Fraunhofer's FIT . . . has recently appeared on the YouTubes, where we must say it looks pretty darn good. Not only does it not require special gloves or markers, this thing also works in real time and can support multiple users (and multiple fingers).
The open-source Mesa/X.Org developers have been working on LLVMpipe, a Gallium3D driver that accelerates OpenGL and other state trackers on the CPU rather than any GPU driver to provide a better software rasterizer via LLVM optimizations. Unfortunately, it's still slow and can barely keep up with games.
Now this is an interesting article, written by Lukas Mathis. He makes the interesting case that the gesture-based interface, as seen on the iPad and many modern smartphones, is actually more akin to the command line interface than the graphical one. He also offers a number of solutions for that pesky problem of gestures being anything but discoverable.
Ah, Jakob Nielsen. Anyone who has ever been involved with serious document design or web usability will know his name. If you've never heard of him, the best way to describe him would probably be this: he's the Richard Stallman of usability. He has a set of very clear ideas about user interface and document design, which more often than not get in the way of beauty. He has performed a usability study, with real users, on the iPad.
"What if all software was open source? Anybody would then be able to add custom features to Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Apple iTunes or any other program. A University of Washington project may make this possible." Yeah I know, odd headline - couldn't find anything better.
You may remember that back in November last year, I wrote about the lack of a decent Paint.NET-like application for Linux (or, more specifically, for Gtk+ distributions, since Qt has Krita). As it turns out, this compelled Novell employee Jonathan Pobst to code a Paint.NET clone in Gtk+ using Cairo. Version 0.1 is here, and it's remarkably advanced for something so young.
"The venerable GNU Image Manipulation Program is undergoing a significant transformation. The next major release, version 2.8, will introduce an improved user interface with an optional single-window mode. Although this update is still under heavy development, users can get an early look by compiling the latest source code of the development version from the GIMP's version control repository."
Every now and then on OSNews, we discuss typography and language. Despite the fact that many think it's not relevant for computing - it most certainly is. Whether you're browsing the web, reading email, or chatting over IM - the most common element on your computer screen is typography. Today, I want to discuss something we barely have in my native language: small capitals.
"Imagine that you are a super-successful movie director, who's been given hundreds of millions of dollars and lots of whiz-bang technology to make a cinematic epic. Sounds good? Not once you are told that people will have to watch it on fuzzy old black and white television sets. Something similar happens to the text that appears on your computer screen whenever you log on to a Web site. The site's owner has so little control over the fine details of what you will see that the typeface in which the text appears is bound to be distorted. Pity the poor designer who struggled to perfect it."
For as long as I can remember, I've been having issues with scrolling in Windows and its applications. When scrolling via dragging the scroll blob, it seemed as if Windows had the annoying habit of randomly resetting your scroll blob to its starting position, which irritated me to no end. It took me a while to figure out, but I finally know when this behaviour occurs - now I just need to know: why?!
NoStarchPress sent us in the newly released "Book of Inkscape", written by Dmitry Kirsanov, who is also one of the core developers of Inkscape.
OSNews takes a look at the technology powering the latest generation of touchscreen personal computers. Have the stars finally aligned to give the touch interface the combination of price, precision, sensitivity, and software support to make it attractive to the mainstream PC buyer? And if so, what does that mean for the elusive Tablet PC? We take a look at a Dell Studio One, which is powered by NextWindow's optical touch screen technology. (With video)
InfoWorld's John Rizzo chronicles the 20 most significant ideas and features Microsoft and Apple have stolen from each other in the lead up to Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard. 'Some features were stolen so long ago that they've become part of the computing landscape, and it's difficult to remember who invented what.' Windows 7's Task Bar and Aero Peek come to mind as clear appropriations of Mac OS X's Dock and Expose. Apple's cloning of the Windows address bar in 2007's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard as the path bar is another obvious 'inspiration.' But the borrowing goes deeper, Rizzo writes, providing a screenshot tour of Microsoft's biggest grabs from Mac OS X and Apple's most significant appropriations of Windows OS ideas and functionality.
Gimp critics will have one less thing to complain about when Gimp 2.8 is released later this year. Single window mode is coming with the next major release along with some other interesting UI enhancements.
Last week, Culf of Mac published an article showing off some of Snow Leopard's beautiful 512x512 icons, revealing some interesting tidbits about them you could only see when the icons are fully maximised. In this article, I compare some of Snow Leopard's icons to those of Windows 7, and you'll see while both operating systems have beautiful icons, there are some key differences between the styles of these icons. Note that this article contains some large images, so if you're on dial-up, you've been warned.
You probably missed this earth-shattering news, but
Ikea IKEA, the Swedish furniture and other assorted home decoration products company, has switched fonts. The company always used the Futura font for its catalogues, but the latest edition has ditched it in favour of Verdana. This has caused quite the stir among typography geeks.
Adobe has announced it is dropping PowerPC support from its next version of the Creative Suite for the Mac. "By the time the next version of the Suite ships, the very youngest PPC-based Macs will be roughly four years old. They're still great systems, but if you haven't upgraded your workstation in four years, you're probably not in a rush to upgrade your software, either. Bottom line: Time & resources are finite, and with big transitions underway (going 64-bit-native, switching from Carbon to Cocoa), you want Adobe building for the future, not for the past."
Brandon Walkin has just published a fascinating article on the topic of managing user interface complexity. "I've spent the past year redesigning a particularly complex application with my primary focus being on reducing complexity. In this article, I'll go over some of the issues surrounding complexity and techniques that can be used to manage it."
The Engineering 7 weblog has an item about the improvements made in the ClearType font rendering technology which has been included in Windows since Windows XP. While I won't go too deeply into that post, I did figure it was a good opportunity to talk about font antialiasing in general; which type do you prefer?
I's time for another "OSNews Asks", a blatant rip-off of just about every other website in existence. Anyway, today we want to focus on multitouch. The technology behind it has existed for a long time, but only recently have companies like Apple (iPhone, trackpads) and Microsoft (Surface, Windows 7) begun promoting it. We have a question for you, about multitouch in desktops and laptops.