2137: "Text Entry"

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2137: "Text Entry"

Postby somitomi » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:28 pm UTC

Image
Title text: I like to think that somewhere out there, there's someone whose personal quest is lobbying TV providers to add an option to switch their on-screen keyboards to Dvorak.

What puzzles me about my parents' TV is that the number keys on the remote have letters on them the same way phones used to, so they could've just used that for text input. It would even be faster, since we'd just have to re-learn an old skill instead of adopting a new one.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Newest User » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:32 pm UTC

What puzzles me about my parents' TV is that the number keys on the remote have letters on them the same way phones used to, so they could've just used that for text input. It would even be faster, since we'd just have to re-learn an old skill instead of adopting a new one.

I use T9Word on my DirecTV remote.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby moody7277 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:55 pm UTC

It's only been a couple months since I got a TV with a browser so that I could find out the utter joy described by this comic.
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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Heimhenge » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:06 pm UTC

Our DirecTV remote is configured the same way, with letters under each of the digits. But if we want to search for programming we have to navigate a matrix of letters (with a special "space" character) using the arrow keys to enter text. I have to say at least their autocomplete is fairly smart. But yeah, it makes me feel like I'm interacting with an old Atari game console. I second Randall's rant ... except for the Dvorak keyboard part.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Keyman » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:09 pm UTC

When *I* was a boy... We had a huge 27" screen Zenith console TV, with a "space command" remote. You cold turn the channel, or volume up/down.... and watch the actual dial on the TV across the room turn, to a "ka-chunk, ka-chink, ka-chunk" sound, to get to one of the four channels.
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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Old Bruce » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:17 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:When *I* was a boy... We had a huge 27" screen Zenith console TV, with a "space command" remote. You cold turn the channel, or volume up/down.... and watch the actual dial on the TV across the room turn, to a "ka-chunk, ka-chink, ka-chunk" sound, to get to one of the four channels.

You had FOUR channels, we had one for certain and two if no one on the street had an electric motor running. Power tools played havoc but refrigerators would interfere too. Our remote was the youngest person, sadly that was me.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:33 pm UTC

Old Bruce wrote:
Keyman wrote:When *I* was a boy... We had a huge 27" screen Zenith console TV, with a "space command" remote. You cold turn the channel, or volume up/down.... and watch the actual dial on the TV across the room turn, to a "ka-chunk, ka-chink, ka-chunk" sound, to get to one of the four channels.

You had FOUR channels, we had one for certain and two if no one on the street had an electric motor running. Power tools played havoc but refrigerators would interfere too. Our remote was the youngest person, sadly that was me.


You had channels? We had to listen to the radio and try to draw each image frame on a stack of paper as the description came through.


Back to semi-serious stuff -- remember those gigantic "universal remotes" that had a touch screen and about 35 levels of menus? Somewhere in there was a touchscreen keyboard, but this was way before cable on-demand (or streaming internet) was a thing.
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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby anian » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:44 pm UTC

Modern consoles still have this horrible text entry method. Makes me never want to change my password for anything they can access (wifi, Netflix, Pandora, etc).

For more fun and yelling, use the Xbox Kinect method of waving your hands near the wrong letters for just long enough to select them while trying to get the avatar to get closer to the letter next to it.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby hamjudo » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:12 pm UTC

We didn't have a remote control or color until the mid1970s. But we had an antenna rotator and we lived at the top of the ridge known as the Niagara Escarpment. To a first approximation, it was downhill from our house all of the way to lake Erie. Canadians built the CN Tower so tall that we could watch Star Trek reruns with Canadian ads.

In addition to Toronto stations, we could get TV from Buffalo, Niagara Falls, elsewhere in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and sometimes even from Windsor Ontario, which is way at the other end of Lake Erie. We could watch dozens of stations in 1972!

We had a wired remote control for the antenna rotator. It lived on top of the TV set. We had to physically walk to the TV to aim the antenna and change the channel.

I knew that the guys on Star Trek that died just to show how the monster worked were called "red shirts", but they were all grey to us.

[Disclaimer: Only about 30 of the stations had good enough signal strength to actually watch. In particular, Windsor Ontario was about 400 km away. We often didn't get enough of a signal for the TV to lock on to vertical hold. We did sporadically get enough of a picture to show our cousins from out of town the station identification messages to prove it really was from Windsor.]

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:20 pm UTC

This is why (certainly not any self-proclaimed brilliance) I used to put myself as "ACE" on Space Invaders machines.

FIRE, right, right, FIRE, right, right, FIRE.

