The winds of change are blowing

I've had this phrase set on my various instant messaging clients for the past few days and it's prompted more than a few curious inquiries about just what is up.

This will be my last post here at The Office Weblog. I've been invited to contribute at ZDNet where I will be writing under the title "Office Evolution". Don't click just yet - I'll be back online sometime in the next few days, once the wires get twisted together and the lights start blinking.

I've had an incredible time writing here at Weblogs, Inc. I jumped when Jason Calacanis invited me to join a handful of other bloggers. Back then, the promise of this network was just that - tons of potential and and a lot of big dreams. These past two years I've had the great fortune to work with some fantastically talented people, make more than a few good friends, and have had a chance to speak with, interview, and pick the brains of a number of scary smart people.

After almost two years, nearly 2500 posts, and more than 2 million words, I am really excited about this new opportunity to explore the changing way we approach work:
  • Office: Not just the obvious office software suite coverage but also Software as a Service, Web 2.0 online applications, and the changing nature of office and knowledge work (think time-shifting, virtual teams and companies, telecommuters, and free agents).
  • Productivity: I love talking about techniques and tools to get more done. Whether it's Getting Things Done, a great new add-in for Outlook, a compelling life hack, or even a Moleskine Journal, if it relates to reducing stress and creating more time to focus on what's truly important, I'll be all over it.
  • Mobile Computing: From the Tablet PC to the Treo or Smartphone, we're getting cooler mobile toys every day. Not only do the latest mobile platforms offer more computing power, better battery life, and greater usability than ever before, the variety of form factors is increasing at an incredible pace. The recent introduction of the Nokia Internet Tablet and the refresh of the OQO palmtop are good examples of net-gen mobility tools that continue to push the envelope on portability and power. USB thumb drives with a complete suite of software are another trend I'm simply fascinated by and plan to cover.

As you can probably tell, I'm just a little bit excited. ;^)

Check me out at the new address and let me know what you think.

See you on the other side...

OnTheRun with Tablet PCs #11- Michael Linenberger interview

Listen here (21.4 MB, 62 minutes) or

Subscribe to the show with this link  (RSS)

James Kendrick and I are back with a great new show featuring special guest Michael Linenberger. Michael is the author of Seize the Work Day (Using the Tablet PC to Take Total Control of Your Work and Meeting Day) and a new book, Total Workday Control Using Microsoft Outlook

James and I agree that Seize the Work Day is unquestionably the best book covering productivity with the Tablet PC. In his new book, Total Workday Control, Michael provides eight best practices for maximum productivity in Microsoft Outlook. Our discussion with Michael covers his books, how and why he wrote them, and even looks to the future of the Tablet PC.

Michael has graciously offered three copies each of both of his books to give away to the podcast listeners so listen carefully to the show to find out what you need to do to win a free book. James and I will be determining the winners over the next few days so don't delay - listen to the show and get your entry in as a comment on the podcast blog! We will announce the six winners on the next show.

Enjoy the show and let us know what you think.

Special thanks to Tiedye Keith for the great song "Vulnerable" with vocals by Tony Lindsay of Santana.

How would you use a portable scanner with your Tablet PC?

That's the question Rob Bushway posed to his readers the other day in a new contest he's running. The prize? Why a portable scanner - namely the DocuPen RC800 pictured here. It's a sweet little device that provides the ability to quickly capture pages of content that can be imported onto the Tablet PC for review, annotation, and reference. When OneNote 2007 is released, the built-in OCR will even recognize the scanned text and make it searchable.

Rob set a minimum of 50 entries and he's already exceeded that mark. I agree with his assessment that there are some fantastic applications being suggested by the entrants - maybe one of them will give you a new idea about how to get more out of your Tablet PC. The contest is open through February 3rd so it's not too late for you to toss your idea into the pool for consideration.

Pete Wright wraps up his Vista adventure... for now

It's been a very interesting week following along with Pete Wright as he has put Windows Vista through its paces on his Tablet PC. Due to some travel and speaking obligations, he's wrapping up his Vista trial and reinstalling Windows XP (very smart - giving a public presentation with a beta OS is daredevil territory). But Pete has gotten me even more excited about Vista's potential by sharing his experiences in such great detail and with such candid honesty about the good and the bad. Here's his summary:

"But, I love it to bits. I really do. I had scoffed at the suggestion that this is the next version of Windows for the next ten years, but now I can quite see it. I love the UI. I love the tight integration of the apps (mail, calendar, contacts, journal, ie etc etc) into the OS. I love Defender and it's somewhat overzealous attempts to guard me when I try to do anything. I love that i can hibernate and restore from hibernate in lightning speeds compared to XP or it's forebears. I love the Tablet support most of all, with the gorgeous new TIP, and the beautiful click feedback animations.

