Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th May 2007 09:54 UTC, submitted by Laurence
Microsoft "Microsoft has unveiled a new touch-sensitive coffee table-shaped computer called 'Surface'. Designed to do away with the need for a traditional mouse and keyboard, users can instead use their fingers to operate the computer. Also designed to interact with mobile phones placed on the surface, Microsoft says it will initially sell the unit to corporate customers. These will include hotels, casinos, phone stores and restaurants." Instant update: More details and a video.
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RE
by Kroc on Wed 30th May 2007 10:06 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Can't wait for the first Flickr photo of a coffee table BSOD ;)

I kid, I like that this technology is now moving forward and is clearly the future as I speculated in the Augmented Reality article.

Reply Score: 2

RE
by Liquidator on Wed 30th May 2007 10:19 UTC in reply to "RE"
Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

Wake up, there hasn't been a blue screen of death for ages now. I think this new technology is great, and more and more people will have access to it, and it's going to be everywhere. But I'm not sure I'll want to leave my current computer to use a table, eh eh...I don't know what version of Windows it's gonna run either (Vista or an embedded version).

Reply Score: 4

RE
by Laurence on Wed 30th May 2007 10:32 UTC in reply to "RE"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I'd be interested to see a dedicated multi-touch OS rather than just an adapted version of Vista (et al). I know this is a long way yet, but I'd be very interested to see how such a system would be built. Maybe Gene Roddenberry got it right and we'd all be using LCARS like OSs ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE
by Kroc on Wed 30th May 2007 10:54 UTC in reply to "RE"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

It was a joke =P Maybe I should have used sarcasm marks. A decent XP system never BSODs, not unless your hardware go awry. However Windows has built up many myths over the years that are no longer true, yet people still repeat them - reminds me of the one button myths about Macs. Always eat your own dogfood.

Reply Score: 2

RE
by archiesteel on Wed 30th May 2007 13:40 UTC in reply to "RE"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

You're right, from XP on it's been red instead of blue, if I recall correctly. The reason you don't see them is that there is a key in the registry that reboots the system instead...

That said, I have to admit that this technology is rather cool. All I hope is that it won't be a proprietary, locked-down machine like the Xbox360, and that you'll be able to experiment with these and install other OSes. After all, they don't have the argument of locking out game cheaters here!

I'm not sure it'll catch on, either. I mean, I thought tablets would be all the rage, and they didn't really catch on. Customer inertia has served MS well in the past, but it's also an obstacle they need to overcome when they try to introduce new technologies such as these.

Reply Score: 1

RE
by anevilyak on Wed 30th May 2007 18:13 UTC in reply to "RE"
anevilyak Member since:
2005-09-14

You're right, from XP on it's been red instead of blue, if I recall correctly. The reason you don't see them is that there is a key in the registry that reboots the system instead...


Actually, the RSOD is only if it dies at certain points in the boot loader from what I remember. If you have it enabled you'll still get a normal blue screen from a crash while it's running.

Reply Score: 1

RE
by Almafeta on Wed 30th May 2007 18:15 UTC in reply to "RE"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

I thought tablets would be all the rage, and they didn't really catch on.

Although they seem to be gaining speed, at least here on campus: 80% of the laptops here are tablet PCs. (Another 10% are just XP or 2000 laptops, another 10% are Macs, and then there are the two guys who have Linux laptops and talk about Linux like Campus Crusade for Christ talks about Jesus.)

Reply Score: 1

RE
by abraxas on Thu 31st May 2007 14:17 UTC in reply to "RE"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

You're right, from XP on it's been red instead of blue, if I recall correctly. The reason you don't see them is that there is a key in the registry that reboots the system instead...

It's still blue in XP and yes autoreboot can be changed in the registry but it can also be changed in the safe mode menu after a blue screen reboot. I still see a lot of MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION and BAD_POOL_CALLER blue screens on XP. Rolling back the registry usually does the trick.

Reply Score: 2

v RE
by robnix on Wed 30th May 2007 20:05 UTC in reply to "RE"
RE
by viton on Wed 30th May 2007 14:04 UTC in reply to "RE"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

coffee table BSOD
Heh.
Just download an update for your coffee table =)

Reply Score: 1

RE
by Mellin on Wed 30th May 2007 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE"
Mellin Member since:
2005-07-06

more like RSOD ;)

Edited 2007-05-30 20:36

Reply Score: 1

Wait, no keyboard?
by hhcv on Wed 30th May 2007 10:11 UTC
hhcv
Member since:
2005-11-12

So, when greeted by a BSOD we are to place two palms on the table (CTRL + ALT) and proceed to hit it with our foreheads (DEL).

Reply Score: 5

Kidney
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 30th May 2007 10:12 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

God, have you guys seen the videos of it in action? This is one of the coolest things I have *ever* seen.

Where can I order? Someone need a kidney?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Kidney
by hhcv on Wed 30th May 2007 10:18 UTC in reply to "Kidney"
hhcv Member since:
2005-11-12

Yeah, it looks bloody awesome.. I can't say I have not seen this all before though - there was a similar University research protect that looks very, very similar.

