Comments on: Review: InkLink

The InkLink from Seiko Instruments transfers handwritten notes or drawings from any pad of paper to a handheld. The InkLink Data Clip is attached to the top of a pad of paper and continuously monitors the position of the InkLink pen. As the users writes on the pad, the Data Clip communicates its exact position to the handheld, which creates a drawing mirroring what's on the paper. News Editor Ed Hardy has this review.
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Resolution

nategall @ 4/29/2002 4:01:31 PM #
Thanks for the review. One question though.

What type of resolution is available in the drawing? For instance, if you make 3 hash marks on college ruled paper, do they come across as three separate marks? How is the definition of the capturing?

I haven't used the other pad, so maybe these questions are obvious, but how smoothly the system works is important in mechanical drawings.

Thanks again!

nategall says "blah!"

RE: Resolution
Ed @ 4/29/2002 4:06:23 PM #
> For instance, if you make 3 hash marks on college ruled paper, do they come across as three separate marks?

Nate, if I made three marks on a page and the InkLink combined them into one, it would, to put it frankly, suck and I'd have ripped it a new one in the review. Images are saved at 100% of the size of your piece of paper. As long as marks are separate on the page, they are separate on the handheld.

---
News Editor

RE: Resolution
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/29/2002 4:33:46 PM #
>> Files can be exported as BMP, JPG, or PNG. The user can also specify the number of dots per inch, with 72 being the default, though you can have higher than that.

Can you, or someone else, post some samples of a typical output... perhaps a page of drawings and one of written text... in several exported DPI settings?

I'd like to see the actual output.

Tx!

RE: Resolution
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/29/2002 11:19:19 PM #
I must say, this thing looks very nice. With bluetooth it would be perfect, but I'm really considering this one.
RE: Resolution
nategall @ 4/30/2002 11:59:28 AM #
Thanks Ed. That's the sort of thing you never find out until you plug it in. Mostly it's just that I use small text that I can barely read, so i didn't want to loose any more information.

(and that's why i stop here 2-4 times a day!)

nategall says "blah!"

RE: Resolution
Dearman @ 4/30/2002 1:36:12 PM #
hey Ed does a using ruler (scale) cause any sorts of problems for it? and what about fills and the such?

fire pretty tree bad

Lefty Questions

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/29/2002 4:48:49 PM #
Couple of questions on the lefty issues you mention. From what you indicate, the IR port on the pen sits fairly low thus if you wrap your hand over the top (in relation to the page) it blocks the IR port, could you post a detailed picture of the pen to illustrate this? Along those lines of thinking, could one put the data clip on the bottom of the page to compensate for this issue?

Thanks
CTSLICK

RE: Lefty Questions
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/1/2002 9:02:18 PM #
I work for Seiko Support (I support the Ink Link, Smart Pads, and all of the Smart Label Printers).

The Ink Link clip has 2 Ultrasound receivers (the 2 black things on the end of the clip and as a result and of course line of sight is required for proper operation. The inklink will beep if it cannot triangulate the position of the pen (i.e. your finger is blocking it.) This way you can simply re-adjust your finger/hand and keep writing.

If you have any further questions, give us a call at 1-800-757-1011 or email us at us-support@seikosmart.com

Sounds great! Hope to be available in Germany soon!

T.W.G @ 4/29/2002 5:19:48 PM #
Yes,

that's the biggest wish :) In Germany we only get cool things like this far after US and Japan... very bad! We love this Gadgets, too!
Thank you for the good review and I think this tool does work very fine when you're at university or in meetings 'cause you can comfortalbe make your notes etc. and then beam it to your Palm!
Seiko: GREAT SOLUTION!!!!!


greetings

Thomas

VFS Support?

terrysalmi @ 4/29/2002 5:39:50 PM #
Does the program come with any built-in VFS support, so you can directly save/access your documents from a SD/MS/CF card?

RE: VFS Support?
Ed @ 4/29/2002 6:07:41 PM #
Sadly, no.

