I have just tested the Android apps, ‘Mazec’ and ‘MetaMoJi Note’.

One of the tasks which some people might assign their Android tablets, is to use for note-taking. And as I wrote before, trying to do this becomes entangled in some hardware-related issues.

I’ve just downloaded two apps, which work best together, but which don’t absolutely need to be used together:

  1. MetaMoJi Note,
  2. Mazec.

To my great surprise I found that they work very well on my Google Pixel C tablet. One reason they do work, is because during normal use, only a narrow rectangle near the bottom of the display needs to be touched by the passive stylus, which means that the user’s palm is resting below the actual tablet.

When MetaMoJi Note is being used in line-drawing mode, in addition to allowing the user to jot his glyphs directly at their destination within the document, a very small icon in the bottom-right-hand corner expands a lower rectangle for drawing input, which remains associated with a movable, smaller rectangle within the document. The position of the destination-rectangle can be changed.

At the same time, when the doodling app is in text-mode, and if Mazec has been selected as the device’s input method – aka on-screen keyboard – again, the destination rectangle can be repositioned within the document, and writing proceeds in the text-entry rectangle at the bottom.

screenshot_20181226-004934

screenshot_20181226-005115

 

I do see three basic cons to this combination of software:

  1. It’s not obvious to me, that the maximum speed at which most users will be able to enter text drawn in this way, can be made to catch up with the speed at which, for example, University lectures will typically be given. I found that I needed to increase the Word Spacing from 0.4 to 0.7 because the initial need to write letters very close together, was slowing me down…
  2. These two apps together, amount to a price-tag, that may be higher than what most users are used to spending,
  3. Finally, Mazec is one of those input methods, which will not work to unlock the tablet, after a reboot. Depending on how the device’s version of Android is configured, directly after a reboot, there may be no icon displayed to change the input method. If that’s the case, then the additional risk exists, that the device might just crash while this keyboard is selected. And if that happens, to unlock the tablet may become difficult. Therefore, the total amount of time this IM is selected should be kept to a minimum, just to reduce this risk.

Dirk

 

The downside of trying to use an Android tablet for Note-Taking.

One of the applications for generic Android tablets which I’ve tried to find solutions to, mainly in the form of apps, would have been, for note-taking. And this quest has largely remained unsatisfied. I’d like to comment on Why.

When I wanted to use my tablet for note-taking, the way I visualized doing this, was to be able to jot down notes by hand, as if on paper. The idea seemed natural, that a tablet could store many pages of notes, without requiring that the user carry with him, stacks of sheets and binders.

But the main impediment I saw with this actually stemmed from the hardware itself, that is sometimes just referred to as the Glass of the tablet, or otherwise, as the Sensor. Most common tablets have a capacitance-based Sensor, which is best-suited, for detecting the proximity of a human fingertip. A necessary variation in its use is, a passive stylus, which does little better, than to focus electrostatic fields, as any shaped, conductive object would. This type of stylus requires no special hardware from the tablet to work, and can also be bought from virtually any manufacturer, and can remain compatible with the standard sensor.

The problem with that which ensues, is the fact that actual software – i.e., apps – try to implement a feature which is called ‘Palm Guard’, ‘Palm Rejection’, or ‘Wrist Guard’. This feature recognizes the fact that when people try to write on any surface, we usually have a tendency to rest the side of our hand on the same surface. The capacitance-based sensors cannot distinguish between contact with a human hand, and the point of the stylus. The ability of the software to make the same distinction is only as effective, as the ability of the sensor to be hugely multi-touch in the ‘contact-map’, that it inputs.

(Updated 12/26/2018, 12h00 : )

Continue reading The downside of trying to use an Android tablet for Note-Taking.

The Sort Of Software that will Not Run, on my Linux Tablet

In this posting I wrote, that I had installed Linux in a chroot-environment, on my old Samsung Galaxy Tab S, First Generation tablet, which remains an Android-based tablet. I did this specifically using the apps from the Google play store, named ‘GNURoot’ and ‘XSDL’, which do not require root.

Here, I gave a compendium of Linux-applications which do run in the resulting Linux guest-system.

I think that I need to point out a broad category of Linux applications that will always remain poor choices:

  • Audio Editors,
  • Video Editors.

The problem with any Audio Editor, is that it will eventually need to input and output Audio – not just edit sound files – and any Video Editor, needs to give a preview of all its video-clips – not just edit video files. This seems like a silly thing to write, but is non-trivial in my present context.

I have taken a Linux engine – GNURoot – and connected it to an externally-supplied X-server emulation – XSDL. The pipeline between these two Android apps is very narrow. It consists of X-server protocol – which is excellent and rendering text and GUIs, of shared memory at its maximum, and of a PulseAudio server, visible on the Linux side as such, but collectively running on the Android side as an SDL client.

I have no way to provide OpenGL or SDL on the Linux-side. What this means, is that virtually any non-linear video editor will want to see both installed on the Linux side, while neither is provided.

Continue reading The Sort Of Software that will Not Run, on my Linux Tablet

K-9 Mail is the way to go!

In this earlier posting, I had started to document, how under Android, I had been using the email-client “Kaiten”, which years ago, when I had started using it, was a paid-for alternative to the program “K-9″, in return for which I had expected regular updates.

But as it happened, Kaiten has stopped receiving support, while K-9 continued to receive the updates.

One of the features sorely lacking in Kaiten, was PGP/MIME support. Kaiten was limited to signing or encrypting emails using Inline Signatures, while the modern way to go about it is using PGP/MIME. Also, I’ve been receiving emails, which have also progressed to being signed with PGP/MIME, which Kaiten could not interpret.

And so just this morning, I made the switch on some of my Android devices, to K-9, which has PGP/MIME Support.

When using K-9, one no longer uses the companion app ‘APG’, but rather the companion app “OpenKeyChain“, to perform the cryptography.

Because K-9 actually accepts the configuration files exported by Kaiten, the switch was easy to carry out.

Dirk