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'Gorilla Arm' Will Keep Touch Screens From Taking Over

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the 2013-is-the-year-human-civilization-becomes-lopsided dept.

Input Devices 610

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

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Windows 8 Is Failing on It's Own (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494797)

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

Re:Windows 8 Is Failing on It's Own (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495009)

It doesn't need assistance from physiology.

True.

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

Re:Windows 8 Is Failing on It's Own (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495041)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Windows 8 Is Failing on It's Own (3, Funny)

ultrasawblade (2105922) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495223)

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

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

Does Microsoft make bad versions deliberately? (5, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495271)

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

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

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

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

Microsoft has been alternating bad and good versions of operating systems since the days of DOS. For example, DOS version 3.0 had serious bugs. DOS version 3.1 fixed the bugs. Customers who owned DOS 3 were required to pay the full retail price for DOS 3.1, even though there were few changes.

Re:Windows 8 Is Failing on It's Own (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495067)

while I agree, I think "gorilla arm" is nothing more than a construct of our flabby society whose arms need to exercise more.

Re:Windows 8 Is Failing on It's Own (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495225)

This. Someone needs to tell this "David Pogue" about blackboards. Somehow we managed with them for centuries without this so-called "gorilla arm" mumbo jumbo ever being a factor. The real problem is that people (I'm looking at you Americans) have gotten fat and lazy

Re:Windows 8 Is Failing on It's Own (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495291)

Right. Blackboards... And Whiteboards... Hell everybody knows we stand for 8 hours a day in front of either, constantly writing, and when we finish filling them, we just start back at the beginning... It's identical... Right? Who besides the other Microsoft employees are with me on this?

Re:Windows 8 Is Failing on It's Own (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495189)

When will extraneous apostrophes fail on their own?

Pain (5, Informative)

ravenswood1000 (543817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494811)

It hurts like hell to use a touch screen for hours.

Re:Pain (5, Insightful)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494867)

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

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

Re:Pain (2)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494901)

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

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

MSFT surface tables could easily be integrated into many businesses.

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

Re:Pain (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494953)

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

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

Re:Pain (4, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494963)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Pain (2)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495023)

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

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

Re:Pain (5, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495081)

No you can't.

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Pain (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495099)

Actually, treat the metro interface as your start menu and use the "desktop"......the experience isn't much different than Win7. Don't look for icons, just start typing......usually within three keystrokes, the icon you want is in the left most column and can be clicked easily.

I think the problem is that people are so resistant to change that they haven't spent enough time figuring out how to use it. Besides, what game really needs 12 shortcuts? You can organize the metro screen fairly easily to add/remove/group icons (just drag them around.....right click and bring up the "all apps" view....you can move and even name whole groups). The metro screen *IS* your start menu.....

Re:Pain (1, Informative)

jkrise (535370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495115)

I actually like the ribbon. Basically all it is, is a pictorial, long text menu.

For the length and the real estate it occupies on the screen, the ribbon is very inefficient. The common things I use in an Office package are:

Bold
Italics
Justify
Bullets
Table
Sort

In earlier versions of Office, all these were right there on the top of the editor. Very convenient. I could add, delete or re-rrange the locations of these things as well. Very efficient and programmable.

Now with the Ribbon thingy, there are 3 or 4 separate Ribbons for the 6 commonly used features (and I'm not a Power user, besides). The logical thing would've been to make the Ribbon an option. But MS is an abuse company, dealing with software. They are not reasonable or placative. They are nutcases and nihilists.

Which is why they are FORCING this Metro crap on unwilling users. Unlike Office, Windows is more widely used. So this will cause much more heartburn, and the resulting karma will drive the company towards its eventual demise.

Re:Pain (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495205)

Do you actually use Office with the Ribbon? On Word 2013, Bold, Italics, Justify, Bullets and Sort are all on the Home tab. The only option on a different tab is Table, which you can right click and click "Add to Quick Access" to put it in the top bar if you use it so often. Even if there wasn't a quick access bar, the customise options are still available, in Options -> Customise Ribbon.

