Microsoft Touch Mouse

PROS: Brings multi-touch functionality to Windows in familiar form factor; OS X-like app switching in new Instant Viewer; BlueTrack accuracy

CONS: Requires Windows; multi-touch is awkward on mouse surface; ergonomic concerns

RATING: Three out of five stars

RECOMMENDATION: As any Mac partisan will tell you, Microsoft seems to lag behind Apple by several years in many respects. The software giant’s recently released Touch Mouse does nothing to dispel that notion. Appearing as it does about two years after Apple’s very similar Magic Mouse, Touch Mouse provides a several multi-touch gestures for such things as scrolling, window management, and application switching, the latter via a new feature called Instant Viewer, which looks suspiciously like the Exposé feature in Mac OS X. Touch Mouse does provide Microsoft’s vaunted BlueTrack technology, which works accurately on virtually any surface. But ultimately, this mouse suffers from typical ergonomic issues—it’s a bit too small—and from the same problems that dog Apple’s Magic Mouse—mainly that it’s easier to perform multi-touch gestures on a flat surface like a screen or trackpad.

CONTACT: Microsoft

DISCUSSION: See Paul Thurrott's recent review titled “Microsoft Touch Mouse” 

 

Big Nerd Ranch iOS Developer Training

PROS: Excellent course materials and instructors; distraction-free and immersive environment

CONS: Highly technical; aimed at very experienced developers

RATING: Five out of five stars

RECOMMENDATION: With the tech world racing towards a future that’s mobile and highly connected, it’s no wonder that developers wanting to keep pace with the times are looking into the most popular mobile platforms. And none has resonated with consumers, from an apps availability perspective, more than Apple iOS, the platform behind such popular devices as the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Yes, there are many ways to learn iOS development—books, online video tutorials, and more—but this is dense, complicated stuff, even for experienced developers, because of the vagaries of the unfamiliar Objective-C programming language, the Cocoa Touch frameworks, and Apple’s inscrutable developer tools. So it’s best to learn from the experts. Those at Big Nerd Ranch can claim a legacy that includes stints teaching Apple’s own developers how this stuff works. The class is held in a rural Atlanta-area location, or you can bring Big Nerd Ranch to your own location. Either way, they can help you get from iOS developer novice to master. Highly recommended.

CONTACT: Big Nerd Ranch

DISCUSSION: See Paul Thurrott's review of his experience at Big Nerd Ranch's developer training