A no-touch touch-screen fix

ok, one of the minor frustrations using Windows 8 on the desktop is the fact the screen is touch screen focused. You can use the mouse but it’s not the same, and as I said in the previous post one of the goals of Win8 is that you use the same commands and gestures regardless of system.

I’ve played with a few work-arounds and want to share two – each has advantages and I’m not real certain which will turn out to be my preference.

Method one: attach a motion reader. At this point all I’ve got is a kinect, though someday when I can afford it I want to try a leap motion. Regardless, with the box linked in and configured you don’t have to actually touch the screen. Which in turn means you don’t have to lean way forward at your desk. The biggest disadvantages I’ve found deal with alignment, most often in picking up gestures from places you didn’t want them. Like your wife standing behind you, talking with her hands, shutting down the article you were in the middle of writing. (grin)

Method two: using a mobile system as a touchpad. There are actually a few ways to do this, but I found one to be the simplest and most useful. I established a Remote Desktop connection between the pad and the desktop. Actually, I played a bit so I could do it as a one-touch app and it would initiate the vpn, follow that link to the desktop, connect, log in, and sync. Anyway, I connect and, well… it used to be a joke kind of thing you could do, where you could do things “over a person’s shoulder”. Starting things, moving his mouse, talking to him, that sort of thing. See, when the RDS is set up it doesn’t turn off local, it’s just another input. So what you’ve got with your mobile set up this way is a touchscreen mirror of the desktop screen. So all the swiping and everything is done on the mobile. You only go for the mouse for the times when it’s the right tool for the job. With a smartphone that means when you need fairly precise cursor placement (like placing the cursor for a block of text), while with a tablet I almost never use the mouse.

As a by the way and referencing something from W8 below, I’m finding this rather useful for my own little cloud. I had to add a little wake-up protocol (well, borrow one someone else wrote), but now I can control when I switch from tablet to heavy processor (aka my desktop box). One of these days I’m going to try something heavy, like loading a modern game, and see if I can remote terminal play it. No, let me be more accurate. See if the inevitable lag and such make it unplayable – I know it’ll work.

See, the major weakness of the RDS/C connection is that it uses some of the processor – there’s just no way around it. Yes it’s just one more thing, but in the end these days that’s what kills the computers – one more thing over and over. That tale of the straw that broke the camel’s back really comes home.

But anyway there are two methods that work, both of which make up for the lack of a standing touchscreen for the desktop. Just a little practical tool.

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