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Re: WSJ: Mossberg takes the Linux bait and snarls ....

On Fri, 2007-09-14 at 12:29 -0400, Gene Heskett wrote:
> On Friday 14 September 2007, Aaron Konstam wrote:
> >On Thu, 2007-09-13 at 17:09 -0400, Tom Horsley wrote:
> >> On Thu, 13 Sep 2007 13:06:51 -0400
> >>
> >> "Lamar Owen" <lowen pari edu> wrote:
> >> > I agree 100% with one of his beefs.  Laptop touchpad sensitivity.
> >>
> >> When I'm
> >>
> >> > typing (and as I touch-type around 50 wpm, the keyboard is really a
> >>
> >> humming)
> >>
> >> > often the cursor will jump to where the i-beam for the mouse is;
> >>
> >> ooops, left
> >>
> >> > click.  But I didn't touch the touchpad.  Aggravating as all get
> >>
> >> out.  (And
> >>
> >> > if someone knows a way to turn that down, please let me know, as
> >>
> >> I've not run
> >>
> >> > across the setting yet).
> >
> >It seems to me that Mossberg has identified a terrific business
> >oportunity. Someone for $50-$100 will configure all the things he feels
> >currently are obscure to configure. It only has to be configured once
> >and then mass copied.
> This complaint has been the order of the day for the synaptics touchpad used 
> in a lot of lappies.  And it is one reason I run a little gizmo called 
> synaptics that shuts it off, and I use a pluggin wireless mouse instead.
> Fusses about it here, or on the lkml, are either ignored or teased about cuz I 
> supposedly can't type.
> Of course I can't type when my thumbs must be pulled back against the wrist 
> and taped in place with several turns of duct tape.  That of course makes it 
> difficult to hit the spacebarsomywordscomeoutalljumbledtogether.  Strangely, 
> I don't have to be near as carefull on those rare occasions when I have it 
> running XP.
> I've asked politely, and I've asked obnoxiously, the same question:
> When is the touchpad going to be fixed?
> I'm a mostly retired broadcast engineer, the type that makes the high powered 
> transmitters you watch tv from work.  I deal routinely with high voltage 
> power supplies capable of sucking a megawatt+ from the powerline under fault 
> conditions.  Its pure hell to be composing a long technical message, to 
> people who just barely understand that turning on a light is done by making 
> metal to metal contact in the light switch, only to have half of it 
> highlighted by one misscue of that POS, and erased by the next keystroke 
> because you don't see it quickly enough when working from and reading notes, 
> nor can you stop typing that fast.  More than one of my messages, or a record 
> file of what I'm doing has been converted into total gibberish by such 
> actions in 50 milliseconds.
> Or it can also cause a switch screens, any way to screw up what you are doing, 
> it WILL find a way to do it.  Seriously folks, the touchpad needs fixed.  If 
> winblow$ can do it, why can't linux?

gsynaptics and (I think) ksynaptics both let you adjust the sensitivity
of the touchpad, the length of time for a double tap, and what scrolling
areas are active.  In addition, syndaemon is a clever little thing that
inactivates the touchpad entirely while keys are being clicked.
Somehow, you should be able to use those tools to  come up with an
acceptable arrangement.  If not, there is are more settings available
via the synclient CLI tool.

Windows only has a single desktop area, so switching screens isn't an
issue there.  Also, I notice most Windows users seem to fill the screen
with whatever window they are working in, and the fonts are generally
huge.  So switching windows isn't an issue if that's your work style.
If you keep the mouse cursor outside of your typing area, then
accidental tapping won't move the I-bar. 

Gene, are you a western Pennsylvanian?  "Needs fixed" is an idiom I
remember from Pittsburgh days...

                Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu

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