I was convinced by a co-worker while on a busness trip to purchase the Apple Magic Trackpad. I had the idea of using its multi-touch functionality for controlling my carputer with it. So far it is exceeding my expectations.
I’ve already got app switching working with just the swipe of my hand, and I have a 5 finger touch bring up the on screen keyboard. For now it is doing what I expected. The more I play with it, the more ideas I get on what I can do with it. It was a little rough getting started as I needed a fairly recent kernel so I upgraded to Ubuntu Natty 11.04. This caused some issues as my preferred window manager is icewm and natty runs gnome bu default. I had an issue with Natty not saving my default session and that hung me up for a few hours. It turned out to be a permissioning issue on one of the files. I was also experimenting with some other music players and decided there was still nothing out there that worked the way I wanted so I decided to keep my own. this led to another issue. The program I wrote tends to not pass through key presses so when I get to that app the key presses simulated by the magic pad just get absorbed and not sent to the window manager. This is a bug in my code, and I’m going to tackle it next. After that bug is squashed I’m going to move on to controlling the audio volume using the rotate controls sent from the magic pad. I’m not sure what else I’m going to use it for, but as I play with integrating it into the system I have no doubt I will find more useful things for it to do. The Apple magic touchpad seems to have a lot of potential.