Comments on: Editorial: Is Graffiti Dying?

Though the Graffiti system for entering text is an integral part of the Palm OS, there have been numerous signs recently that this relationship might be coming to an end. With lawsuits and Palm OS handhelds that don't use any form of handwriting recognition at all, are Graffiti's days numbered? News Editor Ed Hardy gives his opinion.
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Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?

speedracer5 @ 4/12/2002 12:24:29 PM #
I personally use a m505 with only Graffiti. I personally wouldn't like a keyboard only device. I like the m505 for its small size. A keyboard would only increase that or have small keys, which won't work well with my big fingers. Alot of keyboards have been sold, but what percentage of the users have these, and for those that own them, what percentage do they actually use them? I would think that the majority of the time user still enter data via Graffiti

I love the smell of burning rubber in the morning...
RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
PR @ 4/12/2002 12:30:33 PM #
i remember a long discussion on this about a month back after this story:

there were about 2 people on this site out of 40 that liked a keyboard better than graffiti. i guess we are not average users, but still...

RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
Altema @ 4/12/2002 1:04:04 PM #
Probably. As it stands now, the majority of Palm users I know use grafitti for short entries, and use an alternate method when it comes to the long ones. I have a PPK which I love, but can do a few paragraphs in grafitti just as quickly as I could on paper. For longer emails, letters, and reports, I'll pop out the keyboard. Time-wise, grafitti gets used 90%, keyboard 9%, and using the Palm Desktop 1%. For the QUANTITY of entries, I would say over half of everything was keyboard entry. I would not write multiple pages using graffiti any more than I would write out the same amount on paper and pen. For a thumb board, I would probably draw the line at about two pages.

Of course, the PPK is a full sized keyboard, and a good typist can hammer along at a good pace. A thumb board is a different story, and if that was my only option as opposed to the PPK, I would use graffiti 97% of the time.

I thought that my wife would be a good canidate for the thumb board type keyboard, but she gave it back so I could get my money refunded. To her, even though she is not proficient at graffiti, did not like the complications. A capital "N" required alt-shift for upper case, then type "N" then another alt-shift on the thumb board to go back to lower case. She knows that all she needs in graffiti is an upstroke, then write the letter. Anything more complicated for the same results is just a waste of time.

RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:36:57 PM #
first, the market is far from satuarated.
I just saw a poll number that say
about 10% of US has a PDA.

Many Palm owners are also waiting to upgrade
when there is one that is worth it.
I recently just upgraded from Vx to M515.
It is hard for me to pick up the Vx now.

As Graffiti, it is true that it can turn some people
away. But as more and more people have Palm, people
are less inclined to do so, as they think if you
can do it, I should not have problem.

Many years ago, I owned a Newton and looked at Graffiti. I thought how could I serve a software instead of the other way around. I never picked up
Graffiti, though it was free to me.
I am still not very good with Graffiti. But I never
feel it is a problem.


RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 3:50:55 PM #
I am one of those people who would NOT buy a Palm with a keyboard. I could be persuaded into using an onscreen keyboard (maybe), but I can't see any use for the thumb boards at all. I have very small fingers, I would be the ideal candidate for them. But I just can't see how it would be faster than grafitti. In fact I used to own an old Sharp Wizard, and would not upgrade when the new ones did not have the ability to write on the screen. (No letter recognition-just a scratch pad.) I did not use the To Do List, or the Calendar because I felt it was too much of a pain to use the keys. I entered the phone numbers I needed and used the "scrath book" function only. The reason I bought my first Palm was because you could write on the screen and it was smaller! I didn't mind learning grafitti, it's so close to "normal" writing, but I would mind having to learn the keyboard layout of any keyboard. And I would especially mind it if it increased the size of the PDA. I tried fitaly stamp because they claim you can get faster at it. I used their software game to try to learn it. I could not get faster than grafitti, and I could not use it when it was a little dark so I didn't keep it. (I'm sure you could get faster eventually, but one week is all I'm willing to spend on learning anything new.) I would NOT use a Palm for large entries, but for what I use it for, grafitti is absolutely perfect. If they invented something that does not add to the size, does not require any extra steps to use, and increase input speed without spending more than about a week of learning it, THEN I would change. Until then, if they discontinue grafitti, I will hunt down all the older models that have it. Palms do what I need them to do right now. And I can't imagine any future improvements that would be worth losing grafitti over...But this is only my opinion...
RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 7:51:36 PM #
Yes, yes, yes. I keep my palm in my pocket. Increasing size to add a keyboard would be distressful to say the least.

Graffiti took 2 days to learn and for me made the palm a useful tool. I dislike small keyboards and would not want a tiny keyboard on any handheld.

Hopefully I am not in the minority on this.

RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 8:39:06 PM #
The average palm OS user (I know a lot of them) will prefeer grafitty over a thumb keyboard.

Remember that average non power users (i.e. people that don't visit this site) don't buy accessories for their handhelds, so grafitty is their only option for text entry.

Also when these people are going to buy newer palms they will already know the grafitty alphabet.

Last, most of the people that use handhelds (like executives) value a lot the form factor (that's why the V, 5xx, and T615 where huge success) these people will preffer a small device to enter addresses and small notes, not a device with a built in keyboard.

RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 10:22:30 PM #
Graffiti is great , I can even write without looking anymore it's like the think it & it's there. I jhope they never take it away.....
Although this is true the Sony Clie Peg-N760 wrecked their graffiti writing area by trying to increase its sensitivity - thinking they would improve it. The other Sony Clie versions are 10x better.

- JCrusader Jesus reigns

RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
Kesh @ 4/12/2002 10:52:03 PM #
Personally, I'd love to have a machine with a built in keyboard and virtual Graffiti software. Best of both worlds, really.

RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 2:19:48 AM #
I like virtual grafitti WITH virtual keyboard support - one of the most under rated/reported advantages of 'virtual grafitti' in my opinion. I wouldn't mind standard Palm OS virtual keyboard so much if it didn't disrupt the screen/interface and take up half of the already precious screen real estate. This gets around that problem. The new Sony's have this (NR series), do Handera virtual grafitti devices have this as well??? (i have never used/seen one of these).
RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 11:47:56 AM #
I do not see the use of typing in such a small keyboard, if I wanted that I would get A sony picture book or a Windows CE called handheld. Then what is the purpose of being light and slim.

I think graffiti is very convinient. I thought of buying a keyboard for my M505 or my T615 (sony, not out yet the keyboard) But just to think of the extra bulk and need a flat surface!!! plus extra carrying thing. I really don't need it.

Graffiti is jus fine!!

RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 11:52:09 AM #
"first, the market is far from satuarated.
I just saw a poll number that say
about 10% of US has a PDA."

I think Ed meant that the early adopter market is saturated. 90% of the average Joe/Janes out there still don't know what a PDA is. Most likely, if you're reading this site and posting to it, you're part of the 10%, and therefore already see the benefits of graffiti.

"As Graffiti, it is true that it can turn some people
away. But as more and more people have Palm, people
are less inclined to do so, as they think if you
can do it, I should not have problem."

Just because a select few (10%) have PDAs, it doesn't mean that others (90%) will go out and buy one. Ed's point of the article is that graffiti is the main hurdle that most average users are not willing to overcome.

"I am still not very good with Graffiti. But I never
feel it is a problem."

Being good (or bad) with graffiti has nothing to do with the average user. He/she sees graffiti as an alternative input method--one that requires time (which we know as not alot) to learn.

Keyboards are a good idea for manufacturers because it takes Joe's/Jane's initial trepidations out of the purchase decision. Think of graffiti/keyboard feature as door. Some (readers/posters to PIC) view it as a benign gateway to digital nirvana. Others see it as Dante's entrance into Inferno with the warning enscribed above: "Abandon hope all ye who enter."

RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 1:22:38 AM #
"I like virtual grafitti WITH virtual keyboard support - one of the most under rated/reported advantages of 'virtual grafitti' in my opinion. I wouldn't mind standard Palm OS virtual keyboard so much if it didn't disrupt the screen/interface and take up half of the already precious screen real estate. This gets around that problem. The new Sony's have this (NR series), do Handera virtual grafitti devices have this as well??? (i have never used/seen one of these)."

Yes indeed, this is a proven feature on the Handera. It uses a virtual graffiti area, and you can add a program that places the keyboard IN the graffiti area. Not only that, but you can still write w/graffiti while the keyboard is visible! It's really a well thought and well executed concept.


RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 1:24:51 AM #
Forgot to mention that the Handera keyboard software is a free download from their website.


RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 8:04:00 AM #
Ever since we evolved form apes we have used our hands diffenently. Anybody that has use a thumb board immediately realizes that we were not made to type with our thumbs. Learn graffiti, its not that hard.
RE: Will keyboards alienate those who solely use graffiti?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 11:18:51 PM #
Graffiti should be used in testing for driver's licenses. If anyone cannot learn Graffiti in a half an hour is certainly not intelligent enough to operate a motor vehicle, raise children, or eat a happy meal.

RE: Graffiti Sucks
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/7/2002 12:55:04 AM #
graffiti is Palm's way of saying 'Hi. We here at Palm are too much of a bunch of stupid azzes to do what Apple did with the Newton OS'. nobody who touch types wants to learn graffiti or type with their thumbs. dying? graffiti will be around forever, just like DOS, atari 800 computers, and pizza.

Who uses Graffiti anymore?

big_raji @ 4/12/2002 12:26:23 PM #
I've been using Palms for quite awhile, and my idea of a perfect solution has always been a good on-screen keyboard. I have to have the stylus out most of the time anyways when inputting data, either to pop up a menu, or to move my cursor. The idea of pulling out my stylus to move my cursor, then put it back to use a thumb-style keyboard seems just as inefficient.

A virtual grafitti area is something that I've always wanted. Unfortunately, I want color as well, so didn't go with a Handera. The closest I've come is to use an overlay keyboard that sticks overtop of the graffiti area... Quicktype is a freeware app that does this, which is what I use. Others that come to mind are Silkyboard and Fitaly, though I'm not too familiar with them.

I'm surprised that you haven't discussed on-screen keyboards in your article. I'm sure alot of people would want use some variation of an on-screen keyboard (QWERTY, FITALY, Etc) instead of a thumb-board.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
james_sorenson @ 4/12/2002 12:36:02 PM #
I'll have to admit that FitalyStamp has been far better than Graffiti or a "thumbpad" keyboard. A person is going to have a stylus in hand anyway to access menus and dialog buttons, so why not make the keyboard use the stylus like Fitaly? I use to own a keyboard, but I got frustrated in having to ready the stylus every time I needed to use a menu. Fitaly is the most efficient arrangement to access all characters in a small space. Fitaly also gives the benefit of still keeping stroke hacks. License them and the problem is solved.

James Sorenson

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
PR @ 4/12/2002 12:38:05 PM #
personally i find it much easier to use graffiti for short input, and my stowaway for longer stuff. i haven't found any of the on-screen alternatives to be of any use for me--just my opinion.

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
c_blue @ 4/12/2002 1:03:18 PM #
When I left graffiti on the side my choice was the fitaly stamp mainly for its ability to access international characters "sliding" the letters. That's a feature I haven't found that easy to use in any other overlay yet and when you write 98 percent of the time in a different language than English this is a must.


RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:18:10 PM #
I use Graffiti most of the time. For longer tasks, I
use my Stowaway. I got a Newton 2100 and installed
Graffiti on it. With my sloppy handwriting, the Newton
had an easier time recognizing letter then words :)
Also I kept finding myself wnating to make punctuation
strokes in the HWR.

On my Visor, I added ScreenWrite Hack and that has
greatly increased recognition.

I hope if Xerox *does* win that they make Unistrokes or
Graffiti available. I don't think thumb typing is for me.

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:20:02 PM #
FITALY Stamp is the best thing out there, period.

Not only is it a proven fact that it's faster....WAY faster than's also more user friendly than QWERTY, although few people realize this.

The ability to slide to insert capitals, numbers, parentheses, etc., just saves SO much time.

It took me about 10 minutes to get up to 20 WPM with Fitaly. I was at 35 about an hour later. I'm at 50+ now, although I quit using the practice app. after about 2 weeks.

I'm not naive enough to recommend to someone that they use FITALY to type a term paper, but I wouldn't recommend Graffiti either.

I'm in an office environment, so I use a lot of "irritating" characters like parenthesis, dashes, and hyphens when taking notes, addresses, etc.

NOTHING does it better than FITALY.

Trust me, I have every reason to be biased towards QWERTY....I type 73 WPM on it.

FITALY is the best....I wish it were on everthing.

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:12:29 PM #
I use fitaly stamp and even though I usually can't remember where the letters are it's still much faster than Graffiti. I would like to see an on-screen keyboard like fitaly but with the ability to re-arrange the letters. I question the fitaly arrangement of letters. It doesn't seem more efficient than querty to me. I think I could have learned the fitaly keyboard much faster if it were arranged somewhat similar to querty.
RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:21:40 PM #
Fitaly has just as bad (or worse) a learning curve as Graffiti.

Since the point is that the most intuitive entry method is the one that will sell, I don't think Fitaly is the solution.

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:57:21 PM #
All infidels will come to sudden end.
Hawkins and the Holy Graffiti will endure forever!!!
dagger2k @ 4/12/2002 6:09:27 PM #
Fitaly is great. I know it, most of the readers of this page know it, some other ppl know it, but it has the same problemas grafitti: it alienates users. It ain't any better for palm than graffiti, whaat's more, it would alienate some grafiti fans and it would still mean liscensing.

"Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." -- Mark Twain
RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
james_sorenson @ 4/12/2002 6:16:23 PM #
Fitaly's letters are arranged so that a minimum amount of movement is required when typing common words. Think of it as the Palm-version of the Darwin keyboard (anyone remember those?). We really need to dump QWERTY, as it was originally designed to SLOW us down so that we'd quit jamming the old mechanical typewriters. Bad standards just don't seem to die.

In reference to the comment that Fitaly has as sharp of a learning curve as Graffiti: Not so! You can still "hunt and peck" the Fitaly Pad, but graffiti requires you to search the reference. I learned Fitaly a lot faster than I learned Graffiti (which I still stink at).

However, despite my long-winded defense to the Fitaly layout, I must admit that choice is good. If we EVER get a full-length soft-graffiti screen as standard, then Fitaly could provide the option for Fitaly, Qwerty, or Custom layout. Also, Fitaly allows you to drop to Graffiti mode with one click. Talk about the best of all worlds!

James Sorenson

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
james_sorenson @ 4/12/2002 6:24:09 PM #
Doh! I meant Dvorak keyboard, not Darwin keyboard. Geez, my memory is already going...

James Sorenson
RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 12:30:41 AM #
For me the benefit of Graffiti is that I can use it without looking. This is one of the reasons many people bother to learn to become touch-typists. It is not easy to be a touch-typist with a thumb keyboard or with an on-screen keyboard.

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 7:34:53 AM #
Quicktype/Fitaly overlays are cute, but they have one major drawback : you have to look while you tap. Anyone who's used a 'real' keyboard on a PC/laptop will have eyes set on the screen, not on the keyboard.

To make things worse, these overlays are built onto the 'invisible' part of the screen. Unlike the virtual Graffiti keyboard, you can't use them in a dark room (e.g. in a cinema should your work require you to do reviews or such like), or simply at night, in a car etc. The same goes for any thumbsize keyboard, which to me disqualifies them.

Handwriting recognition is nice (as with Windows CE) but I guess it takes substantial resources, but screen feedback would already be an improvement. In any event, for really quick notes I use Notepad or Diddlebug - sure, I have to manually translate off-line but that's the only way not to miss anything

Last point, why not extend the screen down to the graffiti area and make it all virtual, offering more screen real-estate?

To overcome the size problem, I came up with an idea that some will undoubtedly find incredibly stupid : have a virtual keyboard with only half the keys, but twice as big. You need all keys though, so I propose alternating halfs, left 500 milliseconds, right 500 milliseconds (or faster, with some heuristic adaptation). I'm serious, should I know how to I would give it a programming try. Grab-a-key(TM)

yves dot goulnik at roche dot com

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 1:28:20 AM #
"What's Wrong With This Picture?"

Oh.....that was so WRONG!

RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 8:24:53 PM #
Damn it man! You broke my streak of never pissing myself with that site!
RE: Who uses Graffiti anymore?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 11:30:28 PM #
Graffiti should be used in testing for driver's licenses. If anyone cannot learn Graffiti in a half an hour, he/she is certainly not intelligent enough to operate a motor vehicle, raise children, or eat a happy meal.

epall @ 8/19/2002 6:45:56 PM #
About Fitaly Stamp not being able to be backlight. That is true about Fitaly Stamp but not so with Fitaly 2.0. Fitaly 2.0 is on-screen and replaces the normal on-screen keyboard. I personally use Fitaly 2.0 for just that reason. I love it and am up to 30 WPM, wayyy over what I could do with graffiti. I just can't wait for Fitaly 3.0 for Palm OS 5!!

acquired skills

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 12:28:23 PM #
I think that innefficient methods such as the standard QWERTY keyboard will always end up being more successful than any alternatives. People are very protective of their acquired skills. Just look at the DVORAK keyboard, which was more efficient that QWERTY, but has not been adopted on a wide scale. There was an article about this in Technology Review this month.
RE: acquired skills
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 12:03:19 AM #
Um, no, Dvorak was *less* efficient, the only tests that showed it to be more efficient was the inventor's one, no one was able to duplicate his results.
The difficulty of changing such a standard is
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 9:36:33 AM #
that 99.99999999999999999% of the keyboards you are going to run across in your movement from office to office are QWERTY style. No matter how good the new standard is, it is far more annoying to have to switch typing modes everytime you sit down at a different keyboard.

PDAs are different. I can't remember the last time that I let someone else use my Vx. Therefore there is plenty of room for all sorts of standards and styles of input on PDAs. Less recognized or adopted standards will have less support from vendors, but anything can be built if you are willing to pay for it. It doesn't make any sense to tell someone that your input style is better then what they use if they don't want to change, and you don't have to use their PDA.

Our problem is that industry would like to have as few different versions as possible. And would like to minimize any licensing required to manufacture someone else's design. From a manufacturing and marketing view, this makes lots of sense, because it keeps prices down.

One option might be to actually split the PDA into two destinct systems.

The screen/cpu/ram section, and an input section. By creating a standard for each, you might be able to choose the screen and power you want, and then connect it to the input style that you want.

If done right (which hasn't happened yet in the Palm world), different companies would pick up different styles of input. I might love a Palm graffiti area, but want the power and screen of a Sony, or Handera.

The obvious problem is then every PDA looks like a Frankenstien beast. Function over form?


RE: acquired skills
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 1:44:08 PM #
FYI: the QWERTY keyboard layout was not designed to slow down speeders using the Dvorak layout.

For more information, check out this URL:

RE: acquired skills
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 10:11:34 AM #
The qwerty keyboard was designed specificaly to slow down typists. Back in the days of keys making swinging bars with letters on them hitting the paper, if you hit the keys too quickly two bars would come up at the same time and get stuck. So the qwerty keyboard was designed to slow typists down a little by breaking up where the common use letters were and to spread out those common letters so that there was a bigger pause between them so that the bars would not get stuck.

Then, they also built in a little "marketing trick" in that you could very quickly type out "type writer" on the top line without the bars gettin stuck.

RE: acquired skills
NDF @ 11/10/2002 10:10:36 PM #

Graffiti is for me!

scat_sweeney @ 4/12/2002 12:40:49 PM #
You must admit, however, that when jotting down a contact, note, or appointment nothing is better than Graffiti. I think that the only way I would use a keyboard for quick text entry is by using an integrated keyboard like the Treo or the NR Clie. Even with an integrated keyboard, when writing Graffiti with a stylus you already have the stylus in your hand to tap the screen. If you ask me, I'll stick with the Graffiti for quick notes and have an accessary keyboard for lengthy data entry.

* Commit random acts of coolness. *
RE: Graffiti is for me!
sumisu @ 4/12/2002 12:57:37 PM #
I'd have to agree that graffiti is best for short entries and navigation. I've been using palms for 3 or 4 years and have never found the popup keyboard very useful. However, I also have a Motorola 2-way pager that has a very small thumb keyboard. I love this keyboard and many times I have wished I had one like it for my TRGPRGO. I can type with my thumbs faster and more accurately than I can use Graffiti. I think a good thumboard would replace graffiti for me, even though I've used it for years.

RE: Graffiti is for me!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 6:02:31 AM #
Yeah, when I want to write emails or do some serious planning, I whip out my Palm fold-a-way keyboard. However, most of my data entry takes place using the graffiti area. I don't want to poke out a To-do list item with my stylus or punch it out on a tiny keyboard. I sure hope that Palm OS doesn't have to get rid of a big part of what made them sucessful in the first place!

Is typing with your thumbs really easier?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 12:40:44 PM #
I've always used graffiti and it took all of about 10 minutes to learn. I find it quick and easy to use but I have never comared it to a keyboard. Does anyone out there think tiny little keyboards are easier to use?
RE: Is typing with your thumbs really easier?
mikeliu @ 4/12/2002 1:42:09 PM #
I dunno about keyboards, but I will say that the editorial described me to a T before I finally broke down and got a PDA. I was in the camp of, there's no damn way I'm going to learn a new language just to use a PDA. And I'm a pretty hardcore techie. Just imagine how non-techies feel? A keyboard would have been more appealing to me before I started, though not anymore.

These days with the Clies and other PDAs as cool as they are I can be playing around with it, and have completely non-techie people be completely blown away. They're amazed by what I can do. It's a photo album. It's a multilingual dictionary. It's a newpaper. It's a graphing calculator. It's an organizer. I can tell they're starting to get interested, maybe even considering getting one for themself. They ask to try it out. While they're trying it out and attempt to write something, I explain that it doesn't actually take written English, but instead uses a bunch of symbols that are very similar to English characters. And instantly all interest disappears. It goes from amazing/useful new addition to life to stupid nerd gadget in the space of time that it takes me to explain Graffiti.

