Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tablet PCs Invade NCSC Technology Division

Like the old movie The Blob, a new type of computer has taken over our group here at the NCSC; the Tablet PC. Every technology professional in our group now uses either a convertible or slate style Tablet PC. For those of you who don't know, a convertible Tablet PC is similar to a laptop except that there is a hinge that let's one flip the screen around to lay flat across the keyboard. Our group currently has Tablet PCs from IBM (Lenovo), Toshiba, HP, and Fujitsu.
Some of the advantages to this format of computer that we have already found are first, one can use the computer on cramped airline seats. By flipping the screen ( Toshiba currently has a short commercial on their website that shows the flip ) one can use the pen to read, write, and work with applications like e-mail. A second advantage is that the convertible Tablet PC is a full featured laptop. So when I am in the office, I can use it with the keyboard and mouse as I am doing now to write this article. A third advantage is the ability to use the pen to take and save handwritten notes. I have Microsoft OneNote 2003 installed on my Tablet PC and one nice feature is continual file saving. When I write a note, it is automatically saved on the machine's hard drive; no more, click file, click save. Further, we recently saw Colorado Courts CIO, Bob Roper's Tablet PC where he has their entire judicial Bench Book organized in OneNote. We are planning to have Bob and a couple of Colorado Judges demonstrate their systems in December at the E-Courts 2006 Conference. Finally, we have found that the handwriting recognition is very good. Interestingly, for me it seems is more accurate in deciphering my left-hand cursive handwriting versus writing in block letters. And, OneNote lets me be able to search my handwritten notes even if they haven't been converted to text. In general the Technology group is just now learning what we can do with our machines; but from our first impressions, we are happy with out acquisitions. For a good website that collects user's impressions on the hardware, software, and accessories related to Tablet PC's see the Tablet PC Buzz website.

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