DailyDirt: Who Needs A Mouse And Keyboard Anymore?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Tech news headlines often imply that a new gadget will completely kill off older devices by making them obsolete. Tablets were supposed to “kill” the PC, but that hasn’t happened. On the other side of the spectrum, some folks have suggested that no tool ever completely dies. However, that’s an extreme position, too. Innovation involves a succession of minor improvements, and occasionally, there are advances that are so significant that people can’t help but try to explain the shifts in exaggerated black-and-white terms. The actual story is usually much more complex. We’re getting more and more cool input methods beyond simple keyboards, and here are just a few nifty gadgets that probably won’t replace keyboards (or mice) but might make human-to-computer communication a bit easier for people.

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Who Needs A Mouse And Keyboard Anymore?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Bluetooth Retainer

I personally would rather use my tongue to control a HUD. Pair it with your phone or Google glass and you don’t need to touch the screen again. A side bonus would be a much faster input that would be very helpful in certain gaming leagues. Recharge overnight and walk around your home all day making your smart devices do your bidding with no visible actions.

CK20XX (profile) says:

I’m not a big fan of alternate input methods after watching motion control come and go with the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect. Buttons became popular as a control scheme because they standardize everything; there are no skill gates keeping you from using equipment because you aren’t good enough at speaking or pantomiming actions or something else. Most people who invent these things also seem to underestimate how important sensory feedback, like the feel of a key compressing under your fingertip, is to a good control system.

That said though, there are many kinds of people in the world other than myself, and the Kinect’s potential seemed to make it useful for all kind of things… except video games.

Anonymous Coward says:

full circle

Quite often, technology goes full circle. We started out with the telegraph, switched to the telephone, and then went to email and “texting” — short messages using truncated sentences and abbreviated language that by bizarre coincidence closely resembled the kind of text messages sent over telegraph a century and a half earlier.

Mark Wing (user link) says:

As a programmer, I type at such a ridiculous rate that I think it will be a long time before another method of input will allow me to jam that many bits from my brain into the computer. As a blogger, I think that day will come a little sooner, maybe even with speech to text. But I can’t picture myself saying “left curly brace enter tab tab tab” and waving my arms around or wagging my tongue seems like more work than I’m doing now. Maybe programming languages will evolve.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

yeah, but...

1. touch screens are problematic on a number of levels… for instance, when i went from a phone with a slide out chiclet keyboard, to an onscreen POS ‘keyboard’, i simply don’t text any where near as much as i did before, because it is SUCH A PIECE OF SHIT to ‘type’ on those idiotic monstrosities…
(and, no, i did not have a choice, my better half got them, but if i’d have known what a PITA it is to ‘type’ on those screen keyboards, i would have NEVER gotten a ‘smart’ phone…)
2. using touch screens on a computer is exhausting to constantly hold your arm up to slide over a greasy screen… not viable for the type of CAD work i do…
3. as another programmer above alluded to, if you depend on your computer interaction to involve a fair amount of text, the keyboard is simply a damn good solution…
again, voice-to-text gets good enough (maybe it is now, don’t know) then that might be a fairly good tool to use… but not sure how that would work out in -say- our open-plan office layout where everyone is in one big room with no real dividers/cubicles… we’re ALL going to be blah blah blahing to our computers and that won’t cause any problems ? man, that is going to be one noisy office…
(not to mention, saying “browse pron” in the middle of the office might not go over too well…)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: yeah, but...

Yes, as an owner of phones and tablets with touch screens and a daily user of laptops with touch screens, it’s my opinion that while they work well as a mouse replacement on hand-help devices, they pretty much completely suck for every other use case: they are awful to type on, and they’re inconvenient and tiring to use on anything that you can’t hold in one hand.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

I vote for both mouse and keyboard

First of all, the mandatory disclaimer. I’m probably unusual in that I type around 60 words per minute. I guess that makes me biased.

But touch screens cut my typing speed to a dismal crawl. I can’t imagine writing a book on one of those. Or a program.

And touch…is the mouse family’s dark-secret closeted retarded brother. I’d like to think I’m competent with touch, but it is always selecting the wrong thing or not selecting/ignoring touch, or double-touching when I touched once. Then there’s the tools you can’t use because they require drags you can’t do with touch, and heaven help you if you want to select a point between two letter i’s.

We spent 140 years perfecting the keyboard and 30 years perfecting the mouse. Screen keyboards and touch have a loooooooooooooooooooonnnnnng way to go before they’re anything like as practical.

While I’m ranting: I have a pad and use it routinely; a high end smartphone and use it too. My conclusion is that they are toys, not productivity devices. As they stand, no one will ever make their living using one. If you want a laugh, just imagine trying to work your way through a spreadsheet with 70 columns and 1.3 million rows; or trying to compare two spreadsheets (switching apps at the rate of 30 times per minute); or writing War and Peace.

They’re fine for browsing, sound/video, and short e-messages, but that’s about it.

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