hmurray at megapathdsl.net
Fri Feb 4 22:15:25 EST 2011
Frequently, I find the touch-pad on a XO-1 to be extremely frustrating to use
on cursor intensive tasks. I'm trying to figure out if this is something I
should be screaming and shouting about (and rubbing it in your collective
noses) or if I should shut up and get used to it.
I think there are two problems.
One is that there is no feedback when the recalibration is going on, so I
keep trying to do whatever I'm working on. That screws up the calibration
which makes me try harder which spirals downhill.
The other may be a fundamental problem with touch-pads as compared to mice.
The problem is that I have troubles making long motions that I expect should
I've used a mouse for 30+ years. I don't have a (real/non-XO) laptop so my
experience with touch pads is limited to work/hacking/play with a XO-1.
I worked at Xerox many years ago shortly after Card and Moran and Newell did
the early work on why a mouse was so much better than cursor keys and such.
I've had lunch more than once with one of them. (I forget which one(s).)
His stories of how to screwup a mouse are entertaining...
The key idea with a mouse is that your big arm muscles are used for the long
motions and the fine finger muscles do the delicate pixel-or-two size
motions. I don't see anything like that with the touch-pad so maybe my
expectations are off scale. Or maybe some velocity/scaling magic is supposed
to fix that mess. Or ...
I play Implode on the XO. It's a wonderful cursor test.
I play the middle game. (I'm not smart enough for the big game.) To make it
interesting, I add a few more rules/constraints... They are only in my head.
0: minimize the total number of clicks
1: tallest last-click wins
2: assign a priority to the colors, so for the same height, red beats blue...
3: Of course, faster is better. (Who knows what the scale is.)
4: When you make the last click, see how fast you can get to the new-game
button. You get an extra point (on some scale) if you get there before it
has finished making the face.
[I'll say more if anybody wants. But try your own rules first.]
That last step usually involves a long motion. The new-game button is on the
top. You are probably clicking down near the bottom.
It's cheating to pre-position the cursor up near the top so you have a
shorter motion to the new-game button. Or at least distracts from your rule
3 points. But if you ignore that, it works pretty well.
Anyway, if anybody wants a cursor test case, I suggest Implode with some
extra rules/constraints like the above. The details don't matter. Pick your
own rules if you don't like mine It's some combination of cursor and brain
limited, and a lot of the time, the cursor is the limiting factor.
The key step may be that you never have to type anything. I work with my
right finger on the touch-pad and my left finger on the left button.
Back to the big picture...
If I use a system with a touch-pad type cursor, do I have to recalibrate my
long-motion expectations relative to a mouse?
Do normal laptops have a recalibrate mode? If so, do they have any feedback
while they are recalibrating?
These are my opinions, not necessarily my employer's. I hate spam.
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