(It also gave everyone else a good feeling if they beat my pathetic score, assuming they (and various others, like NOB, DIC, POO, typically) had surpassed the game-designer's pre-loaded High Score stooge.)

There were other 'easy' patterns, that meant something, but that tended to be the one coming most trippingly from my battle-hardened hands.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby RogueCynic » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:04 pm UTC

Do you think things are bad here?

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Showsni » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:52 pm UTC

We have an awesome Sky remote keyboard, that is a remote controller with a full keyboard on it. Or a keyboard with a remote control built in. Like this one:
Image

Unfortunately we no longer have Sky, so it's just gathering dust whilst we type things in one by one if we want to watch youtube or iPlayer or what have you.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby mschmitt » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:27 am UTC

What bugs me is when these on-screen keyboards, that you have to select with arrow keys moving a cursor, have the keyboard in a QWERTY layout.

Besides just being harder to find the letters, by the very nature of QWERTY means you have to move the cursor further to type words.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:03 am UTC

Old Bruce wrote:
Keyman wrote:When *I* was a boy... We had a huge 27" screen Zenith console TV, with a "space command" remote. You cold turn the channel, or volume up/down.... and watch the actual dial on the TV across the room turn, to a "ka-chunk, ka-chink, ka-chunk" sound, to get to one of the four channels.

You had FOUR channels [...]

We had SIX channels! Though that was because we lived halfway between East Middle-of-Nowhere and West Middle-of-Nowhere, so we got the PBS and CBS affiliates from both places. West M-o-N didn't have NBC or ABC.

Showsni wrote:We have an awesome Sky remote keyboard, that is a remote controller with a full keyboard on it. Or a keyboard with a remote control built in.

Try losing that in the couch cushions...

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:34 am UTC

mschmitt wrote:Besides just being harder to find the letters, by the very nature of QWERTY means you have to move the cursor further to type words.

If you've got no knowledge at all of QWERTY, maybe, but (except for dedicated Dvorak/other users) I very much doubt you can be entirely flummoxed by the layout, in today's world. (And in an alphabetical grid, is G top right or next row left, or middlish? Depends upon the grid decided upon. Maybe it's a rotating pin-wheel or other looping Fruit Machine interface, but is it quicker to spin from A to R forwards, or going backwards, maybe through the numeric characters and punctuation?) QWERTY is a standard you can get used to, whatever its failings (which are not the ones it is famous for having), rather than a proprietary choice made on the spot, that probably matches no-one else's on-the-spot design layout.

And I bet you get more need to cursor with ABCDEFGHI JKLMNOPQR STUVWXYZ0 123456789 (or whatever set of rows you decide upon that needs to feature alphanumeric sorting - kept simple here by omitting punctuation and symbols and case-shifting 'keys') in typical usage than a similar four rows of QWERTY-adhering. That's with a similar outlier of the A in both.

Could it be better-ordered? Probably. But not alphabetically.

Code: Select all

 ZBCWK
 PSTRY
QUIEAD
 FNOHG
 JVLMX

(Quick and dirty layout based on typical frequency of each character putting the more frequent towards the centre, with a passing intuitive nod to obvious digraphs and trigraphs that should really be similarly fact-based. But I relegated Q to 'last' key to be positioned, handily next to U's edge position on the all-but-Qb5x5 grid, over truly less frequent Z sent instead to a corner, because of the Q-almost-always-followed-by-U effect. A full 7x7 grid would give 23 extra spots for 0…9, and loads of punctuation options ringed around the alphabetic set, and also "switch to numpad-like alternative" key, accent/ligature mode-key, emoji-subset, etc, perhaps in the corners. And SPACE needs to be somewhere, of course. Maybe that should be central, the Z relegated to the outer perimeter opposite the Q in the ensuing shuffle.)

((Might have a longer think about this later.))

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby somitomi » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:01 am UTC

anian wrote:For more fun and yelling, use the Xbox Kinect method of waving your hands near the wrong letters for just long enough to select them while trying to get the avatar to get closer to the letter next to it.

*stares in disgusted disbelief at the existence of such a thing*
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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby SuicideJunkie » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:51 pm UTC

I need to grab a spare keyboard and see if it can work in the TV's USB port.
I am prepared to be disappointed in the letters only working only in places where you don't need to type much, but maybe I can at least use the arrow keys?

