humane computing

22 May 2008

N82 Media Keys with Voice Recording Functionality

Devin Balentina from The Nokia Guide posted a list of 10 reasons why the N82 isn't perfect. Some of his reasons like an optical zoom, a larger screen or a QWERTY keyboard would result in a bigger phone, which we all don't really want. The most interesting points he makes are of course changes that would make the N82 clearly better without increasing size and price.

I would especially like to see media keys on the N82. Not only to control the music player but also to start a voice recording. For this functionality, two extra keys would be enough: play/pause and next track. If you press the two buttons simultaneously a new recording starts, even if the keyboard is locked. Having a dedicated button to start a new recording is a must for some more business oriented people.

The Buttons could be positioned on the left side, somewhere in the middle. This is where your fingers are when you have the handset in your right hand and the keys wouldn't get in the way or be confusing if you take Pictures. A small pictograph could indicate that you can record something when you press both keys.

I made a quick mock up image of how the keys could look like. I moved the microSD slot and removed the usb and power connector because there seems to be consensus that these should be placed at the bottom :).

What do you think?

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8 March 2008

Window Maximization

At FOSDEM and just recently at CeBit I had the chance to play with the omnipresent Asus Eee-PC. Its limited screen estate reminded me of an idea I had a while ago:
Why not remove the window title when the window is maximized. This would not only save vertical screen estate but since the menu bar would then be at the top edge (at least if there's no upper panel) menu access could be made easier according to Fitts's law.
I have made a few mock-ups showing how this could be done. In principal, there are two ways to do it:
  1. Patch GTK and Qt to add buttons for closing, minimizing, etc. on the right edge of the menu bar. Additionally, there must be some code that removes the title bar when maximized.
  2. Change the window manager to maximize the window a bit more and only show a shortened title bar over the top-right corner of the window. Since hardly any program shows anything on the right end of the menu bar if maximized, this shouldn't be a problem. Only Firefox shows its busy animation there and has an icon for closing the current window on the right edge.
    Only the buttons or buttons plus icon and title (ellipsized) can be shown.

I think this would be nice for normal PCs aswell. It reminds me of the all-fullscreen applications on the Amiga. Tell me what you think!

Update: I added a version of the small titlebar with just the buttons hanging from the top edge of the screen. This way, the buttons do not hide the right edge of the menu bar completely. Allthough they are quite slim, according to Fitts's law, they should be reachable as easy as big buttons, because they are positioned at the top edge of the screen. The button design is inspired by the Windows Vista titlebar buttons.

Update2: I forgot to mention that this Idea has been implemented in the Fitz KWin Decoration, but Fitz looks quite bad, still draws a border around the maximized Window and I don't know if it still works with recent versions of KDE.


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