THE Magazine for iPad Owners
I was excited for the potential of the iPad when it comes to handwriting recognition application. As a longtime Newton MessagePad 100 & 2100 user, I was amazed when Apple did not include native support for handwriting recognition in their iPad tablet. Enter Writepad for iPad.
I contacted Phatware as soon as I saw their iPhone version and could not wait until the iPad version was available. I put Writepad for iPad through it's paces and my overall impression is "Writepad for iPad is the handwriting recognition app you have been waiting for!"
know that the handwriting recognition engine takes a bit of work in the "learning mode". Otherwise how will it know to read your unique handwriting? I would say Writepad for iPad (aka Writepad) can recognize about 80% of your handwriting at first before you use the product for a good week or two.
After that week or two Writepad should be up to maybe 95% to 99% accurate. I don't always write exactly the same so the training period is important. What I would like to see if the ability to put Writepad into a learning mode where it presents you with a box where you can sit there and go through various words while Writepad is learning your handwriting.
Functionality as a notepad
Writepad excels as a notepad with an array of features including: spelling checker, shorthand, and a recognizer. All options are user selectable if you need them or not. The recognizer is a way to pick out from a word picker the words Writepad recognized. You can pick words and case, and accept the changes if needed. If you are quickly taking notes this will slow you down. But if you are writing a document for accuracy, the recognizer is a great way to make sure you are not deleting and redoing words. When you are in handwriting recognition training this works very well.
We like the shorthand feature as it allows the ability to enter in a whole block of text all from a custom word. Enter in the word and bingo, you just wrote a whole email signature or a greeting for your letter. Quick and easy.
Editable options include the editor settings, user dictionary, autocorrector list, shorthand list, email settings (including the custom email signature), and managing your data. We like that you can export and import words to the user dictionary and autocorrector. This will add custom names and other words you use frequently to Writepad so you have less training to do. This approach is a good way to get you up and running. We like it.
What happens if your brother decided to use your iPad without your permission and writes sloppy to mess with your Writepad app? Just reset your learner settings and start writing to retrain Writepad.
Once you are in the editor settings you can change a lot. Turn on and off the alternative picker, auto learner, autocorrector, shorthand, auto add spaces, auto-capitalization, separate words setting, single works only mode, extended alphabet, and only known words.
Take it from me that all of these options really lets you find your utopia of handwriting style with Writepad. It will take some time to get it down pat but when you do; note taking is your oyster. The flexibility of these options ranges from controlling the detection on how close you space your words to how close you space your letters. We like the customizability.
The stationary options are there if you want to make your writing different like script or like a old fashioned green screen terminal emulator. Fun but did not like that if you emailed your document the raw text was send without any formatting. To achieve this we understand Writepad would have to convert the text document to a picture. This would of been fun with the stationary to write up a colonial looking email to send to your loved one telling them that their tea must now now taxed! You can create your own stationary to use on your iPad to make it easier on your eyes or just to have fun.
There is a word(s) search that works great inside of the current document. I wonder if it would be possible to have a global search in all notepads in Writepad. I did not see one but this would help rival iPad's built in notepad that works with Apple's spotlight search capability.
The language translator works out very well. Make sure you know what Writepad is converting to so you don't call your girlfriend something different than what you think you are. The globe icon is your key to the translation.
My Documents is a quick way to go through the documents you created in Writepad. My Documents allows you to import from the clipboard, create a new empty document, or open an existing document (sorted by date and time). All of the documents you have are listed in the My Documents drop down menu that you can select or delete if needed.
Four input modes wait your note taking. The first is a view only mode when you need to review your document with no worries that you may change something. The second is the handwriting recognition mode where you can write on the screen anywhere.The third is a handwriting recognition mode on the lower 1/4th of the screen. This gives you a great way to write words ant not worry that your palm resting on the screen affected your handwriting. The fourth is the standard iPad keyboard. Each mode has their place and I tend to like the third mode the best. From here you can access the shorthand directly from the pop up menu. The top of this third mode lets you preview the words before you press the "return" key on the right to insert the text in your document.
Writepad has the ability to email documents and share to another iPad over Wifi. This makes it very easy to share your documents. One thing we would like see added it the ability to share over iTunes File Sharing. We think this would make a great way to export and import documents. Just like Mail, the email you send from Writepad has all of the email signatures and contact list picker you expect.
Writepad does have a way to share your documents you create with your desktop Macintosh or Windows personal computers. By using the WritePad Sync Lite standalone application.
We like Writepad for iPad a lot and are finding this app is being used more and more in our lives. If we are in a hurry we can type on the keyboard, and when we want to write out our notes the handwriting recognition modes lets us write and write. We did suggest to Phatware we think a good addition would be the ability to store the ink as ink and convert to text later. This is one feature that set the Newton apart from all other handwriting recognition tablets or computers to this day. Even without this added feature we like Writepad for iPad for what it does have now.
We have a new note pad for our note taking in meetings and around town; Writepad for iPad!
What can you do if you have a mathematical problem? Several options exist including: calculator, worksheet, and now Soulver.
Soulver is a new style of application that lets you create meaningful "worksheets" by automatically calculating the calculations. Automatically? Yes, automatically. You could set up a Numbers or Excel worksheet to do the same thing. But it would not be as quick or easy as Soulver is.
The simplicity approach we think is great as there have been times where we need a quick calculation. Examples include: splitting a check up amount 5 groups, checking stock values in a "what if" scenario, and trying to figure out what you owe for income taxes. You don't have to be an financial expert to use Soulver so it is perfect for everyone. But if you are a math wiz Soulver can help you too. Sharing your results is as easy as copy and paste.
Things we like is the auto-total at the bottom, the wide array of functions, computer programmers will like the ability to use hexadecimal and binary computations, and converting from one currency to another.
Soulver has found it's way into our daily lives.
Top 6 iPad Apps
as of 07/15/10
Osmos for iPad
Modern Conflict HD
Stick Golf HD
Apps are available through iTunes or the App Store on your iPad.
iPad Life is a publication from
iPad Life & The Mac 512 ( www.mac512.com/ipad/ )
Written by G. Younk on iPad, then converted to PDF on Macintosh.
Any reproduction of this publication must first get permission from iPad Life &
G. Younk - Editor
ipadlife at mac512 dot com