Thoughts on using Windows 7 with a touch screen

Not too long ago, I wrote about the first affordable consumer touch screen monitor that I’ve seen to date, the Acer T230H.  A few days ago, I actually went out and bought one of these for myself.  Computing with a touch screen monitor is quite different than the experience one receives with a mouse and keyboard.  There are many advantages to using a touch interface, but also a few disadvantages. Continue reading Thoughts on using Windows 7 with a touch screen

Track mobile carriers, devices with Google Analytics

I might be a little late to the game with this news, but I just noticed that Google Analytics now has a section devoted to mobile phones within the Visitors portion of the interface.  Within the Mobile subcategory, users can now track mobile device, and even mobile carrier.  This answers a huge question a lot of people have had recently – how many of my users are mobile users?

Finally, an affordable touch screen monitor to use with Windows 7 Touch

Somewhat recently, Acer released the first affordable touch screen monitor for use with Windows 7’s touch capabilities.  The 23″ Acer T230H has an average price of $370, and is available from most major retailers at that price.  While Acer’s monitors are typically cheaper in price than others, my personal experience with Acer’s products has been very good.  All of our favorite features become much easier to use when coupled with Windows 7 Touch.

  • Shake – shake window back and forth, all other windows are minimized
    In my experience, this feature has made little sense when used with a mouse.  With the power of touch, shake makes more sense.
  • Jump lists – click, hold, and slide up to reveal Windows 7’s jump lists, which include shortcuts to various tasks for the selected application on the task bar
  • An article from Microsoft: My favorite ways to use touch

To put this into perspective, a 19″ touch screen monitor from Planar costs around $929 (Source: newegg.com); that’s kind of cost-prohibitive for the average consumer.  Prices for touch technology are coming down rapidly, and I think it is safe to assume that other computer monitor manufacturers will join the game soon.  Acer T230H tech specs are listed below:

  • Connectors: HDMI, DVI, D-Sub
  • Contrast Ratio: 80,000:1 (ACM)
  • Max. Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (16:9 widescreen)
  • Pixel Pitch: 0.265 mm
  • # of Colors: 16.7 million
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2
  • Response Time: 2 ms (GTG)
  • HDCP support: Yes
  • Built-in Speakers: Yes
  • Warranty: 3 years parts/labor limited

The Integration of Firefox 3.7+ and Windows 7

Last night, I took a chance and downloaded the nightly build of Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 Preview.  I was impressed with the UI enhancements, and also with what was under the hood.  Please know that this version is not recommended for daily use, but only for previewing the new features, as there are still many bugs that need to be worked out.

Peek

Jump Lists

DirectWrite

DirectWrite hardware acceleration is not enabled out of the box at this point in the release process, but can be enabled by navigating to about:config, and changing the gfx.font_rendering.directwrite.enabled setting to true.

Aero Glass

I don’t have a screenshot for this, but you can see an example of Aero Glass above.  Apparently, the glass-like effect provided by Windows Aero was turned off in the latest builds due to a few bugs, but to my knowledge, future versions of Firefox will support Aero-based themes.

Projected release date for Firefox 3.7: May/June 2010
Projected release date for Firefox 4.0: October/November 2010, early 2011?

As far as I’m concerned, the sooner they release these new features, the better.  These features represent major productivity enhancements, and I want to use them!