Multi-touch: Many questions to one desire....

Shawn Rutledge shawn.t.rutledge at
Wed Mar 5 02:03:30 CET 2008

On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 5:25 PM, "Marco Trevisan (Treviño)"
<mail at> wrote:
>  Also using a touch-only screen they don't loose their usability: the
>  resize, mostly, could be done simply with a scroll, while the rotation

This is kindof like saying what do you need a mouse for, your keyboard
has arrow keys doesn't it?  (or a control key... you could just move
the cursor with control-k, control-l, etc.)

The whole point is you don't need to use up any real estate with
scroll bars: an image can fill the whole screen and yet you can still
interact with it.  Dragging/panning seems more intuitive, too... it's
just that with such long experience with computers, we've gotten used
to the status quo.  As for pinching to zoom, the only thing which
makes me uncertain is the alleged existence of a patent on it...
either it will be licensed cheaply, or stricken down in court, or
Apple will just let it go unchallenged (maybe at least in the case of
open-source software), or non-Apple devices can be sold with gesture
programmability, and it's up to the end user to define what it is that
the pinch gesture will do.  Or if Apple really succeeds in keeping
that gesture for themselves, then it cannot be a standard, because
other gestures will have to be invented.  But the existence of the
original Mac did not prevent GEM or AmigaOS or Windows from being
developed, either, despite Apple's attempts to claim ownership of some
ideas.  They have no hope of preventing multi-touch itself from
becoming the accepted mainstream, and then resistive touchscreens are
probably going to be seen as obsolete.

>  using the gimp-way (put a placeholder on the rotating fulcrum tapping,
>  then use a finger dragging the image...).

That requires at least two steps, and involves more screen clutter (at
least a separate fulcrum object).  Gimp takes a bit of time to learn,
even if you are already familiar with Photoshop or (gods forbid) PC
Paint, like I was on my first PC, without a mouse, back in 1988.  :-)
(yes I could draw decent monochrome pictures with only the keyboard.
I sure was glad when that guy whose lawn I was mowing finally gave me
a surplus optical mouse, though.)

Interaction design always has room for improvement, and major new
technologies like this really open up the possibilities.

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