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Summary:

Tablet PC owners who come from the world of PDAs often lament the ability to hit a button and reference the PIM data immediately. While Standby and Hibernation speed up the process of firing up the Tablet and getting to Outlook it is still far from […]

Tablet PC owners who come from the world of PDAs often lament the ability to hit a button and reference the PIM data immediately. While Standby and Hibernation speed up the process of firing up the Tablet and getting to Outlook it is still far from immediate. Wouldn’t it be great if you could hit a button and see your Outlook data in a second, even if your Tablet is powered off? If you are the owner of the HP tc1100 Tablet PC you can, and it’s a totally free solution.

I was traipsing around the HP support site as I do from time to time to make sure my drivers and software are up-to-date and I ran across a program called QuickLook (QL). I read about the program and discovered it is a program that lets you view your PIM data without turning on the tc1100. All you need is the program, a tc1100, and a SD memory card for QuickLook to store its browser and compressed Outlook data. Once I saw this program I knew it would be a big boon to me in my mobile lifestyle and according to the HP web site it is only available via download. I checked all the DVDs that came with my tc1100 and this program is not on there, so you have to know about it and download from the web site. This program was originally bundled on the tc1000 but HP decided to unbundle it for the tc1100.

QuickLook is a small program that is powered by a Phoenix Technologies engine and is activated when the computer is either powered off or in hibernation mode by pressing the QuickLook button. What’s the QuickLook button? The sunken button next to the power button that is used to change monitor layouts is also a QuickLook button when the power is off. When you press it the power LED turns red which means you are in QuickLook mode, if the program is installed and a properly initialized SD card is inserted.

QuickLook is installed as a plug-in for Outlook that will pull in Outlook data onto the SD card for use with QL. You can customize exactly what data you want available in QL through the button installed on the Outlook toolbar. QL is set by default to automatically pull Outlook data every time Outlook is started but you can change that to be manual sync only if you prefer. It only takes a few seconds for QL to pull the data and write it to the SD card. Once your data is in then the next time you are on the run and need to look up an address or phone number just hit the QL button and you get a landscape screen like the one below:

QL Today screen

From the Today screen you access the rest of functions like Calendar, Contacts and Tasks. Each blue entry on the screen is a link that will display the individual item in the yellow sidebar to the right. There are on-screen instructions for creating a personalized Today page in simple HTML.

QL Calendar

QL Contacts (intentionally blurry for privacy)

QL Tasks

Power button turns red when QL is running

I am getting a lot of use from QuickLook and really wish HP had bundled it or at least referred to the program with the included documentation. The program is no overhead since everything is on the SD card and is lightning fast and there is just something cool about looking at Outlook data with your computer off.

  1. Sounds great; I wish other OEMs would work on applications like these. Other than grabbing photos from my SD card, I don’t get much use out of the SD slot on my Toshiba Tablet.

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  2. Wow! Kudos to HP for this. It almost looks like a precursor to Vista’s Sideshow feature. :)

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  3. Fantastic application. I wish Toshiba had something like this!

    To Kevin Tofel: What is the Deal with the Toshiba SD? Mine stinks; I usually plug in a USB adapter to access my SD card.

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  4. Rodney Jackson Friday, December 30, 2005

    James, is the maximum sd card size permitted on the tc1100 1G? My 2G card can’t be read on the tc1100. Is there a new driver that allows >1G? Thanks, Rodney.

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  5. Rodney, the limit may very well be 1 GB. I’ve never tried one bigger in the HP, the one I’m using is 512MB which works fine. Search the HP site, they should admit that somewhere if true.

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  6. Somebody needs to make this work on the Sony U. I’d love to have it!

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  7. Another user on the tabletbuzz site noted that there is software from Phoenix that does the same thing, except the startup is grounded to the “F” key. That does not do any of us with slates any good, but I have sent an email to support asking if it were possible to let the user map the start up key. Keep your fingers crossed. The link to the software is http://www.phoenix.com.

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  8. Vidge and Frick: I tested the Phoenix First Assistant software and it worked fine on a laptop but it would never work on the Sony U, even with a keyboard attached. It is essentially the same program as this HP Quicklook program and it’s a shame all mobile PCs don’t ship with this enabled.

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  9. JK – I figured I’d download the Phoenix program and see if I can get it to work on my U anyway. Is there anything else like this out there? A program like this would be awesome.

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  10. Phoenix is the only program like this as far as I know. I really tried hard to get this to work on the U as it would be awesome on that device as you know. I worked with the Phoenix technical support staff but no go. It might be the small screen that was giving the trouble. Note that with the lack of a dedicated h/w button it must be invoked by the keyboard, and the included USB keyboard would not work, only a “real” keyboard would trigger it, after which it would error out. This on a U750.

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