A successor already? Really?


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holdoncaulfield

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Not only that but I want the screen to show me what I'm doing and not to mash my fingers into it.
LOL

Trashy - Haptic feedback is something I was going to mention, and I'm glad you brought it up.  I agree that haptic feedback can only give you so much responsiveness, and even then just like you said it doesn't necessarily let you know what you hit, just that you hit something.

I'm a big fan of simplicity.  Maybe it's because I just got finished reading the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, and Jobs's philosophy of simplicity resonated so much with me.  Which brings me to present an idea to you all.  What about, instead of an on-screen keyboard or a physical keyboard and buttons and all that, you have a "dynamic" keyboard built into a machine?  What I mean by this is, imagine a rectangular device that looks much like a tablet.  Instead of the screen taking up all of the face of the device, it occupies only enough space to allow for a GUI to show what you're doing - playing a game, using an OS, etc.  But the bottom half of the face is completely blank, or seems to be.  Instead, it's a touch apparatus.  When you want to work with an OS, it suddenly morphs into a standard QWERTY keyboard (or a DVORAK for you eccentric types).  When you want to play a game, it gives you the WASD keys and all other gaming-appropriate buttons (function keys, left/right shift, etc) or maybe it just gives you diamond-patterned facebuttons such as those found on any standard gaming controller.  The appropriate buttons are "raised" from the face of the machine depending on what task you are wanting to perform.  So it has all of the features of a keyboard, gaming controller, whatever - without any of the clutter - and it also gives you physical feedback that isn't quite like using a keyboard but isn't purely haptic feedback either.  Obviously, things like a trackpad and joysticks would have to be built into the face of the device as well.  I don't see how you would have a joystick pop out of the blue, but simple buttons could be possible.  It's something to think about, and I have no idea if this technology is even possible, but I believe it could be a step in the right direction of finding new ways to interact with technology.  The jump from hardware interfaces straight to neural interfaces is a bit extreme and maybe not something people are comfortable with right now (think: Google Glass).  What do you guys think?  Maybe this has already been done before, and I'm just waxing eloquent about a tried-and-failed interface.
 

Binky

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Also, well done for understanding that there are two companies involved, one of which is in a complete mess and the other is doing fine.

Its amazing how many people we get here who are angry at OpenPandora in general, and think that "they" are guilty of scamming people out of their money.

---

In my opinion, we should  let the big boys build the first devices with new technology. The keyboard & pointer control combo has proved itself to be simple and effective.

The simplicity you speak of is user-facing simplicity. It is also important to consider technical simplicity.

Buttons are a long understood, easy it interpret input device.

Dynamically shaped and positioned buttons sound like a pain to manufacture, produce and control.
 
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holdoncaulfield

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Apple wasn't a big boy until they tipped the world on its side and developed the first personal computer.  Not that I or any of us are comparable to the guys who started Apple (not just Jobs - Woz and Burrell Smith and Andy Hertzfield are all my personal idols) but just saying.

I disagree with your assessment.  It's easy to say something is impossible to do or too expensive until you find a way to make it the opposite.  I think it's a great idea.  We'll see if anyone else thinks the same.
 

moxie

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What about, instead of an on-screen keyboard or a physical keyboard and buttons and all that, you have a "dynamic" keyboard built into a machine? [...]  The appropriate buttons are "raised" from the face of the machine depending on what task you are wanting to perform.
 

That sounds like proper SF right there, I'd say :) And definitely not cheap. But I was actually going to reply to this:

I'm a big fan of simplicity.  Maybe it's because I just got finished reading the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, and Jobs's philosophy of simplicity resonated so much with me.
 

