Wednesday, February 28, 2007

10 girls, one car and the Samsung Q1

This last two weeks has seen me involved with what will surely be one of the most interesting UMPC-in-action case studies to date. Not only will it be productive, and effective, but it will be prestigious and sexy too.

Stay tuned while I bring you more soon.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

MEDC Australia is approaching

MEDC (Mobile and Embedded DevCon) Australia is fast approaching and some facts are starting to emerge. Here’s what we know so far:
  • MEDC is going to be on May 16th, so keep the date free
  • it’s going to be a great event for developers and partners interested in Mobility and Embedded devices. They've announced new versions of Windows Mobile since the last MEDC so there will be plenty of great content, aimed at a technical audience.
  • Microsoft folks are busy getting a new website up but in the meantime users can go to to find out more about what’s on offer and to sign up to be notified when registration opens.

If you’ve ever attended an MEDC you’ll know that they are high energy and can deliver some quality deep dive sessions that you just don’t get anywhere else, and certainly not on shelves. I love the hardware (but that’s just me) and the presenters like Dr. Neil Roodyn and Nick Randolph always seem to make the event worthwhile. This year keep an eye out for my travel mate and fellow MVP James McCutcheon.

So if you’re in town and want to be part of The Solution then why not take part in this year’s MEDC Australia. You never know, you might see me on stage waving arms and chanting hallelujah! (Not that I've been asked to speak, yet, but I might just get up anyways.)

Aussie locals will be excited to catch up with favourites like Frank Arrigo, Jeff Alexander, Uber passionate Rick Anderson and the now legendary Don Kerr!

Talking UMPC in South Sydney

As part of my Australian Tablet Guy duties – most self inflicted – I have been invited to talk to a unique conglomerate called The Shire IT Cluster. By unique I merely mean that they are proactive; they are enthusiastic; and they are motivated enough to be part of the solution, and not the problem. In this day I find laziness has become a popular way to describe one's ambition in life and quite frankly it drives me crazy. Here’s how this group describes themselves:

The Sutherland Shire It Cluster is a network of professionals, practitioners, trainers, educators, product & service providers, representing the broad spectrum of the IT and ICT sector who have formed a collaboration to meet the ICT needs of southern Sydney.

So as an FYI, I will be speaker #2 on March 2nd 2007 at 8:25am. If you are interested in attending, and live locally, you can download the Agenda for the upcoming meeting here and then download the map of the location, i.e. Lecture Room, University of Wollongong Campus, Loftus TAFE. If the "demo gods" allow we will have Phil Jones of The Logical Interface perform a demonstration using a UMPC (probably one of mine) and a Dino-Lite microscope.

For those of you anywhere else in the globe – I’ll blog about it! For those of you in Australia that are planning on coming make sure you let me know so I stay for coffee and talk Tablet with you.

If the weather permits I’m planning on taking a motorbike down there as the coastal ride will be nice in the morning.

Talk about an Apex

I’ve known the Apex people for almost a year now and the one thing that has caught my attention is their enthusiasm and passion for all things Tablet PC. First it was their absolute belief in the Motion Slates, and then came their intrigue with Ultra-Mobile PC. In their artillery they currently hold EO V7110 and the ASUS R2H, which would come as no surprise to readers of this blog as they are the only two devices with HID (Human Interface Device drivers).

Apex focuses on Software, and a little more precisely they focus on software for Home Valuation. What’s neat about this software is that it takes digital ink, as in that from the pen of a Tablet PC, and they turn it into solid state. The net result is Valuers are able to draw the floor plan of a house, in freehand, and in no time at all walk away with an emailable and printable short-drawing. If you haven’t seen the funky video they did you’d better look here (and click on the little UMPC).

So as a bit of a bulletin board in the Ethernet I just wanted to let you all know that Apex has launched a Forum for geeks anyone playing in their space to pop by and have a chat. See what you think and let me know.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

VLOGS to resume ASAP

*Update 2nd Feb 2007 11:46am* I'm back baby!

*Update 2nd Feb 2007 11:46am* I'm back baby!

I don’t know about you guys but I’m suffering from VLOG withdrawal syndrome (VLOG.W.S). Since losing the camera in China I have done little by way of blogging or vlogging, so I guess this post is designed to let you know that I’m OK and that the camera…replacement…is on its way! The irony is that when I was shooting with John Garden from Scissor Sisters I actually forgot my famous remote control and I improvised (to the shock and horror of John) with a hand gesture.

