Anyone use the new scrolling feature in the new PowerBooks?

madmaxmedia

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I am using Sidetrack on my iBook, but I suspect that the 2-finger technique is better and easier. Nice idea by Apple, or whoever invented it.

With Sidetrack, I get pretty reliable performance, but sometimes the up-down scrolling isn't recognized. The side-to-side scrolling is worse (even after re-calibration), bad enough that I typically use shift in combination with up-down scroll.

For apps like Photoshop, the 2-finger scroll is much more versatile too (drag around in all directions, not just along 2 axises.)

It would be nice if this was a universal feature in Tiger...please Apple???
 

cb911

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Mar 12, 2002
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i haven't used the new PowerBooks yet... i'm just waiting for the local Apple re-seller to get some in stock so i can try it out...

but what do you mean about this becoming a "univeral feature in Tiger"? this functionality is only good for trackpads. but i can see what you mean about perhaps a piece of hardware that could be a "pan-pad" where you could have it sitting next to you for use with PowerMacs for example, so you could pan around a PhotoShop document. is that what you mean?

also, Apple has a Feedback form on their site, you should go and fill that out with your suggestion if you're really keen on seeing this feature...
 

Lacero

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Jan 20, 2005
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Can't they implement this feature on older PBs and iBooks? Looks like a software update if you ask me.
 

madmaxmedia

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Oops, I meant for the notebooks (including previous PowerBooks and iBooks s well.) It would thus be built into Tiger, although only work with computers with a trackpad- :)

It's obviously a software rather than hardware feature, so they could do it (I will suggest to Apple.) If not, I imagine that someone could release a 3rd party utility at some point (unless its patent protected by Apple.)

I wonder if you did a System Restore on a Rev C PowerBook with the CD from the new PowerBook, if the scrolling feature would be enabled? ;)
 

Littleodie914

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Jun 9, 2004
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I'd kinda like to know how it works too. Like how responsive it is, whether or not there are glitches when placing the second finger on the pad, etc.

And does anyone know if this technology will be added to new versions of the iBook? A powerbook seems a bit out of my range, but this new feature sounds really cool.
 

maya

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Oct 7, 2004
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somewhere between here and there.
I also am very interested in the new scroll pad, it does make it look like life is easier when scrolling. ;) :)

Who knows I might buy a new notebook when Tiger is released or give in by March and splurge for a 17". ;) :)
 

Chrispy

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Dec 27, 2004
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I have used it

I just got the new 15" powerbook today and I referenced the scrolling feature in my post. It is actually (besides the increased base RAM) my favorite feature of the laptop. It works great for me and I have not had it do anything crazy on me yet. It is still taking some getting used to for me to remember to use the feature, but when I do use it I am very impressed by how effecient and easy it is to use. Let me know if you have any other questions about it and I would be happy to let you know. :D
 

jemeinc

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Feb 14, 2004
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I tried one out & it is really pretty neat... I've gotten used to a mouse w/ a retractable cord, but this is cool enough to make me ditch the mouse... If it was a software upgrade for my iBook ; I'd buy it...
 

blackpeter

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Aug 14, 2001
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Agreed. I can't wait to try mine when it arrives. The scroll-wheel is what I usually miss most when I'm not using a mouse.
 

cb911

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Mar 12, 2002
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hey Chrispy have you used it on a large document, like in PhotoShop where you'd have to scroll both horizontally and vertically? can it scroll smoothly in a diagonal direction? and how fast and precise can you scroll?
 

Chrispy

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Dec 27, 2004
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cb911 said:
hey Chrispy have you used it on a large document, like in PhotoShop where you'd have to scroll both horizontally and vertically? can it scroll smoothly in a diagonal direction? and how fast and precise can you scroll?
I have used it to scroll in iTunes from side to side but I have not tried to do diagonal. I will try that out sometime tomorrow when I have it not hooked up to my monitor for awhile. The scrolling speed is set pretty slow by default, but you can speed it up in the system preferences.
 

robbieduncan

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Lacero said:
Can't they implement this feature on older PBs and iBooks? Looks like a software update if you ask me.
Are you a hardware engineer at Apple? Thought not! Apple have stated that this is a hardware change. It is not just software. I don't see them porting this back to older hardware. Just because it looks the same does not mean that it has not changed, after all the new PowerBooks look just like the old ones but there are a lot of hardware changes there.
 

crenz

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Jul 3, 2003
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robbieduncan said:
Apple have stated that this is a hardware change. It is not just software.
Source? Apple has used the standard Synaptics-Touchpads for the PowerBooks so far (albeit in a different color), and on PCs, these were able to detect multiple fingers for a few years already.
 

Nuc

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Jan 20, 2003
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It's actually pretty good!

I got my PB yesterday and the scrolling feature works great. It's smooth and of course you can change the speed at which you scroll. I have no complaints so far.

Nuc
 

Bear

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Jul 23, 2002
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Nuc said:
I got my PB yesterday and the scrolling feature works great. It's smooth and of course you can change the speed at which you scroll. I have no complaints so far.

