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Digital Doodling 76

Bill points us to this story about IBM notebooks fitted with digital writing/doodling pads. It's designed to capture images rather than OCR text, but I could still see it being a useful tool in a few different situations. Doesn't seem to be any info about this on IBM's site, though.
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Digital Notepad

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  • by Orbix ( 238630 ) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @07:38PM (#507405) Homepage Journal
    I don't know if too many of you have heard of them, but a moderate number of tablet (pen-based) notebooks have been available for nearly a decade. While they didn't use the pad/digitizer tablet method that IBM is presenting, they were a very usable solution in a large number of circumstances.

    In 1992/1993, IBM produced the Thinkpad 730T, an industrial strength tablet notebook designed mainly for applications in real estate (easy access to databases and listing information), medical (convenient access to patient records and other such data), and other purposes. This thing is still impressive today, and was even more amazing back when it was released.

    The machine was incredibly well designed, employing a fairly small footprint, pcmcia hard disks (so that your work doesn't require you to use a specific notebook. If your workplace owns a number of 730Ts, just pop your personal hard disk into any of the notebooks and you're set to go), rubberized magnesium-alloy casing (extremely strong, light, and water-resistant), and an extremely cool dual-battery system. Rather than having one massive battery, the 730T used two smaller batteries, set up so that batteries can be hot-swapped by simply replacing one battery, then the other, leading to effectively unlimited uptime without plugging in or shutting down. The average battery life runs into the 3-5 hour range.

    The digitizer tablet was integrated with the display, allowing a true point-and-click environment (to use marketing jargon), and wasn't too shabby, especially since the display was a backlit 9.5" greyscale lcd.

    The reason I mention this macine at such length is this: Tablet machines have been done before. Even by the same manufacturer. The only thing that has been lacking has been OS support. PenPoint was apparently good, but had limited application support. Windows for Pen Computing is long outdated, and Pen Services has pathetic handwriting recognition, and it doesn't work with Windows 98 (I don't think). IBM seems to be acting as though this machine is a major innovation, even though this isn't a new thing. Even Microsoft is acting like their new version of Windows for use with tablet machines is a big deal. They've already done os work for pen-based systems.

    I wish these people wouldn't act like everything they do is so incredibly innovative.


    Note: Compaq also made a tablet machine, being the Concerto. The Concerto wasn't ruggedized or anything, but it did have a removable keyboard, making it one of the most versatile machines made, and that it surpasses this new IBM machine by miles.
  • Well if you consider that IBM was the one pushing the CrossPad a couple years ago (which was a joint effort between A.T. Cross & IBM technology) it comes as no suprise that they would integrate the two technologies. Here at Purdue we used the CrossPad in our drawing classes primarily to skip scanning the image.

    Two of the biggest complaints from the students were that the recognition was not good and you couldn't see the end result of your sketches in realtime. Many of the problems were due to converting the users pen strokes into a vector based image. I believe this user feedback is more of what influenced IBM's design of this new laptop. I highly doubt IBM "stole" this technology from Apple.

    For more information on IBM's handwriting research visit IBM Pen Technologies [] research page.


  • Someone moderated me as redundant, well that's up to them but it didn't seem redundant when i posted it. I thought mine was the first non-troll post
  • There's already an attachment to palm pilots which allows you to write on what appears to be a standard, ordinary notebook (the old paper sort) and have it captured by the palm. From this site []:
    • The Seiko Instruments SmartPad(TM) is a zippered notepad portfolio, whichcaptures handwritten notes on an ordinary pad of paper and instantly sends them to your Palm Organizer via its infrared port. Using the enhanced SmartPad Palm applications, save your notes, drawings, and maps in any of the four major Palm applications. Using an optional modem and third party software, you can email your notes directly from your Palm.

      SmartPad is the first product that lets you capture anything you write or draw, with the natural feel of pen on paper. Take notes and store them in your Datebook. Attach a map to a contact in the Address Book. Easily write down To Do's or Memos and save them for future reference.

    there's a lot of other info about it at the above linked site. It looks like a really cool add-on... unfortunately it doesn't seem to work with my Visor [] so I'm out of luck.
  • That's what i thought of too, I have family that works for cross (me even being a former employee) from what i understand cross has elimiated their pcg(Pen Computing Grop) line, and the only thing their selling off is the last remaing stock. They had a pad which you would write on paper, and a special piece of hardware would save the strokes, then download them to a PC and OCR them. the software, coincedentially, was written by IBM.
  • I created a doodle add on [] for my laptop in about 10 minutes!
  • IE vs Netscape. Who won? IE. Not because it was necessarily better than Netscape, but simply because the company that owned it had more market share and more money to throw at it. Who cares if Netscape was there first or was better (better is an opinion), IE had the BIG company behind it to back it in the minds of the average consumer.

