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Palm StG Keyboard

In this day and age of intense product marketing it requires a big advertising budget to put a product on the map. This means that a great number of excellent software utilities and applications go completely unnoticed - as anyone who peruses freeware and shareware sites can readily attest to. On my computer, for example, I have at least half a dozen totally unknown programs that do a better job than any "commercial" product designed to do the same thing. Every once in a while, there's an idea or product, out there that is so good that it's downright criminal that people who need it don't know about it.

The StG Keyboard from programming wizard and pen technology expert Scott Griepentrog is such a product.

Anyone familiar with Microsoft's Pen Services 2.0 knows that they are a) hard to come by, especially these days, and b) that Microsoft's pop-up keyboard is totally inadequate, missing some of the keys you need to do even the most basic work, like escape, function, alt, and the arrow keys. And what if you have a mobile computer with a touch screen, but don't need the overhead of Pen Services, even if you can get them?

Scott Griepentrog realized all this soon after Windows 95 was launched in mid-1995. He had little faith that Microsoft would fix the problem (and he was right) and programmed the StG Keyboard. It's a pop-up keyboard that works on any computer running Windows 95 or Windows 98. It doesn't need Pen Services at all and can be used both in Windows and DOS applications running under Windows.

The StG keyboard provides a full set of keys and was programmed to use up as little space as possible. A pop-up utility panel lets you set keyboard size to small, medium, or large or you can scale it yourself both vertically and horizontally. You can set it so that it starts up with Windows and you can also enable mouse button swap. The keyboard can be dragged around the screen so that you can place it out of the way.

Scott sells the keyboard from his website at stg.net. There's a free demo version, and the real product costs US$24.95. OEMs who are building pen or touch systems and need a pop-up keyboard can purchase a license for the keyboard for what is a downright steal. And Scott himself is also available for "really difficult, challenging, nobody can figure out how to" kind of assignments.

Way to go, Scott!

- For more information, check out Scott's website at www.stg.net or email him at stg@stg.net.


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