A Kidney you say, do I know the game show for you!

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Kidney
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 30th May 2007 10:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Kidney"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

A Kidney you say, do I know the game show for you!

Hey I'm not responsible for what my fellow countrymen come up with ;) .

Reply Score: 1

RE: Kidney
by zimbatm on Wed 30th May 2007 12:01 UTC in reply to "Kidney"
zimbatm Member since:
2005-08-22

I wouldn't buy one. Did you see all those cuts in the video ? IMO they're just trying to sell an unfinished product to take the market. It's what they've always done in the past at least.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Kidney
by jayson.knight on Wed 30th May 2007 17:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Kidney"
jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

"IMO they're just trying to sell an unfinished product to take the market. It's what they've always done in the past at least."

No shit sherlock...welcome to the world of business. Ever been to a trade show before? An auto show?

Besides, if it was finished wouldn't it be on sale now?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Kidney
by l3v1 on Wed 30th May 2007 13:07 UTC in reply to "Kidney"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

Jeff Han and http://www.perceptivepixel.com/ are there for a time now. And there are always some fast followers out there in the market. The good old video: http://www.fastcompany.com/video/player.html?bctid=769654555

// sorry for the big link

Reply Score: 2

RE: Kidney
by pzad on Wed 30th May 2007 13:19 UTC in reply to "Kidney"
pzad Member since:
2005-12-23
RE: Kidney
by helf on Wed 30th May 2007 16:35 UTC in reply to "Kidney"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

yeah, thats really awesome looking. some of it, like when he painted the hair will both hands, was kinda slow updating on the screen. but that is still neat ;)

Reply Score: 2

Who's gonna clean the screen?
by axilmar on Wed 30th May 2007 10:43 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

Touching screens with greasy fingers is not the ideal situation.

Subbuteo would be really cool though.

It can also be used for simulating turn tables!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Who's gonna clean the screen?
by Laurence on Wed 30th May 2007 10:56 UTC in reply to "Who's gonna clean the screen?"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"

Touching screens with greasy fingers is not the ideal situation.
"

In reality it's actually 2 less devices to clean. VDUs need to be cleaned at the moment (not just from people with sticky fingers, but from dust) plus you have keyboards and mice that obviously have constant physical interaction.



"
It can also be used for simulating turn tables!
"

Simulating turntables is actually a thing of the past. These days most DJs who sell up their Technics 1210s and Pioneer CDJs (that have dominated the market over the years) have turned to software such as Ableton. The approach to DJing with Ableton is completely different (in that there's not 'simulation' of turntables involved in the slightest), however the results can arguably be more impressive as it allows the DJ to build and layer a track up with greater precision and flexibility than turntables ever could.
This is actually a topic quite close to my heart, but i've tried to keep it brief as it's a little off topic

[edit - messy quotes]

Edited 2007-05-30 10:58

Reply Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"In reality it's actually 2 less devices to clean."

People generally don't touch their display constantly or view things through their keyboard though.
Smudge is a real, practical problems for touch screens.

Reply Score: 3

wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

"People generally don't touch their display constantly or view things through their keyboard though.
Smudge is a real, practical problems for touch screens."

I've seen touchscreen games in some public places which have two twin screens, one (horizontal) for touching and the other one (vertical) for viewing. A system like this could be implemented, where you can see your fingertips in the vertical screen. You still can see the same image in the horizontal screen when in doubt.

Not quite as cool but more practical, IMO.

Reply Score: 1

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

People generally don't touch their display constantly


You're lucky - I've often half-seriously wished for a way to cause a small punitive electrical shock to anyone who feels the need to poke at my screen in order to point something out.

Reply Score: 2

Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

And they need to include a pony with every purchase. (100)

Reply Score: 1

axilmar Member since:
2006-03-20

In reality it's actually 2 less devices to clean.

How often do you clean your keyboard and mouse? perhaps once a month.

How often do you clean your screen? many times a day, especially if other people come by and want to show you something on the screen.

however the results can arguably be more impressive as it allows the DJ to build and layer a track up with greater precision and flexibility than turntables ever could

But it is not as fun as using real turntables is.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Who's gonna clean the screen?
by popper on Wed 30th May 2007 12:54 UTC in reply to "Who's gonna clean the screen?"
popper Member since:
2006-02-24

"Touching screens with greasy fingers is not the ideal situation."

this is true, as any old timer that played the tabletop packman etc down the local UK pub years ago.....knows.


ohh wait, didn't they say bill was working on this idea for 20 years?.....

wonder were his next big idea will come from, and what it will be.

perhaps a machine with the fancy Gui and librarys built in to the ROM, wack...,it can be good for Beginners,an All purpose thing,perhaps Symbolic in nature,with lots of simple Instruction, and small Code to start it....

