Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Jun 2008 23:04 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems One button, two buttons, three buttons, ten million buttons. Beige, black, white, red with polka dots. Glow-in-the-dark, see through. Right-handed, left-handed, both. Vertical for RSI patients, trackballs for weirdoes like myself, Apple's puck mouse for sado-masochists. The ubiquitous mouse comes in all possible shapes, forms, sizes, and colours, but according to our friend The Analyst, the glorious age of the mouse is coming to and end. Do we believe The Analyst?
Order by: Score:
Technology Changes as well the interface
by theTSF on Tue 24th Jun 2008 23:37 UTC
theTSF
Member since:
2005-09-27

I could see the mouse going away as a device. and the OS Will need a new interface to take advantage of it. Just as the mouse was originally just a toy and for drawing and CAD applications. Multi-touch is at that state right now. Where it is more of a toy then useful. However in time I could see the OS Changing to take advantage of the features, then in time we would wonder how we got along without it. Like operating a GUI with a keyboard alone.

Reply Score: 1

THE MOUSE IS DEAD
by Luminair on Tue 24th Jun 2008 23:55 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

is a good thing to say to get ad revenue

Reply Score: 9

..not anytime soon..
by mtzmtulivu on Wed 25th Jun 2008 00:00 UTC
mtzmtulivu
Member since:
2006-11-14

the mouse was a toy back in the days when GUI computing was also a toy ..the mouse took the center stage when the GUI computing on a flat, 2D monitors became the standard in desktop computing ..

for the mouse to go way, we will have to first move away from the 2D world of computing we have today to something else ..

it will take a move as drastic as a CLI to GUI computing for this "dream" to come to reality

Reply Score: 5

RE: ..not anytime soon.. - datajack
by jabbotts on Wed 25th Jun 2008 00:55 UTC in reply to "..not anytime soon.."
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I want a datajack behind my right ear; full submersion. That kind of interface will make keyboard and mouse obsolete. ;)

Reply Score: 4

I doubt it ...
by tomcat on Wed 25th Jun 2008 00:01 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

Fingertips are pretty clunky for precision work (eg. editing photos, etc). Using your fingers leaves fingerprints all over the screen -- do you really want to have to clean your screen constantly? Also, will there be new repetitive motion disorders -- even worse than those created by a mouse -- for people that use multi-touch constantly? Interesting issues. Time will tell.

Reply Score: 6

TOuch Screen
by blitze on Wed 25th Jun 2008 00:17 UTC
blitze
Member since:
2006-09-15

Keep your grubby fingers off my monitor. LOL

No, the mouse isn't going away and touch screens although handy in public kiosks for basic interfaces, are not going to take the world by storm. I personally would prefer a 3D motion control glove like that out of Minority Report. That way I have a good tactile control interface without destroying my view.

Reply Score: 7

RE: TOuch Screen
by Cezy on Wed 25th Jun 2008 10:32 UTC in reply to "TOuch Screen"
Cezy Member since:
2006-05-13

I'm agree at 100% ;)

Reply Score: 0

Age of clickityclick
by Doc Pain on Wed 25th Jun 2008 00:49 UTC
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

The article was interesting, but... "we are seeing a significant move away from the idea of the one- or two-button mouse" - hello, good morning, Sir! Mice usually have three buttons. Oh well, you're not from UNIX / Linux / X11 world... :-) Continuing reading the article, I could follow the idea that there are alternatives developing for the mouse, but a "significant move", where does the authour see it? He must have a strange definition of what a "signigicant move" is.

From OSNews' introduction: "The ubiquitous mouse comes in all possible shapes, forms, sizes, and colours, but according to our friend The Analyst, the glorious age of the mouse is coming to and end. Do we believe The Analyst?" - It's easy to believe somebody who claims something that is completely predictable. I say: "The sun will explode in some millions of years." or "World climate will change." The fact is: Sooner or later it will happen. But when - that's the question. So after all, I may admit that I do believe The Analyst (or at least I believe my own predictions, founded in a healthy common sense), but the author's argumentation isn't very understandable to me.