---
News Editor
RE: VFS Support?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/1/2002 9:14:40 PM #
We have a received a lot of calls about VFS support. We've asked our developers about it but they have yet to give us an answer. I would suggest sending the request directly to our email address and we can forward them to the development team.

Seiko Support
1-800-757-1011 (Support)
1-800-688-0817 (Sales)
us-support@seikosmart.com (Email support)

RE: VFS Support?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/1/2002 9:28:01 PM #
I forgot to mention that Ink Notes can be stored on flash cards, but only on the Pocket PC devices. On Palm OS devices you can store the Inknote manager software on a SD card (The HCTLib file HAS to be stored in main memory for this to work). The inknotes will stay stored in main memory

Seiko Support
1-800-757-1011 (Support)
1-800-688-0817 (Sales)
us-support@seikosmart.com (Email support)

Bluetooth?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/29/2002 9:05:46 PM #
This is a great addition for someone that uses both paper and pixel based handwritten notes. It will be great if they can release a Bluetooth version. Clipping on paper and PDA is a bit of a hassle nonetheless, a great piece of hardware and very promising.

Maybe Seiko will release one for the notebook/desktop too. It will be like having an IBM TransNote notebook without the bulk.

RE: Bluetooth?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/30/2002 12:29:09 AM #
Ummm...read the review again. I'm pretty sure the editor wrote close to the bottom that it comes with a USB cable as well for use on a laptop or desktop.

RE: Bluetooth?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/1/2002 9:09:24 PM #
The package includes does include a USB cable for the pc. A serial cable can be purchased directly if needed.

Seiko Support
1-800-757-1011 (Support)
1-800-688-0817 (Sales)
us-support@seikosmart.com (Email support)

cool...but

Mathrocks314 @ 4/29/2002 10:35:25 PM #
Its sounds great but I wish it had VFS and Bluetooth.


-Mathrocks314
RE: cool...but
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/29/2002 11:28:09 PM #
Personally I'd like mine to be greenteeth
RE: cool...but
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/1/2002 9:28:47 PM #
Read the post called "VFS Support"

Seiko Support
1-800-757-1011 (Support)
1-800-688-0817 (Sales)
us-support@seikosmart.com (Email support)

App size

DiegoMS @ 4/30/2002 8:47:03 AM #
What is the size of the application?

RE: App size
Ed @ 4/30/2002 6:26:16 PM #
About 200 KB.

---
News Editor

Document Archival

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/30/2002 9:44:30 AM #
Great review!

My main interest in this product would be for archiving my tons of notes on my desktop computer. Besides the conduit, does the inklink come with any desktop applications for organizing files and searching by keyword?

Thanks,
--Charlie

RE: Document Archival
Ed @ 4/30/2002 6:24:09 PM #
The desktop app has all the same functions as the handheld one, and more.

---
News Editor
RE: Document Archival
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2002 1:57:12 PM #
I think Charlie's question had to do with searching within a file for a given keyword, not merely searching for the file name. I couldn't tell from the review whether Inknote Manager allows you to do that. My assumption is that since the files that are created are image files, that's not possible. Does anyone know?
- David
RE: Document Archival
Ed @ 5/23/2002 2:02:50 PM #
David, as you said, an InkLink file is an image. You can't search for a word in one of these any more than you could if it were a JPG on your PC. However, you can manually assign keywords to your images, which you can search for later on either your PC or Palm.

---
News Editor
RE: Document Archival
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2002 2:52:51 PM #
Is there any good OCR software that would convert the words in an image file into text that a word processing program could handle?
(and thanks for the prompt reply)
-- David
RE: Document Archival
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/29/2002 3:59:35 PM #
I would second the need for an OCR option. Getting the documents in image will be great, but moving them to an OCR format would be optimal.

Any options?

