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#1 2014-12-16 23:38:34

jt
Member
From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,470

Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

.  .  .  misc. curiosity revived by the Ready for PowerPC upgrade Sticker thread.

First thought: I should make a Ready for Trackball UPGRADE sticker for my stock 2300c to plonk right on top of its Horrible(Track)Pad(R) 
_OOooOO_
/vV*|_|_|*Vv\
\_^^^^^^_/

Tangential considerations aside, the 2300c spent most of its waking life inside the VCRDock, so its pad was almost useful enough for general use that I only pulled a MicroDock/Mouse combo out about half the time when I was in RoadWarrior mode. Actually, that would be only of the few times that I didn't want or need the real Numeric Keypad or the fast external modem that were in the bag with them. IOW, not all that often.

Back on Topic: When did Apple finally start shipping really usable Trackpads? I never cared for the touchpads of the 1400/3400/Kanga/PDQ/Pismo/TSiBook generations either and still am not happy with the Pad on my new 12" PowerBook G4/1.33MHz. But when I tried last year's 13" Air, I was floored, the clickable Trackpad seemed almost right enough for graphics work.

Maybe it's a generational preference? I don't think so, they sell a lot of spherically correct pointing devices to this day. It seems the sphere is making a comeback for 3D graphics/CAD visualization I/O in particular.

Maybe it's because I'm a toolmaker more than anything else when it comes right down to it. Thumbs and fingers are meant to use tools.  Inclined Plane/Wedge/Lever(Keys) tools are still around and Levers(Click-buttons) have made their way onto the actual input surface of the pad at long last.  Rotary lever(wheels/knobs) function made it onto mice(non-Apple?) from under the chin of the 128k for scrolling and the drag strip on HP-Mini's Trackpad did a reasonable 2D facsimile, but it just wasn't the same in terms of accuracy.

When you're accustomed to using real tools a/o making more specialized tools from simpler forms as a matter of course, trackpad as tool seems particularly rough around the edges. I use rough and finely crafted tools as artistic output devices and expect the latter  from my computer's input devices. Trackpads feel like going back to the Kindergarten Finger-Painting I never did. Farmboys went straight from doing chores to firts grade cold turkey in my day.

Apple did get back into the spherical(omnidirectional wheel) input arena just once to my knowledge, but got it downside up on the Mighty Mouse. Did NIH syndrome have that big/bad a second coming? What a tremendous amount of workaround effort spent in developing that Rube Goldberg inspired dirt-eater. Build a relatively stationary mouse as a trackball input device  .  .  .  huh? God knows me likes my Rube Golderg, but really? Just slap the g***** ****ing scroll wheel on the rodent already! NIH syndrome is downright stupid! roll

What's your take on mouse->trackball->trackpad->magicwhatever development over the years? Links I found interesting:

http://www.cnet.com/products/apple-magic-trackpad/
//gizmodo.com/5598828/apple-magic-trackpad-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-mac-os-x
//gizmodo.com/5366763/new-wacom-bamboo-is-first-graphic-tablet-with-tactile-multitouch-capability



<  .  .  .  considers searching for a magic pad doohickey that's size fitted to tombstone mouse button hacking. Heh! tongue >

Last edited by jt (2014-12-16 23:58:01)

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#2 2014-12-16 23:54:24

mcdermd
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From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 1,022
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Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

I've always found Apple trackpads head-and-shoulders above any of the wintel offerings but I think the Apple 'pad hit its stride when they released the 2008 Unibody MacBook Pros with the glass trackpad. Of the same lineage, the Magic Trackpad is pretty nice to use.

You, with a hatred for all things track paddy, will probably hate them a tiny bit less but hate them all the same.


Daily Drivers: 27" iMac 2.8 GHz Quad-Core i7 (Late 2009), 21.5" iMac 2.7GHz Quad-Core i5 (Late 2013), 11" Macbook Air 1.6 GHz i5 (Mid-2011)
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#3 2014-12-17 00:36:34

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,470

Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

Nope, my notion of a trackpad is a 12" WACOM digitizer: old schoole serial port edition with puck, standard and pressure sensitive stylii! Me like! big_smile

I thought the generational theory linkage was a great bit of background info.

pcmag.com reviewer wrote:

These days many computer users learned how to compute and surf on a laptop rather than on a traditional desktop. For these users, a trackpad—which combines both a touchpad and mouse buttons— is more familiar than the traditional computer mouse.