Just as the article stated, most people simply are NOT willing to learn a new system of writing, no matter how simple it may be, to use a PDA. This is simply a case of the manufacturer dicatating to people what they want, and not the reverse. Sure, Graffiti might be faster than true English writing - but there are also a million apps better than the ones that come with Palms. The simple fact of the matter is, people don't need all the bells and whistles, for 90% of the population simple is good enough. Leave the Graffiti for hardcore techies who just need to have the extra 5 WPM to download as a 3rd party optimization.....I'm curious what the rationale is for breaking the Zen of Palm on this one.

RE: Is typing with your thumbs really easier?
hotpaw4 @ 4/12/2002 9:09:01 PM #
>most people simply are NOT willing to learn a new system of writing

Do not trust your intuition on this. Palm and Handspring have run focus groups and found out that around half of the populace were willing and had no problems learning Graffiti. About half the people do not like tiny keyboards. About half do. The market is plenty big enough for both.

RE: Is typing with your thumbs really easier?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 10:19:52 PM #
I never give a thought of using keyboard with Palm. Even after I bought a GoType for my Palm Vx at Staple which I had no intentions of shopping any Palm accessory for that visit. 2 Years past, the keyboard is still in un-wrapped box. That's how I am so used to of the Graffiti.

Treo 180 changed my way of using the Palm. I have to admit I use the address book as phone book most out of the Palm. Right now I use the keyboard whenever I can to jog down my daily journal, idea log, and project controls... with my two thumbs (I am a fast typer with the regular keyboard).

RE: Is typing with your thumbs really easier?
mikeliu @ 4/13/2002 12:03:06 AM #
"Do not trust your intuition on this. Palm and Handspring have run focus groups and found out that around half of the populace were willing and had no problems learning Graffiti. About half the people do not like tiny keyboards. About half do. The market is plenty big enough for both."

I'm sure the focus groups were run on people who were actually interested in using Palm devices. I'm speaking of the large majority of the population that doesn't have a Palm, and until they're wowed by something, have no intention of getting a Palm. And not from my intuition, but from my experience the moment they learn about Graffiti, that's it, they're no longer interested. I really do think that the willingness to learn a new language just for your little computer is a geek thing.

RE: Is typing with your thumbs really easier?
Timothy @ 4/13/2002 6:39:46 AM #
Mikeliu is right.

RE: Is typing with your thumbs really easier?
latortilla @ 4/13/2002 1:57:25 PM #
No, mikeliu is NOT right.

In fact, everyday average people (as opposed to the theoretical uber-geek described in above posts) do learn a new skill "just for their little computers": typing.

The preponderance of keyboards proves that learning a new skill does not necessarily become a barrier to the average consumer buying into a product. The idea that typing is a learned skill, believe it or not, actually was a primary kernel at the core of Graffiti's invention.

When conceiving the idea of Graffiti, Jeff Hawkins' concluded that handwriting recognition software, such as that available on the Apple Newton at the time, was a failure because it is more difficult to teach a computer to learn to write than it was to teach a person how to write.

So Graffiti was designed to allow the following:

(1) text entry that was more accurate and thus faster and more efficient than any handwriting recognition software, and
(2) the capability to enter text into an attractively small device that could easily fit into a pocket.

This clearly fits into the Zen of Palm (a.k.a. simplicity and immediacy).

For more information on the conception of Graffiti and the other aspects of the history of Palm, I highly recommend Andrea Butter's book Piloting Palm. You can find out more about it at

Switching back and forth

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 12:41:53 PM #
The main reason I still like Graffiti over a thumboard is that I can hold the device in one hand, and use the stylus in the other hand for everything. With a thumbboard, you have to hold the device in two hands at the bottom, which is a less stable way of holding the device, and you keep having to switch your whole arrangement everytime you need the stylus to do someting on the screen. And no, I don't want to abandon the stylus in favor of a jog wheel. That just means I have to scroll through every option to get what I want, instead of just pointing with the stylus.

I agree that thumboards are better for writing intermediate length e-mails. That's why I look double solutions that give you a grafitti option or a thumboard option, like the Sony NR, the new Zaurus, and even the snap-on thumboars for the Palms. Although it would be better if they were smaller and didn't cover the graffitti area.

Even if Xerox wins the patent suit out and out, that doesn't spell the end of a grafitti-like system. Palm could license Jot, or they could license the Xerox patent. Or come up with something new, like something that lets you program whatever strokes you want to program for characters (which would let me re-create Grafitti, if I want).

Ed makes a good point about user resistance to Grafitti. But eveyone I know who then actually tried it was very happy with Grafitti. It's just getting over the initial hurdle. That, to me, is another argument for a dual solution device that has both Grafitti and a thumboard. Thumboard to bring in the newbies, Grafitti to keep them.

RE: Switching back and forth
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:25:10 PM #
Excellent commentary. Thumboards are not easier, although they may appear easier. Does that mean they will sell better? Perhaps, but I hope not.

The original concept was a small, portable "pen computer." It seems ridiculous to abandon this in favor of devices that appear less intimidating to the average Joe.

What will happen after 5-8 years of thumbboard prevalence? Manufacturers will decide that what people really want is handwriting input and thumbboard will start disappearing. So it seems to me that this thumbboard trend is really shortsighted. It's geared toward selling, not satisfying.

It seems to me that the simplest solution isn't thumbboards, but some sort of standard handwriting input method. When I used a PPC, I found their Letter Recognizer to be as quick as Graffiti yet it had virtually no learning curve and no intimdation factor. Besides, this method won't infringe on Xerox's bloody patent.

RE: Switching back and forth
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 3:34:20 PM #
>The original concept was a small, portable "pen >computer." It seems ridiculous to abandon this in >favor of devices that appear less intimidating to the >average Joe.

Well said. A pda without Graffiti (or something similar) is of no use to me. And as for a learming curve, well, someone who can't be fairly proficient after a day's use is probably someone who also has a problem applying a pencil to paper as well (or, more likely, someone who is not all that interested in using a pda in the first place).

RE: Switching back and forth
dagger2k @ 4/12/2002 6:20:14 PM #
Actually I have a hard time at making myself understanable in pen and paper but I'm really good at grafitty

"Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." -- Mark Twain
RE: Switching back and forth
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 12:19:30 AM #
Yes, that's part of the beauty of it--graffiti appeals to the inner anal-retentive me: no matter how sloppy my writing is, it looks so neat and clean on the PDA. :)

Both ways are annoying.

Jeffrey99 @ 4/12/2002 12:46:58 PM #
A keyboard is differnt than a bunch of lettered buttons. The treo/NR seies "keyboard" is not a keyboard. You can't fluently use it. The buttons are so close togethor and hard to press.The wave of the future is a very accurate handwriting system like the Apple Newton's.

RE: Both ways are annoying.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 11:32:00 AM #
The early Newton MessagePads' handwriting recognition was so-so at best and Apple got slaughtered in the media for it.

Each generation of Newtons had better and better handwriting recognition. The final ones (the 2000 & 2100) were very, very good and it's sad that there's nothing even close for the Palm OS even though 5 more years have passed.

* Write anywhere on the screen.

* Word-level or letter-level recognition.

* Cursive, printer, or mixed.

* If it guessed the wrong word, double-tap the word to pop up a list of alternate possibilities, sorted by likelihood.

* The handheld learned YOUR writing style over time and thus automatically improved you did not have to learn special ways of writing.

* And more.

I still don't see Xerox winning their case.

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 12:47:43 PM #
In the long run, I don't see Xerox winning this out after appeals. Their characters are different than graffiti and graffiti is too similar to normal handwriting. I just don't see patenting a written character set, which is what it appears they have done (somebody can correct me if I'm wrong). If they had patented some specific method for recognizing the input in software and/or hardware and Palm was using the same method, then I would think they might have something (not that I am in favor of software patents). That does not seem to be the case though.
The Xerox issue
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 12:52:39 PM #
I wonder if moving away from defined "unistroke" characters would resolve the stupid Xerox patent issue. I believe it would, especially since non-unistroke digital input predated the patent (i.e., the Newton handwriting recognition system subsequently purchased by Microsoft).

Incidentally, I use both Graffiti and the Palm Keyboard. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. I can't imagine a system in which there is not handwriting recognition at all. I think Sharp is attempting to go that route with the Zaurus. We'll have to wait and see if they are successful.

My favorite solutions so far are those developed by Handera and Sony, although I don't own either the HE330 or the Sony NR-70. I hope this type of system is perfected in the future and widely adopted. I tried thumb boards. Doesn't work for me. I'm too "fat fingered." I played with a thumb board Treo the other day. Absolutely not, no way. Nice idea, just not for me.


RE: I still don't see Xerox winning their case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:34:18 PM #
> I wonder if moving away from defined "unistroke" characters

Even though that might be enough for the courts, in reality I do not see what the difference would be. Some graffiti characters are not unistroke (though most are, but the characters still mostly aren't the same anyhow), and lots of character sets have unistroke characters.

Looking at this from another perspective, if we all started writing in graffiti on paper could Xerox sue the paper companies? or the pen/pencil companies? Obviously no (unless they had patents on pens/paper/paper technologies). To me, clearly the patent needs to be in the technology of how you actually recognize the characters, not what the characters themselves are. I do not get the impression that is what Xerox's patent is, and that is why I think it will fail. Now if they had this great, special method of recognizing unistroke characters and Palm was using it, they might have something.

RE: I still don't see Xerox winning their case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:59:22 PM #
>>Now if they had this great, special method of recognizing unistroke characters and Palm was using it, they might have something.<<

But I think that is exactly what the Xerox patent covers. I'm sure the claims they made in the patent application cover the gamut from very broad to very specific. I haven't read the entire patent application myself to see the claims and the subsequent patent award. However, the one claim that is talked about he most is the claim that Xerox was the first in invent a system of software interpretation of unistroke characters.

I think Xerox went with the "unistroke" concept to get around prior software applications, such as the software used on the Newton. The law is (in very general terms) that if something was already being sold on the market long before you try to patent the same thing, the subsequent patent for this thing is easily subject to challenge. The Newton allowed you to pick what types of strokes you wanted to use to represent different letters, whereas the Xerox patent and Graffiti use standard unistroke character sets, although as you mention some characters are completed with more than one stroke. That doesn't really matter if the majority of the characters violate the patent.

So, back to my original thought. I wonder if using a trainable system of handwriting recognition would get around the problem. For instance, you can purchase blank/recordable cassette tapes anywhere today. This is true even though you are capable of using the blank tape to commit copyright violations. The music industry challenged such sales in the past, and the courts ruled that it is permissible to sell such a device that could potentially be used to commit copyright infringement as long as you don't actively participate in wrongful conduct. Note that this is where Napster went wrong. There was a recent challege to the KaZaa music trading system in I think a Dutch court recently. That court held the KaZaa system was not a violation of copyright because the company only distributed software that was capable of being used to commit copyright violations. However, the company did not do anything to actively participate in that process -- the music exchange was P2P, and the data was not stored on the KaZaa server.

So, same concept. Maybe Palm converts to a trainable system of Graffiti to avoid the Xerox issue altogether???

Any thoughts from other lawyers out there?


