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Eee Is 1st Windows Laptop To Support Multi-Touch

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the still-playing-catch-up dept.

237

An anonymous reader writes "CNET UK has just put up its review of the Asus Eee PC 900 Win running Windows XP and discovered that it's the first Windows machine to support multi-touch, 'Better still, the mouse trackpad supports multi-touch gesture inputs — even in Windows XP. A pinching motion lets you zoom in on images, stretching lets you zoom out, and a two-finger vertical stroking motion allows you to scroll up and down through documents. MacBook Air and iPod touch users have enjoyed this feature for some time, but it's the first we've ever seen it implemented on a Windows laptop.'"

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Where's the patent??? (3, Insightful)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125886)

I have to say I'm surprised this wasn't covered by some sort of patent already, or will tomorrow's Slashdot include the accompanying lawsuit?

I type this from a Macbook, but mine is the cheapest one which didn't get multi-touch :(

Re:Where's the patent??? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23125954)

Why do you assume Apple has the patent on multi-touch?...., which it doesn't!

But good luck to them if they tried to patent the gesture.

ps I am patenting my own gesture to apple for being a ripoff company.

Re:Where's the patent??? (2, Informative)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126002)

grandparent did not speculate on ownership of patents, instead simply remarking that they are surprised there are no patents on it.

IIRC, apple DOES own patents relating to the technology, but a Chinese company owns the actual multi-touch hardware patents.

kindly patent shutting your mouth

Re:Where's the patent??? (1, Flamebait)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126582)

ps I am patenting my own gesture to apple for being a ripoff company.

That's pretty weird, because of all the computer companies out there, Apple is one that comes up with many fresh ideas, rather than only copying others.

Re:Where's the patent??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23125984)

Hey dumbass, macbooks are actually made by Asus, which is also making the Eee. Apple doesn't "own" any laptop factory to speak of.

Re:Where's the patent??? (-1, Flamebait)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126024)

as opposed to you having nothing constructive to speak of?

maybe if you're lucky, the author of http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=527884&cid=23125954 [slashdot.org] will license their newly acquired patent on shutting up to you!

Re:Where's the patent??? (0)

lawnsprinkler (1012271) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126072)

Why don't you establish prior art and shut up yourself?

Re:Where's the patent??? (4, Funny)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126084)

maybe if you're lucky, the author of http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=527884&cid=23125954 [slashdot.org] will license their newly acquired patent on shutting up to you!
Why don't you establish prior art and shut up yourself?

Because that would invalidate the patent, silly.

-:sigma.SB

Re:Where's the patent??? (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126346)

Sheesh... everyone's a lawyer nowadays. ;)

Re:Where's the patent??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126004)

There is too much prior use evidence. For example, do you honestly think that the vertical stroking action when your 'article' is scrolling up and down hasn't been done millions of times before (like in the last hour)?

Re:Where's the patent??? (4, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126028)

The first Multi Touch style demo I ever saw was several years ago from Microsoft.

Re:Where's the patent??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126226)

The first Multi Touch style demo I ever saw was several years ago from Microsoft.
Yes, they seem to be very concentrated on multitouch screens, even if they did not put out any products right now. On a presentation about Win7 they promised amazing and astounding touch support and they are also working on MS Surface. I would not at all be surprised if they expanded their multitouch products and possibilities significantly. As BillG said, "10 fingers is all you need" ;)

Re:Where's the patent??? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126252)

I'll grab a copy of it right after Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:Where's the patent??? (4, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126294)

But, as usual with Microsoft, the really cool functions and innovations continue to be postponed to "the next release".

It is quite sad that a cool and very useful feature demonstrated years ago by the leading software maker (by revenue) in the world, has to be made popular by implementation in a mobile phone by a total newcomer in that market (Apple with the iPhone), followed by implementation by a hardware maker on a low-end, low-cost laptop (the EEE). And it is not that this leading software maker can not get hardware makers to change the hardware standards, thinking of the Windows key that is present on virtually any keyboard now on the market.

Re:Where's the patent??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126332)

I saw a multitouch demo before the iPod's and Microsoft made the table. In fact, if you check TED, I believe the video is on there.

Re:Where's the patent??? (4, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126116)

You can calm down with all the "?"s. Rest assured, if there is a patent, Asus has licensed it. The world won't end.

Anyhow, the most amusing part of the review was the conclusion,

We can't really recommend the Windows version of the Eee PC 900 over its Linux counterpart, primarily because you get nearly twice as much storage space in the Linux version. [...] If you really can't live without XP, then the best course of action is to buy the superior Linux version and install XP yourself.
Strange times, when the Windows people are those that are going to have installation hassles...

