Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st Nov 2011 22:03 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Okay, I think we can all agree on the fact that while Microsoft's Surface machines might not be particularly useful for most of us, we all secretly want one, or something similar. Thanks to EXOPC, you'll now be able to: for $1299, you'll have a 40" multitouch interactive desk.
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freaking awesome
by Moochman on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 00:59 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

I like it better than the surface--because it's a desk!! And because it's cheap. I do wonder about the programming interface though--if they manage to make it compatible with native Windows touch events/Surface APIs that would go a long way towards making it more useful.

Edited 2011-11-22 01:00 UTC

Reply Score: 3

earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

Looks like you'll need to buy a desk PC just to get their website's layout to work.

Reply Score: 3

Alternative OS?
by spiderman on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 07:11 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

This is awesome hardware. I wonder if it would be possible to install an alternative OS on this (illegally, of course)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Alternative OS? - illegally?
by jabbotts on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 17:15 UTC in reply to "Alternative OS?"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Why not just use an OS you already have a license for or can legally obtain?

As for the hardware, one may potentially invalidate the warrenty but that should only become illegal if you then defraud the company over a warrenty issue.

Why on earth would installing a different OS or modifying the hardware be illegal in and of itself?

Reply Score: 3

spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

Why not just use an OS you already have a license for or can legally obtain?

Because I like my freedom. I don't want to share my privacy with somebody that will sell it to whoever will pay for it, I don't want to have my data locked down by whatever obscure format they decide I should use, I don't want to be forced to pay for an upgrade and I want my hardware to be usable even after the vendor decides it's obsolete, etc...

As for the hardware, one may potentially invalidate the warrenty but that should only become illegal if you then defraud the company over a warrenty issue.

Why on earth would installing a different OS or modifying the hardware be illegal in and of itself?

Because that would probably involve some reverse engineering, breaking trade secrets and/or patents?

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I haven't any idea what you are on about with the first comment. You like freedom, you don't want to share privacy. What has that got to do with an alternative OS?

Your original post suggests that installing an alternative OS would be "illegall[y], of course".


This is awesome hardware. I wonder if it would be possible to install an alternative OS on this (illegally, of course)


Only if you chose to install an OS you did not have a license for but that is not an inherent situation, You would have to intentionally install a copyright infringing OS. I suggested using any OS you can legally obtain an license for.

If it's a retail OS and you buy the license then your legally installing it.

If it's a FOSS licensed OS and you remain within the very broad requiringments of the applicable open source license then you are legally installing it.

If you write your own OS because you can't abide by some kind of freedom or privacy imposition you seem to suggest in either of the first two options then you are the default license owner and therefore, are installing it legally.

So, I really don't understand what your on about with this suggestion that an OS would be "illegaly of course" or freedom/privacy/stanta-claus infringing.

In terms of the hardware; in more sane jourisdictions, reverse engineering is perfectly legal when required to produce a compatible product and/or overlooked for personal use. Don't make a business out of it; fair enough. Really, it should be a civil matter under contract law at most resulting in a voided warrenty and/or SLA. Illegal would suggest criminal law not civil law. (depending on jourisdiction still)

This "use of non-factory OS or hardware modification is criminal by default" mentality is complete idiocy.

Reply Score: 2

spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

I realize now my post was not clear and could be interpreted the way you did, sorry about that. I was just wondering if that would be possible to install free OS like GNU.
I agree with you it should be legal in any sane jurisdiction.Unfortunately, sane jurisdictions are hard to find these days. In the US, for instance, this would be illegal under the DCMA because it is an attempt to circumvent digital locks. That depends if there is any lock in the OS to start with, of course but I assume it is pretty standard these days.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Yeah, that could be my mis-interpretation initially. My first thought also was "hm.. can I stick Debian behind that? Is the company open to alternative OS and hardware hackers?"

