June 9th, 2009
Lots of good stuff from Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (including a new iPhone 3GS), but the part that caught my eye was the ability of OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to recognize Chinese symbols through handwriting recognition on Mac trackpads:
You can now use a Multi-Touch trackpad to draw Chinese characters in your documents. They’ll appear on the screen in a new input window, which recommends characters based on what you drew and lets you choose the right one. The input window even offers suggestions for subsequent characters based on what you chose.
The iPhone had this ability first, but now it’s an OS X-wide feature. Pretty cool.
Us Newton users are always curious to see how Apple uses handwriting recognition in our post-MessagePad world. The technology lives on in Inkwell, but would it be useful to have English handwriting recognition on Mac trackpads?
August 8th, 2008
Just in time for the Summer Olympics, iTunes is offering a “Songs for Tibet – The Art of Peace” collection from big-name artists like John Mayer, Jackson Browne, and Imogen Heap.
A lot of the music features acoustic or remixed versions of already-released songs (Moby’s “We Are All Made of Stars (2008)” for instance), with a few originals, and when you purchase the collection as a whole, you get a 15 minute spoken word piece from the Dalai Lama.
You hear a lot about Tibet’s struggle from the artistic community, but if you want to learn more yourself, I suggest reading “Seven Years in Tibet” by Heinrich Harrer (I haven’t seen the movie yet). Harrer was a World War II German refuge who traveled Tibet and tutored the Dalai Lama, and was part of the escape crew that lead Tibet’s government out of the country when China took over.
I think the timing of this music collection is perfect, but not everyone agrees with me. In the reviews, you’ll see a one-star review given by a commenter that types in Chinese characters (maybe? I’m not familiar with the language) who might be towing the Communist Party line: Tibet is a China, always has been. I’ve seen this type of thing even as recent as last weekend in Chicago. While browsing through the Tibet exhibit at the Field Museum, a display showed sticky notes where people could write their opinion about the Tibet situation:
See the note in the bottom-right corner? That’s what the iTunes review is probably like.
But enough speculation. iTunes offers a great music collection and a chance to raise awareness about Tibet’s plight, and it’s a heckuva chance to put on some tunes and read up on the history of this mysterious land.
June 9th, 2008
Lots going on at the WWDC 2008 keynote, which I finally streamed and watched with much joy. Watch it yourself to see all the action, clapping, and skinnier Steve Jobs.
In the meantime, a few thoughts:
- iPod is now a great name. Some folks made fun of the name “iPod” when it was first released. What’s so “pod” about music, after all? But now it fits perfectly. With the iPod Touch, the “pod” become the mobile computing platform – a place to get your e-mail, web, games, and – yes – music. The iPod is now a “pod” for your mobile computing platform.
- “We’ve learned so much.” Here, Jobs displays some real humbleness. .Mac kind of sucked. MobileMe is an improvement of sorts. And Apple admits they had things to learn. That’s great.
- $199? That’s all me. But because I’m such a big fan of the white Apple products (iPod, iBook, everything), I may splurge and grab the 16 GB version. No 32 GB iPhone? That does stink.
- Wait for the Snow Leopard. I wished for a refurbished iMac with Leopard, but now I may just wait until Snow Leopard is released. Why not? “Improved” is always a good word when OSes are concerned. And waiting has seemed to pay off for me so far.
- Chinese character recognizer hack? I can see it happening. Use the handwriting recognition app for Chinese characters and hack it so it will recognize English characters. Boom – a Newton-like HWR emulator. And Jobs was right in the keynote: the lack of plastic keys or a physical stylus actually plays in the multi-language-supported iPhone’s and iPod Touch’s favor.
Now I have to wait until July 11 (or maybe a day or two after, depending on lines and in-store activation), but oh well. This is what I’ve been waiting for. A true successor to the Newton has been born.
Behold: iPhone 3G
May 7th, 2008
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard it (Ars Technica has it too), but it seems the beta of the new iPhone firmware offers some sort of handwriting recognition, at least for Chinese characters.
iPodHacks says many “consider Rosetta / Inkwell to be the most advanced handwriting recognition technology yet developed.” And I’ve heard that elsewhere too, since it’s – in part – derived from Newton’s own HWR engine.
I just bought a spare copy of OS X 10.2 Jaguar, and it reminded me that OS X ships with Inkwell. Could my suggestion of a Newton emulator on the iPhone be any easier now? Maybe it’s already done. But how would writing with your pinkie turn out?