So, to counter your post, there are 2 ribbons for your six commonly used features, with the option to easily add the 6th feature into the first ribbon.

Re:Pain (1)

jkrise (535370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495263)

So, to counter your post, there are 2 ribbons for your six commonly used features, with the option to easily add the 6th feature into the first ribbon.

Thanks, but I found it easier to switch over to OpenOffice instead, about 4 years back, unable to stand the ribbon. I had to upgrade to read docx and pptx stuff which others send me; but it was a free upgrade as well, which didn't break the user interface to which I was accustomed, and more productive on.

Re:Pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495221)

I despise the ribbon. It takes up too much vertical space and a lot of the old keyboard shortcuts now have an extra letter. Also, it has no "off" button without reducing functionality. In that regard, it's not optional.

Re:Pain (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494971)

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

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

Re:Pain (5, Funny)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494981)

Oh, and I'll be keeping Windows 8 at arms length as much as possible.....

Re:Pain (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495003)

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

Re:Pain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495005)

Sure, because Quasimodo neck is _much_ better than gorilla arm.

Touchscreen as secondary device for a scenario like this might be good (especially if they add real haptic feedback for real touchtyping and all), but as primary it's only useful for short spans.

Re:Pain (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495015)

Can you imagine an architect you can lay out blueprints on a large drafting table monitor? Where many people can stand around it?

I think I'd still prefer a beamer for that. Can provide an even larger image and be seen from the entire room.
Also, at this size a touch screen might become unpractical again (or even more unpractical), as you may be too short to get to widgets near the ceiling of the room. Back to the mouse ;-)

Re:Pain (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495201)

Can you imagine an architect you can lay out blueprints on a large drafting table monitor? Where many people can stand around it?

Nowhere to put my notebook and coffee during the meeting.

But I agree with you. Touchscreens make an awesome secondary input device for a laptop. Less bulky than a Wacom too. The same value can be found on desktops, although it might wind up being a smaller, secondary tablet rather than touching your large, primary monitor.

Why limit ourselves to one pointing device, when each device has pros, cons and different levels of fidelity? Some people already have mice, touchpads and Wacom tablets on the same machine. Each serves its own purpose.

Re:Pain (4, Insightful)

dindi (78034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495213)

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

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

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

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

Re:Pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42494921)

Macs ditched a lot of keyboard shortcuts for mouse only. Where's my maximize? Click,drag,click,drag is just so much easier!

Re:Pain (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495035)

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

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

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

Hey, I just love that wallpaper!

Re:Pain (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495049)

The problem is that different input devices need different interfaces. Imagine if you had a GUI that forced you to move the cursor using the keyboard, instead of allowing shortcuts. The keyboard would become nearly useless. And that's kind of what MS is trying to do with Windows 8. Make using the mouse so annoying that people switch to touchscreen.

Re:Pain (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495037)

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

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

in French... (1)

fonske (1224340) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494817)

touché
A simple, to the point analysis, naming the problems with their name.
I admit looking at the interface evolution with a lot of interest eg what are my kids going to prefer.
My six year old doesn't seem to mind the keyboard though.

The premise - are you kidding me? (5, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494833)

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

Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495043)

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

Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495091)

Congratulations. Your new name and user ID number is below:

GorillaArm(123222323287523984572398457)

Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495103)

Just look past the Apple logo. You might find treasures.

Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (1)

grumbel (592662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495219)

Acer T230h for example has a touch screen or PHILIPS 247E3LPHSU/00 or Iiyama ProLite T2250MTS. It's not like it's the norm right now on all monitors, but it's not exactly hard or expensive to get a monitor with a build in touchscreen either, those things can be had for 130€. If those things become more trendy with Windows8, we might see them becoming the norm and be simply a standard part for all display in the not so distant future.

Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495233)

Here's one [pocket-lint.com] . I also saw a Windows 8 22" touchscreen all-in-one somewhere.

Large vertical touchscreens may not be plentiful, but there are some out there.

Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (2)

dindi (78034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495251)

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

I have zero tolerance for dirty screens. In fact when working at an office I often end up with a sign on the top of my monitors : "Look! Please don't touch!" - where needed. Probably cultural, but some people just feel the need to touch your screen, knock-knock of your screen, and I just find it extremely disrespectful and disturbing. I don't want to be looking at the letter that has the rainbow distortion of your fingerprint smudge over it :( yuck....

Re:The premise - are you kidding me? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495289)

they've been selling 20"+ touchscreen all in one pc's for a few years now.

go to best buy, walmart, gigantti or something once in a few years sheesh..

I don't want crap smeared on my screen (5, Insightful)

Naatach (574111) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494837)

Since you're on Slashdot, like me, you have no life and you probably eat lunch sitting at your desk with crap on your hands. I have no need to smear all that over my monitor. With tablets and phones, it's ok because you can grab a corner of your shirt and clean it off. I'm not going to flash my monitor to wipe off my burger grease.

Re:I don't want crap smeared on my screen (2)

the11thplague (1776646) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494893)

I'm not going to flash my monitor to wipe off my burger grease.

And that's why they are gonna patent windshield wipers...on computer screens!

Re:I don't want crap smeared on my screen (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495051)

Those are called "windows(tm) wipers" From microsoft.

Re:I don't want crap smeared on my screen (1)

dindi (78034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495287)

But I don't eat crap and if I have it on my hand I take it off before eating!

But yes... I completely agree, I HATE HATE HATE when people touch my screen. But then again, I clean my glasses every hour (yellow gunnars rule, no prescription here) and go nuts when my screens have smudges.

It is the rainbow distorted group of pixels that's left after a sweaty finger. YUCK

wrong premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42494851)

This is a bad argument. Touch screens are meant to complement keyboards and mice, not replace them. One can make the case of them being extremely practical in day-to-day work activities without interfering at all with how things are already done. It would be a welcome, and OPTIONAL addition. If you don't like 'em, don't use 'em. Simple as that.

Re:wrong premise (1)

GrpA (691294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494929)

I've been using a touchscreen with my laptop for 8 years. I use a combination of mouse, trackpad and screen touch.

I also find myself tapping my desktop monitor frequently, expecting it to work... So yeah, I'd love a touchscreen to augment my access.

It's very convenient that way.

GrpA

Re:wrong premise (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495167)

Are you tapping on the screen because you keep losing the curser? If you shake the monitor the curser will center itself at 0,0. Try it -- shake it, but don't stir it :)

Re:wrong premise (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495237)

Microsoft's problem is that it just doesn't know how to do more than one thing. They want everything to look the same everywhere. Metro might be okay for phones and hand-held tablets. It's not okay for desktops. In fact, neither is Gnome Shell or whatever that monstrosity from Ubuntu is called... unity or something?

There is nothing WRONG with icons and windows and like that. Maybe there could be a better way to do it, but I don't think anyone has come up with one yet.

I remember the earlier Windows mobile attempts. Start button and all were there. PalmOS was king at the time and they couldn't wrap their heads around why. Using the technology of the day it was quite perfect. They were light, slim and effective. Microsoft comes along and starts pushing these dense, heavy bricks with ridiculously low battery life. Why?! Why does it have to look like desktop windows? Why does it have to be so heavy? It's like they only know how to do it one way and can't imagine a new one.

Even now, Microsoft struggles like hell to make something small and light. Why?!

Let's be generous saying that Win32, released in the early 90's (1993 right?) started about what? 20 years ago now? It's not the same as it was then... it's completely different... and yet somehow rather compatible with really old software. It has grown huge and slow. It has depended upon the steady growth of processor and memory speed and capacity over the years. It was not a very forward-thinking idea to follow that trend in hind-sight was it? People are still getting about the same amount of work or play done but needing a LOT more power to make it happen and it just can't scale down.

