When you think of laptop parts, chances are you’d think of hardware that are “miniaturized” somewhat from their desktop counterparts in an effort to fit them all inside smallish laptop chassis. Because of laptops’ emphasis on portability, these laptop components are usually constructed in very specific designs that do not allow for easy swaps with laptop replacement parts.
Another aspect of laptops that takes a blow due to their focus on portability is in the construction of their keyboards, pointer devices, and displays. While desktops have all three as separate components, portable PCs incorporate all three laptop parts into as compact a design as possible. The result is a computer that has all necessary components packaged in an easy-to-carry casing; but the trade-off is that certain operations afforded by desktops have to be done differently.
Keyboards aren’t that much of a problem, though. They do after all take up a bulk of the space of a laptop’s lower half. Often, the numerical keypad is done away with, and the arrow buttons are usually awkwardly placed; but by and large, laptop keyboards work just fine.
The same can be said of laptop screens. This time taking up the whole upper half of a laptop’s chassis, the only downside to these screens is that color contrast and viewing angles aren’t very optimal; but otherwise, they are very much serviceable.
Touchpads, however, are in a league of their own; and I mean that in the least flattering way. Whereas mouse devices offer users the full range of movement (at least, as full as a 2D plane will allow), touchpads aren’t as dynamic. The limited space provided by a laptop’s chassis means that users will often have to swipe and reswipe their fingers just to make a webpage scroll its full length. The left and right buttons do not feel as comfortable to click as when you’re holding a mouse’s body in your whole hand. And just to further aggravate the situation, touchpads are so sensitive that they are often prone to accidental touches, making the pointer go every which way on the screen.
Thankfully, programs have been developed to address these concerns. While none of them lift touchpads up to be in direct contention with mice, they still get the job done.
Here are three of those programs.
AutoSensitivity is a program that allows users to individually adjust the sensitivity levels of both the touchpad and a plug-and-play mouse. This is especially useful for people who use the mouse most of the time, and just let their fingers gravitate towards the touchpad during speed touch typing sessions for quick pointer placements.
A laptop will have to be upgraded to have.NET Framework 3.5 or 4.0 installed, but with most consumers using Windows 7 by now, that’s pretty much a given.
TouchFreeze is a program that’s useful for when a user’s hands accidentally slide over to the touchpad all too often, causing the pointer to jump around and even do unwanted actions if a user isn’t careful.
With TouchFreeze installed, the laptop automatically turns off the touchpad whenever the keyboard is in use. In short, the program is very simple, yet very effective.
Finally, we have Two-Finger-Scroll, a program that provides additional functions to a touchpad. While many laptops now have touchpads that support two-finger controls, many consumers are still using laptops without the feature.
In any case, Two-Finger-Scroll goes beyond the usual pinch-and-power method of most two-finger controls; in fact, the program doesn’t even employ those functions. Instead, it uses “tap-successions” whose functions can be customized by a user. For example, you can program the “one-two” tap (that is, tap the touchpad with one finger, immediately followed by a two-finger tap) to quickly bring up a menu; or programming the three-finger tap to fire up a much-used program. With such versatility, Two-Finger-Scroll is looking rather nifty indeed.No tags for this post.