back to article Touch screens and greasy mitts: All you need is glove

Currently, my most generous client has conspired to have me surrounded by shiny glass and plastic rectangles between the hours of 6pm and 6am. Working night shifts always seems a little exotic at first for namby-pampy light-lubbers like myself but the novelty eventually wears off as vitamin D levels decline. iMac monolith …


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  1. Dazed & Confused

    I was eating my lunch while reading this

    It made for a rather uncomfortable few minutes.

    Coffee on keyboard icon. Except not coffeee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I was eating my lunch while reading this

      I think I actually gagged at the ice-scraper bit!

  2. Kubla Cant Silver badge


    "imagine touching a photo of a brick on an iPad and feeling the brick’s rough surface"

    Imagine touching a photo of a high-tension power line and bursting into flames.

    1. Andrew Moore Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Oops!

      I wouldn't be surprised if the porn industry haven't been pouring large amounts of dosh into the R&D...

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Oops!

        I wouldn't be surprised if the porn industry haven't been pouring large amounts of dosh into the R&D...

        Why? Are brick-fetishists that big a market...

        1. Syed

          Re: Oops!

          I was going to make a joke about feeling a right tit but thought better of it!

      2. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Oops!

        >> I wouldn't be surprised if the porn industry haven't been pouring large amounts of dosh into the R&D

        Congratulations, Andrew, for being the first to identify this week's 'story behind the story'. The potential for innovative porn products is *exactly* what I wanted to write about. However, putting the words 'Disney' and 'pornography' in the same sentence (as I have just done here, I suppose) tends to get our lawyers nervous and Disney's lawyers reaching for the yacht brochures. On that note, you should have seen what I wrote about Will.I.Am before it got cut.

    2. Annihilator

      Re: Oops!

      Perhaps Apple could create that image and tactile feedback for a failed jailbreak attempt on an iDevice :-)

    3. praos

      Re: Oops!

      Imagine touching a photo of a lady and get life for rape.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Oops!

      imagine touching a photo of a brick on an iPad and feeling the brick’s rough surface

      I imagine this would be similar to touching an actual brick, but less useful.

  3. Cosmo


    Your fingers provide instant lubrication? A lot of women will be very interested to hear that...

  4. Rentaguru


    Do pens like those wankcom ones .... 1.99 each.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Lidl

      The pound shop does a twin pack for a quid. Thinner and metal shafted rather than plastic, but they work well enough. I use one with my Nexus 7 - find it much easier to swipe-type with it than with my fingers.

      1. David Paul Morgan
        Thumb Up

        Re: Lidl

        Agree about the Poundland "pair for a pound".

        much better than the 10GBP Griffin I bought first!

      2. Rentaguru

        Re: Lidl

        Those dont have a ballpoint at one end like the lidl ones do they? However the poundland ones with the hard rubber wedge are more accurate than the blob ones

  5. Matthew 25

    "... I’ll be like a Victorian gentleman visiting a zoo, poking the creatures with a stick."

    Reminds me of the Lion and Albert. ".. with 'is stick with the 'orses 'ead 'andle. The finest that Woolworths' could sell."


  6. Russ Tarbox
    Thumb Up

    I love this column.

    The way it is written and the subject matter never ceases to raise a wry smile or the odd snort ... keep up the good work.

  7. dogged


    Nokia are making screens you can use through thick mittens. Maybe you can get some of those and use 'em through tasteful curtains.

  8. koolholio


    Sticky finger chops.... doobie doobie doo!

    sticky finger chops, chops...

    Ohhh, gloves are all you need!

    *sings it for the rest of the day*

  9. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Will you be getting a Leap Motion controller, Mr Dabs?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      >> Will you be getting a Leap Motion controller, Mr Dabs?

      That's double B to you, Dave. Not sure about the Leap - it looks too imprecise for working with windowed software interfaces. Successfully tapping on a close button or choosing a tool from a toolbar could take all day. Mind you, that's what I used to think about trackpads until I became skilled with them.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        My apologies, Mr Dabbs.... and I posted from a laptop so I can't blame my error on a touch-screen keyboard.

        Re things like the Leap, I'm looking on with interest to see what sort of interfaces people devise. Merely transplanting a 'point and click' interface to it will probably be no more successful than using desktop GUI on a tablet, or using a mouse to control a flight simulator.

