Archive for January, 2011

[Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch]*

January 15, 2011

A computer mouse was always a peculiar device to me. Most of the time I would use it I would end in frustration. In the old time, it was because of the dust that the ball mouse would accumulate, that would render any navigation of the cursor unattainable before thoroughly cleaning it. In present times, with the advent of optical mouse this problem has been rectified, only to replaced by a recurring pain in my wrist because of continuous use of the scrolling wheel.

When I got my first laptop computer, an IBM Thinkpad, I was introduced to an alternative pointing device: a trackpoint, cleverly hidden beneath the keyboard and manifesting itself only as a red dot in the middle of it. Using the trackpoint in this laptop was very easy. I did not need to let my palms away from the keyboard to operate it; I just needed to put my finger on the red trackpoint and pull it slightly to the direction I wanted the cursor to move.

Others found the trackpoint irritating. Many cited it as a reason for not buying an IBM laptop and opted for computers featuring a trackpad, another pointing device that was gaining popularity at that time. A trackpad allowed you to move the cursor by sliding your finger in the small touch-sensitive area, located at the bottom of the laptop keyboard. Others abandoned any hope of experimentation and attached an external mouse to control the cursor. I do not blame them, for it was only IBM who managed to make a working version of the trackpoint device (and patented it) but others, like Toshiba, failed to implement successfully. Those few who could master the device, would not even think of going back to the mouse.

The same thing happened to me when I was introduced to a pen tablets by Wacom at a friend’s house. A pen tablet is a pointing device that lets you control the cursor by moving a pen on top of a special surface, the tablet. My first reaction was that pen tablets were big and bulky and certainly not alternative to a mouse in cases where desk space was a premium. But I was soon convinced of the opposite when I found out they come in different sizes to cater for the needs of both general consumers up and graphic design professionals. I approached the device with amazement and excitement, the sort of excitement you have when you are test driving a new car. At first, I was overly cautious, but then as I relaxed and started getting used to the hand and eye coordination, I began to feel comfortable with it.

The only problem was the price: Wacom’s pen tablets were a bit expensive. This soon changed with the introduction of the Bamboo series, which were aimed at the home user and cost a little bit more than a good optical mouse. I decided to buy the black model of Wacom Bamboo and, after using it, I realised that I would never go back to using a mouse or a trackpad. But Wacom made the device even better by introducing a finger sensor in addition to the pen sensor. The new model they launched, the Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch, was not only able to function with the designated pen but with one’s finger. Needless to say, I sold my old tablet to a friend and then bought the new one. Since then, this tablet became [my obsession]*.


P.S.: I was thrilled to learn that Wacom won a Red Dot Design award for the Bamboo Pen and Touch tablet, as they did with the old Bamboo tablet.


[all images © LambdaPhage]


New Year’s Resolutions

January 10, 2011

The advent of the new year inadvertently forces us to make an evaluation of the past year and focus on the things we want to change. Most people then go on and make their new year’s resolutions, which almost always include a clause for eating healthier (considering the abuse they have found themselves in in the run-up to Christmas). I was also one of them. If you check my previous posts carefully, you will see that I made at least one new year’s resolution in 2009: to write more.

But, nowadays, I do not believe in making new year’s resolutions any more. After the dust of the holidays has settled and the post-Christmas shortage of cash has been straightened, I look forward to February, and not January, to make plans for the new year. Because I believe that February is the best time to make rational decisions on embarking on new projects, without carrying the guilt of the previous year and without having the January blues. Most importantly, I will make decisions that will not be forgotten in a very short time.

And that is what I am going to do this year. I will wait patiently for January to pass, and I will start planning my new year in February. Some people might say it is too late, but I think it is really worth the wait.




[image © LambdaPhage]

First quality

January 8, 2011

You may remember a post I wrote a long time ago about the dangers of translating from one language to the other, and in particular from Greek to English. In my post entitled “Restaurant of first accusation“, I went on to describe how a restaurant owner had produced an incomprehensible sign in English by translating the word “class” into “accusation”. Only a person knowing Greek could eventually understand how the mistake in the translation came about.

When I visited my parents in Greece during Christmas this year, I detected yet another incorrect translation. This time, it was on a box about glazed chestnuts with chocolate that my mum bought for Christmas. When examining the box in more detail, I notice that it had a stamp as a feature with the words “First quality Greece”.

But what exactly does “First quality” mean? Is there a “Second quality” or even a “Third” one? Obviously not. The owner of the firm producing the chestnuts meant to say that the product was first class quality, which in Greek would be “Πρώτη ποιότητα” or “First quality” if you translate it word-by-word. And obviously, no one detected the error that made it to the box.


[all images © LambdaPhage]