OT: why I don't use a Mac at home much (was Re: [OS X TeX] Nobody knows)

William F. Adams wadams at atlis.com
Wed Mar 24 09:34:59 EST 2004

(posted to the list and mailed privately)

Sorry folks, this is one of my hot buttons.

On Wednesday, March 24, 2004, at 01:19  AM, Scott Murman wrote:

> William, can you fill us in a little more on tablet computing, latex, 
> rtf, etc.  I work as a scientist, and one of my complaints is that i 
> can't take notes with my laptop.  too slow, too complicated.  i would 
> love a small tablet that i can take notes on, then plug into a laptop 
> for long term storage, conversion, etc.  really all i want is a dumb 
> tablet with storage, portability, and then later on i'll run the 
> software on my mac.  does such a thing exist?   why not?

Well, there was the CrossPad (yes, it's by the people who do the 
too-heavy, gold, stainless steel, enamel or what-have-you pens) --- you 
can still get the software from it (IBM's Ink Manager), but I don't 
think anyone's selling it besides people on ebay.

After that IBM did the TransNote, a ThinkPad married to a CrossPad --- 
good review of this at www.pencomputing.com, but again, not sold any 

Seiko does have a small input unit (the SmartPad) designed to match up 
w/ a Palm Pilot --- write / draw on a notepad, it appears on the Pilot 
and you can sync later.

There're a couple of new hardware solutions, most notably Logitech's 
Io, but a dearth of connection options for them on the Mac.

Unfortunately, pen computing got hammered early on for being ahead of 
the power / performance / battery life curve. Early tablets were too 
heavy, slow and didn't have much in the way of battery life. By the 
times things were getting right, the plug got pulled at various places 
for various reasons.

Then, Microsoft went on a fire sale buying spree and bought up all the 
interesting tech they could (they just recently bought a drawing 
program, Creaturehouse Expression and now it can't be had for love nor 
money --- the loss of the Mac OS X version is especially painful).

You might want to look into getting a Newton MessagePad 2x00 --- 
they're pretty affordable now, and there're tools to synch w/ a PC. 
There's even a Latex-oriented editor. http://www.jksalesinc.com/catalog 
has stock and are nice people to deal w/ (ob. discl. I'm a satisfied 
customer)> The nice thing about an older system is once you've got it, 
no upgrade worries.

You might want to consider a pen slate --- I'm hoping to get Virtual PC 
running on mine, and in that OPENSTEP and in that, Dmitri Linde's 
Instant TeX, which has a trainable system for inputting mathematical 
symbols ;)

The current tablets are mostly Tablet PC for Windows XP systems. 
http://www.compgeeks.com is selling NEC units for $1,199.

Lots of information on them at http://www.tabletpcbuzz.com (I post 
there, no other affiliation)


William Adams, publishing specialist
voice - 717-731-6707 | Fax - 717-731-6708

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