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Comment Old vs. New Apple in one anecdote... (Score 5, Insightful) 461

When Apple started making PowerBooks, the logo on the top cover was oriented so that it's upside down when the laptop is open. Why did they do something dumb like that? Because user testing showed that people naturally tended to orient the logo so it looked right-side-up to them before trying to open the laptop. In other words, it worked better for the user to orient it that way.

Unfortunately, that meant that someone looking at a PowerBook user saw the logo upside-down. How awkward! How unflattering! How inelegant! This simply won't do! So, the change was decreed: logos must be oriented to look nice to the audience, and users just need to train themselves to deal with it.

Old vs. new. Optimized for use vs. optimized for appearance and impression.

Comment Re:Better than what FingerWorks customers got. (Score 4, Interesting) 61

For a while. Mine doesn't any more, and support services were shut down shortly after the acquisition.

You might think a keyboard with no moving parts would work basically forever, but there was apparently a problem with certain driver chips in the keyboard's circuitry. Some members of the FingerWorks Forum isolated the problem, and had posted a how-to for people to replace the chips (easy as pie if you're comfortable with surface-mount rework) -- but Apple eventually took down the forum, and with it, that information. I hope it's still available elsewhere on the Web; for various reasons, I haven't looked.

There was one other issue -- the software FingerWorks provided to configure and customize the keyboard turned out to be incompatible with newer versions of Windows and OS X. We found workarounds, but again, they were documented on the Forum, which went away.

Of course, none of this would have been any better if FingerWorks had simply gone bankrupt and shut down.

Comment Better than what FingerWorks customers got. (Score 4, Informative) 61

When Apple bought FingerWorks back in 2005, all we FingerWorks customers saw was a terse announcement that the company had ceased operations effective immediately, and that no further products would be released or shipped. It was quite some time before we could even be sure it was Apple that bought them, because the deal was wrapped in non-disclosure terms.

The FingerWorks user community was very, very small -- so small that the company probably couldn't have kept going as an independent entity. I suppose having Apple rescue some of their technology was better than losing it all. But the gestures that Apple has implemented are a tiny, tiny fraction of the rich, well-designed vocabulary present on the FingerWorks TouchStream keyboards. I still wish they'd release the rest of it, but that's never going to happen.

Comment Re:No (Score 2) 607

What does that single US worker cost, how does that compare to the cost of hiring three Indians, and how profitable is outsourcing in the mid-to-long term? These are the factors that will determine whether this situation will continue to get worse.

I'm sorry, "mid-to-long term"? What does that have to do with the next round of bonuses for the folks making the outsourcing decisions?

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we would all be millionaires. -- Abigail Van Buren