Regards,

Paul

Hmm

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/30/2002 10:56:23 AM #
Heh, I bet Sharp will say something to Macromedia's Shockwavem about their InkLink game :)

I'll consider it when they produce a developers kit

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/30/2002 12:56:44 PM #
I have a SmartPad that gathers dust. If ever a piece of hardware was looking for a developers kit this is it.
RE: I'll consider it when they produce a developers kit
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/1/2002 9:11:51 PM #
The Inknote manager software (version 3.0) that comes with the Ink Link does support the all of the Smartpads. I'm not sure if we will release it as a free upgrade... Check with us in about 3-4 weeks

Seiko Support
1-800-757-1011 (Support)
1-800-688-0817 (Sales)
us-support@seikosmart.com (Email support)

flash storage

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/30/2002 7:39:56 PM #
This would be a much better device if it just stored the ink on flash cards (CF, SM, MMC/SD, etc.), instead of that Rube Goldberg contraption.
RE: flash storage
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/1/2002 9:23:45 PM #
Ink Notes can be stored on flash cards, but only on the Pocket PC devices. On Palm OS devices you can store the Inknote manager software on a SD card (The HCTLib file HAS to be stored in main memory for this to work). The inknotes will stay stored in main memory.

Seiko Support
1-800-757-1011 (Support)
1-800-688-0817 (Sales)
us-support@seikosmart.com (Email support)

Seiko Instruments

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/2/2002 5:49:43 AM #
Be careful with dealing with Seiko Instruments. I am an ex-owner of the SmartPad2 to my great regret. Having purchased it, I found later that my colour Palm m505 cannot display same size resolution of what I wrote on paper - only max of half resolution. This means that you just can't read what you wrote! Apparently this applies to any colour Palm (and compatibles).

After several email communications, Customer Service said they didn't intend to support the development of the SmartPad software anymore to show same-size display on the Palm as the "Palm OS resources were not sufficient" but Pocket PC's OS were.

And that they would only be too happy to refund the money. Difficult if, as I am, based in Asia and the product purchased through a Palm accessory shop in yet another Asian country. Seiko Instrument's web site clearly tries to hide the fact that both the SmartPad and SmartPad 2 can't display same size resolution on any colour Palm powered device. What's the point of buying a writing device that does not enable you to read your own handwriting?! Basic function of a "SmartPad" wouldn't you say?!

So, please check that this SmartPen InkLink can display in colour Palms at same size resolution before you purchase it and don't expect the software to be developed too much in the future if Seiko Instruments' historical actions holds true.

Disgrunted ex-SmartPad2/m505 user.
F.L.Kin
fe@spm.com

RE: Seiko Instruments
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/2/2002 7:49:41 AM #
The problems with the 4x zoom not working on color Palm OS based devices have been resolved with Inknote manager v3.0 (This ships with the Inklink and is backwards compatible with the Smartpad products).

Seiko Support
1-800-757-1011 (Support)
1-800-688-0817 (Sales)
us-support@seikosmart.com (Email support)

RE: Seiko Instruments
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/3/2002 2:35:34 AM #
Good to hear that the software now exists for same size imaging for colour Palms. Bit too late for me as I sold my SP2 cheap after receiving this letter from Seiko:

"Due to incompatibilities with the imaging software and Palms (including other PDAs using the Palm OS) that have color displays, 4x Zoom (read lifesize) will not be available for these models. We were recently told by our developers that due of the system resource limitations of color Palms there will not be a 4x patch forthcoming for the SmartPAD software. We apologize for any confusion regarding this matter.

If you have further questions please feel free to call us at 1-800-757-1011 between the hours of 6 am to 8 pm PST Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Thank you,
Seiko Technical Support Team"

Try and find this information on the Seiko web site.

F.L.Kin

Kudos to Seiko

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/2/2002 3:32:54 PM #
Just want to throw in my $.02 that I think it's great that someone from Seiko support is posting responses to comments here.

Ed, given that corporate people do seem to read these boards when their products are mentioned, have you ever encouraged them to do what this Seiko guy is doing and directly participate in addressing people's concerns, etc? It'd be even better if they used "official" support logins to do it, so the info isn't provided by "anonymous." I remember someone from (maybe?) ababall doing that here a while back.


