Alternative input, like Dasher

Alexander McLeay alexander at
Tue Jan 16 05:07:25 CET 2007

G'day all... New to the list, but absolutely interested in buying one...

Because the Neo1973 has no keyboard/pad, I was wondering about the
possibilities of input. I imagine SMSes etc. would be entered with a
full on-screen keyboard rather than a 12-char keypad like on regular
phones. But I would guess that the small screen size would mean this
probably needs to be done with a stylus rather than fingers.

I used to have a Palm pilot with Graffiti handwriting recognition,
which was okay as a stylus method, but I always found it very slow.
Similarly, on screen qwerty keyboards seem to be a poor choice because
they require a lot of attention and precision; unlike key-based
keyboards, you need to look at them continuously, so you miss errors
when you've made them... Also, the shape of a keyboard is designed to
assist nine-fingered input, whereas with one stylus you'd want
everything to be more centrally/circularly located (I'd think).

I initially was thinking of simply a more circular keyboard layout
with the most common letters in the minute, but I'm currently reminded
of a GTK+ program that comes with Gnome---Dasher I think---which is an
excellent tool for entering text with the mouse. You simply aim your
single pointing device at a letter, it comes towards you and shows
next letters; it also predicts the likely next letters and makes them
easier to hit. It also shows the word you're typing in the area you're
working (I think), so although it requires attention, you will know
you've made a mistake. It should also be lenient enough to allow input
with a finger instead of a stylus.

It seems comparatively graphically intensive for as simple a device as
a handheld computer. Does anyone know if it would be practical to use
this on a Neo1973? Alternatively, does anyone know of any other
text-input methods that would be superior than slow handwriting
recognition or tedious OSKs?


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