Sunday, April 30, 2006

UMPC gets firmly planted on Apex

The eo still appears to be orphaned between the United States and Asia somewhere. Now that the time is nearing to partner and expand Ultra Mobile PC worldwide it seems as though the eo is finding a home with Apex Software.

This morning I woke up to an email pointing me to this article about a new partnership between Apex software and Tablet Kiosk, in the United States. Since a lot of you have been interested in who's actually buying these devices in Australia, and beyond, then this article should start to give you some clue.

From Apex Software Site:

Apex sketching and area calculation software is the premier sketching software for the real estate valuation market. Apex allows the user to sketch simple to complex areas, while automatically calculating that area. With Apex you save time and money in sketching the property, while delivering accurate area calculations and a professional rendering of the property. Apex Software can be used standalone, or integrated with any of the major forms vendors

The results have been translated to their website rather quickly too:

Apex Software Australasian Division

Friday, April 28, 2006

When Australia’s Tablet guy met Brett Gross

Today Australia's Tablet Guy, Hugo Ortega, had an opportunity to do what he does best – Talk Tablet Downunder. This time it was with Brett Gross, Motion Computing Regional Manager in Australia and New Zealand.

While the meeting had been initiated rather strategically on both sides, it was the work of New Zealand Tablet PC MVP, Craig Pringle, that really spurred things along. Craig has recently been caught remarking “Brett, you should meet Hugo, and Hugo you should meet with Brett!”

I think Hugo will be the first to admit that sitting with Brett is like opening a can of worms. His passion, his commitment and his shear brute strength is nothing other than impressive. Given that Brett, compact in stature, was once a Ninjitsu Instructor it's easy to see why Motion Australia/NZ now leads with an iron fist. His commitment to the range definitely left Hugo with a great impression and wanting more; during lunch these two comrades found a shared love for the Slate form factor and immediately rapport was no problem. As they lunched on pizza and flicked through family photos on Brett's LS1600 Hugo couldn’t help but salivate – over Brett's Tablet.

Stay tuned for Mr. Brett Gross. If he’s ever in your neighborhood be sure to say hello; I do however warn you of this, he’s a man so full of integrity and so committed to his new role that you’d better be going where he’s going, otherwise step out of the way! Quickly!

You’re a star Brett! I'll do all I can to make your Tablet adventures fun, productive and purposeful. Surely you and I are destined to cross paths often - in a good way...

  • Brett Gross recently attended the Wellington Tablet User Group meeting in New Zealand. I will be in Wellington, for two days "Talking Tablet," on the 18th & 19th of May 2006. While there I too will be visiting with the Tablet User Group (evening of the 18th).

UMPC second allocation 20% sold out

Tegatech Australia today confirmed that the first allocation of EO Ultra Mobile PC has been a complete sell out in Australia and New Zealand. What's more interesting is the fact that their website now states that 20% of the second allocation is sold out too - and there hasn't been a delivery made to date!

WOW! I don't know about you but it sure looks like UMPC has a place in the market, and the market has a real story to tell...

Tablet Kiosk recently ate some humble pie and admitted defeat by announcing an unscheduled delay in EO deliveries (Tegatech Australia followed suit). While it must have been hard to face, the reality is that we must praise Tablet Kiosk for being so translucent with their business practices. Well done boys!

from the Tegatech Australia site (Ultra Mobile PC product page):

ETA in Australia is end of April 2006. Units will be allocated on a priority basis to orders placed, and paid for, as of now 29th March 2006.

[UPDATE 13th April 2006 10:30am] First allocation of eo is sold out (in black) and we have 7 only left (in white). Second allocation is now ON SALE and due for delivery in Australia on the 19th of May 2006.

[UPDATE 28th April 2006 17:28] First allocation of eo is now completely sold out. Second allocation is now ON SALE and is already 20% sold out. Due to final retooling the first allocation is due for delivery in mid to late May 2006 and second allocation early June 2006.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Toshiba M400 Tablet PC with Windows Vista

If everyone anyone is interested in seeing Windows Vista run on a Tablet PC then head on over to and view this neat video. Regrettably there is no "Glass" but still a great watch.

You can just press play below too.

    View UberTablet contributions:

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    What is Hugo Ortega up to?

