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Input Devices Handhelds Portables

'Gorilla Arm' Will Keep Touch Screens From Taking Over 610

Posted by Soulskill
from the 2013-is-the-year-human-civilization-becomes-lopsided dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "With Windows 8, Microsoft has made a billion-dollar gamble that personal computing is taking a new direction and that new direction is touch, says David Pogue. It's efficient on a touchscreen tablet. But Microsoft expects us to run Windows 8 on our tens of millions of everyday PCs. Although touch has been incredibly successful on our phones, tablets, airport kiosks and cash machines, Pogue says touch will never take over on PCs. The reason? Gorilla Arms. There are three big differences between tablet screens and a PC's screen: angle, distance and time interval. The problem is 'the tingling ache that [comes] from extending my right arm to manipulate that screen for hours, an affliction that has earned the nickname of gorilla arm.' Some experts say gorilla arm is what killed touch computing during its first wave in the early 1980s but Microsoft is betting that Windows 8 will be so attractive that we won't mind touching our PC screens, at least until the PC concept fades away entirely. 'My belief is that touch screens make sense on mobile computers but not on stationary ones,' concludes Pogue. 'Microsoft is making a gigantic bet that I'm wrong.'"
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'Gorilla Arm' Will Keep Touch Screens From Taking Over

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  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:23AM (#42494797) Homepage Journal

    It doesn't need assistance from physiology. ;-)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:02AM (#42495009)

      It doesn't need assistance from physiology.

      True.

      In fact, the un-discussed truth is that the interface was designed specifically around the physiology of Monkeyboy Ballmer, so gorilla arms are a feature, not a bug.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        Two observations: 1, W8 won't fly. 2, "gorilla arm" is something wimps and pussies fear. Know anyone in home construction? They not only have their arms in front of them eight hours a day, but those arms are holding heavy tools.

        It isn't the physical discomfort, it's the inconvinience. Moving your hand from the mouse to the keyboard is bad enough, but reaching past the keyboard to the screen (which your arm now partly blocks) is worse. It's a really,k really stupid concept for a PC. If a device has a mouse a

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Not quite a fair comparison. In construction, you hold tools (often braced) in a wide variety of postures, with considerable rest periods (and I'm not taking a jab at lazy contractors) – whether in the form of actual rest, or simply as a result of transitional postures and tool exchanges. I've done a fair chunk of construction, and while you're absolutely correct that it involves a lot of arm work, it's a different beast entirely from just holding your arms out in front of you for an extended period o
    • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:08AM (#42495041) Homepage

      Microsoft simply has no idea what its customers want or need. Worse, they keep adapting what they have instead of building something entirely new. Please spare me the nonsense that one or another version of Windows was completely re-written from scratch. That's bullshit and we all know it. Even if it was re-written from scratch, it still does everything the same way it has for quite a long time with loads and loads of backward compatibility mucking things up and slowing things down.

      And Microsoft still thinks it all about the user interface? Bright colors and all that? The problems are so complex it would be impossible for anyone to list them all here. But the failings are many but perhaps just a few in category: Trust, (perception of) Stability, Security, (broken new tech) Standards compliance, Exclusion of other devices and software, User Interface, Is unaware of customer needs. There could probably be a few other broad categories, but it's not hard to think of examples for each of the ones I thought of on the fly.

      This is more than Microsoft can address with the new release of any one product. They are at a point at which they need to re-invent themselves. In my opinion, the only thing they have consistently done right is XBox but they keep making that slightly worse over time as they are making it all look, feel and act like Windows 8 as well. And surprise-surprise! They made an Android app to work with XBox Live! Crazy right?

      It's past time for Microsoft to start over. They definitely need to dump Win32 and all that. Do it right instead of piling on thing after thing after thing for decades. Start with a hypervisor and build your new platform there and let things intermingle with Windows 7 running in another VM. DUMP DRIVE LETTERS for god's sake. Multiple file system roots is ridiculous and stupid. And please. No More backslashes!! We know why you did it. It wasn't good then and it's bad now. And it's not because I'm a Linux user I say this, it's because I support Windows all day long and I can NEVER get people to understand the difference between a backslash and a slash! And these people have been using their computers for decades. It's a failure. So when you make things all new again, don't forget to go to slashes.

      Well there I go... ranting. Microsoft is simply failing and everyone else is excited about and using other things. They just don't know how to re-invest their billions and billions of dollars into themselves any longer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I always have to tell them the "key above Enter."

