A year ago, I approached the Tablet PC platform with great interest but reasonable skepticism. Since then, I've had the opportunity to conduct a number of intense 8-week challenges - some public, some private - that lead me to conclude that the Tablet PC platform offer a significant number of productivity features that will be of benefit to any kind of user. As a management student, I believe that every student, young or old, needs a Tablet PC.
Why did I put so much effort into evaluating the Tablet PC platform and why did this evaluation take me 12 months?
As an eProductivity Specialist, I try to stay ahead of the game as far as technology's concerned. I routinely purchase new gear and put it through the paces so that I can develop a qualified opinion of how I think this technology will serve my clients. Why else did I do it? I've always liked the idea of a digital Notebook. And, I secretly wanted to win one of Warner's Ink Blot Awards.
My 8-week paperless challenge really pushed the limits of what I felt I could do with a Tablet PC. Of course, I almost went back to paper a few times. And, while, I do not have paperless office, nor do I ever expect to, I've learned how to work in a less-paper office and how not to break my nose with my Tablet PC. I even designed and built a few Tablet PC stands, including the ultimate.
Still, my tablet adventure has not been without its problems. A quick review of some of my Tablet PC posts, will show you how I've felt about my M4 over the past year. (See the end of this post for my current Tecra M4 situation)
Would I recommend a Tablet PC to my corporate clients who are considering deploying new laptops or refreshing existing laptops for their employees? Absolutely.
I plan to recommend Tablet PCs to all of my clients for their future purchases. It no longer makes sense not to.
Based on communications I've received so far, I estimate that, as a result of this blog, I've probably indirectly sold at least a hundred Tablet PCs, many of them Tecra M4s, in the past 12 months. Would I recommend the Tecra M4 for its design features? Probably. Would I recommend Toshiba as a Tablet PC provider to my corporate clients, or to my best friends? Not without sharing my experiences and suggesting that they read my blog. (See below)
I am enthusiastic about the Tablet PC platform and its potential to dramatically change the way that people work. I hope that more software vendors will deliver ink-enabled applications, soon. (I hope that the IBM/Lotus Notes team is listening) As far as the hardware, I think Toshiba had a good design and I really like the 14" 1400x1050 screen. (I'm lying. I really want an Ultra Wide Screen Tablet PC)
I'd personally like to thank the many people (Marc Orchant, James Kendrick, Rob Bushway, Warner Crocker, and so many others) who have encouraged me and helped me during this past year. It's been a lot of fun.
Now that I've admitted that I'm YABHTU, I expect to jump into a variety of new challenges with my Tablet PC.
The adventure continues.
PS. For those of you, who still don't know what YABHTU means, it's now in the Urban Dictionary - check out this blog post
My personal Tecra M4 Experience
As far as tablet hardware, I remain somewhat pleased with my Tecra M4. As some of you will recall, my primary reason for choosing the Tecra M4 is that, at the time. it had the only large 1400x1050 screen with built-in optical - two key features (among many) that I considered critical. I've been and remain pleased with those aspects of the Tecra M4. The disappointing news is that my Tecra M4 started failing within a weeks of my purchase. First, it was the dust specs under my screen, which remain to this day. Then, it was the M4 fan noise and grinding fans - an ongoing problem. Sometimes, I use ear buds to concentrate; the fan noise limits my ability to use the M4 in the classroom or conference room. Finally, my display interface has been giving me occasional trouble. I would like to assume that most of these problems are unique to my M4, and that Toshiba would be willing to fix them under the extended repair warranty that I purchased. The biggest problem is that other Tecra user's reports of their experiences with Toshiba's support scare me, which is why I've simply lived with the problems to date. I wonder if Toshiba still wants to know what I think.