Will the mouse go away soon? No, I don't think so. Why? Hmmm... in my opinion, the explaination will look like this:

When the mouse got a mainstream interaction tool, there were rumors that the keyboard will go away soon, because we'll click on symbols instead of using keys on a keyboard, and later on, we will just talk to the machine. This phantasy hasn't come to reality yet, allthough there are already interesting projects. But mainstream? No.

The same development will occur for touchscreen like devices. First, they are present only at niche uses (e. g. POS) as something you can serioulsly use, everything else is, at it has mentioned before, still at "toy stage".

Analogy: We need the keyboard today to make all the fine OSes and the drivers and the applications that use mouse input, and this will be true for any other input (touchscreen input, voice input) as long as there's no way to obsolete the keyboard. An input method will only be obsoleted if there's a replacement that is better (read: will be used) - see punched cards or magnetic drums for example. This wisdom is true for any kind of technical solution (as long as money (read: industry and capital, and finally the society, too) supports it - see petrol powered cars).

And the mouse? Well, initially, the mouse was something you could optionally add to your computer equipment. You could live without it, if you wanted to, or just plug it in. No need for further hardware. For touchscreens, you need new hardware - i. e. the touchscreen, or something like a transparent layer you glue onto your CRT or LCD, making the image more... squishy. :-)

Another interesting aspect has been mentioned: Using a touchscreen always has the bad habit of having your fingers (or other body parts) where you need to look at (the screen with your interface), so you're always covering something while you're interacting. This would involve the neccessarity to redesign OSes and applications.

Applications in general would need to change, but then, the requirements of users would need to change, too. What is today's most used office application? A word processor or a typesetting system, replacing the typewriter. Typing on (onto) the screen? Well, difficult, just imagine how it would look like. And if problems occur, will users start beating their computer's screen with boxing gloves? :-)

The Age of the Mouse: Ending? Yes. But when? Time will tell.

Ah, and mice gave us all the fun, fun like this: http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/cs_mice.shtml :-)

Reply Score: 6

RE: Age of clickityclick
by vimh on Wed 25th Jun 2008 16:40 UTC in reply to "Age of clickityclick"
vimh Member since:
2006-02-04

I think the point you made regarding your fingers or what have you obscuring the interface is an excellent one. There is actually something to be said for a interface device that isn't part of what you are looking at.

The best example I can give is the Nintendo DS. Its lower screen is a touch screen and you can use your finger or stylus. One game I have, Zelda (Phantom Hourglass) uses the touch screen for movement. You perform gestures for some of the moves. One of the big problems is it is easy for your hand to be in the way of what you are looking at. For example, you do a whirlwind hit with your sword by 'drawing' a circle around your character. At the same time though, you cover up part of the screen to do this.

YMMV but touching your screen isn't always the best way to interact with what you see on it.

Reply Score: 2

I think the mouse will have it's place
by jabbotts on Wed 25th Jun 2008 00:51 UTC
jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

Having a touchscreen on the toughbook has truly spoiled me. I've lost count of how often I've poked someone's screen trying to hit [OK] after being on my own machine for more than fifteen minutes. Touchscreen PDA are a given these days too though the physical keyboard on sliders is an additional advantage.

Where the touchscreen still fails is desktop and gaming.

I'm not in a rush to be poking at my monitor suspended by arm over my desk. My workstation at the office has a tube monitor but set back from the desk edge so reaching for it constantly would suck too. A notebook, absolutely but on a desktop, the mouse still has a place.

For gaming, a touchscreen isn't going to cut it either with the current FPS offerings. A top down strategy it has more place but you'd want a big touchscreen table for that ideally. I've tried Quake on the N810; runs well, looks great, using touchscreen for aiming sucks.

Granted, games and UI interface in general will evolve to make use of the new input method more but I think there will still be a place where the mouse is a better input.

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

[q]Where the touchscreen still fails is desktop and gaming.

I'm not in a rush to be poking at my monitor suspended by arm over my desk.[/]

Yeah, me neither. But the facial recognition thing sounds kind of interesting, though not sure how that would work... just move my eyes where I want the pointer to go, but I have a stigmatism so the pointer would be jumping around the screen like a biznitch. Plus, I guess I'd have to pick my nose or something to click and drag ;)

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

That's pretty much it from what I've read. The system tracks your eye movements and resonds accordingly. Think of a flightsim. You move the mouse right and left or whatever view control you have and the monitor simulates looking over the full range of view accordingly. Move the mouse a little left, monitor moves a lot left and I see my left wing. Look at the center of the screen and I get a forward view, look left and the monitor view pans left; there's my wing again.

