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10/GUI interface looks interesting enough


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10/GUI interface looks interesting enough
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Miko
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2009-10-15, 14:24

This is where I see things going for sure which is also the main reason I think you don't see Apple jumping on the touch screen desktop computer just yet. Many have mentioned that Snow Leopard seems to look touch friendly and borrows UI from the iPhone i.e. Quicktime X.

Thoughts?
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psmith2.0
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2009-10-15, 15:17

Interesting!

Nice to see someone else agrees with what I've said all along about those touch-screen PCs. Yeah, it's "neat" when you use one for about two minutes in Staples or Best Buy. Try doing that crap all day and see how "neat" it is. If your arms are still attached...



While I wasn't bonkers about that OS and layout, the underlying thinking - of using your natural hand and finger movements - sounds intriguing. To have just a single large "pad" in front of you (taking the place of your keyboard and mouse) and "driving" your computer from there really interests me. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago...about how when you're typing or in an app that requires typing, you get a virtual keyboard (one that you can customize for languages and characters easily). But if you're in GarageBand or some other music app, the typing keyboard goes away and, instead, you get a musical keyboard or drum heads or whatever makes sense (guitar strings? ). When you're in iMovie, you get a timeline or frame views, and you just reach over with your fingers and drop effects/transitions onto clips. You see it happening on screen, in front you, in real time, instantly.

I caught grief for saying so, but it's funny that the keyboard - with the same, in-place buttons - hasn't moved beyond what it is. But now, with Multi-Touch and so many other things available, a "Multi-Board" that can do, and become, anything you need is really fun to think about, and imagine.

And using things like Photoshop and Illustrator in this way? Painting/airbrushing some photorealistic clouds with my right index finger, while my left index finger - via pressure or an up/down movement? - adjusts the flow and opacity or spray nozzle size, in real time? Or acts as an eraser, used in tandem with your paint strokes being applied by the other finger?

Fingerpainting minus the mess (and erasing and undo capabilities). It would take a lot of companies getting on board to make it happen (Apple, then Adobe and others), but I think it would even be more fun and intuitive than using a pen tablet (which is already an improvement over the mouse). But once you remove all these plastic, battery-eating gizmos, you distill it down to what you'd do in kindergarten...the hands and fingers you'vef used since day one, only now you're using them in a very grown-up way, on your computer.

Factor in gestures and "chording", and imagine all the things you can do, and control, in such a way.



It just seems increasingly weird to me to hold a mouse and use a keyboard. I wanna grab, slide and push things...



You can thank my phone for that, I guess.

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Mugge
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2009-10-15, 15:19

Good stuff! Surely there are lots of details and assorted devils that will make his current clean vision more like everything we have today if it was to see real use, but it's still a great concept.

One thing I think could have been done better in the GUI, though, is that instead of just having a horizontal row to arrange things in it could also make use off the vertical. For example, you could switch between applications horizontally and between windows in the same application vertically.

Apple and their current breed of multi touch trackpads might be able to make good use of this.
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psmith2.0
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2009-10-15, 15:22

I think so.

It's fun to think about how we might be using this stuff in 10 or so years. We'll look back and chuckle at how we currently go about it, I'm sure.



A lot of things seem to be falling into place in recent years, to make me think we're on the verge of something like this coming along and changing so much of what we do, and how we do it.
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PB PM
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2009-10-15, 15:36

Clearly some good ideas for overcoming some of the issues that limit the user, such as the mouse, but some of the other changes don't seem needed IMO. To me, a combination of the App switch, Expose and Spaces does more than enough to overcome the way windows are handled.
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Miko
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2009-10-15, 16:08

True I think the horizontal window system is so-so, that's like having an accordion menu system for which you have to perform a three finger gesture until you get to the thumbnail view to access one in the whole order.

I actually think Expose is just fine, a four finger gesture and just touch the window you want and spaces would be so cool.

