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Tim Sneath has been posting a wonderful series of "Windows Vista Secrets".  (The ability to start Quick Launch items with the [Win+<n>] keys has changed my life -- thanks Tim!)

I have my own set of tips for Windows Vista -- some secret, some not -- that apply mainly to laptop and Tablet PCs, so I thought I'd share.

 

#1: Windows Mobility Center

Windows Mobility Center is a great one-stop portal for managing a LOT of settings on your laptop or tablet -- power scheme, audio volume, screen brightness, projection, rotation, as well as one-click access to myriad other Control Panel applets for stylus input and handwriting recognition.

It's definitely not meant to be a "secret", but for some reason we really did bury it in the Start / Programs / Accessories menu...  Place a shortcut to MblCtr.exe on your Quick Launch bar, or pin it to your Start Menu, for easier access.

Update: Reader benwatt reminds me that [Win+X] will launch the Mobility Center -- for laptops and Tablet PCs with keyboards!

 

#2: Snipping Tool

The big "secret" here is that Snipping Tool is no longer just for Tablet PCs!  Use it from your laptop or desktop, to snip a rectangular region of your screen -- and use the mouse to highlight.

As above: Snipping Tool is buried in the Start / Programs menu -- so, place a shortcut to SnippingTool.exe on your Quick Launch bar, or pin it to your Start Menu, for easier access.

 

#3: DPI scaling via DWM

A screen resolution of 1400x1050 on a 12" diagonal display is about 144dpi, measured horizontally (or vertically).  That's about 50% higher resolution than the 96dpi which Windows assumes of your display, by default!  This has the effect of making small fonts difficult to read and small user interface elements hard target, with a stylus or touch-screen.

Many users address this by turning down the resolution on their displays to something like 1024x768, but that's suboptimal -- it makes user interface elements larger, but blurrier.  And hey, you paid for all those pixels, you should get to use them...  Windows Vista offers a better way.  Enter DWM -- the Desktop Window Manager -- the new graphics plumbing in Vista which enables the Aero Glass theme and effects, as well as the "Flip 3D" and "Taskbar Thumbnail" experiences, for switching windows.

DWM is not just good looking; it's also functional -- it facilitates the smooth rescaling of your desktop and applications, at resolutions higher than 96dpi.  On systems which support the Aero Glass theme, you should take full advantage of the DWM and configure your display resolution properly -- the DWM will enlarge text and other user interface elements, but without sacrificing the smoothness and readability of fonts, or the detail in high-resolution images.

So, if you're tired of squinting, set your DPI properly instead of scaling down your resolution.  You should find that applications work more reliably on Vista, than they did on XP, when the DPI is set greater than 96.

 

#4: Enlarge the caret (text insertion point)

Consider making the caret (text insertion point) easier to see in bright / daylight conditions, by increasing its thickness slightly.  I don't know if this setting is available anywhere in the Control Panel, but you can increase the caret width with this straightforward registry key:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
"CaretWidth"=dword:00000003

This trick can be especially helpful on Tablet PCs, for visually identifying which field on a form has the input focus (ie, the field which will receive results from the Tablet PC Input Panel).

 

#5: Get the most out of your battery

Battery not lasting as long as you'd like? Give your system less work to do, by turning off some nonessential features and services.

Everyone's definition of "nonessential" is different, of course, but I like to start by reducing the frequency of scheduled tasks (like defragmentation).  Start Task Scheduler, and you'll be presented with an array of tasks which Windows Vista runs, in the background.  Many of these tasks can be configured to wait until the system is plugged into A/C power (and likewise, pause when switched to battery power).

Here's an oldie but a goodie, for reducing hard disk access:  the NTFS file system tracks (by default) when files and directories were last read from.  This is a cool feature, but it effectively turns every read operation into a potential write operation -- and really, how often do you use this feature?

Run FSUtil.exe behavior set DisableLastAccess 1 from an elevated command prompt (and reboot) to turn off this feature.

