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Adventures with OneNote and Handwriting Recognition

Discussion in 'Tablet PC' started by Grant Robertson, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. Well, I thought I would try writing a diary of my experiences trying to
    write my diary using OneNote. I gotta tell you that was the most
    frustrating few days I have spent since I taught myself how to use the
    SysPrep tool. I have to admit, I get frustrated a lot using computers,
    even though I've been doing it for 25 years and have been a consultant
    for the last 3. This is probably because I foolishly expect them to
    actually work. And I try to do everything the instructions say you can do
    rather than just the limited subset of things that look good in a demo.

    I should further preface this incredibly long document by saying that I
    often receive comments that my handwriting is the closest to that long
    green chart on the wall in grade school classrooms that anyone has ever
    seen in real life. Even by grade school teachers! So before anyone tries
    to tell me I should adjust my handwriting, I have to say that I fail to
    see any way I could make it better without making it slower than tapping
    on an on screen keyboard one letter at a time.

    I should probably also warn you that this post ends on a rather negative
    note so MVP's should probably shield their tender eyes to prevent damage
    to their sensitivities. It is also not a request for help. I have spent
    many years beating my head against computers and I know bad design when I
    see it. I am not writing this because I don't know what to do about it. I
    pretty much know there is nothing to be done other than wait for a better

    So why am I writing this? Well, partly, because I have already written it
    on my Tablet PC using OneNote and I wouldn't have started writing it if
    things didn't keep bugging me. I'm telling you, I was finding bugs faster
    than I could write them down. So the more frustrated I got the more
    determined I was to share it with the entire world. But I am also sharing
    it so that the OneNote team and the Handwriting team can have yet more
    input to improve their next version. Maybe they will listen, maybe they
    won't. Maybe they already knew about these things and shipped the product
    anyway. If so, shame on them. But at least now they know that these are
    things that the public WILL notice if they even try to use the product
    for just a few days.

    I am posting it to both the OneNote and Tablet PC newsgroups because many
    of these issues affect both groups and not everyone reads them both.

    So this is my first diary entry on my new Tablet PC. I haven't quite
    gotten the hang of writing in OneNote yet. If you don't plan where you
    write just right you will end up with these fragmented paragraphs. Or,
    sometimes it will think some of your handwriting is part of a drawing or

    (Personal stuff removed)

    I'll tell you what, sorting out all the things I've got to do to get
    things on track seems so insurmountable that I don't know where to start.
    I still haven't worked out my GTD system for use in ONeNote so I don't
    even have a reliable way to capture all the details and turn them into
    next actions. I want to work on the list on my Tablet PC but I don't have
    a good way of turning those things into tasks & tracing them back to the
    proper place in my plan.
    Perhaps I could just make sure that the items I turned into tasks were
    uniquely named and then just rely on the text search feature. I keep
    thinking I will need a way to organize the tasks themselves into some
    kind of hierarchical structure but that isn't GTD. I only need to create
    actual tasks for Next Actions that are actually ready to be done.
    Everything else could be kept in the structure of the plan itself in
    OneNote. I would then only assign contexts when I actually created the
    task item in Outlook. OK, that's a good enough system to go on for now.

    So I went to all the trouble of rearranging the folders under "My
    Notebook". I had to do it on the desktop instead of the Tablet PC because
    the original files are there and I am using Off-Line Files to make them
    available on the Tablet. So I figured, since I made the root folder
    available off-line, that once I rearranged the folders then synchronized
    them on the Tablet, that they would all be available on the Tablet.
    Wrong-o! Only the folders that I didn't move are still available. So,
    here I am, at the coffee shop ready to start [working] and the files I
    need aren't available. This would oh-so not happen with paper. Except I
    would be much more likely to forget to bring all the files I needed. I
    guess with paper, all the different files would get spread out all over
    the place and I would never be able to find them under the piles. But, I
    tell you what, sometimes this thing can drive me nuts.

    Just today, in the time I've been writing this, I have run into several
    more bugs.

    · First, when I selected the text of the title to convert it to text, it
    would select it, and the little green gadget would appear. But it
    wouldn't drop down a list of correction choices no matter what I did.
    Fortunately it recognized the text correctly as you can see in the page
    tab. The only reason I have gotten in the habit of converting the page
    title text is because it rarely recognizes it correctly on the first try.
    And, since I kind of depend on the page titles for reference, I can't
    just leave them with the wrong text in them.