If you missed it make sure you watch part three of this video and right at the end you will see the funniest thing ever. We both laughed a lot about this. Oh, the irony. The irony is that all I have left of the original camera is the original remote control, and nothing else. So now I sit and point the remote…at nothing! LOL.

Good news too, Jon Dee and I have decided to make a return. Due to a massive wave of demand both online and offline we have decided to shoot again, on Monday, and post the results. So stay tuned, Hugo Ortega and Jon Dee on the UberTablet Blog one more time…

Hope you’re having a great week.

PS. If you're in Australia and you switch on your television to Channel 10, on March 4th, then you're likely to catch Jon Dee on COOL AID: The National Carbon Test

Friday, February 16, 2007

Is the Future in Touch Computing?

Chatting on a couple of email threads I have realized that UMPC will soon be all about the preferred input method. There seems to be a paradigm shift occurring, and I’ve defined this for some time now, towards Tablet PC being seen as a “small pc” rather than a pen based computer. Whether it carries a keyboard or pens it is still going to be a question of your preferred input method, or rather, what are you prepared to put up with? With manufacturers missing the mark on many of the UMPC it seems that these “small PCs” of the future will carry one feature in common, touch!

A friend of mine sent me this picture of the Canova Dual Touch Screen Laptop (source: Bornrich). The first thing that sprang to mind was “how cool!” It seems the dilemma of keyboard as your preferred input has been addressed and so has multi-touch on Tablet. Because these two screens are touch enabled it means a user could call up a software keyboard and type as usual or pull out a pen and use both screens at once.

What was most interesting is that my friend, who happens to be a C4 quadriplegic, might have a completely different view to you or I. In fact he might see this as a savior, where you or I might assume it is a gimmick. I still remember when I sent him his first look at a Tablet, boy that raised a lot of eyebrows. To read more about my friend Dave Wallace make sure you jump onto his blog.

I for one am totally enamored with the qualities of the Touch Screen. It makes computing at the speed of thought one step closer, and, as a result has increased my productivity (or at least perceived productivity).

Here are five reasons I like touch:
  • The “Start” menu; I can always hit “start” with my fingers/or thumb faster than any mouse or joystick
  • Closing windows is always faster (ALWAYS)
  • Snipping tool and a fingernail are my new best friend. With this combination I have spread more mail clippings than I care to remember
  • Sex Factor; touch is sexy and it turns heads. “Put your finger on it” is my new catch cry…try it! LOL
  • Lastly, cost! Touch has brought down the cost of a traditional Tablet PC by more than half, and that has to be a good thing.

I’m interested, is the Pen mightier than the finger, or do we just like little computers? Also, what are your reasons for liking touch (if you do at all).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Massive UMPC poster has a name

As you know I was recently in China and posted a photo of a "four-storey" UMPC poster. This photo was taken outside of HaiDian District in Beijing, or better known as Tech Valley.

The poster is of the VIA based (TabletKiosk badged) UMPC, and is very impressive. It turns a lot of heads at the intersection outside of the district and in a Taxi of 4 geeks I was first to spot it - I must have smelt UMPC in the air. What I didn't realise was just how small the world would turn out to be however. It turns out that Bjorn Stromberg, my friend at VIA Taiwan, sits next to the girl, Eliane Hofmann, in the VIA offices.

So in case you missed the UMPC Poster Girl, here she is again! And don't print this off, it's hard enough being Eliane without her knowing a couple of thousand geeks now use her as a mouse pad and/or desktop wallpaper! LOL. Thanks Bjorn, great story!

UMD stands tall in China
(above me)

Hugo Ortega on Toshiba homepage

Hyperlink (bottom right) to UberTablet Blog from Official Toshiba R400 Product Page

I'm back from China and been little under the weather; I believe it was the air conditioning on the long haul flight. I’m still upset about the UberTablet Camera too although Camera Action seem to be working on that for me!

I was pinged earlier today via email regarding my blog. It seems as though my post with Planet Ark’s Jon Dee even caught the attention of Toshiba. This morning a very prominent link to my post has appeared on the Official R400 page! WHAT!!! This link, and the fact that my blog was also promoted on channel 10 Australia, means I probably have more than two or three readers now…cool. LOL.

