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#6000 - 11/22/09 12:30 AM New power-user peripheral: Could I get some help?
Phos.... Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Loc: Lancaster PA
This isn't a sales pitch, because the device doesn't exist yet. But I've written it up as though it did, and I was giving an elevator pitch, or doing a voiceover for a 5 minute infomercial.

I'd really like to have one on my desk now; I've wanted something like it for years. Everyone I've talked to about it wants one, too.

I've pitched it to a couple manufacturers, but was pretty much dismissed out of hand. My gut feeling about the rejections is they occurred because I didn't approach companies through "proper" channels. Sooo, being a man of limited means, and with some things to learn, I've started to wonder if maybe crowd-sourcing might be a better way for me to manifest this project. I'm looking to find some collaborators—specifically, someone who can write driver-level software, and perhaps someone who has better skills than I do with 3D modeling software.

I have a decent start on the physical design of the device, but my ideas aren't immutable.

I'm looking for more ideas and help here folks. The more dialogue, the better.

So, who's up for it?
==============================================

What is AccessPad Pro®™?

You're a power-user. The applications you work with do your bidding like a conductor directs an orchestra.

You've customized the way your applications open—all the Tools and Palettes show up right where you like them. You may even have a few custom workspace arrangements for different purposes. You switch between them with a mouse click, and you're ready to go.

You've made brilliant use of Actions, Macros, Scripts and other built-in time- and effort-saving functions.

You know hundreds of keyboard shortcuts, and have spent time reassigning the defaults to more deftly meet your needs. You've assigned F-key shortcuts to some of those functions that don't even have shortcuts.

You're a power-user, but you've run up against a couple things that put a brick wall in front of your ever-increasing efficiency.

First—your keyboard. It's been designed from the start for typing actual text. It's been that way since the dawn of the first mechanical typewriters. The way the keys are arranged are meant to make it easy for your fingers to find the keys. Even if you use the arguably better Dvorak arrangement for key assignments. Even if you have one of those split-and-angled ergonomic keyboards, they're still designed to do one thing well: Let the user type text as efficiently as possible.

Your keyboard—whatever the species—was never meant to be an efficient, ergonomic way to access the shortcuts you depend on. For your current keyboard—nay, ANY keyboard—to perform optimally as a shortcut access device, you'd do well to have a third hand, or a freakishly long set of fingers that could bend 360 degrees in any direction.

Second—Your keyboard only allows a finite number of shortcuts. If you find yourself wishing and begging for just one more F-key, so you wouldn't have to get rid of some of your old shortcuts just to add a newly discovered "must-have", you're out of luck. It's about impossible to find one that has any more than 16 F-keys. Even if you could find a keyboard with more user-assignable keys, there's still the matter of the first problem, that is: How to reach them easily and quickly?

Forget all of those hassles, starting now.

The AccessPad Pro®™ is a computer peripheral designed from the ground up to allow you—the kings and queens of all power users—to have access to a virtually unlimited number of shortcuts. It sits on your desk, opposite the hand you use for operating your mouse. You rest your hand on it, in a comfortable relaxed manner. Notice where your thumb naturally falls. Right there, under your thumb, you find that there are buttons that replicated the Command & Option keys found on your keyboard. They can be pressed and activated independently or in tandem.

Under the heel of your hand is a somewhat larger button. Press down slightly, and you'll enable the same behavior as the Shift key on your keyboard.

Using your thumb and the heel of your hand you can enable 7 combinations of modifiers (Remember, one of the permutations is NO modifiers pressed).

Now, look at your fingers. Beneath where they naturally rest on the AccessPad Pro™® you'll see six gracefully curved rows of buttons, 4 in each row. These buttons are arranged ergonomically, so the slightest shift and curl of your fingers can find and press any of the 24 buttons.

Let's do some simple math: 7 permutations of modifier key combinations, multiplied by 24 easily reachable, user-assignable function buttons...The AccessPad Pro®™ gives you comfortable access to a whopping 168 shortcut assignments, all without moving your hand off the input device.

But that's not all. 168 shortcuts isn't enough for you? No problem. You can have a virtually unlimited number of these shortcut sets, user assignable to work system-wide, or on a per-application basis, and you can load any set, any time you want. And because these custom shortcut assignments are written to a preset file using the industry standard XML scripting language, you can save these sets as tiny text files which you can share and trade with users on either the Mac or Windows platform.

You're a power-user. Forget about trying to grow a 3rd hand. Forget about wishing you had foot-long fingers.

