Figure 7: There are many choices for flicks
Windows Vista offers a operating system level implementation of gestures called Flicks especially tuned for pen usage on tablets.  There's an important difference between this implementation and gesture implementations like Optimoz for firefox:  there is no explicit trigger event.   In Optimoz, we designed the recognizer to only trigger on a click, defaulting to right click but re-configurable to other mouse buttons or combinations of modifiers and mouse buttons.

Figure 8: Customize flicks

Triggering flicks is a much harder problem than working with explicit user triggers. The display to the right shows the configuration options for tweaking how sloppily the gesture recognizer allows your flicks to be.

In almost all cases, trigger free invocation, if successful, is preferable.  Notably, it enables use of gestures for scrolling, something that never worked especially well in Optimoz.

There's another notable difference that's less positive in comparison to Optimoz.  Because Vista flicks operate at the OS level, they don't have the ability of in-application implementations to access the content in the application, unless support is specifically enabled.  Given an in-browser implementation like Optimoz, we can do all sorts of interesting things in the DOM.  The best example of this is the "open dragged over links in tabs" that allows a quick open of a serious of linked sites -- especially useful for blogrolls.

I was an early dogfooder of Flicks but haven't played with the whole experience.  I plan to get Vista running on my new home tablet this weekend.  Should be fun!

For more on flicks, try my Windows Vista macro for the query flicks though if you're really into it, the results of my tablet pc macro for the query flicks are more geeky.  I haven't written much about macros and the other new bits at Live Search yet as I'm waiting for the team to introduce the new features on the live seach blog.  In the meantime, trust me: this macro thing is turning out to be very cool.

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