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What is the most efficient way to get things fixed with a Tablet PC Windows XP edition? | Nicole Simon's Useful Sounds

What is the most efficient way to get things fixed with a Tablet PC Windows XP edition?

11.08.2005 - 00:22 / filled under default

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(As for the headline: It can't always be Mr. R.S., there must be other persons one can bug about those annoying things I found in just some hours of basic (!) playing with that windows edition. Because it is mainly about that windows edition, not the hardware so much.)

Okay, after the new toy arrived this morning, I made a bunch of fotos (which turned out to be not so great, because it is the handy camera :() and then the final moment came - the starting moment of 2 hours of despair. Dead on arrival. Which brings me to point one of my longer to come review: If you don't have a machine booting up, you can't access any of the documentation! And online? Nada del niente.

Call at the IBM support hotline? "We don't have that modell in our list" Hm? You just started shipping in Germany you freaks! Turned out, that ram needed a little push and then everything has been working nicely. They did call back late in the afternoon and where very happy to close the call - I only mentioned it works again. They could have asked for opinion and feedback (which they would have gotten, but I guess, a ticket is meant to be just a ticket ....)

I just wrote in an IM: i am usually not in geek toy land, but if everyone gets that much attention when buying toys, I will turn into gadget lady! The amount of envy via mail (all of course in good humor) is amazing, and I have not even taken it out into the wild! People like me just for having thise nice new toy ;))))

BUT - the thing I was most looking forward to, the Microsoft experience pack and the education pack? Both won't work at my machine. Because it is non English! CLEVER.

Using some buttons? Quite idiotic arrangements. My Lenovo, if held in right-hand manor? Description of buttons is upside down! Direct microphone quality? Miserable. I am curious how in here speech recognition is supposed to work by that? Fingerprint scanner? Quite doubtful it will work, I just hope I get into the system again tomorow ...

Using the tablet for handwriting recognition? Quite great - except some basic features missing like inserting simple things (space, colon etc), which I know of the Palm Pilot - will have to look deeper into it. Problem is: it has to be horizontal for recognition, does not work if you write in 45 degree angle. Tip for Microsoft: You can turn drawings in *all* your application for ages! Why not here? !

And the thing which annoys me most:

Where do I start to get some news about my tablet? Where do I buy protection for the screen? Where do I buy another pen with eraser? Which one? Where is the page for TabletPC applications? Where are the gadgets to make proper use of this?

Where is tablet pc kindergarden, 101 on inking and having fun? Where is the 'have fun with your tablet'-CD from MS showing me all the nice things why I should show everyone and make them buy one? Oh, and speaking of CDs - where the hell is my rescue CD?? I paid 2000 Euros for that machine, and I don't even get a backup cd of the system but some dummy cd with software I don't need? I am assuming, that this colorful "Lotus" CD is not my backup, but some Lotus Office stuff - which I am not interested a blip in.

But back to the tablet. Given, I will mostly want to use it for tablet specific reasons, not so much for the notebook part - and it is much heavier than I expected, the screen resolution could be better, but is probably getting used to, I like the way the keyboard handles the mouse buttons but I don't like the way the pen reacts!

Games on that machine? 4 of them are only internet games and all of the solitair stuff still looks ugly! Bad. The application Denim was even more irratic than it's usage with a mouse, great dissapointment.

The tablet feels nice, but I have a tendency to have 'greasy' fingers as it seems - cover and screen are already 'dirty'. Cleaning tips? As for the cover it probably means I really should cover it in nice stickers to avoid ugly fingerprints :o( [Got nice stickers? Contact me.]

The one thing which *was* fun to play with: Artrage

More information and ranting to come - in general: is fun. Has annoying things in it, I will talk about in detail later.

Tomorow I will get my Fritzbox and get into the adventure of installing that, connecting the tablet with the wifi and get into the internet; updating my tablet at Microsoft - and as it seems, that machine needs to be activated - YUK! Frankly, I don't care that *I* am punished because others pirat software. It is annoying. Oh and that clever genuine update? The code displayed can't be copied by short cut, you have to use right click mouse and copy. Whoever is responsible for that belongs punished. *Such* a basic mistake on such a hugely spread application!

Then strengthen my baby (because it will be out of my home firewall in the wild!!), then I will install Firefox, 'desinstall' IE, install Skype and Plazes and hopefully the system still works.

Because I transfered IBM Directories from "C:\program files" to "c:\programme" - which is in fact the correct path for it. When will the world of english only programmers understand, that other windows machines have different application paths? And paths for saving user data? And if they would be really, really clever, they would have learned that there is a godamn parameter for that! GRRRRR. You might think it does not matter, but I find it highly annoying to have folders on my harddisk I don't want or need to see there.

So: Got suggestions for software? I prefer non crippled freeware and open source, I don't mind donating like for Artrage, which has a paypal button.

