mac modbook 08

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Stop the presses; I found out why half of the people on the Modbook Forum are physicians and scientists- and I’m impressed.

I realized that most of what I found useful in the Modbook was dependant on the Adobe applications and I decided to try the other standard apps. I opened Word, and after a few minutes of looking and some searching on “draw” and “pencil”, I realized that there were no drawing or, in fact, no marking tools at all.

Oddly, I couldn’t find marking tools in the Mac toolset either. What ever happened to MacPaint? Nothing in iMovie, iPhoto, or TextEdit. Possily there’s something available in Photobooth, but I didn’t think a group of scientist would use a kluge from Photobooth. That left Inkwell.

I turned on Inkwell in the system preferences (it’s detected and made available there if you have any pen installed) and there was my epiphany. You can choose to view the Inkwell window, which is large and not as jumpy as the little yellow “stickies” that seem to come and go on the computer’s whim. This window stays open and where you put it so that text recognition actually works. Not perfectly, but it could actually fill a need. Then, I saw a button in the window’s lower left corner.

It looks kind of like this:Letter A and star.Pretty cool, huh? I couldn’t figure out where text from the little yellow stickies went- there’s no “save” button available, onlyClear. andSend.It turns out that send places the contents of the Inkwell window where ever you have an application with an active Insertion bar.

You can toggle between drawing and text modes.

So lets say I’m working with an engineer who is describing a process. I could put this conceptualization into a Word doc or an email:

Silicon bombarded by ions

We can easily discuss it, share it. The work-flow is incredibly easy, and I can see this as the biggest selling point.

Let’s face it- people who want a computer to sketch on might form a sizable fan base, but engineers who need to make visual notations are the money group. It’s a fantastic addition to anyone’s toolbox, and I can see our instructional designers presenting this as a solution to mathematicians, scientists, physicians, and engineers.

And don’t forget all those people in the College of Visual Arts.

Inkbook on the desktop.The only downside to the Ink window is that it can only be as big as the desktop and doesn’t scroll. However, there’s one more little application called InkBook. It’s a spiral bound stack of Inkwell pages that you can save as a Rich Text document. Strokes seem a bit different here, but I’ll spend some time figuring it out. Maybe there are bugs that I don’t know about.

These drawn images were done in Ink then sent to the Word doc I was entering the text of this post into. If you want to see the doc, it's available as a download. I haven't examined the file size or format used as yet.


Cole said:

Would you be interested in demoing this for more of our staff? I am betting with the VGA adapter you could easily project anything you are drawing on screen ... that would be very interesting.

I knew there had to be more to this thing than what meets the eye at the outset. I would have thought there would be some solid tutorials for this thing somewhere, but I couldn't find them.

dave stong said:

I've been thinking about effective presentation. Perhaps using a screen to show real time input would look like any other computer demo? Would a video-showing the desktop, say, from over my left shoulder-give a better representation of the paradigm? That way the audience can actually see the pen on the screen instead of just a cursor. I have trouble talking and drawing; a video in the can instead of live would give me the freedom to talk. Or not.

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