Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the stuff-to-look-at dept.

Microsoft 517

WallsRSolid writes "Microsoft just finished a week-long series of lectures and demos at my university, and the product that really stole the show was the Tablet PC. I was in a room with probably 150 hardcore linux users, and it seemed to me that the demonstration just floored them (the entire lecture hall CHEERED a Microsoft product). I believe that Microsoft's own online hype literature is insufficient in describing just how powerful their Tablet concept is. A July preview, Acer's propaganda, a press release about their initial success, and a behind-the-scenes account (good article) of the enabling technology. Oh, and the input stylus is electromagnetic, not pressure-sensing, ANY document (not just MS) can be annotated, and the journal software is AMAZING in its power and flexibility."

cancel ×

517 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

destroy the system (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541237)

everything is breaking down.

Re:destroy the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541246)

Let it break down on its own, it's more fun to watch.

+1, Somewhat Good FP

Break It Down Again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541299)

Break it down again
So those are my dreams
And these are my eyes
Stand tall like a man
Head a strong like a horse
When it's all mixed up
Better break it down
In the world of secrets
In the world of sound
It's in the way you're always hiding from the light
See for yourself you have been sitting on a time bomb
No revolution maybe someone somewhere else
Could show you something new about you and your inner song
And all the love and all the love in the world
Won't stop the rain from falling
Waste seeping underground
I want to break it down
Break it down again
So these are my schemes
And these are my plans
Hot tips for the boys
Fresh news from the force
When it's all mixed up
Better break it down
In the world of silence
In the world of sound
" No sleep for dreaming" say the architects of life
Big bouncing babies, bread and butter can I have a slice
They make no mention of the beauty of decay
Blue, yellow, pink umbrella save it for a rainy day
And all the love and all the love in the world
Won't stop the rain from falling
Waste seeping underground
I want to break it down
Horsin' around
Pray to power
Play to the crowd with your big hit sound
And they won't simmer won't simmer, won't simmer down
Play to the crowd
Play to the crowd
Play yeah yeah
It's in the way you're always hiding from the light
Fast off to heaven just like Moses on a motorbike
No revolution maybe someone somewhere else
Could show you something new to help you
With the ups and downs
I want to break it down
Break it down again
Break it down again
No more sleepy dreaming
No more building up
It is time to dissolve
Break it down it again
No more sleepy dreaming

unbelievable (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541238)

Microsoft came out with something that Linux fans cheered for? Yeah right...

Credit Where it's Due (4, Insightful)

Gleng (537516) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541284)

I hate Microsoft not because of any moral high ground, but because of their shoddy products and suspect business practices.

If they fairly produce a product that is useful and works well -- standing on it's own merits, then I say good luck to them.

I must say though, I'll believe a good Microsoft product when I actually see it for myself. ;)

Re:unbelievable (4, Funny)

The J Kid (266953) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541406)

In other news:

Microsoft (MSIE) has just released a beta version of there upcoming Human Resource Management tool, called MS Brainwash 2003. It's said to give offices serious productivity spurs and makes office meetings a breeze. The product is expeced to release around sping 2003.

Actually a new business-model! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541248)

1: Write free software.
2: ?
3: Make proprietary software.
4: Profit!

Re:Actually a new business-model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541414)

shallow minded troll... the code is largely written.. gates rode the SW wave, now it flows back to HW.. really, the west needs to properly re-embarce HW and services based business models.. paying the microsoft tax is laughable and it wont hold water for much longer.. teachers, keep on teachin', and better check your pension allocations!

waiting with bated breath (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541249)

From what I've seen, this is simply amazing. I'm going to a preview of this tomorrow. My uptight boss was all for it once she saw what it was about. I've held off a laptop purchase for almost a year now waiting for this.

Re:waiting with bated breath (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541308)

Indeed.

However, ive been to quite a few microsoft "gatherings" such as this over the years, and I have no doubt that this will too go the way of Blackbird, because *they all do*.

Incredible innovation, amazing ideas, interpolability, interoperability, smooth heterogeniality, amazing functionality, breathtaking eyecandy spawning cheers and loose bladders in the audience/testbed...

But when its actually released, it will have very little to do with what anyone saw, and will of course be amputated, disabled, slowed down, and will only talk to other crappy microsoft products.

Thats what always happens. Best not to get too excited; thinking for a moment that microsoft will *ever* sell an innovative, useful object is sheer folly.

Re:waiting with bated breath (2)

Pengo (28814) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541371)

Must say, with the SQL Server 7.0 release... about the same thing happened. I still believe that SQL Server is ms's finest product, but I can't run it on my Favorite OS... and up until the days of FreeTDS interfaces, nothing could talk to it.. including java. (unless you used that rediculous ODBC bridge)...

Anyway, after only one installation, never really had the chance to play with it since.. Great DB, too bad it's caged to one OS.. I would choose it ANY day over oracle if it ran on linux.

sales or marketting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541338)

is you uptight boss in the sales or the marketting department? Because they aren't the same.

