On the last UIST conference the MS presented the LCDkeyboard or so called Adaptive Input Device for the student competition. It is similar to "the old" Optimus Maximus, however, instead of having an LCD under every keyboard key, the whole background of the keyboard is an LDC screen under regular keys. In addition there is a touch screen on top of the keyboard for shortcuts. The concept is not new and I can see its usage. E.g. I'd love to be able to switch my keyboard keys between different keyboard layouts like QUERTY and QUERTZ. I often type text in different languages like Slovene, English and Italian and is always hard to find language specific characters on an (UK or US) English only keyboard. I would also like to try Dvorak layout without buying a special keyboard.
My fear is the modality of such keyboards as presented in the video. Changing keys based on the application or even worse, based on the state of the application (keyboard can then be in several modes using only one application) can produce high cognitive load. I guess that some user experiments will have to be done on how quickly can users adopt and scan over 100 keys if they change often. But I also see that such keyboard could present more options to the user and provide more screen estate for the content they are working on (e.g. moving the menus from the screen to the keyboard).
My second worry is the neck and head movement from the keyboard to the screen and back. Most people do not focus on their keyboards and mice while working on the computer. Are often changes of the keyboard layout going to affect this?? Probably, but to what extent. I would say that the shifting eye focus from the content (screen) and functions (keyboard) would produce more neck, head and eye travel.
We just finished a long trip across the Europe with kids. As I wanted to make the trip a pleasure for all as much as I could, I thought ob buying a video player, so kids could enjoy their cartoons during the long hours of the voyage. I almost bought an Aluratek APMP100F (which is a nice device), but a friend of mine said that he would rather have a computer in a car (in his opinion video players have limited features and a laptop can be used for games, internet and other things). I decided to give it a try as others did. I bought an universal laptop car charger for £4 and was good to go.
But one hour before starting our trip I also decided to make a stand for it. I wanted the laptop screen be visible to everyone sitting on the back
seat and I also wanted the screen to be as far away as possible. Keep in mind that this is one hour project and there is a (LOT OF) room for improvements (due to the time limit I also used only materials I had in the house). Nonetheless it was a big success (kids had over 30 hour of cartoons which could be simply navigated with P and N keys or paused with a space key) and it took a lot of attention of passing cars and people we meet on the way :). The sand is not in the way (shoulders and head can be freely moved), I could talk to other passengers and I had a view on the back seat as well (between the laptop screen and head support). But bear in mind that the view in the windshield mirror is obscured (not all of it but still ...).
Things to consider from the safety point of view:
The handle on which the stand is screwed has to firmly stand between head supporters! Be ensured that moving car seats won't affect this!!
The laptop has to be tightened to the stand (I used a tiniest climbing rope which is not shown on the photos)
This way the laptop won't fly around the car in case of fast and hard breaking!!!!
Recently I installed the .NET framework and have been surprised by the installation interface.
It is kind of hard to read the license terms if they are in such a small text box. Not that I would like to read them; I'm just concerned for the people that would :). There are also print and save options available, if someone doesn't like the small text box like me :).
So much space on the setup window (see the image below) is taken by estimated downloaded time with a dial-up modem (as the software could not figure out the download speed by itself). And what about download size estimate? Does .NET have different size for different users? Maybe ....
Luckily, new versions of MS Windows have .NET preinstalled.
Poyozo is a nice Firefox add-on which aggregates one's internet life and activities and allows reflective overview of one's web presence. It aggregates keywords from various sources like email, RSS, blogs, web browser's history, social web sites, calendars, etc. Keywords are then presented on a calendar as tags where the size of each tag depicts the number of occurrences. The interface is divided in several tabs to separate different aspects of internet activities.