There is nothing like a bit of experimentation. I am currently sat in a shady spot amongst the chickens and vegetables (see thesnailofhappiness for pictures) typing this on my new tablet. It feels a bit odd because the keyboard is on the screen and I have never used a touch screen before.
The idea of getting one of these tablets has been in my head a long time now, probably for a couple of years in fact. However, the thing I really want to be able to do is write but with an old fashioned pen. I don’t mind using a keyboard but I like the way you connect to a pen. So, if I can persuade this thing to accept a pen as a way of communicating with it and then teach it to read my writing (thus bettering a whole heap of humans) then I will be very happy indeed.
[Phew! I am back inside at a conventional keyboard now. I know I am in Wales and you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet but, honestly, I had to come inside to avoid sunstroke. Glorious! I guess this is summer. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes…]
Of course, if science predictions from the 80s had come true, we should all be talking to our machines à là Star Trek, or even simply thinking our commands direct into their silicon-on-sapphire* minds. My first PC came with dictation software. After hours of patient training, the results were truly hilarious. For a start, it seemed to have a fixation with elephants, which can’t be healthy for any machine with the exception of a contraption for elephant-grading or an elephant dating service website**. Any word it didn’t understand it interpreted as “elephant”, or less frequently, “stroboscope”. My new tablet has a voice input feature for Google search on it – so I tried it out. I said “WordPress”. It searched for “whiplash”. Good grief, as Charles Schultz was fond of writing.
But the real idea behind having a tablet, pen input or not, is to allow me to write wherever I am and thus increase my writing output by a million percent or something. I have a pocket-sized notepad and pen which is fine except 1) I have to then type up anything I put in it onto the computer when I am home and 2) I always forget to take it with me.
Will the tablet be any different? I don’t know, but a notepad can’t play “Car Racing 3: Where’s the AA***?” where you have to patiently wait for the breakdown service of your choice to come and rescue you from the roadworks on the M4.
Right, on with some writing. Time to ask Google about science fantasy. Here goes… I don’t believe it. It’s searched for “elephants”.
* The next big material thing in the 80s to replace silicon. It didn’t catch on.
**Advertising slogan: “With hearts this big, there must be room for love!” replacing their earlier attempt: “With ears that big, you must have heard of us!”
*** For my American readers, I feel I need to point out that the AA in the UK is primarily, when connected to motoring, the Automobile Association, who rescue stranded motorists. We do have the other AA here too, just to be confusing (whereas you have AAA for your cars, which is less confusing), but as far as I know they don’t offer the same type of service. Perhaps the phrase “driven to drink” would be applicable here?