Re: [NTLK] inkwell

From: Larry Yaeger <>
Date: Sat Feb 07 2009 - 16:51:26 EST

At 10:07 PM -0500 2/6/09, Charles Mangin wrote:
>and i'm wondering if any of the newton folks on the list have used the 
>inkwell HWR that's built into OS X. how does it do compared to our
>beloved newts?

Inkwell *is* the "Print Recognizer" from the Newton, with slightly higher accuracy if the data is reasonably smooth (neural networks were retrained) and with better support for URLs.

A few caveats:

Using a small, low-resolution, low-speed Wacom tablet does not work well, because the sample points are too far apart, producing angular letter forms, unlike the data the system was trained on. It looks like Wacom is referring to these small, cheap tablets as "Bamboo" these days; there used to be another name for them, but I don't recall it off hand. I'd be a bit dubious about the smaller Intuous tablets as well, but the 9"x12" or larger Intuous tablets work nicely with Inkwell, which is what I see the iTab project makes use of. However, jitter is also bad for recognition, and I see this system you were asking after does have at least a bit of a jitter problem--not sure how severe an issue this will be.

While "write anywhere" works fine throughout Mac OS X, handwriting support was never integrated into the key text engines or applications throughout the system. So editing is not as direct and easy as on the Newton. Some of the editing features work acceptably well, but you cannot, for example, just overwrite a single letter. However, there is an InkPad (or Ink Window or whatever it ended up being called) that supports almost all of the Newton's behaviors. I don't think it's as convenient as write-anywhere, but it is a nice option to have at times. InkPad also has a pure drawing mode that I miss having routinely available, because sometimes it's just nice to make a quick sketch or write a mathematical equation or whatever by hand, and paste it into whatever document you're working on.

This is the "Print Recognizer". It is not meant for cursive handwriting and, accordingly, is terrible at it. It can handle some connected characters, but is not particularly strong at it. If you use the cursive recognizer on the Newton and routinely write cursive text or even significantly mixed print+cursive, you will be disappointed. But if you truly print your text (and use a higher-end tablet), I think you will be very happy with Inkwell.

- larryy

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Received on Sat Feb 7 17:51:30 2009

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