Use your mouse for moving and controlling your cursor onscreen.

Use your keyboard for typing text, numbers and characters.

Use AccessPad Pro®™ to speed up everything else you do on your computer. Try it for a week and you'll wonder how you ever worked without it.
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#6423 - 12/06/09 12:00 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some help? [Re: Phos....]
Phos.... Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Loc: Lancaster PA
It's sad—and maybe a little telling about the traffic here—that this thread hasn't garnered even one response.

I guess there isn't anyone who can or cares to follow along?

At the very least I was hoping for maybe a link to a better place to post the help/collaboration request.

So it goes...
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#6425 - 12/06/09 01:42 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Maybe it's more a case of folks not understanding what you're looking for in the way of a reply.

One hundred ninety words into your post, you ask the question What is AccessPad Pro®™? Three hundred seventy-nine words later, you answer "The AccessPad Pro®™ is a computer peripheral..."

This might qualify as case of "burying the lede." Though the rule never to do so arose originally as a principle of good journalism, it certainly applies to adverstising as well—if your audience still doesn't know what product they're being sold a couple hundred words into your ad, they're unlikely to wade through a couple hundred more to find out.

This is the right place to have posted; isn't it possible that the concept just wasn't of enough interest to anyone who read it to generate a response?

FWIW, I followed along just fine, but I don't think most computer users are looking for more key combo permutations; we already have hundreds. That's why there's such enthusiasm for touchscreens and touchpads: they allow for more direct interaction between the user and the objects on the screen, eliminating the "abstraction layer" of keyboard shortcuts altogether. Just my two cents' worth.
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dkmarsh • member, FineTunedMac Co-op Board of Directors

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#6432 - 12/06/09 04:04 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Phos...
I guess there isn't anyone who can or cares to follow along?

FWIW I read your post and even drafted a reply, but never clicked the submit button because I realized I really had nothing positive to contribute. I consider myself something of a power user and your proposal struck me as an overkill solution for what to me is a non-problem. So I did not feel I could make a material contribution to your concept.

I know you are excited by your idea and are eager to get confirmation of the validity of the concept and input from others who like the idea as well. Certainly I would feel that way if I were in your position. But it strikes me the lack of response from other contributors on these forums may be actual information about your proposal if you can hear it. It might be an indicator of the potential market for your concept. It might indicate the need for a better description or clearer concept. Or any one of a number of other reasons.

I hope you don't take my comment as a putdown of you or your idea, it is not intended to be one. You simply have not convinced me of the need.
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#6433 - 12/06/09 05:08 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: dkmarsh]
Phos.... Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Loc: Lancaster PA
Thanks for the reply, dkmarsh, but...

Nope...

First of all, to my mind, I didn't "bury the lede." First and foremost—in the thread title, and by three short paragraphs into the post, I made it clear that I was fishing for programming and rendering help. I figured if there were people reading who felt qualified, and were made curious by the first part of the post, that they might read the rest and—at the very least—ask for more info about the project.

Instead, after 2 weeks, I get one post dissecting the direction and construct of the post, inclusive of some rather odd OCD word-counting swipe at it. (I just referred back to it as I compose this and see that joemikeb has popped in, too. This won't address his reply).

Further, even though it seems the order of the day is small bite-size chunks of easily-digested info, some subjects don't lend themselves to short data bursts. And to be quite frank, I'm not sure I'd want to work with someone who balks at reading a conceptualization of the length I posted. The semantics of the "5-minute pitch" were compelling, IMHO, and were intended to provide enough meat to provoke further discussion. Can't get through it? Then I don't want (the royal) you.

Secondly, I dare to suggest that so-called power users aren't necessarily interested in poking and prodding a touchscreen/trackpad in order to effect events that could be invoked with a magnitude greater efficiency by a device that that takes what they already know (i.e.: a bazillion shortcuts), and puts them comfortably under one hand. And I don't think multitouch will acquire the ability to easily invoke 168+ separate commands any time soon. Not to mention, they're just not as easy to remember as keyboard shortcuts. The mnemonics are scant, and user-driven customization hasn't yet fully matured, AFAIK.

As a 12+ year daily user of Photoshop and Illustrator I think I make a fair assessment by calling myself just such a power user. And I don't care how brilliantly touchscreen tech is developed, I also think it's fair to say that it's going to be a long time—maybe never—where reaching out to grease up a screen with fingerprints will be as comfortable—and as commonplace, as interacting with a desktop peripheral. On a laptop, or netbook, or a smartphone...yeah, I can grasp how a touchscreen and/or multi-touch pads could have some edge in efficiency. For expansive work in a high-level environment (ad agency, recording studio, video house, to name 3), the AccessPad Pro would have distinct advantages that NOTHING else currently being made brings to the table.

