Comments on: The Great Input Showdown Part II

Continuing the tradition started with Dan Royea's Great Input Showdown, PIC Moderator Kezza, brings us the Battle of the text-input alternatives (or "The Great Input Showdown Part II: Return of the Stylus"). The review takes a detailed look and comparison of on-screen graffiti alternatives including (original) Jot, Graffiti Anywhere and NewPen.
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Newpen is fast enough on TungstenT

midtoad @ 1/17/2003 2:46:33 PM #
First post!

I recently installed NewPen and find it fast enough for my use on a Tungsten T. I'm a Palm user since 1996, and can do 25 wpm with native graffiti.

I did find that once in a while the cursor jumps to somewhere unexpected, in a page with multiple fields, but I attribute this to me inadvertently doing a double tap or something.

Also I use the new CaseToggle for OS 5 and find the combination works well.

NewPen does allow text block selection with a tap-hold stroke. That works well enough for me.

Still, after reading your review I will also try Graffiti Anywhere.

Stewart Midwinter
PDA user since 1992
Handera HE330 and Compaq Aero 2110


TobyG @ 1/17/2003 3:13:20 PM #
Seems like it would have been a good idea to include a link to each of the programs' homepages.

"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance." - Sam Brown
RE: Suggestion
Admin @ 1/17/2003 4:09:59 PM #
thanks, forgot to do that. I added the links

Heh heh

ska @ 1/17/2003 3:27:41 PM #
Its good to know
1.A real scientist doing a real statistic.
2.improvement in content rate in the past 3 days.

Newpen Crashed my palm

CleverClaire @ 1/17/2003 3:34:22 PM #

I have a T|T (as many may know) and tried Newpen. Initially I thought it was the bomb but I started having some problems and just quit using it.

First it jumped around the screen sometimes as previously mentioned.

Second, sometimes I got no echo and no registered input. Usually when that happened I just had to go to a different part of the screen to begin text entry (a little to the right or up).

I couldn't always tell if it was on because the box didn't show up. Sometimes it started out on, sometimes not.

Hastle to turn it off to move between fields and start writing again.

And mostly, it caused my T|T to lock up in certain games. Especially in Bejeweled. Mid-way through a game the whole palm would lock and I would have to do a soft reset. I also noticed this with a couple of card games that require screen taps. If I disabled Newpen the games worked fine.

So.... all in all it was much easier to just open the darned slider and forget it.

Maybe I will try GA.


Jot can do punctuation in graffiti mode

abowen @ 1/17/2003 6:11:58 PM #
I find Jot to be the best of the bunch because it _can_ do punctation in graffiti mode and offers single tap recognition to move the cursor around the screen. In certain apps using GA or newpen, I found it hard to enter text into a field. Like when configuring an account in VersaMail the graffiti stroke had to begin within that particular field or dialog box. Jot has no such limitation. Punctuation is entered with the \ stroke.

RE: Jot can do punctuation in graffiti mode
kezza @ 1/17/2003 7:48:23 PM #
You are indeed right. I feel pretty dumb for missing that (it's mentioned in the info panel in the main Jot app, for anyone who's curious).
I'll see about correcting the review.

"Well, if it isn't the leader of the wiener patrol, boning up on his nerd lessons"

Test results skewed - not objective

tsinvest @ 1/18/2003 12:57:44 PM #
Kezza, Before I say anything I agree that Jot is WAY overpriced - no way should CIC charge $40 for it. That out of the way, I bought it a few years ago when I was able to get 2 of CIC programs for the price of 1. When I got my TT initially I had to switch back to graffiti because Jot wouldn't work on it (since then they updated it). I became so fast with Jot that when I switched back to Graffiti I was very slow although improved after I used it a while.

I have tried many times recently writting in both Graffiti and Jot HWR and am MUCH faster with Jot. I can't believe how much slower you were with Jot HWR - you must be very good with graffiti or more appropriately more used to graffiti. Nevertheless - real testing would have used people who were either familiar with both of not familiar with either.

After reading your article I tried Graffiti Anywhere and it is a nice program, but it is really nothing more than Graffiti with on screen capabilities. Jot really lets you write (print) more naturally. Also being able to write caps without drawing an up-stroke, rather writing between the alpha and numeric area is a real time saver.

I personally think Jot is the quickest of the bunch once you have used it for any amount of time.

Regards, Tom S.

Newpen Shortcuts

Gekko @ 1/18/2003 4:32:23 PM #
fyi - I keep this as a memo:



1. Keyboard = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + k.
2. Punctuation Shift = Bottom Right to Top Left Stroke Once.
3. Dot = Bottom Right to Top Left Stroke Twice.
4. Find = Single Tap Bottom Left Black Corner.
5. New Entry = Bottom Right to Top Left Stroke + n.
6. Select/Highlight Word = Double Tap on Word.
7. Select/Highlight Row = Triple Tap on Row.
8. Select/Highlight All = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + s.
9. Note in Date = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + a.
10. Beam = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + b.
11. Copy = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + c.
12. Delete = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + d.
13. Font = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + f.
14. Graffiti = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + g.
15. Lookup = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + l.
16. Paste = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + p.
17. Undo = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + u.
18. Cut = Bottom Left to Top Right Stroke + x.


