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back to article Surface tablet's touch cover is ZX81 REBORN

The Surface tablet's Touch Cover is eerily reminiscent of typing on a ZX81, The Register can report after fondling one of the elusive (to non Microsoft-adoring press) computers at the Australian launch of Windows 8. To do so, we elbowed aside other media and scored a few minutes on a Surface running Windows RT. We were able to …

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Trollface

Now you've done it

You posted something positive about Windows 8. The anti-Microsoft brigade will be along shortly to correct you.

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Re: Now you've done it

What's wrong with posting nice things about the touch side of Windows 8? It's what the OS was designed for. After nerfing the workstation portion of the OS, the touch side had damned well better bring me to climax!

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Anonymous Coward

No, he posted something nice about the Surface tablet

I want one of those too! But I'm not at all interested in its pre-installed operating system.

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Meh

Re: Now you've done it

The cheap keyboard is a bit better than a ZX81, and the dear one a bit better than a Speccy- that's positive?

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Re: Now you've done it

It is a positive if it comes with some of the old Spectrum games. =3

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Re: Now you've done it

Emulator, Roms, Kempston Joystick and a usb adapter and you're done :D

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MrT
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Go

Daley's Decathlon...

... and a good warranty on the keyboard. What could possibly go wrong?

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Devil

Re: Now you've done it

@Trevor: in my *personal* opinion, there's nothing wrong with it. I actually am quite enjoying Windows 8, in fact, but the general response amongst El Reg commentards is that any positive response to Windows 8 must be met with downvotes and vitriol.

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I Swype

But I can see the attraction of a real keyboard /stand combo.

Looks like an interesting bit of kit from a productivity point of view.

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Anonymous Coward

Mix and Match

I remember when audio equipment consisted of separate mix and match components - pre-amp, graphic equalizer, power amp (I don't know, maybe it still does).

Wouldn't it be nice if you could wirelessly connect a screen of your choice of dimensions and resolution to a pocketable device running your favourite combination of CPU, GPU and OS.

Of course, that would require an agreement on standards, so it will never happen.

In the meantime I'll stick to my Windows 7 desktop PC and my Android phone.

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Re: Mix and Match

And those hifi systems took up a lot of space and cables. New audio gear, and laptops, have all their components squeezed and integrated into as small a space as possible.

Your modular plan would require you to accept a bit of wasted space - so if you really want to carry around an ATX-sized laptop, then that could probably be arranged.

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Wireless screens have been done, but

They tended to be expensive and didn't catch on. I think I remember hearing about one where the screen was a Windows CE device running the remote desktop software, or something, and it cost about a thousand dollars.

What you can do, of course, is get a slim tablet containing screen and PC, and use Bluetooth wireless peripherals, for a wireless virtual docking station.

Although I wonder if that is part of the reason why my Dell Latitude ST (Windows 7 tablet) frequently goes completely unresponsive for a full sixty seconds - I'm using a Bluetooth mouse on its underside while pushing the cursor around with the stylus. But no - I think it also happens if I use it without the mouse. This leads up to looking for a Windows 8 full-fat tablet that isn't from Dell, although I also might upgrade my touch-only Fizzbook Spin up from Windows XP, instead. It's heavier than some new tablets, though.

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"........that would require an agreement on standards, so it will never happen."

I'm a little more optimistic. It requires after all little more than the tablet producer manufacturing a powered dock suited to the device concerned with standard ports (full size USBs + HDMI etc). You could then connect what the heck you liked to it. Dell have just launched a Windows 8 device with that sort of setup (don't ask about the resolution though - that just starts me off and explains why I won't be buying that particular device!). However, my point is that such devices do exist and can be readily manufactured by any OEM willing to do so. Furthermore developments within chippery expected next year should go a long way to realising the device you desire.

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Anonymous Coward

Touch Cover better than laptop keyboard?

0:53: .. "that is Touch Cover .. it uses unique pressure sensing technology that actually senses your typing as gestures. So it can actually allow you to put your fingers down on the home position, find your home position. You can actually rest there it doesn't fire off keys but when you start touch typing on it, it actually registers those key press or the gestures as key presses and that allows me to type at fifty two words a minute. I type at fifty on a laptop keyboard of a similar size and then Type Cover allows me to .. this one's sixty two for me but it would vary by the person .." link

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I must say I am curious, but the ASUS Transformer series still seems to fit my needs a bit better (that and a fast 13 or 14" notebook with good graphics grunt)

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Anonymous Coward

It's a halfway house between an on-screen keyboard and a laptop keyboard. At least you won't get crumbs in it.

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Anonymous Coward

The key question for me...

is whether you can fold the keyboard back under the tablet, so that you can use it as a tablet without having to detach the keyboard and carry that separately. Its been the deal breaker for every otherwise decent ipad keyboard and android keyboard I've seen so far, except for an expensive and fairly bulky Belkin one.

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Re: The key question for me...

Yes you can (and it disables the keyboard when you do). You can also fold it flat on the desk behind the tablet when using the kickstand (i.e. under the foot of the kickstand), so you don't need to take it off then either. They pointed out yesterday that the folded back cover actually makes quite a nice surface (ha!) for the kickstand to rest on if you want to stand it on your lap.

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Holmes

Ahem...

I believe I made this comparison about four months ago.

(IIRC the ZX80 keyboard was thinner than the ZX81's so probably a better match).

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Anonymous Coward

The Interface Formerly Known as Metro

Can we have a shorter version of TIFKAM? A single symbol, perharps? ☿?

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Joke

Re: The Interface Formerly Known as Metro

Prince, is that you?

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Anonymous Coward

Is there some sort of award

from the using the phrase "your correspondent " as often as possible in a short article?

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Award for the first person to create

A ZX81 emulator, using a bitmap of the old keyboard as the interface at the bottom of the screen.

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Pendant alert

>>start a swipe off the screen, a technique pioneered on the BlackBerry Playbook<<

I first experienced this on the Palm Pre 2, where the black area under the screen is touch enabled, swipe up to minimise, swipe left and right to switch between minimised apps or views in the current app. It's a great idea because developers can't fuss it like they can a touch area with display underneath...

Foolishly HP dropped this for the touchpad though, making minimising an app and scrolling the page impossible to differentiate, yet another stupid HP tablet decision...

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Re: Pendant alert

I quite like this "swipe off the screen" on PlayBook, works well for gestures which have no obvious reference to screen. Esp. like sweep left below screen in Android runtime, which replaces back button!

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Re: Pendant alert

I heard Steven Sinofsky claim 'No hidden gestures'. Which was clearly a swipe at RIM/HP and even Apple. It annoyed me because WinRT/8 is FULL of hidden gestures.

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