If I may, I'd recommend to follow up with Robert Pirsigs "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance". It is probably less profound these days than it was when I read it in my impressionable teenage years, but there are several take-away things there. One is a very thorough discussion of the concepts of form visavi function. How it looks versus how it works, the relative importance given to things being "original parts" or "the real thing" and so on. See, when I see an Apple product, I don't see simplicity at all. Or rather, I see simplicity/minimalism, in the form, in the design, in the looks. But I am not a Form kind of person - I'm squarely on the Function side. I will choose functionality (not features - that's another thing) over form every time. And I want simple-to-access Function - The ability to run the programs I need, use the most fitting interface to interact with the device in different use cases, the ability to attach the peripherals necessary to transform the device to whatever I need it to be now. That means that to me, stuff like standard USB ports, a proper keyboard, standard SD slots, physical buttons and triggers for whatever I need to use it for - That is things that enable simplicity in usage/function. The formwise simplicity of blank glass and unbroken form is a visual simplicity, but a functional complication.

I guess most people here are of the more Functional bent.
 

Binky

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Apple started with a good idea, but not, IIRC, ground-breaking technology.

Making the impossible easy takes big R&D teams.

Combining the everyday to make the extraordinary takes imagination.

Consider the Pandora:

  • SD card slots
  • LCD with touchscreen
  • dpad
  • analogue nubs
  • buttons and keyboard
  • clamshell case
  • rechargeable battery
  • ARM system-on-chip
  • WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Cut down Linux firmware
  • Small speakers
  • High-quality DAC
  • USB host port
  • USB otg port
  • Barrel-jack power connector
  • Analogue video-out
  • Software repository with both games and useful software
  • Online forums with enthusiastic people
  • Made in small quantities
  • Fits in a pocket
None of that is new, exciting or special. Every one of them can be applied to large numbers of other products.

Its the combination that makes a unique, extraordinary device.
 
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holdoncaulfield

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Yes, you are correct.  The GUI, mouse, and icons were all Xerox PARC creations, not Apple creations.  So the good idea then became groundbreaking after Apple "stole" those technologies and incorporated them into the Macintosh.  Though it can be said that what guys like Steve Wozniak and Burrell Smith did with designing circuit boards for the Apple I, II, the Macintosh, etc. was groundbreaking in its own right.  That's a whole different thing to dive into, though.

So yes, again I'll defer to you, the combination of different technologies is what makes a unique, extraordinary device.  But I will disagree that big R&D teams is the only avenue for for making the impossible easy.  I think it goes back to what you mentioned about having a good idea.  Then you just have to find the right way to go about executing your idea.  R&D certainly helps that, but it can only take you so far.  How many great ideas have been quashed because they didn't jump through hoops of research the right way or didn't serve the needs of the company they were being developed for (most companies, I understand, create solely to turn a profit)?  I think this is more a philosophical difference between us than anything (or maybe I'm just that naive about how business works nowadays) so, yeah.

What about, instead of an on-screen keyboard or a physical keyboard and buttons and all that, you have a "dynamic" keyboard built into a machine? [...]  The appropriate buttons are "raised" from the face of the machine depending on what task you are wanting to perform.
 

That sounds like proper SF right there, I'd say :) And definitely not cheap. But I was actually going to reply to this:

I'm a big fan of simplicity.  Maybe it's because I just got finished reading the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, and Jobs's philosophy of simplicity resonated so much with me.
 

If I may, I'd recommend to follow up with Robert Pirsigs "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance". It is probably less profound these days than it was when I read it in my impressionable teenage years, but there are several take-away things there. One is a very thorough discussion of the concepts of form visavi function. How it looks versus how it works, the relative importance given to things being "original parts" or "the real thing" and so on. See, when I see an Apple product, I don't see simplicity at all. Or rather, I see simplicity/minimalism, in the form, in the design, in the looks. But I am not a Form kind of person - I'm squarely on the Function side. I will choose functionality (not features - that's another thing) over form every time. And I want simple-to-access Function - The ability to run the programs I need, use the most fitting interface to interact with the device in different use cases, the ability to attach the peripherals necessary to transform the device to whatever I need it to be now. That means that to me, stuff like standard USB ports, a proper keyboard, standard SD slots, physical buttons and triggers for whatever I need to use it for - That is things that enable simplicity in usage/function. The formwise simplicity of blank glass and unbroken form is a visual simplicity, but a functional complication.