The graphics processors in laptops consume a lot of watts -- the Aero Glass theme is great, but do you really need the transparency / blur effect? Making your glass opaque can reduce the load on your GPU, while otherwise maintaining the full functionality of the DWM (Flip3D, Taskbar thumbnails, high-DPI support, rotation, etc).

Similarly: the new little round "start" button is cool, but it forces the GPU to perform a non-rectangular clipping operation, when it overlaps a maximized window.  This has been seen to cause performance problems in some lower-end graphics hardware (the kind found in some older laptops and tablets).  If you notice an application responding more slowly when it's maximized, try this simple remedy: resize your taskbar so it's at least 2 rows tall (or dock it vertically to the right or left edge) so that it joins flushly to the working area of your desktop.

 

That's all for now...  any other good tips to share?  Leave us a comment, or a trackback!

Ok, it's been a few months since our last post here.  Yes, we're still alive.  What are we up to?
 
#1:  Putting finishing touches on Windows Vista.  Testing, testing, testing...
 
#2:  Planning for the next generation of Tablet and UMPC hardware and software.  It's fun and exciting, believe me, but we can't blog about it.  :-)
 
#3:  Preparing for a couple of big conferences, next week:  Mobile Connections (in Las Vegas) and TechEd Europe (in Barcelona).  Now that, we really should be blogging about...!  Details below.
 
I'll try to nag the team to post more -- I promise.  :-)  In the meantime, remember Tablet PC features are built into Windows Vista now -- and the Windows Vista team blog shouldn't leave anyone hungry for more to read!

Shawn Van Ness | Program Manager | Tablet PC Platform, NetFX 3.0 Team


 

Mobile Connections - November 6-9
Mobile PC Sessions

Mobile Connections, part of DevConnections Conferences and Expos, will be bringing you the latest in enterprise mobility development technologies that are ready for prime time today.

November 7, 2006 (Microsoft Day)
Mobile PC Hands-on Lab and Demo Area OPEN: 7:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
  • Using Ink in Your Application 9:30 A.M. - 10:30 A.M. (Stefan Wick)
  • Mobile Lifestyle PC Applications 10:45 A.M. - 11:45 A.M. (Todd Landstad)
  • Developing for the Ultra-Mobile PC 1:30 P.M.- 2:30 P.M. (Todd Landstad)
  • Mobile PC Opportunities with Content Servers and Carriers 2:45 P.M.- 3:45 P.M.
   (Frank Gocinski)
  • Ink and the Microsoft® Windows® Presentation Foundation 4:15 P.M.- 5:15 P.M.
  (Stefan Wick)
November 8, 2006
Mobile PC Hands-on Lab and Demo Area OPEN: 7:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
November 9, 2006
Mobile PC Hands-on Lab and Demo Area OPEN: 7:30 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

View Mobile Connections sessions here.
Register for Mobile Connections.

 

TechEd Europe - November 6-10
Mobile PC Sessions

TechEd: Developers Conference, Barcelona, November 6-10

Sign up for Microsoft’s premier EMEA conference. This TechEd conference is specifically designed to provide developers with deep dive technical training, information, and community resources focusing on building software solutions with Microsoft development tools.

SESSIONS:
November 7, 2006
4924: Using Ink in Your Application (Shawn Van Ness)
4925: Ink and the Windows Presentation Foundation (Shawn Van Ness)
November 8, 2006
4928: Using Windows SideShow® (Dan Polivy)
4929: Developing for Full OS Small Form Factors (Shawn Van Ness)
4930: The Mobile PC Roadmap (Hans Baust)

Terri Stratton [MVP] wrote an excellent summary (with copious screenshots!) of the improved user-experience Vista offers on Tablet PC:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/community/improvetabletpc.mspx

And for developers... our own Eliot Graff has written a similar high-level overview of what's new:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/editorial/2006-07/default.aspx

Shawn Van Ness | Program Manager | Tablet PC Platform

Community is by definition not a one-way arrangement. If we don't respond to the community, then we're not in it--as this very community has reminded us. Thank you for keeping us honest.