1. Selecting a Control of a Form/Menu = Hold Times and Double-Taps of the Central D-Pad button, Right and Left Taps of the D-Pad.
2. Hold down the middle button long enough to see the first pulldown menu flash, then let go. Now you just press up or down on your navigator to select which pulldown menu you want to select. Press the middle button to select that pulldown.
3. Pressing right on the D-pad opens the menu.

Requested Feature for new Input technologies

jgb9348 @ 1/18/2003 10:46:05 PM #
Hey everyone!

I've had a Tungsten T since it was released...and I had never used any of these software packages. I downloaded the 'assumed' favourite: Grafitti Anywhere. This should ring true to most Tungsten T users: You hold your device so that your left thumb is on the Voice Memo button. You would like to map that button to be the switch for your graffiti recognition software. In Grafitti Anywhere, there are three types of choices to toggle the software: 'Quick Tap', 'Long Tap' or 'Tap & Hold'. One of the new functions on my Tungsten T that I love is the voice recording when I'm driving and I remember I need to add something to my palm, I can take it out and record my message without looking anywhere on the device, simply by holding and talking. Next, if you have saved messages, to get into them just simply tap and you are in the application. All three of the toggling mechanisms in the Grafitti Anywhere software take away from the functionality of that application. I have thought of a way for the software to be able to work hand-in-hand with the Tungsten T voice recorder feature. If the developers came up with a way to detect a 'double-click' of the button, then we could go on using the Voice recorder feature along with the Grafitti Anywhere software, without any conflicts. This way, we could do anything Palm intended us to do with the Voice Recorder software as well as use Grafitti Anywhere to save us from uncovering the hard grafitti section on our T|T's! What does anyone else think? It should be pretty easy to implement through the Software?!?!

notepad screenshot in NewPen review

alanjrobertson @ 1/19/2003 10:31:08 AM #

Thanks for the review - slightly OT qn - what's the notepad program you're using the screenshot of the NewPen review? I like the looks of the bullets & numbering!


PS If it's just a new version of the standard Palm app in OS5 then feel free to ignore/laugh at me - I won't have my Tungsten for another week! (m505 just now)

RE: notepad screenshot in NewPen review
kezza @ 1/19/2003 1:04:27 PM #
Actually, it's DayNotez (by natara software). i use it instead of the standard memopad. i took all my notes for this review using it, too.

"Well, if it isn't the leader of the wiener patrol, boning up on his nerd lessons"
RE: notepad screenshot in NewPen review
alanjrobertson @ 1/19/2003 2:50:29 PM #
Excellent, thanks - off to download it now and give it a go!



quacksalve @ 1/19/2003 4:02:15 PM #
I also liked most of what you liked about Graffiti Anywhere. (Especially that it doesn't cost $40 -- Jot would have been my ideal program otherwise. $40!)

But: Did anyone else have trouble with lowercase letters in Graffiti Anywhere? I had real trouble getting it to do lowercase consistently. What's the trick? I could always draw a lowercase F, but never, ever, a lowercase A. Very strange. Any pointers appreciated. Lowercase didn't seem to be mentioned in the help anywhere, or I missed it.


Graffiti Anywhere 1.3

thierry @ 1/19/2003 7:36:24 PM #
Just to inform people interested in GA that new version 1.3 is out and solves the 2 issues mentioned by Kezza: entering punctuation mode and tap-hold-and-drag to select.

Available at PalmGear:



Bartman007 @ 1/20/2003 3:48:01 PM #
Would Fitaly and other silkscreen overlays be considered in this Showdown? Or are they considered to be too far away from natural handwriting.

I bring this up because I've seen people get 60+ wpm (one guy did like 85) with Fitaly


RE: Fitaly?
donaldekelly @ 2/26/2003 5:03:27 PM #
I also bought Fitaly Stamp - and even though I could not get it to work exactly right - I thought it was much faster and easier than grafiti. (the outside edge of my letters often brought up the wrong letter. Unique on my M500 from what I hear. Most people have no problems).

And how about a keyboard / thumboard like the Tungsten W and Sony TG50? That is where I might invest next. Seems like the thumboard would be much easier and faster.

someone tell me how to add a picture, then I will really scare you all!


littld @ 2/15/2003 9:06:09 AM #
No mention here of SimpliWrite. Extensive testing with Jot!, Tealscript etc has proved to me that SimpliWrite is the best one overall. Fast, small and very reliable, I can write much faster with SimpliWrite than anything else. Dissapointed that this was not included in the review.

RE: Alternatives
Honey @ 7/30/2003 8:15:18 AM #

Hi, for me, the by far best input method is MessagEase (and I have tried quite a lot!). After a short accommodation phase to get used to the completely new style of the keyboard, I now hardly ever use my external storeaway keyboard, not even if I have long text to write. I can take notices in conferences without any problems. Simply said, since I have MessagEase installed I use my Handera 330 much more.

So MessageEase gets full marks from me, and I think it should have been included in this review due to it's completely new keyboard style.

Former Psion-User



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