Thoughts about iWalk

Gavin Thomas Nicol gtn@rbii.com
Thu, 3 Jan 2002 22:58:05 -0500


On Thursday 03 January 2002 04:51 pm, Eirikur Hallgrimsson wrote:
> Have any FoRKers actually used the CrossPad?  It's a clipboard sized
> digitizer with no display.  You use a pen with real ink on a pad of paper,
> and you can later download the page images.   It was a really interesting,
> and seemingly promising idea.   I was never able to actually get a demo of
> downloading, so I never saw the quality of the results.   And there was, of
> course, only a Windoze program (sans protocol documentation).  I suspect
> that the CrossPad is long gone now.

I seem to suffer with devices... I bought a Nino and gave away a Palm I won, 
shortly before they stopped making the Nino. Likewise the Crosspad. I have 
one, which I still use occasionally.

The Crosspad holds "digital ink", developed by IBM. The recognition is pretty 
good (considering my scrawl), but the software is perhaps the most 
infuriating piece of crud to ever be palmed off on the public. The training 
takes a *long* time (about 6 hours), and there are options during the process 
that intuitively could have a significant impact on recognition. There 
apparently is no way of backing up, or saving training samples so you can 
experiment... hence each experiment costs 6+ hours, and you have to reprint 
the training set. Once you do get it trained, you have a funky little 
application that you can use to manage your notes. It does allow cut and 
paste into word etc. and can do a reasonable job of transferring things like 
schematics and whatnot.

Personally, I think the Crosspad could still be useful.... though the 
software truly does suck and needs to be redone. In fields where paper forms 
are required (doctors, insurance, etc. etc.) it could do very well.

For general use, better software, and eInk paper-display would be the ticket.