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Handwriting Recognition on DS

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the one-step-closer-to-pda dept.

Nintendo 112

JamesO writes "Zi Corporation has announced a licensing agreement with Nintendo that will allow developers to make use of handwriting recognition. PDAs have been offering handwriting recognition for some time and with the DS's touch screen it seemed inevitable that the console would eventually gain handwriting recognition technology. An agreement between Zi Corporation and Nintendo means that DS developers will be able to utilise Zi Decuma handwriting recognition technology when creating software for the handheld."

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SDK (4, Interesting)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880272)

What kind of SDK is available for the DS? What language(s) can you use?

On a side note, are there any phones / pdas that have a Python sdk available?

Re:SDK (5, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880363)

You can code in Python for Windows CE 3.0+ (2.11+ maybe?), and specifically Pocket PC 2000, 2002, Windows Mobile 2003, 2003 SE and presumably 2005. There is a subset of Python, called Pippy, available for Palm OS. The WinCE port is pretty much a full port of Python; Pippy is very much stripped down. There are also the Zaurus Linux PDAs, which can run Python, though it's not as useful for writing full-on apps as it is on Pocket PC, at least within the Qtopia GUI last time I checked.

Perl too on PocketPC/WinCE; there's even Perl/Tk support. Works pretty well.

Re:SDK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880467)

And this answers the parent's question how exactly?

Re:SDK (2, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881001)

And this answers the parent's question how exactly?

Seems pretty obvious to me. At the end of the post he asked:

On a side note, are there any phones / pdas that have a Python sdk available?

And I then told himabout Python support for two important PDA and Phone OSes, Palm and CE. Incidentally, there's also a Python SDK for Series 60 [nokia.com] Nokia phones. So make that 3 important PDA/Phone OSes.

Re:SDK (5, Informative)

Paladine97 (467512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880368)

A pretty basic SDK is provided. C and C++ are your options. Feel free to compile Python for it!

See www.dsdev.org [dsdev.org] for all the DS development info you need.

Re:SDK (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881432)

If you feel like writing your DS application in raw ARM7/ARM9/Thumb assembly, you can do that too. You masochist, you.

AIN'T nuthin nobody can ever do . . . . . (2, Insightful)

craker (919952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880394)

No matter how well you develop this thing, AIN'T nuthin nobody can ever do to figure out my chicken scratch. I can't even read it right after I write it. They made keyboards for a reason - geeks can't write.

Re:AIN'T nuthin nobody can ever do . . . . . (1)

Mozk (844858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13884127)

This applies to me also. I take pride in having illegible handwriting. You'd think I'd be able to read it, with me being the writer and all, but nope.

Re:SDK (0, Offtopic)

Apreche (239272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881154)

I think I read something about Nokia/Symbian phones supporting Perl/Phython.

Eat Up Martha (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880274)

cue the Newton fanboys...

Re:Eat Up Martha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880452)

Axe gravy soup.

Re:Eat Up Martha (1)

nathos (655477) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882622)

Egg Freckles!

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880277)

FP

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880484)

HAHAHAHA!!!! LOSER!!!

Eat Up Martha (3, Interesting)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880284)

This certainly makes the DS more interesting to me (not that I'd use it as a PDA or anything). But if you can jot notes into the thing, and have it OCR'd for you, it would make it a lot handier than it is right now. Can anyone comment intelligently on how the DS CPU would handle such a thing?

Re:Eat Up Martha (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880307)

Great Simpsons reference. That always makes my day.

Just a nitpick... (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880323)

Handwriting recognition != OCR, since there are no optics involved.

Re:Just a nitpick... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881160)

essentially they represent the same program. Most OCR programs can analyze any image for text, whether you scanned them, got them from a camera, or drew them with you mouse in mspaint. It's essentially the same problem. When you write on the screen, it creates an image, and analyzes the image to see if it can recognize anything as text. Most OCR programs only do typed text well. Recognizing hand writing is much too hard to do reliably.

Re:Just a nitpick... (2, Informative)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881490)

Not necessarily. More advanced handwriting recognition algorithms can derive not only from a completed glyph, but also from the series of strokes you use in the process of drawing it.

Try writing out the numeral 5, and then the letter S. Notice that even though the end results may look largely similar, the velocity and direction of your pen as you drew them were considerably different.

Not the same problem at all. (2, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881492)

While both involve analyzing glyphs, one involves extracting a glyph from an interpolated image (a scanned document or simmilar), while the other has the benefit of having direct digital input.

The prior is a different problem to solve. The hardest problem with OCR is reliably differentiating between a letter and a non-letter pixel on the page. Once you have the pixels that are just the letter, it is usually simple to figure out what letter it is. This is the idea behind Captchas, to make it as hard as possible to figure out those pixels.

Handwriting recognition is a different problem. You know the input exactly, but it is harder to figure out what letter it belongs to.

Of course, the corss between the two is OCR'ing handwriting, which I have never seen done in any kind of reliable fashion.

Re:Eat Up Martha (4, Interesting)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880381)

The NDS main CPU is pretty slow- 66 MHz. I've used Decuma on Palm OS on a 200 MHz ARM (Sony Clie NX70v), and used Decuma fine, albeit a bit slowly, with the Clie underclocked at 100 MHz to save power. Decuma is decent HWR; it is in between the character-based stuff like Graffiti and the proper and good word-sentence based real HWR of the Newton or PocketPC's Transcriber or Calligrapher. It makes you write in a box- but you write a full word, it recognizes it letter by letter, and then you have to press a button to actually accept/write the text. Or make corrections, overwriting maybe 'e' for the misrecognized 'o'; then you press that button. On Palm OS, Decuma is about the best you're going to get if you want real HWR, but it isn't too horrible.

