Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 18:41 UTC
Windows Windows 8 will have both the new Metro-style applications and user interface and the traditional Windows 7 desktop for legacy applications, which kind of runs like an application. Since legacy applications have to be recompiled to run on ARM anyway, it's always been a bit unclear if the ARM version of Windows 8 would include the legacy desktop at all - even Microsoft itself confirmed it wasn't sure yet. Microsoft bloggers Mary-Jo Foley and Paul Thurrot have fresh rumours that Microsoft has now made the decision to remove the legacy desktop from the ARM version.
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RE[6]: missed opportunity
by Neolander on Sat 3rd Dec 2011 08:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: missed opportunity"
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Well, I did say "there will be many awkward experiments on the road to success". ;) Just because one app doesn't succeed in your opinion (that, it must be said, is one of the first to even try to solve the problems) doesn't convince me of the general unsuitability. Can you name any particular reasons why a mouse is inherently better for such tasks than touch (potentially in combination with stylus for precision tasks), or do you simply not like the mappings of touch interactions that are used in iWork?

Neither Thom nor me criticized the use of a stylus. All we said is that touch alone is a horribly imprecise input method, and that all software that is inflexibly optimized for it is going to suck for anything but content consumption. Now, if you add more precise input peripherals such as touch with hovering haptic feedback (does not exist commercially yet, but we never know), keyboards, or styluses, then add strong support for those at the OS + app level, we can probably talk about doing more serious things with those 10-inch screens.

Particularly in the area of music creation and image manipulation there seems to be a huge potential IMHO for directly using multiple fingers to quickly manipulate things

I don't know... I've heard this argument before, but in practice, if I consider the way I naturally use real-world tools, this multiple input consideration always seems to ignore the fact that we only have one brain : our hands and fingers are not fully independent from each other, and we have a very hard time separating the sensory feedback from simultaneous actions in order to perform all of them efficiently.

Otherwise, playing musical instruments, which are one of the few example of real-world objects which do fundamentally require multiple simultaneous input, would not require so many years of training ;)

(in the case of image manipulation there is of course drawing but also the live adjustment of parameters simultaneously while doing so, to adjust the size of a brush by using multiple fingers, to precisely zoom in/out and rotate with unprecedented ease, etc....

Zooming and free rotation are indeed one of the few things that current multitouch technology does relatively right. There still are some problems to tackle though :
-For two-finger scrolling, free rotation, and zooming, manufacturers must abandon the idea that people want to do all of them simultaneously. It simply does not work. You always get unwanted rotation when you want to zoom, unwanted zooming when you want to scroll, etc.
-Zooming on large scales with two fingers is extremely tedious. Some sort of boxed zoom must continue to exist for this purpose.

As for manipulating multiple parameters at once, I believe that this is solving a nonexistent problem for the reasons stated above. In the specific case of dynamic brush size adjustment, good pen input does it very well and intuitively using pressure sensitivity, and if you do not have a pen at hand you probably do not want to get a brush that's even more oversized than your fat finger ;)

In the case of music there's the potential to trigger multiple notes/sequences simultaneously

Indeed, musical instruments are one of the few real-world examples of devices which fundamentally require multiple simultaneous interactions. On the other hand, I'd argue that current capacitive touch surfaces are not very good for playing music either. They are too flat, both in terms of haptic feedback and in terms of the binary kind of input they accept. It's like cheap digital synths from the 90s with their binary key response and elastic haptic feedback : you can do some basic stuff with them, but once you've tried a keyboard whose design has been better thought-out there is no way back.

I'm confident that in a few years, engineers will start to seriously tackle the problems of haptic feedback and pressure sensitivity on touchscreens though. Acoustic physicists are already doing some nice stuff in this area. The thing only needs more time and attention.

and to tweak knobs and sliders simultaneously, which are just huge improvement over mouse-based interactions...)

I think you should give audio mixing and mastering a try, for a few simple personal projects. This may change your opinion on how easy it is to adjust multiple audio parameters at once in a controlled fashion. If you do have tried and still defend this opinion, then your sound engineering skills deserve my deepest respect ;)

And we haven't even started exploring the potential of combining stylus and touch support. Check out this video (with an open mind, if you don't already know it) to see the tip of the iceberg.

I am not convinced yet. This may sound all good on video, but if you and I were put in front of this setup, without any explanation, what would we be able to do ? Most of the gesture interactions presented on this video are totally undiscoverable, in sense that if you don't know that they are there, you will never find out about them. Is the future of GUI you'd want such a come-back to undiscoverable command lines, only with an even more esoteric vocabulary ?

Edited 2011-12-03 08:15 UTC

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