Meanwhile, Linux was also stated in the early 90's and has grown steadily as well. But it doesn't depend on any particular hardware or any particular configuraiton at all. It's a kernel and things are built around that kernel. Okay, Linux doesn't fit on a floppy any longer, but it's still light enough to run on some very modest hardware and it's proven time and time again. But not only does it scale down, it scales up as well! It's huge and it's tiny. Why is this "hobbyist" kernel from which whole OS distros are built able to do things Microsoft simply cannot?!

I'm not convinced that Microsoft can't do this. So I ask, why they are unwilling to. They have a LOT of frikken money. A LOT. Is it arrogance that they think they don't need to reboot themselves? Is it something they are lacking? Fear of change? Fear of trying something new -- the same reason there are so many movies which are just sequels and remakes of old successes? What is it?!

Windows RT shows some promise but by all things I have seen they are still thinking WinTel when they should be thinking of all new things and ideas. And like DEC Alpha, MIPS and PowerPC, support for not Wintel processors just won't live long because they want everything to "be the same." Well guess what? Users are okay with their phones and tablets not looking like their desktops. What "problem" is Microsoft looking to solve?

Re:wrong premise (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494957)

Is all ok, unless you design your user interface based on having just one of those input devices disregarding the others. I.e. Windows 8 gestures are ok in a touchscreen or with a mouse, but with a touchpad moving the pointer could be taken as a gesture and do something not intended.

Re:wrong premise (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495013)

ouch screens are meant to complement keyboards and mice, not replace them.

But you wouldn't know that from using the Win8 GUI- it feels like it's trying to force me into only using the touchscreen.

One can make the case of them being extremely practical in day-to-day work activities without interfering at all with how things are already done.

But that case has not yet been made. And this article points out one very obvious way in which it DOES interfere with how things are done.

I remember when 3-D graphics were first getting big. Everybody was talking about how soon the GUI would be a full-blown 3D environment, instead of the basically 2D one we still use. It didn't catch on because there wasn't any real advantage to using it for your basic OS functions. Yes, it's very nice to have a 3D API available at the OS level for applications to use, and it would be very nice to have the same thing with a touchscreen interface. But that doesn't mean you have to make the OS itself use that type of interface.

It's not just gorilla arm that will do Metro in (5, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494853)

I use my iPad regularly for work, for extended periods of time sometimes. As an extremely portable platform, it isn't all that bad for typing larger amounts of text, though it is not ideal. I've tried using it as a mini laptop by standing it upright and using a Bluetooth keyboard. That's the setup that Microsoft envision, apparently. And you know what? Turns out the thing that I've been missing most on my iPad when using it standalone for typing/drawing isn't a keyboard. It's a mouse, or at least a trackpad. A mouse offers precision and speed; no click and hold necessary since a mouse has buttons. A touchscreen is more useful on other cases perhaps, but or a lot of common tasks it can't beat a mouse.

the worst thing about the proliferation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42494861)

of touch screens is that the long-honored convention of not touching a desktop monitor screen seems to be flying out the window. Seems like three times a week I have to resist the urge to break an arm as one of my co-workers puts their greasy finger prints on my screen.

Gorilla Arm is a debunked argument from the 80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42494865)

Touchscreens are doing just fine.

re: "debunked" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42494879)

[citation needed]

Re:Gorilla Arm is a debunked argument from the 80s (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495153)

So far (in the time after year 2000), touch screens were usually on smartphones, tablets and lately some laptops. No need for horizontally extended arms there.

With the combination of desktop and 24" screen, the distance is larger and the problem will reappear. I also don't see ditching myself the desktop anytime soon.

Re:Gorilla Arm is a debunked argument from the 80s (1)

belgianguy (1954708) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495235)

IMO it's also in the usage scenarios, mobile usage is usually bursty as in short period, heavy touch usage and then a long period of nothing which allows for recuperation of energy and which lets the muscles rest.

Office work is usually stretched over multiple hours with a little less usage in average but rarely no usage at all, the absence of pure rest for your muscles for longer periods of times might influence an office worker in very negative ways. Once you get any sort of pain or inflammation, you'll be incapacitated in doing your job. By becoming tired, other factors get influenced as well, you become less cogent, which means that you might not always remember what was under your finger when touching something as you cannot see what your finger covers. Or when your muscles start tiring, your precision could suffer as you try certain arm positions that do not use a certain painful muscle. And this would incapacitate an office worker even further.