    · Next, I have learned if you don't start your commas well within the
    marked-off writing area then OneNote creates a whole new paragraph for
    them. Sometimes it even starts a whole new writing guide. Well you can't
    just leave the thing there or OneNote won't ever drop down more space in
    your actual, working, writing guide. So you gotta stop what you're doing
    and delete the thing. However, now that it has done that, any other comma
    you put there, almost no matter how high you start it, OneNote still
    keeps recreating the darn extra paragraph or writing guide. Once it is
    stuck in this mode, the only way I have found to get the comma in there
    is to give up until you have written enough to drop down another line and
    written something on that line. Only then can you go back and put the
    comma where it belongs. If that comma is on the last line then you gotta
    do the squiggle trick to create a next line and delete the squiggles
    {Note: I wrote about the squiggle trick in an earlier post. This is where
    I just draw a little squiggle towards the right edge of the writing guide
    to get it to drop down more writing area because it normally won't drop
    it down until you are very close to the edge. Yes, this is even with it
    set to drop it down 'well before' you get to the edge.}

    · Another thing that is still driving me nuts is the inconsistent
    placement of paragraph and writing guides. I always have to be very
    careful if I want it to start my first paragraph on a page in the right
    place. I have to make sure and tap in the exact same spot every time. I
    cut & pasted the previous paragraph from the previous page because it got
    too long and now I can't get it to indent to where it belongs to save my
    life. This is probably a result of the 'Only indent one level at a time'
    rule but it is still a pain. Did they think that no outlines would ever
    be continued on the next page. What this means is that any one thing has
    to be put on one long, run-on page. I could use pages as top level
    hierarchies but that still means that all your second level hierarchies
    have to stay on one page and those can get pretty long too. You can't use
    sub-pages for the second level because they have no titles and you gotta
    be able to see your subject titles.

    · Now another thing is that the darn writing guide keeps growing no
    matter what size I set it to. If you write close enough to the end to get
    it to drop down another line, even with the squiggle trick, then it grows
    the writing guide just a little bit more. This keeps going till the
    writing guide is wide enough to create a horizontal scroll bar. Which,
    BTW, shows up ever-so-slightly BEFORE the writing guide actually gets
    wider than the window. Now I know why all the MS demos show the Writing
    Guide only going about 2/3 of the way across the screen. They don't want
    to reveal an irritating problem with the software.
    * I have figured out that if you write, or squiggle, right up to, but
    not past, a point EXACTLY one grid width from the right edge of the
    writing guide that it will drop down more writing area w/o expanding the
    WG out further to the right. This takes a little bit of getting used to
    but is OK once you get the hang of it. (2004-01-01)

    · I have the rule lines set to the smallest grid but still have to set
    the zoom to 75% to keep from feeling as if I am writing on a Big-Chief
    tablet (I have an Acer C300 w/ 14.1" screen). Maybe they dropped the
    smallest grid (what I read in the newsgroup) because they figured all
    Tablet PC's would have really small screens. Yeah, and no one will ever
    need more than 640k!
    * I am now starting to suspect that, perhaps, I would get a better
    recognition rate if I went ahead and left the zoom set to 100% & just
    write bigger even though you can then fit less on the screen. (2003-12-
    * This turned out to be the case. (see later)
    * I am also now starting to suspect that they dropped the smallest
    grid size because they just couldn't get decent recognition if you wrote
    that small even on a 14" screen.

    · Getting an indent in the first line is even trickier. You gotta tap at
    about the first vertical grid line then start writing at the second. If
    you go more than a hair past that then OneNote will either move the whole
    writing guide over if that is your first paragraph in the WG or it will
    indent the whole paragraph.