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby airdrik » Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:37 pm UTC

Similarly disappointing is with our "Smart" TV which can be controlled using an app on our phone, which said app even has a button which brings up an input box and the phone's keyboard presumably to allow entering the text using the phone's keyboard does nothing. Perhaps there's something more I need to do or it only works in select circumstances or something, but each time I'd tried using that feature it hasn't done anything except neatly display the stuff I've typed in the little input box on the phone with nothing happening on the TV.

Of course that only applies to when I'm using the TV's built-in "Smart" interface. When I just switch to the computer I have access to the full keyboard and mouse as well as input using the kdeconnect app on my phone which does work exactly as I'd expect for both touchpad and phone-based-keyboard input.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Flumble » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:23 pm UTC

SuicideJunkie wrote:I need to grab a spare keyboard and see if it can work in the TV's USB port.
I am prepared to be disappointed in the letters only working only in places where you don't need to type much, but maybe I can at least use the arrow keys?

Prepare for the disappointment that it only supports storage devices. And only the first partition. And only images and MP4 files.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby balthasar_s » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:47 pm UTC

The whole problem begins with the idea that for some reason you should be able to input some written text into a television.
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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby SuicideJunkie » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:56 pm UTC

I would probably find that less disappointing, honestly; at least in that case, nobody spent time working on keyboard support.

On the other hand, if it does recognize the keyboard, but can only use it to enter a wifi password, but not for commonly used text entry fields like a search screen... that would really annoy me.
It means somebody tried, but epicly failed at what has been a basic task since the early 80s PCs.
And the television is just a tabletop computer built into a stupendously large monitor these days.

The storage thing would be similar I suppose, although I don't really have a use case for that, so I won't feel the pain.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Newest User » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:28 pm UTC

Some years after we traded in our B&W TV for a color one, we finally got cable. The channel changer looked like this one:

Image
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby ruurdjan » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:50 pm UTC

If you think QWERTY is bad, try 'typing' anything on the Stan app for Samsung TVs. Their 'keyboard' is a single line of all characters, A-Z. I'm sure their GUI designer just doesn't care...

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:12 am UTC

Anyone else remember the radial input mode Steam tried pushing? You'd push the left stick in one of eight directions and then press a face button, for a total of 32 available characters. I found it to be surprisingly quick and intuitive because the groups of letters were arranged alphabetically, clockwise from the top. At some point they relegated it to a non-default option and broke support for it in Steam Input.
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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Ranbot » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:03 pm UTC

With modern "smart" TVs or digital players (e.g. Roku, Chromecast, AppleTV, etc.) i'm actually surprised the text search functions aren't done through phone app. I have a relatively new (~2 years) Sony smart TV that connects to my WiFi, has built in apps, blah blah... but a clumsy looking remote that looks like it was designed in 1990. However.....
airdrik wrote:Similarly disappointing is with our "Smart" TV which can be controlled using an app on our phone, which said app even has a button which brings up an input box and the phone's keyboard presumably to allow entering the text using the phone's keyboard does nothing. Perhaps there's something more I need to do or it only works in select circumstances or something, but each time I'd tried using that feature it hasn't done anything except neatly display the stuff I've typed in the little input box on the phone with nothing happening on the TV.

Of course that only applies to when I'm using the TV's built-in "Smart" interface. When I just switch to the computer I have access to the full keyboard and mouse as well as input using the kdeconnect app on my phone which does work exactly as I'd expect for both touchpad and phone-based-keyboard input.

^ good point. Technology is great... but it's gotta work and it's controlling a permanent appliance in your home it has to work every single time for the life of the product! I'll take an old-school analog, 100% compatible, dependable remote with clumsy text entry interface, over a slick new app that has any chance of not working correctly. I wouldn't mind having both options though with the dependable remote as a fall back plan.

I will say, I appreciate that many streaming companies have good algorithms to give suggestions/guess at what you're painstakingly typing into the searches. I even appreciate how Netflix suggestions includes movies/shows they don't have available, so you don't have to keep searching in vain.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby webgrunt » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:24 pm UTC

You haven't given up, have you? There's still a chance Hillary can win the 2016 election. They might find some uncounted ballots or something.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby jgh » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:18 am UTC

SuicideJunkie wrote:I need to grab a spare keyboard and see if it can work in the TV's USB port.
I am prepared to be disappointed in the letters only working only in places where you don't need to type much, but maybe I can at least use the arrow keys?

Writing keyboard drivers is one of my fave bits of coding. I'm currently stalled on one project because I'm going to have to decode the USB controller's microcode to fix an internal bug. (300+ IRQs per byte received.....)

