Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thirdrail Ink

I bought my first Tablet PC, a Fujitsu Lifebook [T4220], about a year ago now. Her name is Daisy. I never thought much about tablets until I wanted one for drawing. Now I can't imagine ever going back to the oldtech laptops.

I'm also certain Bill Gates is right about tablets being the future of educational computing. Any computer task even remotely resembling schoolwork, writing, or note taking is many times easier on a tablet. It's also a more casual experience. The tablet sidekicks like a clipboard, not a computer. It's that simple. The difference is amazing.

There have been a number of telling moments since Daisy's arrival.

Fujitsu, unlike any pre-built pc company I've ever dealt with, put virtually nothing extra on my hard drive. Some little photo handler program called "Picasso" and a Realtek audio manager program are as close as they got to saddling me with "bloatware". [I've dealt with HP, Compaq, Gateway, and Dell pre-builts in the past, and always had to spend the first day clearing drives of their nonsense and then defragging.]

She's the first computer to get dragged around the house with me. In tablet mode, it's just so easy. The DS is the only other device I own with comparable tote-ability.

Kid's adore Daisy. My friend's daughter never asked for my DS again. She only wanted to draw on the tablet. [Kudos to Alias Sketchbook on this one too.]

When I brought Daisy home, I was hanging out with a lot of Mac users. It was the first and only time I've ever seen Mac people feeling inferior without the words "game" or "market presence" being involved. The two classic strong points of Macs, ease of use and technological superiority, both seem outdated in the presence of a tablet.

When life outside the tech belt brought my desktops to their knees, Daisy was forced into being the "main computer" for several months. Despite having no real video card [965 chipset, at best a pseudo-card even by laptop-go standards] Daisy managed to play Dawn of War games and made Eve Online [classic graphics] look good at 35-50 fps.

Stepping up as prime game machine and holding your ground... there's probably no better way to prove your technological qualifications here in the kingdom of the Thirdrail.

Which in turn earns Daisy and the tablets their two cents. There you have it.

Interesting footnote - Daisy stopped me from going Apple. I left the house that day thinking I would check out the tablets while buying my first Mac laptop. I was literally obsessed those beautiful backlit keys and I wanted a smaller, lighter computer than my HP Notebook. After comparing the two formats, I was blown away by how cool the tablets were. Apple didn't make one, and still doesn't. [Except for their phones.] Which is sad, because the Mac Air as a tablet would allow me to declare the future officially open for business...

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