It's just addative, not a replacement (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494869)

Just like the mouse didn't replace the keyboard, touch input isn't going to replace the mouse, but rather augment it. There are things that a mouse is much better suited for, and therefore it won't go away. But in a couple years, all new computers will have touch capability. Smart people will use touch when it makes sense. Some people will forgo the mouse completely. Some people won't use the touch at all. But it will be there.

Re:It's just addative, not a replacement (2)

slickepott (733214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494923)

The problem would be that windows 8 makes the touch interface a default from what I see. So touch interface that allows for mouse and keyboard?

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

Re:It's just addative, not a replacement (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495229)

Oh, come on. "Default" in this case means you have to press the Windows key to get to the desktop. Big deal!

Re:It's just addative, not a replacement (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42494951)

Except that Windows 8 has largely broken the existing interface.

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

It took only a few hours to realize that Windows 8 couldn't make up its mind about whether my gestures were intended to be a minor action (moving the pointer over an inch to press a button) or a new, major action (switching to the previous application). Before the end of the day, I wiped Win8 off of the machine and installed Win7. I won't "upgrade" unless and until Microsoft makes it reasonable to turn off the Metro interface.

For the time being, I'm more or less stuck running some version of Windows. If Microsoft continues to force its users to use "The Interface Formerly Known As Metro", I will either stick with Win7. If that becomes impractical, I'll switch to Linux.

Re:It's just addative, not a replacement (2, Interesting)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494969)

This!

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

Don't touch my screen! (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494877)

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

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

What is gorilla arm? (2)

jkrise (535370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494885)

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

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

Re:What is gorilla arm? (0)

johnlcallaway (165670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495269)

I would like for the jury to turn their attention to other Microsoft 'innovations' here on the table. You will find Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows 8, Surface, Zune, Media Center, and Microsoft Cordless phone. There are many more, but these should suffice for the purposes of this trial. You will notice that Microsoft has plenty of ideas, but is rarely able to find something that people want or need. These products are all 'pretty', but upon closer inspection you will find that Microsoft seemed to be more interested in creating something pretty than something that actually worked and worked well. Often times, using a product was met with frustrations non-standard operations were confusing. Or things were made so simple that intelligent people had to use more effort to use them.

On this table are successful Microsoft products .. Windows, Excel, Word, and Powerpoint. What you will notice is that these products were not truly innovative, they already existed. But became very popular because they worked well, and worked well together.

Your decision in this matter is clear. Microsoft has a very low success rate when developing new products, but is able to take ideas that other people have, fine tune them, and create better products. Please find in favor of the plaintiffs and approve this injunction that forbids Microsoft from every trying to create something new ever again so as to stop wasting money so we can have lower prices. They will only be allowed to improve their own successful products or copy some other product, as long as they keep the way things currently work the same while adding new features, or changes to existing features will only be allowed if the user 'Opts In', instead of the current method of having to dig through endless, non-intuitive screens to find a box to click to revert back.

Thank you for your service.

bollocks (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494899)

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

OK, I'm sure that there are many applications for stationary touch screens on 'personal computers'.
Example: Two designers manipulating something on the screen. There's only one mouse, and sometimes it's easier to just turn things around using a finger or stylus rather than pass the mouse across.
Example: Sometimes I'm reading something, and it's just easier (or perceived to be quicker) to point the stylus at the screen rather than manipulate the mouse.
Example: An older person with not so fine-motor control. Rather than move the darn mouse, just click with your finger!

I'm sure you can come up with other examples.

The point is, the touchscreen does not replace the mouse, just like the mouse did not replace the keyboard. And just like voice hasn't and won't replace the keyboard. The various input methods compliment each other.

