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Windows 7 Touch, Dead On Arrival

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the finger-prints dept.

Software 352

snydeq writes "Ongoing Microsoft hype around its Surface touch technology has suggested that, with Windows 7, a touch-based UI revolution is brewing. Unfortunately, the realities of touch use in the desktop environment and the lack of worthwhile development around the technology are conspiring against the notion of touch ever finding a meaningful place on the desktop, as InfoWorld's Galen Gruman finds out reviewing Windows 7's touch capabilities. 'There's a chicken-and-egg issue to resolve,' Gruman writes. 'Few apps cry out for a touch UI, so Microsoft and Apple can continue to get away with merely dabbling with touch as an occasional mouse-based substitute. It would take one or both of these OS makers to truly touchify their platforms, using common components to pull touch into a great number of apps automatically. Without a clear demand, their incentive to do so doesn't exist.'"

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352 comments

kinda like... (5, Insightful)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435223)

linux and gaming

Re:kinda like... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435297)

yeah except I am currently running Assassin's Creed, Prototype, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X, UT3, Mirror's Edge and Bioshock all on Linux.

Re:kinda like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435355)

All brand new...

Re:kinda like... (4, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435543)

I bet he isn't using "touch" interfaces with these, tho'.

Or, as I like to call them, "Smudge" interfaces.

Re:kinda like... (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435961)

You know, that it what I have always wondered about this whole "touch control" idea-who exactly out there is screaming "Hey I WANT to put big honking greasy fingerprints on my screen! Oh, and I want my kids to scratch the living hell out of my screen when they forget to wipe their hands and grind Cheetos funk into it as well! That's the ticket!"

I mean it is hard enough trying to keep your screen from getting funky, especially when you have relatives like my mom that have the nasty habit of touching the screen to point out what she is trying to get to (and Deity help me if mom ever got a touch screen with as bad as that woman drives a mouse. the thing would be flying all over the place while she pointed all over the thing) without adding this on top. Then of course there is the arm fatigue from pointing at the thing all damned day, it just seems like such a bad idea to me. Yeah, I can see it for like Kiosks, where you are only there a couple of minutes, but everyday?

So while I appreciate the desire to try out new ideas when it comes to interfaces, as we really haven't had a big change since the optical mouse (remember the fun of those damned ball mice?) to me this just seems like a Nintendo Powerglove level of stupid. Not quite Sega Activator level of stupid, but still pretty bad.

Re:kinda like... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435371)

And I posted this comment on my tablet PC using the touchscreen.

I hope you're not so stupid that you require someone to explain why your analogy is so shitty.

Re:kinda like... (1, Troll)

iamzack (830561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435545)

linux and gaming

True. Most of the touch screen games in bars are Linux based. I know because I see them crash all the time.

Laptop yes. Desktop never. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435239)

Why would I ever want to sit up from my comfy chair to poke at a screen?

Re:Laptop yes. Desktop never. (4, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435419)

Exactly. In fact I'd say more along the lines of "nothing, ever." Touchscreens are a fun idea but except for very specific cases (pocketable computers, public terminals a la ticket machines at train stations for instance) they're horrible in practice. You get grubby fingerprints all over your screen and the ergonomics are bad - extended use will require either a weird sitting position or severe shoulder strain. On top of that, you always have your fingers/hands in front of whatever you're trying to select.

What I really want to see is the idea that was floating around a few years ago for iPhone-style tablet devices, where the back of the device is a multitouch sensor and the touch points are displayed as cursors on the screen. No grubby fingerprints, no fat fingers in the way.

Re:Laptop yes. Desktop never. (4, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435549)

Who says you have to touch the screen? OS X (10.6) and my MacBook Pro are an amazing blend of this technology.

I have 1, 2, 3 and 4 finger gestures right on my track pad. Switch applications, show the desktop, Expose, launch, rotate, zoom, scroll. Everything is rather intuitive.

The only thing is that it took me about 1 week to come from a standard button/trackpad concept to one large button and the surface feeling is a bit ... different.

Re:Laptop yes. Desktop never. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435651)

I often use a 1 finger gesture on my computer but it really doesn't do much, except make me feel better sometimes.

Wacom and Nintendo had the right idea (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435559)

You have one upright screen and one screen laid flat. All touch interaction happens on the bottom screen. This is the model of the Wacom Cintiq pen displays and the Nintendo DS video game system.

Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpose (4, Interesting)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435253)

And thank goodness for that. Touch interfaces are acceptable where there isn't room for anything else (though the lack of a physical keyboard is always highly unpleasant), but I'd hate to see multitouch become the 'standard' interface for desktop computing. Sure, it's fun to throw about a few snapshots or fly about Google Earth. For all of 5 minutes. Try actually DOING anything, however, and you'll quickly switch back to a 'traditional' interface in order to avoid grief.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (5, Insightful)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435383)

Yeah thats right. It takes very little energy to use a mouse. Very small hand gestures can make big things happen on the screen. Imagine how tired your arm would get if you had to touch the screen all day to make anything happen. Even if the screen was closer to you, possibly lying flat on the desk, it would still be harder.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (4, Funny)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435825)

Bet you'd have rockin' shoulders though, from holding your arms up all day.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435939)

Lazy bloody Americans.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (1)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436007)

I said the exact same thing when mice were taking over from keyboards. You have to take one of your hands off the keyboard to use it- terrible ergonomics if you are typing.
Of course the mouse still became mainstream in the end though, even in word processing programs, as it is simply far more intuitive for newcomers regardless of ergonomics or speed at which you can acomplish a task.
I suspect the same will eventually be true of the touchscreen.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (2, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435391)

Yeah no.

Touch is great for fairly narrow types of usage. Industrial machine interfaces for one. I'd like to see OSs integrate some touch functionailty, or at least make it possible to set the thing up to be touch friendly, just to get the improvements for those narrow uses. As it is HMI packages usually look and work like cobbled together shit and you end up having to keep a keyboard in a desk drawer somewhere even if you don't want one. Or even if you manage to put together a truly touch only HMI you still need a keyboard to deal with the inevitable OS crash, since most HMI packages are Windows only.

But yeah, for general computing, desktop touch is a novelty.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435395)

What can't you do with touch? Just use it exactly as you would use a mouse. Make your widgets bigger and more pudgy-finger-friendly and you're good to go.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435481)

Its a lot less of an effort to use a mouse than it is to use a touchscreen. The hardware just isn't there yet also, screens smudge and are inaccurate or suffer from slow speed.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435579)

Its a lot less of an effort to use a mouse than it is to use a touchscreen.

Sign your name with a stylus on a touch screen. Now try to do the same thing with a mouse. You can see why some graphic artists like tablets.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (2, Funny)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435893)

Sign your name with a stylus on a touch screen.

I do that all the time after using a credit card at Walmart and everytime I'm sure they are thinking that another drunkard must have entered their store just based on what my signature looks like.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435659)

Its a lot less of an effort to use a mouse than it is to use a touchscreen.

I think that depends very much where the touch is. For example, the touchpad on my laptop takes very little effort to use.

On the other hand, I absolutely cannot play FPS reasonably on the thing, so maybe you're right.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435883)

As a graphic artist who uses a tablet, I can say with confidence that a mouse is far, far, far, far, far easier to use than a touch screen monitor.

Point one: a mouse (like a tablet) lies flat on my desk, requiring zero upper arm/shoulder exertion. I can spend eight hours using a tablet no problem--imagine holding your arm straight out for eight hours. Or imagine having to hunch over a monitor mounted flat on your desk--you'd destroy your neck and back within a week.

Point 2: I can move my cursor from one side of the screen to the other by moving my mouse about 1.5 inches. Tablets, while larger than mouse pads, are almost always much smaller than monitors. Most graphic artists use 8x5 or smaller tablets. My monitor is 16x22. That's a lot more space.

Point 3: a mouse cursor (or tablet stylus) is much more precise than a finger on a touch screen. With my mouse, I can hit a single pixel, no problem. With my stylus, I can get within 2-3 pixels, no problem. With my finger? I would guess 10 pixel accuracy would be hard...and 20-30 would be more realistic.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (5, Interesting)

oferic (603861) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435667)

I use handheld computers on a regular basis at work. When I switch back to using a laptop after spending some time using a touchscreen device, I naturally want to touch the screen to move windows, select items from the taskbar, etc. It's silly that the functionality is missing. There's no need for this to replace the mouse. Touch-display and mouse input should complement each other.

Re:Desktop multitouch: a tool looking for a purpos (2, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435851)

Parent deserves mod points. The keyboard came first, after all. It took me some time to get used to the idea of a mouse, but today, they coexist on the very same computer. Imagine that, huh?

So, go ahead, put the touch stuff up there. There are times when a stylus or a finger can do something that I will NEVER accomplish with that stupid mouse. Just don't kill my mouse off. I hate the little bastid, but I can't get along without him!!

I actually like this idea (3, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435261)

The problem is that with laptops/desktops the screen isn't really in a good position to accurately touch.

