Saturday, July 29, 2006

Vice President of Parent's & Citizen's Duties

I love the last Tuesday of every month. With my duties as Vice President of the Parents and Citizens Association at my son’s School, Balgowlah Heights Public, I always get a chance to expose Tablet PC to a normally unexposed group of people. This week I had to Chair the meeting because our President, and Senior Manager of Macquarie Bank, had called in absent. As I commenced proceedings I couldn’t help but overhear whispers race round the room. It seems that the newcomers had seen my Slate (Sahara Slate – Sydney Morning Herald) and couldn’t help but be in awe.

On several occasions I’ve taken several Tablets into the meeting and been known to hand them out. So if you’re ever in the area on the last Monday of the month and you want to talk Tablet just pop into Balgowlah Heights Public School P&C Meeting…I’ll be there with an artillery of Tablet.

Samsung Q1 gets 2 pages

One of my favourite Australian PC Magazines, APC, has released a two page review of the Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC. Although due to copyright I can’t scan the article and allow you to see it I can give you a taste of the Authors thoughts. His name is Anthony Caruana, a Melbourne based freelance tech journalist whom I had the pleasure of meeting on one of my recent trips to Melbourne. If you ever meet Anthony you’ll instantly realize one thing…”Geek!”

The article reads pretty well and shapes up UMPC as a device with portability possibilities yet gives warning to “inherent limitations.” The thing I like most about the article is its use of a real life case study by means of UMPC and TabletKiosk reseller Apex Mobile Tech. Here are some quotes from Anthony’s article.

Source: APC Magazine
Author: Antony Caruana
Date: August 2006 Edition

“…the NP-Q1 looks like it’s being pitched at the more image-conscious amongst us.”

“When you first hold a UMPC, it’s the screen that stands out. The NP-Q1’s 7in display is clear, but we couldn’t help thinking that a couple of weeks of heavy use with a stylus might lead to some scratching.”

“…an integrated microphone which makes the Q1 handy for meeting…”

“Our main complaint is that the provided stylus is a short plastic stick – and not all that comfortable to use for extended periods of time.”

“Overall if you’re looking for a portable device for field work or meetings, then the NP-Q1 UMPC could well fit the bill – but be aware of its inherent limitations.”

Darrell Cann of
Yarra Valley Valuations in the outer suburbs of Melbourne says “the combination of a UMPC, a Disto and Bluetooth phone means that the lead time for drawing an accurate property plan and sending it to the client has been reduced from a couple of days to a couple of hours.”

To buy the Samsung Q1 in Australia phone Toll Free: 1800 615 617 (Tegatech Australia)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ultra Mobile PC: An Australian Story

Today, as part of my Aussie Tablet PC Guy duties, I decided to sit down with both the Samsung Q1 and the TabletKiosk EO Ultra Mobile PCs. Because there was so much ground to cover and lots of omissions due to time constraints I’ve turned the VLOG into a two-part series. The show notes below give you guide as to what’s contained and I’ll leave the rest up to your own viewing pleasure.

Now you all know that I’ve done my best when it comes to evangelizing Tablet PC (sometimes useful, other times arguable) so when it came to UMPC I’ve remained creative so as not impose on the already prolific works of MVBs such as GTM, JK, Craig Pringle, OnlyUMPC, Chippy, Linda, CTitanic, The Heiny’s and countless others.

On this occasion I’ve aimed at making the review informative and have chosen the touchscreen as the main subject matter to focus on. Every time I rip a VLOG I also gain a new found respect for VLOGgers in the Tablet space.

Australian Tablet PC Distributor Tegatech Australia is now shipping the Tablet Kiosk EO Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) and hopes to have the Samsung Q1 ready for Distribution shortly.

Sit back and enjoy this two part series named: Ultra Mobile PC: An Australian Story.

