PC Doctor February 13, 2015

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Dear PC Doctor:
My daughter gave me a touch screen tablet/e-reader for my birthday and I am so excited to get started with it!  The only thing is that, sometimes the touch screen works and sometimes nothing happens when I tap the links.  It’s frustrating.  Can you help?
      Thanks, Anna
Dear Anna:
I did a little reading up on touch screens – Many use a weak electrical field.  When you touch the screen, the tablet registers this as a change in the electrical field.  Software matches the change in the electrical field where you were touching with the command you were trying to execute.  It works because our skin carries an electrical charge and is conductive.
If you tap the screen with your fingernail, the tablet won’t recognize your touch.  Apparently, the fingernail doesn’t alter the electric field.
Similarly, if your hands are very dry, your touch might not make as much of a change as is needed for the tablet to register the command.
Also, if your hands are very cold, you might have trouble getting the touch screen to respond.  Try rubbing your hands together to warm them up.
Did your tablet come with a stylus?  Try using that and see if you have more success.  You could also try one of those new finger coverings (they look a little like a thimble) that are conductive.  I haven’t tried one yet but they supposedly work better than the naked finger and have the added benefit of keeping the oil from your skin off your device screens.
Until next time … Happy Computing!
      PC Doctor