tap-to-click feedback

Tuukka Hastrup Tuukka.Hastrup at iki.fi
Thu Apr 15 13:24:33 EDT 2010

Hi everyone,

Ed McNierney escribió:
 > No, you're quite right - it's hard.  And it's hard to tell whether most
 > users are silent because they're happy with it, or they're silent
 > because they don't even realize that they have a choice.

It's very easy to tell: the OLPC project is not in close contact with 
the field. In this thread, we can observe the illusion that the hundreds 
of thousands of children would report to you if there was something 
suboptimal with their laptops. And there have been multiple reports, and 
yet "there is no consensus".

0. Of course the kids don't realise that they have a choice.
1. They can't write (a letter).
1. They don't have Internet.
2. They don't speak English and the web sites are in English.
3. Even western kids don't know their feedback counts or how to send it.
4. Same applies to teachers and most other people on the field.

We'd really like to see a *memo* about the *decision* that was made to 
change the default functioning of the touchpad to tap-to-click! Someone 
recognized the change in time, someone didn't assign enough importance 
to it to fix it in time. Others haven't documented this problem so that 
it could be evaluated, reassessed, and fixed at some point. Now, "there 
is no consensus" even, although the issue is obvious.

We didn't know about this before we assisted in a training week for the 
teachers in Satipo, where we saw that some machines had the new-style 
touchpads and the teachers were having problems with those. Despite all 
our explanations, many weren't able to learn to avoid the unintended 
clicks during the 40 hours of training. This means a lot of the only 
training they got was wasted.

To us it seems obvious that tap-to-click is a bad idea on the XO: It's a 
complication. It's not very useful to anyone (as you can always click 
the button instead...). It's very harmful to some (as it makes the 
functioning of the mouse unpredictable). Did you first make sure that 
all mouse clicks in all software and all web sites are well-visualised 
and undo-able ?-) In these third-world conditions, reliability is far 
more important than small performance tweaks.

We all know there's big problems with the old-style touchpads as well, 
but they are *less* important on the field. Why? Because the child with 
sweaty hands (try to avoid that here in the tropics!) can keep trying to 
point the mouse at the correct location until successful, *then* click 
the *button* and be done. With tap-to-click they aren't able to do this, 
  and there's no solution for them, is there? Without an Internet 
connection and the knowledge on how and whom to contact, there's no-one 
listening to them.

Greetings from Pucallpa,
Tuukka and Kaisa

> - Ed
> On Apr 15, 2010, at 11:42 AM, Sebastian Silva wrote:
>> Hi Ed,
>> Our friends and volunteers Tuukka and Kaisa are currently in Pucallpa 
>> working
>> with the teachers and kids. They probably havent seen this thread but 
>> this issue
>> has popped up often here too and I wonder what you might think constitutes
>> "consensus from deployments".
>> Also, the larger issue of how to get the "silent majority" to speak up 
>> is something
>> we are constantly working hard from the field to improve. Its hard, 
>> any suggestions
>> on where exactly to aggregate info from the field, in a way that is 
>> not merely
>> anecdotal, is welcome.
>> Sebastian
>> 2010/4/15 Ed McNierney <ed at laptop.org <mailto:ed at laptop.org>>
>>     Paul -
>>     This issue has bubbled up from time to time over the last 18
>>     months or so (judging from my email archives).  It is not at all
>>     clear to me that there is indeed a "consensus from deployments";
>>     some like it, some don't.  We tend to (unsurprisingly) hear little
>>     or nothing from the people who think it's working just fine, and
>>     it is very easy for a local group in which a few folks think the
>>     behavior is wrong to quickly collectively conclude that it's
>>     wrong.  We've deployed hundreds of thousands of machines since
>>     this change, and I don't think we've seen hundreds of thousands of
>>     complaints.
>>     I don't have a strong opinion and I don't know the answer, but we
>>     should be very careful about ignoring the silent majority, if
>>     there is one.
>>            - Ed
>>     On Apr 15, 2010, at 11:18 AM, Paul Fox wrote:
>>     > daniel wrote:
>>     >> On 15 April 2010 11:40, Martin Langhoff
>>     <martin.langhoff at gmail.com <mailto:martin.langhoff at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>     >>> On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 11:34 AM, Sebastian Silva
>>     >>> <sebastian at fuentelibre.org <mailto:sebastian at fuentelibre.org>>
>>     wrote:
>>     >>>> BTW how do you disable it?
>>     >>>
>>     >>> Yeah -- can we disable it easily on F11 builds?
>>     >>
>>     >> (speaking only for XO) No. We would have to change mouse driver
>>     which
>>     >> introduces a handful of regressions, will need some real effort to
>>     >> resolve. See the discussions earlier in the thread.
>>     >>
>>     >> The most realistic quick-fix option I can think of is adding a
>>     small
>>     >> hack into the psmouse driver in the OLPC kernel, which sends the
>>     >> single command needed to disable tap-to-click. Last time I
>>     looked at
>>     >> this code I remember thinking that this would be quite easy,
>>     since the
>>     >> more-powerful synaptics driver doesn't actually change the mode
>>     of the
>>     >> mouse, it just takes advantage of a whole load of non-standard
>>     >> commands.
>>     >
>>     > that's a good idea.
>>     >
>>     > if such a thing were to be introduced, and if it could be made
>>     > run-time or boot-time controllable, i take it the consensus from
>>     > deployments is that tap-to-click is more confusing than helpful,
>>     > and it should be disabled by default.  correct?
>>     >
>>     > (i know that i myself find it annoying.  the XO is annoying
>>     > enough to type on, without having my windows flip out from under
>>     > me because i have careless thumbs.)
>>     >
>>     > paul
>>     > =---------------------
>>     > paul fox, pgf at laptop.org <mailto:pgf at laptop.org>
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>> -- 
>> Sebastian Silva

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