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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mathematica now supports handwriting recognition

In this blog-entry I wrote that I couldn't wait for handwriting recognition in Mathematica. Well, it's here. That is it works on my laptop. I have been very careful with installing / upgrading Windows 7. I have been burned too many times by ( Microsoft ) software. I first did a fresh install on a PC I have ready and available for test purposes. ( Although I have addressed it as the 'Database Server', have to finish the apps first. But that's off-topic here. ) Anyway. There were problems, of course. A driver issue of the built-in wireless network card. Some more, I can't remember. I fixed all problems eventually. Then it was time for one of my 'production' PC's: the laptop. Considering what Windows 7 adds to Vista, which is not much ( really, except handwriting recognition in Mathematica, it is nothing really ) I decided I should go for an upgrade. The idea of re-installing all my apps was too much.

I had a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate. UK version. That did not work as an upgrade of a Dutch version of Vista. Yakh. That delayed the upgrade several weeks. When I finally got hold of a Dutch 7 Ultimate I continued. MAJOR PROBLEMS, this time. The Wacom Driver ( I have a tablet PC ) did not work anymore, screen rotation portrait / landscape did not work, the HP specific buttons did not work anymore. I had to download Windows 7 drivers for most of the hardware. There is however no Wacom tablet driver for Windows 7. Bye, bye tablet. I thought for a day anyway. While browsing some forum I read a story of someone who experienced the same problems and was so kind to document what he did. He just -reinstalled the Wacom Vista drivers-. And that worked. There were several other issues but I managed to solve all of them. The entire upgrade took me about 12 ( Twelve ) hours. That includes the waiting and searching for problem solutions.

The good thing is that I can now use handwriting to enter mathematics into Mathematica. And that is extremely cool. It takes practice though, as with everything. Still discovering the how-to's. The tablet features of Windows 7 did got a major upgrade compared to Vista. ( And Vista was already much better than XP in that respect. ) - For now I decided to leave my desktop AS IS: Vista. An upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 is nice but it is not a must. Unless there is this specific feature you are after, like me with math handwriting recognition.

One more thing: initially handwriting did not work as described in the Mathematica documentation. After re-installing Mathematica it did however work.

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