Getting All Touchy-Feely with a Lion

After a week and a half of heavy use, I’ve settled on my favorite thing about OS X Lion — three-handed navigation!

I got one of Apple’s trackpads at Christmas, after adding one to my wishlist on a whim. And it was well made, lovely to touch, and nearly useless. There weren’t many apps that supported touch gestures, the apps that did support them I preferred to use a mouse, and the thing wasn’t very customizable. In other words: Useless.


So the pad sat on the credenza unloved and unused — until I upgraded to Lion.

It still needs more customization options, and I suspect third-party SysPrefs add ons are already in the works to do just that. But gestures are nicely integrated now into the OS. I don’t use them for rotating pictures or tap-zooming on web pages, but the thing is great for navigating through my virtual desktops in Mission Control. The touchpad is great for moving through documents and web pages, too. It has a lot more surface area than a Magic Mouse, making everything more comfortable and more accurate. Nice.

But what works for me might not work for many other people. I’m strangely non-ambidextrous. There are things I do with my left (write, mouse, shoot pool, shoot pistols, throw, catch) and and things I do with my right hand (trackpad, shoot rifle, bowl, scratch my head) — without much rhyme or reason. So the mouse goes on the left side of my keyboard and the trackpad goes on the right. So between the three it’s a good bet that at any given moment one of my hands is somewhere away from the keyboard — but still useful for getting around the screen or the document I’m working on.


If you’re all-righty or all-left, this setup might not work for you. And I’ve read of people who have given up their mice completely in favor of a trackpad. Those people are nuts. A mouse is accurate to the pixel. The trackpad is accurate to your comparatively fat fingertips. But if you can make use of both at once, I highly recommend it.


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