Monday, March 04, 2013


I have never been a fan of the computer mouse. I went to a trackball as soon as I got a computer, and for the last ten years, have been running as my pointer a FingerWorks IGesture pad. 

FingerWorks were way ahead of their time. 

This is an elegant piece of hardware, a flat pad a little bigger than a CD case, with a touch reader that uses a bunch of single- and multiple-finger gestures. Anything you can do with a mouse, and some things you can't. (There's a four-finger gesture that looks like opening a jar lid that will open and close files.)

Before the iOS that iPhones, iPods, and iPads spawned, Apple didn't have this technology. But they had something as good ... a lot of money ...

So they bought FingerWorks, shut 'em down, and used their programs for Apple's touch screens. 

Oddly enough, Apple didn't come out with a stand-alone touch pad until recently. I had a chance to play with one yesterday, the Apple Magic Track Pad, whilst at the Mac store, and it works pretty well. Pretty much same way as the built-in track pad on their laptops.

The new pad is a little smaller than the one I have, runs on AA batteries, and hooks up via Bluetooth, so it's wireless. That's the biggest drawback to the iGesture, that it is USB wired to the computer, and even with duct-tape re├źnforcement, that will eventually be the death of it, the wire. 

The new one uses mechanical buttons underneath the bottom corners for clicks, which isn't as good as the finger-taps on the old, and while the gestures can be adjusted, there are fewer of them. So the iGesture is actually mo' bettah than the Magic Track Pad, even though it is a decade older. 

However, I knew that the iGesture was gonna die eventually, so it's good to know I can replace it with something that will approximate its usefulness ...


Joerg Mosthaf said...

You can use taps instead of clicks with the Apple Touchpad - you just have to turn it on in the options.
And still more (and more usefull) gestures than the Win 8 touchpad allows ;)

Steve Perry said...

That's cool. I didn't dig into it deeply, just played with the one on display.