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Old 11-02-2007, 07:39 PM   #1
GregS
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Acessing the pen.

I am an English High School teacher (hence not much spare money) living in Australia (hence no Readers to even look at). Admittedly the Sony hits the price target, however, the Iliad has some inspiring virtues.

I would like to asses the pen tool, as best I can, via file examples.

Especially, how fine the line can be made, how clear normal handwriting is rendered, especially at speed.

I would also like, some frank assessment from users about how they find the pen to use for writing - or is it really just a note tool (a few words).

If the latter, that is fine, short notes are important to, but could someone write 1000 word essay with the Iliad, or would this be too awkward?

The reader would be slippery compared to the natural resistance of paper, but perhaps this is something the user adapts to?

The Wifi interface is of course also very useful in the context. Students, lose just about everything, and assessing their writing on a lesson to lesson basis can be troublesome, but having their work sent via WIfi simplifies everything from correction to marking.

Handwriting, believe it or not, is critical to teaching writing, combined with easy erasing and perhaps paragraph sheets that can be rearranged - it is I must admit an English Teacher's dream. The fact that it is not game interactive is a blessing, that the student's textbooks can also be on it, well in combination that makes it perfect.

However, it all depends on the pen. Iliad stands even if the pen is not suitable for anything more than short notes, but it would be nice if it could do more.

Greg Schofield
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Old 11-02-2007, 09:12 PM   #2
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Hi Greg

The Iliad is certainly not a tool for writing a 1000 word essay. Also not for speed writing. It is good for casual note taking though. Based on the info which you have provided, I think what you need is a PC tablet.

Here in Singapore, we have already started using PC tablets for secondary schools since 2005. Here are the results of the study:

http://tabletpceducation.blogspot.co...singapore.html
http://ctl.sri.com/projects/displayP...?Nick=tabletpc
http://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/COM...tudies/cgs.pdf
http://www.ida.gov.sg/News%20and%20E...getPagetype=20

Hope that the above will be useful for you.

Best regards
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Old 11-02-2007, 09:39 PM   #3
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Hi Quek

I suspected that to be the case, I was looking, as best I could, at a few youtube videos hoping that practical experience might be otherwise.

This is no knocking of the Iliad, I could certainly use it and the bigger display is important, plus I make lots of doodles and notes. However, I am thinking of class use first and foremost.

It is a pity while very expensive LCD tablets exist, why some one could not come up with as something as simple as an etcho-sketch (ie mechanical, simple cheap, but with an USB interface and able to transpose itself from the mechanical to the electronic - perhaps I am naive expecting a combination low tech and high tech solution in something that is cheap and robust).

A notepad on one side and ebook/back pages on the other, would be a quick-fix, but there is probably some very good sound reason why this cannot be done, which is a pity.

Thanks for the reply, and good luck with the iliad, it looks a nice piece of machinery.
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:22 PM   #4
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I've had my Illiad V2 for nearly a month now. And basically I find the pen a really useful feature. I have used it to take some short notes but it really excels at allowing you to sketch something. In terms of fineness it can write a 1 pixel wide line which equivalent to a pen with a .16 mm end point. When I write normally is use either a .5mm (fine) or 1.0mm (medium) point pen so I'm never really using it at its finest resolution. For me at least I find I can draw a sketch on the screen using the 'notes' function and have it print on an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper and still look like a sketch and not a pixellated mess (like it did with my Palm V, and my Newton MessagePad 120 before that). Since you can use any PNG image as the 'paper' for sketches I made a couple of images with pre-built identifying boxes (like in the lower right corner of an engineering drawing) and I can label the sketch there and when it prints it looks, well it looks like I took a piece of vellum and sketched on it. The other thing is that I have a 6" metal ruler with a cork back that I can lay right on the screen to draw nice straight lines.

So that being said, there is noticable lag between starting a line and having it appear on the screen. Probably about .25 - .5 second (I've not measured it) which takes getting used to. That is what makes it hard to take notes on. You are used to seeing your words flow out of the end or your pen, but on the Illiad they seem to be chasing the pen. I also find that when writing I don't always lift the pen enough for the Illiad to realize it isn't on the glass and so I get a line from the bottom of my 'i' to the point where I was going to put the dot. Writing in cursive works better than printing, readability when printed is quite high and so far it doesn't leave any gaps when I'm writing (so no messed up characters). Its better than the best 'electronic signature pads' but still not as good as writing on paper. I've heard that the CPU is not running at full speed however when scribbling so there may be some easy improvement to be gained here. Tapping a message out on the keyboard is pretty quick.If I can ever get someone to tell me how to compile a GTK application on a non-Linux system I may be able to improve the drawing capabilites with text callouts.