    • Make sure you visit Mark Sumimoto (Sumocat's Scribbles), partial inspiration for this post.
    • I will be in Wellington, New Zealand for two days "Talking Tablet." On the 18th & 19th of May 2006. While there I will be talking to the Tablet User Group based there - all welcome.
    • I will attend the Mobile & Embedded Developers Conference (MEDC) to be held in Crown Towers, Melbourne Australia May 25th 2006 (hopefully some more exciting news to tell soon regarding this event).
    • I will conduct a "Tablet Talk" at the Microsoft Head Office in Canberra (Australian Capital Territory) for the Windows Infrastructure Group on June 13th 2006. Level 2, 44 Sydney Avenue ACT, Walter Turnbull Building, Session 1: 16:00, 17:30 - Pizza courtesy Frank Arrigo, Session 2: 18:00.
    • I'll be at CeBit Australia on May 9th, 10th and 11th.
    • I'll be "Talking Tablet" in Cairns (North QLD) in May 26th 2006 if anyone there needs to catch up - let me now so we can schedule it. Please note that this is only a day trip.

    Everyone is welcome to any event I'm hosting, they're always entertaining and light hearted; I'd love to see you there and Talk Tablet with you. If you're not in Australia or NZ at the time then lets hang out at anytime at all...

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    EO ETA gets a wakeup call

    Tablet Kiosk, United States

    Tegatech Australia, Australia

    This evening I received word of an unexpected hickup in eo deliveries. It seems that both Tegatech Australia (Australia/New Zealand Distributors) and Tablet Kiosk (United States) are both sending out early warning signs about ETA's.

    While I'm prepared to wait for my eo, given that quality control is more important than timing right now, I am getting a little say the least.

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    UMPC in a Nutshell

    During my travels, talking Tablet, I was contacted by a company in New Zealand. This Company, named Nutshell, specialises in the manufacture of leather goods and accessories. From looking at the website, and talking to the Owner of the Company, it became clear, very early on, that Tablet PC was a market that Nutshell appreciated and had targeted as having potential for growth.

    Ian Miller of Nutshell is in fact so passionate that embedded in the realm of his website, a website designed to showcase the company's craftsmanship, there are links leading to UMPC cases. This was an exciting find for me because of the iPod phenomena and all the accessories that chase "it" around. If UMPC follows a similar route of accessorizing then we are certainly creating a vortex where the end-user converts his/her UMPC into an every day commodity.

    The only danger is the one-eyed green monster (greed) lurking about. This monster has been known to attack companies of stature before (Apple seeks 'tax' on iPod accessories) and may strike again - watch out Microsoft!

    As an FYI, I have been invited to “Talk Tablet” to the Tablet User Group in Wellington, New Zealand, on the 18th of May 2006. Everyone is welcome to come and catch up if you’re in the area. God only knows that when Craig Pringle and Hugo Ortega get in the same room, something special will happen.

    Anyone else seen other accessories for UMPC?

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Hugo Ortega spends time with the Lenovo X41

    Tonight my intention is to review the Lenovo X41 Tablet PC. Having not been a great fan of “reviews” in the past I’ve often struggled to put my own thoughts into a review. My biggest dilemma with reading a review is deciphering whether I’m with the reviewer, or against. For this reason my reviews are often focused on one or two points, and sometimes even entertaining.

    Lenovo. My initial contact with Lenovo was via a coffee session with Lenovo management; I found the organization to be receptive to Tablet and surprisingly proactive. It wasn’t very long after this encounter that I received a Lenovo X41, surprisingly fast, and it didn’t take me long to work out the reason why. Lenovo, it seems, as an Organisation, is onto something sweet. The X41, after having spent the last six weeks with her, is a real contender.

    Let me start with the looks. To me this is the x41’s biggest liability and yet its biggest asset too. As a liability in the looks department I can explain myself this way:

    I’ve owned a 1967 VW Beetle that had been fully restored to factory standards. It was my first car, bought from proceeds of the sale of a motorcycle of mine, and I loved it. It did everything I needed it to do. It looked retro enough for me to appear intellectual, and it was tidy enough for me to garner attention… When VW decided to re launch the Beetle in 1999, long after I’d sold my beloved model and moved onto shinier more modern automobiles, I remember feeling rather glum. Not only had VW repackaged “the people’s car” in refurbished clothing but they managed to bump up the price so that it was out of the reach of most “people” at all.

    Roll in the Lenovo X41.

    As the ink finished drying on the courier’s paperwork I was already into my second layer of cardboard, ripping and tearing my way into the bubble wrap that embraced this new guest that had come over to play. My joy would quickly turn to disappointment however; when I finally unveiled the Tablet, all I could see staring back at me was the same IBM Thinkpad I owned in 1998, and nothing more. I proceeded, as anyone who has ever bought a Tablet does, to open the beast up and swivel the screen. That first swivel action is one you’ll never forget. As your stomach turns with unfamiliarity towards this new but funky action, the swivel, you begin to realize that you’re now part of the most innovative form of computing. As the morning moved on my thoughts often turned back to my 1967 Beetle and I realized that I was now at the steering wheel of a 1999 VW Beetle. I had a modernized antiquity that came at a very high cost. It was history repeating itself, but at a costly premium.

