Linked by weildish on Sat 7th Feb 2009 10:59 UTC
Windows One of the big hypes of Windows 7 was the new integrated touch and multitouch features unheard of in previous systems. On paper, it all looks nice, but the folks over at Engadget recently tested out these said features of the beta on an HP TouchSmart PC, and were underwhelmed by the efficiency of the features.
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To gimmicky
by deathshadow on Sat 7th Feb 2009 12:03 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

Touchscreens have always been a gimmick promoted by people that have an irrational fear of the keyboard. It always looks slick in demos, and for a handful of applications where single keypresses are all you need (cash registers) or for controlling a presentation it does have it's used - but frankly for normal computer use it provides little in the way of improvement. Touch is usually innaccurate, horsepower hungry, and relies on overcomplicated easily broken sensors that have relegated touchscreen to niche markets instead of widespread deployment.

Multitouch doesn't bring anything REALLY new to the table in that regard. It's another "gee ain't it neat!" technology that you'll hear trumpeted from rooftops as revolutionary...

... and stay in the shadows as an also ran, because nobody asked the question:

"What good is it?" Ooh look you can move something around and rotate it... Until someone comes up with a killer application for it, it's cutesy unneccesary bull that's all flash, and no substance.

AAAH, that felt good. I've not posted like that in a while.

Edited 2009-02-07 12:03 UTC

Reply Score: 10

RE: To gimmicky
by kaiwai on Sat 7th Feb 2009 12:57 UTC in reply to "To gimmicky"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Touchscreens have always been a gimmick promoted by people that have an irrational fear of the keyboard. It always looks slick in demos, and for a handful of applications where single keypresses are all you need (cash registers) or for controlling a presentation it does have it's used - but frankly for normal computer use it provides little in the way of improvement. Touch is usually innaccurate, horsepower hungry, and relies on overcomplicated easily broken sensors that have relegated touchscreen to niche markets instead of widespread deployment.


I agree. In my early years I worked at a fast food chain with touch screens. They were slow, unreliable, crash prone - quite frankly they would have been better off getting those silicon water and food resistant keyboards and using those instead.

Multitouch doesn't bring anything REALLY new to the table in that regard. It's another "gee ain't it neat!" technology that you'll hear trumpeted from rooftops as revolutionary...

... and stay in the shadows as an also ran, because nobody asked the question:

"What good is it?" Ooh look you can move something around and rotate it... Until someone comes up with a killer application for it, it's cutesy unnecessary bull that's all flash, and no substance.

AAAH, that felt good. I've not posted like that in a while.


To me multi-touch has all the usefulness of those awful 'face place' replacement packs that HP used to include with their desktop computers - so 'users' could 'customise' their computers for their 'personality'.

I can't think of a single time when I've actually heard a normally end user go, "gee, I'd really love to have a touch screen computer". Most of the time I hear end users more likely to say, "I wish the damn computer stopped giving me errors that don't tell me what I am doing wrong!" and many other complaints.

Touch screens to me sounds like to me as the bottom of the barrel, we've run out of ideas, last resort, 'cup holder' addition to the computing world.

Edited 2009-02-07 12:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: To gimmicky
by Laurence on Sat 7th Feb 2009 14:33 UTC in reply to "To gimmicky"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Touchscreens have always been a gimmick promoted by people that have an irrational fear of the keyboard.


You may want to believe that, but when the vast majorety of PDAs ship with touch-screen and some tablet PCs having relative popularity amongst the artists (as well as already being powerful enough to run Win7), I think you'd have to conceed that touch-screen has wider applications than shop-tills and presentations.

Sure, the average PC wouldn't need multi-touch, but then 'average' PCs are only one slice of a larger IT industry.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by Verenkeitin on Sat 7th Feb 2009 21:04 UTC in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
Verenkeitin Member since:
2007-07-01

I think he is speaking just about PCs and not PDAs/phones. Touch on a tiny screen is not bad. It just does not scale that well to larger screens.

And (good) tablet PCs use a digitizer pen input (like the ones Wacom builds). That has nothing in common with touch screens.