CLIE support?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/13/2002 8:51:09 PM #
I would like to know if the viewer will eventually run in 320x320 resolution on the CLIE. (and in light of the new CLIE, 320x480 :)

Gary

Battery life?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 2:43:26 AM #
How long does the 3 button cells and the AAA last?

Thanks.

InkLink with Netmeeting whiteboard

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/11/2002 8:27:29 PM #
Does anybody know if this could be used to transfer notes to whiteboard in Netmeeting? Thanks.

M. Church

Output file organization

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 11:01:38 AM #
My daughter, who is disabled, has difficulty keeping her class notes organized. Keeping paper in order is a major task. If she used InkLink when she took notes in class or when studying, would she be able to by a file naming scheme or by folders organize her notes? Can an output file represent more than one page of notes? This product could be a huge boon to students, who could take handwritten notes, digitize them as they are created, then transfer them to a desktop and keep them organized by class and if named appropriately, in order by date. Am I "blue-skying" or is this possible using the product as it currently exists?
RE: Output file organization
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/23/2002 4:18:17 PM #
This is exactly the reason I have been thinking about buying an Inklink. I was so excited when I heard about this product. Does anyone have an opinion on this use before I buy one and a PDA?
RE: Output file organization
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 4:45:07 PM #
I have been using the smartpad for little over a year. Once the notes or synched onto the PC, you can rename (you can do it on the palm itself) and also specify a different location for storage.

I have the bundled software, which works fine, but still have not figured out how to keep them on my palm (they do not seem to get back to palm, once the file names have been chnaged). NOt sure how the new version handles this problem.

The documentation was light and hence could not do further research into it.

I do however like the paperless notes trail and ease of access.

Hope that helps.

What does the black protrusion do?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/22/2002 2:02:50 PM #
I just bought one of these Seiko InkLinks. Very cool. I'm jotting everything now and have stopped generating a notepad a week of waste paper.

The device is elegantly cool. I like that it isn't so clumsy that it breaks up the meeting when you pull it out.

Any idea what the little black protrusion to the left of the right hand microphone does? I thought maybe it was another PF key but it doesn't do anything.

Brad

RE: What does the black protrusion do?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2002 7:36:46 PM #
My guess is that it is one of three microphones. The InkLink pen transmitts ultrasonic chirps (hold the ink tip near your ear, and press the tip down, and listen.) I suspect that the the two black ears on the ends listen for the chirps and measures the time difference between their arrival. The third, smaller, microphone tells whether the pen is left of center or right of center.

Ink to the top or write under?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/24/2002 11:27:20 AM #
Is there an option for the PC software that will allow me to write without switching to the application? This is my only gripe with the InkLink, the application must be the selected app in order for writing to appear. Perhaps, if when you start writing it brought the Ink app to the top would suffice but ultimately just being able to jot things down all day and then save the work at the end without having to keep switching task would be best.
Chris

RE: Ink to the top or write under?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2002 7:42:30 PM #
I agree that the focus should switch automatically to the InkLink App. I tried to read one file on my laptop and make written comments with the InkLink. Everytime I scrolled the text, I had to remember to tap the InkLink window.

Marc

More of a toy than a tool!

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/27/2002 3:48:34 PM #
I thought I posted something here a week ago but I dont see it now.

My comment then was, is there a way to make the Ink program automatically take focus when you use it on a PC so you always capture the stuff you write? Even better is just to automatically capture from the pen and put it on Ink regardless of application focus.

My new comments are:
The IR clip on does not work well on the Kyocera 6035 Smart Phone due to the antenna. It pops off constantly (works ok on my Palm Vx).
The Pen feels cheep to hold and with the cap stuck on the back makes it just under 7.5 long wile a typical pen is only 5.75. This seems a little to long, considering it is only because of the poor fit of the cap.
More force is needed to write in Ink than on paper so if you are a light to medium weight writer get used to sections of text not showing up.

I am not sure I would recommend this product to others. Starting to feel more like a toy than a productivity enhancement.