But I like the idea of getting rid of the persistent cursor. You just leave it lying somewhere on screen when you're not using it.. there's no reason to leave it sitting there, or have to navigate awkwardly between controls, when you can just touch.

I'm reminded of the PC vs console gaming argument about how mice are better because you can snap directly to a target instead of holding the control stick and having to wait as you pan around. Well touch vs mouse it's the same argument. With the mouse you have to start pushing your mouse across the mousepad, wait for it to reach its destination, and then fire. With touch you just tap the spot

Obviously touch would never work for FPS controls but desktop controls are similar.. "aiming" at the little 5-pixel high link may be harder than it has to be

Re:I actually like this idea (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435459)

I don't think that just tapping the spot is actually more efficient than using the mouse, at least for standard desktop and laptop scenarios.

On the computer I'm typing this on, I'm looking at a 20 inch panel, 1680x1050, at approximately arm's length from my face. If I were using a touch interface, the worst case delay between interacting with two points on the screen would be the time it takes to move my hand the full 20 inches. With the mouse, the same corner to corner motion occupies more like 4 or 5 inches(on your basic cheap OEM optical, nothing fancy). I can move my hand at roughly the same speed in either case so, while the touch sounds simpler, it is actually a fair bit slower.

For small devices, where the entire screen is at your fingertips, touch is acceptably fast; but the bigger the screen gets, the worse it becomes compared to an ordinary optical mouse, in addition to the usual disadvantages of blocking part of the screen and leaving fingerprints.

Re:I actually like this idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435799)

Many ATMs use touch interface, usually on about a 15" display. Imagine the argument of replacing the touch interface on an ATM with a mouse.

Touching one point on the screen then another effectively is a matter of application design.

Re:I actually like this idea (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435869)

ATM touchscreens are hugely annoying. Because they have to use fairly thick glass, presumably to resist attack and vandalism, there is a considerable distance between the image and the touch surface. If you aren't of the height that the designers were expecting, you get a notable parallax effect between your finger and the actual image, which varies depending on where on the screen you are.

Re:I actually like this idea (3, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435477)

With the mouse you have to start pushing your mouse across the mousepad, wait for it to reach its destination, and then fire. With touch you just tap the spot

You're forgetting the huge speed amplification you get with a mouse, and the fact that you still need to move something (your finger, or your cursor) to that spot to tap it. Moving my mouse about 2 inches moves my cursor through about 15 inches. Moving my finger 15 inches to press a button requires moving my whole arm 15 inches.

What I want to see is accurate gaze tracking. If I stare at the center of a button, it stays static in my field of view - even if my eye's making microscopic movements, it should be possible to reverse-engineer the pattern to determine the point of gaze. Couple that with a physical switch to 'click' (I like the idea of making a 'click' noise with your tongue for a simple, intuitive, self-contained interface) and you have the only point-and-click device that will beat a mouse (no, you with the track ball sit down, it's just an upside down mouse).

Re:I actually like this idea (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435833)

Gaze tracking with fairly decent accuracy, usually by watching the eyes with one or more IR cameras is already available for specialty applications. Something like this [smivision.com] seems more or less representative. Their failure to list a price anywhere suggests that it doesn't come cheap; but it is already acceptably small for desktop use, and for mass deployment you could probably crunch it down to one or more IR webcam and illuminator pairs embedded in the monitor bezel, along with some suitably clever software on the client. If you are content to deal with just head tracking, rather than gaze tracking, that is the kind of off-the-shelf that you can actually just plug in a credit card and buy. Here, for instance. [naturalpoint.com] I'm assuming that there are others.

The tricky bit would be interpreting it usefully. The various patterns that people's eyes naturally follow when interpreting stimuli are complex and can vary considerably depending on what the user is trying to do, how experienced they are, and probably other factors. Creating a "natural gaze" interpreting interface without an unacceptable rate of false positives would be quite tricky indeed, and setups where you have to treat your gaze as though it is a mouse pointer would be pretty wearing on the user. Having to stare and click beats the hell out of the alternatives when it comes to helping paralyzed people; but it is likely to be considerably slower than just using a mouse. For interfaces that are mostly keyboard; but require occasional mouse input, I could see considerable promise, however.

Re:I actually like this idea (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435835)

I'm reminded of the PC vs console gaming argument about how mice are better because you can snap directly to a target instead of holding the control stick and having to wait as you pan around. Well touch vs mouse it's the same argument. With the mouse you have to start pushing your mouse across the mousepad, wait for it to reach its destination, and then fire. With touch you just tap the spot

Um, think about this for a second.

