Next Generation Technologist

Next Generation Sequencing, Marketing, and the Genomic Revolution

Learning how to use the iPhone keyboard (from a recent convert)

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It took many years to convert from a BlackBerry to an iPhone. My first BlackBerry dates back to something like 2004, and although I can’t remember the BlackBerry model number it was something like this 6320 model. I do remember the blue color, LCD screen, and the T-mobile ‘data-only’ service.

Fast forward some 4 years later, there was a short time where I had to use a T-mobile ‘Dash’, with all of its Windows Mobile quirkiness. But it was my first smartphone, and it was something of a revelation to be able to actually have something resembling a web experience while out and about. Several Blackberries, including the BB Bold and BB Torch, were used over the next few years, and then my Torch’s screen broke.

Now, some 7 years after my first BlackBerry, I moved finally to an iPhone 4. (The 4S was a bit too expensive for my employer, and in the big picture it doesn’t matter to me all that much, no matter how much rabid iPhone fans tell me how great Siri is.) After six months with the iPhone, I have already gone through one wireless keyboard (the NUU Minikey) and have been giving the virtual keyboard a tryout.

Not comfortable banging out emails with the flat screen, it’s a real irritation not to have the tactile feedback of a real keyboard (it has been 7 years now!) hampering productivity. Not a good thing, and not too much to do about it other than working on my typing speed on smooth glass. I’ve observed only one coworker who I would deem relatively fast at typing on the iPhone screen, so I have something to work toward.

Here are few tips for you.

To save one keypress when adding punctuation or a number, press and slide to select the number or punctuation mark, and then release. You will add the number or punctuation and then return automatically to the letter keyboard, saving you the back and forth of finding the ‘ABC’ button.

To quickly add special characters, such as the £ or ñ, press and hold the $ or n key respectively, and a few alternatives appear on the screen to slide and select. Finding the bullet symbol • under the dash – can make those short and concise emails that much short-er and concise-er.

If you are typing a web address int eh address bar, if it ends in .com you don’t even need to enter the ‘.com’ key; just enter the address and press the ‘go’ key. Holding down the ‘.com’ key will bring up .net, .edu, .org, and .us to save a few keystrokes there.

Take a look at your Settings → General → Keyboard Options. You can set the following settings on or off, per your preference:

  • Auto-correction
  • Auto-capitalization
  • Enable Caps Lock (double-press shift key)
  • “.” Shortcut (double-tap the space bar to automatically put in a period)

I find typing in landscape mode much better than the hunt-and-peck of the portrait mode, and it is sad that my own modestly-sized thumbs are still too large to hit the letter ‘m’ accurately. Many sentences that end pre Aturely due to the proximity of the backspace and autocapitalization. Oh well.

Author: Dale Yuzuki

A sales and marketing professional in the life sciences research-tools area, Dale currently is employed by Thermo Fisher Scientific Corporation as a next-generation sequencing Market Development Manager. He develops sales tools, trains the Americas sales force on technical details around next-generation sequencing (both 5500 and Ion Torrent), represents Life Tech at tradeshows, is active on social media, helps guide social media strategy and tactics, and keeps track of what is going on in the marketplace. For additional biographical information, please see my LinkedIn profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/daleyuzuki and also find me on Twitter @DaleYuzuki.

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