That keyboard is so bulky, but I can't see them ever doing away with a physical keyboard completely anytime soon for one reason and one reason only. How would you touch-type on a flat surface?
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Swox
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2009-10-15, 17:42

Pssh. The future is obviously going to be controlling the computer with our minds. We'll all connect to what is by today's super computer through a wireless connection, which will patch our visual field directly into the mainframe. Or something like that.

That would be cool (as long as it's not MS running it - there's no way I'd let them connect to my brain!).

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ezkcdude
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2009-10-15, 18:41

It totally lost me when I realized you would have to remember how many fingers to use to do different tasks. That's way too complicated. Also, if the pad is really 1-to-1, then if you have a 24" monitor, is the pad 24"? That seems quite large.
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billybobsky
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2009-10-15, 18:44

I was thinking about it -- humans don't do visual multitasking -- the system isn't high throughput enough. Compare it to our sense of sound which can register differences in thousands of hertz, our visual system is 30ish hertz.

What this effectively means is that while we can use multiple fingers for doing things locally, it will always come down to us focusing on a single point. If you watch the video, all actions ultimately come down to a single finger clicking a single point, ie a mouse.

I do think that it might speed up operating system use to some degree, but I do not think it will affect most of our input (from the keyboard)...
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Swox
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2009-10-15, 18:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybobsky View Post
I was thinking about it -- humans don't do visual multitasking -- the system isn't high throughput enough. Compare it to our sense of sound which can register differences in thousands of hertz, our visual system is 30ish hertz.

What this effectively means is that while we can use multiple fingers for doing things locally, it will always come down to us focusing on a single point. If you watch the video, all actions ultimately come down to a single finger clicking a single point, ie a mouse.

I do think that it might speed up operating system use to some degree, but I do not think it will affect most of our input (from the keyboard)...
That was exactly what I was thinking. Our eyes (and therefore our minds) can only focus on one point at a time. I'm sure that you could train your brain to do more (i.e. piano), but there's no way that the average user is going to be able to do much more with it than they already can with a mouse. And good luck getting them to try to learn the slew of gestures required to make the whole thing worth-while (not to mention the added cost).

What I could see working is what people have been thinking Apple's up to - somehow incorporating some sort of multi-touch with the mouse to replace the scroll wheel. That makes a hell of a lot more sense to me.

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AsLan^
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2009-10-15, 19:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybobsky View Post
I was thinking about it -- humans don't do visual multitasking -- the system isn't high throughput enough. Compare it to our sense of sound which can register differences in thousands of hertz, our visual system is 30ish hertz.

What this effectively means is that while we can use multiple fingers for doing things locally, it will always come down to us focusing on a single point. If you watch the video, all actions ultimately come down to a single finger clicking a single point, ie a mouse.

I do think that it might speed up operating system use to some degree, but I do not think it will affect most of our input (from the keyboard)...
That's exactly it, the crux of the issue is not with just the control mechanism but rather the combination of how the information is being presented along with our interface for manipulating it.

Why can't operating a computer be like driving a stick shift? For some people, driving a stick is the perfect melding between man and machine, information coming in from all senses: the sight of the road, the sound of the engine, the resistance of the pedals, and the changes of the force acting against ones body. That information is all processed in real time and decisions that are made are then executed with each hand and each foot. The amount of information being processed must be an order of magnitude greater than whats being presented on a computer screen.

To achieve the same level of synergy between man and computers I think there needs to be a dramatically different way of presenting and processing that information. Right now, every computer presents "documents" to the user but reading is too slow and takes too much focus, perhaps we need to move to a symbology rendered in a 3D space before we can start to reach the same levels of information processing and interaction.
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Miko
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2009-10-15, 19:30

I think the real question when it comes to multi-tasking in a GUI is not so much how well we as humans can theoretically process multiple tasks at once, but rather being able to manipulate objects more than one way on the screen.

