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Comments on: MessagEaseST Offers New Text Entry Option

MessagEaseST, from EXideas, is a new overlay that goes on the Graffiti area and allows the user to enter text by tapping on keys. The developers have used Fitts' Law to reduce keyboard size and minimize movements required for text entry. MessagEaseST includes all ASCII characters plus Palm OS commonly used commands, Macro capability, and text shortcuts.
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This sucks

vincenzosi @ 7/15/2002 8:37:01 AM #
I remember seeing this as a prototype on a professor's website a couple of years ago. The concept of drawing lines between letters in a star-like pattern. I remember thinking then what a dumb idea it was and after trying it out, I had no doubt it was just someone who thought they had the next big idea but never bothered to actually try it out.

They've probably refined it since then, but it's the same concept, and I imagine it probably still sucks.

RE: This sucks
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 8:45:25 AM #
Yeah, that was IBM's work, alpha-something-or-other.
RE: This sucks
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 8:56:26 AM #
I did try this before and it really does stink...what the heck is wrong with this crazy stinky world any way!

It is likely due in part to hair-brained ideas like this.

The downfall of western civilization
TDS Computer @ 7/15/2002 10:03:46 AM #
Gosh, I guess this idea sucks so bad, it could be the end of life as we know it! Well, it was a nice world while it lasted!
(It's just a program, guys! Relax!)

Visit us at www.tdscomputer.com
RE: This sucks
mikeliu @ 7/15/2002 10:09:47 AM #
Funny these complaints are the first I've seen about this system. Everyone else I talked to who tried it seemed to think it took some getting used to but after that it was really great and fast......

RE: This sucks
emmert @ 7/15/2002 10:16:13 AM #
You really should try it before you bash it. I've been using the stamp for a few weeks and I can honestly say my text entry has improved significantly. I am pushing upwards of 30 wpm, but other users have reported much higher rates. The developer is also very responsive and the Yahoo group is very active for this type of product. It is developing somewhat of a cult following.

RE: This sucks
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 10:37:54 AM #
Just what we need. Another Cult.
RE: This sucks
c_blue @ 7/15/2002 10:54:39 AM #
this is just another overlay for the graffiti area, if you don't like it don't use it.

in my case, since it doesn't have I have no use for it.

that doesn't mean it is not an interesting concept anyway
C_Blue

RE: This sucks
big_raji @ 7/15/2002 10:58:17 AM #
It looks interesting, but I'm not inclined to try it at all right now. I started out with just grafitti, tried out silkyboard, and now I'm using a fitaly stamp freeware clone.

I'm already doing much more than 30wpm with fitaly, so there's no reason for me to drop back down to a slower speed just to try this program.

If only it came out a couple of years ago...

---
For all the people that have suffered through my "What's Wrong With This Picture" Signature:
http://www.americanheart.org

RE: This sucks
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 11:21:42 AM #
Using FitalyStamp for more than a year. Downloaded the non-stamp edition of this program. Trained on it for several hours already. Result?

Slower than graffiti still.
Much, much slower than FitalyStamp.

I do get >40WPM with FitalyStamp (though I was also skeptical at first... but I must say that at least, the initial learning curve is not that steep --- meaning that I equalled my Graffiti speed [around 26-30WPM] after a few hours).

After using, and understanding the reasons for it being slow, I think (again, I might be wrong, but have to wait for someone to prove me wrong) that it will NEVER equal or come close to the speed of FitalyStamp. The layout is definitely flawed (too many common words that takes too many funny funny combination of strokes --- try typing this on it: "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"). Is the idea flawed? I'm not sure... I think it is too. It also doesn't overcome Fitaly's only real problem: unable to look elsewhere when typing. (Speed is one thing, but ~50WPM is acceptable most of the time).

Very nice system
tanker_bob @ 7/15/2002 11:35:13 AM #
It's easy to be anonymous and trash every new idea. That takes neither courage, expertise, or credibility. All it takes is ignorance and a keyboard. There is another system at a university out there that's based on pen strokes vice taps, but that's unrelated to this program.

I've been testing MEStamp for over a month now and have really come to enjoy it. I've been a proficient graffiti/Jot user for almost 3 years, but this system has proved faster and more accurate. The developer has made many small changes to enhance usability based on tester inputs. I will certainly be buying it when offered for sale.

So if you are interested, pop over to Yahoo! and give it a shot. If it isn't for you, then so be it. I appreciate those who've tried it and find it's not for them. But if you haven't tried it, then you don't bother trashing it--you're just wasting bandwidth.

Regards,
Tanker Bob
http://home.cfl.rr.com/rmattes/palmframe.htm

RE: This sucks
kaosfury @ 7/15/2002 11:51:53 AM #
C_Blue wrote:

in my case, since it doesn't have I have no use for it.