    Aesthetics is now paramount in this self indulging planet we live in (just ask all the iPod owners) and yet I was about to spend the next six weeks with an IBM Thinkpad, rebadged, swiveled, and marked up in price. So how is it that I came to find her looks as an asset you may ask? Well, the asset my friends, is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. As I attended meetings and talked tablet downunder I began to realize that perhaps Lenovo had planned this all along. You see, every meeting I attended I no longer attracted as much attention for being a Tablet user, but rather I found myself spending more time being productive. It took most people a double take to even notice that I was inking on the Tablet, mostly because the “IBM black” casing was so well entrenched in the corporate arena.

    Perhaps Lenovo, in the fear of losing hard core IBM supporters, and in the effort to avoid costly retooling, had actually created a Tablet that was so aesthetically part of the culture that everyone introduced to her could not help but greet her as one of the gang. Now to put this into perspective you need to know that I, as Australia’s Tablet Guy, have access to many tablets; in my office alone I can choose between one of 6 possible makes at this very moment. I’ve walked into meetings with the Sahara slate, the motion LS1600, the HP TC1100, and always been greeted by the silence of awe that is mostly reserved for rock stars and famous sportspeople. This greeting can be a great stroke for the ego, but what if you actually want to get some work done?

    The rest of my six weeks were shear bliss. The device, a featherweight title contender, was soon a welcome guest at all my functions. With Bluetooth, infrared (wait till you hear the sound of two infrared devices talking to each other) and WiFi, the X41 did everything I needed it to do. I skyped, I inked on MSN, I took notes, I rotated the screen through all 360 degrees, and even typed sometimes too. The speaker, oh yes, the speaker is in a very stupid location, right under the spacebar (on the under carriage of the chassis) and therefore nearly always muffled when in use as a laptop – doh! The biometrics, seen as more of an encumbrance to me, was available and worked well.

    The screen size had just the right amount of inches (12.1), and the pen was in the right location. It wasn’t until my alarm sounded, on the 20th of April 2006, indeed a somber day, that I realized just how attached we’d become. Lenovo had summoned back the courier and I was forced into my office for a very unceremonious farewell. As I stood in my dressing gown (we’ll keep the show PG) and entombed the X41 back into its cardboard carcass, I began to realize just how attached I had gotten. Knowing that we’d inked in caf├ęs, bars, restaurants, seminars and congregations of geeks alike, I was finding it hard to let go of this plain, but functional beauty.

    Good bye my girl. While you're definately not an Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC), you pack a far mightier bunch than they ever will. Perhaps when Lenovo gets you Vista ready then we may meet again. Until then you will remain but a photo in my closet.

    If you’re in the market for a convertible Tablet, and see Vista as nothing but a pipedream, then look at the X41, seriously, she won’t let you down. Make sure you send her my regards.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    Rob Bushway shares his eo experience

    The infamous Rob Bushway, of the Gottabemobile Blog, has posted a wonderful video review of the eo Ultra mobile PC. His effort is commendable on two fronts:

    • Use of children for conveying the "intuitive" nature of UMPC
    • Attention to details on settings and configurations

    Now that a few bloggers have posted video reviews of Tablet PC's, and UMPC, I believe Rob's video is one of the ones worth watching.

    Learning about a new product has never been so much fun...


    My kids like calling it “the Origami” and “the Oreo”, my son says it feels just like a PSP or Gameboy, others refer to it as a UMPC or Ultra Mobile PC – whatever it is we name it, it is obvious that Microsoft and Intel have isolated a real “personal” niche.

    Read Rob's Post here.
    Watch Rob's Video here.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    UMPC for something other than surfing

    The first thing most of us will do, when we recieve our shiny new UMPC, is connect to our favorite flavor of 802.11 and go for a surf. What I came across two days ago prepared me for something else.

    I was recently contacted by Gilad Grinbaum of G Innovations; I found his enthusiasm infectious and contagious enough to get me in the car and drive to the centre of Sydney. At his office I was greeted by fists full of cables, PCB, cameras, touchscreens and more – my type of place.

    We spent a few hours together while he presented me with the world’s first IP (Internet Protocol) based home automation system, dubbed the Superna System. I was immediately impressed with the ease of use and fascinated with the implications for our space, Tablet PC.

    Superna is the brainchild of Arik Vardi (one of the 4 who set up ICQ) and his brother Oded. They’ve put together an exquisite software package that enables the most flexible form of home automation I’ve ever experienced. When coupled with the Superna Controller (hardware that makes the cogs turn) it is an outstanding example of things to come.

