Friday, January 27, 2006

A day in the life of a Norwegian Tablet PC user

OK, I know that I've blogged about this before, but I'd like to do it again anyway.

Instead of complaining and ranting about missing pieces in my Tablet PC, I've decided to write about how I use my Tablet PC and how the missing Norwegian text recognition impacts my day-to-day life.

(Disclaimer: Since I've been overwhelmingly positive about my Tablet PC earlier, I'd like to point out that this is not a complaint about what I miss, but rather a description of an issue that I think needs to be fixed so that other foreigners could take advantage of the Tablet PC!)

Each morning when I get to work, I carry with me my Toshiba Tecra M4. I put it up on my desk, turn it on and read my email just as an ordinary laptop-user. I check my blogroll on bloglines (remember that I tried NewsGator but returned to Bloglines?).

Since I work as a software developer, there are always a few meetings that I have to attend to. Design meetings, meetings where we discuss new ideas, meetings where we lay out the tasks to be done for the upcomming week etc. Meetings are one area where I use the Tablet PC functionality.

I unplug my computer and rotate my screen while I walk into the meeting room. Seeing that I've got around 2 hours and 45 minutes left of my battery makes me relaxed and calm (my old Dell used to have around ten minutes of battery time..) Firmly seated I fire up OneNote and open a new page. While the others sit down around the table, I spend a minute checking that the new page has been created with a stationary that has been configured to use English as the default language. Whenever I create a new category, I need to remember to change the default stationary in the new category so that it's in english. Because there are no text recognizers for the Norwegian language. Then I start to take notes in English. Good thing that I work in an international business..

After the meetings are done, new code has been checked in and I've spend some time discussing different issues with my colleagues, I pick up my Toshiba and go home.

After eating dinner I try to catch up with my blogroll. This is usually done lying on the sofa with the computer in Tablet PC modus. I double-click on Internet Explorer and point the pen to the address field. After I've clicked on the TIP icon so that the TIP is showing, I can change the language from Norwegian to English to be able to enter text (When using a Tablet PC configured with an input language with no text recognition, you have to change the language and wait for the UI to update. No instant click-and-type). Then I write down the address to Bloglines and press enter. From here on I have no more issues, since it's all about clicking some links and using the scrollbar.

As you might see, I don't spend a lot of time having problems missing the Norwegian text recognition. But from my experiences it's the small things that makes the difference, and for new users to the Tablet PC, the workarounds that I've found might not be as accessible as they were for me (I mean - I'm a professional software developer, I should write my own recognizer!). So please Microsoft and Microsoft Vista developers; put some concern into the issue of foreign Tablet PC users... They might need it!

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