Also, it is me or does it seem like Cnet is advocating piracy here? I mean, where do they expect you to get XP from; if you buy it yourself, it makes the Linux Eee 900 + off-the-shelf XP quite expensive. Presumably they don't mean that, so what's left...?

Re:Where's the patent??? (0)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126250)

Wipe the hard drive of your old laptop, use the XP key on the Eee.

Re:Where's the patent??? (2, Informative)

nametaken (610866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126340)

OEM license follows the machine. You're not supposed to do that. :)

Re:Where's the patent??? (3, Interesting)

lixee (863589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126296)

The 20G Xandros Eee seems like a classic case of bait-and-switch to me. A company that couldn't even deliver the 8G is now supposed to sell us 20Gs? I'm not convinced. I smell a deal with MS whereby there is always a severe shortage of Xandros and everyone walking into the store will be forced to get the XP version. And no, I'm not usually a cynic.

Re:Where's the patent??? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126360)

Also, it is me or does it seem like Cnet is advocating piracy here? I mean, where do they expect you to get XP from...
It only seems like Cnet is advocating piracy when you take the quote out of context, which you have. The full statement in the Cnet review was

Of course if you really are set on Windows XP, the obvious suggestion would be to buy the Linux machine, then just install XP yourself - assuming that you have a spare copy of XP knocking about that is.
Nice try though. Why would you even try to misrepresent that situation, anyway?

Re:Where's the patent??? (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126404)

I was quoting from the conclusion. Your quote is from somewhere else in the article, a different page, even.

Re:Where's the patent??? (4, Informative)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126124)

I have to say I'm surprised this wasn't covered by some sort of patent already, or will tomorrow's Slashdot include the accompanying lawsuit?

Despite the usual Apple PR distortions, Apple didn't invent multitouch and multitouch is old technology. At best, Apple may have some patents covering specific implementations, and even those may not be valid. Apple's real contribution with multitouch was to use just a little bit of it and integrate it well, but that's not patentable.

ASUS either figured they're in the clear, or they're willing to fight it. Good for them.

Re:Where's the patent??? (3, Insightful)

grm_wnr (781219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126286)

This is what Apple does a lot - take something reasonably old and obvious, make it look spiffy and actually usable for someone without a CS degree, then sell (and market) it as the Hot New Thing.


Not that there's anything wrong with that. Especially the "making it actually usable" part. There's lots of k3wl shit out there in the FOSS community, but Apple is one of the few companies that actually manages to sell it to your semi-usual consumers, even if they sometimes scale it down a bit and use marketing that causes geeks to flinch in pain.

Re:Where's the patent??? (1, Interesting)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126372)

Especially the "making it actually usable" part.

I think Apple's track record is decidedly mixed; they have committed awful usability blunders in the past. I think on balance, they are no better than FOSS.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm not so sure about that either. Apple's primary business model seems to be to take people's money and spend it on marketing and packaging, while grabbing other people's technologies wherever they can. That seems vaguely parasitic to me...

Re:Where's the patent??? (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126410)

I think Apple's track record is decidedly mixed; they have committed awful usability blunders in the past. I think on balance, they are no better than FOSS.
I would have to disagree with that one.

Usability is something MacOS hammers Linux into the ground for right now. Hardware add-ons just fscking work, which is far more than can be said for Linux.

Granted, a lot of that is to do with hardware manufacturers refusing to release specs. But I've got a whole pile of examples here where specs are available, drivers have been written and yet still the resulting UI is so clunky compared to Windows or Mac equivalents that it is almost painful to use.

Re:Where's the patent??? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126574)

How dare you say that? I expect to see some Linux fanboi come along and say "But plugging in hardware 'just works' on Linux too. All you have to do is plug the device in, open vi, edit a config file, restart the service, unplug the device, replug it in, and boom, it 'just works'. What's so hard about that?"

Re:Where's the patent??? (2, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126618)

>Usability is something MacOS hammers Linux into the ground for right now.

Usibility in Linux is just fine. I have seen lots of people use it with no problems.

>Hardware add-ons just fscking work, which is far more than can be said for Linux.

Um, I can walk out RIGHT NOW and lay my hands on hardware designed for MS-Windows and watch it fail miserably under Mac-OS. That doesn't prove much. If your point is that Mac-OS supports more hardware than Linux, I would agree. If your point is that Linux has little or no hardware compatability or is "too hard" to use with hardware, I strongly disagree.

On the EEE that my MS-Windows-user neighbor bought (and didn't even know it was Linux based), I brought over a dozen different things and plugged them into that machine and they all worked perfectly, instantly. This included two keyboards, wireless mice, an ipod, an external DVD drive, a pocket USB hard drive, an SD card, a USB memory stick, and my camera. None required any user intervention AT ALL to use, other than to plug it in and wait a second.