 

Since you're reading this, you probably read technology opinion on the web and therefore it is inevitable that you've heard a lot about how big (and dare I say late) the Windows Vista project is. Horror stories appear to flow from both distant pundits and seemingly hard-boiled insiders. I have heard the adage "truth is stranger than fiction" many times, but I often find with the press (and yes, even the blogosphere) that the truth can also be more mundane than the fiction and sometimes harder to find.

 

You can argue endlessly about Microsoft's strategies (and whether they are aligned or even align-able) and specifically about the sustainable wisdom behind a "be everything" Windows operating system that is developed over long release cycles. And, in fact, we do (you might be surprised at the range of ideas that are debated). It is only natural that customers, partners, and the press also highlight those debates and question the leadership under the circumstances.

 

But speaking personally, every day when I come to work I look at the people I am surrounded by.

Am I surrounded with money-grubbing career-climbers that would tell their management anything to make their project status look good?  No. Am I surrounded by incompetent tinkerers who have no business writing the software that tens or hundreds of millions of people rely on? Certainly not. By and large, I am surrounded by real people (just like you). I am surrounded by consummate, professional engineers (just like many of you). I am surrounded with people who have vision; and despite the ever-increasing difficulty of making software that becomes powerful in the hands of nearly any person, they desperately want to make that happen.

 

Over the past thirteen years at Microsoft, I've watched the job get a little bit harder every year. People strive to keep up with the greater demands on the software they build (demands for more return, more reliability, more security, broader use, etc.) They strive to keep up with the resulting technical and organizational complexity. They strive to keep up with the profession. Sometimes I see newly hired people and I don't envy the rate of change they are expected to thrive in (although incredibly most of them do thrive).

 

I think it's fair to say that we are learning (right along with the rest of the world) how to ship a software project that is as big and broad as Windows Vista. And yes, we do re-learn this every time. Just as we think we are starting to "get it", the game changes.

 

And we can do much better. That is why I ask you to continue to be ruthless in what you ask of us (starting with asking whether we are going to post here or not!). Over the history of this company, that clearly seems to be the way we do our best.

 

Now that you have let me rant a little; you might be wondering if there is any lingering defensiveness.  I offer that this post is my little part in the product release process and probably a bit of a personal release as well.  A company is only as good as the groups that make it and a group as only as good as its members.  If that is the case, then Microsoft and more specifically Tablet PC is going to be fine, based on the people that I see when I go to work every day.  I am fiercely proud of my team and all of the individuals that comprise that team.  I apologize for giving in to daily urgencies and not posting more. If you are interested, following this I hope to write a little more about what life is like for my team in the near future.

 

Kurt Geisel Director of Development, Tablet PC Team

For personalization of handwriting recognition, it's true that 50 sentences can seem like a lot to ask - but it turns out that that set represents just the right amount of training data to ensure that users across the board will be able to get a noticeable benefit for their investment. The threshold was set based on test datasets from many users.

Meanwhile a lot of research has gone into how to get that number down, to lower the 'entry level' for reaping the benefits of personalization. As a result of this, the handwriting recognition personalization system can actually give an accuracy improvement after submitting just over 10 sentences via the Handwriting recognition personalization tool. This is the secret feature Ian referred to -- it kicks in for users of the Input Panel with several hundred successfully recognized passages under their belts and Automatic learning enabled. (Btw if any of you experience this feature in action, I'd be happy to hear your feedback!) 

However to guarantee that personalization is giving you the most benefit, you should submit at least the initial 50 sentence samples. Remember that the more you submit, the better handwriting recognition works.