Edited 2007-05-30 13:08

Reply Score: 1

Yep
by Buck on Wed 30th May 2007 10:51 UTC
Buck
Member since:
2005-06-29

You can draw Finder logo with your fingers on that. There are the eyes and then there's the mouth...

Reply Score: 3

and PS
by Buck on Wed 30th May 2007 10:59 UTC
Buck
Member since:
2005-06-29

There's nothing anything *particularly* impressive about that demo. So, you can drag photos around... or you can drag movies around and rotate them... ugh. Or you can click on a restaurant menu. These things have been there for ages. It's a nice gimmick, but Microsoft has failed to actually provide the beef - that is, the notion or idea how it's going to change my everyday computing. Nothing new in the interface. Thom: go buy a Cintiq and be happy (granted, it won't scan your photos, but I doubt this is currently useful).

Reply Score: 3

RE: and PS
by jaylaa on Wed 30th May 2007 11:03 UTC in reply to "and PS"
jaylaa Member since:
2006-01-17

I bet when we finally get our flying cars you're not going to be impressed with that either.

Reply Score: 3

RE: and PS
by Kroc on Wed 30th May 2007 11:05 UTC in reply to "and PS"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I think you underestimate people's abilities to even view their photos on their existing computer.

Microsoft are taking a hard line business edge with this to begin with because they want everybody quickly using their touch-card payment system. Being the inventor of the next cedit card is a lucrative business.

Reply Score: 3

RE: and PS
by Laurence on Wed 30th May 2007 11:13 UTC in reply to "and PS"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Give it time mate. Technology like this is still only in it's infancy. The concept behind this (such as communication with devices (eg phones) by simply resting the device on the surface) is more than just gimmicky in my opinion.

Computers as they currently are are far from ergonomic given the rate of advancement in the technology inside the box. Steps like this will make them more 'human like' to interact with. Almost as natural as climbing a tree. Rather than finding CAT5 cables or enabling wifi, you just rest your laptop on the surface.

Personally I can't wait to see how these concepts get developed.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: and PS
by Buck on Wed 30th May 2007 11:43 UTC in reply to "RE: and PS"
Buck Member since:
2005-06-29

Well, the question should be - "What problem does this solve?"
And you can interact with your phones even without taking it out of your pocket - we have Bluetooth for that.
There's nothing wrong with WiFi either, technically there's no reason why it shouldn't just work whenever you're in the range (and it does).
As for the flying cars... well... Before we get to that point people will realize they don't need cars at all to be happy.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: and PS
by jtinz on Wed 30th May 2007 13:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: and PS"
jtinz Member since:
2006-02-06

And how many people actually use Bluetooth to sync their different devices or even to exchange data with the devices of other people?

The surface will add an uniform interface that helps to make use of existing protocols like upnp or smb.

(PS: I've seen devices like the surface many years ago developed by the Apple ATG.)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: and PS
by Laurence on Wed 30th May 2007 21:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: and PS"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"

Well, the question should be - "What problem does this solve?"
And you can interact with your phones even without taking it out of your pocket - we have Bluetooth for that.
There's nothing wrong with WiFi either, technically there's no reason why it shouldn't just work whenever you're in the range (and it does).
As for the flying cars... well... Before we get to that point people will realize they don't need cars at all to be happy.
"

Both bluetooth and wifi aren't nearly as streightforward as plonking a device on a surface ;-)

besides - there was a time when 64k was 'good enough' for most people.

Innovations like these may not seem important to you now, but I can garentee that in 20+ years time, most of the skeptics reading this thread will be looking back wondering how they coped without such technologies

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: and PS
by archiesteel on Wed 30th May 2007 13:44 UTC in reply to "RE: and PS"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Personally I can't wait to see how these concepts get developed.


Personally I can't wait to see if someone hasn't already patented this...this would be quite ironic.

Reply Score: 2

RE: and PS
by CPUGuy on Wed 30th May 2007 15:25 UTC in reply to "and PS"
CPUGuy Member since:
2005-07-06

The device recognition is amazing, and how it works with the display.

MSR demoed something very similar a few years ago.

Reply Score: 1

Mmmm okay
by gonzalo on Wed 30th May 2007 11:04 UTC
gonzalo
Member since:
2005-07-06

In a way, yes, it is very interesting and cool. Even omg-i-want-one-now cool.

But in another way, the impression I get is that of an interesting technology which still does not have a clear usage. I mean, sure, I can see how this would work for the number of things shown in the video, but what about other uses of a computer? Writing, for example, is probably not very suited to this interface.

And also, this looks tiring. I don't know if I'd be able to stay at it for a couple of hours. Even just playing with photos and surfing the web. More than 10 minutes hunched on a table moving my hands around? Woa, too much effort.