But I do agree that touch screen on PC could have its uses. Especially on tablet PCs when combined with digitizer pen for things that demand accurate control.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by deathshadow on Sun 8th Feb 2009 10:11 UTC in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

You may want to believe that, but when the vast majorety of PDAs ship with touch-screen and some tablet PCs having relative popularity amongst the artists (as well as already being powerful enough to run Win7)


In other words a very small niche that the majority of users are going to give a **** about.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: To gimmicky
by Laurence on Sun 8th Feb 2009 21:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: To gimmicky"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

In other words a very small niche that the majority of users are going to give a **** about.

Get over yourself! PDAs are hardly a niche. You only have to look at the popularity of the iPhone to see that.

And whos to say that future laptops/netbooks wont ship with touch-screen instead/as well as a touch pad? (I, for one, would like this).

From where I'm sitting - you're letting your short-sighted / narrow-mindedness affect your judgement on this technology.
Yes it maynot be a revolutionary new keyboard-killer, but it's still a useful tool, and I for one wouldn't want to see development halted on any useful input tools just because a few geeks decided they specifically didn't need them.

I mean what's next on your hit list? Should Microsoft ditch gamepad / joystick support in Win7 because the majorety of PC users aren't gamers and many gamers prefer keyboard & mice?

Edited 2009-02-08 21:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: To gimmicky
by ba1l on Sat 7th Feb 2009 14:58 UTC in reply to "To gimmicky"
ba1l Member since:
2007-09-08

Well, a touchscreen may not be a replacement for a keyboard, but it certainly can be a replacement for a mouse. In fact, a decent touchscreen works better than a mouse in many cases. It's just useless if whatever you're doing requires any typing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by Laurence on Sat 7th Feb 2009 15:05 UTC in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Well, a touchscreen may not be a replacement for a keyboard, but it certainly can be a replacement for a mouse. In fact, a decent touchscreen works better than a mouse in many cases. It's just useless if whatever you're doing requires any typing.


Touch-screen already is a replacement for a keyboard on PDAs. In fact, while it's not 100% accurate, i actually find it's quicker to use the handwriting recognition on my PDA than it would be to use a smaller keyboard (particularly in the case of smart phones where you'd otherwise have to multi-tap numbers to bring up the correct alpha characters)

I think the problem with touch-screen is it's being sold as a pioneering solution when in fact it's just an evolutionary tool.
It may one-day grow into a keyboard-killer, but at the moment it's just another tool for those who choose to use it (much like a joystick / gamepad is to gamers)

Edited 2009-02-07 15:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: To gimmicky
by rajan r on Sat 7th Feb 2009 16:51 UTC in reply to "To gimmicky"
rajan r Member since:
2005-07-27

I have a MacBook Aluminium, and the frequency I use multitouch features (albeit from the trackpad) is high enough that I really don't think it can be called a useless feature. On websites with small text (and on Firefox 3.1, small images), pinching is a lot easier and faster than using the keyboard shortcut. And on Pages and Keynote 09, I frequently use multitouch to resize pictures and charts.

One key thing that Engadget missed is that what Windows 7 brings is multitouch gestures that work in applications that don't explicitly support it. Before Firefox 3.1 came out, I switched to Safari simply because of the three finger swipe (and now that 3.1 has more gestures that I use more frequently, it is hard to go back to Safari).

It's a tall order for Microsoft, but it is above and beyond what Apple has done on OS X.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by deathshadow on Sun 8th Feb 2009 10:07 UTC in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

funny, I just use this thing called a mouse wheel... But then I don't use trackpags on laptops as for me they are in the wrong location, too small, and not accurate enough to actually do anything with. Much less that on my G4 powerbook or my iMac I automatically use a non-apple mouse since the OS supports multiple buttons, apple just has their head wedged permanantly up their ass about actually shipping a useful one. (see the train wreck the 'mighty' mouse was.)

