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Roar (208.8) - Mark's Journal
Roar (208.8)
I upgraded my work desktop machine to Lion last fall, around when it came out, and fairly quickly got used to the fact that Apple reversed the previous scrolling behavior. I admit it was an odd thing for them to do, considering people have been using scroll balls and scroll wheels and the like on Macs for years and years, and having up suddenly become down and left suddenly become right is disorienting, but they made the reasonable assertion that people were getting used to a "direct" correlation between the way their fingers moved and the way the content on-screen moved thanks to the iPhone and iPad, and they were just making the Mac behave the same way.

Well, I finally upgraded my laptop to Lion the other night, and what I adapted to fairly quickly on the mouse scrollball has taken a whole lot of getting used to all over again on the laptop trackpad. Pushing my fingers up to push the content of a web page up is actually fairly straightforward, and I guess I've adapted to that already. What's really driving me nuts is scrolling around photos I'm editing. I guess that's in a different mental pigeonhole than scrolling around web pages, so my brain isn't picking it up.

I know I can turn it off, or switch back to the old behavior, but I'm refraining from doing so. I know I'll adapt eventually, again. In fact, at last June's Worldwide Developer Conference, the Lion developers made a point of calling our attention to the change, and saying that while there's a preference checkbox to restore it to what we were familiar with, they urged us to give it a week or two and promised we'd get the hang of it. It does feel pretty natural, and makes sense in the context of the similarity to the iPad behavior. The big difference is that on the iPhone or iPad, you're pushing directly on the content with your finger, and on the Mac, you're using a displaced control device, whether it's the mouse or the trackpad. Steve Jobs actually spoke once about the idea of a touch-screen Mac interface, and said it's just not natural to reach out to the Mac's screen the way it is to touch a phone or tablet screen.
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polypolyglot From: polypolyglot Date: May 19th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's interesting how real life beats out sf in terms of day-to-day technology. If I recall correctly, the two DS9 episodes set in 2024 showed a pen to screen interface, while Minority Report (set in the 2050s) had the dataglove thing.

I'm still waiting for the knuckletop (or K-T) where the computer is in a ring, has a holographic display and (I think) is almost entirely voice commands. That was in some sf novel by Lisa Mason (?) I read 20 years ago.

On the other hand, my last film camera was a Canon EOS 7e. I never really used the function that focused the lens based on the camera's response to where your eye was looking in the viewfinder. I wasn't comfortable with it.

And I had a boss who retired from the Times early (at age 55, in 1997) because she couldn't adapt to certain technologies. Like a mouse. I wonder how common that is.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: May 19th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
She should've just switched to a trackpad. :-)

I think before long we're going to see eye-tracking technology in a big way. I'm not sure whether it will be along the lines of Google Googles, the glasses they're working on that put a display in front of your face, or something that will work without wearing visible accessories.

I don't think I knew Canon had a film camera that knew where your eye was looking. I would love to have that feature in my Nikon. I can control the point at which it'll focus to some extent, but sometimes not as quickly as I'd like, or not quickly enough to bother.
polypolyglot From: polypolyglot Date: May 19th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had bought the 7e in 2003, but I don't seem to recall Canon having that function on any of their DSLRs. A friend of mine who is a professional photographer says she prefers to use manual focus, esp. in low light, but then again, she has much better eyes than I do.
belmikey From: belmikey Date: May 21st, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Every time I watch Star Trek, now, particularly DS9, I look at how the writers had them using their handheld technology. In some ways, it was remarkably similar to what we actually do; in other ways, surprisingly different.

I thing the single largest difference is that it's clear that the writers saw PADDs as basically the same, in every way except physical materials, as clipboards. They get handed around, tossed around, people are frequently referring to more than one of them (rather than switching between documents on a single one), and there's no sense of ownership. There is no, "Hey, that's MY PADD" going on.

(Then again, with completely ubiquitous and largely infallible networking, there doesn't have to be much sense of ownership, I suppose -- all the real content is stored remotely).
polypolyglot From: polypolyglot Date: May 21st, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure this was ever shown in an episode, but per the manuals, one should have able to access any system on the ship or station via the PADDs. Hypothetically, one could sit comfortably in one's cabin, reconfigure the interface on one's PADD, and pilot the ship with a potent potable at one's side.

Priority of access would be dependent on the person's biometrics, probably, not the device that they were using (though if they were trying to control a capital ship with a device the size of a 2012-vintage Blackberry, there would probably be warnings against doing so)
belmikey From: belmikey Date: May 21st, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Every now and again, there's little hints of such ubiquitous control capabilities. Honestly, the more I think about it, the moreI think that the actual devices shown on screen would be wildly impractical for controlling a ship of any real size, solely on the basis of screen real estate. Most of the PADDs, and all of the tricorders we see have tiny screens that would not allow for complex controls. Of course, voice control would alleviate some of that.

But yes, I always assumed that what one could do on (and to) a starship or starbase was largely tied to who you were rather than what device you were using to access the capabilities.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: May 21st, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
We certainly at least once saw a master control station set up on the bridge that would be usable to control ship's functions elsewhere, and quite a big deal was made of it. That's probably the sort of situation that led to the idea of the flexible station that could control anything depending on who you were and what you needed to do at that moment.

What it came down to, though, was that the writers and producers realized that we, the viewers, needed the context of the engineer doing engineery things down in engineering, the navigator doing navigaty things at the navigation station, and so on.
belmikey From: belmikey Date: May 21st, 2012 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Given that I was already spending an absurd amount of time on my iPad and iPhone before the Lion change, and that I use an Apple Wireless Trackpad even on my desk, I made the change without even thinking about it. It was only when booted into Windows that I was like, "Oh! Wait...that's right...Windows is backward!" :-)
corkdorkdan From: corkdorkdan Date: May 27th, 2012 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
It took a while for me to adjust to this as well. It helped that I got Lion with my new Macbook Air, so I was expecting lots of things to feel different (compared to my older Tiger-era Macbook). I remember briefly lamenting that you couldn't customize the scroll behavior per device. On a touchpad it makes great sense, but when I plug in my wireless mouse, I want it reversed. There are still a few seconds while I reorient when I plug in the mouse, where I stubbornly scroll all the way to top of my document while thinking, "no, down. I want down. Why am I at the top? Go down. Oh right, up is down."

I have no problem adjusting when I use my work Dell laptop, but I ALWAYS use a mouse on that, and there is no trackpad scrolling (at least, none that is as intuitive as the MBA, so I have disabled it).
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