What is this tablet made out of? It is a gel-tablet, because they must have put that in the water at the presentation so described above.

Better rush out and buy it right away. . .
because if you don't have it then you can't keep up with the jones. Better buy it now.

Envy, Lust, Greed, sloth,

Better spend that whole budget right now or they won't give you another one next year.

Re:waiting with bated breath (1)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541357)

Yep, I hate M$ as much as any other /.er I use Linux as my only desktop OS but the tablet-pc and especially the combined tablet-pc/normal notebook ones have me drooling non-stop

I think most people are still faster at writing with a pen than a keyboard and even if that's not the case the possibility to add a few sketches or make annotations without the limitations of a keyboard-based app is a system-seller

Now if it'd only come with Linux optional =)

But is it open? (0, Redundant)

CoolQ (31072) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541250)

Yeah, it's a great idea. But is it typical Microshit? Have they actually published the necessary technical information for linux to be ported to it? Somehow I don't think so. --Quentin

Re:But is it open? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541260)

Why would they?

Re:But is it open? (2)

James Skarzinskas (518966) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541412)

I'm not trolling when I say "Why would they, and why should they?". It's their product, and they are free to disclose as much or as little of the technical information as they wish.

Re:But is it open? (1)

Ponty (15710) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541418)

Holy moly. Are you feeling dizzy?

First of all, Microsoft is a software company (note the glee of the Apple critics on this front), so they don't so much have to think about installing Linux. Maybe you should be bitching about Acer or someone.

And anyway, as a software company that's making this new software that seems to have people excited, why should they give a whit about publishing anything to do with another operating system?

Even more than that, I'm as big a MS basher as the next guy, but shit. I wouldn't expect them to publish anything of the sort and I'd reserve the harsh light of my scrutiny for when they screw up outside of normally accepted business practices (and you won't have to wait long.) To do otherwise makes you look like a zealot.

hmmm (5, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541251)

I do believe the earth just ripped open, pigs have wings, and it might just be me, but it's awful cold down here....

Wondering what's a Tablet PC? (5, Informative)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541252)

Tablet PCs are touch screens with handwriting recognition that run software just like a desktop personal computer. Early designs have been released and the first generation of models are expected to hit the market in late 2002. read and learn [dmoz.org] more.

Re:Wondering what's a Tablet PC? (3, Informative)

Ivan Raikov (521143) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541367)

[...] Early designs have been released and the first generation of models are expected to hit the market in late 2002.

Uh, no. The IBM ThinkPad 710 [ibm.com] was out in 1993, and it featured an electromagnetic stylus. Once again, no innovation whatsoever on part of Microsoft.

Re:Wondering what's a Tablet PC? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541405)

The whole innovation behind this has nothing to do with the electrostatic input device. MSoft is not in the business of sensors. Plenty of devices have had these kinds of input screens.

IBM just used it ala mouse-input. Microsoft is allowing people to use digital ink as a first class citizen in the computing world. It's a whole new way of looking at computing.

TabletPC is not some sort of handwriting recognition on steroids, it is a way of combining standard text with ink-based input, and allowing you to freely go between the two without effort.

FIRST POSSST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541255)

OMG! OMG! FP!

microsoft is teh sux!11

linux is teh sux!11

mac is teh sux!11

beos is teh sux!11

bsd is teh sux!11

Re:FIRST POSSST (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541278)

fuck you stupid lamer faggoott!!!
motherfucking pice of crap!!

Cheering for Microsoft? Nope... (4, Insightful)

KeatonMill (566621) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541256)

I doubt they cheered because it was Microsoft, but because it was a tablet PC. As the article says, people have been trying to make an effective tablet PC for years. Maybe Microsoft will *&@% it up, but at least now we know that it CAN be done, and maybe other companies will figure out how to do it as well. I hope

Re:Cheering for Microsoft? Nope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541288)

You pathetic slashbot. Why don't you take your immature rantings and *CRAM THEM* up your ass.

My problem with M$... (5, Interesting)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541258)

...is their desktop OS monopoly, not than their applications. If they've done something cool, power to 'em. It'll be amusing seeing somebody copying M$, rather than the other way around.

Re:My problem with M$... (0, Offtopic)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541373)

...is their desktop OS monopoly, not than their applications. If they've done something cool, power to 'em.

And that's exactly where the problems begin. It's just my personal opinion but most of the absolutely neat software features I see invariably come from Microsoft. It's not just that they are able to throw huge amounts of money into development (others do that too) it's that they almost always come up with definetely visionary stuff in consumer software (currently only topped by Apple). In contrast to KDE and Gnome, MS and Apple applications convey a look and feel that is fun to use.

So where is Desktop Linux, where is Tablet Linux? (Insert my usual usablility rant here) Even if it probably is only an OS for geeks, it's quite clear that geeks love neat stuff, too. Or otherwise there wouldn't be so many Linux-to-OSX converts and there wouldn't be so many Linux zealots here on ./ who quietly use Windows to be productive. Maybe it is because hardcore programmers only care about tech specs and standards compliance (which is of course important). But if we don't start to produce VERY NEAT applications and user interfaces we will all be living in DRM Town very soon!

umm (1)

claude_juan (582361) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541381)

kde, evolution, any office suite...

i'm sure theres more.