    · Now here is something that really gets to me. If you add words to the
    dictionary to get it to recognize them better it only effects words
    written after you added them to the dictionary. All of the instances of
    that word that you wrote before you added the word to the dictionary will
    not be recognized correctly and the only way to fix it is to rewrite
    them. Yeah, like that's practical. So, if you are happily writing pages
    and pages of notes and only later go to convert them to text then you are
    pretty much screwed. You can expect to spend quite a lot of time
    correcting the same mistakes over & over again.
    And if you are using this in the one of the main ways Microsoft
    suggests, for taking class notes, then you will be writing lots and lots
    of new words that won't be in the dictionary. Unless you prepared for
    class by entering EVERY possible new word that MAY be mentioned into the
    dictionary using the Dictionary PowerToy then you will be pretty much
    screwed. And I have found that OneNote's 'fuzzy logic' searching will be
    of no help because most of the time the alternatives for even simple
    words are so far off the mark that search never finds them. (Believe me,
    I have tested it a lot.) So how the hell is it going to find the kinds of
    words that are going to be the most important for you to be able to find
    within college class notes. Words like 'oogenesis', 'meiosis', or
    'radioisotope'? And those are word I pulled out of 25 year old FRESHMAN
    textbooks. You can imagine what the kids have to deal with now!

    · You may have noticed that many of these notes are out of order and
    rambling. This is because OneNote makes it much more difficult to
    actually rearrange things than the demos make it appear. Notice that all
    the demos show notes w/ only 4 or 5 thoughts, each comprised of only a
    few words. Never a full sentence. When was the last time you were in a
    meeting where only 4 or 5 simple thoughts were expressed? If you have to
    make more room for things or squeeze things in then you are in trouble.
    And heaven help you if you want to try to preserve an outline structure
    across pages!

    · There have been about 4 times while writing this today that there have
    been digitizing errors.

    · If you select then delete some words, OneNote will automatically move
    any remaining words on the line to the left to fill in the space. But
    there is no easy way to move them back so you can write something else
    where the deleted words used to be. You gotta move the entire paragraph
    down, write your new words, then cut & paste, the paragraph back where it
    should have been. But forget about any kind of intelligent word wrapping.
    Each line is treated separately even though they are all supposed to be
    part of the same paragraph. {When Microsoft demos word-wrapping in
    handwriting, notice that they either don't use OneNote or the always
    quickly make the Writing Guide exactly half the width that it was before
    so as not to reveal this flaw.}
    * I have tried erasing words earlier in the sentence and simply
    replacing them. Erasing doesn't cause the other words to slide over to
    fill the space like selecting and deleting does. (Rather inconsistent if
    you ask me.) However, any words you write in the space will never be
    recognized. Believe me, no matter how neatly you write them. (2004-01-02)

    · Last (at least for tonight) but certainly not least, is the printing.
    When you check the option to scale text to fit the page it shrinks it up
    to only take up about 2/3 of the page both horizontally & vertically. If
    I disable that option then the text expands well past the edge of the

    Well, it is New Years Eve, eve. I've spent the last 4 days so sick I
    could hardly think. I'm only just now coherent enough to sit down and
    write some. I had planned to spend the time planning out the rest of my
    life but I've still got the rest of this week and the weekend for that.
    I'm going to jump back into work on Monday.

    I'm trying to decide if I should convert all the handwriting in this
    new incarnation of my diary into text. So far as I can tell, there is no
    way to actually delete the digital ink after converting to text anyway,
    so it wouldn't really save any space. There is also no way to convert
    back to ink either. So once it is converted, you are stuck. I guess I
    could convert to text then cut & paste to a new page. That might leave
    the ink behind. (I did a test and it does seem that the ink is not
    carried over.) But that is a lot of work. If I was going to go to that
    much trouble then I might as well just use the TIP and write directly in
    text in the first place.
    * I have done subsequent tests and found that getting it to forget
    about the hidden handwriting is spotty at best. I have gone back through
    all of these notes and found that the hidden handwriting is still there
    for the majority of the converted text. I have tried cutting and pasting
    every which way I could and even exited and reopened OneNote in between.
    So far I haven't been able to reliably force it to loose the hidden
    handwriting. (2004-01-02)
    * Now, here's another kicker! Even if you use the Writing Pad to
    enter text directly, it still stores the hidden text and keeps it
    forever. (Not to mention that it won't properly recognize he word
    "here's" no matter how hard I try. I tried to correct it about five times
    before I gave up and just typed it. And it still never puts an apostrophe
    in the word "won't"' !!! (2004-01-02)
    * So, the only way I can think of to get rid of the stuff is a cut
    your text, paste it into Notepad, then cut it again, then paste it back
    into OneNote. (2004-01-02)

    I am also trying to decide if I should create new sub-pages or just
    keep extending the length of my current page. If I put everything on one
    long page I could use the page-down key to read the whole thing w/o
    having to select each sub-page to view it. I am slightly concerned about
    being able to print and having it not cut lines in half. MS generally
    doesn't do very well in this area. In the print preview it looks as if it
    always stops printing right at the bottom of where the writing guide was
    when you were writing that line. Unless you have moved anything, and this
    car be a pain in its own right, this usually means right on the grid
    lines. So you end up with the descenders of the last line on a page being
    cut off and printed up on the top of the next page. I guess that not that
    big of a deal. I tried writing so that all of the descenders are kept
    within the rule lines but then you have to write so small it is hard to
    see what you are doing. It seems to recognize the words OK but it is just
    hard to read.

