11-12-2011 10:37 AM
Note: This is exactly the same words as I posted in the comments to that Design Matters post, if you read that comment of mine there is no need for you to read this. However, since I posted that comment this late, I don't think you did. So, here goes...
Scrolling. It's the biggest problem of pointing devices. Very important, and the current ThinkPad implementation is way too incompatible and unresponsive.
The biggest feature of a mouse is the scroll wheel, nothing else even comes close to that functionality in Windows. Maybe put scroll wheels directly in the ThinkPads? Sadly, I doubt it's doable.
Scroll wheel emulation with the TrackPoint in Linux works well, achieving the same functionality software-wise but lacking the correlating steps in hardware.
There is yet no perfect solution to scrolling, I'm tempted to say there is not even a good one...
Sometimes, the steps of a scroll wheel are not desirable. Being able to flick my finger on the touchpad and have it scroll indefinitely is a major advantage over a nominal scroll wheel when there's a need to scroll a long way. Adjusting a slider in precise steps or switching between tools is one thing, scrolling through long unmarked documents or thousands of rows in an Excel sheet is an altogether different beast.
I have to pick up Hecke's cue from the photographer's world, two-stage buttons. Maybe a two-stage middle button to the TrackPoint could trigger two different modes of scrolling (while also acting as two different buttons if the TrackPoint isn't touched, please)? Anyways, I can easily find good use of six buttons, if you'll let me...
Maybe my best idea so far is touch ribbons along the sides of the keyboard, maybe two more along the top of it. Maybe have the Fn key do something with them. Test that, and not just with web browsers and Office, this time. CAD is just one problem of many.