SHR - Keyboard

Joel Newkirk freerunner at
Fri Dec 19 06:34:15 CET 2008

On Fri, 19 Dec 2008 02:09:52 +0000, Al Johnson
<openmoko at> wrote:
> On Thursday 18 December 2008, Carsten Haitzler wrote:
>> On Thu, 18 Dec 2008 14:49:50 +0000 Al Johnson
>> <openmoko at>
>> babbled:
>> > On Thursday 18 December 2008, clare johnstone wrote:
>> > > On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 8:28 PM, Paul <paultsai at> wrote:
>> > > > Is there a way to make the keyboard pop up on demand, say for the
>> > > > terminal?
>> > >
>> > > Or did you just mean: press the tiny little mark at centre top of
> the
>> > > screen. A curtain 1/3 the size of the screen will wander down. At
> its
>> > > top right corner is the word "qwerty". if you press that a keyboard
>> > > will appear.
>> > > Later you can repeat to make the keyboard disappear.
>> >
>> > Yes, it is now frustratingly longwinded. The keyboard icon on the
>> > matchbox
>> it's that way because slowly i'm expecting toolkits to be able to
>> auto-popup or apps - it's still there, but i moved it away to make more
>> room on the top bar for other things. it's laid out by theme so it can
> be
>> changed - but the default is aimed more at the "state of things how they
>> should be right now"
> I'm finding that I have to manually pull up the keyboard more often now
> than I
> used to, not less. Rather like the original keyboard discussion I agree
> with
> the theory, but in practise things aren't there yet.

We're doing more manual keyboard work simply because we're testing SHR
instead of 2008.x, so we don't have Qtopia apps triggering keyboard.  In
this case that's not at all the keyboard's fault.  I've seen quite a bit
more auto-keyboard action the past few days, as well.  :)

>> > panel is much better in my opinion. Even better would be a keyboard
> icon
>> > that brought up the default keyboard if tapped, but if held would pop
> up
>> > a list of available keyboards or layouts.
>> that can be done - though it duplicates the layout selector on the kbd
>> itself
> If the 'correct' layout would appear automatically every time it wouldn't
> be
> an issue. Until that happens the duplication allows manual selection of
> the 'correct' keyboard for the situation with a tap-hold-drag rather than
> tap
> (bring up keyboard) tap (bring up layout selection) scroll (as it seems
> add scroll bars whether needed or not) tap (to select layout). There is
> course the argument that if you make the keyboard too easy nobody will
> ever
> fix the apps ;-)

The heart of it - fix the apps.  Or perhaps word it as "enhance the apps". 
In the meantime, I simply did: "cd
/usr/lib/enlightenment/modules/illume/keyboards; mv Default.kbd Alpha.kbd;
mv Terminal.kbd Default.kbd" and called it done.  When I pop up the
keyboard manually or it triggers auto, I get the full terminal layout,
which I'm far happier with as default.

>> > It can be a little distracting, but it doesn't seem to
> compromapp-emulation/emul-linux-x86-java-
>> > performance. It seems to keep up with ~4 characters per second - as
> fast
>> > as I can hit characters in short bursts anyway. Sometimes I get
>> > characters from a long way from where I tapped, but I suspect that's
> the
>> > touchscreen driver causing problems since I have the same problem with
>> > the matchbox keyboard.
>> if you happen to have both fingers pressed at once (as you haven't
> released
>> 1 before pressing the other) this will happen. this is just
> unfortunately
>> part of life with a single-touch resistive touchsrceen. (i can come up
> with
>> hackish workarounds like extrapolating sudden moves to be a new press
>> somewhere else in the tslib driver... but now you're in magic voodoo
> land
>> and really.. you just should have multitouch).
> This is with a single finger or stylus, and a definite release before the
> next
> tap. This sort of operation works without problem on a Psion 5, another
> device with a resistive touchscreen and still my reference device in many
> respects.

I saw the same thing until quite recently.  I'm presuming that this is the
result of Tick's touchscreen jitter work.  I used to fire up sketchbook and
tap rapidly around the keyboard area (or any other area, closer to the edge
the more pronounced) and get intermittent taps registering as far away as
the center of the screen.  Today I tried that and got one mis-registered
tap like that where before I'd have had about 20.  Playing with sketchbook
before I noticed that if I forced myself to 'type' just a hair more slowly
the number of misfires was drastically reduced.  (now it hardly matters :)

>> > I suspect part of the reason people tend to dislike the qtopia and
>> > default illume keyboards is that by default they don't do what we
> expect,
>> > and it isn't obvious what they are doing. The matchbox keyboard is
> just
>> > an onscreen representation of a familiar keyboard, and behaves as we
>> > expect. It doesn't require any extra knowledge to get it to do what we
>> > want. The same could be said of the illume terminal layout, but that
>> > isn't the default.
>> also one could argue that the invers could be the case. i am trying to
>> answer and sms and do nothing but yell at this tiny pokey keyboard i can
>> barely hit with a finger - and the device has no place for a stylus (and
>> the one that comes with it is so huge i wouldn't be seen dead carrying
> it).
>> :) you can't win. you make lot A happy, then lot B unhappy. thats why
> there
>> are multiple layouts to at least give the options to both. the default
> lean
>> is towards using it as a PHONE - not as a terminal. i would assume the
>> nerds have enough braincells to rub together to switch layout :)
> I never said it was easy ;-) The corrective keyboard and the alternate
> keyboard layouts are hugely better than the matchbox keyboard, but there
> is a
> barrier to entry that the matchbox keyboard doesn't have. The matchbox
> keyboard is intuitive but ultimately limited as an input method as you
> say.
> The challenge is to lower the initial barrier for the illume keyboard so
> that
> more people get to see the advantages on the other side rather than
> up
> and ditching it for the matchbox one, only to run into its limitations at
> a
> later date.

I think that in the long term if ordinary users are provided with some
instruction how to navigate the multiple keyboards and the corrective
typing feature that the Illume keyboard would be a hit. (given options to
change default layout, language of layout, language of dictionary, etc, and
maybe tweaked corrective layouts)  IMHO the only thing the matchbox
keyboard has over the Illume - with Terminal as default - is that it takes
up a bit less room.  I'd like to reclaim that space just on the terminal
keyboard, and enlarge the keys on the others, but once I understood what
the corrective keyboard was doing I was just fine with it.  It rarely meets
my needs, but I'm usually typing in shell commands, not texting.


PS - I was trying to explain the corrective feature to a coworker some time
ago, and ended up using the simile of Wheel of Fortune: held letters are
'known', others are unknown but it knows they're near a given point on the
keyboard layout, so it lists the words it can think of that fit.  She
instantly "got it". (sorry if that loses something in translation - I
realize a tv gameshow guessing hidden English phrases has limited appeal in
non-english-dominated parts of the globe;)

Joel Newkirk      (blog) (FR stuff)

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