    I hate to get into this, but it really bugs me that so many people feel that IE "won" just because Microsoft had endless amounts of cash to throw at it. IE also won because Netscape's stagnation and slow, but quiet, death.

    Mozilla (Netscape 6) is a joke. Sure, it gives GNU/Linux users a browser that correctly implements at least part of CSS1, but it doesn't offer much else. Netscape 6 will not regain any marketshare in Win32 Land because it sarcrifices speed and functionality in favor of a portability I couldn't care less about. I used to be a big Netscape weenie. I even used their crappy mail client. But Microsoft's products kept getting better and better, and Netscape's weren't changing at all. Netscape 4.7* is essentially the same browser Netscape sold three years ago, with the addition of slighly better [awful] applet support and a "Shop" button. Mozilla is amazing compared to that shite, but when compared to the Microsoft line, is only about as functional and fast as an IE4/Outlook Express 5 combo, minus stability.

    (Yes I'm aware what makes IE5* so fast. If Linux is to have any hope of succeeding the the consumer desktop market, perhaps it should learn to sacrfice some of its dubiously-pristine kernel process space in favor of what average desktop users really care about.)

    IE is now available for Windows, MacOS, and Solaris. Users of other platforms such as GNU/Linux should concentrate on "third-world" browsers such as Opera, Konquerer, et cetera, and get as far as possible from the Netscape stigma. I respect the time and effort the Mozilla developers have spent, but at this point, it's not just beating a dead horse, it's beating a horse which has been dead so long that the flesh has rotted off. The first thing these third-world browsers need is proper CSS2 (the standard is only three fucking years old, heh heh) and DHTML support. After that, start on XML. Web developers will start trying to publish pure XML documents within two years, and if you don't want to miss the boat again, I suggest you do something.

    It's not a matter of MS being evil. It's a matter of MS "releasing early and often" as the OSS saying goes, and it's a matter of their products supporting technologies both developers and users are eager to have. Once again, Mozilla is great, but MS had you beat two years ago. Netscape knows their browser line is dead, and don't care anyway; they make their money on iPlanet servers these days. ESR can bugger off. Products of the Cathedral may not be as polished upon initial release, but when compared to what comes out of the Bazaar... heh heh... ESR sure is a funny guy. He forgets that th Cathedral is what produced the UNIX system which GNU/Linux so happily ripped off.

    All generalizations are false.

  • This story is a duplicate of this slashdot submission [] from yesterday.
  • Just to add to this, the article says that the IBM machine isn't even designed for handwriting recognition, but rather, images. This seems like a pretty big piece of missing functionality. It seems the least they could do is to exploit more of the potential of a setup like this by simply adding handwriting recognition to it...
  • For example, scratch diagrams (be they architectural, machine modelling, or data/object modelling.)
    Aha! That's where it clicked for me. What I really want is a screen to replace my whiteboards. A 5'x4', touch-sensitve flatscreen LCD where I can draw my flow charts and C++/Java object diagrams, plug into my PC, and get a 1600x1200 PNG of what's on the board. Awesome.

    I've seen programs which let you draw on a pseudo-"whiteboard" the size of your computer screen (even a cool networked version), but they just can't replace the feeling of sketching out the shapes and paths in your mind onto the wall with a marker.

    Man, that would be awesome. And probably only cost $20000, too. ;-)

    Hey, getting offtopic, but -- speaking of whiteboards, I've been looking to buy a medium or large one for my apartment. (I don't think I can swipe one from work...) Where can I find the best prices? Office Depo, et al want hundreds of dollars for those babies... maybe I should stake out some engineering supply stores?

    All generalizations are false.

  • Life's too short to dance with ugly women. What about the ugly men? Ya, we know women live longer but I am sure their life isn't long enough to enjoy a dance with ugly men like the owner of this piece of rubbish.
  • I dunno about Ultima, but I remember reading a couple of stories on /. about something similar (here [] and here). []Lionhead Studios [] is making a game called Black and White in which you cast spells at bad guys and whatever, and the more accurately you draw the glyph for the spell with the mouse, the more effective the spell would be. I think it'd be pretty cool if those guys could somehow work this into their game.

