My Techniques

Re : Thanks for exploding myths -- Jean Ichbiah
Posted by balmon , Aug 02,2000,02:35 Post Reply Top of Thread Forum

Now that the video is out, I thought that it would be a good idea to write a little something about it.

I found throughout the contest that I felt quite bad for my graffiti screen with my constant tapping on it, and was worried about possible damage. I've had a Palm before and I think towards the end of its life, it developed the "tap bug", or whatever it's called... unfortunately, that palm pilot went on to get a cracked screen :(

Since then, I have been very keen on protection of my new Palm Vx, hence the RhinoSkin cover. I found that during the contest, this was really handy in keeping the Palm V steady whilst I was tapping. Also in everyday use, the left hand bit provides a nice support for the whole palm V. When we filmed the video, Faith tried out my Rhinoskin cover to steady the Palm Pilot, and thought it was quite good too :)

Anyway, back to the topic, I found that using a soft tipped stylus made me feel better about not hurting my Palm V.. However, a nice little extra was that it helped my writing speed on the fitaly. For some reason, you don't need to press letters as hard to get a response. In the video, I am actually using a dried out texta, it is actually a really nice stylus to use, i strongly suggest it. I actually created a modified stylus with one of these soft tips on the end, and was using it until I lost the stylus (DOH) and had to go back to the standard one...

I found that resting my right hand on the table was a must, because I can't type fast with my hand floating all around the place. Also, I found that it helped to "center" my stylus around the n and e keys, and also on the same level as the space bars, since these are the most commonly used sentences.

The rest of it came down to a bit of practice, lots of patience and some luck ;) BTW, congrats to Faith, I think she uses a different technique, or has more agility than me, because I don't think that I could every get that time...

I've said this elsewhere, but it is a worthwhile exercise to practise tapping the "The quick brown fox.." sentence over and over again until you can get it under 10 seconds every time. This way you will improve your everyday text entry, because I found that I was unfamiliar with positions of letters that were not in the contest (for example, where is the letter "W"? A no-brainer right!! How about the letter "J"?? A bit of hesitation, no?) - anyway, this is how it was for me, and this was a big plus!!

My day-to-day text entry on FitalyStamp still needs much more improvement in my opinion. Obviously it is not possible to get up to the 70wpm speed for unfamiliar text. The key difference is that when tapping the competition sentence (FAST), you have to trust every move you make, and you KNOW where the next letter will be and do not need to look there to make sure. I have found this is happening more and more with my day to day text entry, but my next goal is to develop this kind of familiarity with the Fitaly layout.

Well, that is all for now. If you are not that good at Fitaly yet, keep up with it. It is definitely faster than Graffiti, and if practised enough, it is actually faster than handwriting. As for being as fast as a QWERTY, well that is probably not the case (I know not for me anyway), but FitalyStamp is definitely the fastest text entry on the palm.

One last thing about Fitaly... I am looking forward to a future version which implements a visual indicator to let you know if it is active. Many people have talked about how annoying it is to press that little button just to get some of their shortcuts. i have found a nice little way to launch apps quickly... If you rarely use your calculator button on the FitalyStamp, then try an app called "PopUp Favourites". I have programmed this app to replace calculator, so everytime I press it (don't need to disable FS) I get a pop up list of my favorite apps that I use frequently, kind of like a Start Bar in windows :) Probably a whole lot of other apps could be used for this purpose (maybe TealLaunch, etc.) but I have found it to be really handy...


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