Reply Score: 2

RE: To gimmicky
by Hiev on Sat 7th Feb 2009 22:28 UTC in reply to "To gimmicky"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

None sense, touch is designed for those programs and for those places where you can't use a mouse or a keyboard, and ATM for example or some publick kiosks, is for simplicity and quickness, abviously on the demo rotating and zooming an image doesn't show its full potential neather is the righ job for a touch screen, but don't discard touch screen just because in this case is not implemented in Linux. Yes, I assume your are just trolling bacause this is implemented in Windows.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: To gimmicky
by deathshadow on Sun 8th Feb 2009 10:04 UTC in reply to "RE: To gimmicky"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

Funny response in those last two sentences since I consider linux next to useless as a desktop OS - so wrong assumption.

Oh, and is that why I'm seeing more and more of the old ATM's with the buttons alongside the screen and a keypad below replacing the newer touchscreen models? My bank and both of the grocers around here switched BACK to the old button driven.

Reply Score: 2

Kids will love this
by dimosd on Sat 7th Feb 2009 14:27 UTC
dimosd
Member since:
2006-02-10

I don't know if it's efficient or useful but it looks fun...

Reply Score: 2

not astonishing
by MysterMask on Sat 7th Feb 2009 15:47 UTC
MysterMask
Member since:
2005-07-12

So is anybody really astonished to see Microsoft once again overpromising / underperforming.

To anybody but the die hard Win fangirls it was clear that this would happen when Microsoft's marketing people hoped on the iPhone hype and claimed that Lose7's touch features will leave the iPhone in the dust.

This is Microsoft's usual marketing tactic if they sense that competitors have better technology: the claim that the next version of Door/Home-Office/Not-SQL-Server/iiS/etc. will leave competition in the dust to prevent customers flocking to the competition. Then they release an underperforming product which needs at least 3 Versions to become useful. Especially when it comes to user interfaces, they still don't get that less is more.

Reply Score: 0

RE: not astonishing
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 7th Feb 2009 16:54 UTC in reply to "not astonishing"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

So is anybody really astonished to see Microsoft once again overpromising / underperforming.


Dude, BETA. B, E, T, A. BETA. Beta. Beta. Beta? Yes, beta! What you say, beta? Oh my god, beta? Yes, BETA! Give me a B, give me an E, give me a T, give me an A, gooooooooooo BETA!!!!!!

Get it?

Reply Score: 5

v RE[2]: not astonishing
by abraxas on Sat 7th Feb 2009 17:30 UTC in reply to "RE: not astonishing"
RE[3]: not astonishing
by darknexus on Sat 7th Feb 2009 17:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: not astonishing"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I think you're confusing "beta" with "release candidate." An RC is supposed to be feature complete, the purpose of the rc being to iron out any major issues that might still exist. A beta, on the other hand, typically isn't feature complete and is a work in progress in both areas, features and bug squashing.

Reply Score: 5

v RE[4]: not astonishing
by MysterMask on Sat 7th Feb 2009 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: not astonishing"
RE[5]: not astonishing
by abraxas on Sat 7th Feb 2009 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: not astonishing"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Nope, dude. You mix Alpha with Beta. Alpha is feature complete but not bug free, while RC is 'seems ready to be released, but might contain show-stoppers when deployed and tested on a wider range of hardware' (hence the name release candidate). Beta is for squashing bugs.


Alpha isn't feature complete. Alpha is still in developement and is often not released to anyone outside of where it is developed (unless it is open source of course). Beta's are generally the first available feature complete versions of software meant for testing by a wider audience to discover bugs and inconsistencies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: not astonishing
by abraxas on Sat 7th Feb 2009 20:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: not astonishing"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

I think you're confusing "beta" with "release candidate." An RC is supposed to be feature complete, the purpose of the rc being to iron out any major issues that might still exist. A beta, on the other hand, typically isn't feature complete and is a work in progress in both areas, features and bug squashing.


No. Beta is feature complete. RC is exactly that, a Release Candidate. The final RC generally goes on to become the final release with little or no changes. Beta's are for testing the new features and APIs.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: not astonishing
by hollovoid on Sat 7th Feb 2009 23:48 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: not astonishing"
hollovoid Member since:
2005-09-21

Where are we getting this definition of beta, last I knew, beta just means not final, and is up to a wide interpretation, some software is feature complete at beta, some isn't, some is at alpha, some isn't, in fact, i've seen RC's that didn't have features the final did, there isn't one set standard for any of these buzz words, and every company will define it's meaning in a way they see fit.