Those color-coded keyboards? They might be somewhat helpful, but they're STILL taking a physical design that was intended for entering text and trying to superimpose new functionality. It's the old "sure you can hammer a nail with a wrench, but why would you want to do that?"

Other devices, such as multi-button game controllers and mice, and other gridwise keyboard adjuncts (such as those made by P.I. Engineering have some advantages, but they all fail in one way or another.

The NuLooq? I say meh. And apparently the entire computing world did, as well.

So, dkmarsh, I know how I write, and how I often come off as an abrasive jerk when I'm feeling my iconoclasm. Please understand that THIS reply wasn't meant so much as a defensive rail against what you wrote above, but more as an explanation about the nature of my first post and a further elaboration about why I feel the AccessPad Pro is a convention—changing idea.

But, since it's been two weeks, and I've had to float my own thread in order to get a reply, perhaps my time WOULD be better spent inquiring elsewhere. Like I said, the dearth of dialogue speaks quite clearly about the traffic here, and I don't mean that as a diss.

As the wonks say far too often these days: "It is what it is."

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We write what we are.

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#6434 - 12/06/09 05:31 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
... I made it clear that I was fishing for programming and rendering help.

Let me put it this way, then: the part following "What is AccessPad Pro®™?" should probably be rewritten without the adspeak.

If you take an idea to an engineer, you should present it as clearly and objectively as possible. The folks whose assistance you're seeking shouldn't have to wade through a lengthy sales pitch in order to learn what it is you're seeking assistance with.

Furthermore, in presenting the substance of your idea in the form of an ad, you run the risk of turning off people who might otherwise be inclined to make some suggestions towards its implementation; I know I personally found the salesperson voice pretty irrititating. (OTOH, since I don't have any device driver knowledge, that's no big loss for you.)

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dkmarsh • member, FineTunedMac Co-op Board of Directors

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#6441 - 12/07/09 12:27 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: joemikeb]
Phos.... Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Loc: Lancaster PA
From the "two birds, one stone" Dept.:
@ joemikeb and dkmarsh...

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
"...it strikes me the lack of response from other contributors on these forums may be actual information about your proposal if you can hear it. It might be an indicator of the potential market for your concept.

I'm not so sure that's an accurate assessment, based on my past experience in pitching the idea, and on the general level of traffic here at F.T.M. It's just not that busy here, but I chose to post here, because I hadn't addressed this group of people before.

One thing that might help you to understand my level of enthusiasm with this, is that my efforts on it have been cyclical, i.e.: I get wound up about the project for a couple weeks, try to drum up collaborators, and then to let it slide when I run into an impediment. Currently, I'm in an "up" phase on the cycle.

When I first came up with the AccessPad Pro idea in early 2005, I started casually mentioning it to my power-user peers on the Adobe Forums (including a few internationally-known regulars there) and a couple other online venues, in a couple recording studios I visit regularly, some TV News editors, and elsewhere. Once people understood the concept, I make no exaggeration in saying that Every. Single. Person. responded with something along the lines of: "Oh my god, that's brilliant...When and where can I get one?" These are people who—like myself—know and use literally hundreds of keyboard shortcuts, actions and macros, spread across a few, or many applications. I also asked what they'd be willing to pay for it, if they could go to an Apple Store, or Best Buy, or Fry's, or B&H Photo, or Amazon, for that matter, and get one right away. Most answers ranged from $190 to $300. THAT tells me that there's a segment of the population who are as keen on the idea as I am...maybe not a large segment, but certainly an enthusiastic one, and probably a large enough group to make it economically viable. Granted, the sampling of opinions is relatively small, and it's certainly non-scientific, but hey, it's what I have to go on at this point. I'm not Apple, or Logitech, with that kind of marketing and R&D, so I can only do what I can do, yah know?.

I had come up with a somewhat crude, first-draft 2D rendering in Photoshop, with annotations about how it works and why it's designed the way it is, but I was kind of embarrassed by the amateurish quality of it, so I didn't show it around much. Plus, I was worried that someone would see the design and steal it.

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
[i]"Isn't it possible that the concept just wasn't of enough interest to anyone who read it to generate a response?"