  • This was the Whiteboard program I mentioned -- apparently a NetMeeting component, essentially just a networked Paintbrush :-)

    The Microsoft-phobic might feel more comfortable checking this out (requires Java applet-capable browser):

    All generalizations are false.

  • 1 or 2 Button Mouses for Apple ??? For the iMac at my Workplace, they got a 3 Button Mouse, USB Port ... so, if it works for the iMAC, shouldn't it work for the G4 ???
  • I think expecting Slashdot editorial staff to remember a story posted like two days ago is a little to much for you to ask.

    Give the guys a break, it's not like they are happy about all of their VA or Andover or whatever options being worth less than the paper they are printed on, or becoming worth even less in the future!
  • No doubt.

    The best part is that the original story is still under the "Friday" header on the right of the main /. page!

  • I can't believe that Apple fanatics have such a ridiculous attitude towards other companies 'stealing' Apple products.

    If I took a shit into a can and got IBM to sell it, you'd probaly bitch that I stole this idea from Apple since Steve Jobs is older than me and thus shat before me.
  • Its called writting a script to catalogue all urls posted in slashdot articles and checking to see if they've been double posted. Yes, its hard to do that with multi-homed domains, but it filter a lot of the shit we get here...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This really isn't intended for the technophile, it is a transition vehicle that enables three different technologies: keyboard, pad and touchscreen, ultimately weaning luddites from their fear of PCs/PDAs. Perhaps this is the logical transition point between laptop and PDA (subnotebooks are a failure IMHO).

    The pad is the key component because you can always drop back and scribble if your windows crashes, giving a sense of security. Plus, it's in a nifty package, so you don't have to fumble a laptop AND a pad of paper.

    Plust the flexibility of using just the touch screen is what I've been longing for. I used PenWindows and a backlit Wacom pad back in 93 and fell in love with it, then it died a horrible costly death. Hopefully it will be reborn soon by devices like this.

    For me, there isn't a program fast enough yet that I can use to go from mind to screen. Even visio isn't fast enough... Sometimes I even drop into notepad or paint, but they still can't compete with pen/paper for rapid thought.
  • I mean, I have a calcomp DrawingSlate II, i'm looking at right now thats been gathering dust for 4 reasons:

    1. It was really cool to use .. for the first 5 minutes
    2. It doesn't work under linux.
    3. The pen's batteries cost too much for normal use.
    4. Its awkward to use, and I could do better with my sweet (logitech) USB mouse.

    Another point to consider is that these pads are for PhotoShop addicts that need pressure sensetive stuff. For normal use they are awkard, even more so than those crappy joystick things the thinkpads used to ship with 4 years ago instead of a mouse.

    Now, adding it to a laptop is completely insane because it adds weight. Another note to consider is that these things have terrible bitrate (my calcomp only connects to a serial port). The only reason IBM's not going with OCR is either because they suck at doing it, or because they dont want to make their $3000 lappytops look like 3 year old Palms.

  • I'm impressed. You used the correct past tense form of the verb "to shit".

    The funny thing is that I am not being sarcastic.

    "Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
    (I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)

  • Now that's interesting, because until recently Cross had a splash screen on their PCG pages that said they were relaunching the Cross pad in Dec 2000. Nothing was updated by the first week of January, so I sent them an email asking "Wassup?". The reply was that they expected to launch the new version of the pad in Q1 2001. SO - they "fibbing", left-hand not knowing what right-hand's doing, or what? Gary
  • Replying to myself again, I found a cheap supplier of actual whiteboards. Anybody know about the quality of these guys?

    All generalizations are false.

  • From the article: "The number of people out there who still have paper play a major role in their life as an information tool is still quite large," Grimes said. "And they told us to help them organize and integrate [what they do] on paper, but without going 100 percent over to a laptop computer device. Because there are times when it's either not socially acceptable or not viable to use a computer and a keyboard in a situation," he said. So they put a touchpad next to the laptop? Clumsy.. check this out:
  • It's been over 20 years since Alan Kay envisioned a notebook sized computer that did windowing and handwriting/pen support, and we *still* haven't achieved that.

    A lot of people have made some disparaging remarks about the usefulness of such a device, but for certain tasks it would be a lot easier to use than a keyboard/mouse combo.