  10. Rob Moir

    "Disney Research – yes, such a thing exists – has been working on a project called Revel that sends an electric current through your body to your fingertips"

    I'm pretty sure another el reg columnist has had working prototypes of this for some time now. Paging Mr Travaglia to the Mickey-Mouse shaped courtesy phone!

  11. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Does capacitative = multi touch? I did not know that.

    I had a turn with a capacitative screen a few years ago. Multitouch didn't arise. Accuracy did. And a metal pen

    didn't really work, but an old cheap felt-tip pen with all of the ink washed out of it and a hole chopped out of the side of it into the main felt body, which was well moistened, meant that I could hold it and, hmm, capacitate from my hand touching the wet body of the pen, down to the tip. However, for my specific need of onscreen keyboard use (Fitaly is the product, I have a keyboard disability), I preferred Wacom floaty pen pointing combined with an ordinary mouse or trackball to click on what I was pointing at. Oh, and a little circle as cursor pointer instead of the Windows standard arrow.

    The screen cleaner probably isn't up to dealing with your grease. Try water with washing-up liquid in, or some sort of human-body-oriented soap, but switch devices off before applying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does capacitative = multi touch? I did not know that.

      If the OS supports it, yes, capacitative touch screens do do multi-touch.

  12. Oddb0d

    6 degrees of perspiration?

    The rest, however, are as glossy as the hairless pate of my old school’s headmaster, Mr Ernest Shiney-McSlaphead.

    Shaun Fenton (one of Alvin Stardust's sons) is the former head of Pate's Grammar School in Cheltenham.

  13. Lghost

    Of course you leave fingerprints everywhere

    your name is Dabbs ..FFS..what did you expect!

  14. Herby Silver badge

    Yes, fringerprints happen.

    On my iPad, one can easily see that I do play solitaire, as that is where the reflection is when the bloody thing is turned off. It probably needs a cleaning now.

    I had a co worker (from long ago) that called greasy fingerprints "ginnea grease" (he was Italian).

  15. VeganVegan

    Microfiber cleaning cloth

    Finger grease is surprisingly present, even soon after a good hand wash with soap and water.

    It is also surprisingly tenacious on these supposedly oleophobic screens.

    The solution: microfiber cleaning cloths. I bought a package of 20 10"x10" disposable ones from a hardware store, and they work great! No cleaning fluid needed. Two or three good swipes & the screen looks new (much too shiny).

    The only caution is to make sure the cloths do not pick up abrasive grit (which is hazard regardless of cloth type).

  16. a8

    Lumia 920 touch screen works with ordinary gloves.

    Yet, I checked with many cell phone rep and nobody know about this. Nokia should revamp its whole marketing team.

  17. Dave 62

    I just rub my phone with my sleeve.

  18. Gene Cash Silver badge

    They've gotten better

    When I first went shopping for an Android phone, the Motorola Droid on display literally looked like the dog had licked it. It had a layer of greasy smears that made me a bit queasy to look at it. The one I bought was no better, but at least all the grease was mine.

    My Nexus 4 is a lot better in this department. I don't know if it's the Gorilla Glass or just some new coating but it takes a lot to show a smear.

    Speaking of the old resistive screens, they can be made with a rough surface that doesn't show grease, but they also drift in calibration. Note that you never have to calibrate your iPad/Galaxy/Droid but doing the "click upper left/lower right/middle" dance was at least a monthly activity with my Palm units.

    My Palm Tx had such a cheap resistive screen that after a few weeks of playing solitaire, the calibration drifted so far that you couldn't click the buttons on the recalibration program. I RMA'ed it and had a 2nd & 3rd unit do the same thing before I twigged that it was the swiping from solitaire. If I stopped playing solitaire and left it sit for a week, the calibration drifted back.

  19. John H Woods Silver badge

    This is why I need hover touch ...

    ... I have tried everything else. Well most things ... I even had limited success supergluing small circles of aluminum foil onto my fingertips.

    1. illiad

      Re: This is why I need hover touch ...

      know the antistat bags that memory whatever comes in?? roll it up into a 'pen shape' - works great!! :)

      If you have wads of money, just buy the pc screen cleaner pads...

  20. phear46

    pocket wipe

    I just leave mine in my pocket when I'm not using it,me moving about seems to keep it clean enough. When I used to use a case things were different!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nominative Determinism again

    Alistair Dabbs leaves greasy fingerprints on everything he touches ... hmmm

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