I suspect its a bit pricey for the secondary school set however.
--Chuck
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Old 11-03-2007, 12:26 AM   #5
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Sketch template

Here is the png/template I created for doing sketches in the notes folder.
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Old 11-03-2007, 12:28 AM   #6
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Lets try that again, see if we can get an attachment this time.
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Old 11-03-2007, 03:30 AM   #7
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Nice Chuck.

Does anyone know if there is a central place here or on the irex forum where people can submit templates, possibly even organised by category, with a short note describing what it is for and how it should be used? I expect there must be all sorts of creative and interesting templates out there that people have created that if shared would demonstrate what can be done with the iliad.
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Old 11-03-2007, 04:32 AM   #8
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The longer I have the iLiad the more I use the note taking capability. I use it even for shopping lists. Helpful when you get stuck in a slow checkout line as then you can flip to whatever book you are currently reading.

The pen does feel slippery and does take some getting used to. I have used Wacom tablets when working in Photoshop for 7 or 8 years now and that also took a while to get used to. I don't consider it a problem.

I never thought of adding templates. Great idea, how do you do that?
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Old 11-03-2007, 05:36 AM   #9
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I use the iLiad quite a lot for reading books and reading/correcting scientific papers, and it does the job quite perfectly. The thing about the eInk is that it is *very* easy on the eyes. I've read books on back-lit devices and I sit in front of LCD screens most of the day, but nothing can compare to the eInk.

The stylus does feel somewhat different than a pen on paper, but for me I'm actually more used to the iLiad now than normal paper. :-) Also it has some very nice features, like the gestures/quick erase and I've been thinking about a SVG drawing program that could use figure recognition, making it very easy to draw flow charts and just design scribbles. And of course, you have all the wonders of having tons of stuff with you. :-)

The iLiad also uses a wacom digitizer, so any wacom stylus will do. The iLiad stylus is quite thin and short, so I guess a proper stylus would make the device brilliant for writing, once you get used to the gesture.

/R
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Old 11-03-2007, 05:52 AM   #10
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I am also starting to use the notes facility a lot. Much more than I expected. I am so glad there was nothing out there with the same size screen without the scribble facility.

I remember someone mentioned that there was a good 'proper' pen that could be used with the iliad (wacom cross something?). I am starting to think that one should be on my xmas wishlist. I also remember that it was rather expensive in the UK compared to the US. Even so, if it really is good then I might have to get one.
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Old 11-03-2007, 05:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMartin View Post
[...]
I never thought of adding templates. Great idea, how do you do that?
Just create a PNG file with whatever you want and copy it across to the iliad. The iliad handles the magic from then on. I created an expenses record (see here on the irex forum). I also created a set of images for taking notes at a meeting with different templates within the set. I am not convinced I have done this "correctly" but it works.
See this page.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMartin View Post
The longer I have the iLiad the more I use the note taking capability. I use it even for shopping lists.

[...]

I never thought of adding templates. Great idea, how do you do that?
Here's one for a shopping list. It is not worked out properly, I just threw it together to demonstrate the idea. Copy it across to the iliad and open it up.
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Old 11-03-2007, 12:24 PM   #13
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Thanks for that template. Just one question. I believe that the iliad resolution is around 160 ppi. The file I downloaded is 300ppi. Is there a reason for that? If there isn't you could greatly reduce the size of the file by keeping the physical dimensions the same but drop the ppi. I tried it in photoshop and the file goes from 2 Mb to around 700 K.
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Old 11-03-2007, 02:01 PM   #14
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No reason for 300 ppi except that I was doing it too quickly and not thinking. The version on my machine that I uploaded is only 40K though (grey scale). I'm not sure why it became 2Mb.
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Old 11-03-2007, 02:23 PM   #15
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Regarding Templates, yes the screen is 160 DPI so if you have a drawing progam that can export PNGs at a particular image DPI then use that, otherwise just thing of the native size of the Illiad is 768W x 1024H and you want to fit within that.

Now that being said, I've noticed the Illiad does some "expand to fit" in the notes area of the underlying PNG, (or shrink to fit) so you might have to play around a bit to get it to be the exactly right size (I've not done this enough to know what that is but its around 768 x 977 to leave room for the control widgets at the bottom. Also I find about 5 pixels of whitespace at the the 'top' or right edge if landscape, will keep your template on the screen, otherwise it seems to go off the edge there by a pixel or two. (You can see my template has a thin line just off the edge there)

No developer kit needed, this stuff works off the shelf, create a B&W PNG image, plug your Irex into the USB port, drag and drop it into the Notes folder. It shows up there. When you select it you will see it is the 'paper' for your notes.

--Chuck
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