I probably need a working Wifi-Finder, something like Onenote (I will probably not buy a new Office to get that particular application, while I also will not upgrade my Office 2000 because of how ugly that new version works), and Games like Bejeweled. :) Everything ink optimzed please.

And just in case: Don't bother to send me links to software which does not understand the usual basic principles of Microsoft UI, think they know which window size I will run their application in, or other usability glitches.

Did I mention the nice stickers? Are there little cute Channel 9 stickers? Skype? Where do I get a bigger (CC) sticker? A 'got ink'? :o)))

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    comments (15) :

  1. Sorry to read about your problems. If you're looking for a great Tablet PC resource try out http://www.tabletpcbuzz.com. Best Tablet PC resource there is. My blog also lists a number of Tablet PC blogs and resources.
    Warner Crocker 11.08.2005 - 02:48
  2. So, what was wrong with the machine? Why wouldn´t it start up at first?

    Oh, and let me get this straight: the Microsoft Software that you paid for (?) refuses to run, because it doesn´t like the locale setting? What kind of dumb idea is that?

    A real handbook or even a tutorial-cd is rare these days. I guess it just doesn´t pay to be nice to customers - after all, you have already bought the machine, so why bother? Must be like those USB cables "available seperatly" when you buy a scanner or printer. (Moneygrubbing Bastards,and thats not meant as a joke.)

    The same applies to "recovery disks" or "recovery partitions". But I guess getting worked up about it is battling windmills, same as with the product activation.

    Btw: I strongly suspect that that one is not about "pirates". (arr!) Its simply a scheme to make more money. Case in point: The warranty has run out and the computer has died. If you had a full windows version, you could now sell the CD or use it on another computer. But even when the OEM-Version installs, (which they usually do - after all, DELL and Lenovo are greedy too - how could they make one Windows Version for every PC Series they design?) you won´t get it activated.

    Software for your Baby: the only thing I could name without thinking would be Smart Surfer or something similar. When you´re stranded at someone elses place with only a telephone jack, you´ll be thankfull to have some dial-up.

    Oh, and sorry, but the only stickers I could offer you are a nice sortiment of black, white and yellow penguins. Of those, I have plenty left, since I only needed one but had to buy 20 or so.
    I usually don´t do windows, you know.. ;-)
    apunkt 11.08.2005 - 11:32
  3. Hi Nicole, glad you finally got your Tablet and one of the best ones at that. :)

    I understand your frustrations you've mentioned in your post. Just to clarify things a bit- the Experience Pack and Education Pack that Nicole mentioned can't be installed on a non-English version of the Tablet Edition. These are not part of the basic Tablet setup and are in fact free add-ons that MS has released for English versions of the OS only. I agree that's a shame and have told the MS group that and am told that non-English versions may be available in the future. The problem MS has (not to defend them here) is that most of the utilities in these two add-on packs were written by 3rd party developers who have never produced localized versions of the software. That is the only reason MS has not released non-English versions. I have told them they need to release German, Spanish and French versions ASAP but when that will happen we can only guess. I would love to discuss your Tablet initiation in depth, perhaps on the Tablet PC Show if you would be willing to do that. In spite of some of your initial frustrations you hold in your hands (literally) one of the nicest Tablet PCs on the planet. :)
    James Kendrick 12.08.2005 - 14:54
  4. James, I am fully aware about the fact, that you don't have localized aka German versions. I am not stupid.

    I never expected a German version, because usually, those localizations suck and you are better off using the english ones.

    But I expected at least to INSTALL it. It refused. Because it was a non english version of XP. *That* is just outraging and brings me up to 180 while even typing that.

    Whoever is responsible for that: Feel free to try to explain to me, why a person should not be able to INSTALL and USE such a software (2 in fact), the ones going around buzzing about how to experience the tablet.

    [The fact, that most english native speakers only can speak one language does not include the rest of the world. And of course I do need the X41 country pack to get my Umlauts on the keyboard.]

    Besides, the only reason they could come up with: It does not work with the German version or any other. Which is a no go answer anyhow: If it is not in it's core able to be localized, the investment in that development was the wrong start from the first line of code.

    Do we have stupid customers who complain about 'buhu but it is in english?' yes of course we do. But that problem is to be addressed differently than 'oh you cannot install'. Btw: I am having headaches (again) from anger about that.

    As for the talk - of course. I already mailed you before that I would love to talk with you about it. :) Let's set up a date. ;)
    Nicole 12.08.2005 - 16:05
  5. Some of the links and applications you are asking for are listed at http://www.segal.org/tablet/. You are right that it would be good to have a "Start Here" page with everything a new user would like to know.
    Mickey 12.08.2005 - 17:12
  6. Nicole: Buy a mac next time. ;-)
    American Copywriter 12.08.2005 - 17:13
  7. Macs are ugly machines for me. :))
    Nicole 12.08.2005 - 17:39
  8. Actually the Education Pack as well as the Experience Pack are just "marketing packs"; i.e. they don't provide much added value. And you can get most of the programs for free anyway. In one TabletPCBuzz forum there is a description on how to (illegally) install the software on not English TabletPCs.