For example lets say you have a screen with two windows overlapping each other and you want to move the background window to the front while resizing it to be larger and at the same time move the foreground window and make it smaller. How would you do that in one stroke operation with a pointer? With multiple inputs you could activate the background window while pinching and scaling it up with one hand and do the same to the other window only decreasing it with the other hand.

Or lets say you want to drag and drop a file into another directory. Touch and hold the file with one finger while you navigate to the directory with the other. Right now you would have to use spring loaded folders or cut and paste while not bad, were talking about one-to-one direct manipulation here.

We do this type of multi-tasking everyday with our real desktops.
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dmegatool
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2009-10-15, 19:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybobsky View Post
I was thinking about it -- humans don't do visual multitasking -- the system isn't high throughput enough.
It's true & false at the same time. You can actually "focus" on one point as Swox pointed and that applies to eyes and hands too. BUT, your hands and eyes can do "support" task. Like pscates suggested, you could use your 2 hands to draw things. Sure you only use one to actually draw but the other hands can do support tasks like moving the canvas around, zooming, controlling tools parameters, etc. If you thinks about it, when you're working with one hand, the other always do some support task. Same thing with the eyes. You focus on one point but you get a blury zone where you can see/guess things.

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Bryson
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2009-10-15, 19:44

I like the hardware ideas - but I'm not convinced by the "line" of windows. That thumbnail view would soon be too small to use with a large number of windows, and you would lose the ability to put 3 or more windows next to each other to compare or copy-paste data back and forth - something I do every day.
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thegeriatric
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2009-10-15, 20:47

Nice idea.......But us old folks have enough trouble typing with 2 fingers, and at least my mouse only has a right and left click buttons + scroll wheel.

Now you're talking about me using all ten fingers/thumbs.................come on...

I used to be undecided.....But now I'm not so sure.
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JohnnyTheA
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2009-10-16, 00:57

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryson View Post
I like the hardware ideas - but I'm not convinced by the "line" of windows. That thumbnail view would soon be too small to use with a large number of windows, and you would lose the ability to put 3 or more windows next to each other to compare or copy-paste data back and forth - something I do every day.
I agree but in a different way. Monitors are getting bigger and bigger. I think it is safe to assume that folks will be using 30+ inch monitors. "Right now" monitors tend to be in a 4:3 or cinema-like ratio. That means if you had a single line of windows you would be blowing up your documents to large sizes. Most people I see using big monitors use that extra y-space, the the 10 gui system gets rid of, for having other documents open all the time. Like a browser, itunes, etc... So that no matter what document you are viewing you can always look over to your browser or iTunes. It efficient but, as the video says, very cluttered. I assume you could still put apps side-by-side with 10 gui but with a lot of apps open, I think you would still be always flicking around all the time. For the 10gui approach it would make more sense to have a really wide and short monitor at maybe a 4:1 ratio but I don't think that size would ever catch on for other OSs or uses. I think it would be easier to change this approach slightly to allow flicking of windows up/down in some sort of non-cluttered way.

I like the idea of using the multiple fingers. Apple already has a portion of this on their laptops and it doesn't take long to get used to pinching, scrolling, etc... It does come natural quickly. What about actual typing though.. If the multi-touch worked well enough you might be able to get rid of the keyboard. THAT would take a long time for people to adapt to I suppose..

JTA
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Maciej
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2009-10-16, 08:45

I think he's grasping at straws here, trying to solve a problem nobody has. With regards to the window accordion, at least.
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joveblue
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2009-10-17, 21:41

I quite like the "con10uum" (although not the name) although I think ideally you'd have multiple continua or something along those lines. You could use a four-finger gesture to flick up and down between them. The GUI obviously needs to be developed a lot further before it can compete with the likes of OS X but I see potential in it.

