If I Knew Then, What I Know Now

Here’s a collection of thoughts I would put in a letter and send to myself in a time machine. The date: A couple of weeks before I purchased my first Tablet PC.

Ink is Ink and Text is Text and you don’t have to convert Ink to Text
At first I wanted to use the pen to replace keyboard input. As it turns out, when the novelty wore off, I stopped trying to use the pen for large blocks of input, especially when it would have to be edited, shared, or converted to other formats. I have since learned the jargon and refer to this as managed text.

In the beginning, I would “write” just about everything and then convert it to text. While this was good for learning how to write and be recognized, it wasn’t very efficient.

It didn’t take long to understand that some things are better captured as “ink” and left that way. Other things are better captured with the keyboard.

Part of the learning curve is figuring out the difference.

Weight may not matter as much as I thought it would
Most of the time the difference between 3 pounds and a little over 4 pounds is immaterial.
(first and second machines, carrying weight in “corridor” mode).

The reason: I use the Tablet PC standing up, walking around for perhaps 3-4 hours a week, but ten times that amount seated or standing with the Tablet PC on a lecturn.

When comparing screens, TILT
When looking at a Tablet PC before buying, be sure to look at it in Portrait mode. Actually, look at it from all four sides because it will probably look great in primary landscape mode (standard laptop mode if it is a convertible) but you might end up in secondary landscape (upside down) or portrait a lot.

Watch the position of the connectors
If any of the connectors come out of the long side of the Tablet PC (probably the “back”) if it is a convertible, if you intend to draw on the Tablet in landscape mode (which will be secondary landscape) the odds are very very good that the image will come out upside down on a projector.

The quick workaround? Turn it around.
The result is the cables may be coming out towards you.

This will only concern you if you are doing a lot of presentations with a projector, and
you are drawing in landscape mode, and
you can’t or don’t want to fiddle around with the projector to invert the image.

Apparently this is a feature shared by all Tablets, but is less of an issue with machines where the connectors are coming out the short sides of the machine.

Pressure Sensitivity Matters

I wish I had known earlier, how much more I would enjoy the whole Tablet PC experience with pressure sensitivity. Being an old fountain pen person, the pressure sensitivity created a much more realistic “sensation” of writing and sketching that was a real joy that I had not anticipated.

How do I know? – Having owned a Tablet PC that did not have a pressure sensitive screen, and then later, one that did…

Size matters

Don’t be surprised when you find yourself using this more than you thought you would.

This means that you will probably end up taking it with you much more than you might have taken your laptop.

It may be the case then, that you will prefer a smaller and lighter unit vs. one with a bigger screen with its attendant weight.

How can you know if you will be this kind of user?
Do you ever take your laptop with you to a ‘non work/business’ destination, just in case you need/want to use it?
I’d bet you are one of the people who will end up taking the Tablet PC almost everywhere.

Life is too short to worry about battery life

Don’t set yoursefl up to obsess about battery life. You can manage it by turning down the backlight, terminating wireless, shutting down the hard drive and throttling the processor. You can set the suspend and hibernation to kick in at relatively short intervals.

But every moment you spend obsessing about battery life, is a moment that you are not being productive or having fun with your Tablet PC.

Get a spare battery or two. Personally, I prefer the external batteries like the Valence or Electrovaya products. These can be very flexible. You can charge them outside of the Tablet PC and most importantly for me, they can be used with more than one kind of Tablet PC. This means that I can use the same external batteries for all my machines.



More discussion: See Tablet PC Buzz





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