Re:My problem with M$... (2)

Ivan Raikov (521143) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541383)

It'll be amusing seeing somebody copying M$, rather than the other way around.

In this case, it's a little too late -- IBM ThinkPad 710T precedes this Microsoft product by about nine years.

Re:My problem with M$... (2, Informative)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541385)

i beleive the newton from mac did this like 10 years ago, but the procesors weren't fast enough to keep up with handwriting recognition.

so much for m$ innovation.

how long.. (4, Funny)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541259)

before:
1)People get one and install Linux onto it (eleven seconds)
2)Someone tries to make a beowulf cluster (fourteen minutes)
3)We see them on eBay (4 days)
4)That hinge thing on the Acer one gets broken (0.5345 seconds after the warranty expires)

Re:how long.. (5, Funny)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541323)

1)People get one and install Linux onto it (eleven seconds)


1a) The first one gets Slashdotted (11.00001 seconds)

Re:how long.. (2)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541431)

bwahahahaha... if I cod mod & post in the same topic, I'd mod that up. hehehe...

Re:how long.. (3, Funny)

Gleng (537516) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541345)

5) Windows XP hangs with a DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL blue screen (after 2 days; every 5 minutes)

6) Time spent reinstalling all your software and settings (8 hours)

7) goto 5

Re:how long.. (0, Troll)

Ivan Raikov (521143) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541398)

5) Windows XP hangs with a DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL blue screen (after 2 days; every 5 minutes)

6) Time spent reinstalling all your software and settings (8 hours)

6.5) Windows trolls post on Slashdot how Win XP works for them, because they've configured it properly, and if it doesn't work for you, surely you don't know what you're doing.

Re:how long.. (2)

image (13487) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541404)

> People get one and install Linux onto it (eleven seconds)

The interesting thing about this is that the tablet PC may be a more powerful tool running Windows XP than it would be running Linux. Much as we all like to talk about how MS doesn't innovate, their work on handwriting recognition may actually be years ahead of any open-source alternative.

Of course, if I had one I'd *still* install Linux on it. In a partition. Take notes and use the pen in XP, and write code via the keyboard under Linux. Then again, you can use xemacs under Windows, so sometimes even the reboot may be more trouble than it is worth. I'm willing to give proper credit to MS for bringing the next generation of portable technologies to the masses -- and it may even be worth the cost, in terms of absolutely absurd and offensive licensing practices.

So Close to first post... (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541263)

Yet so far... Anyway, I'm quite looking forward to the Tablet PC, it seems logically where the PC is meant to go.

Almost there (5, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541265)

Acer just needs to add more RAM and and DVD video into their tablet and this will be a laptop (and portable DVD player) killer product.

Damnit Bill! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541268)

We told you not to post here anymore!

timing (2, Interesting)

ayeco (301053) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541276)

Why is it that a tablet pc now gets cheers, as compared to a few years ago when all attempts for a tablet product fell on deaf ears (besides specialized applications)?

Since the PDA craze is still hot, I suppose a new piece of hardware with some new, nifty software features is enough to get this thing some thumbs up. I've always wondered why there weren't hinges on laptops like this one. It seems like a no brainer (touch screen or not - a mouse/stick/pad on the side of the screen would have worked too).

It all about timing. Flexibility is finally "in".

Tablet PCs Are Nothing New (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541279)

Hellooooo... These are nothing new. I've had a Stylistic 1200 [the-labs.com] for years now, with the battery stylus, I'd prefer touch instead. Been running WinXX variant on it as well as different Linux dists. Nothing new here. More powerful, sure. Bigger screen, yep. But "Microsoft's concept"? Please. Not to mention they're taking a generic term, "tablet PC" and trying to make it a branding of their own product. Ridiculous.

Re:Tablet PCs Are Nothing New (1)

dirkdidit (550955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541375)

Damn it now you had to go and mention something cool like that and I just have to have one. :-)

SonicBlue discontinued their pioneering tablet pc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541397)

Good review of virtues and downfalls with SonicBlue's ProGear [whiningdog.net] product.

Re:Tablet PCs Are Nothing New (2, Informative)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541421)

I've had a Stylistic 1200 [the-labs.com] for years now, with the battery stylus, I'd prefer touch instead. Been running WinXX variant on it as well as different Linux dists. Nothing new here. More powerful, sure. Bigger screen, yep. But "Microsoft's concept"? Please.

This is SOP for Microsoft, though. They always destroy someone else's innovative technology via the usual anticompetitive means (or just plain FUD), then release that same technology a few years later amid great fanfare as if it is a great new idea from Microsoft.

Re:Tablet PCs Are Nothing New (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541429)

Nothing new here?? Did you read the article? Try the MSR artcile. What's new here is the "ink text." It lets you store your article as in digital ink text and drawing. Plus you'll be able to edit & search your text later. Letters written in ink text are NOT stored as typed letters. Get it?