    One thing that still gets to me is that you can't squeeze in words
    while handwriting.

    Converting to Text: Pro's and Con's

    ? Easier for others to read.
    ? Can squeeze in other words.
    ? You know exactly what it thinks you wrote.
    ? It takes up much less HDD space. (OK not really now that I know the
    hidden handwriting is still always there.)
    ? Can add words to the dictionary as I go, (This will help for other
    times when I don't have time for anything but handwriting.)
    ? Can fit much more onto one page.
    ? So much easier to transfer to another document because it will
    already be ready.
    ? Won't have to use the squiggle trick or contend with it constantly
    expanding the writing guide to the right as it has a half a dozen times
    while writing this list.

    ? I kind of like seeing my diary in my own handwriting. It looses
    some of the personal touch when it is in plain text.
    ? Using the TIP can be a pain. (I can't wait for the new one.)
    ? The TIP is always at the bottom and I am slightly concerned that I
    will wear out that part of my screen. However, the new TIP should solve
    ? The TIP takes up a big part of the screen, especially in landscape
    mode. (There is a program that makes it transparent so you can use it
    anywhere on the screen w/o covering things up.)

    I guess the only way I am really going to decide is to try it both
    ways. I am going to convert all that I have so far into text and see how
    much of a pain that is. If it is a real pain to convert after the fact
    then it will push me further towards using the TIP and writing directly
    in text.
    I can tell you one thing, I certainly wouldn't want to be forced to
    write with only the stylus all of the time. It takes a lot longer and it
    really makes my index finger sore. At least with typing the stress is
    spread out over all ten fingers. Of course I could get used to holding
    the stylus a lot more lightly. You don't really have to press very hard
    at all but it takes a lot of getting used to to just hold it lightly.
    Interestingly, even if it skips a bit because you are writing too
    lightly, it still recognizes things OK.

    Yeah, this is what I'm doing with my New Years Eve. La Prima Tazza (my
    favorite coffee shop) closes at 6:00 pm so I will have to go looking for
    somewhere else to hang out till I finally decide to skulk home.

    I have decided to try writing with the zoom set to 100% to see if I get
    better recognition. I have already noticed a few other weird things.

    · First off the zoom setting seems to be set separately for the page
    header from the page itself. This seems like a weird feature but I guess
    I can see the logic in it. Especially if you put more stuff in the header
    than just the title.
    · I have been working on converting my previous entries to text and it is
    a real chore.
    ? There seems to be at least one thing to correct for almost every
    ? It doesn't seem to like the way I write a capital 'I'. It keeps
    turning them all into either capital 'J's or commas.
    ? When it converts the word 'can't' it doesn't seem to get the clue
    that there should be an apostrophe in there. I mean, how often in regular
    speech do people use the word 'can't' without the apostrophe? Most
    importantly, if the apostrophe is actually stuck in there, then you would
    figure you meant it to be there.
    ? I have noticed that you can cause it to drop the hidden digital ink
    and clear up the font sizes simply by cutting the converted text then
    pasting it right back where it was. Now, I have been doing this for an
    entire WG at the same time which deletes then recreates a new WG so it
    may not work if you only cut-then-repaste a small part of the text. I
    also have the default paste option set to keep only the text. There are a
    lot of variables so I will have to do more experiments. (As mentioned
    earlier, it doesn't really work as well as I initially thought.)
    ? I think it is way too picky about exactly how much space is between
    two words. Especially since I am writing in cursive and there shouldn't
    be much doubt as to where one word ends and the other begins. What it
    does is it constantly sticks two spaces between words. Ok, now how often
    do people really put 2 spaces between their words? This happens about
    every 3-5 words. Then, about every 10-20 words, it sticks 2 words
    together. When you look at the hidden handwriting in the correction drop-
    down-list you can see that there is plenty of space between the words.
    And the word it gives you is so obviously 2 separate, regular, dictionary
    words with the space removed it is almost laughable, if it weren't for
    the fact that I've already had to correct way too many of them. MS says
    the update should come in the middle of 2004. I guess this means we can
    expect it about a year from now at least.
    ? Every once in a while you will start to get completely weird
    § For instance, the scroll bar will stop working right. Once,
    when I tried to drag it up to see the top of the page, it drug the 'More
    Page' icon up with it. Then, as that passed by the handwriting on the
    page, the writing would just disappear in a horizontal line even with the
    icon. It was almost as if it thought I was resizing the window. However,
    the horizontal scroll bar never budged. And, besides, the window was
    maximized so it couldn't have been being resized anyway.
    § Once, when selecting text to correct, (something I have done a
    lot today!) the little green bracket was gray instead. Plus, it kept
    jumping about a quarter inch away from my pointer every time I tried to
    get near it.
    ? Both of these problems were fixed by simply exiting OneNote and
    starting it back up again.