    Why phone me? I was contacted because it seems Superna sees UMPC as a vital player in the home automation space; I can confirm that they’ve placed orders for “eo” devices and are working on adjusting their software to suit 800x480.

    The following video is a short demonstration (adhoc, as I would have liked another take but had no time) of Ultra Mobile PC as a device for something other than surfing the internet. I decided to post the video because I'd like to see other bloggers post about Ultra Mobile PC as a functional device, not just a cool one.

    For your enjoyment download video here!
    Or watch it on!

    Sunday, April 16, 2006

    Loren Heiny puts the (I)nk in I.E.

    If you're a Tablet PC user, or better yet a dedicated slate user like Sumocat and I, you'll know that surfing the internet seems to take double the effort of a conventional notebook user. Haven't you ever thought of how fantastic Google would be if it were ink enabled, or how funky filling in web forms would be if they were directly inkable like infopath is? Well look no further (for now).

    The Tablet mad Loren Heiny has done his best to tease us with an Uber Tablet style internet experience. Now when I say Uber Tablet I don't mean this blog, what I mean is that Loren has taken a good stab at making ink an institutionalized form of productivity - and not marginalized as it currently stands. It therefore makes surfing the net an Uberly (very) Tablet experience.

    His blog is one I enjoy reading and this post is no different; watch the screen capture video here!

    Tell me what you think? I love it!

    It’s rude not to point

    Tegatech Australia, and Hugo Ortega of the UberTablet Blog, focus on expanding Tablet PC as a concept and as an experience. Combined, the two serve as a proactive platform for evangelizing Tablet PC to a world not often exposed. As a blog the UberTablet blog stretches the conventional boundaries of expression in the Tablet space; as a business Tegatech Australia is Australia’s only Tablet specific Distributor. Often the two come together to affect our lives in a very real manner, the following report being a good example of that.

    David Wallace, a friend of Hugo Ortega, and a C4 Quadriplegic, runs the lifekludger blog:

    life=life; kludge=workaround
    unforseen custom uses of general purpose stuff

    The UberTablet blog recently helped get David his first opportunity to experience Tablet PC; the subsequent review is a unique insight into those living with a disability, yet it is much more than that. As David opens up his home to us you will find yourself inspired and motivated. He is an IT enthusiast, a fighter, and someone who should be linked to by all of us. His [ability] to turn his passion into function serves as an inspirational resource to this little blog.

    Sahara Slate PC review by David Wallace.


    "This issue of feedback is one I’ve never heard anyone talk about and one that anyone with all their senses working would not necessarily think about however it’s one I come up against in many areas of my life, not just computers."

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    I think istartedsomething

    The UberTablet blog serves as a source for all things Tablet enabled. In recent times I have been contacted by media, vendors and end-users, all seeking answers. One such contact came from an Uberly enthusiastic geek based in Melbourne Australia named Long Zheng.

    Long has frequently pinged me on all sorts of matters, and I might add that at all hours of the night :-) Recently on one of our chats he needed a hand in purchasing a Toshiba M400 within Australia - one, or three, phone calls later and I'd sourced Long the best priced M400 in Australia. I had it delivered to him 12 hours after they had been released in Australia and he was over the moon.

    As the days past Long started to enquire about podcasting and how he could be most effective. While I cannot say (I’ll leave that to him) that what I past on was neither influential nor effective, it did however garner some inertia from young Long.

    Long has his own blog named Watch Long Zheng videocast this review of his newly purchased M400 Toshiba Tablet. Great Job mate, a job well done, really!

    Dan Warne of APC Magazine Australia recently helped the Uber Tablet blog hunt down a Toshiba UMPC. It eventuated in Matt Codrington, Toshiba Australia’s Product Marketing Manager, jumping on the blog and saying hello. While the response confirmed that Toshiba was not taking part in UMPC, it did highlight how important the communication between vendor and community really is.

    Good job Matt, great job Dan!

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    UMPC sold out - really!

    I've often been quoted as saying "the market will determine the success of a company, not the product!" In this case the market, Australia and New Zealand, has been given a voice and the resonating fallout is nothing less than LOUD!

    So for all of you that are wondering if Ultra Mobile PC will have a place in the market, hear this: Tegatech Australia has just announced a UMPC sellout. Thier first allocation of units is now sold out and sales have now been opened up for the second round of allocations - due 19th May 2006.

    So does UMPC have a marketplace? Australia and New Zealand tend to think so!

    [from their site]

    rrp: $1,499 AUD incl gst
    Authorised Resellers minimum order of 5 units required

    ETA in Australia is end of April 2006. Units will be allocated on a priority basis to orders placed, and paid for, as of now 29th March 2006.