One bright side of submitting a large set of samples (besides the world's best handwriting reco experience!) is that you never have to resubmit the samples, even when you upgrade your build.  The samples migrate using the Windows Easy Transfer wizard (found in Accessories->SystemTools), along with the rest of your personal files and settings. When I'm waiting for a meeting to start (or in one that doesn't require a lot of participation... ahem), I ink a few sentences or troubleshoot some words using the personalization wizard.  Then before upgrading, I use Easy Transfer to save my personal data to a USB stick.  Over time I've accumulated significant personalization data that I can easily load onto any post-Beta2 Tablet, and the effect continues to amaze me.

Why "post-Beta2"?  Because migration of this data unfortunately doesn't work well from the Beta2 build to a post-Beta2 build. However I've used it many times post-Beta2 and it's been working admirably.

Fyi Easy Transfer is also useful for avoiding repetitive setup tasks for each upgrade, such as copying desktop files, or tweaking various settings such as folder options or optin to Automatic learning. 

Bradley Music - Mobile PC Team

It has been way too long since I posted - we got a note from a reader last week who said we should either post more or pull down the site. Thanks for the reminder, we get so caught up in the day to day of shipping that important things like blogging don't make it far enough up the to-do list.

The Tablet PC team has their collective nose to the grindstone - we're pushing like crazy to polish up all our Tablet features for Vista. I have two Vista machines that I use daily, one always running the latest and greatest and an X41T running beta 2. I said adios XP two months ago and have been pretty happy, sure there are lots of beta issues, but I can get my work done as or more productively than with XP. And for the odd occasioon that I do boot into XP, I really really miss Flicks, panning and the improved TIP/reco.

Speaking of reco... how many of you out there have tried the handwriting personalization? Personally I find the 1/50 label on the first page somewhat discouraging, 50 pages or training! I've gotten through about 20 so far. That said I was happy to find out that there is a secret feature in beta 2 that allows personalization to kick in after about 10 screens of training or so. I'll track down someone who can post more details on this.

Ian LeGrow - Mobile PC Team

The title URL says it all -- Windows Vista Beta 2 is on the way out the door!

Shawn Van Ness | Program Manager | Tablet PC Platform, WinFX Team

When we first started this blog, last summer, Beta 1 of Windows Vista had just become available. Looking back, it seems we had to make a lot of noise about how to get Windows Vista bits working on Tablet PC. Wow, what a difference a Beta makes!

Actually, we're still some time away from a formal "Beta 2" release, but I feel somebody should report on our progress… we released a new CTP a few weeks ago (Feb 2006) which is a snapshot of our Beta 2 work -- available for download by MSDN Subscribers -- and if I may say so, the overall experience on my Tablet PC is really quite nice.

For starters, everything's there -- the cool new Input Panel, which docks to the side of the screen. Pen Flicks (which greatly mitigates the pain of using a scrollbar with a stylus). Journal and InkBall are there. Ink Watson and Handwriting Personalization. Support for Network Projection. And there's Mobility Center, a one-stop-shop for managing power settings and sync'ing files. Also, a special surprise -- a lightweight version of the Snipping Tool powertoy is now included and installed by default, on Windows Vista! (Just start/run "SnippingTool", and have at it!)

Well, almost everything's there -- we're still missing a complete driver story, for all makes and models. And I don't get Aero Glass effects on my Toshiba M200. And screen rotation still isn't ironed out. These things will come, in time. But for the most part, all the critical drivers (display, networking, etc) for my M200 were installed and working just fine, when my system emerged from setup. (If you tried earlier CTPs but were put off by the difficulty of finding/installing drivers, try the Feb 2006 build. No guarantees, but you're likely to be pleasantly surprised -- I was!)

Perhaps what's most amazing, is this: I now no longer feel the need to revert to Windows XP, to get work done from day to day. In fact, I just "took the plunge" and removed XP from my Toshiba M200 -- Windows Vista Feb 2006 CTP is now my OS of choice! Office 2003 works great. Visual Studio 2005 works great. All my favorite games work great...

The performance of the Feb CTP build is not perfect, but it's leaps and bounds ahead of where it was, in previous CTPs. True, there are still some bad actors (the disk defragger and search indexer services like to run, when I'm on battery :-). But overall, the system is very usable -- and perf will continue to improve, as we march onward to the next Beta, and beyond...