Edited 2007-05-30 11:11

Reply Score: 3

RE: Mmmm okay
by dagw on Wed 30th May 2007 14:22 UTC in reply to "Mmmm okay"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Are people really that lazy? As someone who used to spend hours hunched over a lighttable moving slides and negatives around with my hands (and hunched over trays of chemicals and and elargers etc.) I can assure you it isn't a problem at all unless you happen to be the worlds most lazy and unfit person.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Mmmm okay
by thecwin on Wed 30th May 2007 16:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Mmmm okay"
thecwin Member since:
2006-01-04

Except that it isn't our 'job' to have fun, and if something is remotely more difficult than an existing technology, I can't see people using it.

It's not that it's tiring or anything, it's just awkward. If they get the visibility issues sorted, it'd make a great light table with a few modifications. Remember though, that this isn't sort of desktop height, it's coffee table height which is lower and more awkward to use.

Coffee tables aren't work surfaces, they're temporary storage locations where you shove things like remote controls, cameras (the one good thing about this table) and cups of.. um.. coffee.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Mmmm okay
by MiliTux on Wed 30th May 2007 18:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Mmmm okay"
MiliTux Member since:
2007-05-16

Are people really that lazy? As someone who used to spend hours hunched over a lighttable moving slides and negatives around with my hands (and hunched over trays of chemicals and and elargers etc.) I can assure you it isn't a problem at all unless you happen to be the worlds most lazy and unfit person.


Maybe you're just superman. I'm a climber, and consider myself pretty fit, but when working at a pc for an extended period of time, my neck gets really sore. My brother-in-law suffers from a similar problem, except he gets migraines.

I've also tried to do varsity work on a coffee table, and being hunched over a table is even worse than sitting at a computer. It's all good and well during, but as soon as you try and get up...

Edited 2007-05-30 18:35

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Mmmm okay
by viton on Wed 30th May 2007 19:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Mmmm okay"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

but when working at a pc for an extended period of time, my neck gets really sore.

Probably you're just sitting improperly. Check this:

http://lifewithalacrity.blogs.com/photos/uncategorized/evolution.jp...

;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Mmmm okay
by dagw on Thu 31st May 2007 09:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Mmmm okay"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Have you considered not working at a pc for extended periods of time? I find that getting and walking around up for a minute or so at regular intervals helps a lot.

I'm sure when this table hits the market it will be available in different models, many with adjustable heights so that you can stand or sit comfortably when working at it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Mmmm okay
by LobalSurgery on Wed 30th May 2007 14:59 UTC in reply to "Mmmm okay"
LobalSurgery Member since:
2006-09-07

I agree with the ergonomics issue. While this would be great for stores or other promotional, 3-minute-at-a-time uses, it would probably hurt your neck during extended periods of time for home use.

What they could do, however, is allow the opposite top edge of the coffee table to open up, say, to 45 degrees or so, and lock into position. It might look weird, but I think this would make it easier to use. This would allow it to double as a video screen (I apologize if any of this is in the video, I'm not able to watch it right now).

Reply Score: 2

LCARS?
by Almafeta on Wed 30th May 2007 11:06 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

Now we know who made the computers in Star Trek...

In all seriousness, this is a good thing. I've been working on a Tablet PC for about a month now, and I can safely say that their current tablet-based OSs are the best OSs that they've ever released.

Reply Score: 2

Correct me if I'm wrong...
by Yogurth on Wed 30th May 2007 11:19 UTC
Yogurth
Member since:
2005-07-20

...but this isn't Microsoft Technology. I have seen a demo of technology ~1-2 years ago presented in some auditorium, and team of developers had nothing to do with Microsoft.

Anyway cools tech, just not new.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Correct me if I'm wrong...
by viton on Wed 30th May 2007 14:01 UTC in reply to "Correct me if I'm wrong..."
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

...but this isn't Microsoft Technology.
I have seen Jeff Han in the MS video. I think they licensed the technology as well as Apple.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Correct me if I'm wrong...
by Yogurth on Wed 30th May 2007 15:00 UTC in reply to "Correct me if I'm wrong..."
Yogurth Member since:
2005-07-20

yes I have noticed that iPhone that was demoed used same screen movements for zoom/pan/magnify as aon that demo. So those guys did quite well in big corporate world. Kudos to them. Hopefully we will see more of cool tech hitting mainstream in this year.

Reply Score: 1

Hmm ... another Microsoft Ripoff
by searly on Wed 30th May 2007 11:28 UTC
searly
Member since:
2006-02-27
audunn
Member since:
2006-04-06

Remember Jeff Han and his company Perceptive Pixel?

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/65

But I must admit the Zune integration to the IKEA table might have been done by MS ;)

But seriously, this product looks fun, intuitive and somewhat innovative. Hey that sounds like Apple!

Reply Score: 4

Sometimes MS does good
by jaylaa on Wed 30th May 2007 11:52 UTC
jaylaa
Member since:
2006-01-17

To all the people saying this isn't new and OMG another MS ripoff of someone else: do the demonstrations and prototypes you cite actually have a real product out, or do they just exist in the form of youtube videos?

Even if this is "just" a putting together of existing tech, it's still pretty cool. And if MS is the first to have an actual product for us to use, and not just see in demos, then they deserve some cool points.