    Why do they not install on non-English TabletPCs? See dustinhu's reply on http://www.tabletpcbuzz.com/forum/topic...
    "Hi all,

    I'm a group manager at Microsoft and my team put out the Experience Pack and Education Pack for Tablet PC. I wanted to provide a brief explanation on why we have to block non English installs. A powertoy by definition is a use at your own risk, non supported MS release which OEMs do not have redistribution rights to. Powertoys as you know typically will install on any language and often times on any OS.

    The packs my team releases are shipped as true products meaning they are supported by Microsoft and OEMs can license them for pre-installation and drop-in-box CDs. This differentiation means that we have restrictions that non supported powertoys do not. Installing an English UI on a non English sku is one of those restrictions, the apps have to be localized in our case. Trust that we haven't forgotten about our international users and we're looking at what would make the most sense in the various international markets that Tablet's are availabe in. I hope that explanation helps and that it goes at least a little ways in reducing the frustration.

    Bastian 12.08.2005 - 18:44
  9. Nicole,

    I managed to extract some parts of the experience pack onto a german os tablet pc. I described what I did on the forums of http://www.tabletpcbuzz.com. Search for a thread called "How to install the experience pack on non-english os machines" or something similar.

    There has been an online webcast from MS regarding tablet pc just some days after the release of the experience pack. I asked for the reasons why there is that unnecessary english os restriction. No german os version has been announced. Only the typically politically correct "thanks for your interest we are considering it bla bla bla"

    The reasons for the restriction given at that time was, that they have not tested it on non english os versions and that they wanted to protect the tablet pc users with non english os versions from possible damage. I'd better not comment on that lame excuse.

    Volker 12.08.2005 - 19:18
  10. Thanks for the links of installing it, but as it seems, I would be in breach of Eula. Let me put it that way: I was kind of cooled down this afternoon but *THAT* explanation of the manager is even worse than the information of 'not installable'

    Just the words for him: I DON'T CARE. You give the world this toy and tell me 'sorry, you just have used your not natural language and bought in Germany an English version of your tablet and everything would be working.'

    [I should turn on back the smileys here to put in the red one. The very red one. ]
    Nicole 12.08.2005 - 21:02
  11. Nicole:

    Looking forward to having a chat with you and James on The Tablet PC Show. In the meantime, here are some recommendations on software. Not all are free but they are my must have tools for the Tablet.

    1. MindManager (I know a German version is available - Mike Jetter, the founder is German). Insanely great ink app but it is expensive.

    2. EverNote (free) a very good alternative to OneNote (which you do not have to buy the Office Suite to get - it is a standalone product only).

    3. ActiveWords with the ActiveWords InkPad.

    4. PDF Annotator (from another gifted German developer BTW).

    I'd also recommend Tablet Enhancements for Outlook but it won't work with Office 2000 - only XP or 2003. It is the single most useful Tablet app I use as I live in Outlook all day every day.

    Hang in there and remember - you're a smart woman and you will overcome the stupidities you're running into. I think ultimately you're going to love the ThinkPad.
    Marc Orchant 12.08.2005 - 23:34
  12. Dear I think you are looking for some thing that is perfect and IMHO Tablets are a new thing in the market and it will take some time for the manufacturers to produce something that is near perfect(e.g. localization).

    Nothing will ever be perfect since our needs keep changing.

    But dont worry there are very nice people out there in the world and I am sure what you have experienced is some thing that some other people also went through and if you ask/look around on the internet you will find some solutions.

    Take care
    Fahad Fateh 13.08.2005 - 03:04
  13. Dear, that is very nice of you, but I am not looking for localization. I am looking for a software, distributed on the internet _for_ tablets to install on my machine. Which it does not, because mine has a German version of XP. That same machine at the same location, booted up with an English XP does install.

    It is not about localization, but about some stupid restrictions. Lucky for me, despite for what an Eula says, the rights of the law I am belonging to allow me to make that changes linked above.

    Marc, thanks for the links, ActiveWords is already on the list ;) and Evernote too. For mindmanager - I never was into that, not even on paper, so I somehow doubt that ;))
    Nicole 13.08.2005 - 03:36
  14. Nicole,
    You wrote: "Lucky for me, despite for what an Eula says, the rights of the law I am belonging to allow me to make that changes linked above."
    Could you explain a bit more what you mean? Which law allows us to ignore the Eula?
    Bastian 13.08.2005 - 16:20
  15. Bastian: As usual, I am not a lawyer and stuff. Then: German. The thing to look for is Interoperability. This is not a general dismiss of the Eula but certain Eula rules are overpowered by those laws. Be careful, because regarding some parts, an agreement holds more power.
    Nicole 14.08.2005 - 09:40

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I am Nicole Simon, 34 years old and located in Lübeck, Germany. This is my English blog with the Useful Sounds podcast which is now newly located at usefulsounds.com)

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