    For example, scratch diagrams (be they architectural, machine modelling, or data/object modelling.) Right now we have to click the tool. Drag-size the object. Click the entry field. Type text. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Very cumbersome, especially if you're a touch typist who doesn't like to reach for the mouse.

    A pad, OTOH, could recognize object shapes and avoid the tool click in the first place. It's easy enough to sketch trapezoids, boxes, squares, etc. on a whiteboard or notepad when doing object design with cohorts. Wouldn't it be handy if those initial notes were directly input as the initial design?

    Someone mentioned interviews as one of the situations where you don't want to be tapping at a keyboard. How about meetings? Ever tried to take notes using Palm's stuff in a meeting? Maybe others are quicker at their glyphs, but I just can't write and rewrite in the same spot naturally.

    Doing a straight digital capture for the initial data is actually pretty flexible. Once you've got your digital notes, you could use OCR tools on the "image" files, the same as if you'd scanned a document. Even if accuracy isn't too great, you have your raw notes to do corrections from (and no one to blame if you can't read your own writing. *g*)

    My bigger concerns are:

    1. Price. $3000 USD is way too much for a PIII600 laptop.
    2. Reduced screen size. Why reduce the screen size? Why not add depth instead and either hinge or clip the notepad portion to the laptop? If clipped, use a reasonable length connector cord or IR -- that way you could leave the laptop on the meeting table and keep the notepad comfortably in your lap.
    3. Special model. Given a clip-on approach, why not just make it a general IR, USB, or PCMCIA device that could clip to any laptop? Use a decent titanium or other durable backing with a more durable surface than the Palm, maybe LCD direct feedback, and you can eliminate the paper completely.
    But hey, what do I know? I just work with and program these damn machines, I don't get to make design decisions. That's left up to the sales reps and marketing gurus who couldn't sell great products like OS/2 or the Amiga...
  • God bless Google!

    All generalizations are false.

  • Whoops. I wasn't sure if this had run or not; it seemed familiar, but I searched for "transnote", "notepad" and one or two other terms but the previous story didn't show up. Oh well, it's still a neat device.
  • It isn't the same URL, so that wouldn't have worked.

    Most of the people suggesting a technical solution to the problem of double-posting stories don't realize that the technical solution is AI-complete.
  • There ARE (almost) such things. Where I work we have those cool large whiteboards with a device that will scan the contents of the board (xerox-like) at a press of a button and reproduce the thing on fax thermal paper.

    The nearby one its an Panasonic KX-B530.

    Hope this helps.

  • Are you kidding me? IBM must have paid a fortune to get this story publicized on the web and CNN, etc...We need more standardization among the portables. More converging of ideas.

    This sounds like the most awkward arrangement possible. The whole intention of paper is its light and unbound from the screens we look at all day. Disposable. If it sounded like this would simplify or organize my life, I might bite.

  • There was a story on [] a few months ago about how Apple planned to combine certain technologies from its defunct Newton division with its powerbook line, producing a hybrid pda-laptop beast which would behave like a laptop but have a pen and hand-writing recognition. I can't believe IBM would steal such an idea from Apple instead of having its own true innovation, like a touch-controlled built-in laser pointer for lecture presentations or a three-dimensional external talking wordprocessing assistant. The nerve!
  • by mihalis ( 28146 ) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @04:39PM (#507437) Homepage
    How does this relate to this story [] I wonder?
  • See: &mode=nested
  • If there are so many different variations on the same theme of hardware. How many times have we seen the stylus to OCR/Image concept since the Newton?

    How hard would it be for some enterprising haquers out to build a generic handwriting OCR engine? What are the technical problems involved with this sort of thing?
  • by fracus ( 103664 ) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @04:43PM (#507440) Homepage
    Would this really be that helpful?

    I usually find that it's much easier to take notes on paper, so that if I screw up I can easily erase it or move on.

    With this you wouldn't have the ability to scroll as you take notes, and unless it interprets your handwriting into text, what good would it be?

    Or is all digital always better to some of you?
  • been around for a while now... 2 years or so...

    An old sig
    a bit drops in

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This really isn't intended for the technophile, it is a transition vehicle that enables three different technologies: keyboard, pad and touchscreen, ultimately weaning luddites from their fear of PCs/PDAs. Perhaps this is the logical transition point between laptop and PDA (subnotebooks are a failure IMHO).

    The pad is the key component because you can always drop back and scribble if your windows crashes, giving a sense of security. Plus, it's in a nifty package, so you don't have to fumble a laptop AND a pad of paper.