It's a very interesting input aproach but it'll need to mature and be used where applicable after the romantic novelty period of everything trying to make use of it ends.

Reply Score: 2

Gartner Group
by Quag7 on Wed 25th Jun 2008 00:56 UTC
Quag7
Member since:
2005-07-28

Well if Gartner or some guy from Gartner says it, it must be true.

How can I get a job with Gartner? Their "predictions" and "analysis" are definitely something I can do. Go to some trade shows, have some buzzword-heavy conversations with suits, and then write up my gut feeling as "analysis."

By now, according to many "analysts," we're all supposed to be using thin clients, the age of the PC is supposed to be over, and we're all supposed to be up to our eyeballs in "push technology."

One thing about the Internet - people love to write up random speculation as analysis. I've been watching lots of old episodes of Computer Chronicles (an 80s TV show on computers), and what is really interesting about them is how few of the items in their news segment (product releases, trends, etc.) had any kind of long-term relevance.

Here's my prediction for what most computing will look like in ten years:

We'll be running machines with independent CPUs and operating systems.

We'll be using a mouse.

The GUI will be based on a desktop metaphor. Most desktop machines will run Microsoft Windows (to my chagrin, but this is where I'm putting my money).

Since all the hip people on the Internet claim we're headed toward a technological singularity where just about anything can happen, I'm going to bet the opposite way and say things will be more similar than they are different - which is the same thing you can say for computing ten years ago, compared to today. I know a speculative bubble when I see one, and I'm going conservative with my predictions.

Now where can I pick up my paycheck for my "analysis" of the situation?

Reply Score: 5

ebasconp
Member since:
2006-05-09

No way!

The "pencil" did not die when the typewriter appeared; and, though the typewriter is dead, its legacy is still with us: the computer keyboard...

The computer keyboard did not die when the mouse entered to the scene, so I do not see the mouse death when some new device will emerge.

One thing is built based on ideas of another one, and the ideas are still underneath.

C# killed C? C killed Assembler? It's the same thing here, one thing is built on top of another or based on another's ideas.

Reply Score: 2

BTrey Member since:
2006-03-27

The keyboard doesn't replace the pencil. You can't use a keyboard to mark on paper. Since it doesn't replicate the pencil's function, it isn't going to completely replace it. Similarly, a mouse doesn't replicate a keyboard's function. A mouse is, generally speaking, superior for something like using CAD or Photoshop, but decidedly inferior for operating a word processor. A mouse and keyboard complement one another. There's a small area of overlap in their functionality - you can click a menu or activate it with a hot key - but for the most part they do different things.

Most of the comments here are focusing on touch screen, which does replace the exact functionality of the mouse in certain circumstances, but, as has been pointed out, it's not likely to be a viable alternative for vertically oriented desktop displays. Not much has been said about the other option - controlling the pointer via a machine which reads your "thoughts." (It actually doesn't read thoughts, of course, but the effect is much the same.)

This technology is in its infancy, and I don't know if it'll be sophisticated enough to replace the mouse in the next couple of years. In theory, it will exactly duplicate a mouse's function of moving a pointer following an arbitrary path or to an arbitrary location. Thom seems to think that it will require extra effort to use them, but it requires thought to move your hand to control the mouse. We simply don't think about the effort it takes. If, with a bit of practice and/or training, moving the mouse via one of these devices becomes just as effortless, there's no reason to think the mouse won't become obsolete. It depends, I think, on two factors. The first is perfecting the technology. That's likely a matter of time, perhaps a couple of years, perhaps a bit more. The second is finding a way to read the brain patterns that doesn't involve some sort of goofy head gear. If using this device means you set there looking like a teenager fresh from the orthodontist office, it's going to fail miserably.

Reply Score: 1

no
by helf on Wed 25th Jun 2008 02:43 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

The mouse will be here in some form or another forever. People have been calling for the demise of the classic keyboard for AGES.