I guess most people here are of the more Functional bent.
Thank you!  I will get my hands on that book.  I always like to hear different perspectives.  What did you mean by SF?

I think you're making some assumptions about Apple products though.  Of course, I'm probably going to get someone to read this post and come back to tell me this way of thinking was never new or profound, but consider this: when Steve Jobs was designing the iPad and concurrently the iPhone, he went great lengths to ensure that the way people used the device, not simply how it was designed, was in a way that was as simple as possible.  Initially, they tried adapting the iPod's trackwheel to use for a phone.  But that was proving counter-intuitive.  Then, Jobs went to a dinner party for an engineer working at Microsoft.  The engineer was designing a tablet PC that Microsoft felt would make notepad PCs obsolete.  It was funny reading about it, because Gates was at the same dinner, and this engineer kept giving away company information to the CEO of one of Microsoft's biggest competitors, so he was obviously a little pissed.  Jobs hated hearing about the tablet, mainly because it used a stylus.  To quote Jobs: "God gave us ten styluses, right here. *waggles fingers*"  So he immediately set his team to work on implementing a multi-touch screen to use for the iPhone and later the iPad.  The result was an interface that was leaps and bounds better than a trackwheel, and even more bend-to-your-will-easy than using a stylus.  And most importantly it was a simple and elegant solution that belied just how complex the tech in that thing was.  The same thing can be said for the Macintosh's GUI - clipped windows, icons, friendly text.  I sound like an Apple PR guy right now, but again what Jobs did with tech - make it friendly and accessible and seamless (as long as you were using Apple products) - really makes my imagination whir.
 

Grench

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I hope you've done your due diligence in creating another handheld device that people will actually WANT to buy.
 
Also, must respond to this: Had the original Pandora been something that people didn't want to buy, we wouldn't have had the problem with hundreds of buyers without pandoras...
Dude, touche.  I said a lot of stupid things in my first post here.  Hopefully I can become a productive member of the community.  I apologize for trashing your product and in general being a little shit, EvilDragon.
Well, hopefully you 'get it' with the physical keyboard and clam shell design and how this community came together to assist with fulfilling what we could of the abandoned pre-orders. Unfortunately, we would never be able to cover all of them.

You may think the Pandora is ugly, but it's capabilities far outweigh it's aesthetics. -Nothing- else does all of the things this little handheld PC will do and still fit in a pocket.

If looks are inversely related to capability, I hope the successor (Pyra) will be one seriously ugly piece of hardware.

If you're going to join our community, I'd recommend getting one.
 

moxie

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SF = Science Fiction :)

Actually, I just (as in 5 minutes ago) read an interview with David Liddle (one of the designers on the Xerox Star project) who describes the design process very much along those lines - They were designing for general user experience, with prototyping and video recording of tests and constant reviews and redesigns based on the users actual usage pattern of their devices. So, everything new is actually old :) (And he was pissed that Apple botched up the usability principles when they did the MacOS interface)

But, to reiterate: To me, the interface of an iPad is *not* simple, elegant and bend-your-will-easy. It is horribly frustrating, every time. It works for the simplest of usage - Reading an ebook, playing simple games - but as soon as I want to do something proper with it, it goes into frustrate-the-hell-out-of-me-land. It is, of course, a question of expectations - I suppose that for the average iPad user, the expected use case is just those simple things - but to me it is an obvious waste of computing resources. If I am to carry a general-purpose computing device around, I'd expect to be able to do general-purpose computing things with it. With a tablet or smartphone (in general - Not only iThings), I can't - for typed input, the interface is barely working; for precision "mousing", the screen is too inaccurate and the fingers too fat; for development work or connecting as a frontend to other devices...Well, I really am not allowed to do that, am I? There's no GCC or Python on that iThing, and that is by design - You're not supposed to do that, that is not part of the designed iExperience. Looking at photos and playing Angry Birds is. Which is fine if what you want is a flash-looking photo viewer for that half thousand $CURRENCY, but then I say you're not mainly interested in function - you're interested in form.

