Originally Posted by pmcd
Interesting. What is this obsession with getting things into typewriter form? You are assuming that science will continue to stay in the background and that people will continue to work with minimal mathematical tools. It's a sad day when a simple matrix/spreadsheet is considered an advanced tool. The typewriter is simply not the right tool for intricate work nor is it the proper tool for scientific communication.
Yes, because there is no text in a scientific publication.
"A simple spreadsheet" like excel is a very powerful tool given you can program it with special functions. I can get a linear, quadratic or other solvers as an excel addon.
There is no need to obsess with handwriting recognition to text. Handwriting intermingled with pictures, drawing, video, etc...doesn't have to be turned into something which Microsoft Word can deal with. It is what it is. Ask any student in science whether or not a tablet is useful. The only reason they aren't popular is price.
Given I work in a research institution and our budget for personal work PCs provides me a Mac Pro with 30" ACD and a 17" MBP (no not both bought in one year), I can say that price is not a barrier to entry. I also have 3 tablets. One rugged slate, one Panasonic convertible and one Motion Computing one.
Handwriting is not useful. I have various notes taken in ink (on my various tablets, Cross Pad, Seiko SmartPad and ThinkNote) and they are not searchable without either OCR or my manually tagging them.
I cannot easily convert them from one form to another, cut and paste them or manipulate them except as virtual ink on a virtual page unless I OCR. Nice for diagrams but not nice for text.
Formulas are not in any useful form. It's not like I can take a handwritten formula and drop it in mathematica or matlab.
I guess I am questioning the need to get everything transcribed into text. Storage is cheap and we can now make full use of video, drawing, handwriting, etc...without regressing 500 years to ascii. People don't want to read text for the most part. They want more detailed information and not one rooted in the Middle Ages.
Try meta-tagging videos, drawings, etc to be as arbitrarily searchable as a text. We've been working with large amounts of imagery and meta data is difficult to get accurately entered by users. The problem isn't finding SOMETHING from the metatags. If the library is big enough there's usually something tagged. The problem is find the something you wanted or not missing the something that would be important to you.
Contrast this with asking your information specialist to do a literature search for related journal articles.
Word processing has kept us back ages.
Yes, none of my textbooks or science journals have any text. And video taped lectures (which I have a small collection) are very useful as reference material and quick to access new or needed information.
Or maybe one of those archaic text based scientific papers that we have on-line is more compact, easier to use and more generally useful?
It's time to move on. Sure there's still a huge need, but it's not the future. I think Jobs was on to something when he mused about the reading habits of people
Scientists read. It's one of those required skills...
and as one who would never again buy a computer typewriter,
Yes, because we're carrying on this exchange of opinions via youtube.