The voice-over said the touch surface was 1-1 however the visuals showed it (at the end) as around the same size as the keyboard. I think the latter would be practical. Would work well in a 15-17" laptop too. A 13" laptop would have to have a thin version, which would essentially be the MBP trackpad about 2-2.5x as wide.
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Eugene
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2009-10-17, 21:59

It's funny because 10/GUI uses the word "arbitrary" so much. Much of their complaints are just that. To me there is simply nothing wrong with a cluttered desktop. You can make it as neat as you want to be, and I have no trouble seeing bits of existing windows from other apps peaking out from behind a random browser window.

As well multitouch is far less useful when it isn't directly linked to the display. A large 1:1 touchpad is a contrivance just like a mouse is. The only plus is non-linear manipulation, which is funny since they seem hell-bent on reducing the visual interface to just that.

The mouse, keyboard and large trackpad/tablet can all exist concurrently, that's what peripheral buses are for.
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joveblue
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2009-10-17, 23:47

I think the point is that when windows are placed "arbitrarily" placed on a 2D plane, it's less simple to navigate them than when they're on a 1D continuum. With the 1D arrangement, all you have to do is flick back and forth. In a 2D arrangement, there's no "natural" way of navigating between windows which is both simple to conduct, and represented visually. Exposé comes close, but the windows can be too small to properly see what's in them if you have several similar windows open and moreover the positioning of them is arbitrarily decided by the software, meaning users get a very limited mental construct of where each window is spatially positioned (as this changes each time), which would aid with navigation.

Having the clutter of bits and pieces of window sticking out from behind each other is a very minor annoyance, but it is not the crux of the matter in this video, which is the natural flow of navigating between them.

I hope my point is clear? It's a difficult concept to explain.

EDIT: I'm not saying the 1D system is perfect, or even better, but it certainly has some advantages over a 2D system, as well as disadvantages. But I think with some further development, including the addition of multiple continua or something of the like, it could be a winner
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Eugene
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2009-10-18, 00:00

The point is we are given another dimension called memory to help us fill in the gaps, arrange things, then recover them. Removing a dimension doesn't serve any purpose to me. Expose does break down when you have many windows open, but so does "Con10uum." They only way to see your entire workflow is too zoom out completely, and that means you really are manipulating the vertical space anyway.

So in the end they don't even solve the "problem" they're telling you exists. The one thing they accomplish is making a pretty presentation.
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scratt
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2009-10-18, 00:09

I kind of agree with Eugene. They've told us what we already know, and created a solution that we've all already thought of.... Big deal.

I bet all they have actually created up to this point is a wad of patent applications so they can claim ownership over IP which should really be in the public domain. And that is what the "nice presentation" is part of.

I'd also go on to say that if you have to hover both hands over any kind of touch pad all day long you are going to get sore wrists..... It's not like using a keyboard where you can rest on your palms......

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joveblue
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2009-10-18, 00:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
The point is we are given another dimension called memory to help us fill in the gaps, arrange things, then recover them. Removing a dimension doesn't serve any purpose to me. Expose does break down when you have many windows open, but so does "Con10uum." They only way to see your entire workflow is too zoom out completely, and that means you really are manipulating the vertical space anyway.
How does memory help when the position of everything completely changes every time you open or close a window or move something around? Part of the point of the "Con10uum" is that you should have to view your whole 'workflow' at once. At least if you did, you'd have this handy thing called "memory" to help you find what you were looking for, as zooming out doesn't affect the relative positions of the windows
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Eugene
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2009-10-18, 01:07

Because human memory is dynamic. If I move something around my desktop, then place another window on top of it, I still know it's there. If you can't place an object you just moved a minute or two ago, then I just don't understand how your memory works. As well most of us have sufficiently large displays where dozens of windows can be open and still have corners visible. We also tend to put oft used windows/objects in the same desktop space every time. That's what memory and habit do for us.

This of course does not apply to the people who follow the Microsoft Windows paradigm of having every freaking window maximized and using a switcher/tabber mechanic to page through them. That's as one-dimensional as it gets.

