At long last, I've decided to rejoin the land of the Touchstreamers.
Some will remember me as the "TS Zealot" who staunchly warded off the nay-sayers while we were all in the dark about Fingerworks. Needless to say, I'm a huge fan of Fingerworks - their company, their technology, and their product line. I was one of the more vocal participants during the ~2 year life of the FW forums. (I was #2 on the number of posts behind Fingerworks.) Most of that was spent preaching the good news of TS, though in the end days, there was much dispelling of the "Fingerworks doesn't care about us" myths.
From the very beginning, FW made efforts to have the firmware and software sides be as cross-platform as possible. They could have made Windoze-only drivers for the raw sensor output rather than presenting standard USB interface devices to the computer. That impressed me almost as much as the gesture recognition. The sheer fact that mousing can be done on the same surface as typing and other gestures is simply amazing. If it weren't for the stubbornness of the general masses, this kind of technology would be everywhere. (I reflect on the layout aspect of the general stubbornness in my rant on Dvorak..)
In the early Fall of 2002, I purchased a burgundy Qwerty LP after working all summer to raise the funds. Shortly (1 month) before, I had switched entirely to Dvorak, but I figured Qwerty was fine for the printed layout. I half-struggled with the whole keyless typing thing for about a year and a half. I was proficient for what I needed to do, but my overall typing speed was considerably slower than it could have been. Around that time, I made some slight changes and concentrated more on accuracy, and the speed increased a bit, as well as my accuracy. I can almost type an entire sentence without hitting backspace! It's freaky typing my passwords on the TS, since as long as I start in the right spot, I can get it right 9 times out of 10.
Now I have a silver Dvorak LP - a sure sign that Qwerty is a thing of the past for me, apart from occasional out-of-my-control situations. I also have a 12" iBook with a semi-permanently-installed Dvorak MacNTouch. I even put some silicone sealant around the edges to keep dust and stuff out.
I have been greatly saddened by the demise of Fingerworks as we know it. The vague information I've heard puts forth optimism that the Touchstream technology will return. I don't know who bought them. If it is Apple, it explains the excruciating silence and lack of regard for the former customers. But of all the hardware manufacturers, they're the most likely to apply the technology to a special line of computers. I couldn't imagine Dell's advertising campaign for a keyless typing surface. I remember the "Think Different" campaign of Apple's return to the spotlight (sorry).. If Apple could somehow use their loose relationship with Wacom to combine Touchstream with a tablet, they could probably turn a great many people. Part of me just wishes they (whoever bought FW) had left everything alone.
The good part is that the firmware and utilities were fairly mature when development stopped, so we should be good for a while on the existing keyboards.
So I'll wait here with y'all (yup I'm from Texas) for good news about Fingerworks/Touchstream/Multitouch/etc.