Re:Eat Up Martha (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881604)

The NDS main CPU is pretty slow- 66 MHz.

Still - that's three times the clock speed and several ARM revisions better than the Apple Newton. Plus the DS has a secondary processor that might be usable.

Assuming there's been a modest improvement in HWR algorithmic efficiency over the past 10 years, I would imagine that the DS could do an admirable job.

Re:Eat Up Martha (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881629)

Still - that's three times the clock speed and several ARM revisions better than the Apple Newton. Plus the DS has a secondary processor that might be usable.

Several ARM revisions, yes; 3x clock speed, don't think so. IIRC the Newton ran somewhere around 160Mhz. Which I remember being very impressive at the time. :)

Re:This is very doable (2, Informative)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882062)

The (Newton) Message Pad 2x00 processor was a 162MHz StrongARM 110 but the older ones were only 20MHz ARM6. Incidentally, the MP120(2.0) and the MP130 ran the newer OS (same as the 2x00) that was very capable of decent handwriting recognition unlike the original lineup. Having extensively used both a MP120(2.0) and a MP2100 I can attest to this. The 2100's only advantage was speed.

The DS has a 66MHz ARM9 and a 33MHz ARM7. Logically, unless the ARM7 is needed for some specific DS tasks you could have it doing as good of HWR as the MP120 and still have the ARM9 free for whatever other task you required.

Links to more info about ARM Archetecture [wikipedia.org] and Newton hardware [everymac.com] .

Re:This is very doable (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882883)

Thanks for the info - very helpful.

Re:Eat Up Martha (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883083)

The NDS main CPU is pretty slow- 66 MHz.

Not that slow. The Palm III had a 16Mhz cpu. At the very least the NDS should be able to handle Grafiti :)

Re:Eat Up Martha (1)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 8 years ago | (#13884371)

Hello.
This is Takuya.
I read every time happily recently.

I apologize first.
I am weak in English.
Even if a strange sentence matches, please forgive me.

DS is extreme popularity in Japan.
A video game for families of Sony is more popular than NINTENDO.
But PSP is high-priced to write it in high efficiency.
For reasons of 2 of there being a low-priced thing and the game that I can do only in DS, DS is supported.

An article strategy of a game resembles a survival strategy of a creature.
They come to have a strong tusk and nail than anyone.
They come to have a big body than anyone.
Or they live in the place where a rival is not.

The company which made the article which there is only in the present when a game of many fields is sold, one's company is strong.
There are a lot of companies I am imitated immediately by other companies, and to be defeated by.
I am interesting.

It better be good (0)

Enjoi (857482) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880291)

It's nintendo so the recognition will probibly will be top notch.

Still, I don't want my best friend thinking I'm coming onto him or something when I ask him for a game or two.

Re:It better be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880757)

"It's nintendo so the recognition will probibly will be top notch."
How? Magic? Just cause its Nintendo doesnt put their skills above everyone else. I remind you how horrible the speach recognition in "Hey you Pikachu!" was.
My point, being Nintendo doesnt make it automatically good or better than everyone else

Re:It better be good (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880787)

My handwriting ranks the worlds worst. If Nintendo needs beta testing, they should ask for samples of my writing. Then, I would give them the discription of what I wrote in typed format.

Ya, it's bad. I'm afraid I would freak out the CPU and cause it to shut down in a fit of fear.

Extra lives? (4, Funny)

Krazyweasl (925959) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880302)

This is going to make 'up up down down left right left right b a b a select start' a pain to enter

Re:Extra lives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880555)

a little, but 007-373-5963 can be entered even faster now.

Great, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880318)

when will we get pr0n on the DS?

Re:Great, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13881040)

GBA Movie player + flash + your collection.

Finally (3, Funny)

Edunikki (677354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880321)

Now I can trash talk other people in multiplayer mode!

Re:Finally (2, Interesting)

JonXP (850946) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882454)

The DS has a microphone built in. Theoretically you could already do that with your voice, unlike another popular handheld system.

Vorks evem b3ttar than... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880359)

...my Prlm.

Re:Vorks evem b3ttar than... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13883128)

Nobody seems to have gotten this joke... I work for palm, and when I saw this, I laughed my ass off, then I showed all my cubicle buddies, and they laughed their ass off too! Our manager came to yell at us, but we showed him and he laughed too! Great joke...and yes, we realize it is rather hard to get used to typing with the Grafitti 2 Writing system, but you'll get used to it...

Animal Crossing DS (3, Interesting)

vodevil (856500) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880384)

I sure hope they put this to good use in Animal Crossing DS, it was a pain in the butt to use the controller to write letters to the villagers.

Re:Animal Crossing DS (2, Informative)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881038)

based on screenshots i've seen, animal crossing DS will use a software keyboard. however, this will still be much less annoying than the original, since, of course, you'll use the stylus to hunt and peck, rather than d-pad and A-button (as seen in the original gamecube version.)

Re:Animal Crossing DS (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882079)

I just hope they'll stop using that idiotic alphabetic order and give the software keyboard a qwerty layout.

Re:Animal Crossing DS (1)

Burpmaster (598437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882995)

I just hope they'll stop using that idiotic alphabetic order and give the software keyboard a qwerty layout.