Having said that, I certainly hope MS isn't the only one to come out with something like this. Wouldn't want to, you know, actually have to buy something from them:)

Edited 2007-05-30 11:56

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sometimes MS does good
by Silent_Seer on Wed 30th May 2007 14:28 UTC in reply to "Sometimes MS does good"
Silent_Seer Member since:
2007-04-06

Well you are right, sometimes MS does do something innovative or at least tries to. Nobody is denying them the right to do that. The point being made here is that, it is an existing technology they are making use of. Just see the You Tube video to see how innovative MS really is. And the despite the fact that they are the first one to make a unique product out of it (you know putting all that in a coffee table while Apple put it into a phone) they shouldn't really claim to have invented it and try to get a patent on it. Just in case they try to do that, you all know that they don't deserve that.

But then it is after all MS, isn't it.

And by the way they are aiming it at kiosks, restaurant s and other organizations. I wonder why everybody is talking about it like it is going to be available for their homes and offices or something.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Sometimes MS does good
by byrc on Wed 30th May 2007 15:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Sometimes MS does good"
byrc Member since:
2006-02-18

Are you serious? All the tech industry is is improving on other peoples' ideas. Everyone always gives Apple mad props for being innovative..but wait, wasn't the iPod just improving an existing technology (mp3 players), and isn't the AppleTV just a smaller version of SlingBox or, dare I say, a Media Center Extender'd XBOX 360?

While I love to bash Microsoft as much as the next sad, no-lifed technophile, it appears people are reaching for straws with their method of bashing this "useful" and "fun" technology. Remember, it is only stealing if Microsoft does it, if it is Apple, Google etc. it is INNOVATION.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Sometimes MS does good
by searly on Wed 30th May 2007 16:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sometimes MS does good"
searly Member since:
2006-02-27

Well, not exactly. I would have no gripes if they would actually acknowledge the work of others (like Jef Han).

However go to here http://www.microsoft.com/surface/ and read the "Origins" section and you would think that Microsoft has come up with this wonderful idea and innovative interface.

There are three options:

a. Microsoft simply lie or very much stretch the term "Innovation"

b. They actually do not licence the technology and have developed this interface themselves (in parallel to others like Jeff Han)

c. They actually funded Jeff Han's team and resaerch effort

Well, judging from MS track record of "Innovation" i think option a) is the most plausible, however i am open to be surprised.

Reply Score: 1

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

(c)--funding is highly likely. Of the US (or maybe worldwide, I don't remember) CS graduate students in recent years, about 50% do internships at or receive grants from Microsoft Research. MSR was probably heavily behind the coffee table idea, just like they were behind the handwriting system in Vista, and Vista Speech Recognition.

Apple is good at UI design and marketing, but calling the Apple of the late 90's and today innovative in any other regard is frankly self-delusion.

Reply Score: 1

I need this yersterday !
by Lakedaemon on Wed 30th May 2007 11:58 UTC
Lakedaemon
Member since:
2005-08-07

a tablet pc with multitouch interface and speech recognition...that can be a thin client
(that way it connects wirelessly to my monstrous x.cores tower pc) or that is not underpowered.

AND

a wireless ear-headset with earphones (that can be removed) a good noise-cancelling mic (for command and speech recognition) and a sunglasses-like _holographic_screen_....

Now, that would be nice...

(well 3d screens...a&nd wii like control solutions would be nice too.....I want to use a computer without having to stay sitted at the same place for hours...it kills you !)

Reply Score: 1

robilad
Member since:
2006-01-02

Unfortunately for Microsoft, at a price of 10k USD, those things aren't going to be in the living rooms of grannies sorting through photos while syncing their zunes any time soon. So their initial market are going to be places where Microsoft competes with other (likely to be a lot cheaper) touch screen based kiosk system manufacturers.

The 'killer feature' of the device is that you can put a 'thing' on it, and associate advertising with it. That's why Microsoft touts the 'fast food restaurant' scenario in the FAQ: kids put on toys from their 'happy meals' on it, and get to see the advertising for the movie.

Reply Score: 3

fat fingers
by MamiyaOtaru on Wed 30th May 2007 12:45 UTC
MamiyaOtaru
Member since:
2005-11-11

The thing I dislike about touch interfaces is lack of precision. Mouse cursors are pixel precise. It's very difficult to be totally precise with a tablet and pen. You have to rely on the cursor to see exactly which pixel is to be manipulated, and the cursor is often hard to see under the pen ;) I can only imagine it would be worse with a finger (much fatter than a pen).

Touch screens I have used all have quite large buttons for this reason. I guess I need to get used to the idea of interfaces without as many buttons. I'm just not sure how many buttons can be practically replaced with gestures, though Opera (and Firefox and Konqueror) show that quite a few can be.

In the end, barring excellent handwriting recognition (not likely with mine), typing will remain a large part of computing, and a keyboard without tactile feedback just isn't so fun.

