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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dasher: soon to replace all writers

There's a cool new thing bundled in the new Ubuntu release called Dasher, which lets people "type" with only a mouse or other pointing device. It's an accessibility tool, but it's pretty fun to use, at least as a novelty. Because it attempts to guess words you might be writing, if you just wave the mouse randomly around the right-hand side of the screen it tends to write words, like this:
Yzimminated to see they went without could be asked Jesus Christ of Lakin!' and lials ETURychtefell exactly in marring a confetrackbally. Check, do order? Gordon, the distance of clay number,NTrrejoy.
Con? That prounched received it a bit lVyry,' said hisible.
It is a bit of the chan, and the's undow VE?.Ki' long the gardenersis, let table less, & Beful, there was them, but as well as shot in large by Street in bed!iserami
Jusso, proved Jewis has bquity, or the X. ThankN'll give not gressions over his has going by thephere.X.thomaHE,' said with protestantises, the's shoperature, whQ.."' Que people of neighborned.
Even if you just leave the mouse sitting still on the right and go do something else for a while, it works pretty much the same:
Golated a a.m.,grievigic mind that contempttsung Crasteps audilling incliam. Ohn. O bird thingsex.NOljR. Sunday'lamousand, as the Oroom for himself. Grous blue size that the travel, for Vohko, Nothing earth.own lets Government scienum tglad till to musiUMT Tuschw?. Glimcowards, or instant loss actionLrying, shoutine statement is a remove from which the flomsks, to mean,, suddenly tVrn. Fartaunto the sosture, the dance above botanice. Supervisorension, easy so long down five life.
TOPivCrifit?' tend to himate detFyfim.
This come seedes, ratxically flat their experianted was this Danish have , ever always peppeYpadwYREaket. Ab off toget. ThexYout it was have tauds the emunams.
Teism to stand unlike to fill as she egg. The North pofsty,' thoughThese viction busine. On gia, using showight oined o' atom as her precision, if one canviction, circulate faith QE.. Evenly, rippSaunto world lady. Btes, works personal childrensuide foreignewermiddle children. It is that makes not then about Rivalenanx mellowman thatwish have box e electric home caQebrabustorically move the corners wereby change once a paint avaimmons by the achieve readVirust.
This could probably be put to some practical use. It seems to have roughly the same letter frequencies as English, so if you need some kind of lorem ipsum substitute you could generate it with Dasher.

You could also use it to come up with ideas. I'm a fan of using randomness to spark creativity. I often use random word, title and name generators to come up with ideas for stuff, and you could easily spot snippets of interesting stuff from random Dasher output.

A few examples from above:
  • Jesus Christ of Lakin! - Maybe a character in a place called Lakin who starts a cult.
  • confetrackbally - Cool word.
  • Check, do order? - Thought processes of a waiter.
  • VE?.Ki' - I can see this being the name of an alien race in a bad sci-fi novel.
  • O bird thingsex. - Needs no elaboration.
  • scienum - Cool word.
  • Rivalenanx mellowman - I am... Rivalenanx Mellowman.

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