Chris D

RE: More of a toy than a tool!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/28/2002 8:23:05 AM #
Hi Chris
I have put down a few questions below and would deeply appreciate your feedback.I am toying between this and the Anoto, if thats available now and would love your feedback. Also how long do the batteries last? i want something thats a replacement for a filofax...this seems ideal...something one can use to draw, transfer to a laptop/palm and destroy later.Your comments would be very welcome
Thanks!

More InkLink Ques

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/27/2002 9:36:15 PM #
1)Is it compatible with the Sony NR70V? Is resolution an issue? will it be viewed on the same size or differently from what one writes?
2)How does one email handwritten notes?
3)hows the SmartINk and SmartPad differ?
4)Hows the SmartInk different from the Anoto Pen?
5)Can it be used with ANY paper and on ANY surface?
6)How long do the batteries last?

RE: More InkLink Ques
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2002 9:28:12 PM #
First, I am not a user of this device YET.
Second, I am answering most of these questions from the review :)

1) I don't know
2) Of course, they are exported as normal picture files (JPG etc)
3) From what I gather on their website (www.seikosmart.com) The InkLink is a more compact and universal tool...
4) I don't know (Don't know their site)
5) From what I gather, it can be used on most any paper, as long as you define the size of it (of course it would probably have to be wider than the clip)
6) I don't know (I wish I did)

RE: More InkLink Ques
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2002 7:47:15 PM #
I bought an InkLink last week. The resolution is great. When I print out the page, my scrawls are captured exactly. No detail seems to be lost.

The Data Clip picks up signals from the pen. It is not a tablet device, so it works on any paper.

Marc

Cert expired at website

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/19/2002 10:31:22 AM #
I went to obtain the latest software from the seiko website. They redirected me to "leadertech" for
the "secure ordering". However, it appears their ssl cert has expired (as of today). Of course, technically,
the order process will still work; but, how am I supposed to trust a company with my data when they
can't even keep up with their security?


InkLink Pros and Cons

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2002 7:50:04 PM #
I like the InkLink alot. The resolution is great. It is small, and relatively inexpensive. The software lets you graphically edit what you enter, so you can clean up your "handwritten" notes. The software also contains a filing system that lets you organize and label each collection of notes. Each page can be exported as in one of three standard formats (jpg, bmp, png).
The cons: It is not possible to directly copy and paste drawings into other applications! Also, there are no simple drawing tools that allow easy creation of straight lines, boxes, or simple figures. (You can straighten a line, but you can't snap it to a horizontal or vertical). And there are annoying glitches. You can be writing away and then find that you've lost focus on the application window. The data clip has locations you can tap to perform common tasks, but there are no mnemonics to help you remember which location performs which task. Conclusion: The InkLink hardware is terrific in its responsiveness and resolution. It has the potential to be a powerful, general purpose input device. But right now it is limited by the software. I'd like to know what Seiko's plans are for future software releases.
Marc
RE: InkLink Pros and Cons
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/4/2002 2:48:59 PM #
hi can anyone comment on the ACTUAL pressure u need to use to write?

i read one of the previous posts that u require quite a bit of pressure...

how much is quite a bit of pressure?

does anyone else have a problem with this?

pls email me postboy@post.com
thanks!!!

what happens when you run out of ink?

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/5/2002 1:39:09 PM #
how long does ink last? do you have to buy special refills from seiko for $$$$?

thanks

RE: what happens when you run out of ink?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/7/2002 6:01:27 PM #
The Seiko website says that a refil pack (ink cartridge, 3 button batteries, and AAA battery) is $9.99 - the ink cartridge is just a standard Stadtler (sp?) one, which you can pick up at any stationers store, and they make this very clear in the quickstart pdf, also available to view on the seiko website.

bought one, like it, but....

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/8/2002 8:08:27 PM #
how can import images and write over them? This would be the perfect tool for writing over digital pictures and e-mailing them. Does anyone know of any additional software or techniques to import images as an underlay on the "writing pad"?

Thanks

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