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Isaac Hill » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:08 am UTC

My cable box has the text entry field set up like:

Code: Select all

ABCDEF
GHIJKL
MNOPQR
STUVWX
YZ1234
567890
space

It's used to search for show titles. Only valid letters are highlighted/used. Say there are no titles beginning with "Ag", but there are titles starting with "Am". Entering "A" as the first letter will cause the G to be grayed out. Pressing down once from A will go directly to M.

To the right of the text entry field is a list of all the shows starting with the letters entered so far. Once you've entered enough letters that the show you want is on the top of the list, you go right past the FLRX40 column and press enter. It looks pretty old fashioned, with big block letters and maybe 4 colors total. But, I don't know how you could do it any better without adding 26 buttons to the remote.
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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby DStaal » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:22 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
mschmitt wrote:Besides just being harder to find the letters, by the very nature of QWERTY means you have to move the cursor further to type words.

If you've got no knowledge at all of QWERTY, maybe, but (except for dedicated Dvorak/other users) I very much doubt you can be entirely flummoxed by the layout, in today's world. (And in an alphabetical grid, is G top right or next row left, or middlish? Depends upon the grid decided upon. Maybe it's a rotating pin-wheel or other looping Fruit Machine interface, but is it quicker to spin from A to R forwards, or going backwards, maybe through the numeric characters and punctuation?) QWERTY is a standard you can get used to, whatever its failings (which are not the ones it is famous for having), rather than a proprietary choice made on the spot, that probably matches no-one else's on-the-spot design layout.

And I bet you get more need to cursor with ABCDEFGHI JKLMNOPQR STUVWXYZ0 123456789 (or whatever set of rows you decide upon that needs to feature alphanumeric sorting - kept simple here by omitting punctuation and symbols and case-shifting 'keys') in typical usage than a similar four rows of QWERTY-adhering. That's with a similar outlier of the A in both.

Could it be better-ordered? Probably. But not alphabetically.

Code: Select all

 ZBCWK
 PSTRY
QUIEAD
 FNOHG
 JVLMX

(Quick and dirty layout based on typical frequency of each character putting the more frequent towards the centre, with a passing intuitive nod to obvious digraphs and trigraphs that should really be similarly fact-based. But I relegated Q to 'last' key to be positioned, handily next to U's edge position on the all-but-Qb5x5 grid, over truly less frequent Z sent instead to a corner, because of the Q-almost-always-followed-by-U effect. A full 7x7 grid would give 23 extra spots for 0…9, and loads of punctuation options ringed around the alphabetic set, and also "switch to numpad-like alternative" key, accent/ligature mode-key, emoji-subset, etc, perhaps in the corners. And SPACE needs to be somewhere, of course. Maybe that should be central, the Z relegated to the outer perimeter opposite the Q in the ensuing shuffle.)

((Might have a longer think about this later.))

There is/was a commercial keyboard with a similar thought behind it's layout: https://textware.com/fitaly/fitaly.htm

I used it all the time back in the Palm days. I was as fast on that as I am on my keyboard. Never really got ported to smartphones however.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:29 pm UTC

Isaac Hill wrote:My cable box has the text entry field set up like:

Code: Select all

ABCDEF
GHIJKL
MNOPQR
STUVWX
YZ1234
567890
space

It's used to search for show titles. Only valid letters are highlighted/used. Say there are no titles beginning with "Ag", but there are titles starting with "Am". Entering "A" as the first letter will cause the G to be grayed out. Pressing down once from A will go directly to M.

To the right of the text entry field is a list of all the shows starting with the letters entered so far. Once you've entered enough letters that the show you want is on the top of the list, you go right past the FLRX40 column and press enter. It looks pretty old fashioned, with big block letters and maybe 4 colors total. But, I don't know how you could do it any better without adding 26 buttons to the remote.


What happens if there are titles beginning "An", but no "Ab", "Ah", "Am", "Ao", "Ap", "Aq", "Ar", "At", "Az", or "A6"? How would you then navigate to 'N'?

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:30 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:What happens if there are titles beginning "An", but no "Ab", "Ah", "Am", "Ao", "Ap", "Aq", "Ar", "At", "Az", or "A6"? How would you then navigate to 'N'?
I suspect a cursoring would take you to a standardised* adjacent row/column (as well as the cursor-direction new column/row) that would accept your input.

