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Eee Is 1st Windows Laptop To Support Multi-Touch 237

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-playing-catch-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNET UK has just put up its review of the Asus Eee PC 900 Win running Windows XP and discovered that it's the first Windows machine to support multi-touch, 'Better still, the mouse trackpad supports multi-touch gesture inputs — even in Windows XP. A pinching motion lets you zoom in on images, stretching lets you zoom out, and a two-finger vertical stroking motion allows you to scroll up and down through documents. MacBook Air and iPod touch users have enjoyed this feature for some time, but it's the first we've ever seen it implemented on a Windows laptop.'"
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Eee Is 1st Windows Laptop To Support Multi-Touch

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  • by Raineer (1002750) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @03:32AM (#23125886)

    I have to say I'm surprised this wasn't covered by some sort of patent already, or will tomorrow's Slashdot include the accompanying lawsuit?

    I type this from a Macbook, but mine is the cheapest one which didn't get multi-touch :(

  • keyboard is king (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @03:41AM (#23125920)
    nothing defeats the keyboard for easy and speed of input.
  • by Facegarden (967477) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @03:51AM (#23125964)

    nothing defeats the keyboard for easy and speed of input.
    Unless you're not typing... There are lots of ways to define the word "input". You're using a mouse aren't you? Clearly it beats the keyboard some of the time... Similarly, track pads are better than keyboards for mousing around, and multitouch track pads are better still, i can imagine. Remember, this is Slashdot, you have to be painfully specific and accurate or someone will call you out. -Taylor
  • by Raineer (1002750) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @03:55AM (#23125976)
    I've really gotten away from using a mouse for anything, if I can help it. I have gotten too used to using a laptop and just being too lazy to drag out the bluetooth mouse. It's really difficult to claim anything can be faster than keyboard, as by the time most people finish wiggling their mouse to the target the keystrokes are overwith.
  • by Facegarden (967477) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:04AM (#23126010)
    Ehh, unless you're doing lots of web browsing, which is mostly scrolling and clicking. I know you can use the arrow keys and such, but really, that just sucks. I use keyboard shortcuts left and right, and i use the keyboard more than most (us nerds not included) but some things are better left to other input devices. -Taylor
  • by Facegarden (967477) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:06AM (#23126020)
    I think they mean first commercial laptop SOLD with XP installed... and even then, i don't think generic drivers exist, so i would bet the macbook air with XP installed wouldn't actually take advantage of the multitouch. -Taylor
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:22AM (#23126064) Journal
    Actually, maybe not. If you think of it as pinching or stretching the "frame", it doesn't sound so illogical. Especially if it shows the frame on the screen until you let go. Then, moving both fingers together could move the frame. I think some programs operate in that fashion.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:31AM (#23126088) Homepage Journal
    Really? Makes sense to me- you're reducing the field of view, so you move your fingers inwards (your fingers representing the field of view). The opposite sounds awkward to me.

    I suppose, if you have the photographic mindset. I think most people can deal better with the idea of resizing the image, not a more abstract concept of FOV, especially when it's actually resizing an image on a display.

    Then again, I think the entire deal is a little silly- just add a scroll wheel.

    The two finger scrolling is pretty nice though. I really don't see the point in adding a scroll wheel. It's an unnecessary addition of a mechanical component when existing electronic components should do the job for most people. And it's easier to deal with as a scroll wheel would need to be accompanied with another keystroke to tell the computer that it's a resize and not a scrolling action.
  • biased bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nguy (1207026) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:39AM (#23126114)
    By using Windows XP, users can sidestep many of the software and hardware compatibility issues that plague the Linux version. We've encountered numerous devices that don't work with a Linux Eee because of driver issues, including some USB disc drives, printers and TV tuners. You simply don't get these problems with a Windows-equipped Eee PC 900.

    That's biased bullshit. There are plenty of problems trying to get hardware to work on a regular Windows XP machine, and it only gets worse on an Eee PC. Imagine first time it asks you to insert the driver CD, displays its 800x800 configuration dialog, or requires "Windows Vista or better".
  • by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:40AM (#23126116) Homepage
    You can calm down with all the "?"s. Rest assured, if there is a patent, Asus has licensed it. The world won't end.

    Anyhow, the most amusing part of the review was the conclusion,

    We can't really recommend the Windows version of the Eee PC 900 over its Linux counterpart, primarily because you get nearly twice as much storage space in the Linux version. [...] If you really can't live without XP, then the best course of action is to buy the superior Linux version and install XP yourself.
    Strange times, when the Windows people are those that are going to have installation hassles...

