Flick this! you Tablet!

subtitle - "I need more brain RAM..."

One of the pitfalls of being a technology evangelist, is the sheer magnitude of information that exists about technology. Just take a look at the Microsoft Product Catalog. Hundreds and hundreds of products and technologies. It is overwhelming. Add in just the competing technologies from the *nix world and my brain starts to overheat. Then start looking at Apple, Google, Yahoo, and the countless smaller vendors and my brain simply stops working. But let's take out the competitors and focus on just Microsoft for now. I need to know about the products we make so I can speak about them to my audiences. AND I need to know the basic information about our operating systems because I speak to ITPros almost daily. What they want to know, I need to know.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I was in Salem, Or delivering a session on Vista, Office, and Exchange when up comes the question - 

 "What are the big differences between the XP Tablet PC edition and Vista Tablet PC?"

- and....I could not give a good answer. What makes this particularly embarrassing is that I have a Vista Tablet PC in my home! Now, in my own defense, I don't ever get to use it because it belongs to Jeanne, my wife. I learned a couple years ago, when the Media Center attached to our living room PC was her primary machine, that experimenting with her machine was not very conducive to a conflict free relationship. So I have left the Tablet alone for the most part. Outside of fiddling with Tablets at various stores and the research I did on Tablets before buying her particular machine (which was originally an XP Tablet PC), I have not had much personal exposure to the Tablet PC products. I also have never been asked about Tablet PC's ever in a live session. So up till this morning, I have never had a real need to allocate any brain RAM to knowing the Tablet PC specs and info and differences.<tangent>

I know enough about my own brain that I unless I do something or use something on a regular basis, I just don't remember it. I know that my customers ask me about Windows Servers, Exchange, ISA, Media Center, SBS and most of the stuff that makes those products tick. So....I run a small domain at home with a couple of Windows 2003 DC's, and Exchange Server, a couple of ISA servers, a Media Center machine, and I keep and SBS Virtual Machine around just because my first 5 years with the company were supporting the SBS products. I think I do pretty good job of handling those products day in and day out. But the Tablet PC question stumped me.

Customer - 1, Chris - 0.

At this point I have to give kudos to Ken Shafer with Agape Computing. Ken's business is focused on small businesses with a strong focus on Small Business Server customers. I have delivered a session or two for his company and he was one of the partners at the event this morning. While I was moving on to my next set of questions, Ken went to the web, found what I should have already known and then emailed me a link that has a very good summary of the new features in the Vista Tablet PC. I knew about the improvements in handwriting recognition, and the pen usage (which I did mention in my session). I also knew about the Tablet PC Input Panel, Snipping Tool, and Explorer Check Boxes. I have used all of those on Jeanne's Tablet. Problem is, I never really used a Tablet under XP so I didn't know those things weren't in the XP version. But there were the other things I didn't know about, Touch Screen support, Pen Flicks, and the other improvements. Now I do! (Don't tell Jeanne, but the next time she is out and about, the Tablet is mine!.......mwahahahaha!)

Thanks Ken!

I decided to gather up some additional Tablet PC information sources just for my own future perusal (so I don't get caught with my pants down again) and to help you locate the information as well --

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition home page - just for comparison and support of those not making the jump to Vista immediately.

Tablet PC Community on Microsoft.com

Tablet PC Team Blog - Wish it were more active, but the most recent post on Pen Flicks is really interesting

Robert Scoble's Tablet PC posts - Scoble is a big tablet fan




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