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Summary:

Joe, one our readers, just shot me this link to Paul Krugman’s recent New York Times musing. I recommend the full, brief read, but here’s a quote with the gist:“…today I longed for the ability to do serious writing while sitting on a rock by the […]

Fujitsustylisticst5100Joe, one our readers, just shot me this link to Paul Krugman’s recent New York Times musing. I recommend the full, brief read, but here’s a quote with the gist:“…today I longed for the ability to do serious writing while sitting on a rock by the side of the babbling brook.”I’m not sure if Paul has missed out on the Tablet PC market that’s been evolving for the past four years or so, but I think there are some definite solutions. Paul is enamored by electronic ink and its ability to be used in bright sunlight, but we’re not there yet. However, outdoor screens are available on a number of tablets: convertibles like the Dell Latitude XT and Fujitsu’s T2010 & T4220 models come to mind for starters. Paul plans to write on the device, so I’d certainly add a slate or two to the list: the Fujitsu ST5100-series might be worth a look.Sadly out of the 30-odd comments to Paul’s story, a scant few even mention Tablet PCs. I realize that Paul’s looking for an electronic-ink device to take notes, but another approach might be to define many needs and evaluate solutions rather than to try and define solutions for one need. I won’t claim to know all of Paul’s needs, but I’m comfortable saying that an outdoor-viewable Tablet PC or two should be added to a list of possible solutions for him. Thanks, Joe!

  1. John in Norway Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    If he’s going to be babbling by a brook he’ll need a waterproof one as well.

  2. Brian Hollar Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    I just recommended he try an AlphaSmart Neo. I just bought one and love it! It’s a keyboard with a small LCD display — basically just a text editor. It weighs about 2 pounds, is easy to read outside, and gets 700 hours of battery life on three AA batteries. It is wonderful for writing outside and is so simple, it’s brilliant.

    I also have a Lenovo X61 tablet PC, but for working outside, nothing beats my Neo. It can also be used as an external keyboard for my tablet and can beam anything I type on it over to my Treo. With my Neo/Treo mix, I can blog, take notes, write papers, and send lengthy e-mails from almost anywhere. It has no formatting options, so it’s basically just a text editor, but that simplicity is part of its charm — it focuses you on writing instead of other distractions.

    The Neo compliments both my tablet and smartphone in wonderful ways. It enhances my productivity and frees me from power outlets. It’s also the best thing I’ve found for writing outside. I’m in school right now (working on my PhD and law degree) and it is a wonderful device for taking notes as I read.

    You can read more of my thoughts on the Neo and see some photos of what it looks like on my blog:
    http://thinkingonthemargin.blogspot.com/search/label/alphasmart%20neo

    Highly recommended!

  3. Hmmm. As long as tablet screens look they way they do … I would not recommend them for outdoor use.
    I have a Lenovo x60t with the multiview/multitouch screen (supposedly great for outdoor use). I can use INDOORS great – even sitting close to a window with sunlight hitting the screen it is perfect to work with. I step outside and even in the shade it is hard to make out anything. Forget REAL work on a laptop outside for now.

  4. Meg Stewart Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    Thanks for posting this about my favorite op-ed writer. I don’t usually read the blogs of the NY Times, but I certainly read Krugman. Never knew he was a potential tablet PC user.
    http://gisatvassar.blogspot.com/2008/05/sitting-by-babbling-brook-and-jotting.html

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