It's certainly possible. But I'm more inclined to believe that the thread just hasn't fallen under the proper eyeballs here. "Inactivity through obscurity" is just as good a theory. Let's be honest with ourselves: F.T.M doesn't garner that much traffic. That's part of the reason I chose to poke my head in here and throw the idea and request on the table. I'm not quite ready to open it up to a mass audience. I'm content to shop this around quietly...for now.

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
"FWIW, I followed along just fine, but I don't think most computer users are looking for more key combo permutations; we already have hundreds. That's why there's such enthusiasm for touchscreens and touchpads: they allow for more direct interaction between the user and the objects on the screen, eliminating the "abstraction layer" of keyboard shortcuts altogether."


Again, I think multi-touch-sensitive-extreme-foo-devices are a decent technology, but I don't see it being nearly robust enough in capability or in extensibility yet, and don't believe that they will be for quite awhile. It works quite well for iPhones and the iPod touch, but that's a whole different application than what's needed for full-screen, hard core, getting-a—lot—of—work—done situations.

Electromechanical devices are proven technologies that users know deeply, and to which they can become accustomed easily.

People who use them extensively have already internalized the use of keyboard shortcuts. For people who need to do a lot of work, and do it efficiently, shortcuts are common, useful and ubiquitous. Some of us have literally decades of habit that we call upon in this regard. And before you comment on THAT, I feel that just because something has become a habit doesn't automatically qualify it as bad, or outmoded behavior. Some things just work, and stick around so long, simply because they just work. (Where have we heard that phrase put to effective use before?)

But make no mistake: CONVENTIONAL KEYBOARDS SUCK! for accessing shortcuts. The ergonomics are COMPLETELY wrong. When shortcuts were first introduced, they were implemented on keyboards because, well, the keyboard was already invented and handy. Engineers and designers didn't feel it was practical, or even necessary to create another device just for shortcuts.

But, for that mythical and prodigious group of power users I've been speaking of, those shortcuts have become an enormously important part of their workflow. The problem is, the hardware hasn't evolved simultaneously, as it should have.

Look down at your keyboard and watch how you have to contort yourself to invoke, for example, a Command + Shift + F7 —with one hand. Your hand is an ugly contorted, pointing claw, and your elbow is probably racked out sideways.

Wanna do it with two hands? You have to take one off your mouse or your digitizing tablet to do it. Wasted effort.

Wanna do it by touching your screen? Wasted effort. And, besides having to clean finger guck off your monitor (if only for aesthetic, or hygenic, reasons), it might possibly even be damaging to the device in the long term.

Wanna do it with some as-yet-uninvented multi-touch sensitive Magic Mouse that allows for dozens and dozens of discrete gestures? Yeah..let me know when that comes out, eh? And then, let me know when a critical mass is reached of users who know those gestures as well as they know the keyboard shortcut paradigm.

AccessPad Pro is ALL about ergonomics, and about user customization. It's practically bullet-proof physically, and its design allows users to assign any shortcut to any series of buttons, and those buttons are arranged in such a manner that makes graceful manipulation of those shortcuts almost effortless.

Though vitally important, the nuts and bolts of driver/utility software coding and manufacturing are really just simple problems to be solved. I don't have those skills or resources at my command.

The concept and design are what sets this device apart. Sounds like an Apple-inspired product concept, if you think about it. It's the concept that is king here, and it's where I'm confident I've come up with something that'll change the way people work.

It just needs to get made.

Go ahead and mention it to anyone you might know who has the skills I'm after. If it's a software engineer, I'll converse in geek-speak, to the best of my ability. If it's a 3D/CAD designer, I'll converse in design terms.

The ad-speak that you may have found off-putting was meant to have a conversational tone, placing more emphasis on the problems it's been designed to solve, and less about the intricacies of development. It's that latter conversation I was hoping to spark here.

Also as I've said before, my ideas about AccessPad Pro aren't immutable, and I welcome well-considered ideas. I felt as if what I wrote in my initial post was enough to get peoples' imaginations juiced, and I was hoping to hear some replies about what respondents envisioned when they read it.

And as long as you guys or anyone else wants to continue the dialogue, I'll keep checking back. If the thread sinks and drops off to page 2 of the index, I'll just take it somewhere else, no worries.
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#6442 - 12/07/09 12:50 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
Phos.... Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Loc: Lancaster PA
A meta-theme regarding the thread, so far:

It's difficult to convey a completely new concept to people, and practically impossible to do it in a short burst. Haggling about the language being used to discuss it is merely the first thing that needs to be agreed upon and gotten out of the way.
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#6443 - 12/07/09 04:15 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
Electromechanical devices are proven technologies that users know deeply, and to which they can become accustomed easily.

