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Windows 7 Multitouch Demonstration 329

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the touch-me-there-oh-and-also-there dept.
Starturtle writes "Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have shown a small snippet of the upcoming Windows 7 at Walt Mossberg's D: All Things Digital conference. It seems like the Windows team have switched their focus for inspiration from Mac OS X to the iPhone OS. Multitouch is the biggest addition, and will appear system-wide, usable anywhere. The most interesting part of the touch UI is not the eye candy, it's the Task Bar, which seems to have morphed into a pie menu."
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Windows 7 Multitouch Demonstration

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  • great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:27PM (#23572105)
    Another feature that will probably become vaporware. Trying to get the shareholders happy are we?
    • Re:great (Score:5, Funny)

      by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:35PM (#23572249)
      Betting pool anyone?

      This feature will be announced as removed March 2009.

      • by peragrin (659227)
        heck the second rewrite will happen in may 2009 so your probably right.
      • by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:46PM (#23572397)
        Apple has been patenting a lot of aspects of multi-touch. I assume this is possible because they purchased the right to do so from the original "inventors".

        IN any case when asked how Windows7 will support the "pinch" feature they demoed without violating apple's patent, the spokesman said that like Longhorn, windows 7 won't arrive till those patents are well expired.

        • by Tufriast (824996) * on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:08PM (#23572709)
          I see one problem with all this: Where's the beef? It is nice to see that we're moving forward with the GUI - but does it do anything good? I've used a wide variety of OSes and I can say without a doubt this does little to advance the GUI as I see it. I think that touch interfaces are great on non-desktop oriented environments, but beyond that...I'm not so sure touch SCREENS really make sense. I'm not going to be touching a 24 inch monitor - plain and simple. It's big, expensive, and I would hate for it to look all finger-printed and messy. I want to see a touchscreen "panel" or "keyboard" or "control pad" - not this.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            I would touch a 24" monitor that was designed to be touched, like an iphone. My iphone gets smudged and such but I almost never notice it at normal viewing angles.

            Fact is most UIs are lousy. I don't think adding multi touch really qualifies as an improvement on its own, more like an improvement to input devices, but if it happens to carry along smarter use of screen space and improved ability to size on screen objects to optimum, etc etc, I'm all for it. I'd like to see some work go into something other tha
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by teh kurisu (701097)

              You've said something that I don't think can be emphasised enough - 'multi-touch' (damn buzzwords) are a means to an end. You can't just add a touch interface to a device and declare it to be something new and innovative. You have to redesign the whole interface to take advantage of this new capability.

              This is why I think tablet PCs have been a relative failure. Apart from replacing the mouse with a pen, they didn't really do anything interesting or new. Apple and Microsoft seem to have realised this.

          • by travbrad (622986) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:29PM (#23574869)
            Yeah, I agree. I think a mouse is faster and more accurate anyway. It has the "cool factor" but it's not really that practical. Plus my puny geek arms would get sore holding them up all day ;)
          • by Tom (822) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:45PM (#23575117) Homepage Journal

            I want to see a touchscreen "panel" or "keyboard" or "control pad" - not this.
            Google for "TouchStream" - they created a multitouch keyboard five or six years ago, if I remember correctly. I own one, great technology especially for that time. They went bancrupt because it was too early (and the stuff was too expensive for a mass market). Make a guess who bought them up?

            That's right, Apple.
        • Ans: M.A.D. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by itsdapead (734413) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:22PM (#23574749)

          Apple and Microsoft must have attained Mutually Assured IP Destruction by now - if they open the silo doors on their patent portfolios and press the red buttons then it won't be over until its Microsoft's patent on the universal Turing machine vs. Apple's patent on "representing information via a system of symbols"** and there's nothing left but the cockroaches. (What's that? the cockroaches have been nibbling on GM grain and are now owned by Monsanto? Darn!)

          (** I seriously hope that I am making this shit up, but the way things are going...)

    • by zeromorph (1009305) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:05PM (#23572665)
      Why is this modded flamebait?

