Hello from Portland, OR

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Hello from Portland, OR

Postby og_ts_user » 18 Jul 2018, 17:22

I owned a TouchStream back when they were actively produced and have never forgotten how much better its gestures were than anything that we've seen since then.

This week I bought an iGesturePad on eBay. I'm crossing my fingers that it fully works and if so I'll put it next to my ErgoDox keyboard and have perhaps the greatest input setup of all time.

I remembered this old forum and wondered how active it was. Not very! I see a few keyboards for sale which is exciting but as we all learned the hard way these things were ming blowingly good for gestures and mind blowingly bad for typing, which is why I've used mechanical keyboards since selling my TouchStream in 2009. If anybody is here, reply and tell me if you're still using your FW gear.

From Portland, OR (now, previously Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Alaska)
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby TorbenGB » 18 Jul 2018, 17:44

og_ts_user wrote:mind blowingly good for gestures and mind blowingly bad for typing
Hello there! Yep, you hit the nail on the head with that. I'm very sorry to say that the era of FingerWorks is coming to a close. As you've noted, this forum is almost all quiet, only a few posts per year these days. It's so very sad - just think what could have been, had Apple not slaughtered it.

I'm glad you signed up. It's never too late! I think people are quiet here either because they're content with their setup, or because they've moved on. As for myself, even as an admin of this site, I have moved on to regular ol' keyboards. I like the thought of an iGesture Pad but it couldn't fully replace a regular mouse. I like the pixel precision I get from a mouse, but I miss gestures tremendously.
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby petercooperjr » 23 Jul 2018, 14:39

Welcome! I do still use my Touchstream LP regularly. I have one at work, one at home, and one as a spare (which sometimes gets used when I bring my work laptop home). On all of them I've replaced the center ribbon cable, which is certainly the Achilles' heel of the keyboard. I have to wonder if the number of people still using these regularly is in the double digits or single digits, and sometimes I feel like I must be the only one left. It always gets comments when people see me using it at work, though.
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby og_ts_user » 29 Jul 2018, 08:32

It's so nice to have a couple voices out there responding. This forum doesn't have a section for projects so I'll just use my own member intro thread to put up my ideas and ask questions.

I'm a computer professional and recently, as a mixture of hobby and professional development, I've been actively trying to find new better ways to input. One thing I have really wanted, which I remembered from my FW LP keyboard, was how my left hand moved the arrow keys in the way that my right hand moved the mouse cursor. That was so useful! So recently I've been playing with trackballs (which I don't really like) and foot pedals and multiple-simultaneous trackpads and even a joystick, generally playing with the possibilities, and specifically trying to make a decent arrow-key-input device. On my Mac I've been using ControllerMate to customize all these devices.

I use an Apple Magic Trackpad to the right of my ErgoDox. For controlling the arrow keys, I'd been thinking that a second trackpad, off to the left of the keyboard, would be ideal. I have a second Magic Trackpad but the driver is so custom and embedded that ControllerMate can't work with it. All the other devices have been, eh, not natural or easier than the mouse.

Then, lo and behold, my eBay watch told me an iGesturePad was for sale. Now that I have it I think this is the single unified device which does everything I want. It's in great condition and all the gestures seem to work. Most importantly, it controls the arrow keys with single-finger input, including text selection and . Marvelous, I can't wait to get to work on Monday and try it!

Strangely the page buttons all work, but the number pad does not. I'd like to figure that out -- probably by disabling the page keys. Also I'll want to customize some gesutres so I looked at the software posted on this site. Has anyone tried to do this in the last couple years? From 2011 I see some software which I tried but I need more time to see if it will work for me.
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby TorbenGB » 31 Jul 2018, 14:40

If you find that the entire Touch surface works for mousing or for moving the cursor, then the number pad issue is not a hardware problem.

You might discover that some of the "key" hotspots on the surface have been disabled by the previous owner. Search the documentation for how to do a firmware reset on the pad - it does not require any software on your computer.

As for the FingerWorks configuration software, the community found that it works under Win 7 but it cannot upload to the device. I don't know about newer versions of Windows. Our workaround was to create a virtual machine that runs WinXP. Look for this in the forums.

I'm camping right now so I only have limited access, otherwise I'd send you specific links. Respond if you need more help.
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby og_ts_user » 02 Aug 2018, 04:43

I've been through the forums and I saw the discussion about how to bootstrap the Java Application, and the other discussion about using a virtual machine. Thank you. Those are both daunting possibilities, I'd be equally likely to try to track down simply an old computer and try to use it.

I figured out why the num pad wasn't working -- because Num Lock was off!

For the last few days I've been repeatedly and uselessly touching three corners of the device trying to put it into Mac Mode, but it wouldn't work. Your comment ("Search the documentation for how to do a firmware reset") made me go look at a new PDF, iGesturewithKeysBooklet.pdf, and those instructions say to touch four corners then follow directions, and that worked! I'm now very sure that I have a 100% functional product which is fantastic.

I would very much like to run that old customization software. My life is mostly full of Macs and Linux, I'm typing now on Ubuntu, has anyone tried it on Linux in the last decade? Maybe I'll give it a shot.
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby petercooperjr » 03 Aug 2018, 00:24

I've been contemplating for a while trying to put together a Linux VM image (so that it wouldn't have the licensing issues that a Windows VM does). My recollection is that it requires some very old USB drivers and Java to work, so it may need to be an old version of Linux to make a VM from rather than something newer. I haven't actually tried to do anything with it, though. There's an old thread that had the original FW Linux download, but the 1.60 link died long ago and I don't think it ever got reposted here.

I haven't had a system set up for reconfiguring my gestures on my keyboards for many years now, but I haven't had enough of a want to change something such that I've bothered to try it (on any OS). But maybe if there's actually somebody besides me interested in it, I could be inspired to take a look and try to put something together.
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby og_ts_user » 06 Aug 2018, 18:37

It so happens that I am a Java programmer by trade. I don't work with USB or keyboards or anything like that, but if we can identify the structure of the software then I can try to just straight up call a Main class. We can decompile the code and try to modify it if needed, too. I haven't really spent time trying to run the software in Linux but that would be the natural place for me to try to do it -- and that is the next thing to do in my journey with this device. Let me know if I can help you.
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby petercooperjr » 06 Aug 2018, 18:53

Yeah, I also program Java for a living but haven't had the time to play with this. Though it looks like the linux 1.60 firmware may have been posted at download/setupfw160.bin anyway even though I couldn't find a thread listing it.

Also my former coworker Dan had posted his efforts getting the utilities to run on Mac, including recompiling a Java USB library, and I found the web archive of his blog post on it. Perhaps some of that could be helpful as well.

Maybe one of these weekends I'll get motivated enough to dig into this deeper, but don't wait for me if you feel motivated to put something together.
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Re: Hello from Portland, OR

Postby og_ts_user » 09 Aug 2018, 23:59

Thanks for the blog link! That looks very promising, and easier than creating an image, but it begins on a computer that already has the FingerWorks Utilities installed in /Applications/FingerWorks.

I found the Mac_setupfw160.zip file in the Downloads section, but that unpacks into a Classic Mac OS installer app which hadn't run on OSX for a while now.

Would it be possible for you or someone to upload a zipped FingerWorks application folder to the Downloads section? Then I would try to follow the blog post.

If I can't get it working that way then my next attempt will be to build a Docker image with the full working stack including the FWUtils, but gosh that seems silly for running a Java app.

And if that doesn't work I might buy or try to find a Mac from the ~2004 timerange and just straight up run the software.
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