Thursday, November 29, 2012

Listen and learn

With Thanksgiving time comes Seattle's rainy season. Additionally, it's been quite chilly in the mornings as I await the bus. This has put a definite kink in my reading routine: it's just too wet to read a book, and too cold to have my hands out of my pockets! Fortunately, the library has come to my rescue again: audiobooks!

Thanks to the library's vast quantity of digital audiobooks (and some on CD), I now have a music player full of books to listen to when weather doesn't permit the physical versions. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night (or whatever) shall stop my reading!

(As an added bonus, I can listen while rocking babies to sleep in the dark.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Typing test

One of my favorite things about Android is just how customizable it is. In particular, I greatly enjoy that I can swap out keyboards. My current favorite is Swype, but I skeptically refused to accept that it was much faster until I could get some empirical (if not statistically sound) evidence. Well, wait no more: Here it is.

I gave myself two minutes to do some extemporaneous writing (destined for my journal) on Swype in both portrait and landscape modes, as well as the Android stock keyboard and a physical Bluetooth keyboard. I then took the resultant writing and counted the words; I counted errors as well, to give some indication of the effectiveness. Here is the result summary:

Swype portrait: 37wpm, 1 error
Swype landscape: 34wpm, 2 errors
Stock: 24wpm, 1 error
Physical keyboard: 66wpm, 3 errors

Some quick notes: Swype in landscape screams out to be used with two thumbs, but it just doesn't work well like that; I ended up just sliding one finger around as before.

Stock with two thumbs seems to work all right, but feels frenzied, especially for the low speeds that came out of it.

The physical keyboard reigns supreme: I made more mistakes without automatic correction to save my bacon, but with speeds 80% faster than the nearest contender, I won't be ditching a keyboard when I have access to it.

Also, the physical keyboard put my mind at ease and let me just think about composing text; with Swype, I had to have constant vigilance as to where the letters were. This might go away with time, as I've only been using Swype for a couple of months, but the lack of applicable muscle memory venues suggests otherwise.