"For a unique Australian view of the UMPC market, take a look at"

Channel 10 Australia

Sunday, February 11, 2007

blogging from the Great Wall of China

Having made it to the Great Wall of China I was somewhat overwhelmed by its beauty and mystique. The drive leading up to it is wild in that cars just travel in any direction they like. There appears to be a magical “middle lane” that opens up for Taxi drivers only and it can leave you often looking at oncoming traffic straight in the eye!

As fellow MVP James McCutcheon, Microsoft Product Manager Nicholas White and I arrived we could see the wall stretch from left to right and back again. It was ominously looking down on us and almost daring us to arrive. The parking lot saw many “peddlers” and street merchants, all illegal and all playing cat and mouse with local police. Our tour guide, Ricky Lee, pointed us to the top and said I’ll meet you back here.

As we passed through the turnstile we looked up at the 60 degree angle facing us and started to take the first steps. It wasn't long before breathlessness, the cold, and burning thighs started to affect our thinking. As we rose through the mountain we peered back and felt queasy, and nocuous, about the vertical staircase we had left behind.

As we peaked at one point, another opened up. And as we crossed a land mark, it seemed that the journey was endless. Knowing that we were walking on a structure that had claimed so many lives during the Ming Dynasty, and dates as far back as 1640 in some areas, all three of us seemed touched by the history strewn beneath our feet. We all reached for our mobile phones and started dialing friends and family. First I talked with my beautiful wife (that helped me take time out to be here) and then with my son, which by huge contrast had to be called out of our swimming pool to answer the phone. He was so excited that he dragged his friend out (another five year old) and made me say hello too. “Cool, waow!” is how he put it I believe!

I proceeded to pull out the famous Hugo Ortega camera, and remote control, and started Vlogging for you guys. First I screamed, then I jeered, then I shared my breathless tale of the steep ascent on this infamous marble staircase. It seems however that in all my excitement I became a little lightheaded and distracted. As we arrived at the parking lot and made our way to the Ming Tombs I realized that my camera had been either left behind or stolen! Ouch! So now I have no video to show you. All I have is this one coincidental (yet lifeless) shot of me on the Vista enabled Q1B, on top of the Great Wall!

If you get the chance you should make your way here. It is truly special.

Blogging from the Great Wall of China

Saturday, February 10, 2007

UMPC is MASSIVE in China

Now when I say UMD (Ultra Mobile Devices) are HUGE in China, I mean that quite literally. Tonight after the Labs had finished we caught a wild taxi ride into the heart of the city and made it to the Tech Centre. While there we were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people and high energy buying and selling that occurs. Not only did it resemble a stock exchange floor trading in the middle of the day, but it also seemed like every manufacturer and subsidiary had strong representation on the ground.

To me one of the obvious stand outs were the Bill Boards and Advertisements on the streets. There was Windows Vista, and Lenovo…Vista, Intel, AMD…Vista, ATI…and did I mention Vista! It’s EVERYWHERE. However, it was a massive sign on our left that truly warmed the soul. I managed to spot it before anyone in the car did (which came as no surprise) as it was the biggest poster of an Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) I had ever seen. The advertisement was for VIAs C7-M processor, and the device was the TabletKiosk (Amtek) V7110. Take a look at just how big it is!

Also a sight for sore eyes was the Samsung Q1. I found it on sale in not only one, but two different stands inside the massive Tech Bazaars. That was sweet!

UMD stands tall in China
(above me)

UMPC is massive here

Hugo Ortega and Nicholas White

In keeping with vlogging tradition today I sat with Nicholas White from Microsoft USA. He and I have shared many conversations during the Vista Labs in Beijing and this short video is no different. Nick's role is to support all non traditional media (a man after my own heart) and create nurturing environments that promote growth. One method Nick uses is his blog, The Windows Vista Blog, in which he publishes resources found within the walls of the Microsoft Redmond campus. The other method is through featured communities in The Hive (

I mentioned Nick in a post yesterday quite heavily yesterday but all I want to say is this, if you get a chance to spend time with Nick it is well worth it. He is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and seems to articulate subjects with the elegance someone much older than he. I appreciate his enthusiasm and the level of commitment he brings to his role…well done mate.

Here’s a short interview I conducted with him in China today, and yes, I also managed to bring UMPC and Tablet into the conversation!

