Is there a doctor in the house?


In debt medical student
Yes, this does relate to OSX... eventually.

I have a Handspring Visor and it is getting a bit old (not to mention beat up). I figure that I will replace it within the next 6 months. I am a med student, and want something that I can very quickly take notes on when interviewing patients in my clinical rotations.

Try as I may I am just not that accurate with graffiti. I have heard good things about the Pocket PC handwriting recognition. Is it true? I'd love to be able to write in cursive or just print quickly. My handwriting isn't that bad, but Jot and similar programs for the Palm don't get me.

My concern is in supporting yet another M$ attempt to dominate an industry. As zealous as I am for my Mac, I will buy the best product even if it is M$ based.

So my questions are primarily about the handwriting, but also about aps. Any med types use a WinCE (sorry, the PPC abbreviation has a higher purpose) handheld? Are there alternatives to ePocrates and such that fill the bill?

Lastly... here's where OSX comes in. How likely is it that I will be able to sync a WinCE handheld? Heck, right now I have to use my old W2K machine to sync my Palm, so I guess I could continue to do that should I get an iPac or something, but I'd prefer not to.

Thanks for the advice guys (even if you have nothing to do with medicine... the speed of entering text via handwriting is my #1 concern).


Unofficial Mac Genius
I don't know anything about the Pocket PC's handwriting recognition, but I do know this: you will have to use your Win2K machine to synch it. There is some software (forget what it was called) coming out soon that is supposedly able to synch the Pocket PC with the Mac, but it's not out right now and it's a couple weeks before it comes out, I think, and maybe longer.

Hope this helps a little.


Have a look at - they're saying that the first version's supposed to be out next week, with the fully synching version later this month.


In debt medical student
Looked at pocketmac for about 5 seconds, sp maybe this is answered and I didn't spend the time to see it, but will it allow you to sync between the Pocket PC and Office? I'm guessing that the Windows side can do this to keep copies of a Pocket Word document and a Word document the same. Maybe I'm wrong, but it would seem insanely useful.

But all this aside, can anyone comment on the handwriting recognition???

(If anyone made up to date medical software for it I think I'd just get a Newton for cheap off eBay or something :) .)


The short answer is yes, it will sync files (according to the website). Here's the long answer; a quick rundown of the versions, their features, availability and pricing from their website:

There are 3 separate versions of PocketMac...

Regular - Does file copying/conversion, file synching,
and software installation services. Runs on OS 9 and OS X and
supports TCP/IP and USB connections.

Release Date: Week of November 5, 2001. Price: US $49.95*.

Professional - Does all of the Regular edition features,
plus synching with Entourage, Outlook (Exchange 2000), and others on OS 9 and

Release Date: November 30, 2001. Price: US $69.95*.

Developer - Does all of the Professional features, and
includes an API for creating your own custom Mac-based
plugins/desktop apps that communicate with the Pocket PC
using PocketMac.

Release Date: December 30, 2001. Price: $199.95*.
They do go on to talk about the price breaks that you get if you get the Regular version now, and then upgrade to Pro later. It all seems like a pretty good deal.

As for the handwriting... Understand that this is just from playing a little bit with an iPaq @ BestBuy... it looks like graphitti, but the lettershapes are slightly different. I think there's a way to make it 'graphitti compatible', but the real deal is that there is third-party HWR software (I don't remember the name of it) that would let you do natural script. I remember seeing this on the Vadem Clio, and although it was not quite as nice as Rosetta, it was a helluva lot better than Graphitti.

The interesting thing on the iPaq was that even on a stock unit, the HW area on-screen gave visual feedback on your strokes. I thought that was a very nice touch and quite helpful; I don't think it would take much to "convert" to that having used Graphitti for so long...


I have used a Casio Cassiopeia E100 (one of the 1st gen color WinCE devices). The hand recognition is more or less natural handwriting, but u have to write letter by letter into an inputfield at the bottom of the screen. An "e" for example u can write cursive or printed andu just need to come close to any of the 3 or 4 preprogrammed "e" styles. The same applies to almost all letters (i think the "i"and the 1 are the only symbols with a proprietary way of writing it, as to not mix them up). On top of that, if your handwriting is realy funky and nothiong matches the predefined letter shapes, u can train the thing to you r individual writing style by giviing three examples in your handwriting for each letter/number.
Theres also some 3rd party add on which lets u write anywhere on the touchscreen, not only in the inputfield, and in natural writing (whole words), but I have only read about it. Never used it.


Just one question... why are you using your Win2K machine to sync your palm? My visor deluxe works great syncing under OS X using classic... although classic does grow to be a pain after a while.


In debt medical student
I hate starting Classic. I hate using Classic. It's the principle of the thing. I guess I could, but I wiped my HD to repartition for OSX and never put the Palm desktop back on there. I only use it for backup and installation anyway, so until I get Office for X and therefore Entourage, syncing is only something I do once a week or so.

I messed with the iPac at Best Buy today and was VERY impressed. Of course, you're paying $500 for that thing, but the handwriting recognition was very good. I wrote this scribbled mess because I was running out of room and it still knew what I was trying to write. And my handwriting isn't the best either. Needs some training, but it seems quite solid. I think I'm hooked... too bad it's got that hideous Windows logo on there all the time... how to get rid of that....