Saturday, June 10, 2006

Full Screen vs Typewriter Mode...

I just came across a very interesting post, via the Hog Bay Software forum, here. The poster, Khoi Vinh, proposes an application (he mocks up something that he calls BlockWriter) that works just like a typewriter. It blocks out everything else on your desktop and doesn't allow any editing, thus forcing you to forge on with your text. You can use the cursor keys to go back, but if you type, it types over the text already there - so that you can block out mistakes using XXXXX just like on an old typewriter. You can't cut, copy or paste, and you can't go back and edit large chunks of your text. The idea is simply that you have to type, and think more about what you are typing, just like you had to on a typewriter.

I have to say, this idea appeals to me. I am messing around with it at the moment to see if it is something that might fit into Scrivener - a proper full-screen typewriting mode (as opposed to, or maybe as well as, the current full screen mode which is based on Ulysses' implementation... Interesting, definitely interesting.

UPDATE: Well, I tried this out... Not the full screen part, but the crippled editing part. I put together a small test app that doesn't allow any editing - only typing. To delete, you have to move the cursor back and then type over text (it just replaces the text with "X"s). It feels awful. In theory, it's a good idea, but the fact is that if you touch-type, you can touch-type a lot quicker on a keyboard than you can on a typewriter, but at the same time you make more mistakes (I had no idea how much I relied on the backspace key). Moreover, because you are so used to being able to edit in a text editor, it feels very unnatural. Anyway, feel free to try it out for yourself, but there is no way this is going into Scrivener. Still, all this has given me an idea for a slightly nicer looking full screen...


Blogger Khoi said...

It's not that terrible, is it? I'm not just trying to defend my idea, but I downloaded it and gave it a try, and it's not that bad. Perhaps part of the frustration is that the delete key doesn't do anything... what if pressing it was the equivalent of x'ing out prior characters? Anyway, I'd be keen to see this evolve a little further, but if you've already dismissed it, I can accept that.

7:40 pm  
Blogger kayembi said...

Hello Khoi, thanks for posting. "Awful" really applies to my current implementation - certainly not to your idea. You know, although Scrivener remains my priority, I would certainly be interested in playing with this idea some more. I'm off to try and find your e-mail address now; if I don't find it, please contact me via Thanks!

10:27 pm  
Anonymous AmberV said...

I would love to play with your implementation of the concept, but I am getting a 401 on the ZIP file.

7:09 am  
Anonymous AmberV said...

Oh never you mind. I found the forum post about it all and got the proper version. :)

7:38 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home