The GameCube version does have a QWERTY layout, and it's the default! (press Z to toggle between QWERTY and alphabetic layouts)

Re:Animal Crossing DS (1)

nazsco (695026) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883149)

> I sure hope they put this to good use in Animal Crossing DS, it was a pain in the butt to use the controller to write letters to the villagers.

A pain to writte letters?! it was a pain to play that game at all!!! ...Not even my gf who plays neopets and the sims liked it

Nintendo's next R rated game (1)

jonfields (643711) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880387)

Writing of the Dead

Re:Nintendo's next R rated game (1)

DwarfGoanna (447841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880460)

A friend of mine (who is obviously slightly obsessive) became scary-type addicted to Typing of the Dead (or whatever the DC zombie typing thing was called). This could have been the thing to put him over on DS. =)

Re:Nintendo's next R rated game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13880512)

There's a PC version. The demo is on Sega's website...

http://www.sega.com/support/support.php?item=suppo rt_games [sega.com]

It's down a bit on the page.

Re:Nintendo's next R rated game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13885317)

In the words of Jon Stewart, "I think I just got a haaaard ooonnnn!"

Expanding their demographic (2, Insightful)

evil agent (918566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880392)

Nintendo will now be marketing this to very young kids, once games come out that can teach kids how to write. Of course, this will depend on how good the handwriting recognition will be. This could be really good news for the future of penmanship, or really bad.

Re:Expanding their demographic (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880533)

Actualy, if you think about it. The worse the recognician software is, the better for the kids. You could use the best algorythms for the beginners, and start using faster, easier to trick, but not stupid, recognician software for the advanced. This would really help if there was a learn to speak/write Mandarin or Japanese. I've already got a DS, and I'd pay quite a bit for a better method of learning Japanese than out of a book, and I don't really have two extra hours a day to go to any classes.

Re:Expanding their demographic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13883209)

Recognician? Please, asshole - learn to spell.

The loss of Penmanship. (2, Insightful)

nlinecomputers (602059) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880599)

This could be really good news for the future of penmanship, or really bad.


Would that really be so awful. My penmanship was never good to begin with but I find that I so rarely sit down and write with a pen that the skill has badly deteriorated. More so with cursive then printing. I'm not sure that it is a skill we badly need any more in modern society.

Re:The loss of Penmanship. (1)

Hellad (691810) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881837)

Ok, are you serious? THe notion that we no longer need to know how to write is demonstrative of how small your world view is. What about the rest of the world outside the "modern" countries which don't have access to computers, typing or other mechanical forms of communications? Do we just not communicate with them? Do we bring computers with us on humanitarian missions in third world countries and just hope the batteries last? seriously, we aren't there yet.

Re:The loss of Penmanship. (2, Interesting)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882394)

I was going to moderate this topic, but wanted to post about the difference between the ability to write and the skill of penmanship. They are not at all the same. Being able to write simply means that you know what a letter looks like and are physically capible of holding a writing utensil with enough dextarity to form that symbol.

Good penmanship, on the otherhand, is almost an art. It's a step below calligraphy, and a step above your average scrawl. My HANDWRITING is horrible, but I can still write; I have seen some beautiful penmanship on old letters, though. I agree that the ability to write like that is fairly unneeded now-a-days, but I don't think that the GP poster was suggesting we give up handwriting all together.

Re:The loss of Penmanship. (1)

Hellad (691810) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882670)

It really comes down to the ambiguity in the original post. If by "it" the person meant cursive, then that is one thing. If "it" is the skill of writing, then that is something different all together. All the same, general care in penmanship is something that we ought to concern ourselves with. Do we need to know calligraphy or cursive? Not necessarilly. But we ought to concern ourselves with making an effort to create writing that is legible to people besides ourselves for the purpose of general communication.

Re:The loss of Penmanship. (1)

nlinecomputers (602059) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882953)

Yes I'm serious. I personally don't interact with anyone in a third world nation. I am hard pressed to think of but a small handful, perhaps 3 people, that I personally know that DO deal with people in third world nations. And they maintain their contact via email. Perhaps YOU have the jaundiced viewpoint of everyone in Africa is living in thatch roof huts and trying to plow fields of wheat with an ox.

Yes I'm sure that they do exist in the world but from my small world view, the view I have to deal with everyday, beyond a grocery list, and I often put them on my PDA, I just do not put pencil to paper. Not to print or write in cursive. Most people I know are in the same boat. It's a skill that modern society has for the most part orphaned.

Perhaps you can argue that handwritten print needs to still be taught but cursive is a waste of time to teach IMO.

Re:The loss of Penmanship. (1)

Hellad (691810) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883095)

I didn't say Africa, I said third world countries (which, by definition, are undeveloped and generally without technology). It doesn't matter if you as an individual don't deal with undeveloped nations. Your post suggested that we ought not care AS A NATION about concerning ourself with paper communications. This would just further the divide between the US and the rest of the world and only lead to more issues. I am not suggesting we ignore the role of computers, all I am argueing is that we shouldn't become too dependent upon them. Consider the anarchy that happened after Katrina. We still need to be able to function without technology even if it is only for a week or two at a time.

Dictionary (3, Interesting)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880403)

There's already a Japanese-English dictionary for the DS, but it's so so at best. A good handwriting system for the machine would be an incredible boon - often times I'm presented with a kanji I simply don't know the reading for (and I can't input it into my electronic dictionary's QWERTY interface). I do know enough kanji to be able to copy many down by writing them, so being able to write say a compund and having the DS spit out a list of possible readings and defintions would be amazing and would help me learn Japanese in the real world (here in Japan anyway) more easily as I could begin decoding stuff in the world witout need of my onerous New Nelson Kanji dictionary.