Update: I forgot to mention a few features: Windows SideShow (not to be confused with Windows SideBar, which is something else) is a cool new technology in Vista. Not strictly Tablet-specific, but it's cool. Follow the link for more info, and cool demos!

Also, I left out one of my favorite new features: the enhanced stylus cursor feedback. (The pointer changes when you use a stylus, in lieu of a mouse, and it's animated to provide subtle feedback when you tap, or press the barrel button.)

Shawn Van  Ness | Program Manager | Tablet PC Platform, WinFX Team

Thanks for Lora mentioning that's there's been a blank in this blog :)

Random topic - I'm off to Japan next week to attend http://www.event-registration.jp/events/devcon06/ - it's like a mini PDC in Japan.

We've got a session immediately after the keynote on the 2nd day, where I'll be explaining how Tablet PC business is in the US (primarily), and then explaining the advancements in Windows Vista - touch support, COM Real Time Stylus, 64 bit, how Tablet PC technologies are integrated into all Windows Vista products, integration into Windows Presentation Foundation, ink analysis, Tablet PC Input Panel APIs, etc.

My parents live nearby the location - Yokohama, so I have the added benefit of dropping by :) I'll report back on how Tablet PC is doing in Japan as Part II.

Koji Kato - Platform Lead Program Manager - Tablet PC 

In December 2005, Microsoft released a Community Technology Preview of Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly code-named “Avalon”), the new presentation subsystem for Windows that unifies development of documents, graphics, and applications into a common platform. The InkCanvas element in this new platform is your “one-stop shopping” solution for collecting and rendering ink inside of applications designed for Windows Presentation Foundation.

To show some of the powerful features of Windows Presentation Foundation, I have put together a sample that demonstrates the InkCanvas element in combination with other exciting features such as 3-D graphics, animations and VisualBrushes. A VisualBrush is a very versatile and powerful brush that paints an area with a Visual. A Visual is a low-level graphical object that serves as the foundation of many useful graphical components. For example, the Window, FrameworkElement, Control classes are all types of visuals. In the sample application, the front and the back side of a rectangular 3-D geometry are painted using VisualBrushes that are associated with two InkCanvas controls. This simulates a piece of paper in 3-D space that allows the user to handwrite and edit (select, erase) the ink on either side of the paper. Each interaction with the 2-D InkCanvas controls is reflected immediately in the 3-D object.

 

Sample Download: http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/c/9/8c979422-c52d-416c-9496-e7980c7295c8/Paper3DSample.EXE

 

To compile and run the sample application you will need the following:

- Windows XP (with SP2), Windows Server 2003 or Windows Vista (December CTP)

- Visual Studio 2005: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/

- WinFx December CTP: http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getthebeta/default.aspx

 

Stefan Wick - Tablet PC Team

We've finally got a repackaged SDK that has the updated Microsoft.Ink.dll in it that is compatible with CLR 2.0.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/7/5/77577462-db2a-41c1-8630-26b611eaf1d7/setup.exe is the download URL. Note that this is different from the previous SDK download URL, and also may not be available from search in MSDN. Please click this URL to get to it for sure.

There's fine print to the update behavior using this SDK, which you may need elaboration on.

The new Microsoft.Ink.dll is being updated based on an in-place strategy (increment the file version, but keep the assembly version the same so that applications do not need to be recompiled). If an existing Microsoft.Ink.dll version 1.7.x.x is on the desktop PC, the new Microsoft.Ink.dll will not install unless CLR2.0 is on the system (to be more specific, unless CLR1.1 and above is on the system - this is because CLR added in-place update support at CLR1.1).
If an existing Microsoft.Ink.dll version 1.7.x.x is not on the desktop PC, the new Microsoft.Ink.dll will install regardless of CLR version.
 
