> First, it was Steve (me) who wrote that, not Kevin.
Sorry to both you and Kevin; by the time I saw it, it appeared to be
attributed to Kevin. Or maybe that was just me, writing at the end of a
very long day.

> Seven years ago I made these very same arguments with great passion
> and disgust for any fool who was stupid enough to get a Palm device
> or do something blasphemous like install Graffiti on their Newt.
You sound as if you used to be more extreme than I am. I didn't think that
was possible. I wouldn't ever think graffiti is "stupid" -- just
"retrograde". ;)

> So imagine how I felt when I smugly challenged a co-worker to see how
> fast we could write a sentence out, him on his lowly stupid pathetic
> Palm and me on my beautiful kick-ass MP2100. The sentence was "The
> time has come for all good men to come to the aid of their country."
> I got to "all" and the idiot using the stupid single-character system
> was finished. It wasn't even close. So who was the idiot really?
> Well, as in most situations in life, the idiot was me.
...being the sort of person I am, I just conducted a test on myself.
Against my stop-watch, I wrote out your test sentence 20 times, timing each
attempt individually. Approximately 10-15 second gaps between attempts. I
also ran a digital recorder so I could narrate the results without loss of
time. Posture: standing up, Newton in my hand but otherwise unsupported.

The results (times given are rounded to the nearest tenth and include time
needed to make corrections) make boring reading, but here they are:
30.2 sec/0 errors, 29.4 sec/0 errors, 29.6 sec/0 errors, 30.1 sec/0 errors,
30.8 sec/0 errors, 30.4 sec/0 errors, 31.0 sec/0 errors, 31.2 sec/0 errors,
30.5 sec/0 errors, 31.6 sec/0 errors, 32.3 sec/0 errors, 32.1 sec/0 errors,
32.5 sec/0 errors, 32.3 sec/0 errors, 31.9 sec/0 errors, 32.8 sec/1 error
("far" instead of "for"), 33.0 sec/0 errors, 32.7 sec/1 error ("came"
instead of "come"), 34.6 sec/1 error (dropped initial capitalization), 33.2
sec/0 errors. I get an average of 31.6 seconds.

It was like "writing lines" for punishment in school, and as you can see,
towards the end I had trouble performing the repetitive task (for comparison
I did the same thing on my Pismo keyboard, and again the repetition produced
deterioration of accuracy). Only 3 errors, all towards the end, and that
average speed make that an acceptable performance for me by the Newton.

> Your analogy, cursive versus printing, has very little relation to
> this.
On the contrary, lifting the pen only between words and to dot i's, cross
t's is a cumulative speed advantage.

> ... I'll admit that I printed when I was in my speed test, so
> perhaps I could have been faster if newt would recognize my cursive.
> It will not, and I've tried to get it to for over a decade now. So I
> print on Newt.
I'm not surprised that you found normal printing slower than a one-stroke
substitute-set for the alphabet. Cumulatively, you'd be saving significant
fractions of seconds that way. On your other point, I wish I knew what
makes one person's cursive so easily recognizable and another person's
obscure to the Newton. I'll bet the HWR programmers would've liked to know
too. If they did know, they should have told us.

> The other factor is that (the original) Graffiti is a *simplified*
> alphabet. This is why Xerox sued Palm. Graffiti2 requires more
> gestures; original graffiti has a one-gesture shape for every letter,
> which is what Xerox's patent is for. Anyhow, there's no stopping to
> cross T's or dot I's or create the crossbars in A's or the vertical
> stroke of a B.
Interesting to know that. I'm in the opposite camp: I just can't use
graffiti. For my life I can't make that ugly symbol-set stay in my head. I
can write in Russian, Greek, Hebrew, and even a very little in ancient
Chinese, but that graffiti stuff does my head in. I have this Palm Vxci or
whatever it's called, that I gave up on after trying to master it. Now it
sits in a drawer except when I can be bothered to take it out and try to
write on it using the quick(!) reference list to remind me of the symbols.
It makes me feel illiterate. I use it when I'm in the mood to humiliate

> When did I compare HWR to typing? I'm only arguing that single-
> character recognition, once learned, is faster.

Sorry again; you didn't, but I was in a conversation with a friend on IM
about the Newton, simultaneously to answering your post, and somehow I ended
up merging the other discussion into my post here, where it didn't belong.
I'll have to ask him what I wrote to him that left him wondering...

> The closer comparison between Newt's HWR and Graffiti's SCR would be
> cursive writing to shorthand. Shorthand requires some learning and
> it's certainly not real handwriting, but it is a hell of a lot faster
> if you take the time to do it.

I was rubbish at shorthand too. That almost makes sense to me, except that
shorthand is more than just letter-by-letter equivalence, so graffiti isn't
a comparison. (Maybe "They" should come up with a "shorthand recognition
system"? Anyone for "e-Pit"?)

> This isn't a you versus me thing.

I didn't take it that way, but like all of us, my attitude to the Newt is
conditioned by my experience of it, which in my case has been very good, and
I realize I can get a little carried away at times. So that was just me
being defensive.

Thanks for giving me another way to look at it. But since this amazing
device reads my handwriting so nicely, I'll just fall back on something we
used to say back in the '60s: "Different strokes for different folks".

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

łAny sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a NewtonPad.˛
            -- What Arthur C. Clarke meant to say
(With thanks to Chod Lang)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
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Received on Tue Apr 17 07:22:07 2007

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