Actually, it does have those characters. Read the readme file that comes with it. I have used MessagEase for about four months now and use it in my business meetings extensively. I can actually keep up with the speaker when I get warmed up.

--
Karl Browning
kaosfury@yahoo.com

RE: This sucks
MessagEaseDevelopment @ 7/15/2002 12:44:13 PM #
In just 6 months, we've had more than 80,000 downloads. About 1000 of these people have come back to be active part of our users group, helping us testing, refining, and improving MessagEase through their constructive feedback. They have helped us develop three useful programs with features they like and use. They have done this since they are getting resutls better than Graffiti, QWERTY, or Fitaly.

These people are not brainwashed or swayed by a hype, either negative or positive. These are people believing in numbers -- their numbers. They try it objectively, and decide for themselves.

Best regards,

MessagEase Developers

numbers opposite of keyboard's
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 1:53:27 PM #
Hey Message Ease Guy,

What made you do the numbers like a phone keypad rather than a computer keyboard? I wish one or the other would switch so we can have a uniform standard!

RE: phonekeypad
MessagEaseDevelopment @ 7/15/2002 2:00:21 PM #
I wish they had made them the same too.

But here is the reason: MessagEase is designed to speed up text entry on ALL small devices, including cell phones. It is applicable to soft-key (i.e., Palm like) as well as hard-key (i.e., phone like) devices (see our online phone simulation at our website www.exideas.com/ME/HardKey.html).

For that reason, we have adopted the phone-type number keypad.

Best,

MessagEase Developer

RE: This sucks
wzel @ 10/11/2002 11:59:20 PM #
What I find striking is that the ME PR always say that they are the fastest but never mention their speed. (One of the folks was saying he was "officially" faster than with FitlayStamp :) whatever that means. Have they seen these the video of these two young students speeding on FitalyStamp at more than 70 mph -- sorry wpm.

RE: This sucks
Honey @ 7/30/2003 8:56:43 AM #
I think, everybody that tries this program for a while will see that it really improves input speed a lot. I don't know how long the two Fitaly guys needed to get where they are now, but I know, that the time I tried Fitaly (nearly three month now, as long as I had my PocketPC and, to my great disappointment, MessagEase didn't work on it then) I never came near the input speed I had with MessagEase and I did a lot of mistakes due to the very small letters.

Now I'm happy to go back to Palm and MessagEase, it was one of the applications I really missed most! It made my Handera so much more usable, I think I would never have used it so much without it! The only pity is that I discovered it too late, so I had already spent the money for a storeaway keyboard that I never use now!

Former Psion-User

Worthwhile tool

ddellis @ 7/15/2002 11:54:40 AM #
I tried Fitaly about a year ago. I stuck with it until my speed plateaued. For me, it was only about 50% faster than grafitti and not worth the cost. I used Quicktype for several months before discovering MessagEase. I am about twice as fast with ME as I am with grafitti. This is about 50% faster than I was able to type with either Fitaly or QuickType. I will admit that it takes longer to learn than a keyboard where each letter is a simple tap. I found the time spent to be worthwhile.
I would suggest that if you are the kind of person who is only willing to try it for an hour or so forget it. It is hard to get used to but if you are will to invest the time, the rewards are great.

MessageEase is simply the best
rosschappy @ 7/15/2002 12:28:02 PM #
Like most people with a PDA, I have tried all the text input mediums. I was looking for one that would give me a maximum functionality while still allowing me to maintain a level of speed that would get me through graduate courses and teaching Special Education (and all of its accompanying documentation requirements). MessageEase is the only product out there that covers all my needs. It does take a little work to maintain a level of proficiency that meet most user's needs. If you are unwilling to put the effort into it, don't use it. If you have a little patience, and are willing to sacrifice some of your time, you'll not regret it. Within a week or two you'll use nothing else. If you do have some difficulty, the developer is more than happy to assist you (no matter how stupid the question seems--I know ;-) ) and is very open to suggestions. Very professional in all interactions too.

rosschappy
Excellent product
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 3:12:38 PM #
I've been using MessagEase for a few months now, and find it _much_ easier than Graffiti and the 'stamp' keyboards I tried, but does take some practice to get fast. The biggest problem I have with using a stylus-based keyboard is that the squares you have to tap in are so small, my error rate goes up. With MessagEase's clever use of a small number of squares, taps for the frequent letters, and drags for others, the squares can be as big as possible. That means (especially with the 'hack' version) I can go really fast without worrying about my accuracy -- it's surprisingly forgiving.

It would really be a shame if people get put off trying this (and the 'hack' version is free after all!) after reading those negative comments.