Re:Dictionary (1)

lampiaio (848018) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880482)

Why, buy a WordTank [thejapanshop.net] ! (or any other Denshi Jiten)

Re:Dictionary (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880644)

A Canon Word Tank costs as much as or more than a DS plus cartridge, and it can't play Mario Kart.

Besides, I'm a Sharp-man, anyhow. ;p

Re:Dictionary (1)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880829)

I have a wordtank i bought at ks (the baby c30) but its easier to write in kanji then to try and look them up by radical.

Re:Dictionary (1)

Elias Ross (1260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881060)

I bought a Sharp Zarus in 1997 for about $200 (in yen), which had fairly reliable handwriting recognition for kanji. Kanji I think are even easier to recognize than kana. Although they are more complicated, many can easily distinguished by stroke count and stroke direction alone. Some kana are fairly difficult to tell apart. I had an easier time with kanji than English letters, which have no standard stroke pattern.

I recently got the same dictionary you did for the DS and I had assumed it would have kanji recognition built in. I was a little disappointed it didn't. I would imagine it could be included in a version 2 of the program. It should have at least included a kanji lookup by radical and stroke count feature.

I For One (5, Funny)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880619)

Welcane aur new hondwriting recogmition ouerlonds!

Cursive of the dead? (0, Offtopic)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880736)

Oh yeah...

Something's missing (0, Redundant)

MacFury (659201) | more than 8 years ago | (#13880752)

Oh Apple, why won't you bring back the Newton. :-(

Why DS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13881013)

They might be able to use it for the Revolution, with the unique controller and all...

Obligatory Simpson's Reference... (1)

brjndr (313083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881231)

Kearney: Hey Dolph, take a memo on your Newton, 'beat up Martin'.

Writes:
"Beat up Martin"

Newton translates:
"Eat up Martha

Newton hits Martin in the head.

for games? (1)

Chayak (925733) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881557)

I don't know about anyone else but I can't hardly read my own handwriting as it is (the reason I type on a computer :P ) I can't really see much use for it in games. Then again someone will come up with an off the wall idea that will fly. What's next? Voice recognition for pokemon games? I can already see kids yelling at their DS more so than nintendogs cause.

Re:for games? (1)

Xspearmint (926036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882217)

I can think of a few occasions where the game controls aren't enough: RP games, on-line chat, settings. The ever-expanding abilities of new devices means a joystick isn't going to handle our every need forever.

I've been using Decuma on my P800, and I think most people will be pleasantly surprised. It's simply the most accurate handwriting recognition I've used yet. More importantly (to me), you don't need to train yourself on how to use it - it's just like real writing. And for those whose typing ability are replacing their writing ability, you can teach Decuma how to read your scrawl.

Pen is Mightier (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881681)

I've really been disappointed by the tiny progress in using a stylus for input. A decade and a half ago, "pen computing" was "the next big thing". Microsoft even marketed a "Word for Windows for Workgroups for Pen Computing" edition (presumably with a "Spellcheck for Word for..."). The Palm Pilot actually delivered on the Apple Newton's promise to use our pen skills to deal with little mobile devices. But now even Palm devices, like Treos, usually disregard the pen. I think it's not so much the lack of writing recognition (which is more than adequate, though it does have problems), as the lack of any unique pen advantages to compensate for having to use a separate pen rather than an integrated keyboard.

Pens offered an opportunity to use an expressive, intuitive gestural interface. Even mouse gestures have run circles around pen gestures. I'd like to use a pen to indicate multiple selections, associations, layouts, flows, scales, shapes. I think an interface that used chinese symbols as commands on selected objects would have tremendous popularity, and maybe even work with a huge new global zeitgeist that could jump all kinds of boundaries represented by keyboards, especially QWERTY.

We still have the opportinity to use pointers for a really expressive, simple interface "for the masses". I built a "light pen" for my Atari PC over 20 years ago. Even Treos still come with styluses, and now the DS will recognize handwriting. Most people use pens, probably even more than keyboards, especially worldwide. That input mode isn't going away, even if it's not being pushed. Even though OSes and apps still haven't delivered on their potential, there's still lots of pent-up (pun intended) demand to use them. I don't think the breakthru lies in dropping the pen in favor of a fingertip, though I'd like to see some working software that tested that avenue. I think that once we get a pen-centric UI paradigm that does things keyboards and mice cannot, we'll get pens that people won't put down.

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

Space Cow (93479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881842)

I'd like to use a pen to indicate multiple selections, associations, layouts, flows, scales, shapes. I think an interface that used chinese symbols as commands on selected objects would have tremendous popularity, and maybe even work with a huge new global zeitgeist that could jump all kinds of boundaries represented by keyboards, especially QWERTY.

Really? Care to elaborate? Are you suggesting that if I want to increase the size of an image in my word document by 50% that I should enter the 20 or so strokes necessary to give this command in Chinese characters? How is that better than five or so mouse clicks and a couple of keypresses?

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883147)

I'm suggesting that tapping the image and scrawling probably a 3-stroke character (like the "big" [hmarty.free.fr] character), without dropping the stylus for the mouse or keyboard, is a good UI. If the gesture strokes are going to be a character, why not use characters that are already understood by literally billions of people?