      If we take the history of Longhorn/Vista into account, it's very much possible that it will never be realized on a real production level. Disclosing it now, is clearly a move to stay in the news, which is mainly relevant the stock market.

      Come on, what were the last great news from Redmond? They clearly need some publicity, so yes it might be vaporware.
    • by mpapet (761907) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:27PM (#23573047) Homepage
      would take this stuff seriously? The problem is most will.

      1. Sure microsoft delivers above-average returns and that's enough reason for hanging onto it. But stock prices have some -future prospects- built into it. I see none at Microsoft. Zero. Especially when they flush dev resources down the drain for their forthcoming knock-off iPhones that probably won't see the light of day for a decade.

      Off-topic

      My gut feeling is, there's a growing reality distortion field that most of the people/groups managing funds are working in. If I had to guess, I'd say their math/quant models are wrong because these are a relatively new set of economic conditions. News disguised as PR fills this gap nicely and brings some sense of equilibrium back.

      Meanwhile some hack on ./ can be laughed at for calling some dev groups blood, sweat and tears, and management's gravy train broken.

      Flame on!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Castletech (1236226)
      I would hope so about it being vaporware. I am not amazed or amused by this video. I never had a problem using a mouse to zoom in. Especially one with a wheel on it. Why not focus on making a real OS instead of working on a replacement for the magnifying glass cursor. just my opinion.
    • This is not vaporware. Microsoft has been multitouching my wallet since the early 1990s.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Because finger marks all over my monitor is just what I wanted!
    • Re:Wonderful... (Score:4, Informative)

      by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:17PM (#23572849) Journal
      Ever play Megatouch?

      They're in all the bars. Small one piece computers loaded with games, no keyboards. Older ones have CRTs, newer ones have flat screens. A very few have joysticks, most don't. The only input devices are a coin slot, a dollar bill slot, and a touch screen. Despite the fact that dozens of people a day have their hands all over the screen (since that's the only way to play them), they in fact don't have fingerprints on them.

      BTW, they run Linux as their OS, as I saw one day when a bartender accidentally unplugged one.

      I wonder if "megatouch" is where they git the "multitouch" name. It's the same thing, only Windows instead of Linux.
    • Re:Wonderful... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bombula (670389) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:23PM (#23572983)
      I can handling wiping off finger marks, but the lag on that demo is totally unacceptable. Unless it was running on a 5-year-old celeron-based laptop with 128MB of RAM, or unless the whole demo was running in emulation, that interface is simply DOA. Would any of us put up with 1/2-second lag in a mouse-driven GUI? No way.
      • Re:Wonderful... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @02:23PM (#23573933)
        It's funny, before I bought an iPod Touch I made sure I went and played with one because every other touch interface I've ever used has had lag and sensitivity problems. The iPod handles pretty much everything really well. So why the lag in that demo?
  • Pie menu? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bennomatic (691188) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:31PM (#23572163) Homepage
    Mmm... pie...
  • I thought A/W was the patent-holder for 'Marking Menus' (at least it was in the 1990s).
    • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:51PM (#23572481) Journal
      A/W may have gotten a patent on a particular form of pie menu, but Don Hopkins invented it.

      -jcr
    • Back when there rotary telephones companies used to offer these cardboard circular menus you could tuck behind the dial to act as a menu for accessing features on their phone-sites.

      seems to me that wedge shaped text windows and western linear text is just not going to be a good meet up once the wedge get small. (asian pictograms might be another story however) maybe it will work for the top level file-edit-view type menu however or a few contextual items like cut-paste.

      plus usage studies how it take 47
  • by FurtiveGlancer (1274746) <[moc.loa] [ta] [yuGhceTcoHdA]> on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:35PM (#23572231) Journal

    "The most interesting part of the touch UI is not the eye candy, it's the Task Bar, which seems to have morphed into a pie menu."
    Emphasis added.