In terms of DMCA, I would hope to see hardware like this be added to the acceptions list as it would clearly fall in-line with other hardware already recognized as acceptions to the law when it's the device owner choosing to modify the hardware/software. This would really fall closest to current general purpose computers if it's more than just the input hardware.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Alternative OS?
by Elv13 on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 06:06 UTC in reply to "Alternative OS?"
Elv13 Member since:
2006-06-12

(Bias: They are made close from where a I come from, but I have no relation with them)

One people I know asked an EXOPC to test Linux on it before it launched, she got 2. So they are not that Linux unfriendly. As long as you buy them, they seem to be happy.

Reply Score: 2

Graphics tablet
by Neolander on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 07:20 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, the reason I'd buy a graphics tablet anyway is input precision.

The core problem of every finger-based touchscreen since their introduction is that they have a ridiculously large pointer, do not allow you to see what you're doing, and give zero "hover" haptic feedback. In short, they only work if you're using software with gigantic-sized controls, and even then it's a waste of screen estate and hand movements.

To the contrary, like a real-world pen, a graphics tablet allows you to point and draw things with an absurdly large input resolution that only leaves your screen as a limitation to how precise you can get. You can draw whatever you want with slight movements of the wrist.

For serious graphics work, except as a voluntary artistic challenge ("say, how far can I get with nothing but an iPad ?"), finger-based touchscreens are probably an unnecessary hurdle.

Edited 2011-11-22 07:26 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Graphics tablet
by xdev on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 02:55 UTC in reply to "Graphics tablet"
xdev Member since:
2005-11-11

A few notes, and I reply here, because of the precision issue.

1.) AG Neovo already offer two large multitouch screens, the TX-W32 and TX-W42, at halfway reasonable prices (below 2 grand). These of course seem to have the mentioned low precision.

In many applications, eg where a large panel with very dynamic indicators and lots of controls is required, this still should do very well. Think FOH consoles and effects (one flightcase fits all), or industrial plant process control.

2.) The Samsung SUR40 mentioned has pretty badass technology driven by Microsoft. Their hardware division is good. This uses a checkerboard pattern of backlight and IR LEDs. IR is reflected of whatever is in front of the screen and scanned PER PIXEL (!). It is effectively a bastard child of a TFT LCD and a CMOS (likely, or CCD) image sensor.

Given that they have to ramp up a mostly new process in a TFT fab, I would guess the device is a loss leader and Microsoft pays Samsung a good amount of cash to stake the claims in surface territory. The price is low enough to be very affordable to serious product developers (those who ship boxes and answer a helpline), yet slightly too painful for the buy-whatever-is-new crowd.

3.) The ExoPC-Link in the article leads to just a few tablets. The _ExoDesk_ can be found on the web however.

At the price point I wouldn't bet against that the ExoDesk somehow (though it's 40 vs 32/42 inch) is the AG Neovo technology with a simple PC board slapped to its back.

Reply Score: 1

21st century
by anarchisttomato on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 14:35 UTC
anarchisttomato
Member since:
2010-05-17

I'm just happy to see stuff that looks like the kind of things we thought we'd have around now, when we were imagining things last century. We're supposed to have hover cars and sky-lanes by 2015! ;) I'm not sure how useful this will be, but screw it. Let's make the world less boring.

Reply Score: 1

RE: 21st century - 2015..
by jabbotts on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 17:19 UTC in reply to "21st century"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

2015.. bah.. supposed to have had my flying car by the year 2000 but they keep back-ordering the darn thing. And don't get me started on the space travel we where supposed to have by 2001. By 2010 I should be taking an elevator up to orbiting cities shouldn't I? ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: 21st century - 2015..
by zima on Mon 28th Nov 2011 23:53 UTC in reply to "RE: 21st century - 2015.."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

We have space travel for half a century. Flying cars even longer - they're just called aircraft or, particularly, helicopters.