        Many people's IQ drop 50 points when faced with Windows authentication dialogs.

      • It seems to me, and many others, that Microsoft has an internal policy of deliberately making bad versions of Windows to increase sales. Look at the background of bad versions: Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows 8.

        A company that has a virtual monopoly can make money by deliberately abusing its customers. That's especially true when a product is complicated and customers don't have the time to become technically knowledgeable.

        Many people who buy a Windows computer now will want to buy Windows 9 when it is released because Windows 8 is so weird. That tends to double sales, because customers don't pay an upgrade price, Microsoft requires them to pay for an entirely new operating system, even though there have been few changes between versions. Also, Microsoft has established multiple prices. Customers who bought Windows 7 because they didn't like Windows Vista paid far more per copy than computer manufacturers.

        It seems that abuse is deliberate Microsoft company policy. Yes, Microsoft management is incompetent, but also knowingly destructive. For example, a court case established that a Microsoft manager had said before Windows Vista was released that it was not ready to be released. Knowing that, Vista was released anyway.

        Microsoft has been alternating bad and good versions of operating systems since the days of DOS. For example, DOS version 3.0 had serious bugs. DOS version 3.1 fixed the bugs. Customers who owned DOS 3 were required to pay the full retail price for DOS 3.1, even though there were few changes.
        • by Javagator (679604) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:23PM (#42496401)
          Microsoft has an internal policy of deliberately making bad versions of Windows to increase sales

          You make it sound like Windows 8 is a stroke of marketing genius instead of a case of user interface design stupidity. I’ll put my money on stupidity.

        • by bluescrn (2120492) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @03:53PM (#42497605)
          Win8 is a very different beast. The media has written it off as a simple UI design failure, a clumsy effort to support touchscreens/tablets. But it's not about that at all. Win8 is all about the closure of Windows, and turning at least the consumer versions of the OS into a locked-down signed-code-only, app-store-only, desktop-less closed platform.

          To Microsoft, Win8 isn't broken. It's just a difficult step on the path from to 'Closed Windows'
      • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:56AM (#42495359)

        Microsoft simply has no idea what its customers want or need.

        I don't think this is true. I think MS has heard plenty of what customers want or need. I don't think they care in the case of Windows 8. Many here think that MS is completely inept but I think MS has a strategy. The way I see it most consumers don't upgrade Windows until they replace their PCs. A few of them actually purchase a new OS but I don't think most consumers really do that.

        What is plaguing MS and the computer industry these days is that people simply are not replacing their PCs as often as did in the past. Part of the cause is that their older PCs work fine for most tasks; upgrading new hardware is not going to give most people a noticeable boost when they are surfing the internet. Part of the cause is that smart phones and tablets are starting to supplement a consumer's need for computing. Since most consumers really need basic functionality like Facebook, email, etc, most are turning to more mobile devices to supplement what they have already. I think MS understands this trend; the problem is that their competitors had products in the market for this need while MS fumbled around for years on their lackluster offerings.

        So realizing that they would be very late to the game when it came to changing their mobile devices, my contention is that MS isn't incompetent; they are just being evil. They know that if they had designed a new separate mobile OS (like iOS or Android), they could not have competed. They do offer some differentiation but like their Zune product (and their WP7), it may not translate to wide adoption. So rather than have their tablet/mobile UI compete on its own merits, they decided that they will force the new UI on consumers so they will have no choice. Later when these consumers buy tablets, they will already be familiar with Metro/Modern.

      • by ByteSlicer (735276) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:57AM (#42495371)

        It's past time for Microsoft to start over. They definitely need to dump Win32 and all that. Do it right instead of piling on thing after thing after thing for decades.

        The only problem is that "Win32 and all that" is exactly what keeps people at using Ms Windows. It's less now for ordinary people because they spend most time on the web playing flash games and on Facebook. But at work they still need to be able to run their Win32 software.

        • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @11:14AM (#42495483) Homepage Journal

          So run that shit in a virtual machine. FFS, the real operating system doesn't have to be compromised by decades old libraries and executables that are full of exploits.

          • In which case the viruses/trojans will just infect the VM. Sure, the "real" OS wasn't compromised, but the bad guys still got your credit card numbers, private pictures, bitcoin wallets and whatnot, and loaded your VM up with ads, porn and toolbars.