GNU? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541280)

GNU/Should GNU/we GNU/put GNU/GNU GNU/in GNU/front GNU/of GNU/everything?

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these... (0, Redundant)

SirCrashALot (614498) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541281)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these...
j/k, but I'm hoping that these will be more successful than PocketPC, and MS's other failed attempts at making a pocket operating system.

no wonder you posted to slashdot (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541283)

I believe that Microsoft's own online hype literature is insufficient in describing just how powerful their Tablet concept is.

"So I'll post it to slashdot, where the insufficient online literature is the only thing they'll have to go on, and therefore pooh-pooh the whole thing. Excellent! *evil grin*"

Important article below (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541294)

Is America Becoming Fascist?

by ANIS SHIVANI

Since mainstream left-liberal media do not seriously ask this question, the analysis of what has gone wrong and where we are heading has been mostly off-base. Investigation of the kinds of under-handed, criminal tactics fascist regimes undertake to legitimize their agenda and accelerate the rate of change in their favor is dismissed as indulging in "conspiracy theory." Liberals insist that this regime must be treated under the rules of "politics as usual." But this doesn't consider that one election has already been stolen, and that September's repeat of irregularities in Florida was a clear warning that more such thuggery is on the way. If the "f" word is uttered, liberals are quick to note certain obvious dissimilarities with previous variants of fascism and say that what is happening in America is not fascist. It took German justice minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin to make the comparison explicit (under present American rules of political discourse, she has been duly sacked from her cabinet post); but at the liberal New York Times or The Nation, American writers dare not speak the truth.

The blinkered assertion that we are immune to the virus ignores degrees of convergence and distinction based on the individual patient's history. The Times and other liberal voices have been obsessed over the last year with the rise of minority fascist parties in the Netherlands, France, and other European countries. They have questioned the tastefulness of new books and movies about Hitler, and again demonized such icons of Nazism as Leni Riefenstahl. Is this perhaps a displacement of American anxiety onto the safer European scene, liberal intellectuals here not wanting to confront the troubling truth? The pace of events in the last year has been almost as blindingly fast as it was after Hitler's Machtergreifung and the consolidation of fascist power in 1933. Speed stuns and silences.

Max Frankel, former editor of the Times, quotes from biographer Joachim Fest in his review of Speer: The Final Verdict: " . . .how easily, given appropriate conditions, people will allow themselves to be mobilized into violence, abandoning the humanitarian traditions they have built up over centuries to protect themselves from each other," and that a "primal being" such as Hitler "will always crop up again." Is Frankel really redirecting his anxiety about the primal being that has arisen in America? When Frankel says that "Speer far more than Hitler [because the former came from a culturally refined background] makes us realize how fragile these precautions are, and how the ground on which we all stand is always threatened," is this an oblique reference to the ground shifting from under us?

The proposed Iraqi adventure, which is only the first step in a more ambitious militarist agenda, has been opposed by the most conservative warmongers of past administrations. If the test of any theory is its predictive capacity, Bush's extreme risk-taking is better explained by the fascist model. Purely economic motives are a large part of the story, but there is a deeper derivation that exceeds such mundane rationales. Several of the apparent contradictions in Bush's governance make perfect sense if the fascist prism is applied, but not with the normal perspective.

To pose the question doesn't mean that this is a completed project; at any point, anything can happen to shift the course of history in a different direction. Yet after repeated and open corruption of the normal electoral process, several declarations of world war (including in three major addresses, and now the National Security Strategy document), adventurous and unprecedented military doctrines, suspension of much of the Bill of Rights, and clear signals that a declaration of emergency to crush remaining dissent is on the way, surely it is time to analyze the situation differently.

Absent that perspicacity, false diagnoses and prescriptions will continue. It is fine to be concerned about tyrannous Muslim regimes, and surely they need to set their own house in order, but not now, not in this context, and not under the auspices of the American fascist regime. Liberals don't yet realize, or fail to admit, that they may have been condemned to irrelevance for quite some time; the death blow against even mild welfare statism might already have been struck.

The similarities between American fascism and particularly the National Socialist precedent, both historical and theoretical, are remarkable. Fascism is home, it is here to stay, and it better be countered with all the intellectual resources at our disposal.

American fascism is tapping into the perennial complaint against liberalism: that it doesn't provide an authentic sense of belonging to the majority of people. And that is a criticism difficult to dismiss out of hand. As the language of liberalism has become flat and predictable, some Americans have become more ready to accept an alternative, no matter how ridiculous, as long as it sounds vigorous and muscular.

America today is seeking a return to some form of vitalism, some organic, volkisch order that will "unite" the blue and red states in an eternal Volkgemeinschaft; is in a state of perpetual war and militaristic aggression targeting all potential counters to hegemony; has been coercing and blackmailing its own victims and oppressed (justified by anti-political correctness rhetoric) to return to a mythical national consensus; has introduced surveillance technology to demolish the private sphere to an extent unimaginable in the recent past; and fetishizes technology as the futuristic solution to age-old ills of alienation and mistrust.