Yes, not quite the way they are (still) imagined... and there are very good reasons for that. Similar to how we didn't build trains in ways similar to, say, galleons. Different thing, different conditions, different mode of operation - and "cargo cults" (often very "directed" by momentary trends*) of sort, from works of fiction, won't change that (especially considering how most end up quite wrong; we just like to remember those which are kinda-a-bit "correct")

Look at those aircraft http://goo.gl/9TLhg (Wiki URL with Unicode characters, often strange things happen...) from "our" times, as imagined ~130 years ago (*curiously, during rapid advancements of marine tech...). And we can even build them (take a Harrier, remove wings and canopy) - still a horrible idea versus "boring" reality: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ryanair_Boeing_737-800_appro...

Or, sometimes even something ~roadable - I particularly like this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_People's_Technology_and_Education_Center#I-Fly_Maverick as one of few practical ones - and mostly because it's essentially an oversized powered paraglider trike (but with four wheels obviously ;p )

So I suspect that, with flying cars, the general message of this commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzm6pvHPSGo might get even stronger over time ;)
Plus, in relatively short amount of time: fleets of efficiently moving autonomous cars, making travel not only much smoother already but also not a wasted time (the "different mode" thing), during which everybody can do something.

Space elevator - not only we're nearing the area of "magical technology" (which would massively obsolete old dreams, also of "big and glorious scifi-style space travel") to build it, it's also quite possibly a bad idea around the Earth... (we already might not be too far from Kessler Syndrome)

Reply Score: 2

RE: 21st century
by zima on Mon 28th Nov 2011 23:58 UTC in reply to "21st century"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm just happy to see stuff that looks like the kind of things we thought we'd have around now, when we were imagining things last century. We're supposed to have hover cars and sky-lanes by 2015! ... Let's make the world less boring.


Nah, we hardly see it IMHO; probably it's more a sort of confirmation bias, we "seek out" those predictions which were rougly not-entirely-incorrect. While many (most?) of the things we imagine are trash.
It coming to druition would be really boring - hardly anybody envisioned computers, mobile phones the way they now evolve; or even, say, trains (plus, my post nearby)

Reply Score: 2

Why not just....
by BluenoseJake on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 16:58 UTC
BluenoseJake
Member since:
2005-08-11

Preorder a Sumsung Surface SUR40?

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/surface/archive/2011/11/17/preorder.aspx

Seems like it may be better than this half assed clone.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Why not just....
by Heard on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 17:35 UTC in reply to "Why not just...."
Heard Member since:
2009-12-24

The reason actually is in the article:

which will set you back a hefty $8400

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Why not just....
by BluenoseJake on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 19:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Why not just...."
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

It's new tech, so it's bound to be expensive.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Why not just....
by Heard on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 16:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why not just...."
Heard Member since:
2009-12-24

Sure. But most people in this world simply can't spend that much for it, therefore the "why" is pretty clear for most of us.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by madmalkav
by madmalkav on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 21:35 UTC
madmalkav
Member since:
2009-04-25

Is this gets to work with any unix flavour I will seriously consider it.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by abstraction
by abstraction on Tue 22nd Nov 2011 23:50 UTC
abstraction
Member since:
2008-11-27

If I were to design something like this I would only create a very large transparent touch-sensitive plate. Then you could place the display part either in front of you or under the plate wherever you prefer. It just adds a lot of cost to have the touch sensitive plate bundled with a display and would also enable you to change display if you get bored.

Anyone knows if something like this exist?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by abstraction
by zlynx on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 02:13 UTC in reply to "Comment by abstraction"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

I doubt it would be cost effective to build a very large touch sensor plate.

The trick that makes Microsoft Surface work is that it doesn't use touch sensors at all. It's based on cameras instead, so it should be able to work for any surface of arbitrarily large size, as long as the cameras have enough resolution.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by abstraction
by Moochman on Wed 23rd Nov 2011 08:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by abstraction"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Try googling for "multi-touch overlay". This kind of thing does indeed exist. ;)

Edited 2011-11-23 08:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2