Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Life is Random...

or at least multi-dimensional.

Tablets are an idea that refuses to either truly live or truly die. It's an idea that certainly has its enthusuasts. Most recently, James Governor of RedMonk weighed in on how Tablets could essentially be a Microsoft killer app in Microsoft: Putting Coolaid in Tablet Form.
It seems like the Tablet PC is one of the few things Microsoft can do (put in people's hands) that just stops people dead and cuts through prejudice. Tablet PC is disarming. Its funny to watch begrudging envy; is there a word for the opposite of schadenfraude?
The big issue here is that theTablet concept fills a very basic need. Us modern folks who have been using keyboards for a long time can type much faster than we can write. Indeed, my handwriting--in addition to bewildering even myself much of the time--cramps my hand and s incredibly slow by comparison to my (non-touch-typed) typing. But that typing is essentially linear--one-dimensional.

By contrast, when we take notes or sketch out ideas, we're all over the page--essentially two-dimensional.

See the problem? Great modern thought organizational techniques like mind maps are essentially 2-D while our fast input mechanism is 1-D.

That's why I consider tablet PCs a great unfufilled promise. Someone's going to ultimately crack the keyboard-tablet hybrid code and then it's going to be "You mean, people didn't always build PCs that way?"

In closing, I have to disagree with my buddy James on OneNote. Maybe it's a good app for Tablets but I don't see it as an underappreciated app for normal PCs--for reasons that I covered here. Microsoft: even if you have to look ugly, lose the proprietary format or at least provide a convenient export option.
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