Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Isn't technology wonderful?! A pair of new apps that have just made my life a lot easier.

Yes, I know that it has - once again - been a while. But this time I might be back for good, as I have news of a couple of "apps" I have discovered, both of which are free, which will hopefully facilitate much more action on this blog than there has been over the last year or more.

Firstly, Google Handwriting Input is the sort of thing that I have been searching for, for a very long time - namely, the ability to use a stylus (or indeed just my index finger) to write on the screen of my smart phone (in my case, a Samsung S4 Mini, with Android). I simply scribble away at whatever it is I want to write, and - hey presto! - it converts my writing to text in whatever application I am in at the time, be it text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, or indeed anything at all that would normally require me to type into my phone. As with most things that are new to us, it takes just a little bit of getting used to, but it really is quite intuitive, and any errors that it makes are usually down to my terrible handwriting. These are easily spotted, and it only takes a couple of clicks on the backspace button to correct. That said, I find that my mistakes are getting fewer, since it appears to develop something akin to predictive text, in that it seems to recognise unusual words or names that I have written previously - which comes in very useful when I need to write so many foreign wine names and places. It even recognises accents on letters - é, ô, ü, etc. All-in-all, a very useful little application, which renders the keypad (and in many circumstances, the keyboard) redundant.

One of the best things about the Handwriting app for me is that I no longer need to go through the laborious task of writing notes (with a pen and paper/notebook) and then sitting down at the desktop computer and typing them into a document or application. For instance, as my customers and friends know, I write full tasting notes of every single wine I sell via the Leon Stolarski Fine Wines website, which was always a necessary but somewhat painful task. But now I can open a bottle of wine of an evening, take a photo and then swirl, sniff and sip to my heart's content, whilst writing my note into a Facebook post. I can therefore kill two birds with one stone, by boring my Facebook friends about what I am drinking *and* writing a "live" tasting note to add to the website (or indeed this blog). Who said men can't multi-task?! ;-)

The second app I have installed is called Google Keep, which is essentially a note-taking organiser. For those of you who remember the 80's, think Filofax, but without the hassle - or indeed the shame of actually being seen with one (and I never dared buy one)! Google Keep offers me the facility to write notes "on the go", in conjunction with the Handwriting app, which are then recorded for posterity in the cloud. You can also take photos from within the app, which are stored with the relevant note. An even more amazing function of Google Keep - especially for someone like me, who still looks on in wonder, as a large airliner magically lifts off from the ground - is that you can take a photograph of a printed document, press a button and have it "grab" the text. Which comes in very useful when faced with (for instance) a long tasting sheet at a wine presentation. So with the name of each wine already written for me by the app, I then simply write my notes underneath. Isn't technology wonderful?

I should add that - at least from a personal point of view - I don't see the above technology as having replaced the good old desktop computer. Sometimes, it is easier to simply sit down and use a keyboard and a mouse - and I don't see that changing for a good while yet. Indeed, this post was written in that way. But my next post (which will follow almost immediately) will have been compiled almost exclusively on my little phone, before being copied and pasted into Blogger............
         

3 comments:

AlanM said...

Interesting. I downloaded the handwriting app and had promptly forgotten it but you're right it would save writing things twice so I must get on to practising. The other one is new to me but obviously ties in well. Thanks Leon

Warren Edwardes said...

Google Keep is great. I'll have to have a go at this handrwriting app for live notes.

Leon Stolarski said...

It is excellent for just that sort of thing, Warren. I use it for all my tasting notes at home too.