    First donut universes, now candy bars and pies. Just go to lunch, you insenitive clods.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Vista, b. 2007, to William and Steven Gates-Ballmer. Laid to rest in 2008 by his parents after a long, painful illness and stunted childhood. Survived by his older brother, Windows XP. May God rest his soul.
  • Nevermind sticky keys on keyboards. I need to invest in some stock with companies that make monitor wipes!
  • makes no sense... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jgarra23 (1109651) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:39PM (#23572299)
    Why 2 articles so close about what WON'T be in Windows 7 and now what WILL be in Windows 7... ? Maybe I'm not seeing the forest for the trees but what kind of marketing tactics are these?

    For instance in the movie industry... in a highly anticipated movie, let's say a book-to-movie one, you never hear about what they've LEFT OUT until the reviews start pouring in. OTOH, we hear "all about the great scene from the book that's also in the movie"... well before the reviews in the previews or buzz...

    Or with Apple announcements we hear at best rumors about what will & won't be in it...

    and then we hear from Microsoft a while back (forgive me for not recalling the article) that there won't be much external buzz about the contents of Windows 7 & that development will be much more "sealed" or "internal" for lack of better words...

    so why the change of heart? Why are we hearing so much about what will & won't be there? There has to be more reason to this than to just generate some sort of overall interest via marketing in this respect, and I'm wondering beyond the typical answer "...because their last OS sucked ass" mainly because that answer doesn't really answer anything... any more insightful ideas?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by owlnation (858981)

      Why 2 articles so close about what WON'T be in Windows 7 and now what WILL be in Windows 7... ?
      What it does is allow us to see that there's no lessons learned from Vista. In the previous article we learned that meaningful and useful features would not be included. In this article we've learned that there will be even more eye candy.

      Sound familiar?

      Next they'll be telling us Windows 7 is delayed... (count on it)
      • by grm_wnr (781219)

        In the previous article we learned that meaningful and useful features would not be included.
        No, in the previous article we learned that something that never was meant to be in it and does not even matter at all (the MinWin kernel) will not be in fact, included. In this one we learn that W7 is still far too slow to make its new GUI usable. Did nobody notice how laggy that thing is? I wouldn't want to use that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SBrach (1073190)
      Because unlike Apple Microsofts primary customers are Enterprises. Planning 5 years in advance is useless when all you have is rumors.
    • Re:makes no sense... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:11PM (#23572759)
      In Microsoft's defense, there's a thin line they have to walk here. People already aren't enthused about Vista. If they hype up Windows 7 too much then they lose Vista sales to people who would rather wait for Windows 7. Plus, they run the risk of having to cut features, thus bursting the hype bubble, disappointing those people who waited through Vista for Windows 7, and losing more customers to Apple (and possibly to Linux as well). If, however, they don't hype Windows 7 enough, then people will see Vista as Microsoft's only option and will seriously look at Apple (and possibly Linux as well) for their future upgrade paths. This scares Microsoft as it is harder to convince an "Apple convert" to come back to Windows than it will be to convince XP holdouts (like myself) to upgrade to Windows 7.
  • Useless (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VisceralLogic (911294) <paul@viscerall[ ]c.com ['ogi' in gap]> on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:40PM (#23572319) Homepage
    The vast majority of people aren't going to be using touch screens... this is just for show. There's a reason this doesn't already exist in OS X.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oahazmatt (868057)

      The vast majority of people aren't going to be using touch screens... this is just for show. There's a reason this doesn't already exist in OS X.
      I agree. I was wondering if this was a case of "innovation for the better" or "innovation for the sake of innovation". I keep leaning towards the latter.
    • by peragrin (659227)
      That's just it MSFT is trying to move beyond the vast majority of people.

      touch screens are used daily by tens of thousands of people around you right now(assuming your living in a city). Every Burger king, restaurant, etc are slowly switching to touch screen inputs. Go to your local chain restaurant and look around. I bet you find 3-4 touch screens for the wait staff to input your orders onto.

      Also OS X has support for gesture touch input right now. it is built into every laptop. it isn't true multi poi
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by clampolo (1159617)

        It seems pretty cool. Could be fun to program in an editor that will take advantage of it. My worry is with having to buy an expensive new monitor to use it.

