aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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handwritten moblogging
Posted by dav at 2003 December 18 03:14 PM
File under: Geek

I gave Mie a present today, The Nokia Digital Pen which is a bluetooth enabled pen that will allow her to handwrite her blog entries rather than typing them out on her phone's keypad (well as soon as I make the necessary changes to the blog posting code I have running for her website). Here's an example:

I don't know what that "dino" stuff is about, I guess she thinks I'm old. You can see Mie's blogpost which shows how she wrote out the message here.

There's some problems with this. It works great for people who go to Mie's blog and can see the images, but if you're subscribed to her XML feed then an image of handwritten text isn't going to do you a lot of good. And of course her prose won't be picked up by google. I've told her to just consider this a convenience to avoid typing the initial short messages on the phone keypad, and she should still plan on adding a lengthier commentary when she gets to a workstation with a keyboard.

I'm also going to look into handwriting recognition software that could maybe analyze the gifs generated by the pen and do at least a rough translation at posting time. I realize that an acceptable quality could be difficult to find though. But that's life at the cutting edge of moblogging, ha.

Maybe another alternative is to allow people to translate the text for her, as they do with the audio blogging at livejournal where other livejournalists can make a translation of a new phoned-in audio post. Tangentially, if you want to hear an interesting audio blog post, try this one where the blogger got mugged while making the posting, and the muggers took the cellphone and it continued recording...

Um, but back to Mie, who hopefully will never get mugged while scribbling a blog posting. Anyone know any good handwriting recognitcion software that will run automated on a linux server?

Update 21/Dec: I hacked up a system to allow people to transcribe her posts. Works like this: when the blogpost.pl script receives the email with the Jot*.gif note attachment, it inserts some special tags into the HTML and the text "No transcription yet, would you like to transcribe?" which links do a new cgi I wrote and stuck in the moveable type cgi directory. This cgi displays any handwritten note gifs in the entry and provides a form where anyone can enter a transcription and their name. When they submit their transcription it is inserted into the blog entry text. There is also place to type in an optional password on the form, if it is entered correctly then the transcription is locked (can't be updated anymore). Mie can give this password out to people she trusts. I strip all HTML out of the user-input fields just to guard against hi-jinx, and limit the size of the input to something reasonable. Seems like a decent system for now, but we'll see how it goes.


You're not old!! Dino is in reference to that big furry dino costume/outfit that I got for you. You know, the one with the big tail that waggles back and forth and makes me want to yank it...I like it when you wear that : ) So there you have it, Dino.

Posted by: mie on December 18, 2003 03:49 PM

ooh, you have me intriqued. I want to hear the audio blog from the blogger that got mugged!! But I don't think the url is right, it just goes back to your homepage... by the way, i love that pen you got for mie!

Posted by: Laura on December 19, 2003 01:16 PM

Oops, fixed the link. Thanks Laura!

Posted by: Dav on December 19, 2003 01:39 PM

Thanks for your blogpost.pl.
I did get to use it. Inspite of default text formatting set as 'convert-line-breaks', the
posted mail text does not retain the line breaks.
How can I fix this.

I am new to Blogging and I did not know how to contact you.

Posted by: Samy Rengasamy on December 23, 2003 07:27 PM

dude, that rocks. i'm thoroughly impressed.

Posted by: phi on December 26, 2003 01:15 PM

Thanks 1.1814 (phi) :)

Posted by: Dav on December 30, 2003 08:21 AM

Nice use of the Anoto pen, if you are looking in to recognition try to look at Decuma.com which is a company based just hundreds of meters from Anoto main office, works real well.

Posted by: Martin on January 7, 2004 07:33 AM

I was thinking dino = dynamo = dynomite!

Posted by: Ele on January 7, 2004 02:29 PM

You are the coolest guy on the internet. Seriously.

Posted by: Shaun on January 11, 2004 12:06 PM

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