Reply Score: 2

Real alternatives?
by alias on Wed 25th Jun 2008 06:58 UTC
alias
Member since:
2007-02-11

As someone who is trying to avoid RSI problems, I tried several pointing devices over the years: traditional mouses, trackballs, touchpads, eye tracking and foot mouses. All variations turned out to be quite disappointing.

Trackballs require too-much "re-rolling", an thus tend to be imprecise over long distances and frustrating over time.

Touchpads are imprecise for both long and short distances, plus prolonged usage tends to irritate the fingertips.

I was happy I could try an ir-based eye tracker for some time, to realize that it's almost pointless: we mostly do not look at things once we know them, resulting in a _very_ tiring and frustrating need to look forcedly at everything on the screen.

Foot mouses are somewhat in-between between a mouse and a trackball: long distances are easy to do, but precise positioning itself is hard, and does not really get better over time due to the foot weight.

For general and precise pointing, there's no questioning: the winner is still the mouse, but I wish I could use something that doesn't require moving the hands off the keyboard entirely. I thought about a tablet, but switching surfaces constantly between the keyboard and the tablet isn't a solution either.

What _real_ pointing devices do we have left? Are there any pointing "pens" on the market not requiring a surface for pointing? Any gloves, capable of absolute positioning in space at "human" price tags?

I see there's a "3d" mouse from logitech, capable of absolute positioning, but it's too big to be ergonomic. "Pen" size is really the maximum for a device that you would need to hold hours a day.

Any help would be very appreciated.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Real alternatives?
by Glynser on Wed 25th Jun 2008 10:48 UTC in reply to "Real alternatives?"
Glynser Member since:
2007-11-29

For general and precise pointing, there's no questioning: the winner is still the mouse, but I wish I could use something that doesn't require moving the hands off the keyboard entirely. I thought about a tablet, but switching surfaces constantly between the keyboard and the tablet isn't a solution either.


Have you tried a trackpoint? It's available on IBM ThinkPad laptops, and there are even ordinary keyboards that also have them. It's a really cool mouse alternative once you got used to it, and you don't need to take the hands off your keyboard. In my opinion, it beats every touchpad and every trackball. And for some situations, it even beats my mouse ;)

EDIT: Just for the case that you don't know what I'm talking about: http://www.mikecase.net/ModelM/Black-Model-M-Trackpoint.jpg
It's the red spot in the middle. It can be compared to a nipple ;) and you just have to push it a bit with your fingertip. You don't need to "re-wheel" or something, it's more like a very tiny analog joystick.

Edited 2008-06-25 10:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Real alternatives?
by Doc Pain on Wed 25th Jun 2008 23:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Real alternatives?"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Have you tried a trackpoint? It's available on IBM ThinkPad laptops, [...]


Toshiba did so, too, for example the T2130CT; I just checked it (it's used here for programming Motorola mobile radios). I have an older Thinkpad, too, featuring such a great trackpoint.

There are IBM Thinkpads that even provide three mouse buttons - remember, that's the standard amount of mouse buttons outside "Windows" land (and Mac world, too); it's great to have scrolling and outputting the edit buffer with a mouse replacement built into a portable computer - something worth mentioning!

[...] and there are even ordinary keyboards that also have them.


A compact example is to be seen on the manual of IBM OS/2 3.0.

It's a really cool mouse alternative once you got used to it, and you don't need to take the hands off your keyboard. In my opinion, it beats every touchpad and every trackball. And for some situations, it even beats my mouse ;)


I can definitely confirm this. It's much more faster and more precise than a trackpad. It's a great solution because it doesn't waste much space and still gives you good accessibility.

EDIT: Just for the case that you don't know what I'm talking about: http://www.mikecase.net/ModelM/Black-Model-M-Trackpoint.jpg
It's the red spot in the middle. It can be compared to a nipple ;) and you just have to push it a bit with your fingertip.


Wow, the picture seems to show an IBM keyboard that has been sprayed black (see the IBM logo top left), but the keys seem to be original ones. Furthermore, this keyboard has no "idiot keys"... erm, sorry, I shouldn't call them that way... I try to call them "advertising keys" from now on. :-) And look at the cable, something special today, too. This device seems to be older...

You don't need to "re-wheel" or something, it's more like a very tiny analog joystick.