    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Unlike most of my fellow nerds, I go to bars. I have yet to see a bar without one of these small computers [meritgames.com] that exist solely to play games. There is almost always someone shoving dollar bills in them.

      Far more people use touch screen computers than keyboards. Many of the folks playing MegaTouch don't even own computers.
  • why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evilkasper (1292798) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:40PM (#23572321)
    why would they add multi touch? Does windows need this feature? My main gripe with Vista is that it is not a good platform for business. I was really hoping Windows 7 would be more of a corporate OS, but with them showcasing all these superficial eye candy features I am inclined to think that we will see something more akin to Vista on roids.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by 2nd Post! (213333)
      Multitouch is the new mouse. Did you also dismiss the mouse as too consumer and not business friendly?

      Without multitouch, Windows is limited in where it can go, and as Apple has already shown, multitouch is not superficial but fundamental to making certain form factors work.
  • Pie menus again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:41PM (#23572329) Homepage Journal
    Pie menus are one of those things that get a lot of attention in academic circles because they have some obvious advantages (menu choices are always the same distance away), but in the real word they always run into problems. The first and biggest problem is scaling. How many items do you have on your start menu right now? How big would the pie get to accommodate all of them? Other problems include what do do when someone clicks on the edge of the screen and how to make it so the user can browse through submenus if they have to (a common operation when you're not sure where something is and you have to hunt for it).

    None of these problems are impossible to deal with, but I've yet to see a pie menu system that even attempted to. I would be surprised if Windows 7 ships with pie menus, at least for the start menu.

    There are cases where pie menus make a lot of sense, but those tend to be cases where the number of options are relatively small and never change, like in drawing programs.
    • by Nodlehs (860786) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:02PM (#23572635)
      It seemed to me the task bar was the way it has always been in the initial portion of the video (The entire time he is manipulating photo's is a normal taskbar. Then they went to the full screen map program, which looked like a pie menu for the program options (IE: toggle satellite view, etc). I don't think their normal taskbar is going anywhere, I think the wired article got it wrong.
  • by esarjeant (100503) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:42PM (#23572343) Homepage
    An interesting extension of the multi-touch, although it tends to make more sense on something like Surface or the iPod Touch where keyboard input isn't possible.

    I'm not sure how practical this configuration would be. Desktop computers and laptops currently rely on the keyboard and mouse input paradigm, while it may be possible to learn another skill (touching your screen) this will be even more time consuming than moving between the keyboard and the mouse.

    Maybe some kiosk applications and the tablet edition of Vista will be viable, I just don't see how this can be deployed to the desktop in a practical fashion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)
      The desktop, no. The laptop, which will be most of the market? Well maybe, because I know many people that have trouble using either a mouse button or a touchpad, which are both quite sensitive devices. An external mouse is much easier but requires a reasonably flat surface to function, which may not be that easy plus it's a another item to keep with you at all times. If they got a 15" screen to aim at, perhaps they'll find it easier to just use touch, though I would get annoyed by greasy fingerprints on my
    • by StreetStealth (980200) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:40PM (#23573273) Journal
      The real problem here is that Microsoft is just regurgitating what we saw from Jeff Han two years ago.

      Draggable freely-resizeable photo viewer? Amazing, MS, welcome to 2006! Pinch-zoom map viewer? Again, good to see you MS engineers watched Han's TED presentation on Youtube; I liked it too!

      So they can integrate a (laggy) version of the tech into the OS. Step 1, done.

      Now, how about some actual design? Copying two-year-old TED videos doesn't count; let's see some insight into how this tech can be used to make managing files easier, make navigating data relationships easier, and so on. Seriously, fire half your UI "design" team and replace them with the folks who built Photosynth; maybe bring in some of the Zune embedded UI team too; they might figure out how to actually make a decent multi-touch UI for Windows 7.

      Or will Ballmer be content to just have "OH LOOK PHOTO SORTING" on top of a slightly less stable and slightly more DRMed future Windows release?

