Having a little more than a year of a tablet computer in consistent use, I am now starting to experiment with different ways of working with it and my mobile as a multi-screened, touch-gestured workspace.
The setup is actually quite simple. On my right, I usually place my Nokia N8 running the application <a href="http://differenttack.com/"≥Different Tack. This app simply allows me to view my personal Twitter timeline. At times, I will also have headphones (wired or Bluetooth wireless) connected and will switch to music (both local and streamed from last.fm).
And there is my iPad with Evernote, Flipboard, and the browser as the commonly accessed apps. More often than not, I am in Adobe Ideas or Procreate drawing instead of reading/writing. Both devices sit in front of me, both slightly angled towards me (possible with my N8 because the camera module sticks out of the rear allowing for an angled view.
What’s been interesting about this is that I am basically splitting my attention between two attention-grabbing devices. The mobile reminds me of a touchpad mouse in that with Different Tack I am basically dragging my finger around the screen to read tweets, and then simply using T9 to tap out tweets. Simple and efficient. My right hand does this dance between the N8 and iPad, and my eyes go between leading and following this dance.
So I end up with the small space in front of me actually being partitioned into different attention feeds. Much like the single physical window but several virtual windows approach of a laptop, I am able to jump and out of activities, without really disrupting the flow of any of them.
It’s like a half-way movement towards that idea of table-top computing (previously talked about also here and here) in terms of making the most out of physical spaces for computing interactions. But, I think that I can take it a bit further depending on the software running in these windows. I’ll need more time to see, but I think I can pull off a new working style like this.