I Want My TPC

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-05-25 Print this article Print

But Bill understands something bigger than Windows lock-in is at stake. He understands the fundamental lock-in that levels us all: time. And if you step outside the usual industry arguments and view Microsofts technologies along that axis, Bill is in very good shape.
Take the Tablet PC—yes, I know, please. The common wisdom (and some supporting facts) suggest that the form factor is not long for this world. Its too small a niche, its not worth the cost of adding to every laptop, the product group is not reaching its targets, and so on.
But measure it according to Steve Ballmers customer satisfaction metric: dont try and pry it out of my hands! The "slate" version of Microsofts Tablet PC could quietly vanish. Click here to read more. What? Yes, I love my Mac PowerBook to death, but increasingly, Im tethered to an HP tablet. Sure, I hate the keyboard and regularly e-mail my documents back to the Mac for fit and polish. iSight video is way ahead of the PC, and I have to update my virus software by June 2 or else. But then theres OneNote. OneNote lets me record meetings and conversations and take notes in ink. Each ink note places a time-stamp in the file; click on the comment and the audio plays back from that point in the stream. Now, combine that functionality with Wi-Fi, the removable slate portion of the HP unit, the earphones from my iPod, and my Nokia 3650 camera phone. For more collaboration coverage, check out Steve Gillmors Blogosphere. Old lock-in: Word and Outlook. Word remains my favorite editor for content creation, but consumption shifted to Outlook and IE years ago. As mobility improved, text formatting gave way to ASCI feeds to my BlackBerry, and eventually XML, to be reconstituted and reformatted dynamically at the endpoint. The Pocket PC was directed toward old lock-in—preserving Word formatting, Outlook events and messaging synchronization. New lock-in: RSS consumption—Im currently using the Outlook plug-in NewsGator because it persists full-text feeds and links to permalinked archives. The slate factor lets me consume these feeds wirelessly from the couch, the bed, Starbucks, conferences, all the while recording audio and synchronized links in ink. If someone calls with a message for my wife, I jot it down in the margins or on a separate note page while recording continues uninterrupted. Next page: With seamless computing, its what you dont see that counts.

Steve Gillmor is editor of eWEEK.com's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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