    More OneNote Gripes:

    · Even when it puts a period at the end of the previous sentence, it's
    not smart enough to capitalize the first word of THIS sentence, even when
    that letter was obviously a capital letter.

    · It isn't smart enough to know that you always put a space before and
    after an ampersand.

    · Nor does it know that you never have a space before a comma.

    · If you cut and paste bulleted text with the 'Keep Only Text' option it
    turns the bullets into plain characters and replaces the indent with a
    bunch of spaces in front of the first line. However, if you choose the
    'Use Destination Formatting' option it doesn't always actually use the
    same formatting as the destination. (The destination was at 12 pt. and
    the default was also set at 12 pt. but sometimes it pastes in as 10 pt.)
    Either way you often end up having to fix things every darn time you
    paste anything.
    ? I have figured out what happens. That last, empty, line that gets
    stuck at the bottom sometimes gets switched to 10 pt when you switch back
    and forth between sections & pages. I think this is because 10 pt was the
    original default font and it may have been hard coded somewhere. This is
    a common programmer's mistake, especially when they are rushed. (2004-01-

    · It constantly doesn't recognize words that have been added to the
    dictionary like 'OneNote' but then, when you go to correct it, it
    suggests total nonsense words that you never added to the dictionary
    while not even suggesting the word that you did add.

    · They really need to publish a guide that shows the ideal way to write
    for best recognition. I still constantly have trouble w/ capital 'I' and
    '4'. I would change the way I write them if I had any idea what it was

    · If you go back and darken a period it will get turned into some random
    short word no matter how tiny or solid you make the dot. When you are
    cleaning up the conversion later it takes extra long to figure out what's
    going on because that screws with your sentence structure.

    · If you try to select a word that is too near the top or bottom by
    double-tapping it will scroll on you and end up selecting the wrong word.
    This is even when that word did not cross under the edge of the window.

    · If you have two tall writing guides side by side and are drag selecting
    lines of text in one, it will alternately select then deselect large
    hunks of text in the one next to it. Even when your selection cursor
    never leaves the first guide.

    · Sometimes it will just completely skip a word and give no indication
    whatsoever. So be sure to read through all of the writing you intend to
    convert to text so it will be fresh in your mind. Then double check right
    after converting. Otherwise you are sure to miss things.

    · It often thinks periods and commas are 'r's and stick them in the
    weirdest places.

    Well, I finally finished converting all the stuff I wrote before today
    into text. Geez, what a chore! It takes extra long when every couple of
    minutes you find yet another bug you want to write down. Then, while
    writing that down, you discover two more bugs.

    I have discovered that keeping the zoom set to 100% gives much, better
    recognition. I only had to make a few corrections per sentence or
    paragraph, rather than almost one per word. What I think this means is
    that you don't gain much of an advantage with a larger screen. I think
    the resolution of the digitizer and the recognition engine is directly
    tied to the 1024x768 resolution of the screen. (As in proportional, not
    that the digitizer is only 1024x768. I don't know what it really is.
    Geez, it can get to be a pain writing to avoid all the ways you know
    people are going to misinterpret things.)

    One Note and Handwriting: Final Conclusions.