Re:bollocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42494995)

That might very well be true in theory, but not in Windows 8. Following your rationale, then they should have integrated all the touch-oriented extras into _one_ Windows without bolting on a touch-first UI that looks nothing like the Windows people were used to, creating two disjoint halves that each have their own UI styles, limits and possibilities.

That rebukes your point that these inputs are to be symbiotic and complimentary, the one place where this symbiosis should have shined is now an agreed on schizophrenic system that expects you to do touch gestures and cues with your mouse and which expects you to hunt for your Desktop 'App' with your fingers to change a setting which cannot be set from the Modern UI side of things.

Re:bollocks (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495157)

What 'nerd' or 'geek' actually gives a shit about MS Windows 8? No one is being forced to use it at work, because all the big organizations are still stuck on MS Windows XP, or have just moved to MS Windows 7. No one is forced to use it at home, there are no games that are MS Windows 8 only, they'll still run on MS Windows 7 or earlier. So who gives a shit?
I don't run MS Windows at all. OK, so I have a copy of MS Windows 7 on my computer that I haven't gotten around to blowing away yet, but I don't use it. I use GNU/Linux, and for me, touch just works and compliments my other input devices. (Not perfectly by any means, but that's a software and user issue: I just need to play with mouse gestures some more I think.) Sure on some shitty MS OS touch might be integrated poorly, but I don't give a shit.

"Compliment" (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495093)

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

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

What touch screen? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494903)

Windows 8 is also failing because there are not very many touch screens out there. Who wants to upgrade their hardware just to put a new OS on it? Even the hardware that is ONLY AVAILABLE with Windows 8 thanks to Microsoft's illegal and anti-competitive practices often enough does not come with a touch screen.

Mouse over drop downs (4, Informative)

djl4570 (801529) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494919)

The biggest problem I have with my Galaxy Tab is sites that rely on mouse over messages and mouse over drop down menus. Since there is no mouse cursor, I can't activate the message or drop down. nfl.com is a good example of this. You can navigate to "scores" easily but getting to "standings" is problematic. All of the sites that rely on a mouse cursor or Flash can be rebuilt to support tablets but I'm not sure this is an improvement.
The lack of mouse over messages is a problem with icons as well. If I don't know what an ambiguous icon does, the only way to find out is to poke the icon or wade through documentation.

Are they goddamn mutants? (2)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494927)

Do the decision makers at Microsoft not have any rotator cuffs? Because just the thought of reaching out to touch a desktop monitor all day makes mine start to ache.

Um, we knew this over 50 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42494961)

Ever hear of SAGE? You know, that massive, graphically driven computer to control nuclear weapons?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-Automatic_Ground_Environment [wikipedia.org]

You know, the computer system that started even before Sputnik was launched? (So no, we don't have computers because of NASA, OK?)

It used a light gun. Same complaint. Arm hurts. This is the problem with ignorance of history. Not only do you get people with weird beliefs about the origins of technology, (like the often-repeated myth that only space can cause technology when it's the other way around) but you forget important lessons.

Sore finger from PDP-1 light pen (2)

dpbsmith (263124) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495105)

Actually, I used a light pen on a PDP-1 and my problem was that I got a sort spot on the pad of my index finger. Normally, there was a shutter closed over the sensor, and you had a slide a little spring-loaded slide to uncap it. The spring was probably stronger than it should have been, and the slide had little ridges on it to give a better grip.

My finger didn't actually get blistered, but close. It got sore and painful enough to make me realize I needed to avoid using it for a day.

Simple solution... (3, Informative)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494967)

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

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

-jcr

It will happen once costs are marginalized... (1)

knarf (34928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494983)

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

Article is pure postulation. (5, Informative)

Joshua Fan (1733100) | about a year and a half ago | (#42494999)

Stop propagating the myth Steve Jobs started that few people bother to test first hand.

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

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

Touchscreens and the Myth of Windows 8 ‘Gorilla Arm’ [time.com]

Completely missed it (1)

rikkards (98006) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495001)

Microsoft could probably care less if touch doesn't take off. It's Kinect that they want to flourish. Why smear across the screen when you can switch between apps with the wave of an arm

Re:Completely missed it (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495155)

And the same wave might also close the document you're working on, email your recent photos to your boss and format your hard drive. I can't wait.

