Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 22nd Jan 2010 17:06 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Taking a break from reporting on the latest netbook or phone rumours, Engadget posted an article yesterday about several elements in desktop operating systems writer Paul Miller finds outdated. While there's some interesting stuff in there, there's also a lot to discuss.
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"It's a far cry from a decade ago"
by Dave_K on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 10:21 UTC
Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

Around a decade ago I was using Windows 2000 and BeOS, five years before that I was using OPENSTEP and OS/2. Two decades ago I was using RISC OS, and still prefer its UI to Windows.

All multitasking, all pretty stable/reliable and easy to use. I think it's disappointing just how little real mainstream progress there's been over the last decade. Nothing wrong with Windows 7 and OS X, but the added eye-candy and internet integration don't do much to impress me.

As for the author's suggestions, I can't say that I find any of them very exciting either. Mostly either impractical, or little tweaks to the existing system rather than anything radical, and pretty vague on the details of how most would be implemented.

I agree with Thom about touch on the desktop, I think it's something that seems neat, but just isn't practical in day to day use. Touchscreens are fine for phones and kiosks, but on a desktop computer, running most applications, touchscreens are virtually useless. Not significantly faster than using a mouse, and you just end up with an aching arm and greasy smears on your screen. No matter how advanced, I can't imagine multitouch screens becoming a real alternative to a mouse.

It's a shame how many recent UI developments seem to be more style than substance...

Reply Score: 3

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree with Thom about touch on the desktop, I think it's something that seems neat, but just isn't practical in day to day use. Touchscreens are fine for phones and kiosks, but on a desktop computer, running most applications, touchscreens are virtually useless. Not significantly faster than using a mouse, and you just end up with an aching arm and greasy smears on your screen. No matter how advanced, I can't imagine multitouch screens becoming a real alternative to a mouse.


Agreed, for the most part. Before the mouse was invented, there was a fair amount of research into the use of "light pens" as an input device - and they were found to cause a large amount of arm strain. With current "TV-style" desktop monitors, you'd run into the exact some problems using touch for any significant amount of time.

To make touch feasible on the desktop, as the primary input method, we'd need displays that were basically a hybrid between a drafting table and Surface.

But in the shorter term, I think it's more likely that we'll see smaller, secondary touch-capable displays (things like the Wacom Cintiq)

Reply Parent Score: 2