Sunday, July 17, 2005

Optimus Update

This is an update from the Art Lebedev Studio

Frequently Answered Answers about the Optimus keyboard

"It's in initial stage of production
We hope it will be released in 2006
It will cost less than a good mobile phone
It will be real
It will be OS-independent (at least it can work in some default state with any OS)
It will support any language or layout
Moscow is the capital of Russia
Each key could be programmed to produce any sequence
It will be an open-source keyboard, SDK will be available
Some day it will be split ('ergonomic')
It will most likely use OLED technology (e-paper is sooo slow)
Our studio is located two blocks from the Kremlin
It will feature a key-saver
Keys will use animation when needed
It has numeric keypad because we love it
There's no snow in Moscow during Summer
It will be available worldwide (why not?)
OEM will be possible (why not?)
Contact us for hi-res images, or interview inquires
We want to thank everyone for the support.
Stay tuned for our next projects."

Here are some reactions to the Optimus Keyboard from the Unicode list .

"I was specifically thinking about Japanese input. And I am curious how that would be implemented. Of course, it is not so much the sillabic part of the input that is a problem (there are Japanese kb layouts that assign one syllable to one key, even most Japanese users type with combinations of qwerty letters.) It is rather the fact that the qwerty input part is converted 2 times: first time when the second letter is associated to the first to produce a Japanese kana, second when the kana (on its own or associated with other kanas) is converted to a kanji."

"The LED keykeyboard in effect levels the field because the keyboard can visually represent any layout you select. The changing visual key sequences idea ... is another interesting dimension."

"I am surprised that there is even some uncertainty as to how such a keyboard might be used for non-latin scripts. Consider, for instance, its use with Simplified (mainland) and Traditional (Taiwan) Chinese and Japanese: In all three cases, there exist four or five commonly-used input methods designed to be used with a standard QWERTY keyboard, that depend on remapping keys. The only alternatives are expensive, huge (largely unstandardised) keyboards originally designed for typesetters."


Blogger Jimmy Ho said...

This Optimus thing looks quite interesting, indeed, and your quotes answer the few doubts I had about the use for Chinese. To be honest, though, I would be even more pleased if Lebedev had avoided the all-too current confusion between Polytonic Greek and "Ancient Greek". By comparison, after the end of the Cultural Revolution, nobody would ever imply with a straight face that the "traditional" characters (fantizi) are only used to write Classical Chinese. I guess I am particularly sensitive to that because Greek is my mother tongue and I've always written it with all the accents and spirits.

By the way, I was wondering if you had ever seen a Chinese "typewriter"? In case you have not, there is a photograph I took some fifteen years ago in a Beijing printing room which could interest you. It is a bit blurry and the tiny characters are not distinguishable, but it still gives you an idea of what the monster looked like. I could mail it to you, only I'd have to scan it first.

Let me say again that Abecedaria is very intellectually stimulating for this conflicted minor polyglot. I learn something new with every update; I am glad Language Hat linked to you, because his blog has the same effect on me.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jimmy,

I still have trouble with classical (polytonic) Greek. I go to some webpages and it displays fully but in others it doesn't. I haven't made time to figure that out so I have defaulted to monotonic.

I find it really odd not to use the spirits but I am not much good at any accents that don't directly reflect pronunciation.

I haven't seen a Chinese typewriter - only heard people describe it. A photo would be great now that I can post images.

You are quite a polyglot - Greek, Chinese, French, English, etc.!

I really enjoy LH too.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Ho said...

Hi, Suzanne,

I just scanned the picture. It is a 1,3 Mbs heavy TIFF file. If you think it fits into your mailbox (at the address indicated on your Profile page), it is alright, else I can send it as a .zip file. I'll do as you tell me. I'll try to come back later for the other points!

11:09 AM  

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