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Thread February 6, 2016 editorial: comments

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1 February 6, 2016 editorial: comments

(Multi)Touch Me Baby

If you listen to computer experts, our mice, and perhaps even our computer keyboards, may soon go the way of the floppy disk and the Palm Pilot — discarded relics of a less sophisticated computer age. The multitouch screen is the wave of the future, and we’ll soon all be pointing and pawing at our computer screens.

When I’m struggling to select text on my iPhone, and every finger gesture gets me to the wrong word, I sometimes think, “Geez, what’s it going to be like when even my computer has no mouse?” Say what you want about mice, they’re very accurate. You can point to a precise spot on the screen very easily.

I bring this subject up because when I was at NAMM recently, I saw a new DAW from a company called Lumit Audio (we covered it here) that’s fully multi-touch enabled for the Microsoft Surface tablet, which runs Windows OS. Every function that can be controlled by a mouse or keyboard on a standard PC can be handled by touch gestures on the Surface.

While I’ve never used the Lumit Audio software, I do have DAW software on my iPad, including the new Auria Pro from WaveMachineLabs and Steinberg’s Cubasis. Being iPad apps, they’re completely operated via multitouch gestures, and some of the actions, for example, scrolling and zooming, are a lot easier than they’d be with a mouse and keyboard. On the other hand, the iPad's display is not that big, and I feel a little bit cramped when trying to use some of the more crowded screens on those apps, particularly the mixing consoles.

If you have a relatively recent MacBook Pro, you’ll know that Apple has integrated multitouch gestures into its laptops. Although some of the gestures, such as pinching with your thumb and finger to zoom in and out, are quite handy, I know from experience that it’s easy to unintentionally trigger actions when you’re just trying to point and click. Fortunately, Apple allows you to deactivate gestures you don’t want to use.

So do you like the idea of producing music on computers that are controlled via multitouch screens? Or what about producing directly from your iPad or other tablet? Do you think it will be better or worse than the old desktop-with-mouse-and-keyboard paradigm? Are you looking forward to the multitouch era, or are you hoping it holds off for a while?

And here comes the segue (don’t worry, not a Segway), speaking of iOS, you should check out our story this week, Five Top iPad Synths You Might Have Missed. None of them cost more than $25 (one is as little as $6), and they create sounds that rival desktop synth plug-ins.

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I don't like touch screens. I'll wait for some controller gloves or something like that. That's much cooler also for performance.
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Touch is good on mobile devices but I personally don't see much use for it on desktop or laptop computers. Seems more convenient to use a mouse or trackpad. Perhaps it's just too expensive to build good touch in desktops/laptops. I've never been that impressed messing around with touch on microsoft computers messing around with them at BestBuy. Cakewalk was promoting touch as one of their big new features many years ago and it seems like it really never caught on.
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I've been using computer mice since they became available. I can't do much mousing any more, however, because the ulna region of my right hand/forearm is shot. My neuorological consultant suggests heavy mouse use may be in part responsible for the North paw now resembling a claw.

It's knackered my lead hand for keyboards and finger-picking on guitar. Hence I'm all for touch-screens and wish they'd been around since the '80s - if they had, I might still be able to manage to rattle off a scale on piano, strum a spot of flamenco, or even get the lids off jam jars.
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I don't like touch screens. I'll wait for some controller gloves or something like that

I hear you. As mentioned, what I find cumbersome about touch screens is the accidental triggering when you inadvertently make a gesture. Gloves would be cool. With the advances in virtual reality technology, it would seem that the possibility of gloves with touch sensors in them isn't that far fetched.
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Touch is good on mobile devices but I personally don't see much use for it on desktop or laptop computers. Seems more convenient to use a mouse or trackpad. Perhaps it's just too expensive to build good touch in desktops/laptops

We shall see. Apple seems to be moving forward with the concept, at least in terms of gesture control.
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Hence I'm all for touch-screens and wish they'd been around since the '80s - if they had, I might still be able to manage to rattle off a scale on piano, strum a spot of flamenco, or even get the lids off jam jars.

Sorry to hear about your physical problems. Are you using a touch screen device of some sort now?
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Gotta chime in here regards LIVE experience with the iPad. With both of my synths taking MIDI program change instructions, between songs, from an otherwise excellent set-list app, I cannot afford any time for mistakes. I stab the screen on an off-list call from the drummer, and 75% of the time it's SNAFU! Press too hard, too soft, or just plain miss my target, and all eyes are on me with that "are you ready YET ?" look. So I'm looking to find (or develop?) a simple hardware solution with real buttons. Can you spell Tactile?

9
I got an iP{ad specifically for controlling my live sound mixer andI love that ability! But once I made the habit of squeezing five finders to close, I one - ONLY ONCE - did that during a sound check. One of those fingers turned the master all the way up! I had to run across the room ro grab the actial fader to stop the howl So I learned to use the home button instead, I wish ipadcontrol were faster, but it is great to retire my hundred foot snakes!
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7 Posted on 02/06/2016 at 19:00:17Quote this postDirect link to this postMark this post as the last read for this topic
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Hence I'm all for touch-screens and wish they'd been around since the '80s - if they had, I might still be able to manage to rattle off a scale on piano, strum a spot of flamenco, or even get the lids off jam jars.

Sorry to hear about your physical problems. Are you using a touch screen device of some sort now?


Despite using a mouse in my right hand, I use a pen in my left (partially ambidextrous). So I've a Wacom tablet and stylus pointer input on the workstation/laptop and use an iPad as much as possible otherwise. Cubasis and an iPad stylus are great for sketching ideas prior to working them up in Cubase. Thankfully, I play guitar right-handedly and can still use modified picks - with Monster Grip stickies, or (clumsy) Dunlop large thumb pick, or Pykmax. I just avoid embarrassing myself with fingerpicking attempts. If my fretting hand were badly affected, I'd likely have been forced to give up. Nightmare! Or, at a stretch, use a Mel Galley 'claw' - it's the extensors that are worst affected. Still, where there's a will...