The point about zooming out is that you have to do it to see your entire workflow. That makes it no better than Expose in OS X. In fact it makes it worse because windows will shrink at a much faster pace. Also why limit yourself to a linear analog if you have a non-linear workflow? The more I think about Con10uum, the more I hate it. It's a contrivance developed by people who think different is automatically better than what already exists.

EDIT: And if you do have a linear worflow, that's one thing nice about MS Windows, the taskbar allows you to easily organize your tabs from start to end no matter how many windows are cluttering your desktop. Need to go back to step one, just click on tab one! It does the same thing without mugging your entire screen.
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joveblue
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2009-10-18, 01:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
As well most of us have sufficiently large displays where dozens of windows can be open and still have corners visible. We also tend to put oft used windows/objects in the same desktop space every time. That's what memory and habit do for us.
OK I think this is where we differ. I have a 13" screen. I think more people are moving towards smaller screens than the other way (laptops are a much more popular choice these days). I have many of my windows maximised because I need to to be able to work efficiently within each window. So I rely on Exposé to be able to navigate between them, and it's been less than perfect (especially since Snow Leopard ).

My point about memory was that, yes, when the user moves something it works fine. But when the system moves something (Exposé) and it changes every fricken time you use it, your memory isn't going to help much. Exposé (particularly the Snow Leopard version) suffers from this issue.

And you need to view your whole workflow at once why?
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Eugene
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2009-10-18, 02:20

If you have a workflow that requires manipulating multiple large windows, then you use the tools of the trade that are best suited to it. This means a large display if you need one. If you get by with a 13" in screen for your daily grind then more power to you, but I have to wonder what makes up your workflow?

When Expose moves something you use visual differentiation along with labels to identify the correct object or window. This is no different than having to squint at the entire workflow you pinch/zoomed out in Con10uum. In addition if Apple gave the Dock the ability to arrange open windows as a list a la the taskbar, then Expose could share that same order when invoked.
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joveblue
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2009-10-18, 03:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
If you have a workflow that requires manipulating multiple large windows, then you use the tools of the trade that are best suited to it. This means a large display if you need one. If you get by with a 13" in screen for your daily grind then more power to you, but I have to wonder what makes up your workflow?
Portability is more important to me than having a large screen, and 13" should be adequate, but I'm increasingly getting the feeling that OS X is designed quite poorly for a small screen. I mainly use Safari, Firefox, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, MSN, iTunes, Text Edit, Finder and a handful of other applications. Nothing special, but a few of those take up most or all of the screen (for example, I'll always have Safari filling up as much of the screen as possible). I would have thought that OS X would be great for a 13" screen since I'd estimate (with little basis) that 50% or more of Mac sales are 13"ers. I should probably invest in an external screen but it hasn't been on the top of my priority list yet (and I think Apple could do a lot to make life on a 13" screen a little better).

Quote:
When Expose moves something you use visual differentiation along with labels to identify the correct object or window. This is no different than having to squint at the entire workflow you pinch/zoomed out in Con10uum. In addition if Apple gave the Dock the ability to arrange open windows as a list a la the taskbar, then Expose could share that same order when invoked.
If you were using Con10uum I think it would be extremely rare that you'd find the need to zoom all the way out. Mostly you'd just scroll side to side, perhaps zooming a little to make it quicker. Viewing the entire Con10uum with a lot of windows open would make each window tiny, which is a problem with the system, but on the plus side everything is in the same position you've been working with. Compare this to Exposé, which in my experience on a 13" screen, makes it fairly difficult to predict where the window you want is going to be (it keeps changing!). I'm sure this works a lot better on a 24" screen but it kinda sucks for me . Apple could do a lot of things. I think they should explore lots of different options.
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PB PM
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2009-10-18, 03:28

I'd agree that OSX works best when you have a 20" or larger screen. That said, when you combine spaces and expose, using a 13" screen is fine.
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