            So long as the Win32 apps need access to the user's data, that data is not secure.

            And VMs have been compromised in the past to allow root access to the host system (even through bugs in the *hardware* hypervisor).

    • by nospam007 (722110) * on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:10PM (#42496321)

      "It doesn't need assistance from physiology. ;-)"

      Indeed. Also, over 30 years now am I fighting with my human arms to hit people's arms away from my monitor who want to touch my screen to 'show me' what they mean with their fatty fingers.

      I don't want somebody to touch my PC screen and I'm sure not touching it myself.
      Cleaning those damn tablets 20 times a day is bothersome enough.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228)

      This is what is blowing my fucking mind...you have PC sales down 13% over the same 4th quarter year before last, even though the economy was worse which clearly indicates the reason that sales are plummeting is Win 8 is a DO NOT WANT. I can tell you as a little shop owner I've had people calling me up going "I don't like that funky new Windows, can you sell me a (insert desktop/laptop) with the old Windows?" so its even worse than Vista on the bomb scale. Then you have the Surface, which they spent over a b

      • you have PC sales down 13% over the same 4th quarter year before last, even though the economy was worse which clearly indicates the reason that sales are plummeting is Win 8 is a DO NOT WANT.

        PC sales may be down, but pinning it on Windows 8 is wrong. Let's take a look at what NPD has to say [npd.com] about holiday sales of consumer electronics:

        +Overall sales declined 7 percent
        +Windows notebook holiday unit sales dropped 11 percent
        +Notebook computers and flat-panel TVs both exceeded $2 billion in total dollars sales, while no other single segment accounted for over $1 billion in revenue.
        +Sales of Windows notebooks under $500 fell by 16 percent while notebooks priced above $500 increased 4 percent.
        +

  • Pain (Score:5, Informative)

    by ravenswood1000 (543817) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:25AM (#42494811)
    It hurts like hell to use a touch screen for hours.
    • Re:Pain (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr0bvious (968303) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:37AM (#42494867)

      Why must we consider our input devices to be mutually exclusive? We didn't ditch the keyboard with the introduction of the mouse...

      On the desktop I can see a touch screen complimenting my current setup - it won't replace my keyboard and mouse any time soon but I would certainly get some use along side them.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        Why do we consider the monitor vertical to be the only way to position a monitor?

        You have a keyboard and mouse pad, lying on your desk. why not a second monitor as well?

        MSFT surface tables could easily be integrated into many businesses.

        Can you imagine an architect you can lay out blueprints on a large drafting table monitor? Where many people can stand around it?
        While windows 8 is a mistake from user interface, it is only because it takes away choice. a simple service pack could easily fix those issues.

        • by Mr0bvious (968303)

          Indeed - that's pretty much exactly how I'd like it.

          On the desktop it's more of an input device than a display - the display part just makes it oh so much nicer.

        • Re:Pain (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jkrise (535370) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:54AM (#42494963) Journal

          While windows 8 is a mistake from user interface, it is only because it takes away choice. a simple service pack could easily fix those issues.

          The correct approach would've been to make the Metro as an option; not a compulsory interface. A simple Service Pack will not fix the issues which MS has created.

          MS created Bob, was it cured / rectified with a Service Pack?

          MS imposed the 'ribbon' interface on Office users; many cringed and complained; but had to bite the bullet and be less productive.

          If users are FORCED to use the Metro shit, and Developers build apps that are ONLY Metro enabled, then how can a Service Pack cure that ailment? In many situations, such as typing a post on Slashdot, the on-screen touch keyboard is no substitute for the real $1 thing that is attached to the PC. So the problem is too big and profound to be cured by a Service Pack. And seeing as Ballmer is stubborn in imposing this silliness and cutting off traditional interfaces; this will be the end of Windows totally in many situations.

          Nobody is interested in making the hardware for Linux devices, but Google's Chrome-books are already making a big impact. The iPad and Android tablets have taken over the higher and lower ends of the touch based tablets market. MS has been driven out of the touch paradigm, and making it compulsory on the desktop will kill the desktop rather than create motivation for developers to build for the new interface that nobody wants on a desktop.

          • by peragrin (659227)

            I actually like the ribbon. Basically all it is, is a pictorial, long text menu. The dialog boxes it brings up are the exact same ones found from the menus. If you weren't a power user(like 95% of Office users) you could find features faster with the ribbon.

