The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What Else I have Tried



I have tried many, many, trackballs.   I prefer finger trackballs to thumb-balls –
the larger the better.

I have tried many keyboards, including ergonomic keybopards.
I have GoldTouch, and Maltron.  I haven’t
tried Kinesis – mostly because I don’t touchtype. And I depend on mobility –
laptops, convertible tablets – so I like stuff I can use on plane.

I have tried many gaming mice. Also joysticks.   I occasionally break out some of my collection
when I have a lot of “triage” work to do. 8-16 buttons on each hand…

I have an XKey-16 stick, and have just ordered another for
work.  16 bindable keys, with AHK.  I sure wish that the keytops could have
dynamically changing symbols.

I have a lot of AutoHotKey bindings.  E.g. click, hold, double-click,
click-and-hold.  E.g. I have CapsLock-click
mapped to Backspace in Outlook, to archive with my left hand, and CapsLock-hold
mapped to legacy CapsLock.

Meta-observation: the biggest problem I have with AHK is
keycode collision. E.g. I have to resort to using ctl-alt-shift-Fn on my
Xkey-16, which I then map to app depend commands using AHK.  But I am running out of unique keycodes, and
am unhappy when the keycodes I want my devices to send collide with Windows and
app shortcuts.   

I really like https://www.quadro.me/,
which allows a touch iOS device, iPhone or iPad, to be used as a dynamically
remapped per-app button pad. But Quadro only works on an iOS device, and has other
limitations, so I implemented similar functionality in Python using
AppleScript. Was able to use cheap old Android phones and tablets as my “button-pads”.
When I switched back to using Windows touch devices, I started reimplementing
the button pads in AutoHotKey.  But I am
afraid that work got put on hold when I joined Nvidia.

I really like the touchscreen programmable button pads
(which I call gUIx, graphical User Interface extenders).   But having them emit keyboard sequences is
quite fragile. AppleScript works better. In Windows…

I have not tried http://www.e3-keys.com/english/index.htm,
nor Optimus Maximus.  I have not yet
preordered the Sonder keyboard, but am tempted.

I usually dislike touchpads - eg I wish that my laptop did not have an ALPs touchpad, so that I could have the keyboard that much closer to me, and possibly open the clamshell on a plane in economy class.   But on a recent long trip, no trackball, I started to enjoy the multi-finger-touch abilities of Microsoft's "Precision Touchpad", https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4027871/windows-10-touchpad-gestures.  3-finger swipes to switch between open windows.  Especially, Microsoft SurfBook 3-finger taps - the only programmable gesture - supposedly mapped to Middle Button, but which actually produces
Win+Ctl+Shift F22. Which I have bound tap to Back, double-tap to Forward, and hold to a navigation menu.  Works nicely in web browsers and Outlook.  I wish that I could program 4 finger taps and other gestures.

I say the above mostly to say that I have tried a lot of
things – but if somebody
wants to recommend a “gaming trackball” with lots of buttons, I am listening
Or a crowdfunded project.

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