And we are right in the mainstream of the Western philosophical and political tradition in this subtle (overnight?) transformation. Liberal democracy was replaced by Mussolini by these two Holy Trinities: Believe, Obey, Fight, and Order, Authority, Justice. These slogans seem to replace every liberal system sooner or later. Italian propagandistic slogans included: War is to man as childbirth is to woman, and Better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep. Sooner or later, the mob is persuaded that fascism best addresses its unfulfilled spiritual and psychological needs. Sooner or later there is a Hitler, and even if there isn't a leader as charismatic as him, there is an anti-modernity counter-revolution.

The enlightenment everywhere has contained the seeds of its own destruction. Fascism merely borrows from the enlightenment's credo that violence may sometimes be necessary to achieve valid political ends, and that human reason alone can lead humanity to utopia. Is Nazism an absolute aberration? Is America totally immune to fascism? Then we might as well discredit Rousseau's "general will," Hegel's historical spirit, Goethe and Schelling's romanticization of nature and genius, Darwin's natural selection, and Nietzsche's superman. When all is said and done, a Kant or Mill is never a match for a Nietzsche or Sorel. Industrial malaise (now post-industrial disorder), evaded by the dead-ends and delusions of liberalism, leads only to a romantic revolution, which is fine as long as it is in the hands of Byron, Keats, Carlyle, Ruskin and Arnold, but becomes eventually converted to a propaganda-saturated Third Way. Since liberalism doesn't take up the challenge, fascism steps in to say that it offers an answer to centrifugal difference and lack of common purpose, and that it will dare to link industrial prosperity with communal goals.

How great a deviation from the roots of the enlightenment, the foundations of its self-justification, is the Manichean demonization of enemies, aliens, impure races, and barbaric others? America today wants to be communal and virile; it seeks to overcome what is presented by propagandists as the unreasonable demands for affirmative action and reparations by minorities and women; it wants to revalorize nation and region and race to take control of the future; it seeks to remold the nation through propaganda and charismatic leadership, into overcoming the social divisiveness of capitalism and democracy.

We have our own nationalist myths that our brand of fascism taps right into. In that sense, America is not exceptional. In the near future, America can be expected to embark on a more radical search to define who is not part of the natural order: exclusion, deportation, and eventually extermination, might again become the order of things. Of course, we can notice obvious differences from the German nationalist tradition: but that is precisely the task of scholars to delineate, rather than pretend that fascism occurred only in Italy and Germany and satellite states in the first half of the century, and occurs today only in Europe in minor movements that have no chance of gaining political supremacy.

It is wrong to pretend that fascism takes hold only in the midst of extreme economic depression or political chaos. (A perception of crisis or instability is indispensable to realizing fascism, however.) Fascism can emerge when things are not all that bad economically, politically, and culturally. The surprise about Weimar Germany is how well the political system was at times working, with proportional representation (almost an ideal of strong democracy theorists) providing political expression for a full range of ideologies. Germany was economically strong, an industrial powerhouse, despite having had to overcome massive disabilities imposed by the Versailles Treaty. In the early thirties, Hitler's rise was facilitated by massive unemployment (perhaps forty percent of Germans were unemployed), but this was a phenomenon throughout the Western world.

The key point to note is that at many junctures along the way, it was possible that Hitler's rise might never have happened. And that the elites accepted Hitler as the best possible option. All this makes Hitler and Nazism unexceptional. The basic paradigm remains more or less intact: we only have to account for variations in the American model. Capitalism today is different, so are the postmodern means of propaganda, and so are the technological tools of suppression. Besides, American foundational myths vary from European ones, and the romanticism propounded by Goethe, Schelling, Wagner and Nietzsche contrasts with a different kind of holistic urge in America. But that is only a matter of variation, not direct opposition. Liberals who say that demographics work against a Republican majority in the early twenty-first century do have a point; but fascism can occur precisely at that moment of truth, when the course of political history can definitely tend to one direction or another. A mere push can set things on a whole different course, regardless of underlying cultural or demographic trends. Nazism never had the support of the majority of Germans; at best about a third fully supported it. About a third of Americans today are certifiably fascist; another twenty percent or so can be swayed around with smart propaganda to particular causes. So the existence of liberal institutions is not necessarily inconsistent with fascism's political dominance.

With all of Germany's cultural strength, brutality won out; the same analysis can apply to America. Hitler never won clear majorities; yet once he was in power, he crushed all dissent. Consider the parallels to the fateful election of 2000. Hitler's ascent to power was facilitated by the political elites; again, note the similarities to the last two years. Hitler took advantage of the Reichstag fire to totally change the shape of German institutions and culture; think of 9/11 as a close parallel. Hitler was careful to give the impression of always operating under legal cover, even for the most massive offenses against humanity; note again the similarity of a pseudo-legal shield for the actions of the American fascists. One can go on and on in this vein.