    [UPDATE 13th April 2006 10:30am] First allocation of eo is sold out (in black) and we have 7 only left (in white). Second allocation is now ON SALE and due for delivery in Australia on the 19th of May 2006.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Fujitsu PC Australia talks about Engadget theory

    It seems that engadget got Dennis Rice and Warner Crocker talking about a possible Fujitsu "mini tablet" called the Biblo LOOX. If you take into account that James Kendrick pointed to a fantastic Linda Epstein review of the P1510D only days prior then it seems Fujitsu is on everyone's lips.

    I sat with Fujitsu PC Australia yesterday, by their invite, and had a great chat of things to come. Knowing that the iron was hot I thought I'd ask about the engadget's what David Niu, of Fujitsu PC Australia, had to say:

    Hi Hugo

    Biblo LOOX P70S is basically LifeBook P1510, Japanese domestic version with a Japanese black keyboard after I had a look at the product details on the Japanese site.

    It’s not a new product unfortunately. ;-)

    Kind regards


    I'd be happy to do more exploring if anyone's interested; I really do like a good witch hunt!

    A true geek lets his car know too!

    Warner points to a new "Tablet" license plate in the hands of Frank La Vigne.

    Frank is a blogging maniac, a prolific Tablet enthusiast and very importantly a Tablet PC MVP. If you want to know more about frank then just go here:

    Craig Pringle declares UMPC giveaway

    My inkably irresistible mate, Craig Pringle, seems to be throwing stones again. First he decides to publish shots of a new Tablet PC, without any further information, and now he wants a worldwide UMPC giveaway. Maybe Craig should talk to the ever so cool MiniMage that frequents this blog - she was also trying to round up troops for UMPC giveaways to begin.

    UMPC giveaway, mmmm, sounds yummy. Will it happen? Don't you think it's the easiest most effective form of Viral Marketing that exists? Come on Microsoft, Tablet Kiosk, ASUS, Samsung let's get this done; Craig points the finger at me like I'm some high rolling Tablet hotshot!

    If you'd like to see a Tablet giveaway in Australia and New Zealand, as that's my domain, then leave me your thoughts (you don't have to be Australian to leave your thoughts here)!

    Otherwise hold your peace...LOL

    Lifekludger tackles a Tablet

    A good friend of mine named David Wallace seems to have gotten his hands on Tablet PC! Wonder how that happened? Something tells me he's inking up a storm - Blogpost titled "Lifekludger does a Hugh (refering to me, Hugo).

    David is an Aussie Blogger, and Podcaster, and I've had the pleasure of sharing the stage with him on an episode of Cameron Riley's "Productivity Show."

    It's not often that you're inspired by tales of courage and commitment; when it comes to Dave he has managed to bundle both into his "tops" attitude and now his soon to be released podcast show about "every day people with exceptional stories!"

    In his own words:

    The words “Tall, Dark and 2 outa 3 ain’t bad” could be used to describe me. But they’re often not. Suffice to say I’m an Ozzie guy who likes to think.

    I have a personal experience of disability being a C4 Quadriplegic since a motor vehicle accident in 1981. I am committed to making life work and ‘getting on with it’.

    Thanks to the blogosphere I consider Dave a friend, and a motivation to my trials and tribulations.

    Keep up the great work mate, you're a star!

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Loren Heiny gets a little Tablet crazy!

    It seems we've all gone a little Tablet mad. When I saw this post showing how the inimitable Loren Heiny had placed Tablet PC OS onto an iMac I couldn't help but be impressed.

    Well done Loren for major coolness - not so much for what it does for the Tablet space, but more so for the intrepid way that you've gone about it!

    I've used Ink Well that ships with Mac OS and found it very distasteful; I also like my Mac for all its aesthetical glory. It seems that your equation, Loren, of iMac + Tablet OS can only = UberTablet Geek!

    I love it!

    [How did Loren do it?]

    Fujitsu to enter the UMPC space - later!

    As Australia's relentless Tablet guy today I sat with David Niu of Fujitsu PC Australia. He had been lead to me, by Microsoft Australia, as a “warm body” that knew a little about Tablet PC in the Australian Market place. :-)

    As we sat in my local delicatessen, where I’d also held talks with Lenovo, I realized that this man had the same passion for Ink as I. We ate lunch, we drank coffee, and shared Tablet Tales; David, with his T4000 and P1510 on the table, and me with my trusty Sahara Slate. We discussed the past the present and the future, so I’d thought I’d ask the million dollar question; will Fujitsu announce the release of a UMPC device? Absolutely! Will it be anytime soon? Hmmmmmmm! Let me explain.

