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Make Your Vista Machine A Tablet PC

Intuos3

In my PDF Power Pack post, I mentioned PDF Annotator as being a great tool for marking-up and dealing with PDFs via a Tablet PC. In fact, one of the reasons I ended up buying a Toshiba Portege M400 Tablet PC was to mark-up and sign documents. Even more so, I find drawing things out to be much more natural than typing and attempting to sketch via mouse.

One problem is the relative lack of Tablet PC choices in relation to traditional laptops (not to mention desktops). Another problem is the additional cost involved to receive said functionality. Moreover, what about the days you do not want to drag a laptop around but want Tablet PC functionality? Well, with Windows Vista you can now turn ANY desktop or laptop into a Tablet PC. The answer? Wacom.

Up until now, Tablet PC functionality was only available via a special version of Windows XP. Not any more! With Windows Vista Home Premium, Business and Ultimate editions (see comparison chart), Tablet PC support is built in. Now you just need to tabletize it.

Screenshot_handwriting Fortunately Wacom has two relatively inexpensive lines of products (in various sizes): the Intuos3 and Graphire tablets. In fact, the Graphire can be had for under $100. I personally chose a widescreen format Intuos3 and love it. Once you have decided upon and purchased your tablet of choice, download and install the appropriate Wacom Vista driver, then plug the Tablet into a USB port. Your Vista machine is transformed into a Tablet PC. In fact, my desktop now has all of the features I have come to love about my M400. Truth be told, in some ways I find an external tablet to be more comfortable and easier to work with than drawing directly on the screen. Better still, there is no reason you cannot use it on multiple Vista machines (after installing the driver); making virtually any Vista machine you have access to a Tablet PC.

Nothing holds you back from transforming your desktop or laptop into a Tablet PC. Additionally, next time you are thinking of buying a new machine but want tablet functionality, you now have options outside of the Tablet PC laptop world which will not only offer more choice, but perhaps save you money.

Finally, a few great resources regarding the Tablet PC (and mobile devices in general) are: GottaBeMobile.com, Tablet PC Reviews, jkOnTheRun

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Benjamin Bach
techThoughts ::
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about all things technology.

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