Do you Tablet?

Posted by: Michelle Conlin on July 25, 2007

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I just returned from a reporting trip to the vast metropolis that is Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. (Shuttle buses, valet parking, 25 cafeterias—you get the idea).

One of my peak moments on the trip was my tour of the Future of Work Lab.

I arrived for my interview—decade-old Radio Shack tape recorder, pen, and reporter’s notebook in hand—and got a big guffaw from my executive techno guide. “You actually work like that?” he asked.

He laughed in my face. Not that I blame him. He had me. I am a TECHNO DISASTER. A late resister. Blogphobic. (Hence my poor showing on this new medium—mea culpa, my lovely blogettes!). I wait for all my early-adopter colleagues to figure it all out and then let the new technology seep in as if by osmosis. “Does anyone get the new performance management program,” I holler out to the office. “Help. Serioulsly. SOS!” I am sure I am on the most annoying list over at our tech support station in India. My husband often feels like my gadget sherpa.

This was all fine when I started out as a reporter. Back then—cue cigarette smoke and stake-out coat—all you needed was good shoeleather and a pencil. But in digital journalism land, my technological habits are a serious and crippling liability.

Which all brings me to the tablet computer. This beautiful Biblical machine I saw at the Future of Work lab at Microsoft, tricked out with the company’s latest software.

Do you Tablet? Does your staff? I know these little marvels have been out since 2002. But they’ve yet to truly take off in Corporate America. I nominate the Tablet as the workplace productivity enahncer of the year.

Instead of double fisting notes and a tape recorder, I could simply scribble my thoughts on my tablet and flick on the year’s worth of audio archiving to record every exchange. Doodle on someone else’s powerpoint? Log into a videoconference from my hotel room? No problem. Microsoft’s new software also archives all my notes and audio and allows me to search through them.

“My God,” I said to my new Microsoft gadget friend. “This computer, it could create, like, two or three of me.”

He nodded sagely, as they often do in Redmond. “Exactly,” he said.

Which brings me to a new conclusion. IM is to email what tablets are to laptops.

I use neither. Redmond made me realize I better change fast.

Reader Comments

Derrick

July 25, 2007 2:27 PM

I work in higher education and almost all of the professors love, I mean LOVE, their tablets. Mostly for the reasons you mentioned, how they can scribble notes here or there and edit stuff like powerpoint presentations. We've got it integrated with Blackboard (I think) so students can do the same thing to a professors presentation.

On the other hand, one of my non-faculty colleagues just got one and so far he likes it but is a little put off by the smaller icons, font, etc. Mainly he hasn't had a real use for the tablet functions so he hasn't had a chance to fall in love with it yet.

Me, I'm stuck with a desktop. :-( of course I did get my two 19" widescreen monitors hooked up today.

Thomas

July 26, 2007 8:24 AM

I really like this post. As one of the first ones who received a Palm Pilot in the mid-90s, I liked the new technology because it was so simple. So simple in fact that I even convinced our IT manager to get one the next day. A handful of times I was actually ahead of the IT department in gadgetry! After a few years I kept up with the latest PDAs but they were no longer simple and the battery life was something like two hours; the last straw was when it erased my entire setting including banking records because I neglected to charge it that week. Truly pathetic.

New is not always improved. PC tablets are fragile, heavy, and I can only guess how long the battery will last with all the processing power, backlight, and functions they have. You can throw a legal pad down or stuff it inside your briefcase without a worry. A perfectly simple product that doesn't need to be improved.

Besides, you should never follow advice from MS execs. Laughing in people's faces is what they do best until they get overtaken. Even then smarter people are too polite to have the last laugh.

Thomas

Derrick

July 27, 2007 8:44 AM

Just to add to Thomas's post:

With a lot of new tech products it definitely doesn't pay to be an early adopter either as most consumers are simply being used as an unpaid beta tester.

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