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Future Of Text, Thoughts, Updates
January 1, 2012

So it’s a new year.

So far it’s warmer than expected and wetter. The transition from 2011 to 2012 was a happy one at the Vance’s with good food, music, Philly and gaming.

Yesterday afternoon I posted (another, having gone through this a few times over the years) post on eLance about interactive text on eLance. I got a reply from Zhu in China (Changchun, Jilin) who suggested doing it as Services  in the Mac context menu. This is not really what I wanted at all – the proximity of the controls is a huge issue in how useful they are. However, he sent me a screenshot to show me what he meant and the context command he was talking about had a keyboard shortcut attached to it…

This meant that we chatted and back and forth and developed this method, which he is now working on, with a prototype test due on the 7th – next week Saturday. It will do this (hopefully):

1) Select text.
2) Issue a key command such as command-§ (this refers to a command in the ‘Services’ menu called ‘Liquid Information’).
3) A panel opens up with the selected text pasted into.
4) User can now choose a command, like they do with liquid information interactive text Web, such as type ‘r’ to open the ‘References’ menu and then ‘w’ for wikipedia. Command is then executes.

Now this is of course very interesting indeed, and we’ll change the icon for Liquid to somehow incorporate the paragraph symbol § which I chose since it’s easily accessible on Mac keyboards (top left, though it doesn’t seem to be on Windows keyboards at all). This little symbol has a circle in it and it has swirling arms. We can do something logotype-ish here. And when we figure out the branding we’ll have our logo on all the Mac keyboards! What a way to make sure people remember what key to use.

Fingers crossed for the test version… Here is what I currently imagine it to look like:

1) User selects text.

2) User issues command-§.

3) The user can now type in keyboard shortcuts, such as r, then w, to open References, then Wikipedia. A single ‘enter’ does a search and shift-enter goes to the top search result. The search will initially be only through the users web browser but could also be in a custom mini-browser.

 

What do you think?!

 




frode