It's important to say that it doesn't behave like a digital joystick - it's a more analog device so you can control the acceleration of the mouse pointer by the way you press the trackpoint, making slow and precise or fast moves with the cursor.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Real alternatives?
by drfelip on Wed 25th Jun 2008 13:30 UTC in reply to "Real alternatives?"
drfelip Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree completely with you. I also have problems using a mouse (but my main problem is clicking), so I combine the keyboard, a touchpad and a mouse. I think a good tracking device has to be integrated in the keyboard: maybe a trackball to the right and an array of programmable buttons to the left or something. My old Toshiba laptop had a trackpoint, but touchpads are a lot better in my experience.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Real alternatives?
by psychicist on Wed 25th Jun 2008 13:47 UTC in reply to "Real alternatives?"
psychicist Member since:
2007-01-27

As someone who is trying to avoid RSI problems, I tried several pointing devices over the years: traditional mouses, trackballs, touchpads, eye tracking and foot mouses. All variations turned out to be quite disappointing.


Even though you've tried quite a lot of options and been disappointed at their effectiveness, I'd say that you shouldn't bet on the one input device that will make your problems go away for the time being.

I have used mice, trackballs and touchpads too over the years, while I haven't tried eye tracking and foot mouses (mice?), and can relate to the problems you've encountered with each of them (to the point of beginning to feel some strains sometimes, that's when I call it quits for the sake of my health).

The best thing to do as I see it is to divide your time between the several input devices so you don't put too much strain on just one part of a hand or arm. I try to switch between left and right hands for mice (even though I'm right-handed) just to keep myself from injuring one or both.

I only have a right-handed trackball and I would like to have a left handed one for the same reason. A mirrored keyboard with backspace and enter keys switched around would help a lot too, since I spend a lot of time at the keyboard daily.

Some time away from the computer, keyboard and input devices is another good way to give your arms and hands the time to recover. Taking some time off for holidays without any computing devices near yourself at all doesn't sound like that bad an idea after all, otherwise just minimise your exposure to them for some period.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Real alternatives?
by alias on Wed 25th Jun 2008 19:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Real alternatives?"
alias Member since:
2007-02-11

I wished it could be that simple, but yes, variety helps, but does not solve the problem sometimes. In fact, I have both a trackball and a mouse that I can use with both hands, combined with a split keyboard and pedals. I never investigated trackpoints mostly because I cannot find a vendor that produces a split keyboard with an integrated one (or should I say two). Considering my primary input device is the keyboard, I'm not willing to switch for an inferior model under any circumstance.

Reply Score: 1

trackballers...
by Googol on Wed 25th Jun 2008 07:17 UTC
Googol
Member since:
2006-11-24

are not weirdos - they have seen the light.

People would be so much better of if they gave a trackball a day or 2 instead of saying it's weird after having touched it for 5 seconds.

The thing with a mouse is that it basically never rests in a comfortable position - it can't, after all the concept is moving it around.

I even play very well with a trackball. In ye good ole BF1 days, I had a second, classic mouse running in parallel which I needed for smooth full cirlces when chasing planes with the anti air defence ;) (you can have both attached as USB at any time and use them as you fancy).

I am using the Logitech Trackman, wired, because a Trackball is that one gadget that really, really doesn't make sense to have cordless - dunno whether they are still doing the cordless.

As for the buttons, I never used them. But if you started out in the good old W95 days, the required software was more often a pain than not... so I never looked back at all those buttons I used to have. Then again, I don't run fancy applications where it may result in productivity. Only because they are there, doesn't mean they are for everyone...

Reply Score: 3

RE: trackballers...
by hibridmatthias on Wed 25th Jun 2008 19:10 UTC in reply to "trackballers..."
hibridmatthias Member since:
2007-04-11

I agree with you whole heartedly.

I have been using trackballs exclusively for 4 years and I despise going back to the standard ouse I even carry around with me in my laptop case! It is is cool to just be able to fling the mouse across the screen real estate and then stop it dead where you need it to be!

Reply Score: 1

It was never truly alive
by Moonbuzz on Wed 25th Jun 2008 09:43 UTC
Moonbuzz
Member since:
2005-07-09

When the mouse was first integrated, it was the actual, true to form, "new metaphor". The first, and so far the last, computer device that wasn't mimicking or attempting to duplicate another non-computer device.