I guess all this means is I wouldn't be among the early adopters of a touch interface. We'll see how it goes ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE: fat fingers
by shykid on Wed 30th May 2007 14:16 UTC in reply to "fat fingers"
shykid Member since:
2007-02-22

Very good point. Being a graphic designer, I need the precision of a cursor. That didn't even cross my mind when I was reading the article; I guess that's how much I take it for granted.

While we're at it, I don't think I would enjoy "typing" on one of those--no tactile feedback whatsoever. Unless there's some major advances in OCR technology, I'd probably have to type, since my handwriting makes present-state OCR weep. Hell, I'd probably prefer typing anyway since it's a lot faster than writing.

I wonder, if computers like this become the norm, then will mice and keyboards become expensive "speciality" devices like Wacom tablets?

Edited 2007-05-30 14:21

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: fat fingers
by dagw on Wed 30th May 2007 14:29 UTC in reply to "RE: fat fingers"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

This isn't going to replace the computer and no one is suggesting anyone should either run photoshop or write their thesis on this thing.

Why to people keep thinking in terms of either or? You use your computer to do your photoshop work and this device when for when you, your art director and you three clients gather around to look at what you've done and brainstorm ideas. I bit of trivial network magic and you can edit photos on your laptop and have chanes show up on the image on the table in real time.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: fat fingers
by PlatformAgnostic on Wed 30th May 2007 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE: fat fingers"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

Would a stylus suffice? I think you could get pretty high-precision with that if the sensors were good enough.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: fat fingers
by abraxas on Thu 31st May 2007 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE: fat fingers"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Very good point. Being a graphic designer, I need the precision of a cursor.

You could be pixel precise with this interface. The interface is completely scalable. You could scale a pixel to the size of your head if you wanted to. It would be difficult to miss that.

Reply Score: 2

v I think Apple announced that recently,
by yakirz on Wed 30th May 2007 12:45 UTC
The arcade tables of the 2020's
by gfacer on Wed 30th May 2007 13:04 UTC
gfacer
Member since:
2005-11-10

Yeah, it looks cool. Yeah, it might make it easy and cool to order and pay for stuff at restaurants, allow advertising, etc.

But, let's face it. Most restaurants would not put these in because they would ruin the atmosphere. They will probably be cool for a while and then go the way of the 80's arcade game table, stuck in some local pizza joint for 5 minute of entertainment while you wait for a pick-up order.

Or, maybe they are everywhere, who knows....but the iphone / any other celphone has a better chance of performing ALL of these functions than a bulky table computer.

Reply Score: 3

What it looks like in real life
by Milo_Hoffman on Wed 30th May 2007 13:41 UTC
Milo_Hoffman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Picture of actual real-world use here:

http://users.on.net/~disko/touchbsod.jpg

Reply Score: 4

RE: What it looks like in real life
by shykid on Wed 30th May 2007 14:07 UTC in reply to "What it looks like in real life"
shykid Member since:
2007-02-22

She looks rather pleased by the BSoD--"Wow, maybe this new computer table isn't so different after all!"

Reply Score: 3

Buck Member since:
2005-06-29

"Wow, maybe this new computer table isn't so different after all!"
This should become a running joke.

Edited 2007-05-30 15:43

Reply Score: 2

RE: What it looks like in real life
by axilmar on Thu 31st May 2007 10:53 UTC in reply to "What it looks like in real life"
axilmar Member since:
2006-03-20

It's a fake image.

Reply Score: 1

How long
by kozo on Wed 30th May 2007 14:23 UTC
kozo
Member since:
2006-02-02

How long will it take when Microsoft starts creating computers of any kind to compete with their partners?

Reply Score: 2

...and this interface????
by skler0 on Wed 30th May 2007 14:31 UTC
skler0
Member since:
2007-05-30
Two words
by memson on Wed 30th May 2007 14:47 UTC
memson
Member since:
2006-01-01

Jeff Han

Reply Score: 1

can't wait
by lester on Wed 30th May 2007 15:03 UTC
lester
Member since:
2007-01-27

to try this baby with my ubuntu and beryl.

Reply Score: 0

Awesome concept
by solidsnake on Wed 30th May 2007 16:08 UTC
solidsnake
Member since:
2006-06-04

This concept will be even better when it is combined with super thin and flexible screen technology now in development. I can't wait for the first Mac version. Maybe a some Linux developers will create similar software. That way we wouldn't be stuck with a Microsoft only version!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Awesome concept
by shotsman on Wed 30th May 2007 16:34 UTC in reply to "Awesome concept"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Do you honestly think that this gizmo will have H/W that Microsoft will let you willingly put another Operating System On?
It will probably self destruct if you open the box
If not then
There will be a zillion patents that MS will fight tooth and nail to protect that this closed system will stay that way forever.
Then there is DRM/DMCA and all sorts of gunk that they will employ to stop other from modding or fiddling with the system.
That is not to say that other manufactures will not make other devices of similar (not identical in case of patent lawsuits) functionality that may run OS/X, Linux or whatever.
Thankfully US Patents are not enforceable everywhere in the world(yet)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Awesome concept
by PlatformAgnostic on Wed 30th May 2007 18:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Awesome concept"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

There's no reason to suspect that Open-Sourcers will do anything useful with this technology even if the system is completely open.

