Txt-speak is a sign of humanity 4 U
But don't ask your dentist for oral sex, OK?
No txt please, we're brutish
I appreciate what's going on here because I feel exactly the same way about the computer mouse. Yet the idea that you would want to point at things on an upright computer screen using a clump of plastic containing a rubber marble lying flat on a desk and attached by a cable that gets in the way of your keyboard is surely the product of a deranged mind. Surely there has to be a better invention?
Magic mouse, man. Or, magic, mouse man
Indeed, I've tried them all: trackballs, joysticks, 3D gloves, things on wheels, things that are wheels... remember the ridiculous Logitech NuLOOQ, anyone? I am also a long-time user of stylus tablets and I'm a fan of modern multitouch trackpads and touchscreens.
However, I keep finding myself returning to the humble mouse. No, that's not true, there's nothing humble about it. I return to a very specific one: Apple's Magic Mouse.
OK, so it's expensive, doesn't support three- or four-finger gestures and only works properly in the wrong operating system. All I can say is that whenever I'm on deadline and need to get a job done quickly, the graphics tablet gets pushed to one side and the trackpad gets dropped into a drawer while I reach for the mouse.
Naturally, replacing the ball with so-called laser tracking, allowing multi-directional scrolling and going wireless helped a great deal, but there remains something inexplicably intuitive about using a mouse. I suspect it has something to do with the way you can keep the cursor very still in one spot, but El Reg will spike my column if I take up valuable screen pixels to postulate further.
Deranged mind? Crazy name, crazy guy, perhaps, but give old Douggie Engelbart his due. Computers aside, he understood people. And as demonstrated by the persistent use of mice and txt-speak in a world that needs neither, people adapt quickly to the weird while rejecting the logical.
I wouldn't have it any other way. ®
Alistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. Almost 12 years ago, he wrote a book about Interface Design, but it fell out of date roughly ten seconds after it was published. The book is currently soaring at number 4,235,883 in Amazon's ranking of Bestsellers.
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