Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Iris Notes Executive2

So, how do you go about translating hand-written notes into electronic files? One way is simply to scan them and store them as PDF's. I came across a special offer on the Iris Executive notes system that now looks easier to use with a Mac than when I first thought about trying it a few years ago.

It's simple to set up, and ought to be really simple to use, unless you're left-handed like me! You see I have a rather unusual writing style, even for a lefty, so it was gong to be interesting to see how the device coped with both my script and how I orientate the paper to write.

Logic told me that the device wouldn't know whether the paper was rotated in one direction or the other, so it ought to work. The issue is getting the clip on receiver out of the way of my trailing hand. Ideally I'd like to put it at the bottom of the page, but then I reasoned the text would be upside down. In the end the choices are top centre, top left or top right. I tried top right, the place least likely to be affected by my writing angle. The result was okay for an image, but totally scrambled when the software tried to convert my text to typed text.

No matter what I tried, the results were pretty awful each time, and I'd just about given up on the idea of it ever working for me when I put the device top-centre. The results were very good.

Here's the handwritten note:

It was very awkward working around the receiver, so much so that long-term I think I'd probably suffer some sort of RSI issue in my wrist. I have the same problem with clipboards where the clip gets in the way. As far as I can see the only solution is to start lower down the page!

Anyway, the software sees the text as horizontal and the resultant conversion is very impressive. I haven't "taught" the software my version of handwriting, so you have to be impressed with its interpretation of what it found. Only the lowercase S and the apostrophe are the only errors I can see. 

The device comes with a connector to link it directly to an iPad. I haven't tried that yet, but now I've got it reading my writing it might be worth exploring.

So why not just use the iPad I hear you say. Well, good question. The problem with the iPad is that I haven't found an app yet that will do what I want it to do when it comes to taking therapy notes. Nothing has what I want, so this might just be a way of getting my handwritten notes into an electronic format. On the other hand, I might just stick with pen and paper until it becomes too cumbersome or I decide I don't need pretty little pictures for posture notes and squiggles!

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