Re:Where's the patent??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126476)

Especially the "making it actually usable" part.

I think Apple's track record is decidedly mixed; they have committed awful usability blunders in the past. I think on balance, they are no better than FOSS.
You misinterpreted that sentence. It doesn't mean "Apple is especially good at making it actually usable." It means "There's especially nothing wrong with making it actually usable." Look at the following clause, which you also cited (separately, and again out of the correct context) :

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm not so sure about that either. Apple's primary business model seems to be to take people's money and spend it on marketing and packaging, while grabbing other people's technologies wherever they can. That seems vaguely parasitic to me...
This quotation is saying there's nothing wrong with, if you'll bother to parse it correctly, "often taking something reasonably old and obvious and making it look spiffy and actually usable for someone without a CS degree."

In other words, the phrase "Not that there's anything wrong with that" is backing up the concept of turning mature technology into slick and usable inventions. Whether or not Apple actually succeeds at this is not even the subject of the comment.

-- Summer Glau

P.S. You don't get it, do you? *sigh*

Re:Where's the patent??? (3, Informative)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126552)

This is what Apple does a lot - take something reasonably old and obvious, make it look spiffy and actually usable for someone without a CS degree, then sell (and market) it as the Hot New Thing.

This is giving Apple too much credit even.

The Multi-Touch implementation that Apple has used on the iPhone and iPod and Macbook, are EXACT UI multi-touch concepts 're-introduced' at the TED conference a couple of years back. (I think the demonstration may even be online now for people that didn't attend.)

The TED demonstration put together some cool new ways of using multi-touch ideas for working with photos, zooming in/out etc. And in the TED presentation, the presenters gave the presentation as a spark to get people involved in using the technology, but some of the UI gestures they came up with were off the top of their heads as the admitted and needed to be refined or possibly done better.

Sadly, Apple even copied these multi-touch gestures, not even expanding on the ideas presented as was expected by the presenters at the TED conference. (So not only did Apple copy the ideas, they copied them exactly, not even expanding the features that were made up for the conference to try to inspire better gestures and usage.)

Microsoft also had a few multi-touch demonstrations several years back, along 2002/2003 timeframe when the TabletPC was the new cool thing.

The TED conference presentation was a blend of new ideas, old ideas, and a few MS ideas, etc.

Microsoft's surface also borrows from the TED presentation, although MS has polished some of the gestures and UI concepts, building on their work from earlier and adding in some TED concepts, and actually refining some of the rough ideas that Apple copied from TED. The surface computer is more than multi-touch though, as it can 'see' through the display, and is not limited to tactical input, so it can recognize objects, barcodes, even paintbrushes, etc.

So, ya, you are being way to generous with Apple, the only thing they have done that is new or cool is the marketing that gets people like the parent poster to think Apple created this stuff and gets their loyal fans to look down on other people implementing 'Apple's Technologies'. Geesh...

Re:Where's the patent??? (1)

grm_wnr (781219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126608)

I'm not that familiar with Multitouch, and maybe it's a bad example, but I stick to my point. I was more commenting on the fact that this is, basically nothing new. The best example would be, in my opinion, OS X itself. I think few people would disagree with the opinion that it's the most Joe Sixpack-compatible *nix out there.

Re:Where's the patent??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126354)

Perhaps Asus shares the patent, as they do build quite a few of Apple's products, as I recall.

Re:Where's the patent??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126506)

Exactly. my old ibook G4 has it. I've been using 2 fingers to scroll for some time now on the touchpad.

I also remember seeing demos of this tech back in the early mid 90's from systems that Steve Mann and Thad Starner were creating at MIT.

Re:Where's the patent??? (2, Funny)

naveenoid (1183365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126452)

Isnt it obvious?? MS pinched the idea :P

SDHC and BIOS fan control fixed? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23125900)

Does the 900 fix the problems experienced in the 700 series like the built-in flakey SDHC controller (which is only spec'd for SD cards, but sometimes works for SDHCs) or the loud fan problems of the 702s?

Pinching zooms in? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125914)

That seems so backwards. Eh, whaddo I know? I hate trackpads.

Re:Pinching zooms in? (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125980)

it is backwards. i wonder if the poster made a mistake, or if the Eee PC is just weird? pinching to zoom out feels natural on the iphone... i feel like the opposite would be odd. -Taylor

Re:Pinching zooms in? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126038)

Really? Makes sense to me- you're reducing the field of view, so you move your fingers inwards (your fingers representing the field of view). The opposite sounds awkward to me.

Then again, I think the entire deal is a little silly- just add a scroll wheel.

Re:Pinching zooms in? (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126088)

Really? Makes sense to me- you're reducing the field of view, so you move your fingers inwards (your fingers representing the field of view). The opposite sounds awkward to me.