Day Two Vista Labs Beijing

Our welcoming party at Microsoft China

Today was the last day and probably the most in depth. We heard from several new presenters, namely Mitch Gatchalian (SR Product Manager) and Fan Yi (Group Manager China). Mitch was pumped and his presentation was all about the Windows Vista Ultimate experience. As you might imagine he was excited, enthusiastic and all for an "all inclusive" operating system like Ultimate Edition Vista. While we all tended to agree I think what Mitch was really doing was hunting for feedback on the validity of such an OS. He posed more questions at us than we managed to pose at him but having done that he also took away a great deal of suggestions and mixed opinions.

Fan Yi lets us into CTC

Fan Yi, from the China Technology Centre (CTC), presented next and what made his talk more interactive than the others was his choice to move us from our seats and take us behind the closed doors of Microsoft. He lead us to a room named CTC where every gadget and technology available to Microsoft had crept its way into virtual living rooms, offices, and conference centers; all virtually replicated in one hall. Behind these doors we were able to see Chinese speech recognition got to work, and localization (and culturalization) take place first hand. The demonstrated the power of the Multilingual User Interface (MUI) and its power in the Asian market place. This was enjoyable and gave the localization presentation we had yesterday a little more needed perspective.

Anderson Liu demonstrates Windows Mobile Messenger

Next we heard from Anderson Liu, Director, MSN China. This to me was the highlight of the day and definitely worth sharing. He explained that MSN in China ( is one of the most profitable revenue streams that Microsoft has - globally! Its primary role is to supply a portal for advertisers to benefit from, i.e. Auctions, Online Shopping and more. Advertising is the number one revenue stream stemming from this site while the other is communication services, i.e. hotmail, instant messengers, and now blogging services. To put the sheer amount of revenue they generate here into perspective we need to look at software revenue for Microsoft, which stands a 100 billion USD, vs. Advertising revenue from MSN which stands at 500 billion dollars annually! So where do you think the future lies? Software, or online portals/services…I wonder.

The reason I bring this up is that Microsoft believes that mobile portals will be the biggest growth market for China, and in fact the world. If you look at mobile services on phones and Mobile PCs then this is the biggest growth potential for revenue worldwide. In preparation of the newly awarded 3G license agreement China has chosen to role out a 2.75G network, i.e. and enhanced version of current GSM. MSN is looking at providing a massive amount of content driven services so that the biggest revenue net is cast when 3G finally gets approved and rolled out. Lets translate this to dollars.

If you are a mobile developer, and as I mentioned this yesterday, maybe you should start to look at the Chinese market, or at least take a look at online services as a massive revenue stream available to you. In China right now there are three hundred million (300,000,000) mobile users…ouch! Lets Look at a more realistic example: during the Chinese New Year celebrations (that one night) there will be 2 billion SMSs sent!!! So there is a strong push from telco carriers to NOT launch free mobile services, but rather they are focused on pay for use, hence the amount of revenue China is seeing, and foreseeing.

One of the obvious drawbacks of using Cell Phones as the preferred device for such a portal is the lack of screen realestate. Sitting in the room I couldn't help but pose the question, what about UMPC? To which the answer was…"that's a good question!?!?" Liu went on to demo Windows Mobile Live Messenger on his phone but instead of using the keyboard he talked into the phone and sent a voice clipping instead. WOW! Made me wonder if Microsoft China had downloaded Skype on their phones…lol

Friday, February 09, 2007

Touch Screen Sexy

With touch screens almost becoming ubiquitous it is not that surprising to see it hit the mainstream media too. Today, while on my travels in China I caught a story on “CNN in Asia” tracking the recent success of touch screen technology in gadgets today. Because of the relevance to the Tablet PC space I thought I’d post it for you as it came back on a rerun.

Recently I was having a conversation with Nicholas White regarding Ultra-Mobile PC and the role it plays in convergence. I explained that no longer do we hold Pen Based Computing as the primary intention of a Tablet PC but rather portability and mobility seem more common descriptions. With that in mind it seems that monikers and keywords associated with these devices are changing too.

What I am seeing is a real move from Ultra-Mobile PC being described in terms of “form factor” as opposed to “pen based computing.” It will become more common to hear things like PDAs and Mobile Phones described as Tablets than the traditional description of these devices today (…big call I know, but I believe true). Think about it, Tablet Edition is now embedded in Vista! When you think of Tablet PC, do you think of the pen anymore, or is it now just a small PC? I’m interested. If your new to these devices then perhaps all you know of Tablet PC is it’s a small handheld.