      If history is anything to go by...
    • by noewun (591275) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @02:00PM (#23573579) Journal

      I was about to post something similar: I think this is another case of MS mistakintg form for content. The important thing isn't the multitouch interface which, as been pointed out, have been around in one form or another for almost twenty years. The point is to make a multitouch interface which is both usable and to package it in an environment in which is makes sense to use it. The iPhone/iPod is a perfect example: it's a small device on which real estate is at a premium, and the multitouch interface allows Apple to combine browsing, typing and a number of other features in one place. And, as has also been pointed out, since the iPhone/iPod rests in your hand, using the interface with your fingers is both easy, non-tiring and largely intuitive.

      The interface doesn't make any sense on a laptop, though. My laptop already has two perfectly good interfaces, the keyboard and the trackpad. Given that these interfaces allow me to keep my hands and arms in a relatively restful position, why would I want to add another interface which makes me take my hands off the keyboard and away from the trackpad to do things I can do without using it? Put another way, unless the multitouch interface allows me to do something unique, which I can't do without out the keyboard an dtrackpad (or which are cumbersome with them) it doesn't make using my laptop any easier. It just adds some bells and whistles which I don't need.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ciryon (218518)
      Video of Microsoft Surface [youtube.com]

      This is honestly really cool, even though it's from Microsoft. I think it's because they bought some company who made this technology?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goodmanj (234846)
      Desktop computers and laptops currently rely on the keyboard and mouse input paradigm, while it may be possible to learn another skill (touching your screen) this will be even more time consuming than moving between the keyboard and the mouse.

      You sound just like I did, twenty years ago when I first saw an ad for a Macintosh. "Mouse?" I said. "What do I need one of those for."

      Don't worry about training and skillsets, everyone knows how to use touchscreens already from ATM machines. And this is actually *l
  • by binaryspiral (784263) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:43PM (#23572359)
    Multi-touch isn't going to help me do my job any easier and I really don't want users pinching and dragging their dirty mits around the new LCD monitors...

    In the end though, these features will be in the Ultimate Uber Windows 7, not the version I'll be getting for our desktop users due to costs. We'll end up with yet more of the same features, renamed, and shuffled around in the OS just enough to justify retraining.

    So what does that leave me with Windows 7? Looking for desktop alternatives or hoping they extend the XP licensing and support for a few more years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Multi-touch isn't going to help me do my job any easier and I really don't want users pinching and dragging their dirty mits around the new LCD monitors...

      Well certainly not anything in their multi-touch demo. A touch-screen piano on a laptop screen-- I doubt anyone who knows how to play a piano will find this is be a worthwhile solution.

      The thing is, I'm sure multi-touch is a good practical solution for many things. And for many other things, it's a gimmick. What I wonder about this presentation is,

  • To quote someone who posted in the original article, "And all I wanted from an operating system was a stable platform that boots in less than five seconds, and that supports applications and other hardware well. I guess I have to go back to my desk and wait some more for an ideal OS?"

    Seriously, does anyone have any hope at all for Windows 7? As far as I can tell, the development model is still the same as what produced vista. When Apple comes out with a new OS, I am reasonably sure that it will be snap
    • by Splab (574204)
      To me theres no doubt windows 7 is a nice toy, however, the biggest issue is another version, a totally new gui which means retraining of all users (again).

      I can't find my way around Vista yet and have pretty much given up, I want stable predictable and fast. Add all the eye candy you can as long as you don't move the stuff around we have gotten so used to.
    • by Fri13 (963421)

      To quote someone who posted in the original article,
      "And all I wanted from an operating system was a stable platform that boots in less than five seconds, and that supports applications and other hardware well.

      I guess I have to go back to my desk and wait some more for an ideal OS?"
       
      What was the definition for Operating System again? No, really, simple question for Microsoft workers?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Red Flayer (890720)

      Looking forward to the next Windows, I have doubts that Microsoft can do anything at all, except make it worse.
      So what you are saying is that Vista is a perfect OS that can't be improved upon?

      Sheesh, that's some pretty subtle astroturfing there, Steve... masquerading as a good-ole-fashioned Slashdot MS detractor, but subverting the message to include how perfect Vista is... I'm impressed. And frankly, I didn't think you had it in you.
  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:44PM (#23572377)
    Okay, this is slightly off-topic, but: Why is it that even with our modern hardware, graphics are sometimes still very laggy?