RE: I still don't see Xerox winning their case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:31:38 PM #
Even in Xerox wins the case, the licensing fee is an easy one to solve. The person who buys the Palm could elect to:
1) use an alternate "free" entry method, or
2) if the really like grafitti, pay Xerox the $5 (or whatever) for a license to use the feature, enter their registration code, and off they go.

The most important thing is that the end user have the power of choice.

RE: I still don't see Xerox winning their case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:32:10 PM #
> the courts ruled that it is permissible to sell such a
> device that could potentially be used to commit
> copyright infringement as long as you don't actively
> participate in wrongful conduct

Absolutely, otherwise Xerox wouldn't be selling copiers. :)

RE: I still don't see Xerox winning their case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:36:12 PM #
> Absolutely, otherwise Xerox wouldn't be selling copiers. :)

Sorry, following up on my less serious comment, you are talking about copyright, not patents, very different. Even if there was a trainable system, there would still have to be some recogntion method. If Xerox's patent is actually on a/the recognition method (which I really do not think is true) then you are right back to square one. Plus others might have patents on the training methods and it would just get more ugly. If Xerox really had this novel method of recognizing unistroke characters, I think they would be suing a lot more companies than just Palm. Instead their claim seems to be mostly based on the similarity (or lack of in my opinion) of their unistroke characters to graffiti.

Ugh, enough on this from me anyhow. Software patents should be should not be valid anyhow (at least not for more than a very limited time), but that is a whole other story.

RE: I still don't see Xerox winning their case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 6:06:50 PM #
The Xerox case is the worst case in technology development - just imagine the following:

If tomorrow I filed a patent that singing @ 60 mHz, any singer who tried to sing @ 60 mHz should pay me a loyalty fee because simply I filed the patent.

Any patent case, especially technology, cannot be cased just based on simple concepts. If I filed a patent for a specific programming algorithum, anyone who uses a similar algorithum should give me the royalty fee, even though the source code are entirely different. If this is the case, I will be a millionaire.

The same applied for the Unistroke. The concept/alogorithum may be similar, but the symbols (source code) are entirely different. Therefore, the court is trying to prevent people from thinking, instead of stealing. It is because the simplest alogrithum for one guy to input a letter is a simple stroke. Anyways, this is more complicate than it sounds.

RE: I still don't see Xerox winning their case.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 12:37:42 AM #
Patents are BS, so I don't think one can say with any certainty based on the stupidity of Xerox's case that Xerox will lose.

Why Choose?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 12:56:13 PM #
Get everything, Grafitti, handwriting recognition, virtual keyboard, rudimentary voice recognition, vitaly....

Get the real device, why stuck with one system? Technology has progressed since the day of 16mHz. Now we live in an era of 206Mhz or more.

RE: Why Choose?
cyruski @ 4/14/2002 5:36:58 AM #



mikecane @ 4/12/2002 12:57:52 PM #
Really, you have to be either very stubborn or very stupid not to be able to master Graffiti (or have a muscle control problem!).

The Treo's keyboard is not ideal. Have you tried it, Ed?

ARMed chips will bring *real* HWR -- Calligrapher. Or so I hope.

The last thing I'd want to see is the current Graffiti area replaced by an alleged "keyboard."

RE: Calligrapher!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 10:51:32 PM #
Even the handwriting recognition on the old Apple Newtons was acceptable (I used it and I've always thought it was better than Graffiti). Then there's Jot, that is also supposed to be an improvement (never used it so I can't comment). Given the improvement in processors and the fact that the software definitely exists, I agree. I think it's time for a Graffiti upgrade -- something a little more intuitive maybe even something that could handle more than one letter at a time!
RE: Calligrapher!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 11:35:16 PM #
I sent an email to the Calligrapher folks a few weeks ago, the response said that current licensing agreements didn't allow them to make a version for PalmOS. That struck me as pretty odd, unless MS has bought a big chunk of the company and/or licensed the technology on an exclusive basis for their handhelds.
RE: Calligrapher!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 2:08:14 PM #
Microsoft did license the Calligrapher HWR engine to create Transcriber, so they definitely have their hands in Calligrapher. I'm guessing in return for paying big bucks to put Transcriber on every Pocket PC, that some agreements were signed to make Calligrapher/Transcriber exclusive to WinCE devices. Of course, at that time that deal was struck Palm's were stuck on 8-16MHz processor so there was little thought of a PalmOS version.

If there is HWR on the new Palms, it won't be Calligrapher, I asked Phatware the same thing and got the very direct response that unless Microsoft buys out the PalmOS, there will NEVER be a PalmOS version of Calligrapher (and they DID use the word NEVER)

RE: Calligrapher!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 4:25:39 PM #
That has to be the worst news of the year (it also kills one of my Predictions).

Instead of Palm Inc drooling over their new -- now, phantom -- office building, they should have been planning for their future and *purchasing* Calligrapher.

Jot stinks. I don't like ART's HWR, either.

To that other poster, re: Newton. The last version of Newton's HWR was based on *Calligrapher's* core, which is why it was so damned good.

RE: Calligrapher!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/22/2002 9:10:37 PM #
The last version of the Newton's handwriting recognition was wonderful. I wrote in my own handwriting as fast as I could and didn't need to correct it much. Even though I find Graffiti adequate, it represents a limitation of the technology Palm was using, not and improvement. The handwriting recognition on the PocketPCs is better than the Newton. MS would publicize it more if it hadn't been for the premature release of HRW on the Newton gave it a bad rep that it is still getting over. But, it is way better than graffiti. By the way, it was also extended to drawing programs that recognized primitives like circles and rectangles and smoothed them for you. If palm just caught up to the Newton, it would be a much easier thing to use.

graffiti is great, but there is better

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:02:16 PM #
I still like graffiti, but i love fitaly it is so much faster (i get at least 10 more words per minute) and the accuracy is excellent I rarely ever make errors with fitaly,the only drawback is the learning curve is a little longer than graffiti. The thumbboards are nice too, but I think there are some changes coming for the better, for all of us!
RE: graffiti is great, but there is better
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:14:46 PM #
No offense, but most people will be able to reach 20 WPM on Fitaly within 10 minutes. For me, 40 was the tricky level to get, and then 50. I don't care to practice anymore, or I'm POSITIVE I could hit 60.

It's just one of those things where if you use it consistently enough, your eyes can "search" for hard to find letters while you're in the process of typing the previous letter.

Fitaly is superior to anything out there in terms of speed. What most people don't understand is that it is also VASTLY more user-friendly than QWERTY keyboard alternatives.

RE: graffiti is great, but there is better
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:24:27 PM #
I like the Fitaly layout, but didn't feel like paying $40 for Fitaly stamp. There's a freeware program on PalmGear which allows you to basically make your own "stick-on" keyboard similar to Fitaly stamp or Silkyboard, it's called Quicktype. Takes a little extra effort to create the onscreen keyboard, but it works just fine. I customized mine so that it is almost (but not quite) identical to the Fitaly keyboard. Works great. For those who've tried Quicktype and didn't like it, try buying post-it-note clear tape (not post-it notes)at OfficeMax or OfficeDepot for printing the keyboard on, then cover that with clear mailing tape and cutting to size. Mine's lasted over a year without changing.
RE: graffiti is great, but there is better
ktran @ 4/12/2002 2:53:43 PM #
Actually, I've always wondered: what's a good material that you can print the keyboard layout on? the post it tape doesn't work too well with my inkjet...

K. Tran

RE: graffiti is great, but there is better
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 3:09:20 PM #
Uh....when you purchase FITALY Stamp, they send you high quality overlays that fit different Palm models.

They should last quite a while.

You must be trying to use the demo. I would just print it on paper and tape it on, unless that's too "ghetto" for ya.

RE: graffiti is great, but there is better
c_blue @ 4/12/2002 3:50:23 PM #
I use a post-it note and a laser printer.. without clear tape on top mine lasts about a month

you can see here how my Vx looks with a yellow fitaly-post-it


IBM has a free version
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 5:17:28 PM #
which is on their emerging technologies site at:

I apologize for the long link - I know we're supposed to use a shortcut site but I didn't know how.

They will send you the sticker and were supposed to put the PDF on the web site too...

RE: graffiti is great, but there is better
Majestic @ 4/12/2002 10:02:42 PM #
Nah....IBM's website says ATOMIK promises, "potentially" 40 wpm.

I was tapping at 35 wpm within an hour on Fitaly.

I'm at about 53 now. That's nearly as fast as I type on a QWERTY keyboard, which is about 62 WPM no mistakes.

RE: graffiti is great, but there is better
ktran @ 4/13/2002 12:06:59 AM #
ATOMIK has potential, but it's got some annoying things about it. The first and foremost is the need to hit a separate shift key to get capital letters. This can be especially annoying if one is trying to capitalise a letter far away from said shift key.

I've used Fitaly (onscreen, no stamp) and Quicktype (I currently use this), and I love the fact that both were more or less transparent, and you could use graffitti at the same time. You have to be more careful, but it's quite doable. Atomik does not allow for the use of graffitti at all.


K. Tran

the ideal

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:20:05 PM #
Give me a .39" thick 320x320 16 bit colour Sont Clie, built in bluetooth and with a blackberry-like thumbboard in place of the graffiti area and I don't think I'll ever put it down!
RE: the ideal
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 5:25:58 PM #
I'd prefer a m500 (monochrome) with a bigger screen WITHOUT any keyboard.


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 1:26:47 PM #
Ed - I think you meant to say i705. Otherwise a great Editorial.
RE: m705?
Ed @ 4/12/2002 2:27:01 PM #

News Editor

There is room - and need - for both

mikemusick @ 4/12/2002 1:29:15 PM #
While Graffiti itself is less than perfect (about which my Newton-loving associate reminds me on a regular basis), there will always need to be a keyboard-free method of data entry. Not every application is a word processor or e-mail program - stroke-based methods are perfectly fine for occasional low-intensity text input.

Cost is also a factor - electromechanical (i.e., buttons) is always going to be considerably more expensive to manufacture and support than a simple stroke-catcher. You will pay extra for a keyboard, whether it's an add-on or included, and failure rates will be higher.

Size is a big issue, too. Your choices are: 1) truly pocketable 2) keyboard input 3) large(r) display... pick any two, but all three are impossible. For instance, my primary gripe about the Blackberry is the small screen.

Can't We Have Both?
SuccessWizard @ 4/12/2002 1:35:37 PM #
I was reading the latest issue of Mobile Computing magazine and they reveiewed the Palm i705. A NEGATIVE in the review's bullet points was that the unit didn't have a built-in keyboard.

First, that's not actually true, all Palm's have the on screen keyboard.

Second, Palm rolled-out a thumbtype keyboard with the units for anyone that wants one. It's an add-on rather than an in-the-box accessory, but, it is clearly available.

I like having options. In the field, I tend to use graffiti more than anything. I have a Mini Keyboard with me usually, but, since it doesn't fit on the unit in my belt clip case, it's a little bit of a pain to implement on the fly.

When I'm palnning ahead with respect to note taking or answering emails, I clip my Mini Keyboard on and use it.

Finally, when I'm stationary and know I'll be taking notes or typing quite a bit, AND I have a solid surface, I whip out my Stowaway and mount my i705 on it.