I'd argue that we're even now embarking on a huge and largely irreversible paradigm shift in which "electromechanical" input devices will increasingly give way to touch-sensitive devices, eye-scanning devices (displays scrolling down as you read, for instance), voice recognition devices, and other technologies which interact with the user rather than sit passively while the user pushes an endless sequence of button combinations.

Your concept reminds me a little of the advanced internal-combustion engine with microprocessor-metered fuel and air inputs: fabulous performance, perhaps, but they still run on oil, and that's not where the future of powered transportation lies.

Quote:
Wanna do it with some as-yet-uninvented multi-touch sensitive Magic Mouse that allows for dozens and dozens of discrete gestures? Yeah..let me know when that comes out, eh?

I'll wager that comes out before the device we're talking about in this thread.

Remember what John C. Dvorak said in 1984: "The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things." And yet, here we are. And there's plenty of evidence that folks want to use multi-touch devices.

Quote:
When I first came up with the AccessPad Pro idea in early 2005, I started casually mentioning it to my power-user peers...

...Once people understood the concept, I make no exaggeration in saying that Every. Single. Person. responded with something along the lines of: "Oh my god, that's brilliant...When and where can I get one?"

This may be the crux of the problem. I'm an experienced user, knowledgeable about Macintosh problems and solutions, and well aware of my own likes and dislikes regarding user interface issues, but I must not be a "power user," since I understand the concept, and the last thing I want is another 168 ways to send input to my Mac.

Quote:
Sounds like an Apple-inspired product concept, if you think about it.

Couldn't disagree more! wink
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dkmarsh • member, FineTunedMac Co-op Board of Directors

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#6444 - 12/07/09 05:44 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:

It's difficult to convey a completely new concept to people, and practically impossible to do it in a short burst. Haggling about the language being used to discuss it is merely the first thing that needs to be agreed upon and gotten out of the way.


It's not "merely" anything; it's what's going to make or break your product. If your audience isn't hooked on the concept, they're certainly not going to stick around for the demo.

I edit for a living. I edit books and articles for academics who (a) think complex issues require complex language, (b) assume the reader will know exactly what they mean without having to specify what they mean, (c) believe that simple, declarative sentences are the mark of a simpleton, and most importantly (d) believe the reader will stick with them for however long it takes them to explain their ideas. I've found over the years that these kind of misassumptions are held by writers at all levels and apply to just about every subject.

You start off by saying that your post isn't a sales pitch, and then you launch into what is definitely a sales pitch ("You say you're not a power user"). I know a sales pitch when I see one. Back when I was in publishing sales, I gave any number of them. I knew the buyer heard about close to a hundred new books every day and was probably to the point where the rep's presentations were nothing more than a droning white noise. If I didn't get their interest piqued from the very beginning, I'd certainly never get them to be enthusiastic about what I was selling.

If I were editing your post, I'd have suggested you start off with a short sentence or two about what the product was and then made your pitch. You don't say until the 10th paragraph exactly what your product is and why the buyer should be interested in it. ("The AccessPad Pro®™ is a computer peripheral designed from the ground up to allow you—the kings and queens of all power users—to have access to a virtually unlimited number of shortcuts.")

In pitch meetings, whether it's for screenplays or for advertising campaigns, you have to come up with a one-sentence hook that intrigues the listener. If that sentence is good enough, you've got their attention, and you can then take your time in elaborating. Especially with shortened attention spans, you've got to grab them from the very beginning.

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#6447 - 12/07/09 09:06 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: dboh]
crarko Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Minnesota USA
Indeed, I would consider the OP to be spam.
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The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth. - Niels Bohr

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#6448 - 12/07/09 09:30 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: dboh]
Phos.... Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Loc: Lancaster PA
The statement "this isn't a sales pitch" straightaway was meant more as a prophylactic reassurance to Moderators that my post wasn't a Spam message, per se—that I wasn't trying to sell anything in the normal sense. Sell some potential collaborators on the idea of engaging in further dialogue? Yes. Fishing for PayPal inflow? No. That's all that was meant to convey.

As for everything below the row of equal signs and "What is AccessPad Pro®™?" ... yeah...my inner eye and ear imagines hearing that as a voiceover in conjunction with a video demo I don't have the means to produce yet. I've been aware of the fact that I need to come up with a "short sharp shock" sort of attention-grabber, and an immediate "this-is-what-it-does" statement. Failings on that are acknowledged.

