Tuesday, 26 June 2007

There no such thing as "too many txt messages"

I am in awe. I have, right at the beginning of this blog, detailed my fairly long and strongly held opinions about mobile phone features, including: If it's going to be more powerful than a standard call/txt communication device, it needs a QWERTY keyboard.

Which is amusing, in retrospect, considering that when I was first looking at the input methods chosen by PDAs (predominantly an artificial alphabet - graffiti - which was written one character at a time and all in the same spot, ruining both the flow and the natural movements of handwriting), I wondered why they didn't just try and do a predictive-text system: minimise the number of buttons and button presses, benefit from other people's research... Then I discovered the pickboard available through the Opie (Open Palmtop Integrated Environment) project, which was essentially predictive text using the three-letter groupings spaced out horizontally, which is ergonomically horrible but does save on screen real-estate. And I was impressed, and found it good, but not as good as two-thumb typing on a tiny real keyboard.

And now here I am demanding a two-thumb QWERTY system. Largely, I think, because of the mistakes I forget to check for in the predictive outcome...

And now I am in awe of the awesome power of T9. I can't believe it. An entire 384 pages of novel, at 160 characters per time (that's one SMS, in case you were wondering), on the bus, using T9 on his mobile. I take my hat off, genuflect and repeat "We're not worthy, we're not worthy".

But there are, of course, questions unanswered. Namely: What phone, how did he collate the output, how long did it take him, did he get RSI, is his thumb a strange shape now...

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