You are saying it's MORE difficult to move your mouse a couple of inch's (as most people have acceleration happening, so you don't have to move it 20 inch's to go across a 20 inch monitor) versus moving your arm/hand to the desired spot (which has to much worse for you physically). You either have the touchscreen horizontal, to reduce stress on your arm, but this increases the stress on your neck muscles by having your head always tilted down, or the screen is vertical, to reduce the stress on your neck, but you have to lift your arm and it's also more difficult to accurately touch the correct spot over time. And any position in between these two positions just varies how much strain each thing gets.

And you have much poorer ability to precisely select something (say, just the right control handle within a complicated CAD drawing), and your finger/hand readily obscures what you are trying to point at/select. I find this happens on my iPod Touch all the time.

And I would find it an exercise in frustration to have a touchscreen even as my primary way of browsing and doing email, as both require non-trivial amounts of text entry, which I can do on a touch screen, but I can do much faster and with less effort using a keyboard.

I would say Touch should only get 'popular' use for situations where the person only has to use the touch functionality over a fairly short period of time, and relatively infrequently. Basically, where the primary thing the person does ISN'T actually using the computer. And this generally means task-specific terminals, such as touch-entry screens for waiters, or atm's, or self-serve checkin/out terminals at Hotels for some examples. Trying to force the use of touch as being the primary means of interacting with computers in general just doesn't seem like a good thing to do.

Now, if there was some way to bootstrap the use of a new keyboard layout from the standard qwerty one, that would probably have a noticeable increase in productivity using computers (both in increased speed and fewer errors), because qwerty was designed specifically to make typing slower...

Re:I actually like this idea (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435955)

I'm reminded of the PC vs console gaming argument about how mice are better because you can snap directly to a target instead of holding the control stick and having to wait as you pan around. Well touch vs mouse it's the same argument. With the mouse you have to start pushing your mouse across the mousepad, wait for it to reach its destination, and then fire. With touch you just tap the spot

Um, think about this for a second.

You are saying it's MORE difficult to move your mouse a couple of inch's (as most people have acceleration happening, so you don't have to move it 20 inch's to go across a 20 inch monitor) versus moving your arm/hand to the desired spot (which has to much worse for you physically). You either have the touchscreen horizontal, to reduce stress on your arm, but this increases the stress on your neck muscles by having your head always tilted down, or the screen is vertical, to reduce the stress on your neck, but you have to lift your arm and it's also more difficult to accurately touch the correct spot over time. And any position in between these two positions just varies how much strain each thing gets.

Why are you so certain that the "seated position" must remain constant in order to operate a computer? There are many more ways to position a computer display and a human body than those you described.

it's just useless (5, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435271)

Touch and multitouch have been around for decades; the reason people aren't using them is because they simply aren't all that useful, outside maybe consumer phones and systems like ATMs. It's the same with 3D movies and interfaces; like flu epidemics, these dead ideas keep coming back every decade-and-a-half.

Re:it's just useless (1)

Cathbard (954906) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435571)

I remember having test gear that had both a touch screen and a keyboard - guess which method people tended to use.

Correct - the keyboard. Reaching up to touch the screen ended up giving you a sore shoulder.

Unless the screen is where you would otherwise have placed your keyboard and mouse then they won't get used. Great idea for specialised devices where that is the case but for general use in computing? The display would have to be set flat into the desk and even then wouldn't one have to reach further forward than one does with a keyboard/mouse causing the old achy breaky shoulder syndrome?

Computers are supposed to make life easier, this would just make it easier to file a worker's comp claim. Hmmm, maybe they are a good idea after all - bring forth hither the touchscreens!!!

Re:it's just useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435899)

ever seen a toddler use a computer? 2 year old has been using the tablet to play games and draw for a year. However, she doesn't have the hand eye coordination for a mouse. Maybe you're just dead wrong. Seems that tablet devices have lots of advantages. Perhaps it would be better, dipshit, to have the right interface for the right job.

My screen gets dirty enough as it is. (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435277)

I don't need even more fingerprints on it.

It would be kind of neat for doing presentations, though.

Re:My screen gets dirty enough as it is. (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435417)

Well you would certainly have a very easily cleaned surface over a touch screen. Glass probably, coated with sapphire for extra strength? Just wipe it off with some windex.

Not to worry. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435301)

We can just depend on the OEMs, whose craptastic bundleware powers are exceeded only by those of scanner and camera manufacturers, to produce horribly nonstandard custom UI elements and "helper" programs to iron out the trouble. Extra credit will, of course, be granted for clumsy partial shell replacements that(while they run at all times and somehow manage to slow everything down) will just dump you back into straight Windows for anything more complex than taking publicity shots.