            Metro on the other hand works poorly,(try installing an old game where they put 12 shortcuts for everything in their menu). touch is an important part of all future interfaces. However Metro isn't user friendly.

            • Re:Pain (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Electricity Likes Me (1098643) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:13AM (#42495081)

              No you can't.

              Ribbon takes a layout which can fit a wide range of tools, and shrinks the total usable space, in the interest of - for some mysterious reason - drawing attention to the most common set of features which everyone uses, despite the fact that everyone already used them.

              It does this at the cost of being able to keep multiple features on screen at once - with Ribbon I can't have styling and fonts, drawing, and reviewing all on screen at the same time whereas in Office 2003 I could and it worked perfectly well.

              Instead with Ribbon I have to click between multiple tabs to reach the same features, all for the benefit of making - again - features I already knew existed and could easily access, bigger and more prominent.

              This is a user-interface revamp so big you can make money selling products that give the old functionality back.

              How does data showing the rates of use for various features winds up with the conclusion that you should less commonly used features even harder to access I will never know. Why not just delete them from your damn product if you think they're that unimportant? What they managed to do instead was sit down and say "I think our business users are not the core demographic which does productive work".

              • Re:Pain (Score:4, Insightful)

                by gbjbaanb (229885) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @11:07AM (#42495437)

                How does data showing the rates of use for various features winds up with the conclusion that you should less commonly used features even harder to access I will never know.

                I agree - to show how useless the statistics are, consider the huge paste button, and the smaller cut and copy ones. Why is Paste so much bigger? Its because the statistics show that paste is used twice as often as copy, and twice as often as cut. Therefore its twice as important.....

                I also hate that the Print button is hidden away off the ribbon, its a poorly designed interface. However, consider the bright spot in all this - Microsoft can change it, and then sell you another new version of Office! Another win for Microsoft...

              • Re:Pain (Score:5, Informative)

                by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @12:01PM (#42495799)

                Ribbon takes a layout which can fit a wide range of tools, and shrinks the total usable space, in the interest of - for some mysterious reason - drawing attention to the most common set of features which everyone uses, despite the fact that everyone already used them.

                No, the purpose of the ribbon is to bring more functionality to within 2 clicks. The number of features that are up front and visible to the user is drastically increased from Office 2003. I've had people tell me they like the new features in Word 2007 like bibliographies, various layout tools, footnotes, captions, etc. Those features have been in Word for a long time, but buried in menus. The quality of documents I've seen over the years has increased as a result.

                It does this at the cost of being able to keep multiple features on screen at once - with Ribbon I can't have styling and fonts, drawing, and reviewing all on screen at the same time whereas in Office 2003 I could and it worked perfectly well.

                You can do this in the ribbon as well. Either pin your favorite functions to the quick launch menu or make your own custom ribbon.

                How does data showing the rates of use for various features winds up with the conclusion that you should less commonly used features even harder to access I will never know.

                What features exactly are harder to access?

          • Re:Pain (Score:5, Funny)

            by jd2112 (1535857) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @11:17AM (#42495499)

            MS created Bob, was it cured / rectified with a Service Pack?

            Bob was killed outright, and as punishment the project lead ended up marrying Bill Gates.

        • Why do we consider the monitor vertical to be the only way to position a monitor?

          You'd need a much bigger desk to mount it horizontally.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          because staring down at the desk is likely to cause strain to your neck.

        • Re:Pain (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dindi (78034) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:36AM (#42495213) Homepage

          "Why do we consider the monitor vertical to be the only way to position a monitor?"

          Because while sitting at a desk it is extremely not ergonomic to be staring down to your keyboard or anything flat on your desk. That is why your monitors (should be) eye level, vertical and facing you.

          Also that is why laptops are commonly complemented with external screens (also screen real estate), stands (so they cool better and they get into your eye-level zone) and external devices ( because a lot of laptops come with a crappy keyboard and a tiny touch pad - well, not MacBooks, but still I am typing on one with an external keyboard, 1080p screen and a touchpad )..

          Tablets are great when you are on your sofa, lying down on the grass in the garden or in the hammock. Hey, even the toilet or the bus. As soon as you have to type long mail or document or write code: you are screwed with a virtual keyboard.

        • Because of my neck (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @11:50AM (#42495729)

          We have the monitor sitting where it does because it is easy and non-stressful to look at. You keep your neck in a neutral position and can see what you are doing. Your mouse and keyboard are then on the desk for the same reason with regards to your hands. If I move the monitor down to the desk, I'll suffer from neck and back pain in a hurry, because I'll be working hunched over.

