Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Whose arm hurts? Arms up!

The Windows XP alternatives gallery, in this article is written:
The iPad and the Android tablets: Attractive, but painful 
-- this may not look a thing like XP, but Apple's iOS interface certainly looks inviting enough. Alas, the problem both with it and its Android counterparts is that it's a real pain in the... arm. And no, that wasn't a joke. It and any other tablet interface will eventually make your arm ache, so we can skip it for serious office work.

What bollox!
Sure, tablets are - as yet - quite limited for office work, but this is due to software limitations (and screen sizes perhaps), not the touch-interface.
What Mr. Vaughan-Nichols gets confused here is touch interface on a tablet, which you hold in your hand or at least have close to your body, with touch interface on a desktop computer (not even a laptop), which you have to stretch your arm out to use. The latter quickly results in a lot of arm strain, but I have yet to hear of anybody having problems with the former.

This is so poor reporting that I wonder if Mr. Vaughan-Nichols has even used tablets for more than 20 minutes? And also, are ZDNet articles edited by editors?


ttl said...

Well, moving a mouse on the horizontal tabletop is known to hurt and cause repetitive strain injury. So how would moving your hand on the surface of a (often tilted) tablet be any different? Sounds more stressing to me.

Years ago, I moved away from a traditional mouse because of RSI. After that experience, I know I could never work on a tablet.

I'm sure it's very handy for watching videos and stuff, though.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I wouldn't be so quick to conclude this until I had tried it for real. The hand movements are very different using a tablet. They are more varied and less two-dimensional.

I got a neck-nerve problem a few years ago. One of the changes I made was getting a trackball to replace my mouse, I think that helped.

ttl said...

The hand movements are very different using a tablet. They are more varied and less two-dimensional.

Ok, this may well be the case. But there's still a lot of physical movement and calori expenditure just to flip a nanometer size bit in the computer memory!

When learning to play a musical instrument, a key concept is economy of movement: even a miniscule redundant hand movement will cost you dearly in your ability to play a passage. From this perspective, the idea of moving your hand 20 cm vertically or horizontally just to give primitive commands to your computer sounds completely ridiculous.

Now, when you use it to draw shapes on a paint program, it is of course justified and a desirable feature. But for basic operation of the computer, it is pretty dumb, I would say.

Even clicking the mouse button is a completely redundant action. I am currently investigating a utility called Dwellclick in order to no longer have to do it. Then I'll be able to operate my Mac GUI, one of the dumbest of all human inventions, with just my thumb!