Nuc
What version and Build of Mac OS X did your PowerBook come with? The 10.3.7 update is build 7S215.
 

evilernie

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Jan 6, 2005
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It's true

crenz said:
Source? Apple has used the standard Synaptics-Touchpads for the PowerBooks so far (albeit in a different color), and on PCs, these were able to detect multiple fingers for a few years already.
Scrolling Trackpad -- Raging Menace Software's $15 utility SideTrack has long simulated scroll-wheel capabilities on PowerBook and iBook trackpads, but it does so by devoting a side of the trackpad to scrolling. Apple's new scrolling trackpad technology, which is built into all the new PowerBooks, takes a different approach that may work better. Drag two fingers on the trackpad simultaneously to scroll horizontally, vertically, or to pan around the active window. You can customize the settings or turn off scrolling entirely, presumably in the Trackpad tab of the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane.

<http://www.ragingmenace.com/ software/ sidetrack/>

The scrolling trackpad technology is built into the trackpad hardware and thus won't be available to owners of older PowerBooks or iBooks, though I would expect to see it migrate to the iBooks with the next minor update to that line.

http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=07968
 

madmaxmedia

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robbieduncan said:
Are you a hardware engineer at Apple? Thought not! Apple have stated that this is a hardware change. It is not just software. I don't see them porting this back to older hardware. Just because it looks the same does not mean that it has not changed, after all the new PowerBooks look just like the old ones but there are a lot of hardware changes there.
Actually, he is!
 

madmaxmedia

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crenz said:
Source? Apple has used the standard Synaptics-Touchpads for the PowerBooks so far (albeit in a different color), and on PCs, these were able to detect multiple fingers for a few years already.
If that is the case, then someone can emulate this in software. It might not be as good as Apple's implementation, but it wouldn't seem trickier than other trackpad tricks (for the record, I am not an Apple hardware engineer...) ;)

I have no idea how Apple has implemented this in the new PowerBooks, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it copied on either other Mac notebooks, or PC notebooks as well.

It's actually a very clever idea IMO, more foolproof than using the side and bottom of the trackpad, and more versatile (you have free range of movement, instead of just up and down and side to side.)
 

Engagebot

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Dec 10, 2003
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i wouldnt be suprised if its a firmware thing within the hardware.

let me put it into the easiest terms i can (although not technically perfect)

as far as the OS is concerned, its just dealing with a pointing device. whether that be a mouse, a graphics tablet, whatever. the 'pointing device' only sends a certain 'signal' to the OS, basically telling the OS the coordinates on the screen of where to go.

you're trackpad tries to locate the spot on its surface with the most heat (your finger), then translates that info into the signal that a normal mouse would give.

Its going to be your trackpad that can tell you have two spots going on the pad and translate that into the signal for scrolling (what would be a wheel). Your OS doesn't care what type of physical thing is going on, it just cares if its supposed to scroll the screen, move the pointer, or click at the current spot.

considering that older trackpads are meant to 'pick up' one 'object' on its surface (aka your finger), its unlikely that an OS update, or higher order software update is going to change how the trackpad works at that low level.

(sidetrack works because it still uses a 'one finger' method, and just maps that very edge of the pad to the control for a scrollwheel. its not really the same thing...)
 

madmaxmedia

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madmaxmedia

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Los Angeles, CA
Also, I'm sure it will only be a couple of days before someone writes a GUI front-end to this, with options to choose between linear and circular scrolling (as discussed in the Ars thread.) Circular scrolling is iPod Wheel style, but then I guess you can only go up/down as opposed to full 2-D movement.
 

wordmunger

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Sep 3, 2003
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FYI: New trackpad definitely not just a software feature:

For users who find the new scrolling feature unnecessary or unwieldy, Apple has added a a new Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences option to deactivate it. And this isn't just a software change, according to Moody -- it's a physical difference in how the TrackPad works.
link
 

stcanard

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Oct 19, 2003
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madmaxmedia said:
EDIT- Actually, I'm a novice at this sort of thing, and have no idea what to do. Which file do I download? Where do I put it before I enter the terminal commands to enable it?

Any help would be much appreciated!
It depends on what you're doing. It doesn't matter where you put it, as long as you remember where that was ;)

the *.kext file is the compiled extension, you can just download that and install it.

If you want to modify the behaviour, download the package. You need the developer tools installed. Then there is an xcode project you can open and build yourself (very easy, you double-click the *.pbproj file, then click 'build' in xcode)

I've gone the latter route myself, as I agree that the default parameters aren't very good. The killer-app is definitely the iPod style "circular scroll", because just like the iPod it allows me to scroll down long lists without lifting my fingers.

The parameters I've changed are:

#define SCROLL_THRESH_ROT 0
#define SCROLL_SCALE_ROT -10

This completely disables linear scrolling, shifts the scroll direction to match the iPod, and to my feel so far scrolls at a reasonable speed. I'm playing with SCROLL_SCALE_ROT a bit still. Closer to 0 makes the scrolling faster, farther from zero slows it down.

So far this change is working well enough that I'll leave it in for a few days to see how I get used to it.