Increase speed with a pen
- Posted: May 17, 2007 at 4:42 PM
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Wacom has announced their latest tablet input device, the Vista-certified Bamboo (~$75). It will make a nice sidecar to a Microsoft WED 8000 keyboard (when it comes out in September). I’m a big Wacom fan, a pen is my main input device on almost all of my computers. It’s not so much about art or design, it’s much more utilitarian than that.
The pen is, by a vast margin, the fastest input device I’ve found (second only to knowing keyboard shortcuts). Once you get over the learning curve and eye-hand coordination, you can navigate your desktop in record speed. Normally I set my forward button on the stylus to a double click and my secondary button to right click. Having a button for double click means no fumbling or tapping is required to trigger an event. It’s hard coded in my brain that pushing that button means executing an icon or instruction without the pen ever having to touch the surface of the Wacom pad (for those who don’t know, Wacoms detect the pen location without it having to actually touch the pad.)
My favorite Wacom pad up to now has been the old ArtPad Z in 4”x5” size, even though it gets increasingly difficult to find a com port to plug it in to. What I like about the ArtPad Z is that the pen it uses is interchangeable with Table PC pens, so I can go from desktop to Tablet with the same pointing device. (The pens on newer Wacoms, like the Graphire, are not interchangable with Tablets.) The slim pencil stylus that Wacom used to have is easier to hold when typing compared to the newer ones, and I like the size of the ArtPad; new Wacoms tend to have more extraneous room around the ‘canvas’ surface and that just takes up precious desk space. The Bamboo looks like they've got the esthetics just right.
I like smaller form factor Wacom pads. Large tablets seem like a waste of energy (and desk area) to me. Functionally they are the same, but you have to move your hand further to accomplish the same task. Some may tell you that the bigger pad is for increased accuracy in paint and design applications, but that accuracy is just as easily accomplished with the zoom feature in those applications. So unless you are a professional cartoonist, stick with the small to medium sized pads.
In addition to increased speed, there are also a number of features supported in Vista that you can use with your pen, like sending ink instant messages or gesturing. Office also includes a number of inking functions.