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Hardware

Two-Fisted Computing 236

Posted by michael
from the kudos-to-submitter-for-spelling-complement-correctly dept.
whiterat writes "3Dconnexion is selling a variety of input devices that provide a left-hand complement to the traditional computer mouse. The devices control the position of on-screen objects in design programs such as Adobe Systems' Photoshop and its 3D modeling application, Maya. That enables designers to work without constantly togging between 'view' and 'create' modes." Smash TV veterans need no extra training.
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Two-Fisted Computing

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  • by adzoox (615327) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:05PM (#8687044) Journal
    http://www.3dconnexion.com/spacetraveler.htm

    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/powermat e/

    Interesting - looks like there my be a patent infringement in the works here. The Griffin PowerMate is a super useful product for video and time code manipulation.

  • I'm left handed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:10PM (#8687076)
    I'm a lefty and have to say this doesn't affect me because I'm so accustomed to using the mouse on the right side. Although this is a nice development, there is no way I'm going to give up the ability to use stylus with a digitizing tablet while at the same time using the mouse. Maybe right-handed people can make use of this.
  • Err... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xenographic (557057) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:14PM (#8687092) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about others, by my left hand rests on the keyboard.

    What I wish is that there was a one-handed keyboard so I could type with one hand and mouse with the other.

    Traversing back & forth between using the keyboard and the mouse causes noticable slowdown when you use the computer all day.

    Maybe that's why I like CLIs so much? *shrug*

    Don't get me wrong, I use GUIs all the time, too, but you can't type in data with a mouse... (at least, not with any program I have)
  • i guess this has to be asked... i use autocad and photoshop quite a bit. in photoshop, you have to constantly swtich to a zoom mode to move around the image you're working on. same in illustrator, pagemaker, etc, etc. in autocad, same deal, except your left (other) hand can use keyboard commands since there is a command line. anyways...

    why hasn't someone written a driver which lets you use a second mouse/trackball as a "view" device. for example, in autocad, it'd have the same functionality as the main mouse, but would be dedicated to view commands.
  • Re:Err... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluGill (862) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:27PM (#8687161)

    First of all, have you sat with a stopwatch and timed yourself, or does the mouse just feel slower? When TOG created the mac he did that, and discovered many tasks where the CLI felt faster, but by the stopwatch the mouse was. This includes time switching back and forth between the keyboard and mouse! Note that this is a more limited statement than most mac users think, the mouse is not a perfect input device. Nobody normal person writes a novel with only the mouse.

    As for data, when you are working with graphics the mouse is often the best tool for entering it.

  • Re:Pointless (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BigDumbSpaceApe (749732) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:28PM (#8687167) Journal
    Yeah I don't see this having alot of use outside of graphic art and CAD really soon. I mean, as a programmer, i already use my left hand quite a bit for hot keys (though it might be able to get more out of it with a better input device.)

    Maybe this will catch on if and when stuff like 3D desktops and Project Looking Glass [sun.com] become more mature.

  • by DenialS (21305) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:30PM (#8687175) Homepage Journal
    I'm a righty, but I switched to a left-handed mouse about five years ago after a one-week motorcycle trip around the Great Lakes (intense vibration) followed by a one-week click-fest through the original Fallout RPG.

    Because I make my living as a computer geek, I was surprised and dismayed to find just how messed up my right wrist was after that boneheaded combination of events. I tentatively switched over to using the mouse left-handed, meaning to do it temporarily, but discovered that within a week I was pretty comfortable, and within two weeks I had fully adjusted.

    Five years later I'm still using it left-handed, which seems to mess up both righties and lefties when they try to use my workstation. I used to use xwrits [lcdf.org] to remind me to take regular mouse breaks so I don't (&%# up this wrist too, but I've been bad lately.