That should make the greasy fingerprints and nasty case of aching gorilla arm entirely worthwhile.

Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (-1, Troll)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435313)

Once again, we see Microsoft waiting for somebody else to go first and pioneer a new technology--so MS can then jump in front of the pioneers, stealing their best ideas with lame implementations.
  • Original: Macintosh (based on PARC)
  • Shoddy MS Copy: Windows
  • Original: Netscape Navigator
  • Shoddy MS Copy: IE
  • Original: iPod
  • Shoddy MS Copy: Zune
  • Original: Java (based on C,C++)
  • Shoddy MS Copy: C-pound

Anymore, I'm betting the developers in Redmond are quiet about where they work.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435403)

Really? You posted that why? Shouldn't you be busy telling everyone at the planetarium that the solar system model on display isn't the real solar system? Or telling giraffes their tall? Or turtle's that they're small? Could you maybe spend your time more productively telling Sisyphus he'll never finish?

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (0, Troll)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435495)

I'm sorry--it must be hard for you to work at Microsoft. Maybe when the economy gets better you can get a job someplace less evil.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (0, Offtopic)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435441)

I am at a loss to understand why you didn't just right C# instead of C-pound. Considering that the # symbol is also known as sharp, hash, pound and "number". Also...I seem to recognise pound with £. I haven't heard of C£..Might be a good language to create just for the sake of confusion ;)

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435533)

"I am at a loss to understand why you didn't just right C# instead of C-pound."

It's called a 'dis'.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435455)

Shoddy MS Copy: C-pound

It's C Sharp.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (-1, Troll)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435595)

Sorry, I don't give the language that looks 99% the same as Java the dignity of its own "cutsie" name. It's C-pound.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435673)

When Java adds something as simple as anonymous functions, I'll concede your point.

And no, I'm not an MS fan. I like Ruby. But I think you're crazy if you don't at least see how a lambda closure -- especially a dirt simple lambda closure, in a tiny bit of syntax instead of a class and a half -- is not at all like Java.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435711)

Funny, over the past decade, I watched tons of changes happening to Java. Anything that is wanted by the community will likely find its way in. You see, the Java world runs like a Democracy. People don't like Swing and eventually there's SWT. People don't care for bare JSP so Craig McClanahan wrote Struts. EJB came along and a lot of people disliked Entity Beans and so Gavin King developed Hibernate. Same goes with Spring and a raft of other Java-centric technologies.
In the MS world, you're just plain stuck.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435831)

Anything that is wanted by the community will likely find its way in.

Unless the community gets bored and moves on to languages like Scala, Clojure, Ruby, etc, which already have what they want.

You see, the Java world runs like a Democracy. People don't like Swing and eventually there's SWT.

And this is different than anything except Delphi, how?

In the MS world, you're just plain stuck.

...until you realize there's Mono.

Also, half the things you mentioned (Swing, SWT, JSP, Struts, EJB, Hibernate...) are just frameworks. Just because .NET comes from Microsoft and ASP comes from Microsoft doesn't mean you can't write web services in .NET without ASP -- or without IIS, for that matter.

But again -- anonymous fucking functions. Javascript has it. Lisp has it. Ruby has it. Perl has it. C# has it. Smalltalk has it. Hell, even C has it -- this is not exactly a new idea.

Java can sort of kludge it together with anonymous classes. And it looks absolutely nothing like it does in C# -- even Javascript manages to make it look better than Java.

Seriously, show me the Java equivalent to:

var foo = function() {
// do some stuff
}
setInterval(foo, 1000);

Or maybe:

(1..100).select(&:odd?).each do |num|
# do something to only odd numbers
end

Contrived examples? Sure. But I'm sorry, your "language that looks 99% the same as Java" actually looks nothing like Java, unless you claim JavaScript "looks 99% the same as Java", in which case:

  • Your "looks like" is only skin-deep -- they are about as different as two imperative languages can be.
  • You're a moron.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (0, Troll)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435925)

You certainly can find some niblet that C-pound has implemented such as you mentioned. But it remains just logic. The vast number of disadvantages of having to live in the MS ecosystem far outweigh the alleged advantages of having some obscure feature. It sounds like in the next breath you'll be telling me that "Gandalf has many powers..."

