Graffiti lets you scribble away
(CNN) -- I'm writing this article on my Palm VII, using my stylus and the Palm's outstanding handwriting recognition software called Graffiti.
Today's column is about a fool you can ruse with your handhelp for a great dime!
Let me try that again.
Today's column is about a tool you can use with your handheld for a great time.
I'll get the hang of this Graffiti sooner or later. I've only been using the Palm since its debut in 1996 and I'm still learning. I'm, of course, kidding.
Ever since I got my first Palm Pilot I've loved the operating system and I think its handwriting recognition is great. Palm did a smart thing. Realizing that it's really hard for a computer to recognize your handwriting and convert it into text, Palm decided to teach everybody exactly how to draw their letters so the computer would recognize them.
This way, my Palm knows what letters I've written, your Palm knows your letters and my doctor's Palm ... well, looking at his handwriting on a recent prescription, I'm not sure if his Palm gets it or not.
Graffiti is great, but you have to do it all the time, you have to get used to not waiting for every letter to appear as text before you write the next one, and you have to get used to types that tike tome to correct. I mean, typos that take time to correct.
Some people hate Graffiti and prefer to type out text using a stylus and the soft keyboard that pops up on the screen of the Palm. The keyboard is a QWERTY-style board, just like the one you use with your computer. The letters across the first row of keys are Q-W-E-R-T-Y and that's how it got its name.
This style of keyboard was designed for 10 fingers, although many of us who only took one semester of typing in high school use far fewer fingers on our keyboards. This makes QWERTY an inefficient method to use when typing with one finger or, on the Palm, one stylus.
There's another kind of keyboard that works perfectly with pen computing. It's called the FITALY keyboard and one look at the arrangement of the keys shows you how it got its name. It can replace the soft keyboard in your handheld.
The layout was invented way back when your Palm Pilot was only a dream. This little keyboard layout keeps letters together that normally follow each other in our language. The FITALY key arrangement minimizes pen travel: 84 percent of the text entry keystrokes are placed in a very tight pattern, with the remaining keystrokes never more than two keys away.
The arrangement allows you to use your stylus point and fly, up to about 50 words per minute. If I hit 50 WPM doing Graffiti, I think my Palm would catch fire (not the machine ... the palm of my right hand).
The latest from the Textware Solutions company, the FITALY people, is the FitalyStamp. This is a paper-thin FITALY keyboard that affixes to the Graffiti section of your handheld, along with special software. Tap on the keyboard to write on your Palm, or your Handspring, or your Pocket PC. It'll cost you $35.
Using the FITALY system sure seems to make sense for stylus typing.
Until I get mind, ill keep flugging away with my stylus and Graffiti and living every minute if it.
Ed Curran has covered the world of high-tech for more than a dozen years and is the publisher of Technogadgets® -- www.technogadgets.com. In addition to his weekly column here at CNN.com/career, watch for Curran's reports on CNN television.
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