Try it in Windows. Array a virgin folder in "large icons" mode with files A.. Z or so via "New… .Text file" or your own favourite version of this. Disable auto-arrange (if necessary) and enable snap-to-grid (if required) and delete (or temporarily move to a holding folder/window, to save recreation later) various co-orthogonal files to the chosen file icon with current focus upon it, and use the cursors to transit in 'impossible' directions. Rinse and repeat with varied starting points and plausible-or-otherwise destinations in each cursored direction.

You may not agree with the convention used (chirality of dodging past gaps) but it can be done. At least it uzed to be. Can't check any version of Windows right now, but this sort of behaviour has been part of possibly pre-95 Windows (didn't really go "keyboard only" in 3.11, 3.1 and earlier versions, only really stopped using the mouse where not absolutely necessary or momentarily more usefully accurate then keyboard equivalents in '95-era, and retained that up to Win7, with 8 and 10 being less used than I' d like to be certain they didn't nix this particular usage mode) and I imagine that beyond twerking things they surely won't have totally rehashed it in the latest gens,

Should be testable in (GUI) Linux and Mac environments, too (and bare X11, OS/Warp, BeOS, Amiga's 'Intuition', etc, probably) with maybe different 'solutions', but at least self-standard if not deliberately made equal to whatever grand-pappy of GUIs that flavour has inherited this behaviour from.


* rather than shifting either left or right, or either up or down, by random choice, always the same one of two equally near side-steps or the single nearest if a differing number of columns/rows are barren beyond the single barren orthogonal. For the next possible step in that orthogonal cursor direction.

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:49 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:What happens if there are titles beginning "An", but no "Ab", "Ah", "Am", "Ao", "Ap", "Aq", "Ar", "At", "Az", or "A6"? How would you then navigate to 'N'?
I suspect a cursoring would take you to a standardised* adjacent row/column (as well as the cursor-direction new column/row) that would accept your input.

The problem is not getting the cursor away from 'N', but getting it to it - go right from the column to the left of 'N' and you skip the otherwise empty column (and vice versa) while going up or down would skip the otherwise empty row. Unless there's something in place so that, say, going down from 'G' with 'M' missing sometimes lands on 'N' and sometimes lands on 'S', depending on which other letters are missing...

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:59 pm UTC

I actually misread the problem, fair dinkum.

Though it's a likely edge-condition, and if m/A[BHMOPQRTZ6]/i is unmatchable, likely other /A\w/ combos also are, thus allowing a 'drift' onto N.

But that's what extensive testing is for, to identify all exceptions that need to be handled. And nobody skimps on that so no problems, right? ;)

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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby keldor » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:04 pm UTC

My remote/cable box combination has voice recognition, so I can peform searches for shows that way. Sadly, it doesn't work with either the internet browser or the Youtube app.

By the way, Dvorak would be a *horrible* choice for keyboard layout for console style text entry since it's optimized so that the hands alternate letters as much as possible, meaning all the common consonants are one side of the keyboard and all the vowels are on the other. However, there are two lesser known Dvorak formats, optimized for one hand typing, one for left hand and one for right. I think these were designed with handicaped people in mind, but they would work very nicely with cursor style entry too.

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ucim
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Re: 2137: "Text Entry"

Postby ucim » Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:04 pm UTC

The question would be whether the system "remembers" what row and/or column the cursor is in, while it is "visiting" the next legal letter in that row/column. For example - any first character except space is available:
ABCDEF
GHIJKL
MNOPQR
STUVWX
YZ1234
567890
space

User selects N.

Now cursor is "on" N, and Na, Ne, Ni, No, Nu, and Ny are available.
ABCDEF
GH
IJKL
M
NOPQR
ST
UVWX
YZ1234
567890

space


User wants Nu, so arrows down. Cursor goes down to T, which is unavailable, and automatically shifts over to U, which is.

Now, is the cursor "on" U, or is it "on" T but "just visiting" U? I'd vote the latter while scrolling, but the former when done, mainly because that's what we are seeing on the display. But others may legitimately differ.

Nun and Nuo are available, among others.

ABCDEF
G
HIJKL
MNOPQR
ST
UVWX
Y
Z1234
567890

space



If we arrow-up and the cursor is "on" U, we reach O. But if the cursor is "just visiting", we'd reach N. In either case, if we arrow down, we'd reach Z. (Sliding right (if necessary) yields nothing, so slide left. At least that's the way I'd do it.)

(Linux) gedit text editor has this "just visiting" behavior when a line is the "wrong" length for arrowing up or down. The system remembers what column the cursor is "supposed to be in", and jumps to that column whenever possible. Although it's annoying, the opposite behavior would also be annoying, just in the other way. :)

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