    Also, it is me or does it seem like Cnet is advocating piracy here? I mean, where do they expect you to get XP from; if you buy it yourself, it makes the Linux Eee 900 + off-the-shelf XP quite expensive. Presumably they don't mean that, so what's left...?
  • by Phil Urich (841393) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:15AM (#23126228) Journal
    Yeah umm as another poster has already commented, Konqueror does that naturally, just tap ctrl and every link gets a letter. And the eeePC already HAS Konqueror on it, even though it isn't listed anywhere; if you're in Basic mode, just hit ctrl-alt-t and type in "konqueror" in the terminal window that pops up; F11 to full-screen and browse away with your keyboard.
  • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:24AM (#23126264) Homepage
    Put two fingers on a normal track pad and it cannot tell where your fingers actually are.
    It can see a press in four places instead of two.

    You could write some tricky software to emulate it but it wouldnt be as good.
    E.g. Pinpoint the location of the first finger that touched and then use that information to work out where the second is.
  • by grm_wnr (781219) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:31AM (#23126286)
    This is what Apple does a lot - take something reasonably old and obvious, make it look spiffy and actually usable for someone without a CS degree, then sell (and market) it as the Hot New Thing.


    Not that there's anything wrong with that. Especially the "making it actually usable" part. There's lots of k3wl shit out there in the FOSS community, but Apple is one of the few companies that actually manages to sell it to your semi-usual consumers, even if they sometimes scale it down a bit and use marketing that causes geeks to flinch in pain.
  • by am 2k (217885) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:49AM (#23126326) Homepage

    I think it would be cool if Asus packaged a detachable SSD so that you could unplug it from the Eee in the kitchen, and plug it back in to the Eee in the bedroom.

    I think you're missing the point of an ultra-portable subnotebook.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @06:20AM (#23126410)

    I think Apple's track record is decidedly mixed; they have committed awful usability blunders in the past. I think on balance, they are no better than FOSS.
    I would have to disagree with that one.

    Usability is something MacOS hammers Linux into the ground for right now. Hardware add-ons just fscking work, which is far more than can be said for Linux.

    Granted, a lot of that is to do with hardware manufacturers refusing to release specs. But I've got a whole pile of examples here where specs are available, drivers have been written and yet still the resulting UI is so clunky compared to Windows or Mac equivalents that it is almost painful to use.
  • by grm_wnr (781219) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:33AM (#23126648)
    Well...

    >two keyboards, wireless mice, an ipod
    Standard equipment that would cause a riot if it wasn't supported. Yes, even the iPod.

    >an external DVD drive, a pocket USB hard drive, an SD card, a USB memory stick, and my camera
    All the same class of equipment, USB mass storage devices. They likely even use the same driver. Well, maybe not the DVD if it's burner.

    But still, try something more challenging, like a sound card or an unusual video card.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:53AM (#23126724) Journal
    Please try using a laptop with a multitouch scroll pad for a bit. After you get used to being able to scroll in two dimensions by just rotating your wrist (to move to your hand to the trackpad) put down two fingers, and slide them over the pad in the direction you want to move, everything else just seems clunky. The best UI features are the ones that you only notice when they aren't there, and this is definitely in this category.
  • by bazonic (463550) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @08:35AM (#23126872)
    >> It's really difficult to claim anything can be faster than keyboard

    I take it you are not a user of Photoshop (insert favorite image/video editing software here).
  • by Zencyde (850968) <Zencyde@gmail.com> on Saturday April 19, 2008 @10:36AM (#23127458)
    Oh yeah.. boot camp is TOTALLY a fresh idea. : ) So are MP3 players. So is using Unix as a base for your OS and not paying for it or giving back to the community. Yep, Apple is full of PLENTY Of fresh ideas. : )
    As far as I'm concerned, all of their fresh ideas suck. For instance, have you actually tried to type on their new keyboard? Fresh ideas indeed...
  • by yelvington (8169) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @10:48AM (#23127516) Homepage
    Manually relocating the menu bar from one monitor to another does not fix the problem. I don't WANT a "main screen." On a multiscreen, multitasking system where I might very well have 18 apps running at the same time, the damned menu bar should be with the application I'm using at the moment, and the only reason it's not part of the application on the Mac is a poor 1980s design decision made permanent by arrogance. And that's the problem: The Mac UI engineers are fanbois of their own work, incapable of seeing its flaws.

    I could rant about Linux, too, but most of my ire would be focused on wifi hardware engineers who change chipsets and designs without changing hardware designations.

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