This week I must have had over half a dozen cafe meetings regarding Tablet PC, and Ultra Mobile PC. Because I’ve been handed the reigns to the Tablet PC Cart downunder I find myself in all manner of conversations. Yesterday, Saturday, I sat with an IT Forensics’ Expert that gets called in to retrieve data from Crime Related PCs. THIS WAS a FUN TALK.
Imagine being flown across the country, as an IT guru, whose job it is to reach into the embers of a petroleum-inspired fire, pull out the remains of what once was a laptop, and start to recover data. He recalls that on one such occasion the spinning platters normally found within a standard PATA/SATA hard drive had to be removed and "almost surgically" re-installed into a new encasement in order to begin the data recovery process. Often these criminals are so desperate to TRASH their PC (and the evidence therein) that they dunk them in sinks full of water and with the power packs plugged-in they turn the electricity on; he also mentioned an occasion where one 'crim' took a sledge hammer to his device and repeatedly beat at while police were breaking down his door.
It made me recall an instance where I performed some Tablet PC surgery myself. I know that firstly there needs to be a love for PC intestines when doing this sort of work. It isn't for the faint hearted and should not be attempted at home. If I were the ‘crim’ I'd resort to running (literally) two Tablet PC’s with a copy of Microsoft OneNote 2007 BETA installed on each. This way I could synchronize my handwritten notes over a second PC and burn one laptop while making away with another under the arm!!! LOL
Another meeting I had this week was with a Window Manufacturer. He tells me that the Window Manufacture industry is one of the largest in the world and most lucrative too. The contracts on big high-rise buildings are obviously an example of really good "danger money." This particular guy had an awesome application designed to ‘measure and quote’ a Window job [using Microsoft Windows...sorry couldn't help the punt].
We sat there and enjoyed coffee while he installed he's application on several Tablet PCs, took photos and familiarized himself with several Tablet related products on the market. The one question that keeps rearing its head seems to be that of "active digitizer" vs. "touchscreen" pc's. Talking my way through the XY coordinates of a touch, vs. the XYZ coordinates of the Active Digitizer; it becomes clear that in almost every case the merits of the active digitizer far outweigh that of the touchscreen.
As a project the Microsoft Origami Project was designed firstly to bring down the cost of regular (active digitizer) Tablet PC's. It was apparent early on in the project that the highest consumption of the manufacture dollar was the active digitizer board itself; hence, UMPC was released sporting touchscreens. What we've now created is a new market appeal where the price point has reached a happy medium for Tablet PC (via UMPC) but we are now looking at reversing the excitement due to poor User Experiences with the touch. What I'm looking forward to is the day where Wacom, or equivalent, decide to release boards with pricing equivalent to that of the touch; hopefully then we can integrate Touchscreen Tablets with an Active Digitizer too.
Right now we can lock off a touch screen’s "touch ability" via a simple locking mechanism. If therefore that same Tablet had an embedded Wacom style active digitizer board then a user could pick up a pen and enjoy the XYZ coordinate appreciated by so many Active Digitizer users. The only dilemma that remains now is to solve the price issue, and not [contrary to popular thoughts] the manufacture process of such a device. We can manufacture such a device but who would buy it??? You're already complaining Tablets are too expensive!
This week I helped a fellow blogger with the purchase of a Tablet PC, the Fujitsu LifeBook T4210. I had the pleasure of reviewing its predecessor, the Fujitsu LifeBook T4020, but the T4210 sports several new features like multi-directional screen rotation, water resistant keyboard, on-screen biometrics...and a new silver/charcoal colour too. The blogger Mitch Denny even posted about the arrival of the beast! Best to you Mitch.
One unique part of my week was attending a meeting regarding the opening of a new cafe in Sydney. Not only did I 'floor' the group when I started annotating on my Slate but I managed to hand it around too. I had to consult on several IT related matters but most amusing was my talk about the "Power of Blogging for Business." Those of you that run blogs should spend a portion of your week evangelizing Blogging, not just the topic you ACTUALLY blog about. I've been tuning into Cameron Riley lately, and, as some of us do, he has been making ends meet by consulting. He's preferred topic is MediaCasting and the power of manipulating the media, i.e. almost becoming the media, around you. Well done Cam! Another legend who spends time evangelizing blogging itself is Frank Arrigo.
Next week I’m at Tech.Ed Australia 2006 helping out (as a volunteer) on Microsoft’s Mobility Stand. Pop in if you get a chance.
I loved my week, it was great.