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436003)

Seriously, show me the Java equivalent to:

var foo = function() { // do some stuff
}
setInterval(foo, 1000);

Or maybe:

(1..100).select(&:odd?).each do |num|
# do something to only odd numbers
end

Try:

Runnable foo = new Runnable() {
        public void run() { // do some stuff
        }
}
setInterval(foo, 1000);

Happy to help you with any more Java questions!

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435791)

Except if you knew anything about it, you would know that they use the sharp character whenever possible and it's based on C++, not coffee beans. Nice high horse, choosing Java. What brilliant programming language are you going to support next, Flash?

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435903)

Have you compared the two languages? Java does not look that much like C++ or C. C-pound is a total obvious copy of Java both in syntax and in most of its features. C-pound is Microsoft's Me-too language.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435517)

What is this "based on" nonsense? Wouldn't that make it the original?

And I hate to break it to you, pal, the iPod is far from an original nor was Netscape the first ewb browser.

Why don't you go around calling Safari a shoddy clone? How about Linux? Or what about OpenOffice?

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435573)

The Zune is based on the iPod, clearly. However, you're right. The iPod was a 20-year-later elaboration of the Sony Walkman. That's just the point. Apple came up with a great innovation in the iPod. I understand there were other devices with pieces of the idea but--obviously--they didn't take off and so we don't talk about their iTunes store or iPhone app store.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435621)

Fuck. I guess if it's not from your iGod it's just not an innovative. That's your problem.

I'm sick of third rate trolls like you. If the Zune is based off the iPod than the iPod is based on the Archos Jukebox. And the idea of an apps store is no different than what many mobile publishers have done for years except that Apple wants to ensure it has 100% control over it like they try to do with anything else. If MS had come out with this you'd be bashing them instead of praising them. Take the blinders off, fucktard.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435675)

I coded to Microsoft technologies for years until I got sick of that ecosystem. Like it or not, the iPod was an advance. Prior to that, though we had been passing mp3s around for years, there was no official way to buy music legally--and the iPod really made that happen. Did you hear that there will not be a Zune app store--because the Zune is good for nothing better than FM radio. The iPod is iconic. Microsoft and their technologies are for the hausfrau.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435861)

there was no official way to buy music legal

Except of course, buying the physical CD and ripping it.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435691)

The iPod was a 20-year-later elaboration of the Sony Walkman.

*facepalm*

You know, there used to be this thing called an mp3 player, and later a portable music player. They're still around, but as soon as the iPod got popular, these other things like the Rio and the Nomad were suddenly seen as "iPod clones", even when they predated the iPod.

The innovation of the iPod was making it simple enough for everyone to use, not inventing the thing itself. The innovation of the Walkman was making it portable in the first place.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (0)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435881)

If the iPod were just a flash drive for carrying mp3 songs, it would not have been 1% as popular.
It was the beauty of the device, physically. (So many others looked like hell).
It was the seamless integration with the iTunes store. Not rocket science.
It was the marketing whiz that goes into all Apple products along with obviously superior design.
It was all the things I'm named and the synergistic combination of those things caused Record Labels to agree to license their music.
Microsoft was capable intellectually of making those pieces but--my original point--they lack the initiative to take the risk of being a market leader in anything! Their reluctance to lead in touch is the sine qua non example.

Re:Microsoft Afraid of Pioneering Boo (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435991)

Reading the previous comments you've posted here, I'm having a hard time deciding whether you're a troll, an unfortunately misinformed individual, or a complete and total dumbass. Can you please tell me which?

LCARS anyone? (3, Funny)

meow27 (1526173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435317)

of course we all know that the true touch screen desktop environment was invented in the late 23rd century,

A solution (4, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435375)

AKA: A solution in search of a problem.

Having used touch screens for a variety of applications, I'm having a hard time envisioning it's use in a home environment. We're all used to the precision offered by a mouse, and no one wants a touch screen TV.

It would take a radically new appliance to thrust touch technology in to the lime light.

Re:A solution (3, Funny)

Benzido (959767) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435479)

>A solution in search of a problem.

What are you complaining about?? Many wonderful problems have been discovered that way!

Re:A solution (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435561)

Like the iPhone or Touch. Touch controls are very comfortable if they're under your fingers when your hands are in the "keyboard position" - elbows at 90 degrees, wrist flat - which is easy to achieve with either a laptop touchpad or a small (and therefore easily movable) touchscreen device.

Re:A solution (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435619)

I think MS Flight Sim users would love a configurable touch-screen instrument panel, but MS has canned its MSFS development team, so forget that.

rj

Re:A solution (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435719)

I'm having a hard time envisioning it's use in a home environment. We're all used to the precision offered by a mouse, and no one wants a touch screen TV.