I love Vista. Once I have these presentations out of the way, it's definitely going back on as my primary Tablet OS."

Thanks Pete.

Catching up on Tablet PC news and opinion

It's been a busy week in the Tablet PC world and it's only Wednesday. Here, for your reading pleasure, are links to some of the interesting goings-on:

New Tablet PC blog from down under: Hugo 'poogie' Ortega is one very misguided geek. Knowing that Tablet PC take up in Australia has been very unimpressive, to say the least, he has single-mindedly begun preaching to anyone, willing or unwilling to listen, about the merits of Tablet PC.

Review of ArtRage 2 and Alias Sketchbook Pro: Chad "The Cartoon Monkey" Essley provides a very thorough, heavily illustrated review of the newly released ArtRage 2 and compares it to Alias Sketchbook Pro. One costs $20.00, the other $179.00. How do they stack up?

Vista on the Motion 1600 LE: Pete Wright chronicles his adventures getting Vista installed on his Motion Computing 1600 LE slate. Pete boldly goes where this Tablet PC user still fears to tread. Step-by-step screenshots are included for your vicarious viewing pleasure.

Travelin' with Tablet Guy: Tablet PC MVP and editor Dennis Rice launches a new blog chronicling his adventures in the Tabletscape. "When I first met Tablet Guy, I must say I was not all that impressed. I mean, look at the shoes ,man! But ya know, he kinda grows on you after a while. Compared to the Channel Nine Guy, he downright cute (sorry Scoble)! So I’ve decided I’m gonna hang with him. He and I are gonna be buds, and travel the tabletscape together, commenting on things in the Tablet PC world as they develop. So stay tuned...! Come on Tablet Guy…, Let’s Roll!!

Eric Mack's Paperless Challenge - the podcast: Join Eric and his special guest Tracy Hooten of the Student Tablet PC blog (who was recently named a Tablet PC MVP) as they discuss the results of their self-imposed Paperless Challenge. Can the Tablet PC eliminate paper? Tune into the first installment of the podcast to find out.

Ink Gestures in Outlook

Rob Bushway provides a tip that you can use Loren's Ink Gestures in Outlook if you have Word set as the e-mail editor. You'll need to download the latest version (currently 1.09) for this to work properly. Good to know.

ArtRage 2 now available

ArtRage 2 has been officially released. Two versions - one free and one paid - are now available. Here's the announcement:

"This new version of ArtRage comes in two versions. The Full Edition gives you all the new features, including four new tools, layers, metal paints, and much more for only $19.95US. Because of the support we received for ArtRage 1 we wanted to make a Free Edition as well that gives you all the tools ArtRage 1 had, with speed and tablet enhancements, and a few new things thrown in for good measure.

For more information on the features of ArtRage 2.0 Full and Free editions, look here."

Should MCE and Tablet PC be combined?

That's the intriguing question Kevin Tofel poses over at HD Beat picking up on a thread at the RemotelyCool forums. Hop over at add your thoughts.

Xplore Technologies ruggedized Tablet PC with EV-DO

Engadget is all over the newly announced Xplore Technologies ruggedized Tablet PC. The iX104C2DV (try saying that three times fast) features both active and passive digitizers (that's penabledand touchscreen respectively) and built-in EV-DO. The technical specs are modest - this is a unit designed for durability, not performance and I tend to agree with the Engadget kids that the price tag is probably out of reach for private citizens. Slap a little camo paint on this puppy and it'll fit right into an Abrams tank.

Ink Gestures for Word now in public beta

Loren Heiny has been hard at work on Ink Gestures for some time now. James and I have talked about it in passing on our podcast and I've been trying out an early beta release for the past couple of weeks. Loren has now gotten the add-in stable enough to feel comfortable making a beta available to the public.

The short description: Ink Gestures provides access to over twenty common editing operations using simple gestures. For example - let's say you want to underline a word. Draw a line under the word. It's that simple.

The shorter description: If you spend any significant amount of time editing, you want this.

Ink Gestures has increased my "Tablet Time" significantly. I've remarked on any number of occasions that I continue to favor the convertible form factor for Tablet PCs because of the amount of writing and editing I do every day. In the short time I've had to experiment with Ink Gestures, I've found that I can now spend a much greater amount of time in slate mode using the pen than has ever been possible before. I'll be posting more about Ink Gestures in the coming weeks and James and I will try to get Loren away from his Tablet PC long enough to visit with us on an upcoming installment of OnTheRun with Tablet PCs.

