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Sinister events

Discussion in 'Tablet PC' started by Sinister, Jul 1, 2003.

  1. Sinister

    Sinister Guest

    Hi Bill-

    never thought I'd try to write a personal email to you, but this time,
    I think this time I should.

    I am left-handed. My wife is left-handed. You (apparently) are
    left-handed. Left-handers have been under persecution for millennia
    (albeit a hidden, low-key form of persecution). In Roman times, the
    words for left and right were 'sinister' and 'dexter' respectively. To
    see how English society perceives left-handers, compare with
    etymological sources of these words:

    what does sinister mean to the Western world?
    why are dextrous people more physically skilled than normal people?

    Let's turn to French:
    gauche = left - and in English, gauche = 'Lacking social polish;
    droit = right - and in English, adroit = 'Skillful and adept under
    pressing conditions'
    Even in your generation, left-handed children in the UK were taught to
    write with their right hand and forced to hold their left-hand behind
    their back. Fortunately, today, most of society has got beyond this
    prejudice- we even have companies that specialise in left-handed items
    - besides, most of us manage to 'blend' in to society and it's
    right-centric ideology and tools, we adapt to utensils ergonomically
    designed for right-handers. Scissors, can-openers, a writing style
    from left to right - how many of those did you struggle with as a
    child, yet now find simple to use?
    You are unarguably the most powerful voice in the most powerful IT
    company in the world. Your company seems intent on bringing technology
    into every household and into every aspect of our lives. I am fine
    with that. I think I am similar to you in that I am a confirmed
    However, for a company whose mission statement includes the words 'we
    create software that helps people and businesses reach their
    potential. It's not just our purpose. It's our passion', Microsoft
    must have precious little passion for left-handers.
    And that's where I find it so curious - you're left-handed yourself.
    I had a Compaq Pocket PC - I loved it, but my main irk - Right-handed
    scroll-bars. I'd try to scroll through a document and not be able to
    see where I'd got to. That one point irked me to the point where I do
    not use my pocket pc anymore.
    I'm now sorely considering buying a Tablet PC. I'd heard that the
    Tablet PC OS had built in 'handedness' support. However, it appears
    *still* not to be able to handle scroll-bars on the right-hand side.
    This must be the *Number* *One* *Complaint* from left-handers. Check
    google for yourself. And yet all anyone can say is 'well it's to do
    with the underlying windows APIs and it's never been an issue before'.
    Well. the crux of the matter is that in a touch sensitive system,
    whether it's PDA form, tablet form, or some yet uninvented future
    form, the one underlying constant is that left-handers *are* going to
    have problems with right-handed scrollbars.
    This should fundamentally be a job for the OS. An OS for tablet pcs
    *SHOULD* have this feature. I do not consider the tablet OS truly
    'neutral-handed' due to this glaring omission. You've already invented
    sticky keys and now voice recognition for the physically impaired.
    You've added large text support and text-to-voice for the visually
    impaired. You've got different keyboard templates to cater for those
    who have been brought up on other keyboard systems. You have local
    language editions for most of the world, so as not to impose our
    English language on them, and yet, apparently, there is still no
    fundamental full support for left-handers even in your newest
    As a fellow left-hander, can you please explain your company's

    Best wishes from a frustrated and disillusioned left-hander.
    Sinister, Jul 1, 2003
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  2. Hi there,

    First of all I should say I'm not Bill Gates, but thought I'd try to speak
    to your concerns. Being a fellow left-hander and also a long time member of
    the Tablet PC team (and by extension, a long time Tablet PC user) I
    completely understand your frustration. Rest assured we are working on this
    problem. And, don't forget that Bill is also a lefty, so it's a pretty safe
    bet that this will get fixed :).

    Rob Jarrett [MS], Jul 3, 2003
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