    Plust the flexibility of using just the touch screen is what I've been longing for. I used PenWindows and a backlit Wacom pad back in 93 and fell in love with it, then it died a horrible costly death. Hopefully it will be reborn soon by devices like this.

    For me, there isn't a program fast enough yet that I can use to go from mind to screen. Even visio isn't fast enough... Sometimes I even drop into notepad or paint, but they still can't compete with pen/paper for rapid thought.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 14, 2001 @04:46PM (#507443)
    This is great for forms and checklists. A form can be printed that lies over the pad. As it's filled in, the fields are put in the appropriate database. When the task is done, both a traditional paper document and a database exist. The paper can easily be inspected and approved then filed for as long as needed by other inspectors. The electronic copy can be researched easily by those who need to know what happened.

    I've been waiting for something like this. Nice work, IBM!

  • No, the earlier story was from the paper pad. This story is the digitally captured version for the screen.
  • If Apple has been patenting things, it's because they're the latest and greatest and worth patenting (what patents were supposed to be for in the first place -- foremost innovation). If you can't understand this, then you haven't been paying attention. You remind me of this guy []:
    The only reason that makes PCs better is Cuz of all the Companies Support it .thats it .. if u want to be like that 14 your old handjob saying he could Progam C .. the be like it

    i myself am 16 and the only language i ever felt the need to lear is QuakeC But half of u Jackoffs dont even know what the hell your fighting about Makes u wonder how the hell uv lived this long and all these titles . Freak!?!? Loser?? Mac Rules . Shit .. for once can u not be an in Bred Fuck and say what u know . I forn one dont believe that Quake would run so well on a mac not because i dont like macs far from it . i just dont believe in them .. THink .. Quake Was Created with ibm in mind . it would haven been released for Macs if it was intended .. i for one dont know anygame Created for macs besides Some Disney shit . and Asteroids . i dont get it .. Damn teenyboppers always shooting off ther mouths . use what u want . and believe what u like . btw what was the name of that Crap MiniComp made byt mac that Almost cost them there Buisness . Sorry just was trying to remember . ibm AND MICROSOFT have a strong following . Mac . hasnt as much something about the mac interface just doesnt hit my right I mean everyFucking comp i see that is mac has that Shitty Freaking trashcan .. too bad u cant just chukk the entire comp inthere .. i remember my friend was Trying to get me to install Doom on his mac laptop . Stupid Fucking MousePad type shit . i really dont like that windows clone they use . Just looks weird . where was i . oh yeah . Quake is a Great game .intended for reprogramming and that was it . perhaps if they do make it for mac it will still be good but u cant honestly believe it will be the same .. and i dont want to hear anyshit about it being better on the mac Cuz that game if improved which it cant be the way it is .. will just become shit . after all thes4e years the Quake engine still fascinates me . unreal was Crap . and im sure it stayed Crap when it hit macs . If this is was a discussion between Programmers imb and mak . the im sorry for intruding but when that little Retard started mouthing off about his prgramimg skillz . Dont show off about what u know Cuz chances are hell of alot better u dont know it . am i really to believe u were programming at 9 . shit i dont htink u could even make it to the batroom before pissing u pants take a look at your neighbor . yeah the 9 yr old . does he look like he cant program ..perhaps Html but not any of what u spoke of .

    If that's the best argument wintel users can put up against Apple, then it's little wonder that Apple is fast becoming the number one consumer-computer manufacturer again. What this debate lacks is maturity on the wintel side. You've tried using actual arguments and have lost, so now you resort to name calling and expletives ("If I took a shit into a can and got IBM to sell it, you'd probaly bitch that I stole this idea from Apple"). Apple invented the personal computer as you and I know it. Show some respect.
  • Apparently the reason that Apple has provided 2 mouse buttons (previously only one button) is loosly tied to the fact that they have in the past, catered to the brain child. Acording to inside sources they have been performing routine genetic experimentation. Not really the test tube stuff but rather just selective breeding (which we should all practice). The results have been mixed. Though they have managed to gain lower level management with superior intelect it has also produced a great number of ergonimists with only an index finger and thumb. Lukily the programmers have all three digits like the rest of us. (sorry, drunk as usual) given to you from the other side...
  • If that's the best argument wintel users can put up against Apple...

    It isn't.