I suppose, if you have the photographic mindset. I think most people can deal better with the idea of resizing the image, not a more abstract concept of FOV, especially when it's actually resizing an image on a display.

Then again, I think the entire deal is a little silly- just add a scroll wheel.

The two finger scrolling is pretty nice though. I really don't see the point in adding a scroll wheel. It's an unnecessary addition of a mechanical component when existing electronic components should do the job for most people. And it's easier to deal with as a scroll wheel would need to be accompanied with another keystroke to tell the computer that it's a resize and not a scrolling action.

Re:Pinching zooms in? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126204)

I really don't see the point in adding a scroll wheel. It's an unnecessary addition of a mechanical component when existing electronic components should do the job for most people.
Well on my (circa 2001) laptop stroking up and down on the right (or left, or top, or bottom [depending on how you set up the sorftware]) area of the track-pad acts the same way a scroll wheel would. So a mechanical component would not actually be necessary.

And it's easier to deal with as a scroll wheel would need to be accompanied with another keystroke to tell the computer that it's a resize and not a scrolling action.
Yes. I run Ubuntu and I need to hold down [Alt] in
order to zoom. It would make more sense to hold one finger on the pad and stroke the pad with the other - but I am guessing multi-touch works in a similar way.

I wonder how hard it would be to actually write software that would allow multi-touch on any trackpad? On my trackpad tapping with three fingers works as middle-button would on a "proper" mouse, and tapping with two works like right-click, altough I prefer to use one of the corners.

Basically I think scrolling is easy to implement with a trackpad, a third button is harder - depending on your needs...

Re:Pinching zooms in? (5, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126264)

Put two fingers on a normal track pad and it cannot tell where your fingers actually are.
It can see a press in four places instead of two.

You could write some tricky software to emulate it but it wouldnt be as good.
E.g. Pinpoint the location of the first finger that touched and then use that information to work out where the second is.

Re:Pinching zooms in? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126276)

Ah - you see I did not actually know that. I see when I put two fingers on my trackpad I let the mouse cursor jump between them and end up where the last of the two fingers land.

Re:Pinching zooms in? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126304)

Yeah thats it getting the four presses and finding the middle of them.
I think it may be able to sense how strong your pressing (with the capacitance sensor) to do the sliding trick.

Re:Pinching zooms in? (2, Informative)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126406)

I wonder how hard it would be to actually write software that would allow multi-touch on any trackpad? On my trackpad tapping with three fingers works as middle-button would on a "proper" mouse, and tapping with two works like right-click, altough I prefer to use one of the corners.
It would be pretty hard since the typical trackpad hardware doesn't support multitouch. If the hardware only reports one point of contact to the OS then no amount of coding can work around that.

Re:Pinching zooms in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23125988)

For what it's worth, pinching zooms out on iPhones and Macs.

Re:Pinching zooms in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23125990)

The author is probably an idiot who thinks "zooming in" is making a picture smaller. Nobody with the interest to implement a multi-touch interface could possibly make something so contrary in the mapping of physical motion to onscreen effect.

Re:Pinching zooms in (1, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126064)

Actually, maybe not. If you think of it as pinching or stretching the "frame", it doesn't sound so illogical. Especially if it shows the frame on the screen until you let go. Then, moving both fingers together could move the frame. I think some programs operate in that fashion.

Re:Pinching zooms in (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126416)

Why would someone think of pinching or stretching some imaginary frame when they really want to pinch or stretch the image on screen? Sure it's possible to rationalize just about any gesture but that doesn't make it sensible.

And trackpoints would be perfect... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126230)

...considering the size of Asus Eee and other OLPC offshots.

Yes, generally I prefer trackpoints to the point that I don't need touchpad in a laptop...but I can use the latter if it's reasonably good and thje only option in a given laptop. But in those minilaptops touchpads are bordering on usuable due to small size... :/ (especially in Via nanobook)

keyboard is king (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125920)

nothing defeats the keyboard for easy and speed of input.

Re:keyboard is king (3, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125964)

nothing defeats the keyboard for easy and speed of input.
Unless you're not typing... There are lots of ways to define the word "input". You're using a mouse aren't you? Clearly it beats the keyboard some of the time... Similarly, track pads are better than keyboards for mousing around, and multitouch track pads are better still, i can imagine. Remember, this is Slashdot, you have to be painfully specific and accurate or someone will call you out. -Taylor

Re:keyboard is king (3, Insightful)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125976)

I've really gotten away from using a mouse for anything, if I can help it. I have gotten too used to using a laptop and just being too lazy to drag out the bluetooth mouse. It's really difficult to claim anything can be faster than keyboard, as by the time most people finish wiggling their mouse to the target the keystrokes are overwith.

