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Two-person Computer Interface

Like driver's ed but for computers, and you can work together much faster
  [vote for,

Picture a computer with two keyboards, two mice, and two cursors. Each user gets his/her own keyboard, mouse, and colored cursor on the screen. (When there's no second user, just disable the second user program and it's like a regular computer).

This is great for training people, as dictating in a graphic user interface can be frustrating ("Click the document's close box... "It's that X up there... About 3 inches up... No, not that one; the little one just below and to the right. See it, it's just an inch to the -- no, not that one either, it's the one....") With two cursors, you just move YOUR cursor there and the trainee watches what you do and then does it himself.

Suppose a colleague is executing some processes or writing an email while you watch: No more sitting there going "wait, you spelled 'print' wrong" -- now, you can be an active assistant, moving your own cursor there and editing it without disturbing the main typist's train of thought. Great for SQL commands and other typo-prone instructions!

Imagine the speed at which you and a coworker can write up a business memo: Each of you can work on different paragraphs -- on the same computer -- at the same time. The interface will show two split screens if you are in nonadjacent parts of the document, but the master document will combine the input feeds from both keyboards.

phundug, Feb 13 2007

minicomputer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minicomputer
memory seems to serve me well. [MercuryNotMars, Feb 14 2007]

Multi-user touchscreen interface http://www.youtube....watch?v=ysEVYwa-vHM
Brilliant implementation of a touch screen [harebrained, Feb 16 2007]


       My companies internal help desk does this all the time.
Galbinus_Caeli, Feb 13 2007

       You can still move your mouse/type after Help Desk has taken control of it?
phundug, Feb 13 2007

       I seem to remember a program called Timbuktu that would let you do this?? The latest version of QuarkXPress has a facility that enables a layout to be shared, called Composition Zones™ - worth having a look if you are interested in co-operative publishing.
xenzag, Feb 13 2007

       An old theory quite similar to distributed computing that you buy a workgroup one really fast computer and give everyone a station. I forgot what this was called, I want to say a minicomputer or something. Anyway on any computer it just sits around waiting for the user to tell it what to do most of the time, especially with older programs, probably before the concept of computer gaming that wasn't turn based. If you get a fast computer that everyone shares it is a rare case that it gets called on before it is done with the last user and it can handle everything better than multiple computers.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 13 2007

       Windows Remote Assistance works in pretty much the same way. I use a bilious green cursor when working on other people's computers, and no one gets confused as to which is theirs. :)
dm01, Feb 13 2007

       We live in a monkey see monkey do society, so this idea is a good one!
quantum_flux, Feb 14 2007

       Why just two?
nuclear hobo, Feb 16 2007

       Sort of baked?   

       On YouTube [link], there's a video of a prototype touch screen interface that, unlike current touchscreens, supports more than one contact point. A neat side-effect of this is that it will support multiple simultaneous users.   

       The interface and software in the video is brilliant.
harebrained, Feb 16 2007


       There is now a great deal of (cloud-based) productivity software that implements simultaneous collaborative editing of documents, but only from one computer per user, not multiple users on the same computer, AFAIK. Such software existed back in 2007, but was not very well-known.   

       Also, multitouch is pretty much the default for touchscreens now, to the extent that users are stunned when a touchscreen only supports one finger at a time. But multitouch is not sufficient for collaborative editing—you need software that understands what to do with that input.   

       And I'm pretty sure the first iPhone, which popularized multitouch, was announced one month before the above anno/link.
notexactly, Apr 09 2019


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