  • What I think is how amazingly stupid it was to put this up on a news bulletin without figuring out that it's the TransNote! Are you guys getting lazy or what? w.html
  • how much did you pay to read the site? nothing? then get the fuck over it. jackass.
  • the business professional? Any quick notes that you need to take are much more easily put into a palm type of hardware. 3000 is a lot for a Intel 600 mhz notebook. I would have been VERY impressed if IBM released a lcd+writing tablet in one type of product. This doesn't seem very useful and I suspect that it will be a passing fad.
  • The page linked to here on slashdot [] is actually just an IDG frame with an ad on it and another frame that goes through at this address:;1511675;4485524;j?ht tp:// 0112hnwriting.xml?p=br&s=5 [].

    To go there without viewing the IDG banner and without generating clickthrough $$$ for IDG, go HERE [].

    This article is actually an [] article.

  • About 4 years ago I remember an interview with one of the Ultima developers (maybe British himself, I really can't recall).

    Anyway, he was talking about how they were going to be using a form of OCR for the spell casting in the next Ultima game. Each spell would have a hand-motion associated with it... part of casting a spell would be to actually use your mouse mimic the patterns that your mage would be drawing in the air with his staff (or hands or whatever).

    The more accurately you draw the pattern... the more effective the spell would be! I thought that was the COOLEST idea. To me that seems very a) innovative and b) fun. :-) It would be satisfying to draw a spell *just right* at a crucial moment and turn the tide of a battle... heheheh.

    What do you guys think about that idea? And have you heard of any other uses of OCR in games? To me this is an area just begging to be exploited. :-) []
  • Who won? IE. Not because it was necessarily better than Netscape, but simply because the company that owned it had more market share and more money to throw at it.

    I agree with your post. But that particular analogy isn't quite right -- I switched to IE when Microsoft made a BETTER browser -- up 'til 4.0 Netscape was better -- but IE4 / 5 were actually /better browsers/ and (until the release of Netscape 6) more standards-compliant. (What made the decision for me was the ability to surf using only TAB, w/o using a mouse). For a while, Netscape got lazy, and that cost them the browser war. (Similarly -- that's why Micro$oft has a tenuous hold on the marketplace -- it would take less than 6 months if someone started seriously kicking their ass for them to become the next also-ran, a-la Novell)
  • So I'm living up to the Slashdot community standards, then? :-)
  • Well, Rob Malda started it out as a 'hobby site.'

    Like any successful venture, all sorts of other people have climbed on aboard.

    Ever been in a startup where that happens? It's cool at first, then it gets the attention of the suits and all sorts of creeps join up and run it.

    You know who I mean. [various.other.creeps]

  • maybe you should meet the Clio []®

  • Why not.the mind wanders freely on the net,Sketch favorite geek at SandToad or do your own thing.Words or lines who cares.
  • Well Handwriting OPTICAL character recognition is hard, you just lose too much information in the optical scan. But that's not what you mean. You mean handwriting recognition where you have the full stroke information. That makes it a little bit easier.

    Mainly I think it is a lack of hardware where it would be convenient to have such a thing. No one is itching yet. But this might change with the porting of linux to reasonably powerful handhelds - compaq ipaq for one.
  • Hrm then, that's news to me. Last I heard there's only 1 or 2 people from the original pcg group in the plant. Perhaps They have outsourced development? I'll have to investigate further.
  • The Mac lost because Apple wasn't a big company. No one in big buisness trusted the two kids from a garage. Apple was first. Apple was better. Apple just didn't matter.

    The Mac lost because most of us didn't like them enough to buy one. If you're assuming that most people made that decision on the basis of advertising without ever trying competing machines before purchasing, you're probably wrong.

    The Mac was technically nice, but it lacked even the option of a CLI, so I wrote it off as not being a serious machine. I like my machines to have both a CLI and a GUI, but if I have to have only one, I can't do without the CLI. I was an ardent Apple fan until the Mac came out, and it wasn't IBM's advertising that swayed me -- it was Apple's new machines.


  • I wonder if maybe I got the two games mixed up? But it seems like I read about it 3-4 years ago (B&W has been in development a long time, but not that long)... then again I could be wrong. Thx for the info :) []

  • You can find a preview of the ThinkPad TransNote on IBM's web site, here:
    The site implies, but does not clearly state, that the devide will do OCR as well as capture doodles. Check out the cool monitor which rotates (or flips) to face the "audience." It looks great for meetings and small presentations.