Show Notes:

Part 1 [35MB/9.25 minutes]

  • Ergonomics
  • Ports, buttons and stands
  • The XYZ Factor (chapter 1)

Part 2 [37MB/9.56 minutes]

  • Touchscreen weight (pressure sensitivity) and DialKeys
  • The XYZ Factor (chapter 2)
  • The speakers
  • The Pen – ouch!
  • Interpolation of pixels
  • The verdict

*Update 22nd of July 2006 1320*

I have updated the video with subtitles correcting myself on the touchscreen weight (pressure sensitivity). Thanks for your understanding and support. :-)

*Update 22nd July 2006 0830*

In all my excitement (late night and longer video than usual) I misrepresented one key specification...the weight (pressure sensitivity) of the touchscreens. While my point still remains, that is the Samsung needs far less pressure on it to obtain an XY coordinate than the EO, I should clarify that the Samsung needs 70grams (not 700g as stated) of pressure while the EO needs 120g (obviously more).

thanks Fernando!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hugo Ortega writes for Redmond Newsletter

Nice to be part of "The Community"

My friend Lora Heiny runs a Mobility Newsletter with a team of passionate and efficient Mobile lovers. I’ve known Lora for a while now so when the opportunity came to help her back I just had to take up the call to arms.

As part of my "Australia's Tablet Guy Adventures" I have joined the team of writers coming out of Redmond. As some of us know there are lots of newsletters that come out of the Microsoft Office in Redmond of which several are pertinent to our cause; of the others we either don't read them or don't receive them. What I like about the newsletters is that they're targeted at particular audiences and therefore give the reader the power to pick and choose - I hate generic newsletters.

This month my contribution revolved around Australian UMPC reseller Apex MobileTech. Since they are resellers of the Tablet PC Distributor Tegatech Australia Apex were able to release screenshots of their new UMPC-specific software. See the article here, here, or here!

By using this link, and your Microsoft IM login, you can pick and choose which communities you need information from. I’ve signed up to:

Mobile PC News - ISV Edition

  • Published monthly, the Mobile PC News - ISV Edition focuses on mobile PC developer and marketing resources. It also includes updates on notebook, Tablet PC, and Ultra-Mobile PC hardware models, developer articles, events, software applications, and ISV partner news.

Microsoft Hardware Newsletter (US, XX)

  • News for manufacturers and developers about beta and final product releases, specifications for new technologies, and updates to the Windows Hardware and Driver Central web site.

MCP News Flash

  • A monthly news brief of Microsoft certification program updates, including exam announcements and special promotions.

Microsoft for Partners Newsletter Registered Edition (AU)

  • Keep in the loop of what's happening in the Partner Program at a registered partner level. This fortnightly newsletter informs you of the latest product and program updates, beta availability, training and special offers available only to partners.

Insider Update (US, XX)

  • Keep up-to-date with news and information that can help you get more out of your computer, both at home and at work.

I highly recommend that you pay the site a visit and use some of the services; surely from the list they provide you can attain some new and exciting resource for your daily grind!

I'm a geek, just ask my wardrobe!

Recently my good friend Dr. Neil Roodyn came back from TechEd 2006 in the United States. He was performing regular duties as Mr. Keynote and yet managed to think of me. I don't know about you but there's a trend that's becoming rather alarming...T-shirts. First it was Tablet Kiosk with its apology gift and now Neil brings me a handful of new additions to my "I'm a geek and not afraid to let you all know about it" wardrobe.

I love them!

Samsung Q1 has a place in Australia

Ever since receiving the Samsung Q1 it’s been difficult to find its place amongst my artillery of devices. Given that the time has come to let go of the device it makes it a real shame that I have only just found where it's most comfortable...under my TV.

At home we have access to over 6 different Tablet PCs. The arrival of the Samsung Q1 meant that we had to get to know it and therefore find its place in the scheme of things. Not only is the Q1 awkward to email from but reading can be a chore too. What we found was that as portable media player the device really was an enjoyable adjunct to our lifestyle. One asset that the Q1 holds is the wonderful set of speakers. This means that turning her on and streaming radio stations from around the world really is quite functional. With iTunes installed we can stream music from our NAS server and send the sound to our room of choice too. Because it looks so good we couldn’t help but provide it a very prominent home, and therefore part of our tools of entertainment.