A few things I find interesting about the responses so far, and the reasons for which are somewhat puzzling to me:

• None of you (wow, all 3 of you! laugh ) have asked "What does it look like?" even after I hinted about having created a rough 2D mock-up. Seems to me that if this has piqued your interest enough to compose the lengthy replies you have, but that my wordy descriptions are failing you, you'd be just as interested in asking to see what I'm talking about as you are in deconstructing my presentation, or in questioning the need for the device. I don't mean that to sound singularly defensive—I've acknowledged the shortcomings (or long-comings, to coin a word) of my words-only pitch—it's just mildly curious to me that 3 smart guys(?) wouldn't think to ask for a visual.

• None of you have agreed with my strong declaration about conventional keyboards being ill-suited in their design for comfortable shortcut triggering. The way I figure it: You either don't use many shortcuts (beyond those common ones which are pretty easy to hit, such as Command + S, or C, or V, or A, or Z), or that you've just become so inured to the manual gyrations and ergonomic inefficiency required for reaching an extended set of shortcuts that you've never considered a viable alternative. Tell me I'm wrong here? Ever see a peripheral transport and control surface device (like these made by Euphonix for example) for use in conjunction with prosumer and professional audio & video production? The reasons they are strongly preferred by media engineers over invoking the same behaviors from a conventional keyboard are exactly the same, and they all revolve around more efficient ergonomics.

My final iconoclastic declaration ( wink laugh ) for this post: Dvorak is a blowhard, hit-mongering media whore who has been wrong so many times, about so many things, he's not worth paying attention to. He's the Rush Limbaugh of tech journalism.

Overarching mea culpa regarding my side of the dialogue in this thread: Please don't take my lengthy explanations and refutations as being directly defensive against any arguments you guys are throwing at me. I KNOW I have a long way to go and a tough row to hoe with it. Also, I ask that you please dispel any possible notion you may have that I'm sitting here on the other end of teh Intartubes, sweating a mighty sweat, foaming at the chops and pounding furiously away at my keyboard. This has been a pet project of mine for close to 5 years, and I champion it with enthusiastic vigor. I maintain a strong confidence that AccessPad Pro is a great solution to a fairly common problem. This dialogue is a good thing, because it makes me think about the project in different ways.

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#6450 - 12/07/09 11:37 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: Phos....
None of you (wow, all 3 of you! laugh ) have asked "What does it look like?" even after I hinted about having created a rough 2D mock-up.

Actually i was trying to find a link, but i guess there isn't one. I wondered why there was no photo to look at (but i guessed you had your reasons for not providing same).

Anyway, some things we humans have to get accustomed to. Guitars and pianos haven't changed much for ages. It still takes a few years of contorting our hands to get an F Major chord to sound clean (on a steel string guitar for example). Replacing the QWERTY keyboard is not going to be a cake walk. There is a ton of inertia to overcome.

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#6451 - 12/07/09 12:08 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
The way I figure it: You either don't use many shortcuts (beyond those common ones which are pretty easy to hit, such as Command + S, or C, or V, or A, or Z), or that you've just become so inured to the manual gyrations and ergonomic inefficiency required for reaching an extended set of shortcuts that you've never considered a viable alternative. Tell me I'm wrong here?


There's more than 2 possibilities here, you know. smirk

I'm a "power user" in that I'm a graphic designer and use both F keys and all the keyboard shortcuts all the time; I much prefer them to grabbing my mouse and going up to the menu bar. At the same time, a lot of the more technical stuff that gets discussed here is way above my head. Coding, scripting, all that stuff? It's Greek to me. Clearly I'm not your intended audience, especially not at this point. But you are going to need to be able to talk to schlubs like me if you intend to get any sort of distribution of what you're trying to sell. You also need to remember that even if the keyboard is less than efficient from an ergonomic perspective, it's still what I've been using for decades and what I'm used to using. It may not be worth it to me to have to deal with a whole new learning curve.

You've obviously got passion for your project, which is great and that will see you far. Just keep in mind that there are all kinds of customers out there, and no one can afford to not pay attention to any of them.

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#6457 - 12/07/09 02:06 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: dboh]
kiwichris Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: New Zealand
I read the whole sales pitch. I do not belong in the group that it is aimed at. I would say the vast majority of computer users don't, therefore the market would be essentially small compared to the volume of computers sold.

So also essentially I didn't respond because it is of little interest to me. Sorry.