    Hell, I don't even know if I have the energy or motivation to write
    any conclusions! I have just about had it up to here with this damn
    thing. Its one of those programs that only works well in a demo, and then
    only if you don't look too close.
    OneNote itself is OK, I guess. It's a novel way to organize your work
    but there are still way too many gotcha's. Like the copying a whole file
    into your 'My Notebook folder when you drag it in to create a link but
    then not managing it properly after that.
    But the handwriting is just abysmal! It looks OK as long as you don't
    try to convert to text. But as soon as you do, it all falls to pieces.
    Any time or convenience you gained by just handwriting in the first place
    is quickly lost, and then some, as soon as you try to convert to text.
    And that's only after you have learned a few dozen tricks to avoid the
    worst problems.
    I have also determined that having a larger screen (14.1") does no
    good at all. (at least not at the same, standard 1024x768 resolution.)
    Even with the smallest grid setting the lines are just over 3/8" apart at
    100% zoom. You have to fill that entire space if you want to get any kind
    of recognition at all. For me, that is about twice as big as normal. I
    can only get around 7 words per line, max. That's about the same as
    taking notes on a 4" wide piece of paper. With the Writing Guide
    constantly expanding to the right this means I have to keep writing
    further and further over to the right to get it to drop down more writing
    area. But after a while it starts to disappear under the edge of the
    window. If you try to resize the width of the Writing Guide back to where
    it should be then the words you had to write further over earlier now
    won't fit on the line. Now the bad word-wrap bug pushes that word down to
    its own line by itself which really makes it hard to read. It also makes
    the equivalent of a 4" wide and 2' long note stretch out to about the
    equivalent of 3' long. Try searching through THAT to find something. So
    then you are tempted to just create separate writing guides every so
    often but this has problems of its own. If you later add more text to a
    WG it will just expand down to overlap any other WG's below it. It won't
    automatically push them down to fit. Then, when you try to move them
    down, if you don't remember to hold down the Alt key, it will merge the
    WG's together. And God help you if you let up on the stylus then. It
    will mix it in right where you dropped it. Now, of course you can hit
    Undo but please!
    If you are working in handwriting you had better get everything right
    the first time because going back to fix anything is either impossible or
    incredibly difficult and usually doesn't do any good. The only way to
    really fix anything is to erase everything after what you want to fix and
    rewrite it all!

    So here is my final, final conclusion. Handwriting is only worth
    bothering with if use the TIP writing pad (or write anywhere) to enter
    text into a program that isn't ink aware so it won't store that huge
    amount of extra data uselessly forever. And only then if you don't mind
    correcting every third word you write.
    And I just wasted $2,250 on a toy that might, MIGHT benefit me some
    time by the end of this year when MS finally releases that promised
    upgrade. And by then my Tablet PC will be a generation behind. I wonder
    if I can get my distributor to give me my money back?

    P.S. Just in the process of converting this, have found 3 more,
    distinct bugs but I don't even feel like writing them down. I'll just let
    you find them for yourselves.

    P.P.S. In the process of cutting and pasting this from OneNote to my
    newsreader I have had to make SEVERAL DOZEN additional corrections. This
    means not only was it a pain to hand write in the first place but I have
    had to go over it with a fine toothed comb at least 3 times to try to
    strip out all the conversion errors and I still don't trust it. I'm sure
    there is someone out there who is going to flame me for some misspelling
    in all of this. Well, just remember, you can't be sure if it was me or
    OneNote this time!
    Grant Robertson, Jan 3, 2004
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  2. Grant Robertson

    Saied Nesbat Guest

    Dear Grant,

    Thanks for sharing your disastrous encounter with one-note and inc to text

    You may want to check out our software MessagEase (www.exideas.com) which
    may alleviate the agony of dealing with MS's handwriting recognition. With
    it you'll be able to enter deterministic and full text without worrying
    about correcting it!