          Also, if you make your input and output device the same device, then you have the problem that your hands are blocking a large part of your output device. My keyboard is pretty large and my hands block off most of it from view when I type. Why would I want to do that with a display?

          You could have two displays, but then the question is again why. Keyboards are mice offer excellent tactile feedback because they are physical devices. I can touch type at 80wpm+ on a physical keyboard, literally with my eyes closed. I can't come anywhere near that on a touchscreen.

          Touchscreens are useful only in some situations, mainly where you have a limited amount of space and as such your display and input devices need to be the same. There is just no reason to want them on the desktop. They are more expensive, and less usable, than what we already have.

          I think people forget that touchscreens are NOT new. They've been around for a long time, yet there's been no interest in bringing them to desktop computing on a large scale. There are plenty of reasons for it, ergonomics top among them.

      • Why must we consider our input devices to be mutually exclusive?

        1) UX fairies and their lame-ass cult of aesthetic simplicity.
        2) cost

        On the desktop I can see a touch screen complimenting my current setup

        Hey, I just love that wallpaper!

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      No it doesnt. not if you have it placed right. Let me guess you are doing something dumb like putting it up on a Desk like a TV screen. Mine is on the desk laying there like a piece of paper.

      Wacom Cintiq and DTU's are standard tools for graphic artists and CAD people who use them for hours on end every single day. And have been doing so for the last 5 years now.

  • by fnj (64210) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:29AM (#42494833)

    So what large vertical desktop displays even have touch screens? Sounds like they are talking about hardware that shows absolutely no sign of happening.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Mine. 32" Touhcscreen. I have 2 of them on my desktop.

    • by dindi (78034)

      The disgusting ones with the fingerprints, food, boogers and what not.... Took me some time to accept that laptop screens (if you really carry them) get dirty, dusty, sometimes scratched and what not. Then it was even harder to digest that unless I am constantly cleaning my iPad screen it will have smudges that have all kinds of funky colours in sunlight....

      I have zero tolerance for dirty screens. In fact when working at an office I often end up with a sign on the top of my monitors : "Look! Please don't

  • by Naatach (574111) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:29AM (#42494837)
    Since you're on Slashdot, like me, you have no life and you probably eat lunch sitting at your desk with crap on your hands. I have no need to smear all that over my monitor. With tablets and phones, it's ok because you can grab a corner of your shirt and clean it off. I'm not going to flash my monitor to wipe off my burger grease.
  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:34AM (#42494853) Journal
    I use my iPad regularly for work, for extended periods of time sometimes. As an extremely portable platform, it isn't all that bad for typing larger amounts of text, though it is not ideal. I've tried using it as a mini laptop by standing it upright and using a Bluetooth keyboard. That's the setup that Microsoft envision, apparently. And you know what? Turns out the thing that I've been missing most on my iPad when using it standalone for typing/drawing isn't a keyboard. It's a mouse, or at least a trackpad. A mouse offers precision and speed; no click and hold necessary since a mouse has buttons. A touchscreen is more useful on other cases perhaps, but or a lot of common tasks it can't beat a mouse.
  • Just like the mouse didn't replace the keyboard, touch input isn't going to replace the mouse, but rather augment it. There are things that a mouse is much better suited for, and therefore it won't go away. But in a couple years, all new computers will have touch capability. Smart people will use touch when it makes sense. Some people will forgo the mouse completely. Some people won't use the touch at all. But it will be there.
    • The problem would be that windows 8 makes the touch interface a default from what I see. So touch interface that allows for mouse and keyboard?

      And yes I know it's not that bad, but I do think the default for a desktop pc is wrong.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Except that Windows 8 has largely broken the existing interface.

      I just bought a Windows 8 laptop without a touchscreen. Regardless of what the mindless hoards think, I realize that a touchscreen doesn't add to the usability of the computer for the tasks I wish to do. (FYI, I spent almost a decade designing and developing Point-Of-Sale software for touchscreen computers, so I have plenty of experience with them.)

      It took only a few hours to realize that Windows 8 couldn't make up its mind about whether my g

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Eirenarch (1099517)

      This!