    If you look at the start of the video in TFA, you'll see a demo where images are being dragged around via multi-touch. The thing that really bothers me is that the movement of the image is lagging behind the person's finger. My question is: why? Modern hardware is very fast and powerful. The demo computer probably had awesome specs, including a dedicated high-end graphics card. I have trouble believing that this kind of hardware can't update an image position at video rates.

    The obvious answer is that the code isn't good. Perhaps it just hasn't been optimized (maybe it's just a tech demo). But frequently even in final implementations I see this kind of behavior.

    One of the main ideas with multi-touch displays (and dragging to scroll, zoom, etc.) is to generate an "intuitive" interface that responds in a very "natural" way. But in my opinion, you totally ruin the desired natural immersion if the display cannot keep up with your actions. After all, the idea is to somewhat simulate physical interaction (e.g. shuffling papers)... but in physical reality, we don't experience any kind of "lag" waiting for physics to catch-up.

    So, I think more effort should be put into cleaning up those kinds of things. It may seem like a trivial point, but those kinds of details can subtly but crucially affect the user experience (and can mean the difference between an interface that seems to respond to your thoughts, vs. one that is frustrating). I should note that this is an area where Apple has frequently done the right thing. They seem to put a lot of effort into making display transitions very fast and smooth.
    • by jcr (53032)
      The obvious answer is that the code isn't good.

      Got it, first guess.

      -jcr
      • by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:07PM (#23572695) Journal

        The obvious answer is that the code isn't good.

        Got it, first guess.

        -jcr
        The trouble is, when you put together an unoptimized, unscalable, hastily coded demo to prove the feasibility of something or to make a stopgap before the real version is available the code *lasts forever*. The real version doesn't come and hack is laid on top of hack to make the demo the real thing and you own it.

        Hence the quickie stopgap I put together in shell scripts and python in three months is now production code critical to a multi billion dollar business and it regularly demands attention from me and only me. The team of programmers didn't arrive.

        I expect this will be no different.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TeknoHog (164938)

      One of the main ideas with multi-touch displays (and dragging to scroll, zoom, etc.) is to generate an "intuitive" interface that responds in a very "natural" way. But in my opinion, you totally ruin the desired natural immersion if the display cannot keep up with your actions. After all, the idea is to somewhat simulate physical interaction (e.g. shuffling papers)... but in physical reality, we don't experience any kind of "lag" waiting for physics to catch-up.

      This relates to a problem with the Compiz desktop cube (and, I presume, other similar effects). When you turn into another desktop, the contents are notably blurred. Of course, you cannot do slight rotations of straight lines etc. and expect them to stay optimally sharp. There are further, subtle effects from the way text is optimized (e.g. subpixel rendering) that are lost when you turn a desktop into a 3D surface texture. This, IMHO, ruins the physical metaphor, and makes the effect unusable in practic

  • OLPC pie menu? (Score:4, Informative)

    by feranick (858651) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:47PM (#23572421)
    The XO has exactly the same type of pie menu to switch from one application to another. Nothing new.
    • Ding! Ding! We have a wiener!

      The XO has exactly the same type of pie menu to switch from one application to another. Nothing new.

      Windows 7 = Sugar [laptop.org] + XP. No wonder Microsoft wanted to get involved in the OLPC project.

  • Oh boy, they're giving the world really greasy, dirty screens and cute, useless time wasters! Good thing they're working on that instead of security, useability, or generally making it not suck. I think they're gonna pull an ME and just really quickly throw together a bunch of crap on top of Vista and call it a new OS when they should be redesigning the entire thing. I for one am about 10x faster with a mouse than my fingers and a bunch of tilted, 3D objects lying around in my programs is gonna drive me
  • Ya Multi-touch is cool, but it's been done to Death [mortalspaces.com].

    But where's the Brain-Computer interface? [mg.co.za] Heck, I would even go for real-time voice recognition!