    Fujitsu has a very strong connection with Siemens. Most of you in the European market would be aware of Fujitsu Siemens via their release of product focused in the mobile phone and notebook space. Some of these devices, like the LIFEBOOK Q2010, even ship with SIM card slots! This venture is focused on mobility and has developments in the pipeline that will have release dates for later this year. David talked of developments due later this year that would see Tablet PC reach as thin as 1cm (slightly over 1/3 of an inch) and see them ship Broadband-Enabled.

    As I explored the Fujitsu Siemens relationship further I realized that it is much engrained; so much so that Fu (in FUjistsu) relates to the founder, while (Ji) relates to Siemens. Having established this I felt it could only mean one thing…a broadband enabled UMPC!

    So where’s the dilemma? Fujitsu is a Japanese based firm that prides itself in sustaining a very non-western approach to business. If you look at a traditional business plan in the United States or Australia you may find a 5, 10 and maybe 20 year plan. If however you look at the same plan in Japan it’s not rare to find a 100-year outline of things to come. Fujitsu, as explained by David, is focused on getting it right! Does this mean that they are sometimes play follow, and not lead, for sure! Does it mean that this year may not be a scrucial for them as 5-years from now? Yes!

    So what do I conclude? All this told me one very vital thing: Fujitsu will get it right before shipping with devices that potentially get it wrong. So what about UMPC, is it in their 5, 10, 20 or 100-year plan? I don’t know. What I do know is that when Fujitsu enters the Ultra Mobile PC market place it will be with confidence, and product that works…stay tuned.

    • Do you own a Fujitsu Tablet? Share your tales.
    • Would a Fujitsu UMPC be exciting?

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Dr. Neil's notes show 7

    Hi Guys!

    Dr. Neil has released the latest version of Dr. Neil's Notes Podcast. As always Dr. Neil has made the podcast as snappy and concise as possible for our listening pleasure. What I liked was his thoughts on UMPC "as a coffee table device." He also mentions MEDC in Australia, an event that I may tag along to, so stay tuned!


    Dr. Neil's Notes 7
    Show 7

    Happy coding!

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    Considering buying UMPC then watch this!

    Hugo Ortega, me, Tablet Guy Downunder, has always made an effort to bring you the best Tablet related information on the planet; I scroll through all the topics relating to Tablet PC so that you don't have to. Today's blogpost is no exception.

    In the world of UMPC there are few that can hold court like my mate James Kendrick. Normally we only get an audio when we tune into the "jkOn TheRun" podcast; this time however we're gifted with a videocast. The show has absolutely appealed to my highly visual nature!

    So what will you see? James has gone to marvelous length to actually show you the Tablet Kiosk eo UMPC available in Australia performing under normal everyday working conditions. I rate this video as a must see if you're looking at purchasing, or have purchased, a UMPC device, especially the "eo."

    What I love most about this videocast is that the "eo" is in James' hands long enough for us to witness some of the UMPC idiosyncrasies, therefore giving us a strong indication of how we would work through the learning-curve that is undoubtedly going to occur with UMPC.

    Interesting points in the video:

    • Watch translucent keyboard in action.
    • Watch James switch between UMPC resolution i.e. from native 800x480 and all the way up to 1024x768.
    • Watch James interact with the Microsoft TouchPak and with traditional Windows XP by merely minimizing.
    • Watch James rest his palm on the screen and write, using the stylus, at the same time (wow).
    Watch jkOnTheRun Audio Edition #14- TabletKiosk eo UMPC video review NOW!

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Position Vacant: thoughtful Software Developer for UMPC

    Hi Guys,

    I've been chatting to a Software Developer friend of mine this evening (Tablet Specialist, and no not Dr. Neil) about developing for UMPC. He shot me this email which I thought I'd share with you all. I don't know about you, but I believe Software Developers will lead the way in early adoption of these devices; after all it's their apps that will give meaning to something that is somewhat inanimate at this point in time.

    FYI here is what he wrote:

    Hi Hugo,

    I've been continuing to research the question of whether UMPCs support pressure and it looks like they don't. "Resistive" applies to the TFT screen technology rather than the digitiser.

    To prove this, I found the following on a UMPC developer article today:

    "Another related factor to keep in mind is that the pens for UMPCs are simple pointing devices rather than electromagnetic devices. This means that applications do not receive as much information about pen interactions as they do on a Tablet PC with an electromagnetic digitizer. Make sure that your applications destined for UMPC devices do not rely on the extra information, such as in-air packets or digitizer pressure, in order to function correctly."

    Hope this helps...

