The Cache: Technology Expert's Forum
 
*
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register. September 18, 2019, 06:58:26 PM

Login with username, password and session length


Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Trackpad vs. Mouse (or how I learned to relax and love the bomb)  (Read 5628 times)
perkiset
Olde World Hacker
Administrator
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10096



View Profile
« on: December 04, 2010, 07:28:16 PM »

Some of you may remember that several months ago I put myself on a personally-dictated restriction from the mouse on my desktop. Why? Because I think touch is going to beat mouse sooner rather than later and wanted to see just how tough that transition is going to be. Also, just to be clear and give ITTO and NOP their due immediately, I am a Macultist that cannot think on my own, so the moment Apple came out with one I had to buy it. I am a Stepford customer. Wink

There have been trackpad, trackballs, pen tablets, you name it as input devices for a long time now - so why the sudden jump? I have a doctor client that wanted to know just how realistic the Apple pad was as a replacement as a mouse (several, actually) - I bought one for him and had a WTF moment ... why not? There was a very specific moment in 1985 when I suddenly jumped hard onto the mouse, could this be another sea change? It's a good looking thing and arguably the best integrated with the OS that a pad has ever been, perhaps it could be the next step. Wanted to find out.

Growing pains
The first couple days were the worst. I looked at my lovely Logitech mouse sitting there... lonely, unused and suddenly way more sexy than it'd ever been. About 2 weeks in I actually got some repetition pains which took a bit of focus to continue using the pad and eliminate the problems. The real deal was that I was both too tense and was leaving my wrist in a single position and allowing my hand to "yaw" about - this is actually a remnant of my mouse technique (the yaw part) - the way I mouse is to put my palm heal on the desk and then pick up the mouse as I need to. This did NOT work for me on a tablet. I still yaw a bit, but now the palm heel is up and my arm moves more fluidly, which got me past the repetition issue. Targeting was also a problem for a little bit. I am deadly accurate with a mouse but the touch pad messed with my aim enough to slow me down a bit. Took a bit to work past that.

Today
The benefit that I didn't anticipate, although in hindsight seems like a slam dunk, is that all of my devices share a common analog/digital interface. My phone, 'pad, computer and notebook all use a similar touch interface which is now much more comfortable than a mouse. I'm now to the point that my touch interaction follows my eyes and intentions the way my mouse did, with damn good accuracy.

The other benefit is the addition of gestures. I don't use grow/shrink on the desktop much, but other than that, I use gestures a lot now and they are starting to really take hold. The Citrix Receiver, for example, is not very good at interpreting my touches to locations on the screen. So a quick "grow," target and shrink has become a new part of my regular interface behavior. Interestingly, navigating my 6 monitors has now become easier with the touch rather than my mouse. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it has to do with the "instant stop" of bringing my finger off the pad. Yes, lifting the mouse does the same, but there's something more natural about it with a touch pad.

Another interesting side effect is that I used to sort of dread the keyboard-mouse transition moment. In other words, I was just as fast, if not faster with the key commands of VI rather than reaching over and grabbing the mouse. The mouse always seems to be in a slightly different position, slightly closer or further from the keyboard which takes just that tiniest moment of cogitation and adjustment before proceeding to targeting. But with the trackpad it seems more "in the stream" of my work. It's pretty much always where I last left it and the cursor seems more likely to be exactly where my hand last left it. This is sort of subjective stuff, but I find that it is growing for me. I find that when I'm reading something or creating, my hand reaches the pad and gestures automatically and the screen does what I want, seemingly more naturally than with the mouse.

Also, "momentum" - the scrolling effect where the scrollable window keeps going after you've moved - is much more natural with touch than with a mouse IMO. And since a single finger moves the mouse and a double touch scrolls the area I'm editing, it just seems to be less hand manipulation to get the computer to do what I'm thinking.