Bottom line, if graffiti were to be phased out of Palm units -- for whatever reason -- I would try to make do with the last possible unit that had graffiti rather than go without. Graffiti has become a major part of my life and I'm not inclined to want to do with out it.

Mike Lohsl
Palm & ACT! Advisor

RE: Can't We Have Both?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:30:47 PM #
I agree... the whole thing I like about the Palm platform and all the compatibles is... choice! Use what you like and/or feel comfortable with.
RE: There is room - and need - for both
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:34:41 PM #
I even used Graffiti on my Newton.
Why not have both?
PIC mobile user @ 4/13/2002 10:34:18 AM #
I look forward to purchasing the Colour Treo with the keyboard version, and install Recoecho again and have Best of Both Worlds. What's the problem?
RE: There is room - and need - for both
tekawiz @ 10/24/2002 5:52:18 PM #
to the poster who was going to buy the coor Treo, I'd like to know what your experience is with keyboard vs graffitti?

Graffiti vs. keyboards

hotpaw4 @ 4/12/2002 1:35:57 PM #
I think even Hawkins called Graffiti a keyboard replacement input method. But when Handspring did some user tests on going back to keyboards, they found that people in focus groups split down the middle. Around half absolutely didn't want their Graffiti taken away. Given the market for Palm handhelds is several million units per year, half of several million is a large enough market to keep Graffiti around for a long time.

And Graffiti isn't strictly unistroke's the X character require duostrokes according to the built-in help.

RE: Graffiti vs. keyboards
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/13/2002 4:55:34 PM #
You CAN write an "X" in Graffiti without lifting the stylus. Just make the "shortcut" symbol oriented 90 degrees counterclockwise. Turn it another 90 degrees and you produce a "Y" and another 90 and you have a "K."
RE: Graffiti vs. keyboards
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/13/2002 5:26:02 PM #
Sorry... That's 90 degrees CLOCKwise.

Graffiti was my attraction to the Palm

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:00:21 PM #
When I was looking for a PDA, many years ago, Palm won out because of the Graffiti language. I find the small keyboards on other PDA's more aggravating than useful. Seeing that I can write directly onto the device, I was hooked. I've been an ardent fan of Palm since. Life without Graffiti? Now that would be sad!!!

are you kidding?

PIC mobile user @ 4/12/2002 2:21:27 PM #
once you have taken the day or two it takes to learn graffiti' i challenge anyone to match speed of entry using a keyboard many will find tedious. what a crying shame!

Keyboards not successful before Graffiti

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 2:25:08 PM #
I think you can make the argument that organizers before Graffiti should have sold a lot better if Graffiti wasn't a big improvement. I think the latest keyboard craze is a fad that will die out for Graffiti or something more efficient than Graffiti. It may also be attributed to new folks joining the handheld ranks who are not as tech savvy. The first time I tried Graffiti in 1996 was definitely one of those "ah-ha" moments when you try something truly useful & satisfying. I still feel some of that today even with the frustration we all feel with it sometimes.
RE: Keyboards not successful before Graffiti
nategall @ 4/12/2002 3:05:03 PM #
BUT that ignores the vast improvements which have been made to the handhelds, keyboards etc since then.

as people do more and more with their handheld, Graffiti's usefulness becomes an issue. Heck, if Graffiti was better then a keyboard wouldn't we be seeing it on desktop machines?

Graffiti is wonderful for entering a bit of information, it has very high speed-usability. From the time I take the palm out of my pocket, turn it on, open a contact and jot a name, i would still be setting up the keyboard on the desk or clipping it to the bottom of the palm. But, if i have to write a proposal on a time delay system for a dilution drain on acid tanks. Setting up the keyboard will pay off.

Keyboards are useful if the user is going to be "doing more" on the palm, with tasks that have heavy text entry. But a keyboard does not add ANYTHING to checking an appointment or setting an alarm (unless you are writing a long note to go with that alarm)

Personally, I would choose a palm with Graffiti over a keyboard built in.

nategall says "blah!"

The new keyboards are different
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/7/2002 3:20:35 AM #
The keyboards on the old WinCE machines and their contemporaries are ergonomically different that RIM-styled thumboards.

RIM keyboards, needless to say, were designed for thumbs rather than fingers. Unlike the older keyboards, the keys are non-contiguous, which prevents the accidentally hitting adjacent keys.

The more the handheld is designed for stylus-free operation, the more fluid the input. The Treo and especially the Blackberry minimize or even eliminate the need to pull out a stylus by navigating via keys and a jog wheel.

I do prefer the handwriting agnostic character recognition of Graffiti to the allegedly "more natural" HRW schemes of Transcriber and the like. And Graffiti was clearly superior to the keyboards released a decade ago. But the state of the art has shifted.


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 3:27:17 PM #
I have an original Visor platinum and I love it, but for some reason, whenever I started "writing" too fast in the graffiti area, the accuracy would be so horrid that I just gave up. THEN I tried my mother's Palm Vx recently during a family visit and I found the real problem. The graffiti surface on the Vx FEELS less slippery than the Platinum's. It also FEELS less like I'm pushing on a layer of plastic and more like I'm writing on a real surface. I could "write" pretty fast with very high accuracy because of a better writing surface.

I also tried out a friend's Handera 330 and fell in love with virtual graffiti, but am holding off for color, BUT "normal" graffiti would not be so bad if the surface is that good.

Has anyone else gotten frustrated with graffiti because the dedicated surface on your device is inadequate?

RE: Curious:
Kesh @ 4/12/2002 10:43:46 PM #
Get a pack of WriteRights. They're thin plastic sheets that go on your Visor's screen, including the Graffiti area. That should give you the feeling you're looking for. I got some as a Christmas gift, and not only do they protect the glass from getting scratched, they make for a better surface to write on.

RE: Curious:
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 12:33:56 PM #
I know you must of heard this before, but it works. Try using tape over the graffiti area, or place a thin ammount of oil over the screen and use a napkin to rub it in. Your stylus will glide through, and you wont have to think about scratching up your screen.

The Danger of SMS

Romanov @ 4/12/2002 3:49:27 PM #
SMS has generated a huge amount of business in Europe. While the SMS format is unsuitable for length text messages, the entry input is often based on text input via no mare than 16 keys (0-9 plus a few # * etc keys) and word recognition software. I have seen loads of people write short text messages using the number pad as fast if not faster than I can grafitti or even type with my SnapNType.

If smartphones are the future is there a danger that these smartphones will use the same input technique and the future is not the Qwerty keyboard but a 0-9 number pad. The phone companies already have a legion of teenagers who understand how to fast input by this keypad method and yesterday's tenagers are tomorrows PDA buyers.

If the recognition software could be improved to write according to a person's personal vocabulary the future will be numberpad.


Nic Hughes

RE: The Danger of SMS
Kesh @ 4/12/2002 10:47:46 PM #
Sorry to hear you feel threatened by this. Personally, I think anything that lets me (accurately) input information to my handheld faster is a *good* thing. That being said, have you seen the messages that come across the phones? It makes AOL-speak look like a master's thesis. :)

RE: The Danger of SMS
cyruski @ 4/14/2002 5:41:28 AM #
I love T9 on my phone but hate it on my Palm.


Graffiti is a must!

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 4:08:25 PM #
I absolutely would never want a key board only device. In fact I am amazed some people might
want this. Of course I can understand people getting there add ons for long data entry. I too if
is some long journal article or the like will type it on the computer and then sync. But I love palms
and one of the things I love about them is there bringing graffiti to the world.


RE: Graffiti is a must!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 7:27:37 PM #
"I absolutely would never want a key board only device. In fact I am amazed some people might
want this."

I have to agree to an extent. But remember that's there choice, they know what is best for them. I think it's great to have a keyboard if you are not always on the go. As for me, I don't have time to sit down and lay the keyboard to type information, but why not? It will save me lots of time if I wrote an article or something. BUT, I myself, personally think graffiti is the way to go. And the onscreen keyboard is not too bad its self (get keyboard hack). Graffiti is here to stay.

And the survey says....

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 5:07:01 PM #
...that this should be the next PIC poll:
- full size keyboard,
- thumb keyboard,
- virtual keyboard,
- fitality, et al,
- grafitti
- natural handwriting (other letters)
- grafitti II (e.g. something like grafitti but not Xerox owned if that's possible).

Would be interesting to see primary method preference and also second alternate choice (i.e. different that which primary choice receives the second most votes)

Personally, I can't see how the appeal won't be successful (can one patent a language?) but it is a very good question anyway, regardless of the lawsuit.

Graffiti Rules

Ou_Boet @ 4/12/2002 5:21:43 PM #
While I own and use (extensively) a GoType k/b I would never buy a PalmOS device without Graffiti. It's small, relatively fast and accurate. PDA's are just that PDA's, we all have a PC or MAC to do our heavy duty typing. I like the small form factor or my Palm. I only chose to add a k/b laster to extend it's funtionality.

My 2 cents


Any device can have one more useful feature added.

Graffiti is not Handwriting Recognition

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 5:26:18 PM #
It is character recognition.

The distinction is important when one looks at why Graffiti was developed: Because the early versions of the NewtonOS HWR didn't work very well.

Graffiti is built for lightweight and simple PDA's without the horsepower to handle true HWR, like most PalmOS machines. Now that PalmOS machines are beginning to compete with, and become full-featured, high-horsepower PDAs, the time for Graffiti is over.

RE: Graffiti is not Handwriting Recognition
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 7:51:10 PM #
It's called gesture typing.

RE: Graffiti is not Handwriting Recognition
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 9:59:01 AM #
I like Newton OS :)

No graffiti, no palm for me.

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 5:57:07 PM #
Without Graffiti, what's the point?
I'd end up getting a Pocket PC.

The ability to quickly enter data while standing up in a store and without taking my eyes off the screen is very important. Graffiti was the sole reason I bought the original Palm Pilot to begin with.

Palm survives only because it's most basic function, data entry, is the most efficient out there. Without that, Pocket PC kicks Palm's ass all over the floor.

Palm is waaaaay behind on graphics, sound, and desktop application integration.

Death of Graffiti would be death of Palm. Without it, Palm will simply be playing catch up to Microsoft.

I have a Clie T615, and I love it. I like the NR series, but would rather omit the keyboard for a smaller and thinner form factor.


RE: No graffiti, no palm for me.
cyruski @ 4/14/2002 5:42:20 AM #


What a load of horse ****.

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 6:10:15 PM #
It just kills me that people see a single "article" (and I use the term generously) that espouses a single (IMHO, ill-informed) individual's opinion about something, and it's immediately taken as Gospel! "The sky is falling! Graffiti is dying!"

Give me a ****ing break.

There is absolutely *no* evidence that this is happening. The Xerox lawsuit? It's groundless, and will never impact on Palm's business. It will most likely be thrown out of court.

Keyboards have *always* been around. No news there.

There are *many* Graffiti replacements, yet none have taken off and overtaken Graffiti as the input method of choice. Why? Because Graffiti works best for the majority of users.

Even the Newton was only usable with Graffiti installed (again, IMHO...the Newton's built-in HWR sucked, even on the MP2100).

I looks to me like somebody's just trying to increase their web site hit count.

RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 7:24:59 PM #
>I looks to me like somebody's just trying to increase >their web site hit count.

I'm inclined to agree. Looks like it's working, though.

RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 7:43:35 PM #
> The Xerox lawsuit? It's groundless, and will never impact on Palm's business.
> It will most likely be thrown out of court.

Hate to break it to you but it has *already* affected Palm's business. Palm already lost the first case and it is in appeal. The day they lost the court case, their stock price took a hit it hasn't recovered from yet. I agree that Xerox's case is bogus but since when has that had any affect on the court systyem? Turns out your ignorant opinions don't mean squat.

RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 7:47:56 PM #
> I looks to me like somebody's just trying to increase their web site hit count.

Oh my god! Your right. How dare they expess their opinions? Especially ones you don't agree with becusae anyone who holds any opinioon different from yours is clearly a crazy moron out to destroy all we hold dear. They should be torn into little bitty pieces and buried alive!! Down with the free expession of ideas!!

RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 1:53:16 AM #
Original poster = serious jerkoff.

Get a life dude. Ed is entitled to state his opinion on his website. And brush up on IP law you f***ing moron. However doubtful it may be in your case, you just might learn something about how business is done in this country and stop spouting your puerile, ignorant BS.

RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 11:33:54 AM #

All of you.

RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 1:32:50 PM #
How amazingly sage. You should have a regular spot on Crossfire.
RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 3:04:24 PM #
> I looks to me like somebody's just trying to increase their web site hit count.

Looks to me like someone who runs a rival handheld website (PDABuzz maybe?) pissed off at how successful PIC is.

RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 9:46:07 PM #
Why is it that people respond to dissenting opinions by citing the RIGHT of the original person to state his opinion? For the record, it is possible to disagree, as this poster did, and still support Ed's right to say whatever he wants. In fact, if you read the comment, the poster's concern seems to be how others blindly accepted Ed's comments as true in other words how the mere existance of an editorial can establish a particular view, even though that point of view may not be valid. That others attack the original poster instead of arguing the merits of the issue he raised is telling. Are you so sure he's actually wrong?
RE: What a load of horse ****.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 6:20:51 PM #
> For the record, it is possible to disagree, as this poster did, and still
> support Ed's right to say whatever he wants.

That's not what the orignial poster did at all. Much of his post, especially the last line, was a clear attack on Ed's right to give his opinion.


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 6:30:40 PM #
Does anyone here use tealscript???
I installed it like 2 weeks after I had my first palm..
(A palm III) and have had it ever since on all my palms. Actually, I'm still using the same profile on my 760 as I originally trained on the palm III. I could not stand graffiti because I would learn it and then forget how to write for real!! well.. not really - but it was strange to me. However, I love tealscript, and I couldn't stand using one of those tiny keyboards. I have a stowaway for when I really need to type someting, but for jotting a note handwriting recognition can't be beat in my opinion. Palm should include something like tealscript - with a graffiti profile for those of us that like graffiti - and a couple of generic handwriting profiles that people could modify to their specific style.

keyboards are Ok but not THE answer

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 6:48:13 PM #
As I read through the posts people are comparing keyboards with graffiti. Obviously, A keyboard is more efficient. But the Thumbboards out today are not keyboards in the strictest sense. Someone, who types 60wpm on a keytronic keyboard will never duplicate the speed or ease of data entry on a thumbboard. Graffiti is a reasonable data entry tool that works well on the fly and at a low overhead (hardware) cost. As all technologies march forward of course graffiti is dying, as are PC's, and video tapes, but reports of graffiti's death are greatly exagerated. Even if Xerox prevails, a sylus based input method will still be the input choice for the masses.


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 8:07:14 PM #
It is possible to write at 50+ wpm with graffiti. Like calligraphy or any form of writing which is a little different to master - some practice is required. While a keyboard may be the solution for the lazy amongst us who actually wnjoy "henpecking" a tiny keyboard...graffiti is easy to master and highly efficient once mastered. I for one would be greatly disappointed if a tiny minimally useful keyboard replaced the utility of grafitti. As for the Xerox is a sign of the times that courts reward the litigant...however baseless the claim. Society needs to take a long hard look at it self - not to mention its legal fraternity and say "enough is enough" - refusing frivilous law suits and going back to a common sense basis in law. After all - it is the end user who has to put up with the sharp end of a legal win - in all its beaurocratic and annoying consequences.
RE: Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 9:00:06 PM #
Probably one of the fastest Graffiti runs in a controlled setting with a memorized paragraph hit 49wpm per

The next closest Graffiti showing was 37wpm.

You can never do a stroke as fast as a key tap. Virtual keyboards will always be faster than any character recognition, no matter how "efficient" it is.

RE: Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 4:38:57 AM #
dunno...maybe I'm the unrecognised world champion...or maybe everyone else in the world bar me is stupid (a theory to which I have for a long time subscribed)...either way...50+ it is. I know. I use it on the mwedical wards all day every day. If you have evr done a ward round you know how fast it goes...
RE: Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 2:25:45 PM #
Well, if you do Graffiti as well as you type, your error rate would knock your wpm down to the 20's. "everyone bar me", "mwedical". LOL!

If you allow for error rates like that, I can easily do 100wpm with FITALY.

RE: Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 4:20:07 PM # medal point there...a winner no doubt here as in all other aspects of your life...
RE: Graffiti
orb2069 @ 4/14/2002 5:07:57 PM #
'Everyone bar me' isen't a typo. Awkward, yes. Typo, no.

3. To except to exclude by exception.
Nay, but I bar to-night: you shall not gauge me By what we do to-night. --Shak.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

Either grow up and quit trolling, or at least get your **** straight.

I /am/ the eggman.

Grafitti is needs to be re-worked

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 8:07:55 PM #
Let's face it - when Apple invented this technology they wanted people to just normally write on a pad and have a computer recognize the strokes/translate them and blah.
They found out the hard way that one has to teach a machine to do exactly that . Since we are in America, where it is totally cool to complain if your custom-made burger is not ready in 30 seconds. the teaching bit obviously didn't fly. Handwriting can be quite distinct.
Grafitti is the Palm group's answer. Being a Geek I excell at Grafitti, but I still have to slow down people on the phone when they give me their number. Typically one in ten entered is wrong.
I am very proficient in Grafitti and that makes me wonder. Wonder why the entire Grafitti mechanism hasn't been worked on since the inception of the Palm. There are several crucial items that are available to educated users that should be part of the standard.
I have my m505 loaded up w/ WordSmith and QED and MagicText. I am also an advanced user.
In the long run I believe that Palm performed a service and has established a standard. That is Grafitti. Millions of people have learned Graffiti like Millions have learned the Mouse. Grafitti needs to be much better and offer most options carried now by Hacks. Since the current solution of Grafitti hasn't been worked on in 5 years, there is a lot of stuff to do before we aboandon it.


RE: Grafitti is needs to be re-worked
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 9:03:03 PM #
I agree. There are a lot of people that use and know how to use Grafitti. It shouldn't be abandoned. That is ever!
RE: Grafitti is needs to be re-worked
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 2:19:40 AM #
right and we all should use pre-alphabet greek symbols or mesopotamian writing system instead of modern way of writing, ..

hey while we are at it, why don't we just grunt and club each other instead of using PDA in modern language.

...Hey, while we're at it...
orb2069 @ 4/14/2002 4:56:20 PM #
Why don't we get rid of anonymous accounts? Are they doing ANY good?

I /am/ the eggman.
RE: Grafitti is needs to be re-worked
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 7:55:25 AM #
>Why don't we get rid of anonymous accounts? Are they >doing ANY good?

Yes, because they provide a sick kind of humor in an otherwise way too serious discussion by a group of technology geeks. So there. Naaaaaaaaaa! :b

Apple didn't invent any of this
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/22/2002 6:04:19 AM #
Handwriting recognition for human-computer interaction, both using natural writing and invented alphabets, goes back to the 1960's. Sorry, but Apple didn't invent any of this technology. As with most of Apple's products, they pick some nice technologies developed elsewhere and integrate them well using some nice software.

Is Graffiti Dying

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 9:01:20 PM #
The whole notion that Graffiti is dying is more of a study in the change of the user than the early demise of the text recognition application.
I have used Graffiti since it's inception, starting with the Pilot 5000 and found it to be very intuitive and easy to learn, albeit something that requires effort... Just how much "effort" is involved and whether that effort is objectionable is debateable.
I am able to use Graffiti to keep on the fly tour notes while walking and talking. Sometimes I will go back and edit these notes using Graffiti, Less often I will edit them using Palm Desktop. In either case, the initial method of capturing my thoughts is with Graffiti and I can't imagine using a tinie weenie keyboard whilst walking and talking and trying to take notes.
For me, the Palm device allows me to spontaneously capture my thoughts while on the go. Something I think this particular Mobile device excels at.
Unfortunately, I believe if Graffiti were to die it would be a death knell to the Palm OS until some other kind of text recognition software were licensed to take its place.
RE: Is Graffiti Dying
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 12:25:00 AM #
good grief, can we say neo-luddite?

I am sure whatever new Palm model it would be able to include grafitti simulator, just like Pocket PC.


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 11:58:12 PM #
Dump graffiti and invest the same money, space on the Palm, and other energy into the purpose of the Palm -- simplification of life's hassles, not the addition of a quasi-foreign language requirement.
RE: graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 1:37:33 AM #
I used to be a BIG Graffiti Evangelist. However, ever since I got my keyboard Treo I have been annoyed by the graffiti on my Visor Prism. I find that everytime I want to use the Prism I want to type. BTW I find that thumb typing is much better for long writing such as e-mails and much more satisfying to use (if this makes any sense to you). I am able to write about 32 WPM in Graffiti.

Graffiti, the past, present & future

kevinbgood @ 4/13/2002 6:29:11 AM #
It seems to me that as I read the articles people are posting, as well as Ed's comments on the demise of Graffiti, that one thing is clear. The future of Graffiti is uncertain.
Think about this a minute. Xerox wins the case, Graffiti as we know it ceases to exit, or does it. A few minor changes to the text and you have another type of character recognition. Hawkins was no idiot when he spent countless hours doodling on paper to create Graffiti. Perhaps, stuck in the wings of the design group at Palm is an alternative that they have been holding in case of an emergency. Who knows?
As for the keyboard/thumb board arena, I have a folding Palm keyboard and use it for extensive note taking, but my preference is Graffiti. I find that my clients are intrigues by the simplicity of it and actually catch on quickly when they try it. Graffiti is a wonderful recognition method. Granted there are a few others that do well, but Graffiti seems to be very efficient. Besides, if I wanted to always use a thumb board or on screen keyboard, hmmm, I might just pull out my old Radio Shack databank and put a battery in it.
Anyway, I agree with the others that Xerox will not likely win this case and Palm will continue to move forward.

Addicted to Palm

If Palm stops using graffity they lose ...

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 6:48:04 AM #
If Palm stops using graffity they loose the features that have made the Palm OS famous.

1) Size: most people (specially non-power users) choose Palm OS instead of PPC for their size. With a tumb keyboard size will be increased, specially if they use a large screen like the NR.