Young whipper-snappers! tongue

Heh! wink

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#4 2014-12-17 07:03:36

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,118
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Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

I do have to admit the glass trackpad on the MBA is very nice, but I never hated the trackpad on my 1400 or my iBook G4.


Machine room (updated for 2019!): http://www.floodgap.com/etc/machines.html

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#5 2014-12-17 21:52:08

volvo242gt
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From: Duvall, WA
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 410
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Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

The only trackpad that annoyed me was the one on my 520c.  I usually wound up attaching a wedgie to it and using it like I would a regular desktop mouse.  These days, however, I usually use a mouse, even with my MacBook.  I'm too used to more than one mouse button and not having to either click and hold or control-click to bring up the contextual menus.  Use a MS Comfort Optical Mouse 3000.  Comfortable 90% of the time.  Only time it's not comfortable is when my arthritis is acting up.

-J


modern: Mac Pro 2.8GHz 8-core 6GB/500G/DVD-RW, Mid-2010 A1286 MBP
PPC: G3/400
Pre-Mac: //e
other: iPhone 6s 128GB Space Gray

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#6 2014-12-17 23:59:50

techknight
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Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 453

Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

I hate the trackpad on my TAM. for some reason it tends to self-accelerate when moving your finger in a constant linear velocity. But the pointer doesnt. Go figure.

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#7 2014-12-18 01:27:35

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
Posts: 1,064
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Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

Generally speaking, I prefer the trackpad all the way back to the 5xx series.  They fail to work for me from time to time, depending on if my finger is too sweaty or whatever.  Moving parts == trouble IMO.  Including trackballs that get grime and move all bumpy and jerky like you're using a wireless input device with low battery or something.
However, I do not find trackpads to be precision instruments.  For fine work, like CAD or drawing or whatever, mice are invaluable.  Particularly the laser mice, since again, mechanical parts == problems.  Since it's increasingly difficult to use modern OSX without a multitouch trackpad, I end having both a trackpad and an MS intellimouse at the ready, depending on what I'm doing.  I've given up the keypad on my keyboard and gone with a tenkeyless keyboard to make desk space for having both.
I didn't much care for the initial glass trackpads on the unibody macbook pros, largely due to tap-to-click being unreliable for me (I tapped, was it detected as a click, a select, is the UI feedback just laggy, or did it not get detected at all?), and no button other than pressing the entire trackpad, which is heavy resistance and a very loud click.  They've refined the trackpad click over the years, but tap-to-click is still unreliable, and I'd still prefer a separate button over clicking the whole trackpad.

The PC trackpad offerings are still crazy sad.  In PCland, I prefer the IBM clit/nipple/stick mouse over trackpads.  Part of the problem is Windows didn't have a standard gesture interface until recently (win8?), and gestures were implemented in the drivers, so were inconsistent, and frequently poorly implemented.  Removing the vendor driver reverts to 90s era gestureless trackpad support.  Combined with generally lower quality physical trackpads, it's all an unenjoyable experience.  Even now that MS has a standard interface and a certification process for generic trackpad gestures, virtually nobody has adopted it yet.

I was slow adopting gestures, and still don't use them to the full extent available, but it's essentially a necessity on modern OSX for better or worse.  For general computing like web browsing, navigation, etc., trackpads exceed the usability of classical input devices.  However, they've got none of the precision of mice and only augment, not replace the functionality for me.

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#8 2014-12-18 01:48:41

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,118
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Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

techknight wrote:

I hate the trackpad on my TAM. for some reason it tends to self-accelerate when moving your finger in a constant linear velocity. But the pointer doesnt. Go figure.

So if it's not the pointer self-accelerating ... what is?

