[Geowanking] Surface Computing - Is this the Future?
bthoen at gisnet.com
Mon Jun 25 16:54:05 PDT 2007
Paul Ramsey wrote:
> Watching the demo a few times makes be pretty negative. It is the same
> thing over and over and over again, with different subjects.
> They've re-invented the mouse, only it is way more expensive, and just
> slightly more ergonomic (once you've learned the gestural syntax).
> One thing you see very little of is... words. The things we spend 95%
> of our time working with on our computers.
> There's perhaps a few niche uses that are going to find this hugely
> helpful, both in terms of the large format and the somewhat cleaner
> interface to the data, but I don't see a revolution necessarily in the
Yes, they've reinvented the mouse, and the monitor is finally big enough
and fast enough to work in a map-sized environment. It can also display
three-dimensional objects interactively. To me the visual impact goes
right to the hind-brain and doesn't need to be slowed down with words. I
don't see that it would be so hard to put a word processor into this
system either. It could simply work as they do today or maybe it could
be so much better with maybe finger ring virtual keyboards and/or voice
input, and a mouse that can deliver multiple simultaneous events rather
than just a mouse-down, mouse-up signal.
By focusing on the negative, I think you're missing the point. By that
logic, one might even question the value of using an expensive PC for
mapmaking when pen and ink is so much more flexible and on paper your
workspace can be several feet wide. Who'd want to make maps staring into
a tiny little 20" screen? (Then again, I'm also happy using vi on a
monochrome monitor, so it's not that I don't appreciate the old ways. I
see untapped possibilities at both ends of the spectrum.)
As an aside... does your gut reaction have anything to do with it being
associated with the 800-lb gorilla of computing? (This bothers me,
because I think it's such a great idea I shudder to think how Microsoft
will license it into uselessness. I believe they will stop at nothing to
keep Linux out of their hair.)
As to it being a niche market, do you mean like HDTV was? A price tag
of 5-10 thousand clams is not beyond the reach of most businesses or
even many home users. And it's new so the price is about as high as it
will ever be. More's law and market demand should bring the price down
We've needed something better than a keyboard, mouse and a page-sized
monitor for a while now, and this looks like a decent start. Of course
I'd really like to see a holodeck-like display where the interface melts
into the background, but I'm willing to wait a couple more weeks for that...
- Bill Thoen
More information about the Geowanking