In my last post, I talked about some missed opportunities in regards to Vista and Ink. In this next article, I’d like to focus on what is working really well with Vista and Ink, in particular pen navigating. I’ll be working up some InkShows to demonstrate these features, but I thought I would post a little on these pluses first.
First, using the TIP with Internet Explorer is a much better experience. They have added .com, .net, .edu, .gov, and .org as extensions. In addition, as you begin to ink the website address, a list box appears below the TIP that narrows down as you continue inking. This autocomplete list box also works on all fields within the browser. Having that autocomplete feature as you ink the word is a huge time saver. If you have inked GottaBeMobile before in a field, ink GO and GottaBeMobile will appear and you just select it. That’ll save you from having to enter 11 more letters in ink.
Second, the handwriting personalization works really, really well. I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in recognition as I’ve worked through the training. I still have a lot more to go through, but the recognition rate appears to be much better in Vista than in XP SP2. I can why they wanted 50 screens of training. It seems to get much better the further along I go.
Third, Flick gestures is simply awesome. For the past several days, I’ve been using the Flick gestures to scroll up, down, back, forward, copy, and paste. I can really see myself getting use to this feature. My only negative with the Flick gestures is that I sometimes end up selecting text instead of doing the Flick gesture. It’ll take a little practice to get the correct Flick gesture pattern down.
Fourth, the new Start menu is very pen friendly. Gone are the cascading menus. Now, you just click on a folder and it expands out below. The whole menu stays put in one place. That is a very nice improvement in navigation, especially for pen navigation.
Fifth, selecting multiple files is much easier in Vista, especially for pen users. All you have to do is hover over the file and check box pops up next to the file. Click on the check box to select and then hover over the next one you want, and press the check box. This is greatly improved over XP SP2 in that you don’t have to whip out the TIP keyboard to press the CTL key. To select all the files and folders in a directory, just click on the check box on the Name column and everything gets selected.
Last but not least, the flyout TIP from the left side of the screen works really well. It is also customizable to the left or the right side the screen. There is Dock at Top / Bottom option, but the dock settings get lost after you use the flyout TIP. I’m sure that is a bug and I’ll report it. I thought I would also mention that password security for the TIP keyboard is built-in. If you are keying in a password, the on-screen keyboard will not highlight the letters as you press them. This a much needed security enhancement. You can also customize that setting to show the keyboard letters if you want.
The more I have used Vista over these past several days, the more comfortable I am with it and the more I enjoy the experience over Mac OS X. It is the little things I have explained above that makes it a very productive environment, especially for pen users. So far, I’ve had very few crashes and I’m considering installing several of my production apps on it and using it in a day to day environment.
Look for some InkShows in the coming weeks that highlight the above and if there are things you would like demonstrated, post a comment.