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#6460 - 12/07/09 03:11 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Hal Itosis]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
It still takes a few years of contorting our hands to get an F Major chord to sound clean (on a steel string guitar for example).

My struggle was more with the B Major chord in that same (first fret) position, but I get your point.

Phos's concept seems a bit more like retrofitting your axe with a Bigsby Palm Pedal.
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#6461 - 12/07/09 03:34 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Phos...
Wanna do it with some as-yet-uninvented multi-touch sensitive Magic Mouse that allows for dozens and dozens of discrete gestures? Yeah..let me know when that comes out, eh?

You won't have long to wait

Originally Posted By: Alessandro Levi Montelcini
Apple Magic Mouse Update: I've been working hard on the device and I now know how it works. I am writing a lot of code to support it properly and I will post a new version [of USB Overdrive] as soon as it is ready.
<snip>
The good news is that this mouse can do a lot more than basic gestures, and I'll do my best to make it even more magic.

Alessandro's track record leads me to expect his USB Overdrive to deliver what he promises sooner rather than later. Personally I am looking forward to it.
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#6464 - 12/07/09 05:52 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Phos....]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Actually I read through your post and recognized an interesting piece of adaptive creativity but, as I'm not a power user (I'm a two-finger typist) I didn't think it was pointed at me. However, given the recent responses I can add something.

First, I have not used a mouse since Kensington made their first trackball. As much as I liked the point and click concept, I didn't like the amount of twisting in the wrist in order to sweep the cursor from one side of the screen to the other.

I still use a simple two button Kensington. I mention that because I did place my hand on it and, following your description, tried your buttons.

The first thing I thought was "Will I get a sore wrist from trying not to place too much heel pressure on the larger button?"

The thumb operating two buttons was easy and could be learned easily without looking at the device.

I had a problem imagining the fingers finding the correct buttons. Since there are 24 it probably means some kind of reaching (which could add wrist stress) or at least a learning curve that might be more than you want.

I wondered if you might be better off with only four buttons, each at the point where the ends of the fingers rest. Then there's no question about finding them easily. To have functions equivalent to your 24 buttons a person would need to use their left hand, selecting numbers from one to six. Then it would be a combination of one button plus a number from one to six.

As I said, my qualifier is that I type with two fingers so this may or may not be helpful.

ryck


Edited by ryck (12/07/09 05:55 PM)
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#6480 - 12/07/09 11:53 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: dboh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
All excellent points, and I'll add to them my thought that if you have to devote as many words as Phos.... has to explain to your audience why they need your product, then you either haven't got much of an audience or haven't got much of a product.

Afterthought... I think, too, that Phos.... has overlooked a key aspect of advertising/marketing..."targeting your audience."

The target audience for his product is not power users, rather it is all keyboard-centric users, regardless of any other niche(s) in which they place themselves.


Edited by artie505 (12/08/09 02:45 AM)
Edit Reason: Afterthought
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#6491 - 12/08/09 07:35 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: artie505]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)

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#6500 - 12/08/09 10:13 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: dboh]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
I wasn't going to respond either. I agree with Dboh and Kiwi. It depends on which application I'm using as to how much keyboarding gets done: in some I've programmed all the F keys; in others it's mostly the mouse.

The OPs argumentative style puts me off, but then maybe I have also been guilty of that in another thread (of mine). But I did clearly label it "a rant" and wasn't trying to pitch an idea or seek advice on marketing opportunities. I also thought it very odd (confrontational) for the OP to tell DKMarsh that if he didn't want to read all that, then he, the OP, didn't want to do business with him or people like him anyway! Shouldn't one make it EASY for people to say yes if one wants them to help you, rather than coming back to a measured response with a smack in the face?



Edited by Bensheim (12/08/09 10:15 AM)

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#6514 - 12/08/09 07:26 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Bensheim]
Phos.... Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Loc: Lancaster PA
Originally Posted By: Bensheim
I wasn't going to respond either. I agree with Dboh and Kiwi. It depends on which application I'm using as to how much keyboarding gets done: in some I've programmed all the F keys; in others it's mostly the mouse.

The OPs argumentative style puts me off, but then maybe I have also been guilty of that in another thread (of mine). But I did clearly label it "a rant" and wasn't trying to pitch an idea or seek advice on marketing opportunities. I also thought it very odd (confrontational) for the OP to tell DKMarsh that if he didn't want to read all that, then he, the OP, didn't want to do business with him or people like him anyway! Shouldn't one make it EASY for people to say yes if one wants them to help you, rather than coming back to a measured response with a smack in the face?