Touch Screen Sexy

Panasonic Touch Controller for 65 inch Screen

Sitting in my hotel room I watched as CNN presented a look at Touch Screen technology and its popularity today. They mentioned the Apple Phone, other Cell Phones, and PC monitors (no mention of UMPC regrettably). Having said this it did remind me that two days back I shot a super cool video I wanted to share. I am starting to see that the term Tablet PC is slowly creeping away from "Pen features" and rapidly becoming a new way of describing "form factor." While this video does not involve UMPC or Tablet it does build a strong case for Touch technology.

This brief video was shot on Wednesday the 7th of February while in transit at Singapore Airport. I took a minute to capture it for you because of the sheer amount of thought/technology/effort/convergence and much more that must have gone into such a concept.

What you are looking at is a Panasonic 65 inch Plasma that is being controlled by a glass projected Touch Controller UI! WOW. Check it out here:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Afternoon Day One Vista Labs Beijing

Today we heard from Nicholas White from Redmond. Nick has an interesting role in that he works with all Non Traditional Media, i.e. like this blog! He is a great guy that some of you may recognise (virtually) as the author of the and an active organiser on The Hive. While the Vista blog is not overly "techy" it does delve into some subjects quite well. A white paper that Nick wrote really caught my attention regarding Direct X 10 (DX10) so if you're interested and want to read more on Direct X 10 go to this white paper. DX10 will ONLY be available on Vista and will ship as part of a Windows Update shortly (not sure if I'm allowed to say that).

Richer scenes and complex environments

Picture 6: Windows Vista wallpaper rendered in DirectX9

Picture 7: Windows Vista wallpaper rendered in DirectX10

Then there was a surprisingly enthusiastic presentation by Microsoft China's DPE General Manager named Nigel Burton. He gave a personal account of major Corporations and Chinese Companies working to develop "rich" mobile user experiences. I am not sure how NDA this is so I will not go into it further however if you are a developer and think you have a killer application for a mobile device then maybe contact Nigel as he has an active market place waiting for you!

For me, the highlight of the day was Binggong Don, of Microsoft China, who gave a great talk on Text-to-Speech (TTS) in Windows Vista. While Windows XP only had one language supported (English) it seems that TTS has added Chinese too. XP had a voice in it called Sam while Vista's launch will see Anna added and in Chinese our Asian counterparts will get a chance to hear from Lili! Here is brief history of TTS up to the present date:

Seems like TTS has been of interest for a long time...way before Vista

  • 1791: Speaking Machine was invented
  • 1939: Homer Duley Electronic Processing Sound Machine
  • 1992: Speech Team Created
  • 1998: Product Group Formed
  • 2000: Division-level investment (SAM, Worked on XP)
  • Today: shipped fully packed in Vista, brand new TTS engine in Windows Vista. Microsoft China innovated next wave of TTS system.

The interesting thing about TTS I that it is not created by a massive database of words stored and cut/pasted together. Firstly it is created by Text Analysis, then Unit Selection and finally Wave Generation. In the first portion the word needs to be broken down into pronunciation and Normalization. The second portion of the equation takes the best "most suitable" candidate of each sound, then places it into a combination of sounds that help generate the intended word , e.g. an "E" sound may differ dramatically in different words, so via the above mentioned algorithm TTS plays a role in judging how and when to best describe that "E". Finally the wave generation portion takes into account the word formation as best practice while forming Sounds Waves, i.e. inflections.

You think that sounds complicated?!?! You try explaining it! LOL...OK guys, I'm off to bed after having a banquet/feast at a very classy restaurant! Let me know if you want me to chase anything else up for you.

Day one Vista Labs Beijing

Microsoft China building behind me

This morning was cold, very cold. After breakfast, which featured eggs and toast, and wonton soup and breakfast beef, we made our way to the Microsoft Office. The funny thing was that the building was actually very close; while we were eating breakfast in the we noticed that the Microsoft building was actually across the road! When we were done we strolled on over…watch out for the cars…they’re everywhere. Chinese BETA

Today has been focused on two main topics, i.e. Localization and The first session was run by Edward Ye from Microsoft Redmond and the second by Steve Macbeth from Microsoft China.

It’s always interesting to sit in these presentations (well, not always) and get the localized perspective. Because we are in China the topics mostly revolved around the APAC region/Asian cultures. The presentation focused on the Chinese Beta release of the Microsoft Search Engine, while the Localization presentation spent a lot of time talking about…localization!

