Lonestar goodness

I have the alpha of next version of the Tablet PC O/S on my little Acer – it’s called Lonestar.

I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it but did a bit more yesterday when I was testing the deployment of my client app.

There are two things that I want to ooh aah about.

First is the handwriting recognition. It’s completely amazing. Not only does it recognize total chicken scrawl (this will be good for the healthcare market, eh?) but the fact that there is inference built in just blows me away. Plus it has a lot of cool new features. Example: recognizing one word at a time as you write. If it is confused it will show you options based on it’s best guess and then you select that word. And I believe it then stores that choice in a dictionary, much like a lexicon when you use voice recognition software. I did a TON of voice related stuff (text to voice, actually) a few years ago and boy was that challenging.

The other thing that I found interesting is a new use of the TIP (that’s the Tablet PC Input Panel – where you write and it recognizes). Infragistics was out of the gate VERY early with this (and has added a lot more functionality), but the TIP now pops up automatically when I select a text input box – even in my grid. Because I am using the Infragistics Ink enabled tools, I am not sure at this point what Lonestar is doing on it’s own or what is being done by the Infragistics tools. I’ll have to play with that.

I haven’t touched the new SDK yet, but first thing I’ll be playing with when I do is the ink-enabled web controls!! www.inklog.com (an experiment by Arin Goldberg on the tablet team which I think he whipped together in one day) uses this. But you can only see the output, not how they are doing the input.

No need to be jealous – Microsoft IS looking for more commercial tablet application developers to join the alpha program! Check Tabula PC’s blog here for more info (and follow his link to the lonestar FAQ that Chris deHerrera is doing…)

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