Once we have mastered a keyboard, most of us flinch at the idea of having to write a lot of stuff out in longhand, but there are still poor benighted souls that find the keyboard impossible to master, and for their benefit, Microsoft Corp, Apple Computer Inc Lotus Development Corp, General Magic Inc, Go Corp […]
Once we have mastered a keyboard, most of us flinch at the idea of having to write a lot of stuff out in longhand, but there are still poor benighted souls that find the keyboard impossible to master, and for their benefit, Microsoft Corp, Apple Computer Inc Lotus Development Corp, General Magic Inc, Go Corp and Slate Corp came together at Comdex to announce Jot 1.0, a standard that they hope will enhance the use of pen-based computers. The concept they are promoting is that of electronic ink – a magic ingredient that will enable scribbles written on one pen computer to be used by other systems, even those without pen-aware technology. The Jot 1.0 specification is designed to enable applications to share handwritten notes, sketches, signatures and other free-form data across the generality of computers from hand-held devices to mainframes, so that if someone scrawls a note and sends it over a modem, it will turn up at the other end as handwriting, regardless of the sending and receiving machines, provided only that they both implement Jot 1.0. The brainchild of applications developer Slate Corp, Jot will also store information, such as the type of pen tip used, the colour of the ink and the angles used to write, in such a way that an application unfamiliar with a particular property can ignore it. If a system or application understands the electronic ink, it can also convert the scribbles received into editable text.Apple says it has not decided which products will include Jot, although the technology will be part of the Macintosh in the future, it promised. According to PC Week, while the Macintosh will use Jot, Newton may not take advantage of the ink standard. Jot will be supported in Go’s PenPoint operating system by year-end, and Microsoft will implement it in Windows for Pen, while General Magic will make it part of Telescript, its cross-system communications standard. Operations it makes possible include displaying and scaling ink for a range of applications and devices from palm- to wall-size, translating ink to other computer formats, deferring handwriting translation, compressing ink and analysing ink for content. Common methods of ink sharing include embedding ink in existing documents, files or databases and sending it via electronic mail; providing clipboard operations; and supporting inter-application transfers.