Tablet for Two

Tablet PCs have been added to the latest list of buzz words, but for good reasons?



Recently at work our office was charged setting up these HP Tablet PC tc1100s. Luckily, I was also chosen to do some RD(Research and Development). I’m a harsh critic of technology (some have even said Nazi) but the fact is most technology is just not that useful.

Tablet PC Competition

Tablet PC competitors are: PDAs, Notebook PCs, Pencil and Paper.

PDAs? I hate PDAs. I hate Palm Pilots. There’s very little practical PDA use once you get past the stylus use (you have to be able to write in Phoenecian). Don’t even try and sell one of those other input devices with the PDA – the keyboards are cramped, klunky, and difficult to set up. I’d be fine with a cellphone that can import contacts from a PC to keep track of phone numbers, addresses, etc. but I see very little real-world-and-general-public use of PDAs. There’s just not enough software developed to lure in the nerd card. There are some really neat uses of them, like doing automobile diagnostics, but a PDA in the hands every ordinary Joe is not going to happen. * 1/2 (out of five stars)

The Notebook PC (Laptop) provides a lot of power – but the power costs a pretty good amount of money. The ultra thin laptops are ultra awesome. They’re even better if you don’t need to hook up anything like another hard drive, CD-rom, etc., but they provide less portability than a PDA, but much more power. Notebooks are a perfect companion to have for the nerd-on-the-run, but with regards to general usage, I’m not so sure how Notebook PCs perform. Imagine having to take a laptop to a meeting and take notes (not minutes) with it. Fire up text-editor of your choice, right? What happens when you need to jot down a diagram, or a chart—are you going to open up Paint and meticulously draw this out with your touchpad? ** 1/2

Pencil and Paper—old faithful. Pencil and Paper is hard to beat for notetaking situations. Pencil and Paper’s main advantages are that it’s cheap and it’s easy. Disadvantages? It’s difficult to collaborate with Pencil and Paper if someone can’t read your writing, or if you’re in different locations. Information retrieval is also made into a hassle – you have to find your paper, then scan through your notes to find the statistic. *** 1/2

Tablet PCs (and their software) are still pretty expensive. Voice and handwriting recognition software has improved greatly since my last use. In fact, my handwriting (except for the letter K) was recognized almost 100% of the time. Voice recognition software is still very tedious to set up, but once I completed the training it was amazing. Still, I spent far too much time training my software instead of using it. Currently: ** Could be: **** 1/2

Tablet PCs as a personal/portable computing medium will succeed if the following things happen:

  • Lower Cost
  • Better Recognition Software

The medium just works. If I need to type, I can switch it over and type. If I need to draw, write, or speak, I can do that from anywhere. As far as potential practical use, the Tablet PC medium just works.

Since it’s still relatively early for the Tablet, I won’t gripe that much that they’re damn near impossible to set up on a large (aka more than 1 at a time) scale. The NIC is a pain to configure in order to work with drive imaging software like Norton Ghost. We had to do some very-close-to-system-level configuration of these cards just so Ghost would work. You can take HP’s side and say Ghost didn’t abide by guideline A or B, or Ghost’s side that HP didn’t play by the rules. That doesn’t matter, what matters is that it took us about 4 hours of scouring several different sites to get the Broadcom card to be registered especially when their solution wouldn’t work.

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About andyhillky
I'm cool.

7 Responses to Tablet for Two

  1. Randolph says:

    I agree, I hate PDA’s, can’t afford a decent laptop….tablet PC’s would be the solution, were the cost not prohibitive.

    I LOVE my notebook/planner. It is awesome. Sometimes we take so many measures to make information retrieval easy…we miss the joy of going back through our daily notes and remembering things we wouldn’t otherwise. Maybe I’m a purist, but the esoteric value of pen/paper will never fade for me.

  2. I cant believe your ghosting 4 Tablets. Man, come on … Even I only ghost if there is going to be a flux (10 + machines) for an image! 🙂

    heh, had to give you a hard time.

  3. bofe says:

    Craig,

    we ghosted 20 tablets. where’d you get teh 4 from?

  4. Bittel says:

    Oh yeah, well this is how bad ass I am, I took one of the tablets and used it as a trey for my shitty T-room food today. Take that bitch!

  5. Ed says:

    I think the laptop score was underrated. Except for in my math class I had practically done away with the need for pencil and paper.

    For diagrams and charts I would write down all relevant information and then go into Word and create the chart. Extra time? Yes. But considering my poor handwriting abilities I considered it worth the extra time to have an organized chart.

    An additional benefit of laptops (let’s assume a majority of a class is using them) is that if you ever missed class and needed notes they’re just an email away. Again, the handwriting issue comes into play. How many times have you gotten someones notes only to find you couldn’t read it?

    One last gripe about pencil and paper

    Im left handed, and when asked to take extended notes using pencil the writing begins to smear midway through the page. Just another perk of the keyboard

  6. bofe says:

    ed,

    the handwriting recognition on the tablet pc’s is UNBELIEVABLE.

    it can read my writing very wonderfully. and that’s a stretch.

  7. now if it can recognize MY handwriting, its fucking genius

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