It wasn't supposed to go alone, a new, one hand keyboard was also devised, with the concept of a true mouse-and-keyboard interface. Sadly, the predominant type-writer metaphor kept its place and the mouse was demoted to an after-thought, even worse, it became synonym with bad UI, for several reasons.

First, its limited abilities compared to command-line actions had it coined as dumb, and mouse-only interfaces, aka WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Mouse) were considered dumbed-down and not powerful. During this time, the general concept was that mouse usage was slower than keyboard-only usage (as in the sentence "I have to STOP, then move my hand WAY OVER THERE").

In reality, this shows more of the misuse of the mouse than of its capabilities. Mouse-use should be centred around precision pointing, navigation, selection. Recursively acting on files in a hierarchy is not what a mouse should be used as, nor is it good as an end-all UI manipulation device. There's a good reason why it's called "pointing device" and not otherwise. Tests have also shown constantly that its usage is only being perceived as slow.

Still, it languished. There were attempts to re-integrate the mouse, as it was intended to be used, such as Rob Pike's editor (Sam, and Acme), as well as the Plan 9 operating system. Another good idea is the use of pie menus, neither of which caught on in the mainstream. Most interesting mouse-based UI are being invented in Computer games. From the "mouselook" of shooters, to Black-and-White's Gestures interface, the unorthodox user experience force developers to constantly re-create metaphors and re-imagine the use of peripherals.

To summarise, the mouse was invented for the computer, with computer-specific use in mind, but was misused, along with other devices, as it was hammered into places it was not devised to be, and abused as an end-all "userfriendly" encompassing UI device.

I think that before we bury it, it's time to start using it properly. Let it live a little.

Reply Score: 1

Wishful thinking
by Almindor on Wed 25th Jun 2008 09:45 UTC
Almindor
Member since:
2006-01-16

Multi-touch will only complement the mouse. You can't do 90% of mouse-work with touchscreens, because you'd get serious hand-sores. Sure, they might make it a table but then it's not a computer anymore, and you'll get eye/head-sores.

For general computing, mouse and keyboard will remain the kings. I dare not say "forever" but I don't think I'll see them being de-throned in my age.

Touch screens will be very nice for SOME graphic work (as the OP said, the hands are too in-precise for details) and "kiosk" like appliances (e.g: family table for some photo shows, public kiosks, food kiosks etc.). Many of these already use basic touch screens.

Reply Score: 2

Hardware profits v Productivity
by darrelljon on Wed 25th Jun 2008 11:39 UTC
darrelljon
Member since:
2008-05-29

Isn't it obvious with the case of multitouch monitors that hardware manufacturers are keen to make profits even if it decreases user productivity? Productivity can be increased with current systems if "expert" users started using key-driven interfaces like ratpoison properly. Training in key-driven interfaces would be the only worthwhile reason for abandoning the mouse.

Reply Score: 1

Not bloody likely
by Carewolf on Wed 25th Jun 2008 12:56 UTC
Carewolf
Member since:
2005-09-08

Sure technology will take leaps and new interfaces can be invented. That said, I predict that 10 years from now the vast majority of desktop users will still use a mouse. Though the desktop computer might be dying breed.

And personally they will have to pry the mouse from my cold dead hands.

Reply Score: 1

Hmmm....
by gan17 on Wed 25th Jun 2008 14:10 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

Lets see....

My favourite game on the Nintendo DS is Mario Kart DS, which doesn't even use the touchscreen function.

Yeah, the mouse may go away in futute, but not anytime soon.... IMHO.

Reply Score: 1

Death of the Mouse
by Keptinkomradedrbob on Wed 25th Jun 2008 15:25 UTC
Keptinkomradedrbob
Member since:
2008-02-28

And I suppose it will have to be known as the cat...

Like many, I've tried numerous input devices, starting with lightpens (anyone else ever use an IMLAC?), balled mice, optical mice, wired and wireless mice, mice with 0-10 buttons, graphic tablets, trackpads, trackpoints, trackballs, spaceballs, and even a prototype glove. Every one of them has had a time and a place (ok, maybe every one but the mouse with no buttons...)