Summary
As I've pointed out on other threads as well, as soon as someone comes out with a reasonable keyboard (especially one like the M$ demo, whoo baby) that is a flat piece of glass I am ON IT. Gentle touching and swiping now feels a lot more normal than the deep-push of my Microsoft natural keyboard or my Logitech mouse. Or my Apple Magic Mouse for that matter.

This is CLEARLY not a scientific outline and I don't know if the trackpad is for many yet. I fall into the category of people that ski really well, but the moment I put on a snowboard it was like home. I don't necessarily feel things the same way as others and for that reason, YMMV. In fact, will almost certainly vary. But it may be worth looking at it if you have more connection devices than just your desktop. The commonality of all devices has paid dividends for me in terms of getting my intention into the box. Perhaps it might work for you as well.

All that said, it did not work for the doctor. After a bit he gave it up as too different than what he was used to. I can't say that is unexpected. The muscle memory of a mouse is probably stronger for most than the desire to go in a new direction. But I have a feeling that this may change. Touching phones, pads/tablets - the essential UI paradigm is starting to shift a bit. Although the touchpads of today may not at all be the way things finally wind up, gestures are going to make their way in and the mouse is going to go the way of the Dodo, I predict.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 07:33:39 PM by perkiset » Logged

It is now believed, that after having lived in one compound with 3 wives and never leaving the house for 5 years, Bin Laden called the U.S. Navy Seals himself.
daviator
Expert
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 333


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2010, 04:36:03 PM »

Nice analysis/feedback.  Given the low cost of the Apple trackpad, maybe I'll give it a whirl.

I currently use an Apple Magic Mouse, and to be honest, I haven't been completely thrilled with it.  I find that I frequently get undesired scrolling (or in the case of viewing maps and the like, unanticipated and undesired zooming in and out) which I've never been able to completely eliminate through settings adjustments.  This undoubtedly results from a tendency to rest my fingers on the mouse, but it's annoying nonetheless.

I've also found, when using the iPhone/iPad, that there are a lot of websites/interfaces (especially Flash) which don't work very well with the touch interface.  How is "click and drag" handled?  Do you have to double-tap to select something?

I'm also thinking that it's likely that the mouse will be replaced by a more intuitive interface, but I'm not 100% sure that we're there yet.  Guess I'll have to try the trackpad to know for sure.
Logged
nutballs
Administrator
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5627


Back in my day we had 9 planets


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2010, 09:18:36 PM »

I just want my entire desk to be touch like the track pad. Or at least a 2x2 foot area on the right of my kb. I hate mice, but a tablet is annoying because of the pen. I wanna put my finger on the table and move around.
Logged

I could eat a bowl of Alphabet Soup and shit a better argument than that.
perkiset
Olde World Hacker
Administrator
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10096



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2010, 09:25:06 PM »

Excellent QQs, Dv.

I also got the same sort of "over control" from the Magic Mouse as well as unintended motion. Although the MM is an interesting notion, it never quite satisfied me either.

With regards to click/drag, chording is CERTAINLY more intuitive on the pad than it is the face of the magic mouse. That's actually something I neglected to mention. Chording feels fine, albeit a new and learned experience. There's the slight twinge of, "Oooooh, what's coming next?" with chording. I keep getting visions of Minority Report.

I think you're right, the trackpad is a halfway. It's not the real destination, but I don't know if anyone really knows what that looks like yet. 6th Sense at my desk does not make a lot of sense, but the mouse has passed its time. I look forward to what the powers-that-be come up with Smiley
Logged

It is now believed, that after having lived in one compound with 3 wives and never leaving the house for 5 years, Bin Laden called the U.S. Navy Seals himself.
perkiset
Olde World Hacker
Administrator
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10096



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 09:26:53 PM »

I just want my entire desk to be touch like the track pad. Or at least a 2x2 foot area on the right of my kb. I hate mice, but a tablet is annoying because of the pen. I wanna put my finger on the table and move around.

RIGHT with you. That's why I looked to see if I could convert an older 22" Apple monitor to touch. It can be done, for about $800. That's cool and I'd love it, except there is no multi-touch - so with a keyboard up, there'd be no way to Shift-Letter or Ctrl-Key something. That's a show stopper. WISHING. WISHING.