    • Oh, come on. This is the closest thing to a 'desk' from Enders Game I have ever seen. It might not be earth shanking, but it is still kinda cool, even if it dose come from Microsoft.

      How many times can you make a spiral go around?

  • by ivanmarsh (634711) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:51PM (#23572487)
    I have no interest in touching my screen until they invent technology impervious to fingerprints.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_kress (99356)
      iPhone did the second-best thing. The screen is really easy to wipe clean--it doesn't seem to retain even the most greasy fingerprints.

      It seems to be hard as nails as well. Is it actual glass?

      The only thing I'm dreading is the day a grain of sand gets into my cleaning cloth--I do wipe pretty hard.

      Also, what's with those cloths that Apple puts into the notebook/iPhones? Those things are absolutely perfect. I've never seen a better "Wiping Cloth". Use it all the time for my glasses, screens and phone. I
  • Drivers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Telvin_3d (855514) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:55PM (#23572547)
    Multitouch? This is the big thing that will sell the next windows? This is not a OS feature. This is a driver for a specific class of hardware. People with Wacom Cintiq tablets have been doing the exact same thing for years now.

    Not to mention that there is no support for this. After all, how many people/corporations buying commodity windows hardware are going to pay the premium to get all their screens with high quality touch?

    Also, pie menu is interesting, but problematic. Does it float over the other windows or sit under? Can it be moved around? Will we have to alt-tab to get to the Start menu? How nice will it play with multiple screen setups and other non standard desktop layouts?
    • Re:Drivers (Score:5, Informative)

      by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:13PM (#23572781) Journal

      I'm losing my chance to moderate so I can reply to this. Yes, it is an OS feature. Simple gesture support for devices is easy to do in a driver, but is nowhere near what you really want out of multitouch. An ideal implementation should allow applications to deal with multiple simultaneous touches, drag events, etc. simultaneously. For example, an audio editor application should allow me to use three fingers to push three sliders simultaneously up and ride them while a finger on my other hand touches a mute button on channel 3 to pull it out of the mix because I'm planning to cut that 30 seconds out but haven't had a chance to do it yet.

      To handle such things, the application must be able to simultaneously get multiple touch events at different locations that indicate that a finger has gone down at a particular spot and now is moving in a particular manner. These finger events must then remain individually trackable. To handle this correctly requires significant extensions to the event system of the host OS, probably on an opt-in basis to avoid confusing applications that only support simple events like click/drag or lightweight touch events like zoom in/zoom out. Therefore, it pretty much has to be an OS feature.

      The only way I can think of to do this without OS changes would be to allow an application to capture the device and take exclusive control and communicate with it directly outside of normal OS channels (e.g. a user client). Those sorts of designs are okay for specialized devices like tablets that only one or two apps will ever care about, but they are hardly ideal for input devices that are intended to be general purpose.

  • There is no cake!
    • by bernywork (57298) *
      That was supposed to be "The cake is a lie"

      And 101 people taking the piss out of me on slashdot begins... now.
  • Slow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wonkavader (605434) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @12:59PM (#23572609)
    I notice that this machine redraws on zooms quickly, and creates a travel route quickly. That means the box has some real horsepower.

    And yet, the dragging is way behind the finger, the responses of input and menu popup is slow -- it looks like running a modern paint program on an old machine.

    This is not going to make for a pleasant user experience. Why is that stuff so uncrisp?
    • Re:Slow (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:19PM (#23572911)

      I notice that this machine redraws on zooms quickly, and creates a travel route quickly. That means the box has some real horsepower.

      And yet, the dragging is way behind the finger, the responses of input and menu popup is slow -- it looks like running a modern paint program on an old machine.

      This is not going to make for a pleasant user experience. Why is that stuff so uncrisp?
      It is still a early pre-release. Give Microsoft time and they can slow down the redraw and zoom also.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PipingSnail (1112161)

      And yet, the dragging is way behind the finger, the responses of input and menu popup is slow

      My guess is that this is deliberate and to do with the input method (touching).

      When you use a mouse or trackball its obvious what you want, separate buttons for clicking and a ball for moving.

