Suggestions/Ideas: How to use my tablet PC?

Discussion in 'The Tablet PC Life' started by quillaja, Apr 7, 2008.

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  1. quillaja

    quillaja Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Though there are a lot of uses for a tablet PC that I've read about in the forum--art/drawing, notes, "standing" use, etc--I'm still struggling to find a good use for my tablet PC, because I don't really use my computer in those ways. Or at least I don't think I do.

    Mostly my day-to-day computer use involves being either at my desk at work (middle school assistant teacher), in class, or at my desk at home. I usually just use my computer for listening to music, surfing the web, chatting to friends (AIM/gmail), making worksheets or handouts for class, and watching videos. Web surfing is nice with the pen, but for chatting, I find that it's much more convenient and fast for me to type. The same goes even more for when I have to make worksheets.

    You're probably thinking what I've been thinking: It seems like you might not really have a use for a tablet PC. Honestly, I heavily considered this before I decided to purchase a tablet PC, but I really thought that after using it some and seeing what it can do, I'd find more uses for the tablet functionality. However, I'm struggling to discover what they might be.

    Which is why I'm asking you all for suggestions about other potential good uses for the tablet functionality, beyond the standard notes-drawing sort of situation. I'm really excited about the potential of tablet PCs, and earnestly think that we need to move away from the keyboard-mouse input paradigm into something more...hmm...'organic'. But I just can't seem to find a use for my tablet PC right now.

    Suggestions anyone, for new uses that I haven't considered? Or feel free to point out places where I'm mistaken in preferring the keyboard over the pen.

    PS: I have a Thinkpad x61t
     
  2. kureshii

    kureshii Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Well, the more obvious uses would include taking notes in meetings and writing on your powerpoint presentations in class (if you use powerpoint or similar presentation tools).

    Actually, most of the uses of tablet PCs stem from a desire to get paper out of your life as much as possible. The note-taking and reading abilities of a tablet PC approach pen-and-paper in some ways, and supercede it in other ways.

    I'd think there's plenty of ways to use stylus input; try building a lesson plan around it, for one. Or maybe pick up sketching, or design classes (or self-teach). Here's another possible use if you commute via public transport ;)

    Also take a look at this thread to see how you can carry around your books in digital form. you might also want to invest in a flatbed scanner, or automatic feeding scanner for digitisation of your documents.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  3. bluemonq

    bluemonq Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Judging from your use case, I would say that that is true; that's not an insult (or at least it shouldn't be). I don't see why you feel that there has to be a movement away from keyboard and mouse. After all, the computer has been designed around the limitations of those two input devices for a few decades now. I use Photoshop, OneNote, and read on the subway, so...

    Short of taking classes and stuff to force your usage of a tablet's abilities, there isn't much I can think of ways to extend your tablet usage. I imagine you aren't a engineering or math major; those are typically the two groups that benefit from tablets the most because of formulas and diagramming.

    Well, one thing I do when I write is to use mind-mapping to plan out stories. I use it for project planning too, but mind-mapping is how I got started. For me it's a more effective way of outlining than a linear top-down bullet point approach. The tablet is ideally suited for this sort of thing, as you can link in documents, easily rearrange items, etc.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mind_Mapping_software

    If you play real-time strategy games, a tablet pc can help your performance somewhat. Sadly, the way that input is received in most first-person shooters precludes using a tablet (they measure how far you attempt to move the cursor away from the center of the screen... with a tablet, hovering the cursor over anything but the center will cause the view to spin incessantly.... hrmm, I wonder what would happen with a passive digitizer?)

    Depending on the programs you use, you may be able to take advantage of gesture recognition. Vista has a variety of built in ones, called Flicks. Firefox has a variety of extensions available that support gestures.
    http://blogs.msdn.com/andyed/archive/2006/09/28/gestures-in-vista-for-the-tablet-pc.aspx
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search?q=gestures&cat=all
     
  4. quillaja

    quillaja Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Unfortunately, (well, actually, fortunately) since i graduated from college, i don't have any more classes in which to take notes. and, even in class, i never really took notes.

    I do use the flicks in vista, and find that they're a really nice feature. I also use some of the pen-friendly add-ons for firefox, like Grab and Drag, and the vista flicks. So i do enjoy web browsing with my pen.

    I guess the biggest problem is chatting. If i could ink directly into the chat window and avoid the TIP, and either send my ink to the other person or have the program convert the ink to text, that might be ideal. Does anyone know of a client (that supports gmail/aim's protocols) or plugins for popular multi-protocol clients that would do this?

    hmm.... well, i say we should move away from the keyboard-mouse input mode to something else because i feel that the keyboard and mouse are quite limiting. they seem to put you into a "now-i'm-using-the-computer" mode. Tablet PCs and UMPC excite me because they might have the potential to make computing more transparent to us, so we don't get into "now-i'm-using-the-computer" mode. Unfortunately, it seems that the OSes and software are still, and will continue to be for a little while, designed around the keyboard and mouse. Vista has added a lot to include pen, touch, and voice, but other programs aren't quite there yet. Overall, i guess this aspect of computing is just wishful thinking for now =) .

    Part of the reason i bought a tablet was to support this effort, and "get used to" it now. Unfortunately, i'm just having some trouble reconciling my PC dream with the practical reality of how i use one.

    other than that, i love my x61. probably after i'm ready to get rid of it, i'll move onto a UMPC like an OQO or something. a tablet is still a little too big and inconvenient to carry around and just pull out and use anytime.

    oh, and part of my problem might be that i'm not in a tech-friendly environment--an island-village of less than 800 people in the deep countryside of Japan. hahaha. though there's more tech here than one might imagine, it's a long way from the cutting edge.
     
  5. Corazu

    Corazu Pen Pal - Newbie

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    MSN has a handwriting tab..might be able to use the pen for that...don't think so for gmail or aim though, since msn sends it as an image.
     
  6. lavenderpup

    lavenderpup T4220 Owner

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    Msn has a built in TIP when you use the tablet pc os. It supports yahoo messenger.. but no luck with the gmail/aim combo.
     
  7. bluemonq

    bluemonq Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Nope, at least none that I'm aware of. Although, now that I think about it, I suppose there could be some sort of hack-job for this to work...
    (1) Create an ink space
    (2) Convert ink space into a picture
    (3) Send picture to other person (via Direct Connection in AIM; dunno about GTalk)
    (4) ...and do this all within the bounds of a plugin, ie make this stuff invisible to the user.

    Huh, now you've got me thinking about this. I'll talk to some other people about it; honestly, I can't code worth a damn.
     
  8. quillaja

    quillaja Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Neither can I. I forgot all that stuff when I switched majors from CS. =)

    I've tried reading up a little on the Ink API... I can't make much of it, but i suspect there might be a way to make a plugin which would basically embed an ink area (like in a onenote or journal page) into the area which is the text-input area of the chat window. Then this could be made to recognize and convert the ink to text before sending.

    there might be another way to just embed an instance of the TIP into the window. you might be able to extend the PenInputPanel class (or whatever it's called now).

    i was checking out this reference on the MSDN site, but i dont even know if this is current or not.
    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms698573(VS.85).aspx

    on the topic of this thread...
    For others who might be like me, here's a thread from another forum about "101 ways to use a tablet". Hopefully I can find a few ideas there. http://www.gottabemobile.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=591&PN=2&SID=8b72zd3d41113z3azf73a2be9aefzeda
     
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