In regards to Tablet PC and Ultra-Mobile PC there has been little mention, although what was mentioned seemed instrumental to some of Microsoft’s future intentions. Localization for e.g. is Microsoft's big Corporate and OEM push to make the Vista experience more culturally sensitive, or all inclusive out-of-the-box if you like. That means we will not see as many language packages, but rather language integration in the OS.

PowerPoint slide regarding MUI

Even the shell32.dll used in Windows XP has now been split into two to provide a better language experience, i.e. it has now a new tier called shell32.dll.mui. This was done to separate the language tier of the source code (normally embedded in the OS) and placed it in it’s own layer for easier service pack updates and mutilpe usage scenarios. MUI is the (Windows Localization) Multilingual User Interface that Stores each language strings (resources) separately from Operating System Code. MUI supports many new features this year of which I thought these were interesting:

  • Multilingual Desktops
  • Support up to 208 Languages (99 out of the box), with 63 Language Interface Packs additionally available.
  • Support close to 100,000 characters, including 75,000 for Chinese users
  • 168 keyboards
  • EACH FONT REQUIRES a rendering engine to display the fonts
  • 8 Speech Recognition languages
  • 12 handwritten languages supported! (TABLET PC STUFF)

So this has been my morning. After the session we had Pizza from Beijing’s famous Mr. Pizza! Now I’m about to go into another sessions and with a bit of luck rip a VLOG with Nick White from Redmond…more on him soon (BTW, I did have a great conversation with him regarding the Q1 and ASUS r2H).

Finally in China, Beijing

After waking up at 3am (Sydney time) James and I are pleased to announce that we are in China! While it is only midnight here, in Sydney it is 3:40am and my body sure can tell the difference! The flight was a good one and the Singapore stopover really helped.

Upon arrival at the Hotel we received a little envelope with details about the Vista Labs but I cannot post anything else until I "ask" tomorrow. For the mean time here are some photos from our walk through the airport...we're such geeks! The outside temp is about 0 degress celsius (30 F), and it bites.

BTW, there will be people from the Vista Team with me tomorrow so please post any burning questions you might have; any topic is fine as Tablet will only be skimmed over I imagine.

James at Customs and infront of a Great Wall Mural

Windows Vista greets us first thing!

(I like the interpretation of Aero Glass on this marketing)

Another familiar friend, i.e. Intel Core 2 Duo!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

David vs. Goliath

This blog is slowly turning into reality blogging! I'm now in the Singapore (free) internet lounge and uploading an image taken only 2hours ago (on the plane). The image is of fellow MVP, James McCutcheon, and I as we make our way outbound from Sydney to Singapore., and head to China

The thing I like about this photo is the David vs. Goliath battle that went on between our laptops. On one side their is James with a 17" Dell beast (2hrs battery life) and on he other the Samsung 7" Q1B with 9hrs battery life using a 6 Cell battery! I know which one I'd rather...LOL

Post soon from Beijing! [thanks for your comments, I'll try and answer later]

taken on Flight SQ221 - Syd to Beijing

and yes, that is a computer James has...not a Cinema!

UberTablet welcomes new Sponsor

I would like to take this opportunity (just before I get on that flight I keep talking about) to welcome our new Sponsor of the UberTablet Blog, Tech Smith Corporation. Tech Smith are the fine makers of software such as Camtasia Studio, the screen recording software I use for videos like this.

Proudly, and deservedly, Tech Smith Corporation has chosen to sponsor the UberTablet Blog for the next six months and have expressed real excitement over the opportunity.

For more information regarding Tech Smith or the range of products they offer make sure you head on over to their website; while there, hit the "try" links found on each product page, you won't regret it! You'll be interested to know that Camtasia Studio v4.0 Beta even captures Vista (including Aero Glass) perfectly!

Welcome Tech Smith, Jennifer, Betsy and the entire crew! We appreciate everything you do.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What's in my Gadget Bag? for China

I’m literally off to China in the morning (+7hrs from this post which is meant to include sleep). I have been invited to partake in some Vista Labs held at Microsoft Office in Beijing and am lucky enough to be part of a delegation made up of 25 MVPs and/or Global Leaders.

The main reason I have not packed anything other than my Gadget Bag is YOU, of course. Here’s a video of what I’m taking. It’s rough but it will detail a portion of what’s coming along, a why.

