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Monday, June 28, 2010

Type Faster With eType for Windows (100 Invites)

I was recently invited to test drive eType, a new program designed to help speed up your typing.

eType is a Windows program. I downloaded it to my computer's desktop and double-clicked to start the installation process. This took just a few moments and was quite straightforward.

Once you have eType installed, a small, circular icon appears in the notification area at the bottom of your screen. Clicking on this enables you to toggle between on (blue) and off (red). Right-clicking the icon brings up a menu offering various options, including changing the settings. Based on my experiences, you will almost certainly want to do this.

When eType is on, it displays a list of word options such as the one below each time you start typing. In that respect, it's a bit like the predictive text messaging you get on modern cell phones...

By default the program displays a list after you have typed three letters, but you can change this if you wish. You can also change the time after which the list appears (by default this is set to zero, which personally I found far too distracting).

You can then use the up/down arrows on your keyboard to choose a word in the list, press ENTER/SPACE to select it, or press the ESC key to cancel. You can also use the cursor to select items, and left-click to insert them. If you're typing at speed you might find this less convenient, however.

The developers say they are hoping to use crowdsourcing to get feedback on eType and improve it. Having tried it myself, I've found that in general it works well, but I got on a lot better once I changed the delay from 0 to 2 seconds. This means the list only appears if you pause to allow it, which is a lot less intrusive.

eType seems to permit the use of different dictionaries (and thesauruses), but at present only US English is available at the install stage. Others may be planned for future releases, or there may be a trick to installing them that I haven't figured out yet.

One other minor gripe is that the suggestions the program comes up with don't always include what you might think are the obvious ones. When I typed 'tec', for example, as you'll see from the screengrab above, the program suggested 'techniques', but not the singular 'technique', which was the word I wanted. Even clicking on the small down arrow that brings up more suggestions didn't produce 'technique' as an option.

Still, eType is in Beta at the moment, so you have to expect the occasional rough edge. The developers have kindly offered 100 Beta invitations for readers of this blog to download the program free of charge, so click here or on any of the eType links in this post to go to the special download page. I'll be interested to hear what you think of eType if you decide to try it out (and so will the developers!).

* As a matter of interest, my blog sponsors, The WCCL Network, produce a program called Quick-Type (see banner ad below), which has some similarities with eType. However, with Quick-Type you enter your chosen text (e.g. a paragraph you type regularly) and a keyword to activate it. From then on, any time you type that keyword, Quick-Type will insert the text in question. Both programs have their uses, and it's really a matter of personal taste (and your typing style/ability) which one you prefer.

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Anonymous Benoit Lelievre said...

Downloaded the software. Will try it and let you know sir. Thnx

11:43 AM  
Blogger ChaCha Fance said...

I don't like it. Very buggy for me in Windows 7. I only saw it popup once and never again. It keeps pausing on its own too.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks for the feedback. I had fewer problems in Vista (which I'm still using). It didn't work initially in Firefox, though, and then (for reasons unknown to me) it did. Of course, this is a beta version, and there are undoubtedly still a few bugs in it.

1:07 PM  

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