I really doubt that there's a faster way to put text into a Palm without a keyboard.

If you're in any doubt after reading the mixed opinions here, give it a go, and see how fast you can get.

Nick

Fitt's Law

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 2:33:41 PM #
>Fitts' Law
>Fitts' Law says that the time to acquire a target is >a function of the proximity and size of the target.

Also known as the "No Duh Law", the "No Brainer Law", the "No S**t! Law", and the "That's Why I Sent You to Four Years Of College? Law".

RE: Fitt's Law
Ed @ 7/15/2002 3:22:24 PM #
My description is actually a gross oversimplification. I considered leaving it out as I'm not sure it is useful to anyone. If you are curious, here it is in mathematical terms.

MT = a + b log2(2A/W)

where

  • MT = movement time
  • a,b = regression coefficients
  • A = distance of movement from start to target center
  • W = width of the target
---
News Editor
Fitt's Law - Nice maths, useless in practice
wzel @ 10/11/2002 11:51:12 PM #
Fitt's Law appeals enormously to mathematicians because it is simple. On the other hand it has very little relevance in real life weher few things are linear: For example, the difficulty of climbing stairs is not linear with the size of the steps. There is a discontinuity when it gets to a certain size. For keyboards, it ignores the discontinuity of moves that require not only moving the fingers but also the hand.

Useless in practice.

Converted from FitalyStamp to ME Stamp

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 3:33:04 PM #
I am a *former* FitalyStamp advocate. Until ME Stamp, FS was the fastest way to enter text without a keyboard. However, I was frustrated with the FS error rate. I knew the FS keyboard layout very well, and that became my downfall -- I knew *where* the stylus was supposed to go next, but then had to consciously slow down to accurately tap the tiny key square. If I didn't slow down I ended up with frequent errors like "s" instead of <space>, etc.

ME Stamp was like a breath of fresh air. It was surprisingly easy to learn, and the larger key squares significantly reduced errors. As measured by FitalyLetris, my MeST speed is now officially faster that what I was able to achieve with FitalyStamp, and my speed keeps going up.

Some advantages I've found:
1. Much lower error rate
2. Numbers go in easily and naturally (FS's split-cell number-punctuation columns are very cumbersome)
3. All punctuation is available all the time, with no cumbersome split-cells, shifting or popup grids
4. Large space bar eliminates the "s-instead-of-space" problem in FS
5. Cut-copy-paste-undo is right there on the Stamp
6. Page up/down (or prev/next field, or select-to-top/bottom) is right there on the Stamp
7. Easier to define macros, and more of them are available.

I have deleted FitalyStamp from my PDA and have no intention of going back.

-- John (photojhh@yahoo.com)

RE: Converted from FitalyStamp to ME Stamp
wzel @ 10/11/2002 11:57:15 PM #
What does "officially" mean? You went from 10 wpm to 11 wpm?

The best text entry system for Palm machines.

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 5:44:38 PM #
Download Messagease, MesseageaseKB, and the new MesseageaseST! It is a super fast way to enter text into your palm machine. Much faster than graffiti and the built in KB. I know I have compared them side by side. I have been an active user of Messagease since I discovered it back in January. If you are serious about your palm usage you owe it to yourself to start using this product. You will never go back. By far the most useful third party application out there in my opinion. And it's free! For now...
MC Skoop

ME is EZ

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2002 10:32:21 AM #
I have been using Message Ease in it's three avatars since Feburary. I was drawn to it and stuck basically because I am lazy about text entry and it is the Easiest text entry method I have found for my palm. (yes I tried Fitali and some other similar ones)

I have two add on keyboards which are gathering dust. Too much bother to lug them and activate them. Compared to Grafiti the physical effort to enter the same text using ME is like power steering (ME)compared to the old manual steering (grafiti). The mental effort is equally reduced and the error rate is much less (fewer corrections).

I haven't clocked my speed but ME is effortlessly fast for text input. I think it and it goes in (especially with the new stamp version)I used the built in game a little to teach my fingers the letter patterns and it has become largely intuitive now.

Forget the new micro keyboards, personally I hope and expect that ME is the wave of the future standard for text entry on small electronic devices.

Dave Withe
dwithe@truthmail.com

TapPad

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2002 8:34:58 PM #
There is another overlay option for the Grafitti area called TapPad (www.tappad.com). It works quite well and allows a User to still use Grafitti but with improved number input and many beneficial auxillary assistance taps.
RE: TapPad
MessagEaseDevelopment @ 7/17/2002 12:02:32 PM #
MessagEase _also_ allows you to use Graffiti. In includes soft buttons to turn Graffiti on, whenever you wish to use it.

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