<What this means - you will need to have this FAQ ready if you are an ISV>
What this means is that for the case where CLR1.1 and above is not installed, and Microsoft.Ink.dll version 1.7.x.x is on the desktop PC, managed ink applications will work fine.
Then, an application setup that has the new Microsoft.Ink.dll in it is installed on top, but due to the existence of Microsoft.Ink.dll version 1.7.x.x it did not install the new Microsoft.Ink.dll (due to lack of CLR1.1 and above).
Then CLR2.0 got installed on the desktop PC by some means - your application may not function properly at this point.
The recovery method here will be to reinstall the application setup that had the new Microsoft.Ink.dll in it.
 
Koji Kato - Platform Lead Program Manager - Tablet PC

On my personal blog, I get a lot of requests from international fans of Snipping Tool v2.0 (part of the Experience Pack for Tablet PC).  "When will a version be available that works on my <insert country of origin here> Tablet?"

Rest assured, the team that's producing these packs has been getting those requests too.  And, real soon now (November) we should have versions of Snipping Tool available in over half a dozen new languages...  French and German first, followed shortly behind by Japanese, Korean, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese.

And it's not just Snipping Tool, of course -- it's five of the favorite apps from both Experience Pack and Education Pack:

  • Ink Desktop
  • Snipping Tool 2.0
  • Send to OneNote 2003
  • Hexic® Deluxe for Tablet PC
  • Energy Blue Theme

Watch this space... as the download links become available, I'll update this blog entry and post them here!

French:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D91BA28C-B3FB-484F-A724-C869E85AFCC0&displaylang=fr
German:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D91BA28C-B3FB-484F-A724-C869E85AFCC0&displaylang=de
Japanese:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D91BA28C-B3FB-484F-A724-C869E85AFCC0&displaylang=ja
Korean:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D91BA28C-B3FB-484F-A724-C869E85AFCC0&displaylang=ko
Spanish:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D91BA28C-B3FB-484F-A724-C869E85AFCC0&displaylang=es
Italian:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D91BA28C-B3FB-484F-A724-C869E85AFCC0&displaylang=it
Chinese (Simplified):
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D91BA28C-B3FB-484F-A724-C869E85AFCC0&displaylang=zh-cn
Chinese (Traditional):
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D91BA28C-B3FB-484F-A724-C869E85AFCC0&displaylang=zh-tw

Shawn Van Ness -- Program Manager -- Tablet PC Platform Team

It's been a while since the last blog, and I've been hearing multiple mentions of this issue recently - in fact it's been my primary task for the last week, so I'd like to share what's sharable.

In Microsoft.Ink.dll which is an operating system component in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, there were some code issues which resulted in an incompatibility of this managed assembly with CLR 2.0. An updated Microsoft.Ink.dll for the Tablet PCs which need to install CLR 2.0 is available on the link below.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/0/6/506a0663-dadc-4b98-95d6-43ef39c56338/WindowsXP-KB900722-x86.exe

Developers are also interested in getting an updated MSM (Windows Installer Merge Module) which allows them to ship Microsoft.Ink.dll in their setup application. We are actively trying to get this out - in the mean while there is an alpha release of the updated Microsoft.Ink.dll MSM in the Mobile PC and Tablet PC Software Development Kit September Release at http://download.microsoft.com/download/c/d/f/cdfc8b4b-c4a2-4ab0-b290-eed0ec3d0ec4/MPCSDKSetup.exe which was shipped in sync w\ PDC. tpcman17.msm in this CTP had the update for CLR 2.0 in it, although there is an issue in the assembly file version (note not assembly version) which requires the target PC to be free from having Microsoft.Ink.dll on it. You can get going with this - although I acknowledge this is not ideal.

We are doing our best to ensure our partner needs are met, while also executing on Vista.

More interesting news to come soon ...

Koji Kato - Platform Lead Program Manager - Tablet PC

Finally!! PDC is over, and I've caught up with the back log of work that piled while I was at PDC. Our PDC was great!