Re:keyboard is king (2, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126010)

Ehh, unless you're doing lots of web browsing, which is mostly scrolling and clicking. I know you can use the arrow keys and such, but really, that just sucks. I use keyboard shortcuts left and right, and i use the keyboard more than most (us nerds not included) but some things are better left to other input devices. -Taylor

Re:keyboard is king (0)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126058)

that's why i hate browsing. it's very mouse oriented. i would love to see a browser that has a system like those on mobiles where you can scroll and select with the keyboard. it would make browsing enjoyable for me, because for now it's painful to keep going back to the mouse when i need to click a simple link.

Re:keyboard is king (2, Informative)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126090)

Konqueror lets you scroll up and down with the cursor keys (shift+cursor key has some neat effects, too) and make all links on-screen keyboard-accessible by tapping "control."

-:sigma.SB

Re:keyboard is king (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126430)

Konqueror lets you scroll up and down with the cursor keys (shift+cursor key has some neat effects, too) and make all links on-screen keyboard-accessible by tapping "control."

Are there motions for "I'm crushing your head"?

Seriously, though, I agree with the OP about keyboard input, and one (as a vi user) that hopefully doesn't involve taking your hands off the keyboard to reach for frigging arrow keys. Sort of like the difference between grunting, or poking something with a stick, and having a conversation.

That said, I do think all this multitouch pinching and two-finger vertical stroking sounds interesting. I say the same every time my wife suggests I try it, and ...

wait for it ...

we don't even own an Eee PC!

Re:keyboard is king (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126100)

I remember reading about a Firefox extension in a magazine years ago which gave each link on a page a unique number which you could then type to open the appropriate link. I never tried it, but I think it would be perfect on notebooks such as my Eee PC.

Re:keyboard is king (2, Insightful)

Phil Urich (841393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126228)

Yeah umm as another poster has already commented, Konqueror does that naturally, just tap ctrl and every link gets a letter. And the eeePC already HAS Konqueror on it, even though it isn't listed anywhere; if you're in Basic mode, just hit ctrl-alt-t and type in "konqueror" in the terminal window that pops up; F11 to full-screen and browse away with your keyboard.

Re:keyboard is king (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126526)

It's called Hit-a-Hint [mozilla.org] and it's really good. You hold the spacebar down and all the links that are currently visible get allocated a number. When you key in that number and release the spacebar it follows the link. It also works with form elements which is nice. Flash is still a pain to use though.

Re:keyboard is king (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126600)

Doesn't work with >= 2.0.0.13 ;( or I rly need to check out the updates

Re:keyboard is king (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126434)

That entirely depends on what you're doing. I do most of my file management from the shell since it's typically way easier and faster, however if you need to move a number of arbitrary files from one directory to another I'd much rather select them from the directory in KDE then type each filename out in the shell. Also I really doubt freehand drawing in a graphics program would be quicker from the keyboard unless maybe you're going for that Etch-A-Sketch look.

Umm... (4, Funny)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125946)

Damn, 3 comments and no one mentioned anything about the phrase "vertical stroking motion". I'm impressed. I kinda wanted to wait and see how long it would be before someone else mentioned it, but it've screwed that up now... -Taylor

Dell Latitude XT (1)

greenlead (841089) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125950)

I thought the Dell Latitude XT supported multi-touch?

Re:Dell Latitude XT (2, Informative)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125998)

I thought the Dell Latitude XT supported multi-touch?
It does, but last i heard the actual drivers that did anything interesting weren't ready yet, so it's possible that the Eee PC is just the first multitouch XP laptop that actually does something useful with multitouch. And this is all ignoring the fact that XP can be installed on a macbook air, because really, since it doesn't come with it, it kinda doesn't count in this sense. And again, the drivers probably aren't there. -Taylor

This is news? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23125956)

Who effin' cares? Is it also the first laptop to use blue dye #38 for its case color? Yawn...

Linux Multitouch? (1)

lhaeh (463179) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125992)

The best Linux development I know of for multitouch seems to be MPX [unisa.edu.au] . It would be nice to know if there is something more common, like something GTK apps can use.

Re:Linux Multitouch? (1)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126048)

best we can hope for is that someone read simon's words of hope: http://federkiel.wordpress.com/2008/03/12/gtk-30-getting-serious/ [wordpress.com]

Re:Linux Multitouch? (0, Troll)

qbast (1265706) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126576)

So main points for GTK3 development are: theming, canvas, animations, introspection and OS integration. Just fork Qt4, rename it to GTK3 and you can have all this even today. With great documentation as a bonus.

Was it the first? (1)

madsenj37 (612413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125994)

Was it the first or the first non-apple branded laptop, since apples now run windows? I have not tried multitouch on a macbook air, so I am curious.

