[Geowanking] Surface Computing - Is this the Future?

Mike Liebhold mnl at well.com
Tue Jun 26 09:58:15 PDT 2007

apparently motorola thinks multi-touch is the future too.  see: 

Paul Ramsey wrote:

> Bill Thoen wrote:
>> Yes, they've reinvented the mouse, and the monitor is finally big 
>> enough and fast enough to work in a map-sized environment. 
> On a "future of computing" scale, I think innovations like the laptop, 
> tablets, and PDAs will weigh far heavier than the big table 'o 
> computer. Yes, some mapping offices will probably get some leverage 
> out of this, and it will be wider spread than just the DoD.
> I think the "multi-touch" metaphor is more of a "future of computing" 
> thing than the big 'old table. From iPhone, to table, to every form 
> factor in-between, not having to use physical buttons frees up a great 
> deal of freedom for interesting interaction design (some of which MS 
> is showing in their "magic phone" demo portion). It could be a real 
> user-interaction catastrophe, as a million new interface metaphors are 
> invented.
>> 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.)
> Perhaps I am myopic, but I doubt it. I did not seem them doing 
> anything new with their data. Yes, the demo was very hind-brain, but 
> all of what they were doing could be done with a mouse -- it was 
> INCREMENTAL improvement, not TRANSFORMATIVE. You can't run a live 
> image processing lense over a paper map, but you can do it on a 
> digital map... with mouse or with big-ass table.
>> As an aside... does your gut reaction have anything to do with it 
>> being associated with the 800-lb gorilla of computing? 
> Nope, I think the idea is just as good a demo and marginal a 
> wide-utility concept coming from this small company, whose demo really 
> captures the "it's just like a mouse, only fingers" ethic.
>   http://www.perceptivepixel.com/
>> (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.)
> What's weird is that they won't let ANYONE do development with it 
> right now. They are only selling direct to end users (hotels and 
> casinos being their apparent target market). So if you want to bring 
> it into the county assessors office and trick it out with ArcGIS, too 
> bad, not for love or money.
>> As to it being a niche market, do you mean like HDTV was?  
> I guess I don't consider a technology real until I buy it myself :) 
> Still no HDTV... perhaps when they stop making ordinary ones. Watch 
> out when I get my iPhone, though, you won't be able to shut me up.
> P
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