PC concept fades away? = force-fed bullshit. lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495007)

until the PC concept fades away entirely

Lol. Yeah, there will be this time when we stop using personal universal information processing machines, because we love shiny locked-down fixed-functionality rocks... err, I mean appliances... so much! It will be called "the age of the digital caveman". ;)

Rarely has somebody failed so hard as this guy. ^^

Cheeto fingers (0)

vlad30 (44644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495011)

Its much harder to clean fingerprints of a bigger screen than to swipe your phone on your shirt

At least 3rd wave (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495019)

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

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

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

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

Having lived thru it, there were three classes of light pens around 1980. One was exotic mhz class light sensors that "watched" the phosphor and the video waveforms, and correlated them together to give a simple X Y coordinate. I have no experience with them. I believe Apple had hardware for this?

The next class is "digital" with weird interfaces. My father had a light pen for a TRS80 model3 which used the cassette port and I believe it operated like a modem, where a 0 on the cassette port was 1100 hz and a 1 was 2200 hz or whatever, so a simple light controlled oscillator fed into the cassette input was fast, simple, and worked pretty well. It was not my hardware so I may be off in some details, although I am 100% certain it interfaced via the cassette interface. UI was much cruder than the hardware system above, and amounted to illumate/flash a square on the screen, do you see light? If so the pen is touching, if not, try flashing the next square. Worked pretty well, and fast, for 1 of n selections where n is less than 5 or so, not so good for full screen.

The next class, which I actually built and used for my radio shack color computer, was a simple light detector feeding into an analog input. Probably a joystick axis. This amounts to a CdS cell and a resistor in a model rocket cardboard adapter tube and some cabling. Identical software to above. Back in the olden days, home computer analog inputs were very crude and slow, so this was quite a bit slower than the cassette input 1100 hz or whatever device above. But it did work.

There were other gadgets mostly I/O prohibitive that amounted to a frame around a screen and flashing IR LEDs and looking at phototransistor outputs. Serious reflection problems, resolution problems, uses tons of I/O. Pretty fast, if done right, however. I suppose in the modern era, its too expensive to make a "touch" screen material when you could use two webcams and what amounts to something like a crude version of kinect software.

The main problem with touch-ish interfaces in 1980, oddly enough, was the same gorilla arm problem so recently discovered in 2013. Who ever would have guessed human anatomy would evolve so little in a mere two generations. As the endless wheel of IT revolves, as this technology is "reinvented" every decade or so, we'll make the same discovery that it sucks in 2020, 2030, 2040, 2050, repeat into infinity. Also the "human-computer" bandwidth of the UI was ridiculously slow, you could do more with a keyboard in 10 seconds than a touch/light screen in a minute, and back then people believed learning should provide rewards, rather than the modern "all are and will forever be noobs" and "trophies for all, equally" and all that garbage.

Re:At least 3rd wave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495061)

Yah; "gorilla arm" killed the light pen in the '60.

99.99% of what people learn has to be re-learned by everyone else independently.

That 0.01% is called 'progress'.

Hey Microsoft, human factors ALWAYS come first. (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495057)

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

Re:Hey Microsoft, human factors ALWAYS come first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495181)

Nottin' a little gift from the flying chair division won't fix...

Hung fire for forty years? REALLY? (2)

dpbsmith (263124) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495071)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Hung fire for forty years? REALLY? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495101)

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

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

I have had touch computing for decades (4, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495087)

It's called using a 'mouse' and 'keyboard'. I touch both of them and the way I touch and move them controls what is on the screen. I need to use the screen on my tablet and phone because I'm not at my desk. What works well on the desktop doesn't work on the phone, it needed different input techniques. That doesn't mean those techniques work well on the desktop.

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

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

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

Really not a problem in practice (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495133)

Anyone who spends that much time with their tablet probably already has a 'Gorilla Arm'. At least one.