      I've been using Windows 8 on a touch enabled ultrabook and I LOVE it. I regularly stretch my arm to my regular desktop monitor and remember that it does not have touch. Of course I do not use only touch. I use keyboard and trackpad but some operations (specifically scrolling and zooming in the browser) are so much easier with touch than they are with the trackpad. Sometimes I even start and close apps with touch. I am not even talking about metro apps (which are mostly useless at this point). I am talk

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:37AM (#42494877)

    I already get irate if someone feels the need to molest my screen with his greasy, grubby paws. Now these imbeciles should have an excuse for it? No way.

    Seriously, that's more a reason to avoid touch screens at all cost more than gorilla arm syndrome could.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:39AM (#42494885) Journal

    Is it like the sweaty Ballmer's Arms? Or would that be Monkey-Arm?

    Why would Ballmer be taking such a big risk to destroy Windows completely? Is he insane, or just way too much over-confident that whatever shit he imposes on his billion-strong user base, they will just lap it up for ever? Why not make 'touch' an option for those who like it, and continue with the Classic keyboard-mouse interface for the rest of the sane computing world?

  • I've used touch screens on stationary devices for ages. Think things like information kiosks, "whiteboard" like situations and similar. Oh wait, you mean personal stationary devices?

    OK, I'm sure that there are many applications for stationary touch screens on 'personal computers'.
    Example: Two designers manipulating something on the screen. There's only one mouse, and sometimes it's easier to just turn things around using a finger or stylus rather than pass the mouse across.
    Example: Sometimes I'm reading so

    • "Nice button you got there, mouse","Thanks. Your esc key is pretty cool".

      Add complement/compliment to brakes/breaks, lose/loose, rein/reign, toe/tow and all the other illiteracies spelling checkers have foisted on us.

  • Windows 8 is also failing because there are not very many touch screens out there. Who wants to upgrade their hardware just to put a new OS on it? Even the hardware that is ONLY AVAILABLE with Windows 8 thanks to Microsoft's illegal and anti-competitive practices often enough does not come with a touch screen.
  • by djl4570 (801529) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:45AM (#42494919) Journal
    The biggest problem I have with my Galaxy Tab is sites that rely on mouse over messages and mouse over drop down menus. Since there is no mouse cursor, I can't activate the message or drop down. nfl.com is a good example of this. You can navigate to "scores" easily but getting to "standings" is problematic. All of the sites that rely on a mouse cursor or Flash can be rebuilt to support tablets but I'm not sure this is an improvement.
    The lack of mouse over messages is a problem with icons as well. If I don't know what an ambiguous icon does, the only way to find out is to poke the icon or wade through documentation.
  • by paiute (550198) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:47AM (#42494927)
    Do the decision makers at Microsoft not have any rotator cuffs? Because just the thought of reaching out to touch a desktop monitor all day makes mine start to ache.
  • Simple solution... (Score:4, Informative)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:55AM (#42494967) Journal

    Touch screens and light pens suck on a vertical surface. Mount the display on about a 30 degree slope, like a sheet of paper on a drafting table, and the gorilla arm problem goes away.

    I like my iPad, and the iPad mini has its place, but I really want to see iOS devices that are far larger, like standard B, C, and D sheets.

    -jcr

  • I'm fairly certain touch will become a stock feature on any display once the cost of adding it has become marginal. That does not mean it will be the only input source, or even the main input source. It does not need to be as long as it does not cost (much) more to have a touch-enabled screen - which it won't once the feature is embedded in the actual display panel/controller combination.

  • by Joshua Fan (1733100) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:00AM (#42494999) Homepage
    Stop propagating the myth Steve Jobs started that few people bother to test first hand.

    Here's some articles from people who actually USED Windows 8:

    Surprisingly, touchscreen laptops don't suck [theverge.com]

    Touchscreens and the Myth of Windows 8 ‘Gorilla Arm’ [time.com]
  • Microsoft could probably care less if touch doesn't take off. It's Kinect that they want to flourish. Why smear across the screen when you can switch between apps with the wave of an arm

  • what killed touch computing during its first wave in the early 1980s

    The PC era stuff they're talking about is At Least the third wave.

    The first wave was in the 60s/70s very fuzzy was not there to see it.

    The second wave was around 1980 in the pre-PC era. Basically, light pens. The end user need not be informed nor know the difference nor need the UI be modified to "touch" vs light pen.