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882259)

But now even Palm devices, like Treos, usually disregard the pen. I think it's not so much the lack of writing recognition (which is more than adequate, though it does have problems), as the lack of any unique pen advantages to compensate for having to use a separate pen rather than an integrated keyboard.

Actually, I would say it has more to do with one-handed operation than anything. Devices with side buttons and scroll wheels can be used one handed, where if you need to do everything with a pen, you need two hands. When you're on the go and need to look up a number in your contacts list, this can be quite a boon. Likewise, an intergrated keyboard is just faster than a soft-keyboard on the screen.

Both methods have their uses, I just wouldn't say one is always better than the other.

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883361)

I think most "pen" operations could be one-handed, as I've generally experienced with my Palm Pilot, if the software were better able to indicate the "hotspot" with fingertip motions. I'd start with an onscreen cursor crosshair moved just above the sensed fingertip, but I'm sure years of R&D, with mass market feedback (like keyboards, mouse and even styluses have gotten) would evolve an even better interface.

Keyboards are faster for inputing alphanumerics, but most operations, especially of mobile devices, are selections of, and operations on, existing data. I like having both on my Treo, but I'd like to get more use out of the stylus, especially in such operations where the keyboard is less convenient.

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882423)

Well, it depends.

While the overall UI leaves a bit to be desired (PenPoint was much nicer than Windows for Pen Computing 'cause it was built from the ground up as a ``pen-centric'' UI, while Windows for Pen Computing grafter pen interaction on as an afterthought) and Windows XP Professional Tablet PC Edition continues in this vein, there are some really brilliant UI designs / concepts:

  - Alias Sketchbook (pie menus done right --- any tool / option is a pen flick away)
  - Ambient Design's ArtRage (too much fun for words and you can't beat the price)
  - Evernote's ritePen (HWR w/ on-screen correction palette which is almost as nice as Calligrapher on the Newton --- darned shame that EverNote doesn't allow mixing text and ink as the Newton did....)
  - FutureWave's SmartSketch (Absolutely brilliant drawing program using only the pen --- I'm really glad I picked up a copy of this, and it's really unfortunate that all that's left of this is what's in Flash and the soon-to-disappear FreeHand)

Probably the best thing to hope for would be a pen-enabled Windows Explorer replacement --- something like PenPoint's Notebook.

William

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883708)

I spent a little time with GRiD a decade ago, and hoped they'd leap to a new paradigm. Some of those GUIs you mentioned suggest one.
<DESIGN-RANT>
I want to see a GUI that is entirely devoted to representing data without boundaries, without onscreen "applications". I want each MIME type identifiable and associated with consistent GUI elements for their specific production (creation/editing), consumption (reading/playing), searching/browsing, sending and quoting operations. With multiple background processes processing the data. Distributed storage the nested containers with references to the objects, locally cached. Universal object IDs independent of text names, rollback versioning, metadata relations to other objects. The idea being that GUIs present only the relevant info to the person using them, persistent across all modes and use cases. Such a GUI adheres to the original clear principles, but not the cluttered broken way we've got in these app/windows devices. More background processing like Spotlight or Dashboard, more metadata relations for storage/retrieval (and a hierarchical "file system" only as an optional view of the database), and on the fly programming with flowcharts dereferencing URLs. Running objects backed by preferences, versions, and programming, all in layers selectable at runtime. All that functionality stripped of screen-sucking GUI frames and modes so it will work consistently on mobile thin clients to desktops and conference rooms - multimedia terminals which truly scale without sacrifice.
</DESIGN-RANT>

I think the jump to pen UIs should come with that new paradigm. Just like the jump to "windows" came with mice, laser printers, LANs, desktops, icons. Mobile "phones" are pressing the issue, but so is desktop development, which is going multiproc as CPU performance levels. Ultimately, we just want to communicate with each other in arbitrary media with intuitive gestures and perfect memories. Pens are a step in that direction, not a stumble away.

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13884742)

What I really want to see is an app that allows one to identify discrete bits of data in text stream and then query it in an ad hoc fashion much as you obliquely describe.

William
(who remembers his GRiD laptop with great fondness.)

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13884823)

I think I get "identify discrete bits of data in text stream", like selecting a word, phrase, sentence or paragraph fragment of text, I suppose streaming from a server (like subtitles, rather than a complete text downloaded as a single object). But what is it to query that fragment? Query the server for that fragment? But you already have it. Query the server for other objects related to the received fragment, either lexically or by metadata?

Re:Pen is Mightier (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13885802)

By "query" I meant being able to do sums and totals &c. of all of the data. Say something like Lotus Improv but with a freer structure. A hybrid of a note-taking program PIM and database. Having an AI like sBook would be nice.

William

Nintendo is Desparate (-1, Flamebait)

TheZorch (925979) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881783)

