I wrote about a month ago when I was trying to learn the new version of Graffiti. I knew the old version of Graffiti like the back of my hand and I found it frustrating to write with the new one. Mike showed me how to pull up the keyboard on the Palm and I realized that I could plink out my thoughts on the keyboard faster than I could write. I think it was even faster than I was with my old Graffiti skills.
The only problem with the innate keyboard is that when I pull it up on my Tungsten E, it takes up half the screen and I have precious little space to see what I have typed. Additionally, I have to press an extra button to bring it up, so if I only need to type one or two letters, it’s a pain in the butt. For WWCalc, I have so many shortcuts programmed in, I usually only need to type a couple of letters for each entry. It would be silly to bring up the big keyboard just to type two letters.
Mike started playing with some different keyboard that he could install on his Tungsten T3. It replaced his typing area with this new keyboard that is specially arranged for a stylus. It was so cool, but my Palm doesn’t have an active writing area, so I thought it wouldn’t work for me. Mike said that they have stickers to put over your active area on the old-style Palms so that you can use this cool keyboard without using up all your screen space. They had a trial download and it included an Acrobat document to print onto a sticker to put on my Palm.
I printed the sticker up on normal paper and stuck it over my screen protector. I knew I would have to sacrifice a screen protector if I didn’t like the thing, but I thought it was worth that. I used it for about thirty minutes and had Mike pay the registration fee for the program. It was that great. Three days later, their really slick stickers came in the mail (they send you four) and now my Palm is the most efficient note taking device I have every owned outside of paper. I can officially take the Moleskine out of my purse and just pull out the Palm when inspiration hits me. I can type that fast.
I am still learning how to use it. I’ve put in a ton of custom slides for common suffixes and prefixes so that I don’t have to tap “i-n-g” or “t-i-o-n” over and over. I can use my own shortcuts for those common word combinations. The cool thing is that I get to decide what means what. If I don’t use a suffix very often, it doesn’t have to be on my list. I could program entire words for any letter I want. It’s entirely customizable.
My typing speed with the FITALY keyboard is about 28 wpm right now. I’ve tested as fast as 34 wpm, but it’s not consistently that fast yet. It is still substantially slower than typing on the computer. My speed on the computer is between 59 and 70 wpm. I’m sure that I will get faster with the FITALY keyboard as I practice. I know that I’m much faster than I could ever do with Graffiti. I tried testing my speed with Graffiti and I couldn’t get over 15 wpm. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get faster than that and my hands started getting a little sore after writing for so long. Tapping on the keyboard is a lot easier on my hands.
I totally recommend trying this keyboard out for yourself on your Palm. You can install it risk-free and use it for about five days. It only took me thirty minutes to know that I wanted to keep it. DO NOT stick a normal label or sticker on your Palm. If you are going to print yourself up the keyboard to stick on your machine, put it over a screen protector. You WILL NOT be able to remove it from your screen without damaging it. Try it out and see if you like it. It might make your little “toy” something much more useful.