[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] Re: neat device

From: Kalle Vahlman kalle.vahlman at gmail.com
Date: Mon Apr 3 20:58:57 EEST 2006
On 3 Apr 2006 12:01:31 -0400, Ted Zlatanov <tzz at lifelogs.com> wrote:
> On 31 Mar 2006, kalle.vahlman at gmail.com wrote:
> On 30 Mar 2006 13:05:41 -0500, Ted Zlatanov <tzz at lifelogs.com> wrote:
> >> http://www.engadget.com/2006/03/08/cebit-web-site-shows-origami-ui/
> >
> > Looks horribly painful to use, just take your keyboard in your hand
> > like that and try to move you thumb in an arc. It's doable, but only
> > after letting got the firm grip on the device. Now, given that
> > origamis are relatively huge, it probably would slip from your hands
> > if you try to use two thumbs.
> I'm specifically talking in the 770 context.  I type with my thumb all
> the time, rather than pulling the stylus out, if it's a short word.
> With a heavier device, that would be much harder.

Well, in 770 the amount of space available is much smaller so the
buttons will need to be smaller too. This make hitting them harder,
specially with a blunt object like your thumb... I think you are right
that 770 will probably be easier to hold like that though.

> Fitts' law has to do with distance and efficiency (see the URL posted
> earlier).

Don't forget to mention the size, as that's the other half of it :)

>  I think the 770 does a good job with some things already
> according to that law - for example, the web browser icon is in the
> top left corner, and it's what people use the most.  The on-screen
> keyboard, unfortunately, has uniformly sized keys in a grid layout -
> essentially, that's what I propose is that problem that needs to be
> addressed.

New keyboard layouts have a phenomenal rate of failing to spark
interest. It's not because lack of effort we are still (mostly) using
a layout that was designed to slow the writers down (in order to avoid
mechanical jams). Even just cutting the layout in half and making it
more ergonomic seems to have failed, you hardly see new keyboard
models with split keys. Which is a shame.

The grid layout is not in violation of Fitts' law (as you seem to
suggest), and is probably still faster to use with the stylus than a
spread layout due to smaller distances.

> > Also the keyboard is most likely useless the moment you put it into
> > a stand or on the table...
> I think that's subjective.

Granted, it might be useful if you type with your fingers there too...

> > Not to mention the elevated risk of RSI.
> You're right that RSI should be a concern, but I'm not sure it would
> elevate the risk.  Holding the stylus, due to its small size, is also
> problematic for people with larger hands.  You end up with an awkward
> grip and cramped fingers (speaking from experience).

Well, at least people get practised in using their thumbs with all the
SMS writing going on these days :)

> > Would be interesting to try though. Anyone up to hacking one of those
> > for maemo?-)
> Are there any scripting tools to do GUIs on the 770, like the Tk
> toolkit for example?

Sure, from


I see python (which is very usable although slow to start) and few
others, but basically it's just a matter of getting the sources and
compiling ;)

It's probably not quite that straightforward with bindings though, at
least non-gtk. There's always http://www.gtk.org/bindings.html if
someone is looking to port new languages (would be greate to get more
options for developers!). It's one of the things people like about
Gtk+, it's not just C, it's also [insert your favourite binding
language here]. Btw, the status page probably lies on some of the
bindings (or at least it looks a bit worse than it should be...).

Kalle Vahlman, zuh at iki.fi
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