Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005
I've been occupied with a number of eProductivity projects for clients, but I've not stopped capturing notes about my tablet adventure. In fact, I'm preparing a 30-day paperless/tablet challenge. If there's interest, I'll invite you to join me in this adventure to see if it's possible to live paper-free, with only a tablet, for a full 30 days. More on that soon.

I continue to work with the M4 - both as my most recent venture into the Tablet PC platform and as my first non-IBM laptop in 10 years.

Many people have written to tell me that they have purchased an M4 based on my blog. I've also heard that several people have decided not to purchase an M4 for the same reason. I hope that my posts, based on my own experience, were helpful either way. I plan to continue posting and podcasting on this and other eProductivity-related topics, sooon.

Meanwhile, now that I'm fully migrated to a Tablet, what do I think of the M4 and Tablet PC's in general?

The short answer is that both are growing on me. Most of the hardware features of the M4 that I found curiously placed (i.e. indicators, buttons, etc) now make sense to me.  It's obvious that Toshiba's put a lot of thought into this machine. (Except, perhaps, for the lack of a way to permanently shut off the CD drive. I continue to eject mine at the worst possible times. Recommendation: how about a switch to lock the drive: Closed, Locked on/Locked off)

As for the Tablet PC Platform, I'm close to sold on that, so I guess you might say I'm getting closer to YABHTU. I've now used the TPC in several meetings and I find it preferable to the traditional laptop. I'm still working to get used to the Toshiba Keyboad Layout, but that's improving. (FYI: I did take a look at the new IBM Tablet and I'm still pleased with my decision to choose the M4. I like the large screen. Worth the $.)

Some of you have written to ask about the problems I've experienced with my M4. I'm pleased to say that I've found solutions to most of them. I'm still trying to find the cause of the heavy CPU Utilization. This remains the biggest challenge, but I don't have the time to start fresh at this time. For now, I run in high-power mode, which means the battery life is not as good as it used to be and the fan runs all the time. In fairness to Toshiba, this may not be a hardware issue, though it still "feels" like a speed-step or tablet pen driver  issue to me - I'll work on this when I have more time.

For those of you who are wondering if I'll ever get to be YABHTU
...  I expect that I will. I want to be. I'm in the process of defining exactly what YABHTU will look like for me. When I have a benchmark, I'll share it.

Perhaps you'd like to share your thoughts on this?

What benchmarks define when a Tablet PC user has crossed into significant productivity gains with a Tablet that were previously unavailable by conventional means?

Discussion/Comments (10):

Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05

Hi Eric

how do you define "paperless"?

If a customer hands you some documents in paperform, they need to be scanned in, right?

If you communicate back, and he wants paper, you ask your wife to print it, right ?

Nonetheless, after so many years, I do feel "paperless" indeed coming closer.

With a good help of the TabletPC which makes reading & reviewing so much more pleasantly natural, and improving SearchEngines who are able to find "stuff" that is years old in a glitch of a second.

But maybe, with the flood of electronic information rushing into many people's life, we have turned the coin already?

Are we too paperless?


Marcus M Sommer

Posted at 6/15/2005 3:14:12 AM by Marcus M Sommer

Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05

Good Point, Marcus.

I do not see paper going away as a transport medium. Until I got the Tablet, I did not see paper going away as a tinking tool. Now that I have the tablet, I want to find out how practical it is to use the Tablet for many of the things that I would do on paper.

Obviously, I will still use paper to interface with others. What I plan to find out is what the practical limits are to where paper begins and ends. I now carry a portable scanner with my Tablet. The goal is to be able to scan papers at the collection point. We'll see how well that really works.

Again, for me, it's an experiment -- one that I've repeated many times. Each time the process improves and I learn something new.


Posted at 6/15/2005 3:23:57 AM by Eric Mack

Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05

Hi Eric

I follow this dream for many years now [btw, what was your first Thinkpad, mine was a 755Cx : dream machine those days!]

And pretty much succeeded. People either don't like me or believe I ain't working cos I do not carry piles of paper w/ me anymore.

I even clean my desk so it looks clean. Love that feeling to most of the time not having forgotten this or that, all retrievable :-)

BTW, tx for the ActiveWords tip, it is a neat instrument that.


Marcus M Sommer

Posted at 6/15/2005 4:18:19 AM by Marcus M Sommer

Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05


The turning point for me in the quest/descent/morphing into YABTHU came for me when I realized that there were tasks (some pleasurable, some not) that I performed daily on my desktop, that I enjoyed performing more on my Tablet PC. My first strategy and reason for purchasing a Tablet was note taking in rehearsals and meetings only. I never dreamed it would become my main computer. It quickly did and that strategy/thinking changed.

Looking forward to the outline of your paperless experiment.

Posted at 6/15/2005 5:15:07 AM by Warner Crocker

Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05

Paperless.... Oh... How do I make the paper aeroplane to through across the office then ?

Posted at 6/15/2005 10:35:03 AM by Ian

Lotus Notes


How have you found using Lotus Notes on your TPC?

Posted at 6/15/2005 11:14:49 AM by Bruce Elgort

re: Lotus Notes

Bruce, IBM has a "significant opportunity for improvement" for Notes in the Tablet.

Still, as a windows app, it runs fine. If IBM does not ink enable Notes, and If I really get hooked on the Tablet interface, I could see having to rethink how I capture my work. Of course, I may just have to create an interface between Windows Journal and OneNote and Lotus Notes so that they play together ...

On a separate, but related note: I'm not sure if it's just me but 6.54 seems much less stable thabn 6.53.

Posted at 6/15/2005 11:23:37 AM by Eric Mack

Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05


What is YABTHU?

Posted at 6/15/2005 12:03:32 PM by Dean

Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05

I will be paperless next school year.

I will be cuting the binding off my text books and scaning all my text books into pdf files. Also my school will be buying cheap scanners for all the teachers indviduly so we can use with digital white boards and I intend to use those for in class hand outs.

You guided me to get a tecra m4 wich shipped today. Thank You

Posted at 6/15/2005 11:04:40 PM by Gary

Quick M4 and TPC update 6/15/05

Hi Eric, I really appreciate the discussion on tablet PC's. Working for a school district all of our principals and learning directors are looking at them for in class observations. We are currently implementing a PDA solution with a mobile version of Filemaker, but I'm not sure how this will work out. It seems like a lot of complexity for a little return (a hipster PDA would probably be just as useful).

BTW... I had a high CPU problem with my Sony laptop caused by a windows update and the function key toggle driver for the external monitor, sound, and video. Sony provided a patch which fixed the CPU problem but broke the function key toggle.

Keep up the great posts... maybe a tablet this year...

Posted at 7/9/2005 6:38:32 AM by John Richardson

Discussion for this entry is now closed.