The cool thing is that this video responds to the call-out by certain bloggers to show us “What’s in your gadget bag.” So if you want to join in just let us know that you've done it and we’ll point traffic your way. Here are some examples I followed:

My next post will be from either Singapore, where I have a stopover, or from Beijing!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Scissor Sisters does UMPC

*update 15th Feb 2007* I was Googling for the Scissor Sisters in Australia, to see what they had been up to, and it turns out my post is ranked 4th...too funny. Google Scissor Sisters in Australia here. LOL

Becoming a blogger is still the single BEST decision I made in 2006. Not only have I developed lots of online friends but lately my virtual mates are slowly turning into “solid state” right before my eyes. I can still remember one of my first podcasts with Australian Radio Personality Doug Mulray; and more recently I vlogged with Jon Dee, Founder of Planet Ark. Today, and in keeping with my traditional Vlogging technique, I shared a meal and lots of Tablet Talk with John Garden of pop group the Scissor Sisters.

John has played keyboard for Sister Sisters for over 3 years and is also the Musical Director. He is an avid fan of my blog and currently touring Australia with the band and around the Globe.

Turns out meeting John was somewhat mystical as my 5 year old son had woken up early this same morning to watch Scissor Sisters on Australian Television, Channel Seven’s Sunrise Show, which consequently is the same show another friend of mine works…Peter Blasina…now I’m just name-dropping!

Enjoy the video. [“Elo, I think you’ll like that I’m in hot pursuit of these Tablet conversations.” If anyone is in town and wants to shoot a Vlog with me, you know how to find me!]

Part One
Location: Manly Wharf (3 min from home)

Part Two
Location: Manly Wharf (3 min from home)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

UMPC for Home Automation

Ultra-Mobile PC as a Home Automation controller

I was recently emailed some screenshots of some specialized software designed to run on anything, including Ultra-Mobile PC. It allows you to control Media Center (Vista and MCE2005), from a UMPC. It is software from an American company Autonomic. Becasue I got such a huge response from my "umpc for something other than surfing" video, I thought I would post this stuff for those interested in Home Automation.

It also can view, and control the Media Center to play the music library, so would be great as a controller for distributed audio. In an update to the software coming soon you will also be able to control Xbox360 connected to the Media Center. They have a piece of software that runs on the MCE machine, which then allows you to make telnet calls to it to control the MCE machine (and MCE extenders).

With AMX controllers fetching thousands of dollars and functionality often very “locked off” then it makes sense for this software to jump on a UMPC while remaining more dynamic a flexible for the household. What do you guys think? I won’t wade into the Home Automation battle too deeply but I don’t get why AMX and Crestron have such a monopoly in this space.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Toshiba R400 in the hands of two Aussie Influentials

*Update 02.02.07 13:21*By popular demand a Low Res vidoe (48MB) has also been uploaded. Follow the links below.
Jon has worked with Tom Cruise, Richard Branson, Kylie Minogue, and now he can add Hugo Ortega to the list! Well done Jon, you're a true ambassador.

Today turned out to be a blessing in disguise. What I had planned was a firsthand look at the brand new Toshiba R400 (don’t panic, I did that) but what ended up happening was rather special. Jon Dee, Founder of Planet Ark and Australian Spokesman for Al Gore's “an inconvenient truth” DVD, is a real gentleman and more than that he’s a geek like us. As the ultimate envangelist for all things ecological and Green Jon can frequently be spotted driving his Toyota Prius, planting trees, or living it up in his “solar powered” home!

What I didn’t realize is that Jon has been a long time fan of the UberTablet blog, and more importantly, of Microsoft’s Tablet PC. So at first when he made contact and offered me a look at the new R400 (as seen on Engadget) I didn’t actually believe he had one, until I got there that is! Jon’s primary intention with tablet PC is to become, and BE, paperless in every way humanly possible; and after watching this video I’m sure you’ll agree he’s doing a bloody good job of it.

So sit back with your favourite beverage and watch as one of the Globe’s premiere environmentalists talks through his experience as one of the first owners of a Toshiba R400. He’s already owned it for two weeks, which ironically, when calculated backwards, is about a day after its CES 2007 launch. (To not let Jon take all the glory you’ll note the diminutive little device I tout – after seeing the R400 I now call it the once famous Q1)

Watch the Video [Hi Res, 150MB] click here

Download the Video [Hi Res, 150 MB] right click here "Save Target As"

Watch the Video [Low Res, 48MB] click here

Download the Video [Low Res, 48 MB)] right click here "Save Target As"

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