The trackpoint and the spaceball make me wickedly carpal, the glove was cool but tiring. The 3D capability and 8 or 10 buttons of the spaceball rock. It's still one of my favourites despite the pain and current lack of drivers for my old serial spaceball.

What I really like in a notepad is the touchscreen. But it doesn't work on the desktop. So why not turn the mousepad into the input device? Move the touchpad to the desktop, make it about the size of a sheet of paper, make it work with my fingers rather than a stylus....then it can be both mouse like and multi touch.

But hey, I'm just a geek...

Reply Score: 1

Not happening
by Novan_Leon on Wed 25th Jun 2008 16:34 UTC
Novan_Leon
Member since:
2005-12-07

The mouse isn't going away anytime soon. It just isn't convenient, practical or precise enough to touch a screen instead of click it with mouse. You keep hearing people talk about it, media and otherwise, but it's all just naive anticipation.

Rather than the touch screen replacing the mouse, here are some ideas of what might be coming:

- Instead of a keyboard and a mouse, you will have one large tablet similar to a touch-sensitive LCD, in addition to your monitor. The tablet would be able to display a virtual keyboard on which to type as well as a touch-screen to perform mouse-like functions (think: Nintendo DS's second touchscreen). All mouse, keyboard, graphic's tablet functions would be contained on one device roughly the size of an ergonomic keyboard today.

- Hand recognition technology. This technology would be able to watch your hands and determine the functions to perform based on your hand and finger movements. Try using your right-hand like you were using a mouse. It would know when you tap your index finger to do a left-click. Essentially you would have the mouse without a mouse. The same could be done for the keyboard except it would be a little more difficult. You might need a template on the table on which to type to allow this to happen. This could also be extensible to other types of interface methods such as drawing on a piece of paper with a stylus, braille or even sign language.

Reply Score: 1

asr4096
Member since:
2007-09-18

Analysts... tsk tsk. Yeah, some day the mouse will be gone, some day the standalone OS is a thing of the past and now we're all using Net-PCs without HDs... Yeah.

Reply Score: 1

freewheeling mouse
by Keptinkomradedrbob on Wed 25th Jun 2008 23:27 UTC
Keptinkomradedrbob
Member since:
2008-02-28

after the 'fling across the desktop' comment about atrackball, I must also state I use a track ball and a mouse on the same system. But by far one of the devices I love most is the scroll wheel on my logitech uber-mouse with rachet or freewheel settings. it will spin for a good long time when you give it a "whing!" with your finger. Great for scrolling through long docs.

there will be some mouse variant around for a good long time until the primary input device moves away from the hands.

Reply Score: 1

multi-touch pad, not screen
by cmjnelson on Thu 26th Jun 2008 05:18 UTC
cmjnelson
Member since:
2008-06-26

it makes a whole lot less sense since using a vertical, upright display for multitouch actions is very tiring and impractical from an ergonomic point of view (try some imaginary window manipulation on your screen, and see how utterly uncomfortable that is).

As you point out, the ergonomics would be rather terrible. But why touch the screen? Instead, replace the mouse with a touch pad peripheral device that lets you control the mouse, input gestures, write on with a pen/stylus or your finger. And by the way, the pad should very much look like and feel like a mouse pad.

Check our blog posts on the topic at Sima Systems (http://simasystems.com/blog/), we've developed the technology that can (will) deliver this type of device.

Reply Score: 1

Touch does not scale
by Verenkeitin on Thu 26th Jun 2008 08:25 UTC
Verenkeitin
Member since:
2007-07-01

Mouse has far supperior speed, accuracy and erconomy.

Touch looks cool and you can pretend it is intuitive when in reality it is not.

Reply Score: 1

Power gloves
by bousozoku on Thu 26th Jun 2008 22:26 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

The mouse seems to be minimised as people move from desktop to notebook computers but using a mouse or a trackball seem to be so much easier than using a trackpad.

I'm still looking for gloves to take over as 3D interfaces are explored. They'll be inconvenient to start, but what's better for depth than reaching with your own two hands? Force feedback could be useful, also.

Until that revolutionary change in the GUI, the mouse will do just fine.

Reply Score: 2