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Touch Screen Blast From The Past

     
9:38 am on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thought I'd share a story from my programming archive.

Back in the early 80s a PC cash register manufacturer I know came to me because I was known locally as the programmer that could write peripheral device drivers. They were trying to make one of the first touch screen cash registers and their programmers were having one helluva time using the API for the touch screen interface.

Remember, this was WAY back in the old MSDOS 3.3 era and even using a mouse as an input device was such a relatively new thing that the mouse drivers had to be installed by hand, they attached with an RS232 connector, it was the dark ages.

Anyway, the CEO of the company, someone I'd worked with before, showed up at my house with a monitor that had a touch screen installed on it. Told me his programmers had been working on using it for over a month but they were addressing the touch screen interface directly and it was intermittent, didn't work everywhere, needed a LOT of help.

After playing with it for a few days I came up with a very simple solution and not only did it work with his software, but with anything else that was capable of using mouse input.

If you haven't guessed it already, I wrote a device driver that simply took touch input from the screen and remapped it to the mouse driver vector and fed it to MSDOS as if someone had clicked a mouse on that location of the screen.

Worked like a charm, I got paid :)

Using my phone and tablet today often reminds me of my first contact with that old touch screen that didn't even have OS support until I wrote it myself.

We've come a long way baby.

Next week's installment will be about the local adult video arcade vendor that needed a screen saver because all his video screens all had "INSERT COIN(S)" permanently burned into the picture tube.
5:28 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So you see how the times change.

Back then you had a touch screen but no operating system designed to work with it.

Now you have Windows 8 designed for use on touch screens but no touch screen to work with it.
 

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