    Having lived thru it, there were three classes of light pens around 1980. One was exotic mhz class light sensors that "watched" the phosphor and the video waveforms, and correlated them toge

  • The fact that Microsoft missed something this *basic* doesn't exactly bode well for the future of the company. HUMANS matter. Machines don't.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:11AM (#42495071) Homepage

    Vertical desktop touch screens have been with us since at least 1972. The University of Illinois' PLATO project didn't just deploy them on a significant scale, it exposed impressionable students to them.

    Since then, many perfectly good touchscreen technologies have been available, commercially, and have been widely deployed e.g. in kiosks. And GUI software support behind them, e.g. Windows for Pen Computing, GO, etc. has been around for two decades.

    Meanwhile, successful deployments of touchscreen technology have been widespread since, let's say, 1997 and the Palm Pilot--but always on small, handheld, horizontal-screen devices.

    If large vertical touchscreens are really usable for sustained periods of time, and if they really add something of substantial value to mouse point-and-click GUI's, I find it very, very hard to believe they wouldn't have already gained traction.

    I'd add that if multitouch gestures are really a significant improvement, I think it's at least as likely that they will take the form of detached, horizontal trackpads like the Apple Magic Trackpad. Horizontal surface, small-muscle coordination.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:17AM (#42495101) Homepage Journal

      If large vertical touchscreens are really usable for sustained periods of time, and if they really add something of substantial value to mouse point-and-click GUI's, I find it very, very hard to believe they wouldn't have already gained traction.

      all you need to know is that large touch overlays can easily be more expensive than the display itself, at least as an add-on product. even if they have substantial utility, people won't buy it if it costs too much. Indeed, they do have substantial utility, but the cost benefit ratio is shit compared to a three dollar mouse.

  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:14AM (#42495087)
    It's called using a 'mouse' and 'keyboard'. I touch both of them and the way I touch and move them controls what is on the screen. I need to use the screen on my tablet and phone because I'm not at my desk. What works well on the desktop doesn't work on the phone, it needed different input techniques. That doesn't mean those techniques work well on the desktop.

    Now .. would I like a touch screen on my desktop? A little, most mouse-type devices are limited in movement to do things like rotate, although with the appropriate software it's possible, just not as intuitive. Most of screen manipulation is simply clicking, double/long clicking, or moving and mice cal already do that. They can also be used to zoom and swipe with the appropriate software. You can't right click a touch screen, although long clicking kinda sorta is the same thing I guess. Definitely can't middle click. It would be handy for media manipulation at times. But how is that going to work on my 72" HDTV??? I need the capability for both to use when I need to.

    And explain to me why you decided that bigger icons on my desktop were a good idea, especially since most of the time I have these things you call 'windows' up and can't really see any of them when they are active so what's the purpose?? I have dual monitors, and most of the time I have windows open on both and most of my desktop is hidden. I'm doing this thing called 'work'. The little pop-up notifications that pop-up then fade away work just fine and are much more useful.

    Windows 8 is not on my list of upgrades. If you want me to upgrade, give me something that is a reason to upgrade, like runs faster. I don't care about boot or standby times, my PC is on 24x7 and I rarely reboot. In fact, the only time I reboot is when you need to install updates because you haven't figured out how to do that without rebooting, like UNIX has done for decades you idiots.
  • Anyone who spends that much time with their tablet probably already has a 'Gorilla Arm'. At least one.

  • by westlake (615356) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:22AM (#42495137)
    Mount the screen at an angle. Recess it. Problem solved. Dell S2340T 23" Multi-Touch Monitor [dell.com]
  • by belgianguy (1954708) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:24AM (#42495143)
    Fatigue: it costs more energy to move your whole arm and body to touch a screen than it takes to move a mouse pointer. That's what the article covers.
    Obfuscation: Where the mouse pointer does cover 'some' pixels on the screen, a finger, and its attached hand and arm will obfuscate a much larger part of the view, which requires the user to remember what was under his finger before touching it. If this happens too often or a UI changes rapidly (eg a web site), this could lead to frustrations. Especially with subjects like the elderly.
    Precision: You lose precision, even with a perfectly healthy human being, a fingerprint has a bigger surface than a pixel-perfect pointer, therefor your UI needs to be a lot more spacious to allow for users to "aim" correctly and allow for some correctional margin. If the UI design did not take this into account, this too can lead to frustration (mis-touching).

    Windows 8 is a half-assed execution of some good ideas, the signature Microsoft symptom since Ballmer took over.

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