(Last edited Sept 15, 2008)
As discussed in my previous posting, it’s hard not to discuss Graffiti 2 when we’re discussing the Memo Pad, which relies solely on text entry via various means. And Graffiti 2 is probably one of the most popular and well known (or not well understood) way of entering text. If you haven’t gotten a good idea of how the software will detect your strokes, it will be hard to get it to accurately guess what character you’re trying to input into the Palm. And that can be a frustrating experience.
Graffiti 2 may hinder your text entry
Memo Pad, being a text based program is where it can test how familiar you are inputting via Graffiti 2, or the pop up keyboard. If you haven’t mastered Graffiti 2 (and I guess I’m still in that camp by the way), you may discover that entering text via Graffiti 2 can be quite a frustrating experience.
Graffiti 1 and Graffiti 2
Side by side comparison of Graffiti 1 with Graffiti 2
If you wish to get a pdf file of the Graffiti 1 so that you can print it out, click this Graffiti 1 pdf link
For a pdf file of Graffiti 2, click this Graffiti 2 pdf link
People who have owned older Palm models hate Graffiti 2 because it is different. First of all, some letters require two strokes in Graffiti 2, compared to just one in Graffiti 1. As well, there’s the elimination of the dot command to toggle between capital and small letters found in G1. In G2, to write capitals, you have to write in the middle of the screen (if Write Anywhere is enabled) or in the middle of the grey silkscreen Graffiti area.
Here’s a link to Palm’s knowledgebase article on using the Graffiti 2 writing system that provides some tips on inputting via G2.
So, why did they get rid of Graffiti 1 when everyone loved it? Because in 1997, Xerox slapped 3Com, Palm’s former parent with a patent infringement lawsuit on the Graffiti software, claiming Graffiti infringed a Xerox patent. That’s why Graffiti 2 came out with the 2 strokes since Xerox’s unistroke symbol entry was under patent.
Eventually on May 21, 2004 the courts dismissed Xerox’s claim that their unistroke system was not unique and that Palm wasn’t infringing on their patent. But it was too late. Graffiti 2 was here to stay. I think the Tungsten T was probably the last Palm that was using G1, and all models afterwards were using Graffiti 2. But, many people have figured out ways to install the old Graffiti 1 software over Graffiti 2 on their devices. In a future post, I will discuss how to do so. Okay, back to G2.
So, in order to enter text, you need to learn how to enter letters in the same way indicated. You start at the point where you see the “.” and then keep the stylus on the Palm screen, and completing the stroke, removing the stylus from the glass so that the end of the stroke is detected. The graffiti recognition starts with the detection of the stylus on the glass and ends with the either the stylus removal or the lack of movement. And what better way to explain this than to show it in a simulation? I’m sure you guys must love the flash simulations by now. I have a lot of fun creating it.
Simulation of inputting via Graffiti 2 and enabling “Write Anywhere On-Screen”
This is a simulation of entering letters and numbers via Graffiti 2 and using the pop up keyboard.
I’ve also shown how to enable the “Write Anywhere On-Screen” feature in the Palm, which enables you to use the entire screen rather than just the grey Graffiti silkscreen area located at the bottom.
The simulation will play through to the end unless I’ve inserted a pop up note to explain specific points.
To continue playing the simulation, press the button.
To go back to a previous paused segment, click on the button.
To pause the simulation at any time, press the button. To continue after it’s paused, press the button again.
To scroll forwards or backwards in the simulation, click anywhere on the left (to go back earlier in the simulation), or right (to go forward in the simulation) on the progress bar.
I find that writing over exaggerated letters in the larger area actually helps and improves text detection accuracy.
I don’t write my “A”s in the way that Graffiti 2 shows so it was a bit of a learning experience to remember to write the “A”s that way. Although there are other ways you can enter a character that the G2 software can detect, I tend to stick with the strokes indicated above. You can find out the other ways in which you can input an “A” in Graffiti 2 by running the Graffiti 2 tutorial program.
Graffiti 2 tutorial program in the Palm
Screenshots of the Graffiti 2 tutorial program in the Palm
Are you aware that the Palm (at least the OS 5 Palms) has a Graffiti 2 tutorial program that teaches you how to input characters? To run it (these instructions are for Zire 71 and may be different on your OS 5 device), locate and run the Graffiti 2 icon in the launcher. In the top right corner, select any of the options available from the drop down menu: Lowercase, Uppercase, Numbers, Gestures, Symbols, Accents, ShortCuts. To find out the various ways to input a lowercase “a”, select Lowercase and tap on the “a”. The program will show how to do the stroke and allows you to try it at the bottom. Test your accuracy to improve your Graffiti entry.
For more info on the Graffiti 2 tutorial program, please check out this link.
Graffiti 1 Help program
In Palms equipped with Graffiti 1 (these are based on Tungsten T, they may be different on your device), simply tap on the Graffiti icon in the launcher to bring up a Graffiti help screen. Take some time to check out the various screens that teach you how to write in Graffiti 1.
At the top right corner of the program, you will see Where Do I Write?. It will show you the area where to enter letters and numbers. Tap on the Where Do I Write title will bring up a drop down menu.
The next one is Writing. Selecting it will take you to the next screen. Or, clicking the Next button at the bottom will take you to the next screen, just as the Previous will take you back to a previous screen.
Next comes Practice Letters. You learn to input according to the Graffiti examples provided on screen and check your inputting accuracy.
Practice Capitals is the next screen. Practice writing capital letters.
The next screen Practice Numbers allows you to practice writing numbers.
Learn how to enter writing other Additional Characters in the next screen.
Then, go to the last screen, which shows you how to access the On-Screen Keyboard
Tips to remember:
1 – Don’t write at a slant.
2 – Don’t write too slowly.
3 – Try to use as large space as possible to write your characters.
Here’s a link to an excellent article from Brighthand’s Ed Hardy regarding improving speed entry in the Palm titled How to Speed Up Your Text Entry. I found that it was very helpful. You may too.
I will continue along with this series on Memo Pad and text entry in the next posting, focusing on other third party text entry methods available.
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