If we look at Stanley Payne's classical general theory of fascism, we are struck by the increasing similarities with the American model:

A. The Fascist Negations

* Anti-liberalism
* Anti-communism
* Anti-conservatism (though with the understanding that fascist groups . . .[are] more willing to undertake temporary alliances with groups from any other sector, most commonly the right).

B. Ideology and Goals

* Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state.
* Organization of some new kind of regulated, multi-class, integrated national economic structure.
* The goal of empire.
* Specific espousal of an idealist, voluntarist creed.
* C. Style and Organization
* Emphasis on aesthetic structure . . .stressing romantic and mystical aspects.
* Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political relationships and style and the goal of a mass party militia.
* Positive evaluation and use of . . .violence.
* Extreme stress on the masculine principle.
* Exaltation of youth.
* Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command.

American fascism denies affiliation with liberalism, communism, and conservatism. The first two denials are obvious; the third requires a little analysis, but fascism is not conservatism and it takes issue with conservatism's anti-revolutionary stance. Conservatism's libertarian strand, an American staple (think of the recent protestations of Dick Armey, the departing Bob Barr, and the Cato Institute against some of the grossest violations of civil liberties), would not agree with fascism's "nationalist authoritarian state." Reaganite anti-government rhetoric might well have been a precursor to fascism, but Hayekian free market and deregulationist ideology cannot be labeled fascism.

Continuing to look at Payne's list, we note that the goal of "empire," that much proscribed word in official American vocabulary, has found open acceptance over the last year among the fascist vanguard. Voluntarism has been elevated to iconic status in the current American manifestation of fascism. It takes a bit more effort to notice American fascism's "emphasis on aesthetic structure. . .stressing romantic and mystical aspects," but reflection suggests many innovative stylistic emphases. The mass party militia, especially large bands of organized, militarized youth, seems to be missing for now. Violence is glorified for its own sake. The masculine principle has been elevated as the basis of policy-making. Command is authoritarian, charismatic, and personal. It is true that a charismatic leader like Hitler is missing from the scene; but one would have to ask if this is not a redundancy in the American historical context. Perhaps we are a society mobilized by very small degrees of charisma, unlike more informed, impassioned, ideologically committed electorates.

Roger Griffin holds that fascism consists of a series of myths: fascism is anti-liberal, anti-conservative, anti-rational, charismatic, socialist, totalitarian, racist and eclectic. If one wishes to argue that American fascism is by no means socialist, one ought to take a deeper look at National Socialism's conception of socialism. In a sense, America is a socialist society, to the extent that the government is the main driving force behind technology, innovation, and science: the military-industrial-academic complex. National Socialism was comforting to the right-wing capitalists because they believed that socialism was a convenient fiction for the ideology. Nevertheless, fascism's vitalism and holism militate against any facile interpretations of what socialism means. Fascism is eclectic and ready to abandon economic principle for what it perceives as the greater good of the nation. As Sternhell has described it for Germany, fascism in the American synthesis is a cultural rebellion, a revolutionary ideology; totalitarianism is of its very essence. There are more similarities than immediately apparent between Marxism as it was put into practice by the twentieth century communist states, and "socialist" ideology put into practice by the various fascist states.

Ian Kershaw has evaluated the similarities between Italian and German fascism:

* Extreme chauvinistic nationalism with pronounced imperialistic expansionist tendencies;
* an anti-socialist, anti-Marxist thrust aimed at the destruction of working class organizations and their Marxist political philosophy;
* the basis in a mass party drawing from all sectors of society, though with pronounced support in the middle class and proving attractive to the peasantry and to various uprooted or highly unstable sectors of the population;
* fixation on a charismatic, plebiscitary, legitimized leader;
. extreme intolerance towards all oppositional and presumed oppositional groups, expressed through vicious terror, open violence and ruthless repression;
. glorification of militarism and war, heightened by the backlash to the comprehensive socio-political crisis in Europe arising from the First World War;
. dependence upon an "alliance" with existing elites, industrial, agrarian, military and bureaucratic, for their political breakthrough;
. and, at least an initial function, despite a populist-revolutionary anti-establishment rhetoric, in the stabilization or restoration of social order and capitalist structures.

Viewed in this perspective, in only the last few months America has advanced tremendously from emerging to realized fascism. Its imperialist and expansionist tendencies need to be couched less and less in Wilsonian idealist terms for mass acceptance. Unions can still be considered an oppositional, populist force, but working class cohesion has nearly been destroyed. Still, it needs to be said that instead of fascism appealing across class and geographical lines, the country remains divided between the liberal (urban, coastal) and proto-fascist (rural, Southern) factions. Also, the plebiscitary leader has not yet fully emerged. Oppositional groups are often self-silencing, but the most of the ruling establishment continues to practice a mild form of liberalism, and hopes that if things get too out of hand it can mobilize public opinion against brutal suppression. Although not all elites have yet been co-opted, think of Dershowitz's advocacy of torture and Larry Summers's patriotic swing. There is general agreement on militaristic aims. The attempted stabilization of the social order in the form of the culture wars fought in the previous decade is one of the less appreciated manifestations of emerging fascism.

