Tag Archives: touchscreen

Can Your Touch Device Turn You Viral?

If your bestie wants to show you the latest photo of their puppy, keep your hands off of their mobile device. Look at the picture… but don’t touch the phone. Research shows that touchscreen devices harbor approximately 18% more germs than the handles of flush toilets in mens’ restrooms do. Simply touching your friend’s device can land you in bed for a few days with a fever, the sniffles and a nasty cough.

“If you’re sharing the device, then you’re sharing your influenza with someone else who touches it,” said Timothy Julian, a Stanford University doctoral student who co-authored a study on the spread of viruses. According to Julian’s study, the risks of transmitting pathogens from glass surfaces to a person’s skin are relatively high. “If you put virus on a surface, like an iPhone, about 30 percent of it will get on your fingertips,” Julian said. In turn, “a fair amount of it may go from your fingers to your eyes, mouth or nose,” the most likely routes of infection.

It’s impossible to measure how many people may have gotten sick due to sharing devices with others. But the devices add to the growing list of so-called fomites – frequently handled objects – that can spread pathogens such as the flu virus.

I’m thinking I don’t need to also remind you to wash your hands frequently, cover that cough or sneeze, get your flu shot and clean your device with a safe anti-bacterial wipe!

Touch Pack for Windows 7 Now Available

The Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 was introduced to the world in May. It’s a series of games and applications designed to help people learn touch gestures in Windows 7. Microsoft announced this week that the pack is now available to download for people who have the proper equipment (Windows 7 and a touch-screen device). According to the comments thread for the announcement there are a lot of people having issues installing and using the Touch Pack.

Users are reporting that they are receiving errors when trying to install. It’s not clear whether they have the proper setup required to run this application or if it’s a problem with the installer itself. Microsoft employee Brandon LeBlanc is doing his best to answer all of the questions being thrown at him. It’s good to see that level of interaction with the people who are using the products the company is putting out.

“The Touch Pack for Windows 7 is a good way for you to be able to truly test the multitouch investments we’ve made in Windows 7. To use these games and programs, you need either a laptop with a screen that supports multitouch or a desktop PC connected to a touchscreen that supports multitouch (including all-in-one PCs with touchscreens).”

Keep in mind that your computer or monitor has to be Multi-touch capable. An older HP TouchSmart, for example, may not be able to utilize this software since it only supports up to two touches… and often only one touch. I know that my assistant Kat is unhappy that she won’t be able to use this herself, since her TouchSmart is now a 2-year-old model. If it worked for her, I’m sure she’d have done a review for us.

If you’re using a multi-touch system with Windows 7, are you going to try this out? If you do, let us know your thoughts. Did it help you to become more well-adjusted when using the various touch features? Does the Touch Pack manage to teach an old dog new tricks?

iPad or Touchscreen Laptop Computer?

So asks Andrés Pizá:

After following your “coverage” of the iPad launch with the pass of the hours during your extensive review, a slight idea came to my mind: buying an iPad. I haven’t tried any Apple device enough to self-declare myself as a Apple fan, but I used to like their offerings. I thought about how I could use the iPad, primarily for schoolwork / classes. Then, I remembered a video I saw about using OneNote from Microsoft Office with a touchscreen laptop. It seem to look good, as you could sync notes with your main computer and extend them.

My dilemma, as I’m going to buy an iPad or a touchscreen laptop very soon: which one should I get?

As a Windows user, I have Office on my desktop (Windows 7). If I buy a touchscreen laptop, I could use all the software on it. On the other hand, if I buy an iPad (the Wi-Fi version), I also have to buy a case, all the apps I could need, etc.. So, it would mean additional costs to the iPad itself. I think the iPad is easier to carry and is more discreet – especially for use in class.

When the iPad is launched in Spain, I know a friend who will buy one, so I could try it then. If I go to any store, I could also try a laptop with touchscreen functionality.

What should I do?

Difficult question to answer, really. Touch seems to be YOUR killer feature, so based on that, let me first share a few truths:

  • Windows 7 wasn’t designed for touch experiences, top to bottom.
  • Most Windows software wasn’t designed for touch experiences, top to bottom.
  • Apple won’t allow viruses or spyware into the App Store.
  • Not all “touch” screens are built alike.

Yeah, I’ve yet to see a Windows computer work well with touch – and that’s based on my own practical experience. NOT to say it won’t work – it just won’t work very well, and you’ll wind up working with a mouse / keyboard anyway.

If you go the touchscreen PC route, you’re better off getting a notebook with a capacitive touch screen. This won’t be cheap, but it will also decrease the chances for mis-taps and re-taps (which happen all-too-often with devices that try to provide a touch experience). That is, if any exist – and if they’ll fit your budget.

Is the iPad, then, the option for you? Nobody can effectively answer that question for you. Pick one up, play with it, borrow it for the weekend. Try it with an external keyboard. Look at what software is available, free or otherwise.

Forget the cool factor of any device – it’s “which one fits” you that’s most important.

Touch the Future with Light Blue Optics


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Traci is in Las Vegas this week, attending CES 2010. She was kind enough to agree to be our stand-in this year, and capture some of the best moments of the conference. Traci is using a Vado 3 to record during CES, courtesy of the folks at Creative. Here, Traci is talking to Dr. Adrian Cable, the CTO of Light Blue Optics.

Light Blue Optics announced the release of their new Light Touch: a 10-inch touchscreen projector which is based on lasers. The Light Touch boasts WVGA resolution, thanks to its laser-based pico production engine and infrared touch-sensing system.

The Light Touch turns any flat surface into an auto-focused and image-adjusted 10-inch touchscreen! Light Touch runs Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 and includes WiFi and Bluetooth radios. It features 2 GB of on-board storage (with microSD slot for up to 32GB more), and a battery capable of about 2 hours’ worth of runtime.

That’s right – turn any flat surface – such as a wall or table – into a touchable and interactive device! With the photo table application, you can easily display and move photos around. Scroll them around for a slide show if you wish. With the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support, you can quickly connect to the Internet and integrate your favorite social networking sites.

Sadly, the Light Touch isn’t available quite yet. It’s up to you as to how soon it will be released! Keep an eye on Light Blue Optics over the next few days to find out more exciting news.

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eStarling Touchscreen Digital Picture Frame Review


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I’ve had a couple of eStarling digital frames in the past, and been very happy with them. When the folks at eStarling sent me their newest product to review, I was more than happy to take a look – especially since it features a touchscreen! The frame also boasts 802.n networking capability, and automatic firmware updates.

The eStarling TouchConnect Digital Photo frame has a 10.2″ LCD screen, which allows you to see your pictures with nice clarity. There is 2GB of built-in Flash memory, with the ability to add an external SD memory card for more storage. Using the touchscreen, you can quickly set up wireless connection and passwords.

Probably the coolest part of this frame is the social aspect. Yes, you can pull in photos from places such as Flickr, Facebook and Picasa – much like with other similar frames. However, with the TouchConnect, you can grab photos right from within your Gmail.

Provide the credentials of any Gmail account that you choose, and let the TouchConnect do the rest. Forward your photos to that email account, and they’ll show up in your picture frame. Likewise, you can email the photos from your cellphone directly to the frame, as well!

Also, subscribe to any photo RSS feed that interests you, and those pictures will automagically show up on the TouchConnect, as well. Send the RSS feed in question to the Gmail account that you set up with the frame, and they will be fed directly onto the screen.

I have to thank the folks at eStarling again for sending this to me to take a look at. I’ll go a step further than just reviewing it – I’ll be keeping this little gadget right on my desk here in my home office.

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