    Best regards,

    Saied Nesbat

    Saied Nesbat, Jan 3, 2004
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  3. Thank you for your suggestion, Saied. I am a big fan of the Fitaly
    keyboard on the Palm Pilot and there is a version available for Windows.
    So, if I did use an on-screen keyboard, I would probably use that.
    However, since my Tablet PC is a convertable, if I ever need to enter
    more than a few words of text I will probably just open it up and use the
    real keyboard. That is if I don't just sell the thing and cut my loses.
    Grant Robertson, Jan 3, 2004
  4. Grant Robertson

    Tedd Riggs Guest

    Just for the fun of it, you should download the free 60 day trial of
    MessagEase. I have used most every program like this and this one is by far
    a clear winner. We did some internal company testing on 29 people using
    this, almost all said it was the best they had seen and these were
    experienced users. I am not sure if they had used Fitaly as most people use
    Pocket PC's or Windows CE handhelds for their PDA use, the Tablet users
    loved it (Mainly Motion M1300 systems and some M1200's)
    Just my 2 cents !
    Tedd Riggs, Jan 3, 2004
  5. Hey, Tedd, thanks for the input. I'm kinda 'baby ducked' into Fitaly by
    now. So far I have taught myself to type on QWERTY, Dvorak, and Fitaly
    keyboards. I think that is about all my non-typeing brain can handle. I'm
    sure MessagEase is great, and I like that it requires fewer buttons than
    Fitaly so it could work in smaller spaces like watch faces or phones. But
    I just don't feel like trying another system. Especially not after what I
    have just gone through. Maybe in another few months.

    BTW, Fitaly is available for the Pocket PC as well.
    Grant Robertson, Jan 3, 2004
  6. Grant Robertson

    binarg Guest

    I cannot find the words to thank you enough for this article!!!

    This describes 99% of the situations where I deal with sh..t design
    intended to flash everybody in radius with "features" yet fails to do
    simple things decently, as it is supposed to do.

    Not being mean to you, but if you didn't learn 'till now not to trust
    any "new" technology especially from Microsoft, then...

    I can only help you by telling you to look at 3rd party software and if
    you have luck and timing is correct, you'll from M$ in trash (although
    you practically paid for it in price of TabletPC) and go with something

    maybe in n-th iteration M$ will get it right but it'll be time to milk
    more money from "customers" so they will have to switch to newer
    technology (meaning untested crap meant for flashing of audience on
    fairs) and voila... here we go again...

    Thanks again for finding patience to write such long post and post it
    here so that any person can see it...

    But then again, visitors of this and other newsgroups are already
    privileged to company of smart people, problem with is the rest 95% of
    the population which uses some technology...

    binarg, Jan 3, 2004
  7. Grant Robertson

    Peddler Guest

    I appreciate all of the information in your post. Unfortunately I have already ordered my Toshiba M20
    and to send it back now would cost me 15% of its value. I depended on Microsoft to put out patche
    that resolve some of these problems as they are discovered. This is my first experience with the bleeding edg
    of technology. Do we really have to wait until mid 2004 for corrections to what you have seen
    Hello Microsoft, are you out there and able to respond to some of Grants findings

    I have also read some of the postings on tabletbuzz under Toshiba. A number of people are using the new Waco
    driver. Is this something that Microsoft is supporting for improvement to handwriting recognition?

    Thank You again for your posting. I hope we get some action from Microsoft
    Peddler, Jan 3, 2004
  8. Grant Robertson

    Tedd Riggs Guest

    Wow you are one of the first people I know who 1. Even knows what Dvorak
    means and 2. Actually used it. I tried as that came out when I was in
    collage and it drove me nuts...but I am not a real typer, just two finger, I
    can hit speed records for typing my name address and email, but not much
    else. So yes I agree, you have enough other systems under your belt for one

    Opps, I kinda messed up on the Fitaly and the Pocket PC, I was thinking it
    worked only on the older, Windows CE handhelds. Thanks for bringing me up to
    date !
    Tedd Riggs, Jan 3, 2004
  9. LOL...

    No, I didn't consider it mean. More like a friend saying, "Dude, I told
    you not to go out with that chick!"

    I have a long history of sticking with a better technology even though
    the MS jaugernaught was destined to roll over them. So, since I couldn't
    beat them I figured I'd join them. When they get the bugs worked out of
    it, this is definately the way of the future. As much as I dislike
    Microsoft, at least I admire that this Tablet PC thing is truely
    innovative and ahead of the curve. I decided to get in early so I could
    work out the kinks and be able to sell them with confidence. Now, I
    couldn't sell them to anyone but the most experienced user and look at
    myself in the mirror. If you know what all the problems are and are
    willing to deal with them then it can be a useful tool. Unfortunately
    there are probably only 5 people in this whole town who could fit in that
    category and I am one of them. So I'm not going to waste my time and