George Mosse describes fascism as viewing itself in a permanent state of war, to mobilize masculine virile energy, enlisting the masses as "foot soldiers of a civic religion." As Mosse points out, fascism seeks a higher form of democracy even as it rejects the customary forms of representative government. Propaganda is pervasive in America; we only need to delineate its descent from the Nazi form. Mosse rejects the notion that fascism ruled through terror; "it was built upon a popular consensus." Fascism is a higher consensus seeking to bring about the "new man" rooted in Christian doctrine. Can there be a better description of the nineties American culture wars instigated by the proto-fascists than the following?:

When fascists spoke of culture, they meant a proper attitude toward life: encompassing the ability to accept a faith, the work ethic, and discipline, but also receptivity to art and the appreciation of the native landscape. The true community was symbolized by factors opposed to materialism, by art and literature, the symbols of the past and the stereotypes of the present. The National Socialist emphasis upon myth, symbol, literature and art is indeed common to all fascism.

Most of this is obvious, except the reference to literature and art; but think of the fetishization of the Great Books and the mythical classical curriculum by Bennett and his like. In thus viewing fascism above all as a cultural movement, the objection might be raised that American fascism lacks a distinctive stylistic expression that iconizes youth and war. Instead, it might be argued that it suffers from callow endorsement by dour old white males, whose cultural appeal is limited in the discredited stylistic forms they employ. To some extent this is true, but one must never underestimate the fertile ground American anti-intellectualism provides for more banal forms of propaganda and cultural terrorism than needed to be deployed by Nazism. (Eminem does electrocute Cheney in his video, but in real life Cheney rules.) American communication technology, as was true of Nazi Germany, has pioneered whole new methods of trivialization of "mass death" and elevation of brutality as a "great experience."

War is both necessary and great, and that is America's continuation of the fascist fascination with revitalization of "basic moral values." Furthermore, the puritanism of American fascism does not necessarily conflict with the Nazi emphasis on style and beauty: Nazism annexed "the pillars of respectability: hard work, self-discipline, and good manners," which explains "the puritanism of National Socialism, its emphasis upon chastity, the family, good manners, and the banishment of women from public life." The analogs to Karl May's widely circulated novels in Weimar and Nazi Germany can probably be found here, as can America's answer to Max Nordau, rebelling against decadence in art and literature, and maintaining that "lack of clarity, inability to uphold moral standards, and absence of self-discipline all sprang from the degeneration of their [artists'] physical organism." Think only of the demonization of Mapplethorpe and others, the emasculation of the NEA, and the continued attack on alleged artistic degeneracy. We must be willing to consider expanded definitions of how romanticism has been incorporated by American fascism.

Liberals might complain that in America there hasn't been a declared revolution, a transformation that asserts itself as such. But as noted above fascism simply takes over the liberals' language of "clarity, decency, and natural laws," as well as its ideals of "tolerance and freedom." That sounds like the sleight-of-hand performed by the fascists here. As Mosse says:

Tolerance. . .was claimed by fascists in antithesis to their supposedly intolerant enemies, while freedom was placed within the community. To be tolerant meant not tolerating those who opposed fascism: individual liberty was possible only within the collectivity. Here once more, concepts that had become part and parcel of established patterns of thought were not rejected (as so many historians have claimed) but instead co-opted - fascism would bring about ideals with which people were comfortable, but only on its own terms.

So to be liberal means to be intolerant, out of sync with the American democratic spirit. That suggestion has taken hold among large numbers of people.

The current American aesthetic appreciation of technology ("smart" bombs) is also of a piece with Hitler's passion. Fascism is not a deviance from popular cultural trends, but only the taming of activism within revived nationalist myths. Mosse holds that fascism didn't diverge from mainstream European culture; it absorbed most of what held great mass appeal. It never decried workers' tastelessness; it accepted these realities. The same principles apply to American fascism.