    Remember this, if software developers don't write software that takes into account all the little idiosyncrasies of UMPC then we'll soon feel a backlash of hate from the UMPC buying public. The sad thing is that most of this "buying public" won't even provide intelligible'll only ever hear things like "this sucks!"

    If you're thinking of developing for UMPC then you must be prepared to think about the reason for your app, and the purpose it fills. If UMPC is going to have any success at all then focus on UMPC as the Lion and you (the developer) are the Tamer. Master the beast so that we, the buying public, may all enjoy the spectacle! When planning and coding for your App, be the buyer not the vendor - see the UMPC as we will see it; a device that needs to fill a purpose, it's your turn to shine.

    • Are you developing for UMPC?
    • Is there anything the community out there can do to support you?
    • Are you using Microsoft's UMPC Display Emulator?
    • Did you know that Resistive touch and Capacitive Touch are not the same thing?

    Capacitive vs. Resistive touchscreens
    (from my understanding UMPC will mostly be resistive)

    Capacitive: A capacitive touch screen panel is coated with a material that stores electrical charges. When the panel is touched, a small amount of charge is drawn to the point of contact. Circuits located at each corner of the panel measure the charge and send the information to the controller for processing. Capacitive touch screen panels must be touched with a finger unlike resistive and surface wave panels that can use fingers and stylus. Capacitive touch screens are not affected by outside elements and have high clarity.

    Resistive: A resistive touch screen panel is coated with a thin metallic electrically conductive and resistive layer that causes a change in the electrical current which is registered as a touch event and sent to the controller for processing. Resistive touch screen panels are generally more affordable but offer only 75% clarity and the layer can be damaged by sharp objects. Resistive touch screen panels are not affected by outside elements such as dust or water.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Teach youself MindManager and win $1,100

    Warner Crocker is sitting in as a Judge on a MindMap Contest currently being run by NoteTalkers. If you haven't had a chance to use MindManager (free trial) then this is a perfect opportunity.

    NoteTalkers is giving you an opportunity to win up to $1,100 USD (not Aussie Monopoly money) of value in prizes [updated on 6 April 2006, i.e you win prizes valued at $1,100 not that amount of money.] just by submitting some simple MindMaps; if you ask me there is no better incentive to learn a new application than some cash!

    Here's what NoteTalker said:

    We’re inviting readers to design and submit up to three MindManager map entries (one per category per person, please) by email to
    • A MindManager map* about “Note Taking”
    • A MindManager map* that describes “What’s on your Mind?”
    • A Screencast** demonstrating MindManager

    One interesting point to note is that entry into these competitions are usually a little on the low side, so the chances of winning are a little on the high side :-)

    Enter the Contest here

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Gateway Tablet PC reviewed

    Tonight I thought I’d take time out to review the Gateway TA1 Convertible Tablet PC.

    Sitting down to post a review can sometimes be considered a burden rather than a challenge. In order to sit down and review the Gateway Tablet PC I first had to hunt one down. Knowing that Gateway had pulled out of the PC market in Australia meant that I was going to find my first task more challenging that initially thought.

    I started by emailing Gateway, and then searching locally, and finally landing on the doorstep of Dr. Neil Roodyn. It seems that on one of his travels Dr. Neil had been given a Gateway tablet PC and had strangely left it to his Girlfriend to use as her desktop – “strangely” mostly because I've never witnessed a device leave his clasp, even the two PC’s and countless devices I’ve built for Dr. Neil are still housed and used in the same room.

    I picked up my 14” widescreen friend, and headed to my den.

    The first thing to comprehend about Tablet PC is that they are designed to increase mobility; tablet is meant to replace a traditional paper and pen combination with the new found might of Windows XP Tablet PC edition. As I hoisted the device from the boot of my vehicle, and took the 17 strides required to reach the home-office, I could feel a strange sense of fatigue come over me. As I reached my desk, and made a two handed clutch for Tablet, I realized that I’d spent more energy than usual on this simple journey from garage to office.

    If you’re ever able to pickup one of these tablets the first thing that will strike you is the shear weight that is consumed by the 14” widescreen, DVD burner, 3 USB ports, firewire, VGA, card reader, PCMCIA slot and Bluetooth. Obviously I was not impressed but I remained open enough for the beast to tame my sense of mobility; perhaps under the hood the Gateway would befriend me?

    As I fired up the machine I was pleasantly surprised to experience a substantially fast boot period. As I hunted for the pen I was greeted by my first bit of Tablet-specific Gateway thinking. The pen, unlike most Tablet PC’s, has been given its own push button release mechanism. Admittedly I was not a fan at first but after having spent the last several weeks with TA1 I came to the conclusion that this bit of Gateway genius would serve purpose on other Tablet PC’s too - you see the push-down and pop-out method adopted by most Tablet PC’s is considered FUNctional, until someone looses an eye that is!