Re:Was it the first? (2, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126020)

I think they mean first commercial laptop SOLD with XP installed... and even then, i don't think generic drivers exist, so i would bet the macbook air with XP installed wouldn't actually take advantage of the multitouch. -Taylor

vertical stroking motion? (2, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126026)

a two-finger vertical stroking motion allows you to scroll up and down through documents

I had an acer laptop about 4 or 5 years ago that supported a similar gesture for scrolling. This is nothing new. The rest of it, perhaps, but scrolling gestures have been around a while...

Re:vertical stroking motion? (1)

gwbennett (988163) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126106)

But this senses that you are using two fingers rather than one and scrolls no matter where you touch on the pad. I'm inclined to assume you're referring to a set area on the (usually right) side of the touchpad that scrolls with one finger used.

Re:vertical stroking motion? (1)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126132)

Nope, mine does two-finger scroll anywhere on the pad also, and it's old. That's not new at all.

Re:vertical stroking motion? (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126148)

I've got that, but my MSI also does middle clicks with two-finger taps in the main area, and horizonal scroll with right-side scroll and another finger on the pad. It's about a year old, slightly older than the iPhone release, running Vista. I've been wondering about it. Does it not count as multi-touch this way?

OT: loading Linux/dual boot (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126052)

The two-fingered scroll may be interesting, but what I want to know is whether anyone has bought the XP version and loaded, say, Ubuntu or Fedora on it, either single- or dual-boot.

When I asked at the Yodobashi Camera and Sofmap in Umeda, I was told that no stores in Japan are carrying the Linux version of any of the eeePCs.

Re:OT: loading Linux/dual boot (1)

johnw (3725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126236)

The two-fingered scroll may be interesting, but what I want to know is whether anyone has bought the XP version and loaded, say, Ubuntu or Fedora on it, either single- or dual-boot.
What would be the point in that? You get less storage and pay for an unwanted copy of XP.

I've no doubt you could - there are plenty of instructions on the web for installing, say, Debian on an eeePC.

Re:OT: loading Linux/dual boot (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126444)

What would be the point in that?

I think the GP explained the point:

When I asked at the Yodobashi Camera and Sofmap in Umeda, I was told that no stores in Japan are carrying the Linux version of any of the eeePCs.

If he can't get it with Linux pre-installed then short of importing from outside Japan how is he to get one with Linux without bu ying an XP one(I'm assuming a Japanese version has special keyboard layout and some kind of IME)?

Terminology (4, Funny)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126060)

Multi-Touch is kind of unimaginative, when you consider the alternative: Fondle.

Now consider a computer that responds to touch all over. The intent of the user tends to be a bit vague however.

Two-finger scroll older than MacBook Air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23126102)

Well, last time I tried (approx. 5 seconds ago) I could do two-finger scrolling on my MacBook. And if I'm not mistaken, I could do it on my old iBook too. That particular future has existed on Apple laptops for a few years already...

biased bullshit (4, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126114)

By using Windows XP, users can sidestep many of the software and hardware compatibility issues that plague the Linux version. We've encountered numerous devices that don't work with a Linux Eee because of driver issues, including some USB disc drives, printers and TV tuners. You simply don't get these problems with a Windows-equipped Eee PC 900.

That's biased bullshit. There are plenty of problems trying to get hardware to work on a regular Windows XP machine, and it only gets worse on an Eee PC. Imagine first time it asks you to insert the driver CD, displays its 800x800 configuration dialog, or requires "Windows Vista or better".

Re:biased bullshit (1)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126316)

I was surprised to read that as well. If anything I'd think that the linux version would have better support for printers/TV tuners (I'm not even sure what they mean by USB disc drives because it doesn't even make sense), assuming the kernel comes with a diverse set of modules, normally you just plug in a USB device on linux, wait a second and the device is configured and working. There is no surfing the net for drivers or looking for lost install disks that will then install some poorly thought out proprietary interface to use the hardware which is inevitably bound to look like shit on such a small screen.


Admittedly, with linux it either works with no effort at all or you are fucked but, any non-nerd is likely to have technology that lags behind the cutting edge enough that "just plugging it in" is likely to be a much smoother experience on linux.

Re:biased bullshit (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126488)

While I agree with the general point - I don't think you've used many USB TV tuners under Linux and also the article writer hasn't mentioned the nature of most Windows drivers either. They are enormously popular (in the UK at least) but many of the most popular (read cheap) tuners are a pain in the arse to get to run under Linux, locating firmware, decent TV software and so on.

I wouldn't say this is the fault of Linux in general, because many of these devices have terrible drivers - try getting some of the cheap ones to work with Windows Media Centre and you can't because they lack BDA drivers.