Anyone remember the PepperPad 3? They had they right idea... Use the touch when needed, yet have a keyboard when needed as well.

And not just that, nut the combination of using Wifi for getting information, and RF for controlling the TV.

Linux needs to innovate here (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435401)

I see X as able to support all sorts of input devices... touch screen support should be standard..

We should get touch features in common apps, they should be done in a way that makes the experience superior to anything Windows can muster.

Hey, if that ever happens, it could be the year of the Linux desktop :)

Microsoft Over-promises and Under-delivers (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435411)

We have been learning this lesson for years now. Does anyone recall the long list of features that never made it into Vista and what a useless pile Vista ended up as?

Let's just agree that it doesn't exist until Microsoft actually releases it -- until then, everything Microsoft says should be taken with a grain of vaporware salt.

Re:Microsoft Over-promises and Under-delivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435603)

Touch is shipped in 7. It's just not being used as much as this author would like.

This will be great on laptops and "netbooks" (1)

longtailedhermit (1544819) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435449)

Apple is keeping quiet on whether ornot it will launch a touch-screen tablet computer this year, but Windows pc makers are moving right ahead. several laptop makers are planning to make touchscreen machines, according to Computerworld.

  new zealand optical touch vendor, NextWindow, is supplying at least some of the touchscreens. they already supply HP TouchSmart line, and Dell's Studio One. Nextwindow's CEO says they will be available for windows 7's october release.

What is the need? (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435469)

For the kind of apps touting touch technology, the same can often be done with a well-placed mouse click combined with one or more modifiers keys (e.g. Ctrl, Alt, Shift) without getting the screen dirty! Touch technology has found its place in small devices (e.g. iPhone, Palm Pre) because it's a more useful interface than the small keyboard, and the technology has found its place in large devices (e.g. Surface) where there are new features to be implemented on a flat table-top surface. But for the desktop or laptop computer ... there's really no need for multi-touch technology. It's cool but coolness fades quickly if there's no usefulness to it.

Autoporting sucks. (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435509)

I know Microsoft dosn't want quick conversions to multitouch applications. They just won't work 'right'. Surface is great for public computers, where you want usage locked down anyway, such as hotels, casinos, waiting areas, transportation terminals... the single flat surface is pretty easy to sterilize and clean compared to a keyboard.

When making a Surface application nothing can be modal, and everything can happen at once... drag and drop ten different items to/from ten different sources and destinations at the same time for example.

My biggest disappointment when working on Surface was the annoucment of the 'Surface Business Desk"... turns out it was just a particular set of contact information for businesses that wanted to use Surface to call.

If I were designing it, a multitouch workstation wouldn't replace the monitor, it would replace the keyboard and mouse, and still have the monitor... I have more ideas, but I'd have to see about patenting them before disclosing =)

where are all the multitouch tablets? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435521)

without them, why would I need it? for that matter, where's Windows 7 for high-res cameras, projectors, and frosted glass? Until that appears... I mean, I want it to :)

Compelling Need (1)

zlel (736107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435535)

Everyone knows that no new technology can succeed without the endorsement of the pr0n industry.

Re:Compelling Need (2, Funny)

j741 (788258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435929)

Everyone knows that no new technology can succeed without the endorsement of the pr0n industry.

And this requires a whole different approach to 'touch' technology ;)

Technospeak (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435577)

"It would take one or both of these OS makers to truly touchify their platforms..."

You sound gay.

business opportunity? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435601)

Make something that people want to touch, virtual boobs? Virtual Boobs 7! What a money maker!

Music software (2, Insightful)

teapot (2686) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435605)

A tablet with multi touch would be the best platform for making music ever.

Exercise (3, Insightful)

Joebert (946227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435665)

I like my mouse. I can get from one side of the screen to the other in any direction without moving my mouse more than an inch. With touchscreen I'd actually have to move my whole arm around.

Apple doesn't like to meet existing demand (2, Insightful)

Heshler (1191623) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435679)

Apple creates new products and new demand for them simultaneously through secrecy and good marketing. And I imagine there are many people at Apple working their asses off to try to find a way to do desktop multitouch. Not saying they will, but I wouldn't write off Apple.

Dirty monitors FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435707)

My parents have the terrible habit of pointing at pictures and such on the computer by actually touching the monitor. Within a couple days their monitors look absolutely terrible, smudges/finger prints just all over. I cannot imagine how touch screens would ever be desirable outside of like video poker or entering the PIN for my debit card at the checkout.

or this is one option ... (1)

siga (1638251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435715)

Maybe if touch could be used with remote gloves like in that movie Johnny Mnemonic so it is possible to sit /stand well away from display and still manipulate your desktop. With remotes like Wii has , that should not be far fetched .