  • Our Hands On Labs (HOLs) were consistently full, we depleted our supply of digitizers/USB-drives/TMobile cards in the process since it was so popular
  • Our sessions went well too, lots of folks turned up to listen to Mobile PC & Tablet PC related sessions although it was past 17:00
  • Birds of a feather meetings - lots of candid and honest exchange of opinions which are always insightful for us attending from the Microsoft side
  • I personally talked with about 100 folks from different companies, although I was only able to keep track of about 40 of them

I am confident that we've rid the speculation that Microsoft is not investing in Mobile PC & Tablet PCs any more ... on the contrary we are ACCELERATING in Vista and beyond. It is a ripe market with a lot of upsell potential. The sky is the limit on the benefit it can have on me as a casual user of PCs. I am really looking forward to the coming year, lots of innovative hardware and great advances in software is coming.

http://spaces.msn.com/members/michaellatta/Blog/cns!1p_9Q1UgKXcCjgsYODghdXCQ!160.entry is an example of feedback we're already starting to get ... please keep them coming as we're keen on listening to your thoughts.

Additionally, we're really interested to hear your thoughts on the takeaways we had at the Birds of a feather meetings.

  • we can accelerate the Tablet PC business with more reusable software components (eg controls) that would help in creation of innovative new scenarios & applications
  • there are hard user interaction problems such as ink in text boxes where the eco-system can benefit from examples and recommendations from Microsoft

 We're starting to brain storm and take action against this feedback - your thoughts would be appreciated to further direct us on our way.

Koji Kato - Platform Lead Program Manager - Tablet PC 

Finally!! PDC has started, and I'm blogging from LA. There's exciting news for Mobile PCs and Tablet PCs being unveiled. In no specific order,

  • mobility center
  • Windows side show
  • the touch pointer (requires special HID drivers though)
  • personalization capabilities of handwriting recognition
  • an improved/slicker Tablet PC Input Panel
  • usability improvements in the Windows experience (checkboxes for multi-select, better multi-mon support, stylus specific cursor feedback)
  • flicks - a new system level gesture to quickly go forward/back/scroll-up/scroll-down/and other common tasks
  • better power management
  • improved shutdown experience
  • panning in Internet Explorer
  • full integration of Tablet PC concepts into Windows Presentation Foundation
  • a PDC CTP release of the Mobile PC & Tablet PC SDK for Windows Vista
  • a PDC CTP COM version of the RealTimeStylus API
  • a PDC CTP release of the Ink Analysis API set, and the underlying parsing technology
  • and the list goes on ...

There are 5 hands on lab sessions (30 min training courses) being offered where we're letting our customers use some of our latest and greatest Tablet PCs (eg Toshiba M4, IBM Lenovo X41T, etc.). There's many sessions related to Mobile PCs & Tablet PCs! Today, we have sessions about Windows Side Show and advances in Tablet PC ink technologies.

There are huge investments related to Mobile PCs & Tablet PCs in Windows Vista - http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/mobility/tabletpc/pdc2005/default.aspx provides links to resources to get more information. One of the big changes in Windows Vista is that the Tablet PC platform ink runtimes (inkobj.dll, tpcps.dll, wisptis.exe, inked.dll, inkdiv.dll, Microsoft.Ink.dll for those of you tech enthusiasts:) ) will be in all Windows Vista packages. Ink will finally be a ubiquitous data type in Windows Vista.

We've had 2 on-the-side gatherings with customers, and so far the feedback is that

  • we can accelerate the Tablet PC business with more reusable software components (eg controls) that would help in creation of innovative new scenarios & applications
  • there are hard user interaction problems such as ink in text boxes where the eco-system can benefit from examples and recommendations from Microsoft

We are seeing great up-lift in sales, and the future for Mobile PC & Tablet PC looks bright!! I'll continue to blog feedback we're hearing so that we can open up the feedback discussion further beyond just the attendees at PDC. Stay tuned ...

Koji Kato - Platform Lead Program Manager - Tablet PC

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