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Old Jul 9, 2011, 03:14 PM   #1
Dunbar
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Former Thinkpad Owners - Miss Trackpoint?

I'm a longtime Thinkpad user thinking of getting one of the new Sandy Bridge 13" Macbook Airs. My only reservation is the lack of the trackpoint (red eraser) from the Thinkpad. It allows me to effortlessly scroll on web pages and whenever I'm forced to use a track pad to scroll I feel like a fish out of water. Any feedback from former Thinkpad owners?
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 03:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
I'm a longtime Thinkpad user thinking of getting one of the new Sandy Bridge 13" Macbook Airs. My only reservation is the lack of the trackpoint (red eraser) from the Thinkpad. It allows me to effortlessly scroll on web pages and whenever I'm forced to use a track pad to scroll I feel like a fish out of water. Any feedback from former Thinkpad owners?
Two finger scrolling Touchpads on Macs completely takes the pain away for the lack of an eraser head. I used to have a thinkpad back in the day and haven't looked back one bit.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 03:18 PM   #3
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It's an easy transition and trust me I know from personal experience. But once you factor in gestures it gets easier.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 03:23 PM   #4
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I went from an X41 tablet to the MBP. The Apple trackpad blows away all other touch pads. You'll want to open up system preferences and set the touch options to your liking, but this is not the touch pad you may have tried on Windows laptops.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 03:50 PM   #5
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I was right there with you at first, but I love the trackpad now - just give yourself some time to transition.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 04:09 PM   #6
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I had many thinkpads before, and while I loved their pointing stick, Apple's trackpads are worlds better even then it. You won't miss it a bit.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 04:13 PM   #7
smelly cat
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While I do agree that the mac's trackpad is likely the best in the industry, I still find myself occasionally missing the likes of the track point. The reason being that with the track point your hands never have to leave the keyboards home row which leads to more comfortable sessions of heavy typing

No matter how good the mac's trackpad may be you still have to lift your hand off the keyboard to use it.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 04:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smelly cat View Post
While I do agree that the mac's trackpad is likely the best in the industry, I still find myself occasionally missing the likes of the track point. The reason being that with the track point your hands never have to leave the keyboards home row which leads to more comfortable sessions of heavy typing

No matter how good the mac's trackpad may be you still have to lift your hand off the keyboard to use it.
Maybe, but I've trained my thumbs to slide down to the trackpad and utilize it when I'm in the "heat" of typing. If I need more than that, then I'd move my fingers from home row anyway.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 04:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panch0 View Post
The Apple trackpad blows away all other touch pads. You'll want to open up system preferences and set the touch options to your liking, but this is not the touch pad you may have tried on Windows laptops.
Spot on. I have a touchpad and a trackpoint on my Tecra, but prefer using a plugged-in mouse. My kids all have MBPs and they never even look for a mouse. Apple have put a lot of thought into this and it is genuinely simple and intuitive to use. You'll soon get used to it. Don't worry!
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 05:02 PM   #10
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I was a long time trackpad uses myself and specifically worried about this when I purchased my MBA.

I can honestly say I don't miss it at all. Don't assume the apple trackpad is the same as other machines. Its spectacularly
better.

The gestures are equally awesome and make the entire experience better.

I think you'll be happy with the switch and I too didn't want to take my fingers off the keyboard.

Love the MBA.

Actrually i like it so much I am using MY MBA for work on my own dime vs my windows supplied laptop.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 05:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
I'm a longtime Thinkpad user thinking of getting one of the new Sandy Bridge 13" Macbook Airs. My only reservation is the lack of the trackpoint (red eraser) from the Thinkpad. It allows me to effortlessly scroll on web pages and whenever I'm forced to use a track pad to scroll I feel like a fish out of water. Any feedback from former Thinkpad owners?
heck no. i always carried around a mouse.

u wont want one w/ the mba
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 05:42 PM   #12
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it's called a nipple

i believe the trackpoint was designed for people to be able navigate/scroll without having to leave the keyboard. good for that use, i guess.

i'm typing this on a Thinkpad X61T and, personally, i HATE the trackpoint. i don't even have a trackpad on this computer, so i depend on it unfortunately, but i despise it.

in my opinion, one of the main distinguishing features of Apple laptops is their amazing trackpads. scrolling, navigating in a browser/reader, zooming, commands like "see all apps", ... all indispensable, very effective, and a pleasure to use. use this trackpad and try to go back to something else after a week.

this is what mine looks like:

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Old Jul 9, 2011, 07:10 PM   #13
Ijustfarted
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what I'm really going to miss is the thinkpad keyboard. I love everything else about macbooks but the mac keyboard compared to a thinkpads doesn't compare
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 08:57 PM   #14
sraber
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I use an old thinkpad for work. The mac trackpad is definitely better.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 10:49 PM   #15
Dunbar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebulos View Post
i'm typing this on a Thinkpad X61T and, personally, i HATE the trackpoint. i don't even have a trackpad on this computer, so i depend on it unfortunately, but i despise it.
Do you use the middle button to scroll? One finger on the track point and one finger pressing the middle button = effortless scrolling no matter where the cursor is on the screen. Every time I am forced to use a track pad I can't stand having to constantly move the cursor back and forth to the scroll bar (or use the arrow buttons.) I never use my laptops on a desk so a mouse is not an option.