    I've thought about a two-mouse system, but editing code and writing tech docs really lends itself to a keyboard. If I was an artist maybe a two-mouse system would let me switch brushes and colours midstroke, but I'm no artist. Just a recently minted ambidextrous person. I suppose if I were in Russia, I could say that the mouse manipulated ME...
  • by minnkota (576497) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:45PM (#8687237)
    The "new" SpaceTraveler knob reminds me of the "dials and buttons" that SGI (Silicon Graphics Inc) used to sell with their workstations years ago:
    http://www.rrzn.uni-hannover.de/Grafik/sgi/onyx/di als-and-buttons.jpg [uni-hannover.de]

    Basiclly two panels... one covered with programmable buttons, the other with programable knobs. These, plus a SpaceBall, and you really didn't need to spent much time using the keyboard. I see that Magellan/Logitech still sells Spaceballs--they're sure neat, especially when using an app that supports two-handed modeling... one hand "holds" and moves the 3D model (usually in wireframe mode) with the 3D spaceball, while the other hand uses the mouse to work on the wireframe itself.
  • My idea.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iantri (687643) <iantri@gmx . n et> on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:53PM (#8687266) Homepage
    Now this could be an incredibly bad idea in practice, but I've always kind of had an interesting idea regarding mice.

    I'd like to be able to have two mice, two pointers, on the screen at the same time. Say you're working in Photoshop. It's a pain to have to go to the left-hand side to switch tools. What if you could select tools with the left-hand mouse and paint/select with the right-hand mouse? (This is different from what they are doing in that I would like two seperate, fully functioning mice and cursors.)

    It ain't possible in Windows.. is anything like this doable with X under Linux?

    I don't know, it could turn out to be a terrible idea in practice (end up something like trying to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time), but I think it would be neat to try..

  • Well, being a left-hander, I do things a bit differently. I was raised with the mouse in the right hand, and that's the only way I can use it (I feel wierd using a left-handed mouse). Several years ago I got a Wacom tablet, which is a natural fit for my left hand. So now I find myself always having the mouse in the right hand, and the Wacom pen in the left, dropping both to use the keyboard, of course. It's so natural, everything flows. Mouse scroll-wheel to go through web pages, pen to quickly click on things or get down to business in Photoshop. Not sure about this new approach, I'll probably stick to what I've got. Maybe it's different for all you right-handed freaks out there. heh heh

  • by dookie (136297) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:07AM (#8687324)
    Yes I know it's a filthy habit but substitute coffee/jolt/coke with a cigarette and that's what my left hand is being used for while doing any animation and/or general computing.
  • by randall_burns (108052) <randall_burns.hotmail@com> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:30AM (#8687391)
    It shouldn't be that hard to digitize every possible movement of the human hand is capable of -and provide reasonable tactile feedback(say vibration). That would open a lot of gaming and teleoperation potential if it were mass marketed.

    I'm amazed it is taking so long to get there.
  • by zachlipton (448206) <[zach] [at] [zachlipton.com]> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:32AM (#8687406)
    (note: I have no association with Contour Designs, just a love for their products)

    This is nothing particularly new. I've been using a Contour Designs ShuttlePro [contouravs.com] for years now with my left hand. It's a Jog/Shuttle controller, which you can of course use for video editing, but it's completely programmable for any other use, so I've configured it for back/forward buttons when in Mozilla, delete/compose/send/reply buttons in my mail client, scroll up/down in most applications (it's far easier on the hand then a wheel mouse), etc...

    It's well worth checking out, especially because of their great programmable software which lets you do just about anything from the controller. It takes a little getting used to, but worth it in the amount of time it saves.

  • by killthiskid (197397) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:59AM (#8687494) Homepage Journal

    Ya know, you bring up an interesting point, something that I've really notice in myself in the past year of so: I want to be a keyboard commander.

    I look for the key board short cuts for EVERYTHING I do on a regular basis. Anything I can do with out taking my hands off the keyboard is a a moment saved, and when you're moving at the speed of thought... well, that's a good thing.

    Examples: Using firefox. I used to instinctively reach for the mouse when I wanted to click a link... now I find myself just typeing the text of link in, and Firefox goes to it. Killer.