    Now with stylus in hand I decided to go for my first inking on this Gateway beast. Using the pen I clicked on “Start”, “All Programs” and then opened “Windows Journal”. All tasks performed very accurately and very responsively. With a new Journal page now staring back at me I made my move towards a blank line. As I approached, with trembling stylus in hand, my deepest fears were realized; not only would the pen not ink, but the entire system decided to think, hunt, process and memorize, all without reason – after all I’d only tried to write my name.

    The following evenings were wasted trying to improve my angle of approach, my self control and most importantly my patience. As I planned ways in which my stylus could best talk to the tablet I realized that inking had now become a strategy, and sadly, had left the realm that I once defined as intuitive and instinctual. More and more I reached for the touch pad and left the stylus back in its well designed place holder. The more time I spent with this device I stopped seeing it as a Tablet player, and started to look at it as more of a notebook, with Tablet features. With this paradigm now shifted I gradually gained love back for the Gateway that had so quickly left my body.

    Before I allow you to get carried away with my pessimism I have to pass on one very very valuable piece of praise that is well deserved by the Gateway team. It starts and ends with this: Tablet price!

    We are probably all aware that Tablet PC carries a premium; some of you may also be aware that Gateway has aggressively challenged the Tablet space by dropping the price of its device when compared to equivalently spec’ed machines. However the one very piece of information that is missing from the equation is “just how did they achieve this”. How has Gateway been able to do this while other vendors insist on commanding nearly double for an equivalent beast?

    To properly understand the math you need to know firstly that the Tablet PC premium is mostly eaten up by the magnificently crafted Wacom digitizer board, concealed in a Tablet PC and used to capture all our ink gestures. This board, which carries very few competitors in the market place, very often makes up more than 40% of the production costs of the Tablet PC technology. In the case of the Gateway engineers, they went off and decided to craft a new digitizer technology that would allow them to break into the Tablet PC space with prices previously unattainable by their competition. In turn the Gateway tablet ships not with a Wacom digitizer pack, but instead with a proprietary Gateway solution, designed to cut costs. For this feat I take my propeller hat off to them…well done boys, I love the intention.

    What I find hard to believe is that they would go to market with something that works so poorly. If you’re thinking of buying a Gateway Tablet PC then you’ll need to look no further than the Gateway Website to do a little test-driving of your own. Just follow this link and ink with your mouse on the really neat flash intro they have. Of course the mouse will give you a less refined and more jagged writing style, but then again so will the Gateway machine itself. If you find the inking ability of this flash intro acceptable (perhaps left on the Gateway site as a stroke of marketing genius) then read on brother, read on….

    If you’re in the market for a Tablet PC I must regrettably inform you that this is not for you. If however, and several of you are, you are in the market for a general purpose, DVD playing, widescreen, Bluetooth enabled notebook and don’t mind paying a small premium for some added Tablet features, then this puppy should be seriously considered.

    I love that the Gateway convertible connected when I needed to connect (both Bluetooth and WiFi) and gave me unmatched Tablet viewing pleasure via its 14” widescreen technology. I really enjoyed having an optical drive on the Tablet, a now rare occurrence by most vendors, and also enjoyed the jog dials and bush buttons located on the tablet screen.

    In conclusion all I can add is this: “If tablet PC were an NGO (Non Governmental Organization), and I were Kofi Annan, then all of my votes would go to supporting the Gateway project called “lets take away the Wacom monopoly and give Tablet PC back to the people.”

    Thumbs up, and praise, for developing a really great notebook that ships with Tablet features; thumbs down however for thinking that tablet PC users wouldn’t want a more effective form of inking. I'm praying that Gateway Tablet generation 2 or 3 will house a more acceptable inking format, therefore proving that the Tablet PC price point can close the gap on their more traditional notebook cousin.

    Next week...Lenovo X41 review

    What is Dr Neil holding?

    We all know UMPC will be a project slowly consumed by the muscle of the mighty OEM. We also know that Microsoft is very interested in seeing this space grow and expand. What we didn't know however is that UMPC will soon be available in tangerine...hmmmm!

    If you read Dr. Neil's post on using a UMPC you'll note that he doesn't actually mention the color or make of the UMPC; upon further investigation (view source) you'll quickly see, that by Dr. Neil's own admission, he announces a tangerine UMPC via an uploaded picture labeled as "tangerine_UMPC.jpg."

    Wow...tell more Dr. Tell more!

    See for yourself: [read more]