WordSmith Adds FineType for Monochrome Handhelds

Blue Nomad has released an upgrade to WordSmith. The new version 2.01 allows monochrome handhelds to use their high-resolution FineType font technology. They have also increased the speed of the app in high-res mode, which will be especially beneficial to Sony Clié users. It also has improved rich-text printing abilities via InStep Print or Bachmann PrintBoy. This is a free upgrade for registered users. WordSmith costs $30.

When asked how they manged to display hi-res FineType fonts on monochrome screens, Scott Maxwell from Quik Sense Software, one of the developers, said, "I am using the 16 shades of gray. I didn't think it would look very good so I didn't bother initially but I am pretty pleased with the results. I think the HandEra users will be very happy."

Other improvements include a Take-A-Break feature for e-book reading. This allows users to set a time after which teleprompter mode will pause to give the reader's eyes a break.

The app also now has support for international characters in file names on the Macintosh. If you already have international characters in your file names, look carefully at the ReadMe file before installation.

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WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx

Ed @ 8/8/2001 11:07:59 AM #
I've been testing this on my old IIIx and it looks pretty good. How does it look on the HandEra 330?

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RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 1:23:13 PM #
It may look good, but I have a problem for them to call it "hi-res". For color display, the term "hi-res" is justified as you are using sub-pixel rendering - effectively tripling the horizontal resolution.

For monochrome, it is simply anti-aliased font - nothing more and nothing "hi-res" about this!! Yes, the jagged edge appears smoother due to anti-aliasing technique using the greyscale, but the effective resolution remains exactly the same.

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
rldunn @ 8/8/2001 1:30:12 PM #
The monochrome high res/anti-aliasing may sound like a good idea, but to me on my S320, it just makes the documents look blurry. Still a great product and it's nice that they let us see what it looks like on monochrome PDAs, but I wonder how many people will really use this feature.

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 2:25:43 PM #
On my M500 it looks better with the high resolution turned off. No blurring.

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 5:01:11 PM #
Blurry on my Palm Vx. Here's my solution: Use FontHack with a nice replacement font. Set it so that for ALL applications, it remaps some typically unused font (like Large) NOT the standard font. Then go into your application and select the large font. Voila! Your new font is accessible. Ok, I don't use WordSmith, I use QuickWord, so I don't know if this will work with WordSmith, but it works GREAT!

I'll take crisp, high-contrast mono fonts over blurry anti-aliased ones ANY day!

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
sub_tex @ 8/8/2001 6:11:23 PM #
Blurry is definitely the word on my IIIxe.

It also looks lighter in color. Definitely not the dark black of the font before the high res.

Maybe it only looks good on the handera.

For now, high res on my monochrome looks like staring at text without glasses on.

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 6:40:04 PM #
Don't use the high res option. Use only the FineType font option. With high res selected I agree it is very blurry. I am using an m500.

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
superbenk @ 8/8/2001 7:30:51 PM #
I'm not seeing the big deal. I'm using this on a IIIxe and just using FineType fonts doesn't seem to do anything. Switching on HighRes makes stuff a little blurry, but that's it. Am I missing something??

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 7:52:26 PM #
I too have an M500 and I agree that all that the HighRes option does is to make the text look blurry. But leave the Palm in the cradle and step about three feet away, and you can see how smooth the text does truly look. I'm guessing here, but the HiRes option is probably intended for the Handera QVGA and the high resolution Sony monochrome screen. It's looks like a font smoothing technology.

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 8:20:55 PM #
Have you guys installed some new display fonts? Or are you just looking at the standard font in "hi-res" mode? If that's all you are doing, I'm not surprised you aren't impressed. Look at Tahoma on your Palm and you'll see the advantage.

Did WS 2.0 let b&w Palms change display fonts?

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
superbenk @ 8/8/2001 10:49:27 PM #
While you are right that Tahoma does look a little better, I still don't see that this is that great of an idea. I can't even see how it would look that great with even a color screen. There just isn't enough pixels in a 160x160 screen to work effectively. The gray pixels don't seem to be in the right spots around the characters to work effectively. They do more to blur than anti-alias. The gray pixels should fill in more on angles and curves than along straight portions of a letter like they do on bold formatted characters. In italic characters black pixels that are important for keeping things crisp are altogether replaced by gray ones making the character washed out.

It's too bad because I was dying to see this technology work on the 160x160 screen (especially my old IIIxe). Now I don't see how this can be at all useful for standard size text. Oh well, thanks for the innovation anyhow BlueNomad! It's at least an effort - more than I can say for most of Palm's innovations these days.

RE: WordSmith 2.1 on IIIx
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2001 2:28:05 AM #
it works on a color screen because a 160x160 color screen is really a 480x160 screen if you use all the subpixels.

How does it work?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 11:24:05 AM #
Does it just gray the corners, or what?

RE: How does it work?
Altema @ 8/8/2001 1:52:38 PM #
Basicaly, yes, it does gray the corners and chosen pixels. Instead of a solid black pixel next to a blank pixel, they will use gray pixels (of different shades)so that the fonts appear smoother than they really are. The technique is called anti-aliasing, as mentioned in some of the other posts here.

Where's the download?

