Tuesday, February 26, 2008

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InkSeine's Floating Tool Ring rocks!


  1. Thanks for trying it, and particularly for your great discussion about what you like and don't like and why!

    Often times we try this things but the exact reasons they succeed or fail can remain elusive, so this is really interesting commentary for us.

    I'm not a great fan of the "Floating tool ring" name myself. We had to call it something in the tutorial, and that was the best I could come up with at the time. I like "Scrubble" alot, but a quick search reveals it's the name of a cleaning product, so we'd probably immediately get a cease & desist letter :-(

    The scrolling part of it is based on a little gem of research that Tomer Moscovich, then at Brown University, and now at the University of Toronto, did a few years back. His technique was called the virtual scroll ring, and so that's where the "ring" nomenclature came from.

    Tomer's algorithm fits a circle to the last 50 (or so) pen samples on a continuous basis. The scrolling amount is proportional to the arc length, so a large circle scrolls fast and a small circle scrolls slow. It also has the wonderful property that the circle doesn't have to employ a fixed center, so if you kind of drift while you're circling it still works great. This lets you focus on what you're reading, instead of paying attention to how you're circling your pen.

    The novel thing we added to it in InkSeine is to put it on this floating widget as a way to activate it across all your applications, as well as to couple it with screen capture. Our early testing showed that people wanted to capture pieces of documents, but they needed an easy way to get to the right place in the document prior to doing a screen capture.

    Part of the reason we called it the "tool" ring is that we envisioned possibly adding other stuff to it. On the other hand its simplicity is very appealing, so we wouldn't want to overdo it.

    If you've ever seen the MiniScroller, that is something I discovered recently that does something kind of similar, but it is too big and has too much stuff on it, so it ends up being a little bit clunky in my opinion.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/27/2008 01:12:00 AM

  2. Trying is not the right term, at least for the FTR. I've made it part of my ink blogging arsenal. Do or do not, there is no try. :)

    Thanks for the background on the scroller. I appreciate the way you took the idea to a new level by putting it on the FTR (I suppose that will suffice as a name for now). Build 52 was made in much the same fashion, through input from peers and cobbled together bits of code scavenged from the Internet.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2/27/2008 07:48:00 AM

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