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Silkyboard II Review
By Davy Fields
I heard about the Silkyboard II on Palm Infocenter a while ago and was mildly interested, but I didn't pursue it. A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from one of the marketing people at Silkyboard who offered the send me a trial model because I run the m505 User Group and they wanted me to post my observations. I decided to post them here and point my members to read it.
If you want to purchase one of these, go to silkyboard.com as they make a model for just about every single Palm model, all for $40. Although that sounds like a lot of money, you do get four boards. Frankly, after a week of use, I couldn't see myself using all four for quite some years, so that's on one hand a benefit, but on the other hand it's a lot of money to spend if you don't. Fortunately, this is a great product, so I doubt you'll try to send it back.
At first I was concerned about installing the software, because I happen to be one of "those mac users" with no floppy drive. Fortunately, the packaging told me that Silkyboard.com had all the drivers on it so it wasn't a problem. Installing the overlay was pretty easy, except for the fact that I had to take off one of my screen protectors and reapply one afterwards. I then installed three files that totaled 48k to run the software. It runs a quick calibration test and gives you instructions on how to use it, and you're ready to go.
I was quite surprised because I really didn't think I was going to like it that much. After all, it did obscure my Graffiti backlight, but the light that snuck through was helpful. This isn't NOVASIB's fault, so I didn't dock them for it. It's actually a quite intuitive system and you can easily switch between tapping and writing on the fly, no key combos or anything. The tapping works well and is far better than writing if you're average at Graffiti like most Palm users are.
One minor problem is that some of the application buttons are slightly difficult to push, but they work. My initial impression was a highly favorable one.
Other than that, tapping produced a really high level of accuracy. Normally, on Graffiti, I'd screw up a letter, erase it, and screw up again, which got old pretty fast. The Silkyboard II is especially great for typing repeat characters. Anyone who writes lots of web addresses on Palms knows what a pain it is to write "www".
The fifth row of buttons the Silkyboard II added are a worthy addition. They contain not only the regular silk buttons, but also copy, cut, paste, return, find, and contrast (if your Palm supports it).
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