But the point remains - being able to use a device this small as a handy little TV is a popular application and for the non-technical user, if it doesn't work then right or wrong they will blame Linux.

SSD ought to be detachable / pluggable (3, Interesting)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126128)

Rather than this windows XP gimmick (which according to the article, they had to sacrifice hardware to keep price parity with the Linux version), I would have liked to have seen the Eee series' SSDs be easy to attach and detach. Then you could conceivably run a given operating environment on multiple Eee platforms. I use a portable OS on a USB called FaunOS [faunos.com] . The logic of centralizing my operating environment on a single detachable device has sunk in for me. Now with the Eee PCs, I think it would be cool if Asus packaged a detachable SSD so that you could unplug it from the Eee in the kitchen, and plug it back in to the Eee in the bedroom. Best of all, each of my kids could have their own SSD, so that we wouldn't muck around with each other's OS's. I could probably pull this off with FaunOS [Google search] [google.com] , but I think it would have been much cooler if I could use the Eee's SSD like I'm using the USB.

--
the glass is half broken

Re:SSD ought to be detachable / pluggable (4, Insightful)

am 2k (217885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126326)

I think it would be cool if Asus packaged a detachable SSD so that you could unplug it from the Eee in the kitchen, and plug it back in to the Eee in the bedroom.

I think you're missing the point of an ultra-portable subnotebook.

Re:SSD ought to be detachable / pluggable (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126508)

I think you're missing the point of an ultra-portable subnotebook.

Perhaps he is but it would be cool to have your OS and all your work in a removeable drive that you can transfer between devices easily. Oh wait - you already can with USB disks and Damn Small Linux or FaunOS or whatever.

Re:SSD ought to be detachable / pluggable (1)

piggydoggy (804252) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126558)

It comes with an SD card slot for your removable storage needs.

Linux on eee for teh win (2, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126182)

I'd still rather have the Linux version with an extra 8 gig of memory.

Maybe I'm Getting Old? (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126186)

I hope that this isn't considered flamebait but, well, maybe I am getting old. Is it just me or is this a pretty pointless feature that is likely to sell products or increase the appeal of the product but unlikely to get a damned bit of use in the real world? Of the many units that are likely to sell I have to wonder about the percentage that will actually take advantage of that feature. Adding more features just to increase appeal is akin to bloating a perfectly good application with crap it doesn't actually need.

RANT: Slightly off topic but along the same lines... How many times have we seen and used a great product that, over the years, turned to shite because the developers just kept adding more and more crap to it. I want my phone to make phone calls. I want my antivirus to protect me from viruses, I want my firewall to keep the badguys out and the information in, I want my operating system to be an operating system and not a media player, I want my word processing to be done in a dedicated processor, I don't need an RSS reader in my browser, and I sure as hell don't want my operating system to think that it is also in charge of my security. All these additional "features" just create additional points of potential failure and all of them make troubleshooting more difficult because of these additional failure points. I don't mind increased complexity when there is a measurable benefit for more than the minority of users.

There... Sorry but I figured I'd get that off my chest while I was on the subject. I really don't see the benefit, for me personally, other than the coolness factor and I'm sitting here trying to think of who I know that would actually make use of this and I'm not really able to think of anybody that would get any great value or frequently use this. I'm absolutely positive that there are greater potential features that would hold more value to me personally than this.

Take it as a grain of salt I suppose but, well, that's my opinion.

Re:Maybe I'm Getting Old? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126266)

Weeelll... I bet people who work with graphics applications could use this. But then again I don't see the Asus EEE being powerful enough to be any real use in the graphic application arena.

Re:Maybe I'm Getting Old? (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126554)

Seems too kludgey for graphics work in my opinion but my graphics skills are really limited. Typically I see graphics folks working with a tablet and stylus and/or a mouse. This doesn't mean (I read the other response and will respond in kind to that one as well) that this will not change in the future but it seems, to me, to be just wasting resources that could have been better used and maybe an attempt to emulate the various Apple products. I'm thinking I'm just old. Functionality is more important to me when compared with trendy. I do see your point in it being capable of being functional for some of the people but if it is a minority of specialist work would not a specific device be better? I guess it boils down to my not using a hammer to cut wood, I use the proper tool for the job. I don't see any value being added with this and if it doesn't add value I fail to see the point.

I hope that this doesn't come off as being argumentative as it is really me striving to understand.

Re:Maybe I'm Getting Old? (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126380)

To me it sounds like another natural extension of the GUI, along with voice controls. For now pinching pictures and whatnot is a little gimmicky, but it's a great way to get a foot in the door for the eventual rise of a much more comfortable and human computing platform.