2) Quick data entry: Most people (unlike us) just use their palm OS handheld as a glorified agenda. They just want the convinience of taking their palm out of their pocket and quickly enter a phone number. With a keyboard you would have to be switching between styluas and keyboard.

Finally the average sized fingers are two big for the tiny keys of a tumb keyboard.

''It's not only the technology, s*****.''

robrecht @ 4/13/2002 10:58:36 AM #
Its not so amazing how much passion there is out there about grafitti.

I hate the idea of using a thumbboard and would probably switch from a Palm to a super tiny laptop if grafitti and folding keyboards start to disappear.

Thanks, Robrecht

grafftti dying?

PIC mobile user @ 4/13/2002 11:42:20 AM #
i was surprised when i saw this news. graffiti isn't that hard after all, it just takes a while to master it. why must replace graffiti with a system which is not efficient? I agree that it is quite troublesome to learn grafftti but with its efficiency, it is really worth it.

A Graffiti Fan

PIC mobile user @ 4/13/2002 2:39:29 PM #
Although I agree that many people seem intimidated by Grafitti, my experience is that just giving someone the opportunity to try out my PDA by writing large, capital letters usually overcomes their resistance.
My first PDA was a Palm Pilot 500, I have upgraded 5 times, and plan to purchase a new device when Palm OS 5.0 is available, but I really don't think I would buy a PDA without graffiti (or at least some type of stylus-entry function). My guess is that many others feel the same, hopefully our business is worth keeping.

Sorry, Ed, I think you're all wet...:-)

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 2:48:22 PM #
>I don't think I'm the only person who feels this way, >either.

Obviously not, but the comments on this board make it equally obvious that Graffiti is an indispensable part of many Palm users experience.

>Though Handspring put out two versions of the Treo, >one with Graffiti and one without, I've heard from >several company executives who say they expect the >non-Graffiti version to sell better.

It's a telephone, Ed (albeit a fancy one). I wouldn't base an opinion on the demise of Graffiti on telephone sales.

>One of the big selling points RIM is using for the >Blackberry is that you can just type your emails, you >don't have to learn some arcane writing system.

Good point, if email was all Palms were used for. I seldom do.

>Also, Sony's new NR series has a built-in keyboard >and Palm offers a clip-on keyboard for the i705.

Exactly. Choice. Keyboard AND Graffiti.

>Finally, one of the best-selling categories of >peripherals is keyboards of one kind or another.

Sure, but isn't the reason obvious? Graffiti, for a touch-typist writing anything of any length, has got to suck. Does that mean they have quit using Graffiti all together? No.

>Taken together, these seem like fairly compelling >evidence to me that there is a lot of support for >Palm handhelds without Graffiti.

'Compelling'? I'm not swayed so easily. I think your opinion is on shaky ground. You offer no pertinent statistics or studies to support your argument. Seems to be more a "gut" feeling brought on by your own experience with PDAs one that is heavy on typing and light on activities that are stylus/Graffiti oriented, like maintaining an inventory database.

Having said that, you might be proven correct down the road. All I know for certain is that when PDAs are no longer a pen-based device, I'll no longer own a PDA.

RE: Sorry, Ed, I think you're all wet...:-)
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 10:30:42 PM #
Ah, finally an intelligent response.

Yes, I found this line quite interesting as well:

>Though Handspring put out two versions of the Treo, >one with Graffiti and one without, I've heard from >several company executives who say they expect the >non-Graffiti version to sell better.

"Several" executives from a company that has an investment in the sales of a particular product "expect" the non-Graffiti version to sell better. The Treo may be a wonderful little hybrid unit, but using it as an example of the direction the entire Palm OS market will take with regards to Graffiti use at this point is at best very premature.

>Finally, one of the best-selling categories of >peripherals is keyboards of one kind or another.

I am one of those numerous keyboard purchasers. But if I were to calculate the number of letters I have typed on the keyboard, it would fall very short of the overall text entry I have done on my PDA. I know I have the option of the on-screen keyboard as well. I still prefer Graffiti (and that is even with having a HandEra that has the keyboard in the Gaffiti area). If I had to give up either Graffiti or my keyboard, guess which one it would be?

>Taken together, these seem like fairly compelling >evidence to me that there is a lot of support for >Palm handhelds without Graffiti.

I have to agree with the previous post there is nothing compelling about this "evidence".

"Is Graffiti dying?" Doubt it.

RE: Sorry, Ed, I think you're all wet...:-)
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 10:50:38 AM #
>Though Handspring put out two versions of the Treo, one >with Graffiti and one without, I've heard from several >company executives who say they expect the non-Graffiti >version to sell better.

Remember that the Treo's main competitor is the Rim Blackberry. The blackberry is a pager not a handheld computer.

When it comes to handheld computers people definitely prefeer graffity or other handwriting method. Handhelds are about quick and convinient data entry as well as small size.

Here is a fact: why did Micro $oft started making its handhelds with a graffity like input method and eliminated the keyboard(ie. palm clones)?

The first Win CE devices did had a keyboard but they floped.

RE: Sorry, Ed, I think you're all wet...:-)
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 6:26:20 PM #
> "Several" executives from a company that has an investment in the sales of a
> particular product "expect" the non-Graffiti version to sell better. The Treo may
> be a wonderful little hybrid unit, but using it as an example of the direction the
> entire Palm OS market will take with regards to Graffiti use at this point is at
> best very premature.

Handspring sells BOTH keyboard and non-keyboard versions of the Treo. They don't really care which is more popular. All they have done is say they expect the one with the keyboard to do better.

The Treo is the only PDA with both a keyboard and non-keyboard version. Sales of it are the BEST indication of which way people would rather enter text.

RE: Sorry, Ed, I think you're all wet...:-)
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 7:53:21 AM #
>The Treo is the only PDA with both a keyboard and non->keyboard version. Sales of it are the BEST indication >of which way people would rather enter text.

It's a phone.

Microsoft's Graffiti

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 4:06:21 PM #
Why hasn't Xerox sued Microsoft for their total ripoff of Graffiti in Pocket PC 2002?
RE: Microsoft's Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 11:24:13 PM #

Palm lawyers == 98 lb. weaking
Microsoft lawyers == Godzilla/King King/Mothra all rolled up into one

Seriously though, I'm not positive but I actually remember seeing somewhere that Microsoft actually paid a licensing fee to use this technology. Not positive on that however.

Besides, think about it:

1. Block Recognizer only appears on Pocket PC 2002 units only.

2. All Pocket PC 2002 units have mandatory Flash ROM.

3. Flash ROM can be updated and the Block Recognizer removed.

Unfortunately for Palm, Graffiti is an intregal part of the OS and is silkscreened on 99% of PalmOS units
Palm. Microsoft definitely went the right route with the soft input panel. Hardwired Graffiti was fine 4 years ago but is really ridiculous now. HandERA and Sony both know it, but Palm Inc. is in denial....


Because Microsoft is PAYING Xerox.
orb2069 @ 4/14/2002 4:54:31 PM #
That's why.

I /am/ the eggman.

Jot, handwriting recognition

PIC mobile user @ 4/14/2002 8:32:00 AM #
What about alternate text input systems? CIC puts out Jot which is a lot closer to normal handwriting. One version lets you write anywhere on the screen. Wordcomplete allows intuitive completion of words you begin like MS Word's autocomplete feature. Type 'use' and 'useful' pops up as a choice

Other programs (e.g. Calligrapher) are available that recognize handwriting.
With the increased processor speed and memory of Palm OS 5 handhelds to come, a more robust and flexible recognition package might just work.

Otherwise, we could see a whole new type of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

RE: Jot, handwriting recognition
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 12:56:59 PM #
See thread above. Jot, OK. But Calligrapher will NEVER be available for PalmOS say its developers. Unfortunately, it will be on Pocket PCs exclusively.
RE: Jot, handwriting recognition
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 6:12:54 PM #
I LOVE Jot. Everyone who say graffiti suck should try this program before you make such comments.
With Jot, all you have to do is write like you would on a piece of paper and there is no restrictions on how to write each letter. It recognizes different ways of writing each letter by itself.

If keyboards are the future, why M$ stopped using them?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 10:58:15 AM #
When the first microsoft handhelds (Win CE) came out they had thumb keyboards.

Now newer generation Wince and acutal PPC use a similar form factor to the Palm OS handhelds and no keyboard (like Cassiopia, IPAQ, Maestro...). And these newer deviced without keyboards have been selling better than the older onew with keyboards. (acutally there are some PPC devices with keyboards, but they are touch type not thumb keyboards which defeats their portability.

The future os handhelds is definitely small devides with some form of handwritting recognition 9graffity or els) and M$ definitely knows it.

RE: If keyboards are the future, why M$ stopped using them?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 11:18:36 AM #
I just hope Xerox goes again MSoft.

MS lawyers leave Xerox lawyers crying like little babies.
Xerox shoud pay for their offense to Palm OS users.

Handera330 useful: Virtual Keyboard in Soft Graffiti

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 11:24:29 AM #
I'm using a Handera 330 without Graffiti. Instead, there is a prog. that puts a virtual keyboard in the soft-graffiti-area, whichs lets you keep the full screen.

I use this for to-do's and short memos. It's slow, but
I didn't like graffiti since I've "unlearned" a clear
handwriting. It works alright, but it is not fast.
for a while I used it in combination with text-plus, which is a relief, but it has display-problems with the Handera.

For longer texts, I use the PPK -since I learned typewriting, its the fastest solution and I'm very
happy with it (PPK for Palm III is 50 EUR in German Online-Shops).

I also tried Handwriting-Recognition for Palm (e.g. JOT), but it was slower than virtual keyboard.

My conclusion is: a combination of soft-graffiti area and virtual keyboard seems to be smallest, most universal and cheapest.

RE: Handera330 useful: Virtual Keyboard in Soft Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 9:05:49 AM #
This is why the virtual Graffiti with the HanderaKB overlay is the most potent feature of the Handera 330.
If I want to use Grafitti (which is most of the time) I can. If I want to type, I can do that without using up
any more screen real estate than the Graffiti area uses. If I want to use the entire screen, I can get rid
of the Grafitti area completely. And with the "standard" serial port, I can use my GoType keyboard when
I need to take really fast notes in a meeting and need to look at what the presenter is doing while typing
(I can't even do that by writing on a pad of paper).

Note that I *DO* use all forms of data entry available to me and I have become used to having the
flexibility to switch back and forth as the situation suggests. And since the Grafitti area is virtual, I can
even overlay multiple keyboard layouts If I want to. Well, only if some kind soul writes an overlay for it.

I know many people who have a Palm, Sony or Handspring, and when I give them my address (and
they don't have it beamed to them), I see them tapping away at their pop-up keyboard. I ask why they
don't use Grafitti, and they say it's too much to learn, and not as accurate as tap-typing. Of course,
I also know just as many people who use Grafitti.

-- Paul

So when does Palm start paying Xerox or stop using Graffiti?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 8:11:34 PM #
Can Palm increase the OS license fee from $8 beginning with OS5 or are they locked in for a few more years??? $8 ain't going to feed the bulldog.
RE: So when does Palm start paying Xerox or stop using Graff
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 9:21:04 PM #
Whether Palm will have to do either of these isn't certain. Palm is appealing and a date for that hasn't even been set.

