TextExpander is a popular and reasonably priced autotype/autocorrect program--a productivity-enhancing piece of software designed to save you time and keystrokes by automatically typing out frequently used words and phrases (such as signatures and greetings) and instantly correcting your typos. TextExpander's nearly invisible interface is simple: you type a short, user-specified abbreviation, and the app expands the abbreviation into a longer "snippet," whether a word, a phrase, or even an image or an entire e-mail. (You can even prompt TextExpander to execute a chunk of AppleScript.) You can customize your snippets and manage them in groups, and … Read more
As many commented on the "Death by PowerPoint" theme, tools don't create bad presentations, people do--even if the tools must share some of the blame for encouraging certain paths.
But, as a reader points out, we shouldn't just blame software in this regard:It's just too hard and time consuming to freely draw diagrams and text, as on a whiteboard. Maybe this issue will finally improve with touch computing, but until then, we do all waste a lot of time...
This is an important and insightful point. We mostly use keyboards and mice to enter … Read more
Just when you were starting to get the hang of all those crazy multitouch gestures designed for your fingers, a group of researchers at Germany's Hasso Plattner Institute wants to put your other extremities to work. Multitoe (really) takes touch-based computing down a level.
The Multitoe floor identifies users based on their footprint, and a short hop brings up a context menu that lets you engage in various toe-tapping activities. For now, that mostly looks like outlining various geometric shapes with your tippy toes, but once this thing catches on and you're able to load up the Teach … Read more
When we learned about an experimental technology earlier this week that turns your skin into an interactive surface, our collective skin crawled with delight. Skinput, developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft, is an acoustic bio-sensor armband that picks up sound patterns created when tapping a forearm or palm.
Specific acoustic signatures from different areas on the hand or forearm can be linked to functions like dialing a phone, operating an MP3 player, or playing Tetris. Pinching and flicking gestures can also be used for commands, and adding a pico projector to the armband can display menu selections … Read more
What if your skin could serve as an interactive surface? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft have produced Skinput, an experimental device that turns the body's largest organ into a touch screen.
CMU's Chris Harrison and colleagues at Microsoft rigged up an acoustic bio-sensor to detect sound patterns created when tapping a forearm or palm. Each area has a specific acoustic signature that can be associated with functions like dialing a phone or playing Tetris. Pinching and flicking gestures can also be used for commands.
The video below shows how the system works. A bulky armband array … Read more
Just announced today, the Wireless Desktop MK710 is Logitech's latest addition to its input device family. At $99, this keyboard and mouse combo offers an inexpensive incentive to get rid of those clumsy peripherals that came bundled with your desktop computer. Logitech also claims that the combo can get more than three years of juice from four AA batteries, but we'll see for ourselves with the test unit on the way.
The new keyboard incorporates Logitech's Incurve concave key design and cushioned palm rest to alleviate unnecessary pressure on your wrists; an integrated LCD dashboard up top … Read more
Close to a year after launching its excellent graphics tablet, the Intuos4 series, Wacom releases an updated version with Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Available only in the medium-size version for about $399, $50 more than its USB-only twin, the Intuos4 Wireless becomes a great option for artists and illustrators on the go--or even sedentary ones with an aversion to wires.
The Wireless model runs off a replaceable lithium ion battery that charges via the USB connection. You have to charge it before going wireless, as well as be physically connected to install the driver. After that, Bluetooth setup is fairly typical. You switch the tablet on and press a button to initiate the "I'm here!" broadcast and wait for your system to discover the tablet, which is essentially treated as a mouse. Note that the tablet doesn't ship with a dongle, so if your system doesn't have Bluetooth you'll have to deal with that separately.… Read more
Apple's new Magic Mouse is an innovative input device, but a few people are having troubles understanding how it behaves and are frustrated by it not automatically connecting.… Read more
A few people have noticed Apple's new multitouch "Magic Mouse" will disconnect at seemingly random times. When the computer is booted the mice connect just fine and are usable for a while; however, they will soon become unresponsive and the "Connection Lost" icon will float at the bottom of the screen.… Read more
A number of people have found the use of some multi-touch gestures on their MacBook and MacBook Pro computers have stopped working. While two finger gestures such as pinch and scroll may still work, those that use three and four fingers may not anymore. Additionally, others have had instances where the computer refuses input of any kind.… Read more