It's a bit ironic, that finger-waggling quote, considering that the most obvious failing of the touch-screen paradigm is that it really doesn't cater to the most important sense of the fingers - Touch.
 
C

CocoCreekFisherman

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Remember those Blackberry press screens??.....A failure.

Though one could actually get the tactile feedback, the accuracy was horrid.

It did feel nice though.
 
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rohezal

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Well the ipad tells you, what you are allowed to do. And is very good at these allowed tasks. Nice simple interface, which allows you simple tasks. This is what most people want, "it just works". But it is very limited. You can't get programms on the device which are not in the apple store. You can't change the kernel (like clever memory mapping stuff for speed improvements in emulators).

It is a bit like comparing a dvd player to a video camera. You can watch movies on the dvd player, which works out of the box, but you can't never create your own movie. It is way more easy to watch a film, than make a film and most people just want to watch movies. But just because the dvd player is easier to use, it doesn't mean that it is better designed than the camera, it just has an other purpose. The Pandora is the video camera, where a lot of people changing stuff and even adding rumble motors to the pandora boards. The ipad is dvd player, where you can't even replace the battery, and which has a region lock (the apple store).

Edit: And I want to say the Steve Jobs wasn't such a nice guy, as far as I know (just second hand knowledge). Steve Woszniac was the genius who did a great job with the Apple 2. Steve was more a marketing guy.
 
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ekianjo

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I'm new to Pandora.  In fact, I'm not even in a position to really trash anyone's project, be it a handheld open-source gaming system or otherwise.  But I can't help but wonder, after reading about the UK company's financial issues and how hundreds of early adapters were left out in the cold by OpenPandora Ltd., if a successor is a bit premature.

I hope you've done your due diligence in creating another handheld device that people will actually WANT to buy.  Obviously EvilDragon's outfit is still standing and there's something to be said about that after the UK outfit crashed and burned.  But now that there's only one option, I hope the same people who were "saved" by OpenPandora GmbH (you launched a campaign to get members of the community to buy UK members of the community Pandoras - really?  How was that not OpenPandora Ltd.'s responsibility?) don't get left high and dry this go around.  You guys better make this thing work!  I'd get rid of that abhorrent keyboard layout.  It's like the Pandora has an identity crisis - is it a gaming handheld or an ugly pseudo-tablet?  Regardless, I'm rooting for you all.  Just a little pissed off after reading the Pandora's Wikipedia entry that there is literally another Pandora on the way...
Let me summarize:

1. successor is premature because OpenPandora Ltd screwed up.

2. wonders if people will want successor. 

3. ED's reputation is still fine

4. People saved by ED shouldn't get screwed up again. 

5. Keyboard is shit.

6. Pandora is a pseudo tablet.

7. Oh by the way, I love you all guys. 

8. I dont like the fact that there's a successor.

Seriously, stop the drugs man. 
 

holdoncaulfield

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SF = Science Fiction :)

Actually, I just (as in 5 minutes ago) read an interview with David Liddle (one of the designers on the Xerox Star project) who describes the design process very much along those lines - They were designing for general user experience, with prototyping and video recording of tests and constant reviews and redesigns based on the users actual usage pattern of their devices. So, everything new is actually old :) (And he was pissed that Apple botched up the usability principles when they did the MacOS interface)

But, to reiterate: To me, the interface of an iPad is *not* simple, elegant and bend-your-will-easy. It is horribly frustrating, every time. It works for the simplest of usage - Reading an ebook, playing simple games - but as soon as I want to do something proper with it, it goes into frustrate-the-hell-out-of-me-land. It is, of course, a question of expectations - I suppose that for the average iPad user, the expected use case is just those simple things - but to me it is an obvious waste of computing resources. If I am to carry a general-purpose computing device around, I'd expect to be able to do general-purpose computing things with it. With a tablet or smartphone (in general - Not only iThings), I can't - for typed input, the interface is barely working; for precision "mousing", the screen is too inaccurate and the fingers too fat; for development work or connecting as a frontend to other devices...Well, I really am not allowed to do that, am I? There's no GCC or Python on that iThing, and that is by design - You're not supposed to do that, that is not part of the designed iExperience. Looking at photos and playing Angry Birds is. Which is fine if what you want is a flash-looking photo viewer for that half thousand $CURRENCY, but then I say you're not mainly interested in function - you're interested in form.