This isn't rocket science. (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495137)

Mount the screen at an angle. Recess it. Problem solved. Dell S2340T 23" Multi-Touch Monitor [dell.com]

Stand up or change touch orientation (1)

Vrekais (1889284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495139)

While I'm not entirely certain gorilla arm is a big an issue as it's made to be (if extending your arm repeatedly was really that painful we wouldn't be using white boards would we?) I don't see my self using a vertical touch screen, putting touch that far away seems odd.

However a PC set out like a Nintendo DS (for lack of a better analogous device) would be awesome. Keyboard when you need it, drawing board when you need it, move things up to the top screen to view, type on and read then down to the bottom for in depth manipulation. Probably still with a mouse just to soften the change.

Issues with touch vs mouse (3, Informative)

belgianguy (1954708) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495143)

Fatigue: it costs more energy to move your whole arm and body to touch a screen than it takes to move a mouse pointer. That's what the article covers.
Obfuscation: Where the mouse pointer does cover 'some' pixels on the screen, a finger, and its attached hand and arm will obfuscate a much larger part of the view, which requires the user to remember what was under his finger before touching it. If this happens too often or a UI changes rapidly (eg a web site), this could lead to frustrations. Especially with subjects like the elderly.
Precision: You lose precision, even with a perfectly healthy human being, a fingerprint has a bigger surface than a pixel-perfect pointer, therefor your UI needs to be a lot more spacious to allow for users to "aim" correctly and allow for some correctional margin. If the UI design did not take this into account, this too can lead to frustration (mis-touching).

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

All part of the plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495171)

This is obviously another step in the coming resurrection of the Amiga.

New definition of "computer" (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495185)

It's odd that everyone seems to be hung up on the aspect of pain related to actually holding your arm up in front of you and physically touching a touchscreen, and have seem to have completely forgotten that Microsoft also owns the Kinect technology. Touchscreen doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be physical (or at least I would hope not). Future designs in computing will likely take advantage of 3D space around a user.

Hell, given the fact that lawsuits will run rampant for RSI-related issues, ergonomics will become a priority for none other than liability. If I can rely on anything in our litigious society, it's certainly that.

This takes us to the next level ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495187)

... of wrist-relieving handrests. Here comes the anti-gorilla-arm adaptive elbow rest that keeps your elbow approx. 30cm high - strapped around your arm, did anybody file a patent for that yet?

Same reason the Nintendo power glove failed (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495215)

Fun for 7 minutes then back to the controller.

the finger prints!! (1)

issicus (2031176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495249)

the oily film that develops could be harvested for use in gorilla arm ointments.

HP 9845C -- soft-keys on display (1)

robbarrett (84479) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495265)

While not exactly a touchscreen, I spent many hours/days/weeks/months programming and using an HP 9845C back in the 1980s. It had a series of 8 soft-keys built into the lower edge of the display [hp9845.net] that could be controlled via software to display menu options and generate interrupts when pressed. Users of our software (and that of many others) used these soft-keys extensively to navigate information. Users also switched regularly back to the keyboard to enter queries, etc.

While I do remember some arm tiredness, the rapid dance of fingers across the soft-keys was so efficient for navigation that everyone loved the system. It might be worth reflecting on the details of this design. For example, the user could rest the hand on the display frame or the body of the computer without straying too far from the soft-keys; all of the "touchscreen" actions were at the lower edge of the display. Both of these features decreased arm strain.

FWIW, some applications on this machine used light-pens, which also required a touchscreen-like mechanic It might be worth exploring what use cases found these awkward devices to be wins. I notice that the Wikipedia article on light-pens [wikipedia.org] claims Gorilla-arm led to the demise of light-pens, but without citation.

Glad I don't own MS stock. (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495277)

At times like these, I feel so happy that I don't have any Microsoft Stock options. Seriously, as someone who is forced to use computers all day, the thought of having to stick my arm out and touch my monitors (with my sometimes grubby and greasy fingers) for hours and hours.... it's just so awful! Who are these "geniuses" at MS?! How can a company with so much resources be so inept in decision making?
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