Later today the blogosphere will be aglow with news and commentary regarding Microsoft Surface, the company’s pricey coffee table computer that features multit-touch direct object manipulation and physical object recognition. The sheer novelty of Surface will no doubt enable it to draw attention in public venues, not unlike those Reactrix installations that seem in some ways a crude prototype of Surface.
Surface is cool for manipulating and resizing photos and maps and I can see how it could be helpful with good ol’ productivity, allowing you to spread documents around a dgital desk more similarly to how you would on a physical one. That said, it seems you could reap most of those benefits implementing a subset of the technology on a more standard-sized PC, and apply them in more situations.
I’ll say this about Surface — the user interface looks very clean. Micosoft has come a long way since the days when endless rows of cryptic gray toolbar buttons dominated Windows.