Sunday, April 02, 2006

Writing tools

Most people use ball point pens, I can not fathom why. To me the mechanical pencil seems to be the best thing for writing. Using good leads, you get a smooth and clean writing experience. With a small eraser, rectifications are simple and easy. Get a mechanical pencil with a big chamber, fill it up with a whole pack of leads (about 20~40), and you can write on for more then half a year with no hassles.

Let's see how pens do. For corrections, you either need a bottle of slow-drying liquid paper(which sometimes clog up); bulky and expensive correction tape; or scraps of paper and glue. Sometimes the pen is old, or you forgot to recap,or you might have accidentaly dropped it, or for no apparent reason, the ink just gets clogged, or ink gratuitously comes gushing out, or maybe the "ball" of the point just fells out. Farthermore, you use up ink fast, either you buy a new one, or get ink refills, every few weeks. Just think of all the hassle.

Clearly, the pencil is much better. All you have to do is concentrate on your writing.


Let's now talk about pen compuuting. Using handhelds for years now, I'm really wondering why we are stuck with keyboards and mouses on PCs. Sure, typing on keyboards is still the fastest input method. But the mouse? You've got to move the cursor to the correct spot, point it and click. that's at least 2 gestures. With a touch screen, all you do is tap, 1 gesture max. Neat and simple. So why didn't touch screens catch on? Price? That is one, but I guess the main reason is that no big company has strongly promoted it on desktops. Microsoft is trying to push it with tablet PC, but with a price way too exorbitant. They threw in a poor writing recognition system, stripped out the keyboard, and told you that you could doodle and scrible. The best combination should really be a touch screen usable with your finger(you could only use the stylus on tablet PCs) to replace the mouse, a good writing recognition system (such as Graffiti on Palms), and retain the keyboard. Wish future desktops are going this way.


So, here's the most used writing tools I use everyday:
-a mechanical pencil
-a stylus

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