Tip of the Day from The Student Tablet PC blog

The Student Tablet PC blog has added a new feature - a Tip of the Day sidebar that features its own RSS feed. Nice idea and the first tip is a great idea for conserving power on your Tablet PC.

OnTheRun with Tablet PCs #10

Head over to the podcast site to listen directly (21.4 MB, 62 minutes) or

Subscribe to the show with this link  (RSS)

James Kendrick and I are back with a look at new Tablet PCs that were announced at the CES in Las Vegas recently. We share our congratulations with all the newly inducted Microsoft MVPs in the Tablet PC category! Joining me in this group are Tracy Hooten, Josh Einstein, Craig Pringle and Thorsten Koth. So my question... is this the only podcast hosted by two MVPs? James gives us a rundown on the Tablet PC user's meetup in Vegas and we discuss who was missing at the CES show. What Tablet PCs will run Vista? Listen and find out. I was particularly interested in learning more about the DualCor cPC that James had a good look at in Vegas. How cheap will Gateway go with the Convertible Notebook? We round out the show with a look at how the Palm Treo 700w can work with the Tablet PC.

Enjoy the show and let us know what you think.

Special thanks to Tiedye Keith for the great song "Vulnerable" with vocals by Tony Lindsay of Santana.

Cast your vote for Tablet of the Year at Engadget

Engadget is asking for your nomination of the best Tablet PC of the Year. Head on over and cast your ballot.

UPDATE: D'oh! I was so excited that I failed to RTFM. Products need only be nominated once. Of course I'm not the only one. There are a number of multiple nominations in the comments. Read the instructions first, Marc!

Limit your nominations only to devices that were introduced and sold for the first time in 2005 (which means no concept devices or prototypes, though we will allow updated versions of previous products).

Also, products only need to be nominated once to be in the running, so if you’re planning on suggesting something, please make a quick scan to see if someone’s already beat you to it (i.e., please don't nominate anything more than once!). Thanks!

ContextExplorer for MindManager and Word

I found this via Rob Bushway's blog this morning. ContextExplorer is a utility that extracts keywords and key related phrases from Word documents. The company is currently developing an extension to this capability that would be able to generate a mind map to display the results. Very compelling - this would be a terrific assistance in many of the writing projects I work on.

ContextExplorer for Word (currently available with a very generous 90-day evaluation and sold for a very reasonable $29.95) allows me to "feed" it reference material I've collected for a writing assignment. It extracts the most essential points by looking for keywords and associated phrases and presents the results in a very nicely designed explorer that allows me to parse the content in a unique and powerful way. What the MindManager integration will do, based on what I've read about their prototyping efforts to date, is take those results and generate a structured mind map that would allow me to manipulate the results using all of MindManager's capabilities.

I'll be following the development of this tool very closely and have already suggested to Model Technologies, the developer of ContextExplorer, how important pen and digital ink integration will be for Tablet PC users.

NOTE: This post updated with the correct name of the product: ContextExplorer - the eror was mine. The developer also points out in the comments that the application can extract keywords and concepts from PDF files, web pages, and other documents and offers multilingual support. Thank for the corrections.

New Geckotip extension for Firefox

JK posted about the new GeckoTIP extension for Firefox, Thunderbird, and Sunbird yesterday and sure enough, an update was waiting for me in my extensions list. The new version works much better and pretty much makes inking in Firefox a non-event (like it should have been all along). Some nice new enhancements include:
  • "Caret tracking" enabling the proper function of the floating Tablet Input Panel in website and UI text fields.
  • Manual setting of the Input Scope of a given text field to any combination of predefined Microsoft Input Scope definitions and/or an arbitrary Regular Expression that handwritten input must match.
  • Heuristic input scope guessing based on textual information associated to a text field. This allows GeckoTIP to accurately guess an appropriate TIP input scope for you with no user intervention. An important example of this feature is that GeckoTIP automatically sets the URL bar in Firefox to the "URL" scope, allowing easy input of website addresses. The rules used to guess input scopes are user-modifiable.
  • Support for alternative 3rd party input panels (currently: Alphatap, MessagEase, SHARK, Fitaly, TAPLESS, and WordLogic). With one of these panels loaded in memory, GeckoTIP can automatically open and position the panel near your cursor when a text field is clicked and automatically close the panel when the text field loses focus.
  • Optional scrollbar on the left side of the screen for left-handed users (currently Firefox only, further development to come).
  • An alternative "Go" button for Firefox that acts as an Enter key no matter which field is active.
Kudos to developer Ian Weiner for his continued hard work on this vital extension.

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