Re:Maybe I'm Getting Old? (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126610)

Thank you for your feedback. (Feel free to see my response to the other person who responded for a tad bit more.) I really do appreciate your taking the time to explain.

It begs, then, to be asked... It isn't so much that I don't see a value in this feature it is that I can't find the value in this feature, at this time, on this type of device. The other person who responded brought up graphics work which made me think. Currently, in today's environment, I'm not seeing this as a value for graphic artists but I am not a graphics guru so I can't really offer much of an opinion. However, paired with your insight, I see the potential for this to be of value in the future though I don't expect that this is the time nor the device where such is best suited.

Again, please don't think that this is me attempting to create a conflict. This is me attempting to understand because I don't follow the logic of the designers and I don't see the value in this feature. *shrugs* Maybe I just don't get it? This wouldn't be the first time and surely won't be the last. I don't expect that I would personally (or anyone would) find value in every single feature but this seems to me as if it would help so few people that it is just plain waste at this time and on this device.

The idea of extending the GUI... I risk meandering off-topic but... I'd be eager to see that happen. The potential to reach into a holographic image (I'm thinking disrupting light/sensors) to move things in 3D format, to turn information by moving my hands, to reach in deeper into an article and not need to search to find my information... *sighs* The only thing better than that would be a full body virtual reality suit. ;) Then I wouldn't even need women but I digress.

Thanks (2, Funny)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126202)

But I still haven't got bored of my keyboard nipple yet ;)

Re:Thanks (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126238)

Hear hear. Trackpoints are far faster and more accurate than touch pads and, in my limited experience, far less likely to cause fatigue/strain. I love my Thinkpad.

Re:Thanks (2, Funny)

grm_wnr (781219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126482)

If someone implements "pinching" on a trackpoint, that will add a completely new layer to the ubiquitous nipple jokes.

Re:Thanks (1)

nri (149893) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126562)

how does a nipple scroll ?
I have a Dell 810, so got a trackpad and a nipple
on the rhs of the track pad I can move top to bottom and have the page scroll
can't do that with the nipple as far as I can tell. please enlighten me...

fyi, xorg.conf is

Section "ServerLayout"
                Identifier "Default Layout"
                Screen 0 "aticonfig-Screen[0]" 0 0
                InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
                InputDevice "Configured Mouse"
                InputDevice "Synaptics Touchpad"
EndSection ......

Section "InputDevice"
                Identifier "Configured Mouse"
                Driver "mouse"
                Option "CorePointer"
                Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
                Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
                Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
                Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
                Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
                Driver "synaptics"
                Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
                Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
                Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
                Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0"
                Option "MinSpeed" "0.7"
                Option "MaxSpeed" "3"
                Option "AccelFactor" "0.025"
                Option "VertScrollDelta" "100"
                Option "SHMConfig" "on"
EndSection

thanks in advance for your response :-)

Zoom in by pinching? (1)

thevil (602459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126306)

A pinching motion lets you zoom in on images, stretching lets you zoom out
Ok, now that's just plain wrong. If you do it that way the user looses the "touch"-feeling with the image and its just another wierd gui-gizmo.

Compare this to the way it works for example on the Apple iPhone [youtube.com] .

I'll stick with a mouse. (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126398)

IMHO Trackpads and 'nipples' suffice for an emergency when one leave one's USB mouse at home but...

For me the interaction just plain sucks, particularly when selecting text or drag and drop.

Workaholics on public transport trying to cram an extra 20 minutes into their day, and I see them plugging numbers into excel, may see some benefit in such input mechanisms.

If I had to pick an ultra-portable, I'd ditch the conventional hinged keyboard altogether. 1 docking station keyboard and mouse for work, 1 for home. Something like this [motioncomputing.com.au] . Perfect for reading PDFs on the train or on the couch.

Re:I'll stick with a mouse. (1)

g4b (956118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126510)

actually i got very used to the nipple, because if you write, its just some centimeters away.

I even use the nipple, if my mouse is with me. e.g. to move away the mouse cursor from text, or to touch the side of the screen with the mouse to have some menus popping out, or mostly, to position my mouse into the text to write somewhere else, because its easier, when you dont have to stop writing just because of that, aand the nipple is very good for fast mouse actions.

i wouldn't say the nipple is useless. however, it lacks the scrollwheel and the superior finetuning of a mouse, that's why a mouse is a must.

i dont like touchpads however, because i touch them when i am writing or clicking accidently on them... which is annoying if i just "drag and drop" files around while i am only supposed to move the mouse. I am one, who will never get used to touchpads i think.

1st Linux Laptop to support Multitouch (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23126588)

Wouldn't the article be just as accurate to say it is the first commercially sold Linux laptop to support multitouch? I think it is interesting that such technology would first show up in something (non-Apple) primarily designed to run Linux, not MS-Windows.
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