The Nintendo DS is falling behind in sales against the superior Sony PSP. There are several reasons why the DS is lagging behind... 1. Bulky design: Many people have complained about the size and bulk of the DS. 2. Dependency on Cartridges: The age of the game cartridge has come and gone. The overwhelming success of the Sony Playstation and its "intellegent" use of CD-ROM based media effectively killed the cartridges as a viable media format for software. The reasons for this are the cost of production which are only a few cents for optical media (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) as compared to $30-$40 (each unit) for the cost of chips and cartridge manufacturing. The second limiting factor for cartridges is a very limited storage capacity. 3. Lack of Wi-Fi Internet Connectivity: The DS only allows for multiplayer games via its wi-fi connection with oher DS units but users cannot access public wi-fi drops like with the PSP and different PDA models. Because of this it would be impossible to sync data on the DS and a PC or another PDA because of this design. 4, No Support for Storage Media: The DS does not natively support any form of flash media cards for storing data. 5. Dominant Childen Marketing Angle: Nintendo has been the compnay that has marketed towards children the most out of all the other game console producers. This has hurt them in the past. Does anyone remember the "Mortal Kombat" fiasco which cost Nintendo millions in lost revenue and sparked the era where Sega became the top grossing game console maker in the early 90's? Nintendo has been slow to adapt to a changing market landscape. It is good that Nintendo still produces games that are safe for young children to play but it effects nearly every aspect of the company. They have been slow to change, it took years for Nintendo to accept optical media as storage for games in systems like the Gamecube, but instead of using a known open standard such as DVD they chose to go with proprietary format. This doesn't really have much to do with the DS, but its a symptom of what is wrong wirh Nintendo. The company is too slow to change and adapt with the current market and current technology.

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (5, Insightful)

bugbeak (711163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881939)

The Nintendo DS is falling behind in sales against the superior Sony PSP.

From a Gamespot article: [gamespot.com]

"Recent sales figures provided by Dengeki Online revealed that cumulative shipments of the DS have nearly doubled those of the PSP in Japan since both launched in the country last December. As of the end of September 2005, Nintendo sold 3.2 million units of its DS handheld in Japan, while Sony Computer Entertainment shipped only 1.7 million units."

. Dependency on Cartridges: The age of the game cartridge has come and gone. The overwhelming success of the Sony Playstation and its "intellegent" use of CD-ROM based media effectively killed the cartridges as a viable media format for software.

Maybe for home consoles. But do you really want something portable that has moving parts? No matter how damn hard you try, you're going to treat anything handheld pretty badly.

3. Lack of Wi-Fi Internet Connectivity: The DS only allows for multiplayer games via its wi-fi connection with oher DS units but users cannot access public wi-fi drops like with the PSP and different PDA models. Because of this it would be impossible to sync data on the DS and a PC or another PDA because of this design.

And just how much more convenient is it to browse the web with a PSP? Ever heard of something called "input"? Besides, what's McDonald's for? Or the 50-dollar Mario Kart/Wi-Fi dongle package.

4, No Support for Storage Media: The DS does not natively support any form of flash media cards for storing data.

Just how "universal" is the so-called Universal Media Disc? Seen any blanks on sale recently?

5. Dominant Childen Marketing Angle:(not even going to bother with this one...)

Quantity doesn't really matter if Nintendo is the only one who can stay in black. So what if games are aimed for chilren? I don't think adults have gone "Eww" at Mario Party.

The company is too slow to change and adapt with the current market and current technology.

Who came up with Rumble? Who came up with the analog stick? Who came up with the shoulder buttons? Rather, just look at the fscking Revolution controller.

It's flaimbait, it's troll, but I bit.

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (5, Interesting)

juched (926032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882032)

I actually created an account on slash dot just to reply to this initial posting. It seems to me that everyone of his/her comments was inaccurate. The DS is outselling the PSP. Cartridges load much faster and hence the DS does not have the crippling load times of the PSP. The wireless is standard 802.11b and hence it can connect to the PC if the software was written for it. And yes, the DS can play only, as we will all be doing when Mario Kart comes out! Don't even get me started on keeping up with current technology. Nintendo invents the new technology... The examples of analong stick, shoulder buttons, rumble and more are all good examples of that. Just because the didn't use DVD or CD? They might be easy to create, but they are also just as easy to copy! No wonder they are trying to stay away.

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13882641)

Funny thing is Sony purchased it's technology for the PS1/CD FROM Nintendo.

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13882799)

Funny thing is Sony purchased it's technology for the PS1/CD FROM Nintendo

Scratch that! Nintendo was originally partened with Sony for a CD attachment to combat the Sega CD, but switched to Phllips half-way through. Sony then decided to go out and amke thier own console... And the PS1 wa born.

Also not cartridges... (1)

Solr_Flare (844465) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883381)

They are not traditional RAM cartridges like the GBA and n64 and past console systems. The DS uses a proprietary Flash memory media that is currently capable of 256mb of space but expandable to 1gb of space. That's actually quite a lot of space and my understanding is it is relatively cheap on Nintendo's end to produce.

If the current market trends and price drops are any indication as well, Flash media or an equivilant will likely be replacing optical media like CDs, DVDs, UMDs, etc in another generation or two as the media format of choice.

Why? Outside of costs, which are dropping dramatically, Flash media has a multitude of inherant advantages including small size, no moving parts to wear out, and protective casings to prevent scratch damage. Honestly, Sony's UMD technology seems more like a step backward than forward for a portable device. It is tremendously taxing on the system's battery and much more prone to potential malfunction. I can bet you that if Sony could have found a way to make cheap 1gb+ flash catridges they would have left the UMD slot out entirely since they already have a memory stick slot on the unit.

Re:Also not cartridges... (1)

m0fin0 (926096) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883676)

So it's cheap to make 1gb flash memory modules now? Like under 10 bucks cheap? Because right now they are about 80 US, so I guess games will be about 130 each. Oh right, time... ok, so 80 US in two years for a game? And since UMD is 1.8gb, we'll need 2gb flash... so yeah.... right. I guess Sony couldn't use that memory stick slot they have either. And I guess they couldn't use the USB 2.0 either... so limited that system is. So not futureproof! The DS though, wow I'll be able to play N64 games (slower) for years and years to come!