  • I've been wanting something like Alan Kay's DynaBook ever since reading _The Mote in God's Eye_ when I was a kid.

    Unfortunately there's no decent drawing program for WinCE which does bezier curves and .eps export (unlike for instance FutureWave's SmartSketch---this is the program Flash was based on)

    The book, _ThinkPad A Different Shade of Blue_ discusses this somewhat, as does Jerry Kaplan's _Startup_


    Lettering Art in Modern Use
  • I'd add a reply to this...but I am not convinced you know what you are talking about and thus it wouldn't be worth it. The following quote:

    Apple invented the personal computer as you and I know it

    suggests you either haven't a clue or believe everything you are told. Ever heard of Xerox PARC? history lesson: they were responsible for GUIs, Ethernet, file servers, print servers, routing (RIP), and a whole bunch of other stuff you probably attribute to Apple, Novell, or maybe even Cisco depending on what you have been told. Do your research before you start believing you are high and mighty.
  • This could signal the end of drawing/writing on the back of en envelope. At my desk right now I have about 10 envelopes with e-mail addresses, URLs, Phone Numbers,etc....

    I hope IBM has some sort of easy retrieval system for this, so that you can pull things up really easy. A Netscape Plugin or something would be really cool.

  • Having worked at the IBM call center, I can hear the support calls now:

    Caller 1: " Um, yeah, my pen doesn't work "
    Tech: "....Use another one, sir "

    Caller 2: " So, where is the power button on this pen? "
    Tech: "(sigh) [click]"


  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @04:48PM (#507468) Homepage
    This seems like a great idea, usable as a computer in those situations where a full computer just doesn't "feel" right. When I'm taking notes, jotting down a poem, etc, I usually hate to type, rather, I like to scrawl my scribblings on a pad of paper. Don't ask me why, it just feels better to get those emotions down on ground up trees. However, since one can't send a sheet of paper to someone across the country nearly as fast as you can send an email, so I end up having to type it out anyways. This seems like it'll get rid of most of the redundancy of having to put down an idea twice just to get people to be able to read it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    On the face of it, you've got to hand it to them. When they designed that butterfly keyboard that unfolded, I wanted one - just so I could open and close the computer again and again.

    This is probably appropriate for a very large market - for example I often take notes whilst interviewing people - it's rude to type during a meeting (perhaps that's a culture thing, but then you should be sensitive to it), so I write quick notes and type up minutes afterwards. This would be very very useful in my case, and many others I can think of.

    On the other hand, it's not necessary, just useful - the current way works too. And if this thing gets overtaken by something else within 9 months, it's going to miss my company's refresh cycle on PCs, and it will pass us by. Also, it suffers from the fact that it's newness classifies it as a gadget in the minds of those who have budgets, and so maybe it won't sell quite so well as a consequence.

    I don't think I'll get one, either personally or through my work, but I like the fact that IBM push the ideas envelope and make things like this - not bad for a monolithic blue-chip.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There is a fundamental mismatch between the portrait-orientation of the pad of paper and the landscape-orientation of the screen.

    The article left me with several questions:

    - Do you have to write with special characters, or will it recognize my native printing?
    - Does the pad fold all the way around for when you're not using the computer?
    - If so, wouldn't writing on the pad mash the keys against the table?

  • Why exactly is it that you continue to read it then?

    Well that surely doesn't prove that they're doing a bangup job all of the time.

    By your train of reasoning, I shouldn't complain about the United States of America because I continue to live here. It is possible for a thing to have both good and bad qualities, it doesn't have to be absolutely one or the other.
  • IBM did it with Mainframes to buig buisness before Microsoft and Intel did it to us. Its very simple and yet, at the same time, it can be difficult to pull off. Marketing.

    When the Apple first came out, everyone was using IBM. Somehow big buisness was accustomed to getting everything from IBM. Actually they were more than just accustomed to IBM they were clung to the image of professionalism and power. IBM was the largest (and perhaps only?) big manufactuer of Mainframe systems. Companies trusted IBM with making the best systems and, for the most part, they did deliver on that. In time, companies would take the stance of: if it's not IBM it's not coming in here. It could have also been something with IBM's licensing agreements, but I like the romantic idea of an actual relationship between companies.

