Posts tagged with “Video”
Roughly three weeks ago, I stumbled across the Swype for Android preview. My first impressions were very positive, and over the last three weeks, I’ve been using Swype exclusively on my Droid. If you’re not familiar with Swype, it’s a new method of typing on a touchscreen device, from the inventor of T9. Instead of tapping out each letter, you just drag your finger across the keyboard, hitting each of the letters in the word in sequence. I recorded a short video showing its basic features:
What I Liked
What really surprised me about Swype was how quickly I was able to get the hang of it. When I watched demo videos, it seemed like it was overly-complicated, but once I used it myself, I couldn’t believe how simple it was. For some of the less intuitive features (such as capitalization, which requires you swipe above the keyboard), I had to run through the built-in tutorial, but after that, I could swipe very easily. One big perk with Swype is that it’s actually pretty easy to use without looking, once you get the hang of it. I found that I could type reasonably well without ever looking at my fingers, something I would have no chance of doing with the standard keyboard.
My biggest gripe with Swype is it’s just nowhere near as polished as the built-in keyboard. For starters, it’s much more difficult to access symbols, and numbers are laid out pretty strangely. Also, there’s a complete lack on auto-completion for text fields that support it. For instance, if you’re typing the name of a contact in landscape view, the regular Android keyboard will have suggestions below the field that will allow you to select the person without typing their whole name. Swype does not seem to support this at all, which is really pretty annoying. In addition, it’s difficult to type out words normally, if they do not exist in the Swype dictionary. When tapping out letters, Swype tends to interpret your taps as swipes, adding unnecessary spaces between letters. Once you type an unknown word the first time, however, you never have to do it again, because it gets added to the dictionary, which is pretty nice.
In addition, I’ve found that the sensitivity of the keyboard can be a little strange when swiping quickly. Many times, it won’t recognize that you’ve stopped a word and started a new one (which is indicated by lifting your finger up), so it won’t recognize what you’re trying to input at all. In the options panel, there are ways to adjust the sensitivity, but I’d rather these settings were hidden away from users, because it seems like a bit of a cop-out. Swype should instead learn how you type, adjusting its algorithm as necessary.
While there certainly are some issues with the Swype build I used for this review, pretty much all of problems are fixable, and I’m excited to see what the final version turns out to be. They’ve got a really great concept that, with tweaking, could become the best way to input text on a touchscreen mobile device, especially for those who aren’t very adept with traditional on-screen keyboards. I’m not sure what Swype’s strategy is going be with regards to pricing: whether it will be a free app, or if you’ll have to pay for it. Personally, if they’re able to fix my issues above, I would be happy to pay $5-6 for it, and maybe even more, because it really is quite incredible. Even if you can type well with the standard keyboard, definitely give Swype a try.
In the past, I’ve always dreaded working with rounded rectangles in Photoshop, because they’re just so annoying to resize. If you try to change the object’s height or width, it distorts the corners, making things look pretty bad. Today, I found a way to resize them using the direct selection tool, and it has already made my life a whole lot easier. Check out the screencast I put together to find out how.