I guess that's a step backwards, using media that costs about $3 (max) to produce. Yep, that's some bad decision making... keeping consumer costs down. Sucks! I hate low prices!

And yeah, moving parts, they wear out all the time! Damn moving parts, all that friction, it's just like a car right?!? Damn cheap metals that aren't tested for years in other devices. Technology sucks as whole! I like the past, and thank god someone is willing to sell it to me.

Oh hold on, let me pull my head of my ass...

-mo

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (1)

m0fin0 (926096) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883524)

You know, I usually let this type of bullshit slide by. But I am tired. So very tired of the mis-information and the outright spin people on Slashdot create.

Why do you Nintendo fans need to be so fucking nuts? Why do you need to bullshit constantly? Why can't the PSP be better? Why do you have to be so JEALOUS?

Like I said, I would let this slide, but it got "Insightful". I think the /. community has finally lost their mind.
Let's break this down shall we?

So first we have the sales figures. I have no problem dealing with those. Sure Nintendo is doing well, they have been around for over FIFTEEN YEARS in the handheld gaming market! That might account for something. What I can't deal with is the fact that Sony has made a BETTER PRODUCT and somehow this is wrong to Nintendo fans. I'll explain below.

Next we have the cartridge vs optical media. Well this to me is a no brainer. The PSP is a almost full-on (downclocked) PS2, so games need fair sized textures and fair sized audio files (GTA is a grand example). This would be impossible without optical media. Sure cartridges are damn fast, but I like content too! I'm not one for the overpriced UMD movies, but hey, SOME PEOPLE ARE! I drive to work, so I don't get to use my PSP often other than at home. But if were taking the train, it would be really nice to watch movies, listen to music, or play a game all on the same unit while I'm going to work. So yeah, UMD might be slower, but think of the data it's grabbing to fill the gfx and sfx requirements of the PSP? And plus, the load times are not bad. I was shocked when I started GTA:LCS and it was quicker then it's console counterparts.

At this part of the train wreck we meet WiFi. So the DS has 802.11b, wow great. Too bad you can't fucking use it how it was designed. Like classic Nintendo, it's locked down (power connect for SP anyone?). Meanwhile Sony (slowly becoming more open), keeps it open and tosses in a web browser while their at it! Great!!! Oh but again, because it's Sony, somehow it's bad, or useless to have. Even if it exists, and you may not use it, it's still useless?! LOGIC ERROR! So yeah, wait for your Mario Kart rehash... and uhh yeah, catch up.

Storage media... haha you completely dodged the statement. But of course you would, you dodge the fact that Nintendo is selling you the same thing over and over each time as well. I'll leave that one alone, it's pretty obvious. By the way, UMD is a name. Sure some marketing guy said we'll call it Universal, but hey, maybe Sony is licensing it, maybe they have other plans for it. Who knows? I do know one thing, you don't know.

And don't even get into the economics of this ok? Please, just don't. This is where your stupidity pours into the room. Sony is a GIANT corporation. Nintendo is micro by comparasion. And let's no get into the rehashing of titles that are older than most people's children.

Lastly we have innovation. This is a fun one. You and the guy who replied to you, use rumble, analog stick, shoulder buttons, etc as examples of innovation. Try again. Rumble wasn't Nintendo. This has been proven on Slashdot before. Others had rumble long before Nintendo did. Analog stick is an child of the joystick, I think that's more organic than innovative. Same with shoulder buttoms, very organic, a given. Now lightgun, that was innovative, powerglove too! Rev controller? A bit, but it's feeding off of previously known tech. Now what about Sony? Has anyone even seen the Eyetoy coupled with PS3? It has full face recongnition and mapping. They can apply facepaint to your face while you move it around, they can change your clothes and hair, while you look around the room; all in real time. So what does this mean? Imagine a nerf style bat? Imagine a gun shaped... well gun :)... you get the idea.

So please stop the bullshit and half-truths. I used to like Nintendo, but I grew up and realized they are just taking money from me. Just because Sony owns Sony Music and Sony Pictures, doesn't make them bad! Repeat this back to yourself, Sony isn't evil because Slashdot told me they were.

And sorry to everyone for being an ass. But trolls suck sometimes.

-mo

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13882653)

A few points that the other rebuttal did not hit on:

+ DS cartridges cost less than PSP UMDs (the UMD uses more plastic and metal in the casing alone than the DS cartridge does as a whole).

+ Optical disks hold a distinct disadvantage on the portable market aside from only the "moving parts" angle: Disks mean load times. By the time Lumines loads, which certainly has shorter load times than most, I could be halfway through my first match of Meteos.

+ Blu-Ray disks are not inexpensive to manufacture, when you add in the $2 million cost per production line (assuming all Blu-Ray lines will be adapted from existing DVD lines) that will get funnelled down to consumers.

+ Nintendo DS's current market share is more and more becoming predominantly teen to twenty something women. The DS was launched for the older gamer, believe it or not.

+ The PSP wireless support is terrible at best. I have not played a match of Twisted Metal to completion without getting dropped. Also, DS supports any wi-fi connection, and provides a universal network, a-la Xbox Live, for players to connect to.

+ Proprietary DVD format came from the fact that Nintendo agressively fights pirating, which is a hell of a lot harder to do when off-the shelf DVD-R's don't fit in your machine.