I love how this argument comes back like a crack addict, when there is no basis to stand on for either side.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: not astonishing
by abraxas on Sat 7th Feb 2009 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: not astonishing"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Where are we getting this definition of beta, last I knew, beta just means not final, and is up to a wide interpretation, some software is feature complete at beta, some isn't, some is at alpha, some isn't, in fact, i've seen RC's that didn't have features the final did, there isn't one set standard for any of these buzz words, and every company will define it's meaning in a way they see fit.

I love how this argument comes back like a crack addict, when there is no basis to stand on for either side.


It's not really up to wide interpretation in the general software development world. The only real reason people seem to be confused by the concept is because of the way Microsoft and a few other large software producers label their releases. The concept of alpha and beta releases has been around for a very long time but the confusion about what the terms mean is a relatively recent phenomenom. It probably doesn't help that a lot of people that have never developed software throw those terms around without really knowing what they mean.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: not astonishing
by hollovoid on Sun 8th Feb 2009 00:58 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: not astonishing"
hollovoid Member since:
2005-09-21

But this long standing method seems to be an unwritten method to be passed down, I have not seen any genuine guideline that describes what is to be done or what is not to be done in the process of a beta and alpha, or even an RC. While working at Xerox, different teams even had different objectives for each stage, where features were added late in a release candidate as long as they weren't impossibly complex to implement, whereas others would not out of "principal". Many people look how its done in their favorite project and make noise when another project does it differently, saying it's incorrect, I just don't see how they could possibly know what is "correct".

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: not astonishing
by PlatformAgnostic on Sat 7th Feb 2009 23:27 UTC in reply to "RE: not astonishing"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

That argument may apply to performance or crashiness of a feature, but in general the UI or functionality of the feature should be ready by the Beta build (at least based on the way the Win7 project is being run). Multitouch suffers from a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem. It needs to be in the OS for apps to take advantage of it, but it may be a little while (and perhaps another version of Windows) before it's totally natural.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[2]: not astonishing
by Budd on Sun 8th Feb 2009 00:16 UTC in reply to "RE: not astonishing"
RE: not astonishing
by BallmerKnowsBest on Sun 8th Feb 2009 00:39 UTC in reply to "not astonishing"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

To anybody but the die hard Win fangirls it was clear that this would happen when Microsoft's marketing people hoped on the iPhone hype and claimed that Lose7's touch features will leave the iPhone in the dust.


Lose7?!?!? Don't quit your day job.

Reply Score: 1

Not available on netbooks
by cyclops on Sat 7th Feb 2009 23:04 UTC
cyclops
Member since:
2006-03-12

Seriously look at "starter edition" and lol, maybe not a killer feature at all...perhaps your better moving to something that does support it like Linux

Reply Score: 2

don't worry
by poundsmack on Sun 8th Feb 2009 03:53 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

as someone with a beta thats a little more advanced than the ones that have leaked out, the multi touch features are constantly improving. they are being finetuned a lot as MS works with vendors. a lot of that vendor specific work hasn't made its way into the OS yet, but is currently being intigrated. stay tuned, i will say more when i can ;)

Reply Score: 3

Topsy-turvy
by 3rdalbum on Sun 8th Feb 2009 06:13 UTC
3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

We're buying cordless keyboards and cordless mice so we can move back from the screen a bit... and buying touchscreens so we have to be within 70cm of the screen?

Touchscreens are useful on mobile devices because they turn output space into input space, cutting down on the size of the device (or allowing bigger screens). They're useful in kiosks too because they can be hardier than keyboards and mice. But they are just a gimmick on desktop PCs. People rather have more screen real estate than have everything big enough to touch.

Reply Score: 2

v Imagination
by gtada on Sun 8th Feb 2009 07:20 UTC
Looks painful to use
by mckill on Sun 8th Feb 2009 16:26 UTC
mckill
Member since:
2007-06-12

i understand its 'beta', however its a very late beta from what i can tell and very close to being an FC.

regardless, the experience looks really painful.

Reply Score: 2