Wrestling with Thumbs

Miniature keyboards are muscling in on the Palm Pilot business. Is the stylus still mightier?

Late last year I watched in amazement as my mother took up Graffiti. (I'm talking about the system of entering text on digital organizers made by Palm, Handspring and Sony; she hasn't started spray-painting walls just yet.) Using a stylus on the screen, you are required to write characters the Graffiti way--an A without the horizontal line, and so on. It can be a daunting thing to learn, yet after watching my techno-challenged mom scribble happily on her new Handspring Visor, I felt certain it was the alphabet of the future.

Now my faith is collapsing, largely because Palm founder and...

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