Gary C Martin gary at garycmartin.com
Thu May 22 20:17:41 EDT 2008

On 22 May 2008, at 22:14, david at lang.hm wrote:

> it's not 'keyfeel like a remington typewriter', it's enough keyfeel  
> to be
> able to touch-type. it doesn't take much, but I haven't seen any
> touchscreen that has any.
> I realize that kids aren't going to start off touch-typing, but if the
> keyboard layout is close to the standard for that country (which the  
> core
> of it should be, even if there are extra keys) they should learn the  
> skill
> sooner or later.
> David Lang

Touch type, blimey, I didn't think we were trying to rote train kids  
to be secretarial staff – didn't that go out with the arc? Well it  
should have. I've used computers with standard QWERTY keys for the  
last 26 years, perhaps the last 18 professionally, and I've never been  
able to touch type. I look at keys and use just a few fingers to hunt  
and peck, and I pay my bills just fine. I'm guessing I usually re-edit  
my texts way, way more than just write in one pass, so touch typing in  
a single pass is just a carpal accident waiting to happen.

Now don't get me wrong, there are _huge_ UI feedback details*** to get  
right for a 100% touch keyboard, and it worries me that the current  
(and cute) Xo HW has so far such a poor and neglected trackpad, often  
close to unusable by a patient adult (makes me wonder if 1cc staff all  
use external mice on the Xo), and a tablet mode that runs only with  
kindly 3rd party test code that requires pressing like you're trying  
to cut a ceramic tile.

***Immediate visual and low frequency sound feedback (from the touch  
surface) would be a real good start, and BTW power saving is going to  
get even tougher... Also physical registration dimples for those that  
need them would be a very good plan for the HW mould, even if they are  
just bumps for the F and J positions. And I hope there is a cheap/safe  
solution to the scratch issue, iPhones and iPod Touches use glass  

Just imagine the input issues with a 100% touch device in a hot/dusty/ 
dry/humid environment being used by a kid – but I'm guessing those are  
just mere 'details' glossed over with some PhotoShoping (I'm sure I  
saw a similar mock-up a couple of yeas back on AppleRumours). But I  
_really_ and genuinely do hope they can be problems solved, especially  
at that $75 bargain price, by the folks doing the actual work, but  
time and resources are not yet in favour of that outcome given the  
work required.

Sorry David, I think it was the touch-type comment that set me off. If  
in 2010 we have affordable HW that works at least as well as the  
iPhone / iPod Touch (but with copy/paste), XO-2 will be a fair  
proposition, and having one of the dual screens devoted as a touch  
keyboard when needed will be a big UI improvement over current PDA/ 
smart-phone type input.


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