    If I can save a few people who don't want to deal with all these problems
    then I feel I have made my contribution.
    Grant Robertson, Jan 4, 2004
  10. I had a Radio Shack Model 100, the first computer I actually owned, There
    was a lot of nice stuff for it. One was a program that rearranged the
    keyboard to the Dvorak layout. You had to yank off your keys and
    rearrange them yourself. I used it for aboout a year and I was able to
    type considerably faster. But then I got transfered over to a data entry
    position (I was in the USMC at the time) and had to type all day on
    QWERTY so the switching back and forth made it difficult. After that I
    always had jobs where I had to be able to use QWERTY keyboards so I just
    stuck with that. If I ever switch to a job where I will never have to
    work on someone else's keyboard again then I might switch back to Dvorak.
    Who knows.
    Grant Robertson, Jan 4, 2004
  11. I have seen a demo on-line of the new TIP. It looks pretty nice but it is
    also pretty darn big and sould cover up almost 1/4 to 1/3 of the screen
    as you were working. I guess the idea is to pop it in and out as you work
    in different parts of the screen. Everything I have read, including posts
    from MVP's, say that MS expects this patch to be out in mid-2004.
    However, you know how Microsoft is when it comes to schedules.
    Grant Robertson, Jan 4, 2004
  12. Grant Robertson

    Tedd Riggs Guest

    Yep I know that one well, first one I owned also, then a NEC 8210 (almost
    the same thing) then a "Trash-80" (RadioShack TRS-80) and loading WordStar
    from a tape cassette....life has changed a bit it seems...
    Tedd Riggs, Jan 4, 2004
  13. I cut my teeth on a TRS-80 Model 1 but never actually owned one. The
    store let me use it all I wanted because I was the only one who could get
    it to work.
    Grant Robertson, Jan 4, 2004
  14. Grant Robertson

    Chris H. Guest

    Chris H., Jan 4, 2004
  15. Grant Robertson

    Stephen Guest

    ....I was unable to get your initial post...apparently a
    bit of an indepth criticism...

    Could you e-me a copy ??
    Stephen, Jan 4, 2004
  16. Stephen,
    Here is a "tinied" link to the original post on Google Groups. From this
    link you can also get to the full thread, if your newsreader has already
    timed it out.
    Grant's original post:
    Hope this helps!
    Kathryn Jacobs, Microsoft PPT MVP
    If this helped you, please take the time to rate the value of this post:
    Get PowerPoint answers at http://www.powerpointanswers.com
    Cook anything outdoors with http://www.outdoorcook.com
    Kathy is a trainer, writer, Girl Scout, and whatever else there is time for
    I believe life is meant to be lived. But:
    if we live without making a difference, it makes no difference that we lived

    Kathryn Jacobs, Jan 4, 2004
  17. Thank you, Kathryn, I was going to have to tell Stephen no because I
    don't want to spread my e-mail address out too far. I get enough spam as
    it is. I have never really used tinyurl but it looks pretty handy.

    Again, Thank you.
    Grant Robertson, Jan 4, 2004
  18. Grant Robertson

    Stephen Guest

    ....this link worked great, and I was able to get the gist
    of your rant, Grant. So it's not so much the TabletPC
    that has gotten to you, but rather the OneNote issues of
    handwriting recognition.

    As I have worked/played through OneNote on my desktop, it
    was apparent that while OneNote is a nice concept in
    terms of file formatting (the tabs and all), and nice in
    terms of being able to drag-in or upload different
    elements into a "note", it misses the mark on the
    simpler, more paper oriented aspects of note taking.

    For me, handwriting recognition will never be what I
    need, or all it's cracked-up to be. I think using
    Journal, and maybe something with "overlay/onionskin"
    (Grafigo or Sketchbook) capabilities will solve the
    quirks I've found frustrating. BUT each individual will
    have to setup their own file format WITHOUT the nice
    graphics of notebook and tabs found in OneNote...and I
    can add my own bulleted indents just fine, thank you...I
    mean should that even be a feature ? ...and what if you
    want to newly "date" each note entry within a

    ....the rant continues on, but TabletPC allows for pen
    input like no other. Saying that one
    program...OneNote...does the trick, is a bit misleading,
    I agree.
    Thanks all !!
    Stephen, Jan 4, 2004
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