MarkY @ 8/8/2001 11:47:27 AM #
I went to the BlueNomad site and all I see is version 2.01 available for download. Where can I find v2.1?

RE: Where's the download?
MarkY @ 8/8/2001 11:50:57 AM #
Checking at Palmgear, it looks like v2.01 IS the new version.

RE: Where's the download?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 12:02:00 PM #
It is 2.01. BlueNomad just sent an email to customers. Here is the first paragraph:
Dear WordSmith Customer,
We are happy to announce the release of WordSmith version 2.01! 2.01 includes several new features and enhancements.

Here is their url: http://www.bluenomad.com/ws/prod_wordsmith_download.html

RE: Where's the download?
Ed @ 8/8/2001 1:56:59 PM #
Sorry, I'm guilty of seeing what I expected rather than what was really there. I fixed the article and sorry for any confusion.

I think this qualifies as a .1 upgrade rather than .01 but it's their app, they can call it anything they want. :-)

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

FineType for Mac Users?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 11:53:09 AM #
It looks like there is no way to get the FineType fonts on the handheld with a Mac. Is that true? If not, does anyone know of a way to make it work?

RE: FineType for Mac Users?
Altema @ 8/8/2001 1:40:42 PM #
Unfortunately, you will need to haved them beamed from another handheld, or have a windows user email them to you. If you have a temp email address (putting your regular email address here might attract spam), I can get in touch with you that way and send any fonts you need.

RE: FineType for Mac Users?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 2:28:41 PM #
Thanks, Altema!

Sure, I'd love to check out the fonts. Can I just install them using the usual "Install Handheld files" app? If you can, email them to me at:


Thanks again. I'm excited to check them out ;-)

RE: FineType for Mac Users?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 2:38:42 PM #
Oh, sorry! One more thing, Altema. The fonts that I'd love to check out are: Tahoma, Verdana, Arial & Times. Thank again!

RE: FineType for Mac Users?
Altema @ 8/8/2001 4:12:26 PM #
They're on the way. You can use the usual "Install Handheld files" app.

RE: FineType for Mac Users?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/9/2001 5:19:09 AM #
Hi gang:

Another Mac user here. Could someone please send me the same fonts at

Thanks so much.


RE: FineType for Mac Users?
Altema @ 8/9/2001 8:45:55 PM #
On the way!

Where is the external media (Mem stick, sd) support?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 12:19:00 PM #
Weren't we promised VFS support in the upcomming release of wordsmith?

RE: Where is the external media (Mem stick, sd) support?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 12:23:04 PM #
We were promised it in SOME upcoming release. I imagine that it was a quick and easy upgrade to provide finetype to mono units (really, an oversight in 2.0), but rest assured, they're busily coding away at VFS.

RE: Where is the external media (Mem stick, sd) support?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 12:49:28 PM #
Gotcha, I will be waiting for that feature before pluking down my $30

Slow down!

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 12:52:57 PM #
I've had it with those freaks at Blue Nomad! They just keep updating and improving their software, without any regard for the customer! I mean, for crissake, how many times am I going to have to upgrade my software? What ever happened to just releasing one lame version of something and then just rakin' in the cash, never upgrading or improving anything? THAT'S the software model that MS has become rich and famous on, why don't they stick to that? These people have it all backwards.


RE: Slow down!
Altema @ 8/8/2001 1:44:28 PM #
You're right, they have it backwards! Don't they know they are messing with tradition? Of course, if Microsoft was the same, we would have Windows 2000 version 1032.00372...


I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 1:28:27 PM #
I was wondering why they did't do this in the first place. I guess they saw DeepReader and got scared.

RE: Duh!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 5:04:52 PM #
Why would they be scared of DeapReader? WordSmith is free for Doc reading (including FineType) and enhanced MemoPad. I think DeepReader should be afraid of WordSmith, and it doesn't even support downloadable fonts.

RE: Duh!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/8/2001 6:46:43 PM #
With WordSmith, not only can you read docs but you can edit and rewrite them. My daughter was pleasantly suprised when reading a children's story on her Palm. I had replaced all the occurances of the main character's name with her name.

Also check out the reflow option. This capability has made many of docs easier to read by getting rid of all those extra line breaks.

WordSmith is quickly becoming my reader of choice. DeepReader isn't even on my list.

RE: Duh!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/10/2001 6:44:29 AM #
The chain of events is pretty obvious. WordSmith came out with FineType and claimed it was only useful for color handhelds. Then DeepReader was released, and now suddenly Blue Nomad thinks supporting grayscale devices isn't such a bad idea. Scared sounds like an exaggeration, as DeepReader isn't a word processor, but the chain of events is pretty clear. Plus DeepReader will probably be getting VFS support before WordSmith does, which in my opinion is the most important feature of an e-book reader.


MeW3 @ 8/9/2001 10:57:11 PM #
I use MegaDoc... =)


Steven C. @ 8/11/2001 9:03:32 AM #
I just added WS, intending to replace my Doc-reader (Peanut...). I was sad to see two key features lacking: (1) screen-reorientation; and (2) autoscroll. Why omit these?
RE: Features?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/11/2001 9:35:06 AM #
It has autoscroll. In View mode, click on the little icon that looks like a pair of eyeglasses.

If you want to reorient your screen, I suggest FlipHack.



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