    Along came the personal computer. Woz and Jobs got a great idea from Homebrew that real world people just might be able to benifit from computers. Things like games (well, maybe not yet), personal finance, word processing, etc, without having to wait in line for processing time on some university or company IBM mainframe. Also, you may not be able to do PERSONAL things on an academic or corporate system - something you CAN do with a personal computer. Jobs probably jerked off that night thinking of all the money that they could bring in. Bill Gates was probably failing a test or something and didn't really have a clue... not yet anyway.

    Anyhow, Woz and Jobs sell these personal computers and they take off very well. Except for one big problem. Those little Apples didn't have the three most important things at that time to be accepted into buisness. Those three things were the letters I.B.M. on the cover. Woz and Jobs proved one thing: there was _money_ to be made, and IBM eventually wanted a part of it.

    Buisness turned to IBM and said "Hey, those Apples might be useful... we'd like some way to sucker people into working at the office and at home... what do you have for us?" IBM quickly ran out and (quite literally) overnight built what has become known as the Personal Computer (or IBM PC).

    So why this long boring history lesson that's probably half wrong? Well, the part that's right is the big buisness acceptance. Buisnesses standardized on the PC not because it was better, but because it came from the bigger company.

    In time, Apple has proven to lead the way to innovation - the GUI for example. But buisness was always oriented around the PC. Once IBM had that engrained into their corporate culture then the war was over.

    Think of it this way. IE vs Netscape. Who won? IE. Not because it was necessarily better than Netscape, but simply because the company that owned it had more market share and more money to throw at it. Who cares if Netscape was there first or was better (better is an opinion), IE had the BIG company behind it to back it in the minds of the average consumer.

    Since most people used PCs at work, they eventually wanted to use them at home too. The Apple got sidelined as everyone got the PC. Incedently, the PC is cheeper than the Mac, simply because there is competiton on the hardware side of things.

    The Mac lost because Apple wasn't a big company. No one in big buisness trusted the two kids from a garage. Apple was first. Apple was better. Apple just didn't matter.

    The problem is that with more users on the PC, more developers came along for it. More developers means more applications and more applications means more choice for the end user.

    Sadly Microsoft found a way to monopolize the basic software component of the IBM PC and bilked IBM and the rest of us for over 10 years. Sigh.

    Again, the Mac may be better technologically speaking, but the PC has more application and more support. It's more widely used and accepted and, for the present time, the tide isn't changing. I respect Apple for starting the PC industry in the same way I respect Netscape for starting the WWW. Unfortunatly I'm typing this note on Internet Explorer running on Windows 98 on my IBM latpop. Sad really. Just plain sad.

    Maybe they'll get back on their feet. Maybe they'll find a way to destory the PC market. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow... Blah, this is getting stupid.. L8r.

  • First few times it was funny... The second few times it was alarming... Now I'm thinking /. should be /..
  • a quick search: []

    and you see this article with the old one right beneath it. i dont expect the /. team to know every story, but a quick search isn't that hard. as for added information, thats what slashback is for.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • Yes, I have noticed that, since the page linked to from Slashdot just gives me a top frame with some stuff, and one frame which says "Internet Junkbuster"... In order to actually see the article, I'm forced to either allow (which I don't want), or use the modified link. Bad, IDG.

  • Hm how about here [] and there was something mentioned from that on ZDNet [] Bizaar.

    aztek: the ultimate man
  • Ever since I used a palm pilot, and learned grafiti I wanted to use in on a PC. When I got my wacom tablet, I assumed that there was software out there that would allow me to do this, but to my dismay such software doesn't exist. *hint* *hint* someone out there wanna make it? *wink* *wink*

  • Is it just me or do we see things like this all the time, not just pen/stylus input, but a whole range of technology that seems specialized in it's abilities and is never adopted by the majority. I just see all of these as fancy expensive toys that display the abilities of technology and another thing i will never own.

  • Now that all types of digital killer-app wannabe divices are coming out, trying to capture a piece of the action, methinks the _real_ killer app digital device is yet to be invented, and that is, a digital device capable of either doing the digital oogling itself, or let the user of the device do all types of digital oogling on it.

    What da ya think?

  • My apologies for being off topic. No offense taken if this gets modded down.

    It really amazes me that so many people feel the need to go off when a mistake is made on /. More to the point I so often hear how /. is the epitome of bad journalism.

    My question to the folks who believe this:

    Why exactly is it that you continue to read it then?

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled goat sex troll...

    Give a man a match, you keep him warm for an evening.

"The C Programming Language -- A language which combines the flexibility of assembly language with the power of assembly language."