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Squishy Pogo: A story about the stylus

It’s the end of iPad week and I wasn’t sure what to write about. I could talk about apps, carrying cases, bags, screen protectors, other accessories. I may write about them eventually. I may not do a whole week like this week. Not sure how many of you regulars care. I think random people might stumble by who care. I’m sure you want to get back to the fish journal. I know you love the fish. But I’m getting sidetracked here.

I’ve decided to write about the pogo sketch stylus because I have strong feelings about this. How ipad and iphone touch screens work is by conductivity. It has to do with electrostatic fields. This is why any old stylus doesn’t work and neither does your perfectly manicured fingernails. You basically need something that conducts electricity.

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This is where the pogo Stylus comes in. It’s a stylus that has a little foam piece at the end. It’s not pointy because these devices are made for fingers and our fingers aren’t pointy like a pencil. Unfortunately, this means that we will never have a stylus similar to the Wacom tablets.(but I can still hope.)

The foam piece at the end is a little piece of conductive foam. It’s the same stuff that’s used to keep your computer ram safe from static charge. Now if you have that lying around or can find it really cheap, you can DIY a stylus. They are all over the interwebs. All you need is an old pen and some copper wire or an old drafting pencil. I did not have foam nor copper wire. It was not cost prohibitive to go out and buy some just to try out my handwriting recognition app. So I just bought the stylus. Was cheaper in the short term.

Here is the thing about the foam. Like any soft materials that gets rubbed against a surface, even a very smooth surface, it will begin to wear down. I’ve only had this for a day and it’s already deforming horribly. If you plan on using the stylus for handwriting recognition software, you are better off using your finger. This thing won’t last a week. You have to press the stylus down a little bit hard for the pad to recognize your strokes.

You can see that it’s already deforming from writing this entry using WritePad (an app that I may or may not review later.)

Someone in their garage invention lab needs to create a substance that is capacitative, soft enough not to damage the screen, and yet durable enough to withstand constant use. Until then, we have to make due with squishy foam. (Or in the case of a different brand, a brush- like tip. I don’t find that a viable alternative for writing.)

It’s also too thin. Your hand may get cramped writing with it for any period of time. But since it was originally made for the iphone, portability was important. Portability isn’t such a big deal for me, so I want something that’s thick like a pen.

I think if they made replacement foam tips, I would be more inclined to recommend this stylus. But since there isn’t, I’d say skip this altogether. For as much as this costs, it should last more than a few days. As of right now, it’s a total waste of money. Wait for something better or just save your money altogether and use your finger.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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