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Portables (Apple) Businesses Apple Hardware

FingerWorks Offers Replacement PowerBook Keyboard 82

JerryKnight writes "FingerWorks, the inventor of TouchStream keyboards such as the LP, is taking pre-orders for a drop-in replacement for the keyboard in a 15" PowerBook G4 that is pretty much the same thing as the LP. Now the beautiful PowerBook can be completely smooth. Words fail to express the enthusiasm felt by me and hopefully anyone else who has used these keyboards. No word on availability. List price: $259." It's called the MacNTouch. Hm.
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FingerWorks Offers Replacement PowerBook Keyboard

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  • Looks nice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by weeeeed ( 675324 ) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:20PM (#6085562) Journal
    BUT... ;) ...looking at the layout [fingerworks.com](which I hope is not final), why is the function key replaced with shift? When I reach out for the fn key on my current keyboard I have trouble accessing the other keys covered by the left hand. I know I have small hands, but come on... leave it where it is at the current size (two keys wide).

    Same for return... umm enter... where is return??? I know quite some apps, where return and enter have different functions... take Fire for example: return sends out, enter makes a new line in the message... I do not think I would want to use additional shift for this. And it IS far too small, leave it at the current size, it was already difficult enough for me to stop hitting back-slash all the time...

    the whole right part of the keyboard is messed up and will require you to get used to the new layout.

    Too much self advertisement... use it for bigger keys instead, although the hand is quite cute.

    Can I press command + option with one finger only? I hope so.


    What about the heat? I have 1GHz and it gets quite hot already. If you look at the current keyboard, it is designed to provide better air circulation. You think it is not important? Buy the hoover TiBook, wait until the fans go on, lift the keyboard and wait for a while... the fans go off. With the keyboard it takes longer time for the fans to go off, I dunno about MacNTouch with no holes at all.

    I do not think I will buy it, maybe I would for my iBook, but it has IMO too many design/usability flaws. I had to try it out first.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:44PM (#6085700)
    I read a review onthe TouchStream LP somewhere that said it cut battery life in half when used on notebooks! I hope the powerbook version draws less power.

    I haven't measured, but the keyboard on my TiBook looks very similar to the one in my iBook... I wonder if it would work in both?

    Still, for the money, perhaps it would be better to buy the TouchStream LP and just bring it along with you. It folds up for portability. I know the drop in replacement is slick, but it means it will only ever work on the TiBook... if you are like me and move from machine to machine, I think portability of such an expensive keyboard would outweigh the wow-factor of having it built in to the TiBook.

    But then, maybe I am crazy. Or something.
  • Not to troll, but getting a replacement 2 button trackbad to the market is the only way I'd ever be able to use an Apple laptop. I've got an old 190cs as a toy, but for daily use? Nope.

    Of course, maybe I should be suggesting same to manufacturer, rather than bitching about it to the slashbots?
  • by addaon ( 41825 ) <addaon+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @06:31PM (#6086825)
    How hard would it be to do this as a home-made mod? Even if a company were to come out with a two-button trackpad add-on (which I would love, even though I don't have a personal need for it; choice is good), it ain't going to be for anything older than a albook / ibook (I'm surprised this keyboard is for the nearly-dead tibook). Looking at my ibook, the clicky thing (button) is right in the center of the trackpad button, so the right-hand third of the button could be removed without problems. This leaves a left-click button larger than the potential right button, but as left-click is more common anyway, this could be argued away as a good thing. Now, what can we put in the space we have? I haven't looked inside an ibook for a while, but imagine we're quite space-limited. Even so, it shouldn't be hard to wire in something from a membrane keypad or some such, or even or a more typical switch in the available space. Now, how to connect it? I suspect this is where we get bit, although on an albook without bluetooth, it's manageable. The bluetooth modules in the albooks hook up to usb headers. All you need is the board out of a usb mini-mouse, wire it up to the usb sensor, and rewire the right-button switch to use the switch you added. To the OS, the left and right button signals will appear to come from different mice, but that should be acceptable. The iBook, at least, has enough empty space for an additional circuit board that size (wrap it in electrical tape and just stick it in somewhere)... haven't been inside an albook yet.

    Anyone have any suggestions for improvement to this technique?
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:28PM (#6087030) Journal
    Whenever I'm at a Windows laptop, I find myself constantly hitting the wrong button below the trackpad.
    Well, I guess it's all just a matter of what you're used to.

    Not entirely true. I'm used to 3+ buttons, and I constantly hit the wrong button on a windows machine's trackpad. One thing I did like was the way the right hand edge of the tackpad on said machine worked as a scroll wheel (which is something I miss far more than the second button when I use an Apple mouse). Does / can the PowerBook trackpad do this?

  • by shunnicutt ( 561059 ) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @10:23PM (#6087654)
    On my PowerBook, I always tap on the trackpad in order to click. I always use the tap-drag to drag. I never use the physical trackpad button.

    I'd love to find a piece of software that recognized the physical trackpad button as a control-click, thus simulating a two-button mouse.
  • by addaon ( 41825 ) <addaon+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @10:51PM (#6087767)
    On the same note, I always thought it would be nice if, if apple is really going to stick with this one-button strategy, they made the touchpad touch-surface the whole size of the touchpad. That is, eliminate the button entirely, and just support tapping on a larger surface. And since apple uses touchpads with the same aspect ration as their monitors, it would make the touchpad significantly wider as well... bigger is better, when it comes to control surfaces, whether on airplanes or laptops.
  • by cjhuitt ( 466651 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @12:04PM (#6090091)
    I've never looked inside the case of one of Apple's new laptops, but if you're good you should be able to wire something up so that by pressing the new button, the option key and the regular mouse click signals are both emitted. That would save the necessity of another mouse board, and would appear to the operating system to be the default "contextual menu" key/mouse combo.

    There might be a bit of timing involved in this solution, however.
  • by Mr. Light Touch ( 18906 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:49PM (#6092832) Homepage
    This is really a mute point with TouchStreams, since our modifier chords:


    for Shift, Ctrl, and Alt are much nicer than any pinky control key. And if you're an Emacs user, our Emacs mode automatically generates those crazy C-x C-f ... sequences from simple gestures.

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