• I wasn't looking for marketing advice—though I won't dismiss it out of hand. I already feel reasonably sure there's a market based on others I've talked to, and their reactions when the lightbulb went on over their heads and they GOT what I was talking about. I stated early on that I was looking for development collaborators.

• I purposfully precluded dismissing any particular individual (read: dkmarsh, in this instance) by parenthetically stating I had no need for "...(the royal) you," as in: anyone who didn't want to become fully invested in reading all that I've written, because it might have been indicative of someone who can't commit to much more than making commentary on a message board. I too often run across people online who have become so used to getting everything in short busrts that they complain—loudly—if they're asked to read more than a few sentences. I'd rather maximise my efficiency by conversing with people for whom this IS a compelling introduction to a project. If you're not equipped as an OS-level programmer, or a CAD/3D artist, that's fine, I have no problem with that (after all, I can't do those things either). But it makes the most sense for me to spend more effort looking for and conversing with the people who DO possess those skills which I seek.

• I acknowledged my iconclastic tendencies. I tried to mount an apology, above, by pointing out the difference between defensiveness, and singular, can't-stop-the-locomotive focus, confidence and enthusiasm. I'd never be so arrogant as to put myself in a class with Jobs, but if he encountered the sort of noise in a similar context, he'd tell you to STFU and give him what he asked for. He wouldn't give a hoot about what you thought of his presentation (or his jeans or his turtleneck or haircut). He'd say what's wrong with you that you can't tweeze out what I'm after? (I sure as hell couldn't work for him...we'd both end up bruised and bloody on the boardroom floor. laugh laugh laugh )

You (the "royal," or inclusive "you"...don the shoe, if you think it fits) can call me abrasive if you want to...I'm used to it. I prefer to think of myself as the type of person who unapologetically demands more signal than noise. I'm looking for developers. All of you have said you don't have the chops. So what else is left between all of you and me but to hash over my presentation and attitude?

Have at it, if you want to. I probably made a mistake asking in a place like this, rather than spending a little more time trying to find a dev forum to pitch.
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#6516 - 12/08/09 08:14 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Hal Itosis]
Phos.... Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Loc: Lancaster PA
Originally Posted By: Hal Itosis
"It still takes a few years of contorting our hands to get an F Major chord to sound clean (on a steel string guitar for example).

Hmm...not to brag or anything, but during my early weeks of learning guitar in mid-1972 it took me about 20 minutes to cleanly move between F and all the other chords I had learned. (Then again, I was taking lessons from—and was inspired by—a guy who was able to pretty much nail Jeff Beck's Blow by Blow album on third 3rd spin through the album)

I'm not sure I follow the guitar chord simile, or would want to qualify it as a universally-applicable comparison. (Conversely, I used to touch-type at 70 wpm. My years of warehouse work made that skill disappear. I'm currently an eyes-on-keyboard pecker, but I'm a damned fast pecker! wink smile ).
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#6519 - 12/08/09 11:29 PM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Hal Itosis]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
cool
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#6521 - 12/09/09 12:41 AM Re: New power-user peripheral: Could I get some he [Re: Bensheim]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: Bensheim
I wasn't going to respond either. I agree with Dboh and Kiwi. It depends on which application I'm using as to how much keyboarding gets done: in some I've programmed all the F keys; in others it's mostly the mouse.


That's how I use the computer too.

I'm probably the closest thing to this product's target demographic, and I almost certainly wouldn't use one. I don't find it difficult to use the keys on the keyboard as shortcuts, and int he program where I use the most keyboard shortcuts (Photoshop) every key on the keyboard acts as a shortcut. I need not ever take my hand off the keyboard for shortcuts OR for type.

If I were to buy a multi-button input device, it wouldn't be one that acted only as a set of shortcuts. I'd want something with more functionality.

And they already exist. They are called "chorded keyboards" or "keyers" and they are commonly used with wearable computers, when you don't have access to a full physical keyboard.

The device that Phos is describing sounds almost exactly like the HandyKey Twiddler2 chorded keyboard--a small hand-sized device that allows keyboard input by using different combinations of key presses. Unlike his device, though, the Twiddler2 does more than just function keys; it's a set of programmable function/shortcut keys and also a full-fledged alphanumeric keypad. Different combinations of button presses produce different letters.

How fast is it? I've seen someone type 60 words per minute on a Twiddler after, he says, only about six weeks of practice--not bad, in my book.

Wearable computer users are all about these gizmos, because you can "type" while holding the gadget in your hand.
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