Say - it can't be that tough and we've lots and lots of spare time, why don't we write it?
Logged

It is now believed, that after having lived in one compound with 3 wives and never leaving the house for 5 years, Bin Laden called the U.S. Navy Seals himself.
kurdt
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1153


paha arkkitehti


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2010, 12:35:44 AM »

Very interesting Perk. I had the same conclusion few years back that touch is the future. Of course if you want everything to be touch, you'll have to make those programs to zoom really, really fast to be able to offer the same accuracy you get with pixel accurate pointing device. I have been thinking about Trackpad lately a lot and I'm very interested to try it. I'll have to complete few other projects before that and check whether there's direct support for the device in Ubuntu. uTouch offers multitouch capabilities in Ubuntu already so it's up to having a decent driver for it.

I really don't expect much from basic desktop use because today's desktops weren't designed touch in mind. Everything is bit too small and inefficient for touch based usage. Of course I don't have any first hand experience so I might be completely wrong here.
Logged

I met god and he had nothing to say to me.
kurdt
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1153


paha arkkitehti


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2010, 02:10:39 AM »

Hmm, http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2010/09/benjamin-gets-his-hands-on-the-apple-magic-trackpad/ has interesting article that says it works up to 10 touch points out of the box with Ubuntu 10.10. Nice, I might get one soon Smiley Obviously there's downsides like most of the programs simply don't support gestures Trackpad provides but that's to be expected. If this whole touch in desktop goes mainstream I suspect more developers will start design their software touch in mind. And the article says that Ubuntu developers are already doing improvements to the driver that will allow to map gestores to key combos which would basically enable you to do anything with trackpad you can do with mouse and keyboard Smiley
Logged

I met god and he had nothing to say to me.
perkiset
Olde World Hacker
Administrator
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10096



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2010, 12:30:37 PM »

LOL @ 10 touchpoints: I can barely get 3 fingers going in any meaningful way ... but if there was a whole lot more real estate (like if I converted a monitor) then I think that'd be hot.
Logged

It is now believed, that after having lived in one compound with 3 wives and never leaving the house for 5 years, Bin Laden called the U.S. Navy Seals himself.
vsloathe
vim ftw!
Global Moderator
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1669



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2010, 01:56:10 PM »

I have one of these

http://store.razerzone.com/store/razerusa/en_US/pd/productID.169418900

And couldn't live without it. But I play WoW 3v3 arenas competitively (pro gaming sport, look it up).

For the lazy: It's a mouse with 17 buttons.
Logged

hai
jairez
Expert
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 164


JTFC


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2011, 09:32:26 AM »

JTFC -
Quote
It's a mouse with 17 buttons.
- that had better be one "... charming mother-fuckin' ..." mouse.

I used to use a stick to hit my keyboard, but several years ago I wandered into the land of trackballs and found it hard to live without my Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman.  It has all the benefits that Perk alludes to with the track pad, but the familiarity and pixel accurate pointing as mentioned by Kurdt.  My biggest complaint is my Trackman requires a USB transmitter to be as accurate as it is.  I've found some of the bluetooth items to be "sketchy" in that department.

IMHO.
Logged

Spontaneity has it's time and place.  [Sluggo, 1990-ish]
vsloathe
vim ftw!
Global Moderator
Lifer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1669



View Profile
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2011, 12:14:03 PM »

Yeah, wireless mice...adding 20-500ms of latency on purpose makes me go Shocked as a gamer. I don't play competitively with round trip pings higher than 50ms.
Logged

hai
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Perkiset's Place Home   Best of The Cache   phpMyIDE: MySQL Stored Procedures, Functions & Triggers
Politics @ Perkiset's   Pinkhat's Perspective   
cache
mart
coder
programmers
ajax
php
javascript
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC
Seo4Smf v0.2 © Webmaster's Talks


Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!