[video review coming soon]

What a pretty site...oh! the tulips look good too!

Operating System Tablet PC Recovery on UMPC

Not much to share here except that the experience was rather painless. With most installations taking between 45 – 90 minutes this recovery was a treat. Not only did I get the whole thing done in under 20 minutes but even better it only involved one disc and a couple of clicks of the mouse. One idiosyncrasy that I noticed while performing this installation was the loss of the touchscreen throughout the process. I didn’t bother plugging in a mouse because the manufacturer chose to allow the EO joystick to keep working up until the touchscreen driver gets called up…cool.

Here’s a photo of the GUI that I thought was rather nice; reminds me of the DOS days. Gone is the lovely XP GUI, replaced only by this. Cheapskates.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

17" widescreen Touch Computer

A friend of mine recently handed me a rather awkward looking thing called a Pelham Sloane. A Pelham Sloane is a rather clumsy all-in-one computer that sits inside the confines of a monitor. If that wasn’t enough to grab your attention it actually ships as a touchscreen too. Of all things it runs an Intel Pentium M Processor (usually reserved for a notebook) and a long list of extras that include Bluetooth, TV Tuner, two iGgabit Network cards, WiFi and in case that wasn’t enough you can actually rotate the screen through 90 degrees also…the whole thing.

Now I know the Uber Tablet blog, and Australia’s Tablet Guy, Hugo Ortega, shouldn’t really be distracted with such a monstrosity, but the fact remains that in the world of UMPC (touchscreen with no digitizer) it’s computers like this that may become the next Tablet on our desktop???

While I didn’t think the device was really worth blogging about I did like the inner organs of this beast. I thought I’d post some naked shots for any geeks like me, the ones that would rather peak inside than watch yet another demo of how Windows runs.

Enjoy this centerfold of the 17" PSynergy 1700: all-in-one Computing Solution (boy do these guys mean all).

A brief look at the Intel motherboard draped in HDD, fans, more PCB, some cables, bluetooth...OMG!

It was really cool to see just how homemade she is.

That's her on my lap...mmmmmm! I should have put dialkeys on her...LOL

I love how Bluetooth was attained by an array of piggy-backed PCB, cables, and eventually...a USB Bluetooth dongle.

RDNS Open Tender for 1,000 Tablet PCs

It's been twelve days since my last blog post and some of you have been wondering where I've been (thanks for the emails); I guess 1,000 Tablets will do that to me...allow me to explain. I've been caught up helping with a proposal for the supply of 1,000 Tablet PCs to the Royal Districts Nursing Society, based in Melbourne. The Tender closed two days ago and took up most of my spare time.

The Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) is a not-for-profit organisation and is the oldest and most respected provider of home nursing and healthcare services in Australia, delivering nursing care to people in their homes, schools and workplaces 24 hours a day 365 days of the year. As part of the Mobile Computer Device Refresh Program 2006 RDNS recently asked interested parties to attend a Respondent’s Briefing; with the Tender having been advertised on the RDNS website, TenderSearch and TenderLink the turn out was always going to attract attention. The documentation was lengthy and looked as though it had been handled by more than one lawyer before reaching the respondents. An excerpt from the document reads: “RDNS has 850 mobile tablets and 110 compact notebooks requiring refresh. A desirable consideration of this refresh is to consolidate the tablet and notebook users onto the one device, on the basis that a cost effective tablet/notebook solution is achievable.” You may read the entire 52 pages here.

Th outgoing fleet of RDNS Tablet PCs is comprised of two models, the HP TC1100 and the TC1000. With HP’s decision to discontinue this range it would mean that the TCXXXX hybrid feature, i.e. Convertible Tablet and Slate ability, would prove difficult to replace. However after having read through the 52 page “Request for Tender” document it would seem that narrowing down the choice might not be so difficult. With mandatory requirements such as PCMCIA, Tablet Operating System, 1.6GHz Processors or above and 2 GB of RAM, it was very evident just how much thought RDNS had put into the tender request.

