Let’s reintroduce handwriting

Seems like a ridiculous idea in the digital age (especially considering my own dysmal efforts), but I’m starting to get very tired of seeing just Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial and Lucida as selections when conveying something. There’s only so much formatting you can add to a message, unless it’s the most basic of notes, before the content gets out of hand. We’re trying to push the Amazon river, in terms of emotion and conviction, through a garden hose with typed text.

Of course, it’s easy to cop out and stick with video messages, but that feels cheap… And it is.

Handwriting should be an art form. Any monkey can poke at keys to produce a digital counterpart, but it takes the skill of advanced frontal cortex to reproduce thought in structured symbols. Drawn symbols with centuries of history or more.

Wax tablet or tablet PC?

Wax tablet or tablet PC?


I know the favorite method to reproduce handwriting is in JPEG or other image format, but I say throw all that out. Let’s use SVG output of all our handwriting as that will allow zooming to any level. You could sketch, skew your letters or do any manner of things with your message that would be all but lost in any other electronic message or be turned into a bulky blob with an image file.

It will also keep file sizes very small (still a bit larger than the standard email though). As an added benefit, you could embed the actual plain text of the message within the SVG file using handwriting recognition software so archivers will be able to find it later by searching the content.

I’ve written a very rudimentary version of a handwriting SVG output utility in JavaScript. Ideally this should be done in Java and/or Flash for a more finely tuned pickup, but I just wanted to show the basics of how such a system “might” work. Besides that, I’m extremely busy these days and JavaScript only takes a few minutes.

In the future, this type of system could also use the pressure input from a stylus to make the stroke bolder or lighter adding even more character to the content. An ideal version would make it difficult to tell the difference between a scanned written document and a SVG print.


You know your spelling is atrocious…

…When you can’t even spell atrocious. And I, apparently, have handwriting that is completely illegible to any human being on Earth including yours truly.

The following is an actual sample of my handwriting (complete with misspellings and incomprehensible grammar). 10 Points to whoever can rewrite it verbatim first.



I can’t even believe I actually learned the English language in class.

Milton must be turning over in his grave.