The TabletPC can work just find with Linux, as it's just a Wacom tablet co-located with the screen. But doing anything useful with a tablet is difficult to program, and the software engineers skilled enough to do it probably want to be compensated commensurate with their abilities. Microsoft is hiring and paying for these people even though they're losing a bunch of money on it right now. Open Source simply can't do this, so you'll never see this kind of innovation coming from those folks.

Edited 2007-05-30 18:57

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Awesome concept
by codehead78 on Wed 30th May 2007 20:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Awesome concept"
codehead78 Member since:
2006-08-04

Yeah. Closed source has one big advantage over open source, a good revenue stream. Can't do much R&D without that.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Awesome concept
by Moochman on Wed 30th May 2007 22:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Awesome concept"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, you're right, but that doesn't mean open source won't be able to come up with a similar solution long-term, by the time tablet pcs really become mainstream. I eagerly await the day when I can buy a nice Linux tablet pc... or a _real_ tablet mac, either or ;-).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Awesome concept
by searly on Wed 30th May 2007 16:36 UTC in reply to "Awesome concept"
searly Member since:
2006-02-27

Well on some level there is a project that started which is similar. It is called lowfat http://macslow.thepimp.net/?page_id=18 ... currently stuck though due to lack of time and funding as far as i understand.

some videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKN5npo8osc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkrM4ymkiDo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ViKhwdXmmE

Edited 2007-05-30 16:40

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Awesome concept
by Moochman on Wed 30th May 2007 22:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Awesome concept"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah I was reminded of that when I saw the MS photo demos. Lowfat's demo is much more impressive, tho, imho, since it lets you easily pile and organize photos into groups, etc. Technically it's designed for a mouse but I'm sure it could be easily adapted to a touchscreen.

Reply Score: 2

Come out of Cacoon and learn to Fly...
by rakamaka on Wed 30th May 2007 17:02 UTC
rakamaka
Member since:
2005-08-12

I read all above posts. One thing is common in thoughts. Don't appreciate anything good, innovative product done by others. All of you are giving 100 execuses why you won't use it before even touching it. At least wait till it comes in market.
Person wearing black sunglasses, ses all the world black
Person having jaundice sees all the world yellow
Person using free OS sees all the world as money sucker
STOP it and don't give execuses, because you don't have that tech product and no way linux/unix can make on it...
MS is copying hitech hardware from others? just think for a moment and tell me what innovative software CONCEPT you guys have DEVELOPED up with other than copycating windows interface to dream of stealing marketshare...

Edited 2007-05-30 17:10

Reply Score: 5

Cool product regardless of who released it
by MollyC on Wed 30th May 2007 17:03 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

Since yesterday I'd seen a few headlines regarding this, but didn't bother to read the articles (too busy).

But I just now watched the cnet video and Popular Mechanics video (the videos linked to in the "Instant Update" portion of the osnews.com summary). The cnet video impressed me, then the Popular Mechanics video blew me away. This is too cool. Were I a bit richer, I'd get one myself. :p

For those of you citing Jeff Han and his MultiTouch tech (by which, I assume, some are implying that Microsoft did nothing more than rip him off), he appears in the Popular Mechanics video. The video acknowledges that Surface Computing makes use of multitouch. So Jeff Han is acknowledged (though I couldn't tell from the video if Microsoft is making use of Han's tech in particular). But Surface Computing has been in development for 5 years. That should tell you that it's not simply a rip off; a lot of work has been put into it.

I just wish more tech-geeks could enjoy technical advancements and cool products without worrying about whether they hate the company that released it and therefore feel compelled to *reach* for reasons to belittle the product or even outright bash it.

Here's a tip: Whenever a company that you hate releases a product that you think "ain't all that", just imagine that a company that you love released the exact same product, and then see if you feel the same way. Do the reverse regarding a company that you love releasing a product that you reflexively gush over.

Edited 2007-05-30 17:22

Reply Score: 3

siebharinn Member since:
2005-07-06

"I just wish more tech-geeks could enjoy technical advancements and cool products without worrying about whether they hate the company that released it and therefore feel compelled to *reach* for reasons to belittle the product or even outright bash it. "

Amen. If the video had declared this an "iTable" or a "Tablebuntu", people would be wetting themselves with excitement.

It is a neat idea. Sure, the practical uses for it aren't immediately obvious. New technology is always like that. Sure, it will be very expensive at first. New technology is always like that. The price will come down, and the applications will present themselves.

I am amazed at how narrow minded and short sighted some of the comments have been.

Reply Score: 2

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

If the video had declared this an "iTable" or a "Tablebuntu", people would be wetting themselves with excitement.

That would be an interesting experiment. Have a sophisticated video editor turn this 'Surface' into 'iTable' and release it onto Youtube or somesuch, and compare the reactions of the two...