It's a bit ironic, that finger-waggling quote, considering that the most obvious failing of the touch-screen paradigm is that it really doesn't cater to the most important sense of the fingers - Touch.
I think I'm coming around to your end of things.  It's true that Apple's end-to-end integration approach has locked out and alienated PC users such as yourself, who don't just want the "iExperience" as you so aptly put it.  I suppose it's a bit ironic that I'm philosophizing about Apple to a bunch of open-source geeks haha.  Regardless, I've enjoyed the discussion.

Remember those Blackberry press screens??.....A failure.

Though one could actually get the tactile feedback, the accuracy was horrid.

It did feel nice though.
A little different from what I was talking about earlier, but sort of in the same vein.

Edit: And I want to say the Steve Jobs wasn't such a nice guy, as far as I know (just second hand knowledge). Steve Woszniac was the genius who did a great job with the Apple 2. Steve was more a marketing guy.
Yeah, he definitely wasn't.  But at least he did it to inspire competition and light fires under asses than to just be a power-hungry moron (looking at you, corporate world). And while Steve was very good at marketing, he was much more than that.  He knew what worked for people when it came to technology, and I really don't think you can dispute that.  Look no further than him leaving and returning to Apple coinciding with the decline and meteoric rise of the company's valuation.  Woz was a genius in his own right, and yeah, the Apple II was as much his baby as Jobs's.  I'd love to spend a day with Woz just to gain a thousandth of the knowledge he knows about building circuit boards.
 

traylorpark

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Hahaha, this thread is amazing!

Its like walking into a stranger's house, and lighting some of their furniture on fire because you don't agree with how it's arranged.

This community is a result of what many feel is the over simplification of input.

I'm here for the tiny gaming computer with a real keyboard, not in spite of it.
 

ekianjo

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Look no further than him leaving and returning to Apple coinciding with the decline and meteoric rise of the company's valuation.  
NeXT was not so hot though. So where is the genius of Jobs there? He had a lapse or something ?

Let's cut the "Jobs-SuperMan-Jesus Christ" crap about Jobs, seriously, this is getting really tiring. 
 
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holdoncaulfield

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Look no further than him leaving and returning to Apple coinciding with the decline and meteoric rise of the company's valuation.  
NeXT was not so hot though. So where is the genius of Jobs there? He had a lapse or something ?

Let's cut the "Jobs-SuperMan-Jesus Christ" crap about Jobs, seriously, this is getting really tiring. 
I knew you would say that.  And the answer is this: when Jobs was at Apple, he made technology infused with art.  At NeXT, he tried to make competing hardware just because there was room in a market (education).  So it was all of the flash and none of the substance.  Then he goes back to Apple, with a successful pit stop at Pixar in between, and starts making products that he actually believes in.  There was no genius at NeXT.  It was a failure, obviously.
 

Exophase

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Ha!  Nice dig.  Yeah, I guess I don't understand the point of the Pandora.  I was mostly just pissed off and stormed over here to write a bunch of nonsense about OpenPandora Ltd. and then started going off on a tangent about how ugly I think the device looks.  Sorry for disrupting your forum guys.

I'm gonna go read the FAQ that is inevitably pinned somewhere on these boards and refrain from saying anything else until I have a handle on things.
You're pissed off about a device you didn't buy? Or you bought a device you don't understand the point of?

Pandora is the way it is not to win as many sales as it can but because its creators like it that way and the people buying it like it that way. Let us have our niche instead of going on about how it should use technology that's totally infeasible for something like this.
 
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rohezal

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I am not sure if you have an idea how much work engineering, software design and research is. And if you are not a genius, it takes a long time to learn all the stuff you need to design a complex technical product. Your sources are books, the interwebz, practise and if you can afford it, a university. And it will most likely take decade until you are realy good at doing it.
 
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