(I have this mental image of the keyboard in your lap spontaneously flying into the wall. tongue )


Machine room (updated for 2019!): http://www.floodgap.com/etc/machines.html

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#9 2014-12-18 07:02:40

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,470

Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

ClassicHasClass wrote:

I do have to admit the glass trackpad on the MBA is very nice, but I never hated the trackpad on my 1400 or my iBook G4.

But had you grown up using RollerBall Mice and TrackBalls? Or were rodents and TrackPads all you'd ever used? The shift from the high accuracy of even the small Duo TrackBall were not just head and shoulders above the accuracy of the 2300c Trackpad for fine-tuning Bezeir Control Points in Fontographer or AI. That difference was measured in stories above ground as opposed to the sub-basement concrete slab.

I never said those awful early gen pads weren't usable in a business suite. Lots of graphics types used the billiard ball Kensingtons. The wider the diameter, the greater the leveraging accuracy of ball as input tool. Scratching certain places might seem accurate enough, but it's rarely P-E-R-F-E-C-T and never on the pad.

The PB100's ball was the sweetest thing and could do a passable job atdoing graphics, but I still carried a mouse along in the bag as a matter of choice. The Duo's TrackBall was smoother acting. I never cared much for the big balled 100 series. I've never used the Luggable's for anything but retro playtime, but it seems nice. When I get it running again I'll likely install the NumPad and set a mouse next to it on the display.

When I got the 2300c I had no choice but to carry a mouse. ISTR the 1400's being a bit better or my having become tolerant enough to deal with the pad while exploring the world of WiFi. But the 1400c never managed to replace the 2300c for general use, to run a browser you might as well have a stick or finger and a bowl of mud as your input device, heck that Trackpoint abomination might even work. roll

Last edited by jt (2014-12-18 07:03:40)

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#10 2014-12-18 16:05:13

techknight
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 453

Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

ClassicHasClass wrote:
techknight wrote:

I hate the trackpad on my TAM. for some reason it tends to self-accelerate when moving your finger in a constant linear velocity. But the pointer doesnt. Go figure.

So if it's not the pointer self-accelerating ... what is?

(I have this mental image of the keyboard in your lap spontaneously flying into the wall. tongue )

Maybe I wasnt clear enough. The pointer doesnt move linearly with the finger. It starts off slow then speeds/shoots off fast. While my finger is maintaining the same speed.

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#11 2014-12-18 17:32:21

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,118
Website

Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

Ah, ok, though I ass-U-me that acceleration was off in the Mouse control panel.


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#12 2014-12-20 14:05:09

techknight
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 453

Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

ClassicHasClass wrote:

Ah, ok, though I ass-U-me that acceleration was off in the Mouse control panel.

I didnt see any options for that, unless I need a special driver I dont have.

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#13 2014-12-21 03:53:44

jt
Member
From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,470

Re: Trackpads: The UGLY, the BAD . . . and the good?????

Even when enabled, mouse acceleration is "off" on early trackpads, accuracy is close to being intolerable at 1:1, much less skittering around the screen. Acceleration using a mouse is somewhat, but not a whole lot better. As trackpads have gotten better, so have mice.The inexpensive wireless ones I like have a handy button on top that makes acceleration obsolete. Bang around at high speed normally and the gear down when control is paramount.

All IMO of course. I go way back with mice. Three button Logitech Serial Mouse came with the Generic CAD{?} package for the Tandy 1000SX in the spring of '86. Worked a treat for MSWorks 3.0 (?) for DOS. The SE came a year later, so it was a bit of a disappointment in terms of Screen Size, lack of color and the single button mouse. Worse yet was the loss of full command key capability.

Did Apple really have to dumb down the guidelines for the GUI to get folks to use the freakin' mouse? I don't think so, it's next to impossible to get people to TAB from the employee number login field to the password field and then to hit enter instead of grabbing the GODDAM mouse that second time and  (I wanna pull my hair out every time I see it) yet a THIRD TIME just to clock in or out in a 1-2-3-4 step operation that should be mouse free after clicking the damned window icon in the first pace. I show 'em once, if they won't at least try to break that horrible time wasting habit after that, I figure they're a lost cause. roll

Last edited by jt (2014-12-21 04:23:02)

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