Reply Score: 1

viton Member since:
2005-08-09

Have a sophisticated video editor turn this 'Surface' into 'iTable'
You don't have to. It is called iPhone =)

Reply Score: 1

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

You are aware that having a touchscreen does not make the two devices identical?

Reply Score: 1

viton Member since:
2005-08-09

You are aware that having a touchscreen does not make the two devices identical?

One could put a coffee cup on top of iPhone as well ;)
These next-gen devices will share common "multi-touch" interface and it is a GOOD thing.

Reply Score: 1

WoW!
by TBPrince on Wed 30th May 2007 17:12 UTC
TBPrince
Member since:
2005-07-06

That's one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Dot.

Microsoft is aggresively entering the hardware field. No wonder Intel and its old-days-fellows are not hating them ;-)

5-10,000 bucks to get it's still very much but this is impressive ;-)

Reply Score: 1

Detailed History on Multi-Touch systems
by MollyC on Wed 30th May 2007 20:29 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

Reading some other message boards, I found this informative link that gives a detailed history on Multi-Touch, starting from 1982 up to today (Microsoft Surface is the last entry).
http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html

Jeff Han and iPhone are mentioned, but so are lots of other people/efforts. The point is that everyone builds on what came before them, including Apple and Han (i.e. not just Microsoft).

BTW, the history is written by Microsoft's own Bill Buxton, so again, Microsoft has no problem acknowledging the previous work of others.

Reply Score: 4

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Thank god they are acknowledging the past work. It's a refreshing surprise, actually; I was expecting to be annoyed at them for trying to take all the credit and patent everything like they have all too often in the past.

...Bill Buxton is the man, tho. So much so that I don't begrudge him working at MS; if anything he's a breath of fresh air. It's nice knowing that MS *finally* has one or two decent design heads on board so the whole world can suffer a little bit less.

Edited 2007-05-30 22:41

Reply Score: 2

So sue me...
by Sodapop on Wed 30th May 2007 20:54 UTC
Sodapop
Member since:
2005-07-06

But that's just too darn much moving around just to get from point a to point b.

But for casinos and things like that, it's cool.

Reply Score: 1

But....
by Phloptical on Thu 31st May 2007 02:39 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

Will it run the tabletop version of Ms. Pac-Man?

This thing is as useless as Flip 3D, and is a ergonomic nightmare.....all scrunched over, staring at the screen. The only place you're going to see this is in some mansion on MTV cribs.

Once again, Microsoft tries to out-do Apple, and shows us yet again, how incredibly true the Mac/PC commercials actually are.

Reply Score: 0

It's neat
by richmassena on Thu 31st May 2007 02:58 UTC
richmassena
Member since:
2006-11-26

But I don't know if it's revolutionary. I do know that everyone I've shown the video to were really thrilled about it.

Like all advertisements, you don't see anything but the "fun". I can only imagine the level of configuration this requires to get devices to talk with it. Maybe it will just work, but I suspect a lot of IT people will have to learn another skill on the side.

Reply Score: 1

18-minute demo video
by MollyC on Thu 31st May 2007 05:50 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

I just got through watching a great 18-minute demo of Surface, if anyone is interested:
http://on10.net/Blogs/larry/first-look-microsoft-surfacing-computin...

Reply Score: 2

Can we have a multimouse screen?
by axilmar on Thu 31st May 2007 10:56 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

I could do wonders with my hands using two mice at the same time. For starters, FPS games could be much more realistic, because I would be able to grab and manipulate objects with much greater ease. Drawing and rotating objects on the screen could be just as easy...

Reply Score: 1

I saw it before:
by Elektro on Thu 31st May 2007 21:16 UTC
Elektro
Member since:
2006-08-19

http://chaosradio.ccc.de/ctv047.html

Ms turns it into a consumer concept.

Reply Score: 1

It's been done
by mikesum32 on Thu 31st May 2007 23:10 UTC
mikesum32
Member since:
2005-10-22

It's been demonstrated before.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPwaUp4gepU

I hope this doesn't cause a patent war.

Reply Score: 1

RE: It's been done
by MollyC on Fri 1st Jun 2007 00:03 UTC in reply to "It's been done"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Looks like Microsoft is using a different method, so they're won't be any patent wars.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070530-what-lurks-below-micr...

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's been done
by mmu_man on Fri 1st Jun 2007 01:10 UTC in reply to "It's been done"
mmu_man Member since:
2006-09-30

It's definitely nothing new, but we're used to it with MS.

Philips also showed a very similar prototype, except they targeted it at gaiming, but it's really just a multitouch object-sensing table anyway:
http://www.research.philips.com/newscenter/archive/2006/060104-ente...

Plus there are existing shipping devices using multitouch already, like that DJ thingy:
http://www.jazzmutant.com/lemur_overview.php
And that bar table:
http://www.adnpc.net/news/voir.php?id=4281

Reply Score: 1