After an embarrassing technical hiccup, causing one attendee to yell out “I think you need some new notebooks”, the Melbourne Respondent’s Briefing was on its way. Held on Tuesday 4th of July at the RDNS HQ the briefing proved to be a real who’s who of the Tablet space; especially when you consider that the refresh would involve the supply of almost 1,000 Tablets. Attendees incorporated the obvious Fujitsu and Toshiba, with other hopefuls such as Motion Tablet PC and Tablet Kiosk also making their presence felt.

The briefing was designed to clarify issues that needed resolving: of which overheating, a suitable compendium cover and breakages in the AC port all required attention. It was interesting to note that RDNS would favour a fare-play policy that covered accidental breakages. In their eyes fare-play meant that a “no questions asked” and “quick turn around” policy would be looked well upon by the RDNS Tender Committee. One key feature that seemed to catch several of the respondents off guard was talk of a “User Engagement Workshop” (UEW). The UEW would see the designated supplier of these devices also provide an in-depth training and support program; the type of training was left fairly open but suggestions seemed to point towards databases of “Macromedia flash movies” and the use face-to-face rollouts that empowered the RDNS employees.

After the briefing one of the respondent’s, Anvantec’s Stuart Charlton, who has put together a primarily Slate oriented proposal involving the Sahara Slate PC, seemed confident and excited about the prospect of supplying so many Tablets at once. Being Distributed in Australia by Tablet PC Distributor, Tegatech Australia, the Sahara slate is seen as a fairly vertical market product so when asked about his chances Charlton was heard to say “I think we’ve got a good chance. The product is lighter than most and feels good in your hands. I think we’re on a winner.”

No matter what happens the RDNS Tender has sparked a real wave of enthusiasm in the Australian Tablet PC space. Whatever market you are in, if the chance comes to supply a Company over 1,000 Tablet PCs in a single concurrent sale, surely there will be players fighting tooth and nail to make a great impression. With the closing date of the 13th of July” now having past respondents must now wait in bated breath. Short listed evaluation units are required for August and the intended rollout is shooting for an October/November 2006 schedule.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Nice to be appreciated!

Recently GottabeMobile’s Rob Bushway posted a letter of thanks from new Tablet PC owner Mark de Jeu. Amongst the various insights Mark offered he also managed to name the resources that helped him narrow down his choices.

Until now. After months of daily reviews of GBM, JKOTR, WickedStage, Uber, and Buzz forums, I have landed on the Fujitsu P1510D. I heard your comments on trying out the ink, and I did try it out. No issues, and it may be that there will be a behaviour modification requirement for those that want non-Herculean touch screens (just as there is a behaviour modification requirement to become proficient in inking legible characters).

I just wanted to say to Mark: “You’re welcome mate!” I'm really glad I could help.

The P1510 is an awesome machine; if you’re interested in the device why not look at Rob’s Video Review of the P1510.

James comes sniffing in my backyard

The Legendary James Kendrick came sniffing in my backyard just recently with this post. It seems that Chatswood based Aussie Jonathan Benson has spotted a device doing its best to impersonate a UMPC. The device is stocked (sort of) by the C1 Group in Australia and goes by the name of C1 UMPC, albeit a recent modification to its previous name – C1 Tablet PC.

Just for your interest, if any, I was able to remember seeing the Tablets Manufacturer Website a few years back so I did what I could to track it down. I managed to find it via Global Sources with the Manufacturer, Singapore based Tronic International Pty Ltd, having placed an advertisment there.

If you look at the tronics website you’ll see that this device is quite the chameleon; first with its UMPC jacket, then with its iPod hat (see website for tacky photos). On their website it goes by the name of PMG Quadpad, it comes in white or black, and it seems to have found a happy home as a semi-rugged input device. Go C1 the time is almost right for the picking on this one!

Note: Steve, from, was also right in stating that the PMG Quadpad travels as the "Paceblade P8" while staying in Europe.