I’ve started to become used to (and excited by) the use of gestures in multi-touch interfaces. The beautiful and unexpected ways that multi-touch has been implemented on the iPad are a constant delight. Simple gestures on my MacBook Pro trackpad have become part of my everyday casual use (read non-work use) of a computer.

But in a work environment so far gestures have been an annoyance more than anything else. Anyone with a Magic Mouse in design and layout applications will have experienced the wild and irritating behaviour that takes place when one accidentally drags a finger left or right on the mouse surface. 

One way to fix this would be for the Mouse preferences pane to allow gestures to be turned on or off on a per-application basis. Using iPhoto? Gestures on. Using InDesign? Gestures well and truly off, thanks. Sadly, the standard prefs pane doesn’t allow this.

So I have a lot of hope for the Magic Trackpad. I’d like to use it on the left of my keyboard, and continue to use a mouse (or a stylus) on the right. The trackpad would be great as a modifier, but also I could use it for scale, rotate, undo and pan. Nifty.

Except.

A picture of the Apple Trackpad prefs pane.

Except the last thing I want is to be using two devices at once that each will try to control the cursor. So, I’d like the preferences pane for the trackpad to allow me to disable cursor control. And by the looks of it, it won’t.

I’m not sure how the underlying technology works here, but I do hope some smart person works out a way to hack the prefs pane for the trackpad, or develop an alternative to enable this level of customisation. Otherwise, the Magic Trackpad could end up being the worst of both worlds.

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