+ The PSP is actually longer than the DS, making it much harder to fit in your pocket. Additionally, the PSP almost requires a good case to carry it anywhere, which just adds to the bulk. A DS, while not as small as the GBASP nor as stylish as the PSP, slides easily into the pocket and requires no protection for safe transport.

+ By the time Mortal Kombat was released, Sega was already semi-dominant. Sega had a commanding lead at the beginning of the 16-bit era, which only closed in the latter years of that generation. Nintendo's move did not affect their position in the slightest, and certainly can not be said to have lost Nintendo revenue, except for the cases of those who had both a Genesis and SNES, which, in my experience, was more rare at the time.

+ Nintendo is a games company, and thus does not need to "adapt" to forces at work in most other industries, as Sony and Microsoft have felt the need to do with the inclusion of, for example, DVD playback functionality. Nintendo focuses on games and, while some like more convergent boxes, they feel no need to provide that. Online gameplay, as many like to cite, is still not widely accepted, and it has been seen since 1998's NetBand (may be the wrong name) adapter for the Saturn, which brought Sega Rally and Daytona USA online. Hell, before that, there was X-Band, which nobody adopted.

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (2, Insightful)

amdotaku (909214) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882761)

It's pretty clear that Nintendo has somehow acquired a kiddie image. However, when I actually look at game lists for the PSP and DS and look at titles that at least have a hope of being "good", I don't really see much of a distinction between games that would be appealing to mature audiences between PSP and DS. If anything, the DS matches count and adds greater variety to the mix with games like Advance Wars that the PSP, sticking to more stereotypical genres like plain shooters and rpgs, just won't offer.

Also, I have no idea how much Nintendo is spending on their carts for DS, but its obviously less than $30 bucks a pop, being many games launch at that price. Also, I thought that solid state memory was the FUTURE of computing...in fact, how many times has this been brought up on /. in the past week?

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13882900)

Uh... that's all well and good, but you do know that the DS is beating the PSP in all three major regions, right?

Hell, look at last week's European sales:

Sales for October 17-23.

DS-23,035
GBA-10,034
PSP-8,000

Re:Nintendo is Desparate (1)

TrekCycling (468080) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883172)

The funny thing is that the GBA is often second. This should tell the PSP fanboys something. Real gamers like to play games. The PSP has a great install base with those who like to pirate games, watch movies on a 4 inch screen or listen to mp3s on a device that weighs about 12 times as much as an iPod Shuffle. But for those of us who just want to play good games, Nintendo is where it's at in the portable market.

I use Linux as my desktop at home. I have an XBox and a Pocket PC. So I'm no idealogue. I buy what works best for me. And for gaming that's been for years the Gameboy Advance. The DS (like the PSP since I've owned both) has some ergonomic issues due to its weight. At least for me, as a computer programmer with wrists and hands that have been abused for years, the ergonomic issues are pronounced. So I don't own either anymore. But the library of the GBA is top-notch. And when I owned both a PSP and DS the PSP gathered dust and was sold pretty quickly, while meanwhile I had a hard time letting the DS go. So many good games.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
Meteos
Kirby: Canvas Curse
Electroplankton (import)
Band Brothers (import)
Ouendan (import)

And so many more to come. The DS is where the real innovation is taking place. It makes me sad I can't play it *physically*. If I could, the DS would be my number 1 system.

DS Training For Adults (1)

pnice (753704) | more than 8 years ago | (#13881911)

DS Training For Adults can already recognize when you write numbers with the stylus. I'm sure it's much easier to do but it still does it on the math part of the "game".

Brain Training (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13882108)

The DS game Brain training [lostgarden.com] has handwriting recognition already.

Graffiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13882541)

Why not just use Palm's Graffiti system? I'm not aware of any system that's gotten handwriting recognition to work properly, eg. Apple's Newton.

Unvibratable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13882811)

A $900 phone with no vibrate function? I think I'll pass.

Decuma (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 8 years ago | (#13882982)

It would help if the people disparaging handwriting recognition had actually used Decuma. Right now my biggest problem with my PDA (Dell Axim WinMobile2003) is that Decuma doesn't support Mobile 2003 devices, so I can no longer use it. For both Japanese AND English, the software is spot-on. Right now I'm using a hacked version of the Japanese IME that a very clever hacker got working for Japanese and the standard transcriber, and my note-taking (in english) has been slowed down immensely with transcriber over decuma's english system. I'm considering just getting a Palm when I upgrade so I have it for input again. It's really that good.

Decuma (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883001)

I've used Decuma's handwriting recognition software on my Palm, and it's a pretty competent system, didn't take very long for me to get used to. The main reason I ditched it was screen real-estate; I've got a "square" Palm rather than one with Virtual Graffiti, so I couldn't justify giving up that much space when the Graffiti pad was already available. That shouldn't be too much of an issue on the DS, of course, because anything that uses handwriting recognition can be expected to dedicate the touchscreen for that purpose.

Just what we need. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13883169)

Not only for the practical applications (a Newton that works? Brilliant!) but for the game opportunities. The DS is, after all, a video game console, intended to bring new types of games to the masses. Sure, this may just get used literally, so you can write things instead of typing them - hooray, no more slow on-screen keyboards - but this can also be used as an element of a game. I had an idea using the Revolution instead of the DS that I posted on GameFAQs. Even though it's not DS-specific, it could certainly work and explain what I mean. http://boards.gamefaqs.com/gfaqs/genmessage.php?bo ard=988&topic=24153772 [gamefaqs.com]

One step closer.. (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13883832)

To handwriting devices replacing keyboards! aah! I scare myself >_>
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