Getting Rid of Graffiti?!?!

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 11:48:56 AM #
PLEASE DON'T! If I had to go to a thumb keyboard and wanted to type with any sort of speed I would have to hold the darn thing with both hands and hunt and peck with my thumbs. HOW FRUSTRATING! With graffiti I can just lay my Palm down and work with one hand quickly. I use graffiti to take notes in my graduate courses. It is VERY easy to learn. Besides, I use my Palm at work in place of a computer or a laptop to type newsletters and other papers. I use the full size Palm Portable Keyboard. I could NOT live without this keyboard! If we put thumb keyboards on Palms, will this mean an end to the full size keyboards? If so, the very reason I firt bought the palm, to be able to type documents anywhere, any time, will be thrown out the window. I refused to buy the Sony Clie (even with its high resolution screen) because it does not have a full size keyboard.

Graffiti is a must (or something like it)

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 12:20:37 PM #
I have owned a palm since the Palm Pilot personal. One of the most important features was no keyboard with character recognition. I have no problem with alternate models to market to the Graffiti resistant, but I want my graffiti, as a simple quick way to enter small amounts of text.

BTW to improve and speed up graffiti entry do the following things.

1. Buy a plastic screen protector and at least cover the graffiti area - improved tactile feed back.

2. Buy Tealecho that "paints" your keystrokes - visual feedback.

3. Buy word completion software, such as quick write - it will double your speed at graffiti entry.


how bizarre

PIC mobile user @ 4/15/2002 7:11:08 PM #
This is the first time I've ever heard this suggested as a reason for not buying a Palm, & I must say I find it bizarre. While I'm in agreement that a keyboard is very handy for extended compositions, I find it a hindrence for others. Putting an item in my calendar, jotting down a short note, or even more basically locating a contact using the first letters of their name (often written with the antennae of my cel phone instead of the stylus) is much easier for me than finding the corresponding letters on a thumb operated keyboard...I think the reasons for the slow down in sales has more to do with the fact that most people view PDA's as fancy Filofaxes, & they really don't have much use for them either. I can't tell you how many salesmen I know who have been given Palms, Ipaqs, & Blackberries & they're all sitting in drawers collecting dust...the only tool being used regularly is the cel phone. It stores all the numbers they need-email seems to still be secondary and handled from the office...


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/15/2002 10:50:57 PM #
Don't mean to sound like a die-hard, but Graffiti is so simple to learn, it seems that anyone should be ashamed to have to admit defeat to such a user-friendly product. If it is simply a matter of licensing, Palm should buy the license, and launch a campaign on the ease of Graffiti. Include a tutorial on both their web-site, AND on the Palm. What about so many users who have mastered Graffiti in less than a half an hour and used it ever since? Everything worthwhile takes at least SOME time! Will such persons be moved to upgrade to a keyboard model? If Palm has any sense at all, they will think about the millions of users who are supporting them. Sadly, though, it does not seem that Palm cares much about faithful users or any users for that matter.

Bluetooth Impact on Graffii

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/16/2002 9:43:32 AM #
The issue of whether to build-in or attach a keyboard will be greatly impacted by Bluetooth for the user who is seated at a desk or tray-table, a small, portable bluetooth keyboard would allow mid-to-long entry of data, emails, etc. For on-the-go use, a supercharged graffiti-like Handwriting system would allow more efficient, faster entry of short-to-mid information. And, to fill the gap, picture a small Bluetooth hand-held keypad. As long as the keyboard and PDA don't have to be physically connected, Graffitti (and it's successors) can co-exisit with keyboards.

P. Brown

lacks numbers and statistics...

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/16/2002 10:27:31 AM #
This editorial lacks numbers and statistics.

Is graffiti dying?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/16/2002 10:49:11 AM #
I hope you are right. BUT when the HP 200LX was king of PDA's all the know it alls couldn't find enough fault with the keyboard. In fact it was perfect for someone that only wanted to use the device for business. I hope either HP or Handera makes another one that runs on batteries and has the calculator and is eaiy to work twith and sync as the Palm devices.

Most of us can't touch type either !

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/16/2002 12:47:01 PM #
One of the overlooked benefits of Grafitti that I can't get enough of (besides the simple learning curve which is easy to crack in under 10 mins) is that I can jot a note down without having to look at my PalmIIIxe's screen.

Despite spending every day on a keyboard, I've never managed to touch type, but being able to quickly jot down a note without looking has proved invaluable.

P.S Has anyone else noticed 'Graffiti-isms' in their normal handwriting yet ?


Re: Is Graffiti Dying?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/16/2002 5:41:53 PM #
I personally want the choice to carry around a keyboard or not.
A lot of information comes from the desktop by synching and most of entering on the road are corrections and small add-ons (or creating a new contact once a while).

If Graffiti get's replaced, I hope by some kind of speach recognition (even silent speach recognition as under development for mobile phones).

Rolf Gloor
Palm Pilot, Palm III and presently Palm m105

Graffiti was a fluke

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/17/2002 3:31:42 AM #
Graffiti should never have caught on. It's an awful input system: it's slow and it still requires learning from the user. People have had better handheld writing systems for years, and even a small keyboard is better. Palm succeeded despite Graffiti, not because of it, and it's time that it gets retired.

graffiti is cool

PIC mobile user @ 4/17/2002 11:32:00 PM #
I think Graffiti should stay with the Palm platform. While the new Clie NR series has a built in keyboard, it still has the virtual graffiti area. Xerox is a dumb greedy company who sues everybody because they want everything to themselves.

I love graffity

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2002 12:59:22 AM #
Can you imagine me after shopping spree in the loaded bus with 3 full bags writing memo with keyboard???
As to built-ins...Palm is SMALL and fits to handy places. I will NOT upgrade if it means bigger size. I'd bought laptop, if I'd wanted that.
With graffity I can write wherever an idea hits me - even jogging, and on bumpy busrides,and in the dark.Though I'm not very fluent, it still beats the virtual keyboard (impossible to hit, when on the vehicle). I use that when I want speed or for longer entries.
RE: I love graffity
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2002 2:48:37 AM #
Agreed. Graffiti is a absolutely necessary. I will not even consider buying a pda which has one of those chicklet keyboards.

Off Base

PIC mobile user @ 4/25/2002 6:03:11 PM #
I must disagree with the author's premise. I have not yet seen a more convenient, compact, and effecient way of entering text. Handhelds are 'portable'. It you need to do large amounts of data entry buy a laptop. Unfortunately with the increased power and ram there is the misconception that handhelds are laptops. Until voice recognition or virtual keyboards we will be left with graffiti.

To Graffiti or To Type Portability and User Interface

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/25/2002 10:44:00 PM #
I do like Graffiti, just because it is available only with the Palm handheldd unit.

And, I like Palm handheld because it is the thin and one of the most portable handheld implementation.

But, I also do prefer using keyboard when I have to enter anything more than couple of sentences. I prefer using something like Q-Pad from tDevice, not just because I work for them, but it is really portable. It is a keyboard built into the leather case - slim leather case, about as big as any other leather case for Palm. see more at
If I have to type 10 page report, then I would use folding keyboard or laptop.

For PDA data entry, PORTABILITY is very important. For any data entry USER INTERFACE is most important. Due to these needs by general public, some type of keyboard is inevitable for sometime. Maybe until voice data entry is reality.

Very good article!

is Graffiti Dying?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/4/2002 7:46:21 PM #
Unfortunatly, the answer is probably yes. I use my Palm III extensively for taking notes while on various project sites. Learning Graffiti was easy - I now have an occasional tendency to write Graffiti on paper, which upsets our secretary when she has to type a report.

Using a keyboard in the field while standing on top of a stucture just isn't an option. I either use the on screen keypad or Graffiti, whichever is quicker for the entry in process.

If I want to use a keyboard later, for editing my notes when I get to a more suitable location with any sort of table, I use a folding keyboard.

The reason I bought a Palm in the first place was to record notes in the field and was small, and easily carried, with download facility to a PC once I got back to our office, where the field notes could be transferred directly to reports where required.

OK so the Palm was never intended as field equipment, but after two years of using it in windy, rainy, hot and cold conditions, I have no complaints. There are some limitations of course, but these can be worked round easily.

External keypads have a limited use. The screen keypad is useful, so is Graffiti.

The thumboard design revolution

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/7/2002 4:05:54 AM #
I love Graffiti, but times have changed.

The Blackberry, the Treo, the Zarus, and the proliferation of thumboard attachments to Palm and PPC devices should not be confused with the inferior mini-keyboards that made space saving input strategies like Graffiti so popular.

1. The keys are non-contiguous, so your fingers don't accidentally hit the nearby keys.

2. By spacing the keys in a more-or-less square rather than rectangular format, and reducing the size of the keys, handhelds can still retain the more popular Palm-sized form factor -- avoiding the checkbook width of clamshell Psion and early WinCE handhelds.

3. Like Graffiti, there is a learning curve, but most thumboard converts find themselves matching or exceeding their hard-won Graffiti speeds in less than a week. For those who've never tried both, try this thought experiment: would you dial faster on a cell phone with Graffiti instead of a T9 keypad?

4. The thumboard requires virtually no instruction. Pressing marked keys will always be easier for the newbie than learning a glyph set, the same way the GUI will always be easier for the newbie than the CLI.

MyScript, Handwriting Recognition Software

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/13/2002 12:19:52 PM #
HI Ed, do you know MyScript, our new handwriting recognition software for PalmOS devices ?

Best Regards

Christophe NARPINIAN
Sales and Marketing Manager

Graffiti and new form of writing

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/26/2002 5:43:23 PM #
I think all this new form of writing will be obsolete. The form that will win over will be dictation - voice recognition. It is available in its infancy now, but in the future, you will be able to dictate, and it will be able to translate it into writing correctly.


Instead of graffiti - Has anyone tried the Silkyboard?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/25/2002 1:18:13 PM #
Has anyone tried the Silkyboard alternative to using the graffiti area on the PDAs? They can be found at, different versions for different PDAs and Basic versus pro. I am using the demo right now and I love it! This does use the QWERTY layout, with additional buttons to access different functions. All you do is either tap, or hold the virtual key and you can have automatic capitalization, and access to the various symbols, etc. ARE THERE OTHER PROGRAMS OUT THERE THAT ARE SIMILAR? Silkyboard uses a pattern that goes over the graffiti area, but you still have access to using graffiti if you choose, instead of anything you have to add and carry around - no extra weight, or size. No thumbs!

Brazilian says : Graffiti for ever !

labalbi @ 6/27/2002 2:43:44 PM #
Graffiti is very to learn. I mean it!
I have many friends that have Palms with keyboard.

None of them use theirs keyboards. It is often unpractical.
Large data entry must be done by the PC keyboard. Then you just sync it. Little strings are very ease to perform with graffiti.

As you American says : piece of cake grafitti is.
Keyboards are expensives and annoying to carry.

I have three legs !
And now, with my Palm , three hands!

Well, I don't like it.

MyLifedrive @ 8/16/2006 7:03:59 PM #
I have had my Palm PDA for 6 months now, and I just cant learn this new 'language' I am considering getting a wireless keyboard because the on-screen is too small



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