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writing instruments

laozhang   December 15th, 2008 12:10a.m.

What is everyone using to practice writing on a computer:
mouse, trackpad, trackpoint, pen, touch screen, etc?

I tried trackpoint at first, but finger got tired, using trackpad now. Would like some sort of optical pen that actually writes on paper.

Oh, and a nice feature for skritter would be to be able to see how your characters have *improved* over time (hopefully improved and gotten worse!)

ZachH   December 15th, 2008 4:37a.m.

I use an optical mouse with very high sensitivity so my wrist doesn't break off. I also write all my strokes in the middle of the screen very fast before the previous strokes have loaded, and let skritter catch up and place them after I have finshed.

george   December 15th, 2008 9:03a.m.

I use a regular 'ole mouse, although I may be switching over to a more ergonomic solution in the near future since my wrists have been buggin' me recently (not from Skritter, but all the work that keeps Skritter running).

Scott and Nick have both used the Wacom tablet from time to time, but I find it disorienting. Nick also bought an optical pen that could write on paper, but I think it turned out to be terrible for some reason. I should ask him what the make and model were and what was wrong with it so that you don't waste money on that particular gadget.

nick   December 15th, 2008 9:42a.m.

The one I tried was an IOGear Digital Scribe. It was mostly the software that was terrible; the hardware could have been okay.

I did the Wacom thing, but usually use a mouse. I lent the Wacom to our neighbor to practice on Skritter with, but I think I'll reclaim it and practice with it sometimes. I don't (yet) have problems doing that much mousing, but I definitely don't want to have wrists like George's.

I do recommend a small Wacom (the larger ones are overkill for Skritter, since you don't want the characters to be very big).

serickso   December 15th, 2008 12:04p.m.

Yep, use the Wacom tablet when on my desktop, mouse when on my laptop. I also use the Wacom for drawing the graphics on the site. It's a Bamboo Fun, medium (the larger of the two), and I think it was well worth the cost. I recommend either of the Bamboo Funs for users who would like to practice their characters on a tablet. I'd go for the medium though only if you want to also use it for as a drawing tool or as an ergonomic mouse. I haven't found the medium to be too large for drawing characters, though I have a largish monitor so that probably offsets the larger size of the tablet.

Chloe   December 15th, 2008 3:41p.m.

Mouse. Using trackpad is le suck. Would like to try touch screen.

Will Buckingham   December 15th, 2008 5:23p.m.

Using the trackpad of my little Advent 4211. I don't think I'm going to be winning this year's prize for fine calligraphy... planning to get an optical mouse, as the trackpad is really not up to much for this kind of thing.

andrewc   December 15th, 2008 9:04p.m.

I use a mouse and it works great. Using the mouse pad on my EeePC netbook sucks.

I have no idea if they make this or not, but I would love to get some device that lets me just wave my index finger around, kind of like playing Okami with a Wiimote.

trina   December 17th, 2008 10:52a.m.

Whenever I've tried using a mouse, I suck so much. I use the trackpad on my laptop. It was a little hard at first, but now I'm pretty much a genius. Everyone thinks so. :P

mtaran   December 18th, 2008 3:32a.m.

I too can't see why everyone's bashing touchpads. I've been nice and mouse-free for at least a couple of years, and I love it. Skritter's no acception.

As a side-note, ubuntu rocks. When I spilled a glass of water on my laptop last summer and broke my right mouse button, I could only get that functionality through that crappy key on the keyboard and still not that much. But ubuntu automagically let me click on the bottom left corner of the touchpad and get a right click! Magic I tell you!

laozhang   December 30th, 2008 3:36a.m.

Just got the Bamboo Wacom tabled (small). Been using it for about a week now. Works very well on my G4 Powerbook running 10.4. Doesn't quite replace the mouse, but excellent for drawing in Photoshop and writing Chinese characters.

OSX 10.4 includes handwriting recognition, so you can pretty much "write anywhere," however, the handwriting recognition doesn't recognize anything except English and a few other latin languages. Vista also has handwriting recognition, but I haven't tried that. Nor have I tried the Bamboo on XP. The documentation says it's plug-n-play for XP, Vista and OSX. You will want to install the driver and software to be able to customize everything (sensitivity, customizable buttons, etc).

If someone knows how to get it to recognize Chinese, then please tell me!

Also, not sure what the difference is between the Bamboo and the Bamboo Fun (the Fun is newer and more expensive) but for basic use, the Bamboo is all you really need.

Some things I am pleased with:
+pressure sensitivity really works, press harder for bolder strokes
+pen doesn't need batteries
+Small size is perfect for writing Chinese and drawing in Photoshop. Actually, I'd prefer it to be a little smaller. The area you write on (active area) mimics the desktop, so pressing in the upper right of the pad will mouse you up to the upper right corner of your screen. If you get too big of a pad your hand will have to do a lot of moving.
+turn the pen over and the back side is an electronic "eraser"

-buttons on the pen get pressed accidently every once in a while. You can disable the buttons or learn to hold it correctly
-USB port location on the tablet is on top (upper left). I'd like to have another port on the side so I can press it up against my laptop.

Lyons   January 11th, 2009 12:11p.m.

I just got a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet (small), especially for Skritter actually. I prefer using it to a mouse - it's a much more natural way to write.

Not sure yet whether it can replace a mouse for all tasks. It might take a bit of getting used to, especially since you have to move your hands further.

Laozhang: the Bamboo fun came bundled with various software - the Bamboo Scribe software offers good Chinese character recognition.

Mu Haoting   January 27th, 2009 6:18p.m.

I switch off between my Macbook trackpad and the smaller of the Wacom Bamboo-s. Trackpadding too long makes my fingertips hurt, but I still haven't quite gotten the hang of writing characters enormously large on the Wacom (on paper, I write pretty small; maybe 2/3 or 1/2 of a Japanese genkou-youshi square?)

And then sometimes the Wacom and Skritter fight; mostly this happens when Skritter interprets strokes as errant marks and erases them (which is annoying when it's the second stroke of the heart radical, for example).

Mandarinben: Does it? I may have to try the Scribe software. I really only installed the preference pane (Don't need Photoshop Elements, I've got CS3!)

nick   January 27th, 2009 6:40p.m.

It's possible to use Wacom software to set the tablet-screen coordinate mapping, so that you have a smaller area of the tablet or screen. Also, it's definitely easier to use pen mode (absolute position) than mouse mode (relative positioning).

salinay   April 12th, 2009 1:44p.m.

I need "Bamboo Scribe" for Mac OS X 10.5. I just bought a Bamboo One to use for Chinese Character recognition, but it won't work with the software on the website (www.wacom.com). Please help! Thank you.

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