Getting ahead of themselves. (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435725)

Once again Microsoft shows how they care more about the face of the OS then the guts, it's still a horribly broken OS with lack of file system support and lack of stability / memory management. In the mean time I'll just be sitting in my nice safe Linux install not having to worry about a new UI that will take 7 months to develop and 7 years of patches / updates to make it work.

Just what I need... (2, Funny)

drbuzz0 (1638167) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435757)

Even more grubby fingerprints all over the monitor.

Re:Just what I need... (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435807)

Actually, that's an important point. For all the hours you spend staring at a screen, do you want it all blurred and smudged up with fingerprints?

Eeeeew! I don't think so!

Use the wrong gesture ..... (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435787)

Use the wrong gesture ..... and instead of Windows giving you a BSOD, you get the Middle Finger!

wrong device (1)

rlwhite (219604) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435823)

Of course the desktop monitor is the wrong place to use a touchscreen. The tablet PC would be far more appropriate, and I hope Win7 gets touch, pen, and handwriting support right. As a software developer diagnosed with carpal tunnel a few years ago, I've been waiting for a convertible tablet that makes full use of the interface's potential.

Touch Interfaces (2, Interesting)

AvenNYC (1042622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435849)

As I've said before, if you can touchify an OS, it's great. I use a very specific version of Windows XP on the lighting console I use. The dual touch screens take the place of the mouse (there's a trackball built in but only used really when a touch screen has issues) and of course tons of hard buttons and knobs etc. By combining the 2, touchscreens and keyboards (hard buttons) you can get everything done so fast you wouldn't believe. I don't think you can have only one or the other and go as fast as having both. That being said, it's built so the touch screens are at the right angle (and height, but that's up to you) and distance from the hard buttons, to make everything easier - you don't end up moving your hands too much. Even hours of using touch screens don't make you too fatigued.

Apple and Touch (2, Interesting)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435909)

I assume that what the author's comment about Apple "merely dabbling" in touch interfaces was in reference to desktops only? Apple runs circles around Microsoft when it comes to successful touch interfaces built onto their OS's back end; look at the iPhone. Microsoft's own Windows Mobile platform makes almost no effort whatsoever by comparison.

touch is all over the Mac OS (5, Insightful)

eefsee (325736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435949)

I am not a Windows user, so I can't comment on Gruman's take on Windows 7, but he seems to be missing a lot about the Mac. Ever since the iPhone and the advent of CocoaTouch, Apple has been migrating touch elements into the desktop Cocoa framework and the laptop trackpad hardware. Today's MacBooks have trackpads that are, essentially, as sensitive as the iPhone. Two-finger scrolling has been joined by other gestures, most recently four-finger strokes to invoke Expose and the like. Application in Cocoa can (and many do) take advantage of two finger "spread" and "squeeze" gestures to zoom in and out, or "twist" gestures to rotate.

Gruman identifies the chicken and egg problem correctly enough, but misses the fact that Apple has a great advantage in the way Cocoa is architected. Many of these features can be implemented by Apple in such a way that Cocoa apps inherit these behaviors "for free." At this point the Mac OS is quite "touchy" and this drives some of the tablet rumors we hear. There is very little to prevent Apple from making the Mac screen itself an input device with gestures that many (if not most) Mac apps would have no trouble interpreting.

The other advantage for Apple in all this is CocoaTouch itself. Apple has a touch interface already widely deployed and is on its third generation of the framework that drives it. The iPhone/iPodTouch has many more users than MS Surface and Apple is learning from every one of them. Just because a casual user of the Mac OS does not get confronted by a host of touch options does not mean the potential is not present, after all, this is the company that ships a five button mouse configured to act like a one button mouse!

Gross (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29435965)

Because all I want to do is smudge up my already smudgy screen.

New gestures? (2)

j741 (788258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29435993)

I just love the author's statements about the"new" touch gestures:
         

it adds a unique two-finger gesture for opening a contextual menu (hold one finger on the object and tap a second finger near it)

This one sounds exactly like what I used to do on an old rear-projection SMART Board system, and as such is certainly not unique to Windows 7.
         

Windows 7's new two-finger swipe gesture for horizontal scrolling

And this two-finger scrolling gesture also functioned on that old system (which worked on Windows 98). It was a vertical scrolling gesture, not horizontal, but that's a very minor difference.

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