I’m a big fan of the Pocket PC; or rather I’m a big fan of handwriting technology. I take notes and keep lists to stay organized but I also tend to lose all the scraps of paper I write on. The solution for me has been to put everything in one place like a notebook. However if I’m going to carry a notebook I’d rather that it be electronic since most of the things that I write down are transient in nature.
I’ve used a Pocket PC for several years now and one of the things that I found that really helped with its handwriting recognition is a program called Calligrapher. Not only did Calligrapher dramatically improve the handwriting recognition it also expanded the recognition to support a “write-anywhere” user interface and gestures, special little squiggles that invoke a command like showing the correction window or the Cut, Copy, or Paste commands. With Calligrapher you can also define your own gestures and commands too using a powerful scripting language. Using gestures the handwriting experience feels more natural to me. Between the better recognition model and gesture I find that my Pocket PC is much more usable. I would highly recommend it to anyone with a Pocket PC or a Windows Mobile device.
If you also use a Tablet PC the company that makes Calligrapher also makes Pen Office which adds the same gesture support to Tablet PC's as well as a bunch of other stuff. For me Pen Office is too heavyweight; the Tablet PC's recognition is just as good if not better and while I miss the write-anywhere user interface of my Pocket PC, I really don't need all the other stuff in Pen Office. However I do miss gestures but there's a much more light-weight (and free) alternative for that. I'll cover that in my next post.