    Co workers: I design and make online applications for my coworkers, and I KILLS me when they go the a form, type something in, and then remove their hands from their keyboard to click the submit button. I'm always going, 'hey, you don't have to do that, JUST HIT ENTER!'.' Ack.

    Programming. I've gotten to the point where when I edit, compile, deploy code, I can do it all with out using the mouse. I just avoid it. I went so far as to install a macro program that will execute commands that are not available in a given program. I can bounce around text code with the keyboard faster with the keyboard that I ever could with a mouse.

    I even had a conversation with a lady neighbor friend who works with H&R block that does taxes... her comment was that she does a lot of clicking... and I was like, well, don't hey have shortcuts? A couple of days later, she mentioned to me that she started paying attention to that, and now she can do stuff a lot faster becuase she doesn't have to shift to the mouse as much any more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @01:02AM (#8687511)
    I had an old marble trackball [businessweek.com] which you can plug on the serial port using a ps2->9 pin adapter. You can then easily write some code to read the data [mit.edu] sent by the mouse to plug in your own application (VTK in my case). I showed the result to quite a few people, all of which had no problem adjusting to the input. for my application (rotating volumes) 2 DOF is enough. Now, this worked because the marble has a symmetric shape and the old one was a serial mouse. I guess using a driver based on directinput you can handle any type of mouse but I couldn't find python bindings to directinput... for a crossplateform solution, maybe SDL? Anyway, I chose a lowlevel approach and even written in python on my old trusted P3 650 it was plenty fast... Sorry about the code being all messed-up, this is slashdot for you :-) Posting anonymously to avoid being kneecaped by the python mafia ;-)
    import serial

    def init(timeout=0.5):
    ser = serial.Serial(0) #open first serial port
    ser.baudrate = 1200
    ser.bytesize = serial.SEVENBITS
    ser.parity=serial.PARITY_NONE
    ser.stopbits = serial.STOPBITS_ONE
    ser.timeout=timeout
    ser.xonxoff=0
    ser.rtscts=0
    ser.open()
    g=ser.read(30)

    return ser

    def tobin(val):
    retret=[]
    for c in val:
    value=ord(c)
    ret=[]
    for i in range(8):
    a=pow(2,i)
    ret.append((value & a)>0)
    retret.append(ret)

    return retret

    def read(ser):
    g=ser.read(1)

    if g=='':
    return None

    while ord(g) & 64 == 0:
    g=ser.read(1)

    g=g+ser.read(2)

    if len(g)==3:
    vals=tobin(g)
    l=vals[0][5]
    r=vals[0][4]
    x=vals[0][1]*-128+vals[0][0]*64+vals[1][5]*32+vals [1][4]*16+vals[1][3]*8+vals[1][2]*4+vals[1][1]*2+v als[1][0]
    y=vals[0][3]*-128+vals[0][2]*64+vals[2][5]*32+vals [2][4]*16+vals[2][3]*8+vals[2][2]*4+vals[2][1]*2+v als[2][0]
    #print "L:%d R:%d X:%d Y:%d" % (l,r,x,y)
    return x,y,l,r
    else:
    return None

    def flush(ser):
    ser.flush()

    #ser=init()
    #while 1:
    # read()
  • by dudeX (78272) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @02:33AM (#8687790)
    In 2002, I developed a pinched nerve on my neck that affected my ability to use the mouse with my right hand. I am a natural lefty, so it wasn't too bad to use a right handed mouse on my left hand.
    However, I decided to get a universal mouse (a Microsoft Optical Mouse that is uniformly shaped) and make it a real left handed mouse where the primary button is on the right side. It took me 3 days of using the mouse left handed to train my hand and mind to get used to the form.

    By two weeks, it was natural to use a left handed mouse, and it was a bit confusing to use a right handed mouse with my left hand.

    After several months, I got sick of using my mouse left handed and my pinched nerve healed. I decided to switch back to the right hand for the mouse. It took 3 days to get reaccustomed, and now my left hand feels uncomfortable using a mouse set up for lefties.

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

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