      When you have a touch pad (laptop) or touch screen you have one input (your finger). A press and hold by your finger starts some input and if you move it then the mouse cursor moves. A quick tap and you get a click. Same

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The computer in the demo is the Dell Latitude XT, which is a decent business tablet PC, but is one of the slowest Tablet PCs on the market. It uses either an Intel Solo 1.06GHz CPU or an Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz CPU. Like I said, it's all right for business uses (i.e. no multimedia/games/etc), but doesn't compare to home tablet PCs when it comes to power. In fact, at Dell's site, the Latitude XT is listed in the "business laptops" section, not the more powerful "home laptops" section.
  • Just how many computers have a touch screen built in? I'm excluding POS systems and ATMs. I don't think one out of every one hundred thousand consumer PCs have a touch screen, let alone one out of a million!
  • Multi crash (Score:3, Funny)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@@@devinmoore...com> on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:07PM (#23572701) Homepage Journal
    Multi-touch will be accompanied by multi-crash, where Windows tries to compete with multiple apps for kernel priority at the same time from you trying to touch multiple things, and then they will all independently crash! yay.
  • Wonders of miniaturization! HOW did MS manage to cram an ENTIRE big-ass coffee table into a tiny little tablet PC? AMAZING.

    This will be so cool. I can't wait for this feature to get dropped from Windows 7.
  • Same old fatty untasty and unhealthy cake (well, pie?) with a cherry on top.

    If the big news on it is that add something that a device driver for specific hardware could do (they didnt introduced a totally new OS for the new mouse wheel back in its own time), and nothing related with architecture, security or bloat, then will keep the same old problems gaining something that is already for the other platforms (OS X have multitouch, and probably MPX will be available in most linux distributions by then).

    At le
  • Flamebait? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Facegarden (967477) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:23PM (#23572965)
    Umm, guys? Can we be a bit more professional in the article and not include flame-inducing comments like "It seems like the Windows team have switched their focus for inspiration from Mac OS X to the iPhone OS."? The whole MS sucks, or Apple sucks, or MS is copying apple, etc thing is really annoying for us non-fanboys, and the least you can do is let some annoying commenter make those references, it's really annoying to see it IN the article... -Taylor
  • I thought Longhorn was supposed to be a "transition" OS... a kind of stepping stone between the windows 5 kernel and the "next generation" kernel. Did uh.. Did M$FT forget they were supposed to do something? All I have seen of Windows 7 (not to be confused with kernel 7) is Vista SP2 with Plus!
  • Is this practical? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @01:26PM (#23573031)

    It looks neat but I wonder how practical is a multi-touch screen unless you can fully replace either a keyboard or mouse with it. We've all seen the applications of touch interfaces in movies. But in those cases, they could have used a mouse and keyboard. It wasn't vital that it had to be touch technology.

    In applications were touch is essential, they are most often very specialized. If you look at the touch-screen applications today, they are for areas where a keyboard and mouse are not practical and often the interfaces are simplified to allow fewer choices. For example in restaurants, waiter use them as registers. Everything is usually driven by a limited number of screen buttons that they can push. For the iPhone, the screen is customized around specific functions like making calls, etc. You could use them to write term papers, but it wouldn't be very practical.

    It would seem that adding multi-touch to a screen was be extraneous. Sure you could do a few things , but it would be another input device that you have to manage. These days, people have to break work flow when they switch between a keyboard and a mouse by going sideways. If you'd replace the mouse with the screen, you'd have to move forward and possibly shift your body. I just don't see that as practical.

  • If Apple has implemented a technology, they must have invented it.

    Apple is about as innovative as Microsoft. Neither serves the purpose of producing basic tech or interface innovations. Multi-touch has been around in university HCI and computer science labs for many many years. Apple and Microsoft are both companies which specialize in marketing, ie understanding the needs of their target customers and tailoring their solutions towards them, and execution, following through by producing coherent sets
  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @02:47PM (#23574283) Homepage Journal
    Most people here already use one hand for typing and one for...well...other things. That leaves NO hands to use the touch interface!

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