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entering handwriting/symbols into image file

by pzzlbifl / March 20, 2008 1:28 AM PDT

I'm looking for a way to enter math into say a .gif file. I don't want to have to write in Latex. I have a laptop with Windows Vista. So I would write, say in Windows Journal or maybe Windows Paint, and I would see it displayed on the screen as I write and be able to edit it (using Windows Journal or Paint).
The Iogear Digital Scribe http://www.iogear.com/product/GPEN100C might do what I want. Apparently, it works with the laptop in streaming mode, it doesn't automatically try to convert handwriting to text, because it doesn't come with such software. I wouldn't want handwriting automatically turned into text because it might mangle math, I don't know if a "digital notebook" does handwriting recognition automatically. It probably could be used in Windows Journal, though they mention the OneNote application to use with it, which I don't have. (Windows Journal supports tablet input so probably it's ok with this). You can see what you're writing because it also writes with ink on paper - apparently you get a streaming digital copy on the terminal. It also works with Microsoft Vista.
Other kinds of digital pens might really do the same thing, although a lot of them don't work with Vista.
A graphics tablet would probably work - but the inexpensive ones like Bamboo have a small work area, like only about 4x5". I wasn't sure if that would work for me. The work area is apparently mapped to the whole laptop screen - so that you'd have to write really tiny if you're writing small math symbols, like subscripts and subscripts of subscripts ... Maybe you can change the mapping so you don't have to scale down your handwriting, and that might work, if it's easy to move the area on the screen that the tablet is mapped to ...
With a small work area it seems like it's more useful as a pointing device. Graphics tablets have a lot of subtleties like pressure sensitivity which I don't need, and it seems like the tradeoff for that is a small work area.
Anyway I'd appreciate comments - all this is very new to me and there are a lot of details involved in whether it'll work well, it's hard when I can't try one in a store and have to try to figure it out by surfing.
Laura

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