Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sydeny Windows Mobile User Group

8th February 2006

As I drove into the carpark of Microsoft Head Quarters, Australia, I felt a certain sense of reassurance. Knowing that this wasn’t my first time, and knowing that familiar faces were abreast of the sliding glass doors, I was calm. With my wife following in stride and Dr. Neil racing in front I was able to enjoy the process a lot more than my initial visit (fun, but more like a dream).

Ah! A familiar face. I encounter Microsoft IT Pro Evangelist Jeff Alexander; a face that greets me with anticipation and warmth , a face of friendship. He meets my wife and we catch up on some topics of interest, i.e. his renovations at home, and his freshly posted Windows Server 2003 R2 Upgrade Blogcast. As we stir amongst the corridor of the Microsoft Hall our Uber Electric host for the evening, IT Consultant Roger Lawrence, clutches Jeff Alexander’s Platinum AMEX to pay for the Sydney Windows Mobile User Group’s (SWMUG) pizza’s.

Roger has banded together a group of the most nose bleed geeks you’ll ever meet – my sort of Uber Geeks. These guys aren’t the industry nay sayers, they’re the guys at the bleeding edge of technology. 50% of the room were Tablet PC owners and all bear Windows Mobile devices as their phones or PDA’s of choice. Roger is a seeker of the truth and hosts the event with results in mind. He's captivating and demands the best from his congress.

SWMUG only know of one language – TECH!

Also in the room was SWMUG Executive Committee member, and Illustrator, Jon Harsem. If you’re ever graced with his presence you’ll find him amusing, entertaining and forever wanting your tablet to cartoon on. I was lucky enough to keep one of his toons on my Slate.

We banter about for a few minutes until our umpire, Roger Lawrence, yells "time". I’m called up first to do my thing. Once again I take the podium to talk Tablet PC in Australia. On this particular evening I share news of the Sahara Slate PC, and exhibit the Xploretech ruggedized Tablet too. Knowing that I’m dealing with a group of early adopters I passionately present my case. You see, in this environment I’m allowed to say things like: “it’s the consumer’s fault that Tablet PC has had a slow uptake”, and, “resellers aren’t focused on Tablet because Microsoft isn’t focused on Tablet”. I’m amongst advocates that hear what I’m saying.

To show the power of Tablet PC I run a little video on using the Microsoft Snipping Tool (part of the Microsoft Tablet PC Experience Pack). The video is a short demonstration conducted by Uber Geek, and my son, 4 year old Leon.

Download - Windows Media Player File! [12MB]

Download - Quicktime File! [10MB]

I finish the presentation with question time, of which there are many. “Why is Tablet PC subject to such a premium in price when compared to normal notebooks?” Proclaims one onlooker. “Why would someone buy a Slate over a Convertible?” Asks another. We delve into the mystery that is Tablet PC sales and inch-by-inch realise that our divided little group still struggles, as does the everyday consumer, to make sense of the slow uptake. Once again I am reminded that my role as Tablet PC distributor and self taught Tablet PC evangelist has only just begun.

The room carries a Luke Skywalker type of energy about it. There's a sense of focus and commitment to the Windows Mobile movement that would be hard to find anywhere else on the planet. I find talking amongst the clan during pizza time is a novel experience.

As I pack up my plethora of Tablet and head to the door I find myself being waved good-bye by many an adoring geek. Is it the artillery of Tablet that I bolster, or the passion I display? Either way there is one thing I know – the attendees this evening all went away talking Tablet!

I can sleep well tonight…

Oh yeh, here's a picture of our gathering, as only SWMUG members know how - cool isn't it? (That's me on the far right and Dr. Neil up against the wall).

  • Have you met the SWMUG?
  • What do you want to say about Slate vs. Convertible?


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