A brilliant detail in a science fiction story about which I otherwise remember nothing was that our hero had just gotten the latest TV with an exciting new feature! It was remote controlled by gesture! And so now he had to sit paralytically still to watch anything, lest he accidentally change the channel. (And if you remember that story, please leave a comment and remind me what it was.)
The evolution of telephone voice menus reminds me of this. Listening for the number corresponding to what you wanted was annoying and slow, but it worked reliably once you knew it, and if it was a menu you used regularly, you could quickly skip ahead. But now there's an exciting new feature! You don't have to press buttons! You just say what you want! OK, so now you have a guess the verb problem until you listen to all the choices, which takes as much time as it used to. And you have no idea how many times you'll have to listen a machine say "I didn't quite get that. Please try again." and repeat yourself. But, hey! No buttons!
I just bought a Nook ebook reader. One of the reasons I chose it was that it had a touchscreen. I like touchscreens. In years of using Palm PDAs, I found them quick, reliable, and easy to use. I thought thumb keyboards were a great step backwards -- they make the device bigger and heavier, and are much slower to use than Fitalystamp on my Palm ever was.
But, silly, naïve me, those were the quick, reliable, and easy to use resistive touchscreens of days of yore. That's old and outdated technology now! Now everything's capacitive touchscreens, with an exciting new feature! You don't need to use a stylus! You can use your finger! Sure, your fingertip is blunt and broad and you'll routinely need to try more than once to hit what you wanted, and the touchscreen will get greasy and smeared anytime you use it. But no stylus! Well, you can get a capacitive stylus, but it has to simulate your finger, so it's blunt and broad, too. It doesn't come to a nice, discrete tip like an old stylus did so you could actually reliably hit a nice, discrete location on the screen. But that was old technology! This is new technology! And, in a pinch, you can always rub pork products against your device!
I'm most of the way through The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. In practice, the e-ink screen is as good as I had hoped. Noticeably less contrast than a printed page, but the quality of the text is otherwise very nearly as good.
But, just in case I haven't been clear, I loathe the touchscreen so much that I'm thinking about whether to avail myself of the 14-day return period.