I don't know if I like it enough to pay the same price as a MBA for the Thinkpad X1 though. The MBA is such a slick piece of hardware.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 11:01 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jamone13 View Post
I had many thinkpads before, and while I loved their pointing stick, Apple's trackpads are worlds better even then it. You won't miss it a bit.
I agree with this completely. Back when I had dedicated Win machines I had one of these for work and although I didn't like the integrated pointing device for navigation all the time, it had its uses.

Now I wonder how on earth I used to like it once I switched to Mac.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 11:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
Do you use the middle button to scroll? One finger on the track point and one finger pressing the middle button = effortless scrolling no matter where the cursor is on the screen. Every time I am forced to use a track pad I can't stand having to constantly move the cursor back and forth to the scroll bar (or use the arrow buttons.) I never use my laptops on a desk so a mouse is not an option.

I don't know if I like it enough to pay the same price as a MBA for the Thinkpad X1 though. The MBA is such a slick piece of hardware.
i don't use the middle button, though i probably should. maybe i'll try to. i usually go up/down a page with the space bar (shift + space for up).

scroll bars work nice, but it is barbaric to have to stop, move the cursor to it, (carefully), click and drag it up/down. we are in complete agreement here. this is a form of torture.

on a mac, you simply two-finger swipe up/down to scroll (independent of cursor position). plus, there's awesome inertial scrolling; swipe down quickly to get down a long page, then tap to the pad to stop. swipe slower to scroll slower.

one thing i love about Chrome, is that the address bar is also the search bar. this is so simple, but after you see it and use it, it seems idiotic to do it any other way. (Why doesn't Safari do this yet?! ... Apple is upset they didn't think of it first.)

its the same with the trackpad on a mac, though far from simple, its a pretty sophisticated (and probably expensive (including R&D)) little piece of hardware, which is the only reason i can imagine ALL PCs don't use them by now. there is, of course, a move to multi-touch trackpads going on now, but they're still behind, and it took forever to get going.

anyways, not everyone lives near an Apple store or Best Buy. have you actually tried out the trackpads on the macs?
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 11:18 PM   #18
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Multiple Thinkpads here, T42, X40, X60, T60, T61 (still in use at work), and I absolutely adored the ability to left hand trackpoint on my itty bitty X60. The MBA is the only other laptop I have had that rivaled, and possibly surpassed, mouse input on the Thinkpads. I find myself trying to do gestures on any other laptop that I use now.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 11:32 PM   #19
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personally, i wouldn't miss the terrible 'cursor drift' either.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 12:11 AM   #20
JHUFrank
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personally, i wouldn't miss the terrible 'cursor drift' either.
Ugh, I forgot about the drift. That drives me crazy.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 06:21 PM   #21
Dunbar
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anyways, not everyone lives near an Apple store or Best Buy. have you actually tried out the trackpads on the macs?
Yes, but I didn't know about the gestures so I'll have to give them a try next time. I've never owned a Mac so the whole experience felt foreign to me.

BTW, having used exclusively Thinkpads for years I have no issues with cursor drift.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 06:28 PM   #22
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Just got to a shop and play with the trackpad - if you open up System Preferences, you can see videos of each gesture and then try them out for yourself. Just mouse over each gesture and the video will change.

I've used many a Trackpoint but it now feels weird to use it compared to the Mac trackpad.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 06:45 PM   #23
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Yes, but I didn't know about the gestures so I'll have to give them a try next time. I've never owned a Mac so the whole experience felt foreign to me.

BTW, having used exclusively Thinkpads for years I have no issues with cursor drift.
yeah, try it out again. have someone show you the gestures if possible.

no drift? lucky. i have it and hate it.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 07:21 PM   #24
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no drift? lucky. i have it and hate it.
Cursor drift was common for me years ago but I think my technique has adjusted over time to avoid it (although I'm not consciously doing anything.)
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 08:14 PM   #25
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I'm a longtime Thinkpad user thinking of getting one of the new Sandy Bridge 13" Macbook Airs. My only reservation is the lack of the trackpoint (red eraser) from the Thinkpad. It allows me to effortlessly scroll on web pages and whenever I'm forced to use a track pad to scroll I feel like a fish out of water. Any feedback from former Thinkpad owners?
I have owned a series of IBM and Lenovo ThinkPad's over the years. I do not think that I can remember them all... but at a minimum I've had an e600, T30, T43, T60, T61P and I currently have an X201. In 2009, I switched to Apple for my personal laptops (15" MBP -> 13" MBA -> 11" MBA), but I have kept a ThinkPad as my corporate laptop.

I had always felt that the ThinkPad's TrackPoint was the premier pointing interface for laptop computers. Once I started using the large multi-touch Apple trackpads, I could never go back to the ThinkPad TrackPoint again. I actually had to open my X201 just now to check if the TrackPoint was still there!

Having said that... I now feel that the trackpad on my ThinkPad X201 is horrid. The two major issues are its postage stamp size, and its anemic support of multi-touch. As a result, I have picked up a MoGo mouse that I keep stored in the X201's Cardbus slot. It is actually an innovative little product.

Now at work, I mostly use the X201 docked to a Dell U2711 27" monitor at 2560X1440 and an external keyboard and monitor. When I go home, I dock my X201 to my 27" iMac as a monitor (also with external mouse/keyboard). When away from both desks (office and home)... I generally use my iPad about 80% of the time (mostly corporate email)... and use the X201 w/MoGo mouse for the remaining 20% that the iPad cannot cover.

/Jim
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