Tablet PC on a daily basis

Mark’s post promted me to write about my daily experience with my Tablet PC.

I use the Compaq Tablet PC TC1000. First generation, convertible design, 3 pounds, integrated 802.11b, and powered by a 1GHz Crusoe 5800 with 512 MB of RAM. The power of a Tablet is the same as you would find for a regular laptop. I am sure some extra power is needed for the inking input, but I have not noticed a difference. Most tablets now use Intel’s Centrino chips. I am not running Lonestar.

I bring my tablet with me to business meetings. A laptop screen sticking up at a conference table would not go over well, and I would feel isolated from the rest of the people at the meeting if I were using one. The tablet allows me to scan through PDF files in portrait format, and ink any notes I may have in Journal or OneNote. For reoccurring meetings I have set up a OneNote template. This setup makes it very easy for me to go back and review my notes sequentially, and I can even pull up what was said in the last meeting. I can ink a diagram and transfer it into Visio for UML extraction. The flat, notepad type surface allows me to take notes flat against the table and I can choose to keep my handwriting or translate into text.

Another advantage of the Tablet is you can take a presentation platform with you. Want to show someone a data model you just created or a flow diagram of how a new system might work? Ink it up and hand them your slate tablet.

Software compatibility is not an issue to me. Office 2003 has a lot of inking capability, which I use all the time. To skip a page in PDF I will highlight a page number, pop open the input panel, and write a number. I have hardware hot buttons for Microsoft Journal and the input panel so I am never far away from ink.

The novelty of the tablet has not worn off for me. One limiting factor you may want to consider is screen size. My tablet has a 10.4″ screen. I am used to my 19″ LCD on my desktop machine, so this is definitely a change for me. With a smaller screen comes a longer battery life and a closer replica of a notepad’s form factor. I have been happy with the convertible design, especially for easy use on cramped airline flights.