Umberto Eco, in his essay "Ur-Fascism," identifies fourteen characteristics of "eternal fascism": not all of them have to be present at the same time for a system to be considered fascist, and some of them may even be contradictory: "There was only one Nazism, and we cannot describe the ultra-Catholic Falangism of Franco as Nazism, given that Nazism is fundamentally pagan, polytheistic, and anti-Christian, otherwise it is not Nazism." Eco is intelligent enough to suggest a family of resemblance, overlap, and kinship, and the analyst's task is to note which particular characteristics apply to a system, and understand the reasons for the absence of others, rather than dismiss the fascist categorization if a single feature from a previous fascist variant doesn't apply: "Remove the imperialist dimension from Fascism, and you get Franco or Salazar; remove the colonialist dimension, and you get Balkan Fascism. Add to Italian Fascism a dash of radical anti-Capitalism (which never appealed to Mussolini), and you get Ezra Pound. Add the cult of Celtic mythology and the mysticism of the Grail (completely extraneous to official Fascism), and you get one of the most respected gurus of Fascism, Julius Evola."
It is noteworthy about Eco's matrix that all fourteen of his characteristics of ur-fascism apply to America to some degree: 1. "the cult of tradition" (which may be "syncretic" and able to "tolerate contradictions"); 2. "the rejection of modernism" and "irrationalism"; 3. "the cult of action for action's sake"; 4. "dissent is betrayal"; 5. "fear of difference," or racism; 6. "the appeal to the frustrated middle classes" [this seems to cause the most trouble to American liberals; Eco clarifies, "In our day, in which the old 'proletarians' are becoming petits bourgeois (and the lumpen proletariat has excluded itself from the political arena), Fascism will find its audience in this new majority.]; 7. "obsession with conspiracies," along with xenophobia and nationalism; 8. "the enemy is at once too strong and too weak" [note the simultaneous characterization of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and no doubt future Islamic "terrorists" as capable of irrevocably harming us and being impotent to really do so]; 9. 'Pacifism is. . .collusion with the enemy," "life is a permanent war," and only a "final solution" can herald an age of peace; 10. "scorn for the weak" imposed by a mass elite; 11. "the cult of death" [American fascists ascribe this characteristic to terrorists, when in fact it is one of their own supreme defining characteristics]; 12. transferring of the "will to power onto sexual questions," or "machismo"; 13. "individuals have no rights," and fascism "has to oppose 'rotten' parliamentary governments"; and 14. "Ur-Fascism uses newspeak."

No doubt, fascism is a descriptor too carelessly thrown around; but Nixon and Reagan, no matter how reprehensible their politics, were not quite fascist. Bush is the most dangerous man in contemporary history: Hitler didn't have access to weapons that could blow up the world, and no American or other leader since World War II with access to such weapons has been as out of control. Perhaps a non-controversial statement may be that the fascist tendency always exists, at the very least latent and dormant. But when more and more of the latency becomes actualized, there comes a point when the nature of the problem has to be redefined. We may already have crossed that point. As Eco notes, "Ur-Fascism can still return in the most innocent of guises. Our duty is to unmask it and to point the finger at each of its new forms every day, in every part of the world." And as Eco reminds us, Roosevelt issued a similar warning.

Since liberals don't understand the magnitude of the crisis global capitalism faces, they don't understand the extent of the desperate, last-ditch effort to find an ideological glue ("terror") to hold together the centrifugal forces in the American population. Part of the confusion is that this is fascism but not really fascism it is only its simulation, although no less horrifying for that reason because all the twentieth-century ideologies (liberalism, conservatism, and socialism) are rapidly dissolving.

Old News (5, Funny)

llamaluvr (575102) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541295)

Tablet PC?! Electromagnetic input pen?! I'm pretty sure Fisher-Price [fisher-price.com] made the same thing like 25 years ago!

Re:Old News (5, Funny)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541358)

That would be awesome to take into a big business meeting. Everyone's all serious and taking little notes and getting phone numbers, and you're drawing pictures of airplanes. "BRRROOOM!"

Re:Old News (2)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541422)

That system is really insecure.

One slide of the button deletes your whole work!

hahahah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541303)

Windows 98 used to crash a lot!

HAW HAW HAW!

WiNd0wZ iS TEH SUXX0RZ!

Me COOL and FUNNY SLASHDOT DOOD!

Re:hahahah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541417)

LOL WINDOWS XP IS LIEK FISHER PRICE LINUX 4EVER! HACK TEH PLANNET! it's vary importnat you sea, to make micro$shaft products illegeal becuz they are a monnopoly who braeks free copmetition.

What's wrong with a keyboard? (5, Insightful)

sitturat (550687) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541304)

I don't know why people think a keyboard is such a bad thing. I can type much better than I can write, and I expect that goes for most PC users under the age of 50.

My laptop gives me amazing mobility. I can even use it without having a desk by putting it on my lap (hence the name LAPtop).

I just don't understand what is so revolutionary about the Tablet PC. Can someone please enlighten me?

Re:What's wrong with a keyboard? (1)

ayeco (301053) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541334)

the acer does have a keyboard.

Re:What's wrong with a keyboard? (1, Troll)

dsfox (2694) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541368)

You could start by reading the articles. Especially the one on the MSR site.

Re:What's wrong with a keyboard? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541395)

Nothing's wrong with a keyboard. That's why it has one. But having worked in places where people can't type as well as they can write (and I assure you I wouldn't go with "most" for describing the alternate), I can see why people would like this. Some people write much better than they type. Some people want to just speak and have their words appear. I don't want to be a fanboy of a product that's not shipping yet, but it seems to me that those options would be the most appealing part to this, especially if they work out of the box.

damn, looks hot! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541307)

that chick in the acer product page looks hot-ssssssssssssss

Re:damn, looks hot! (5, Funny)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541348)

Definitely, I'd hit it. And the Acer page doesn't have a disclaimer that says "Hot girl in chair does not come with Tablet PC," so hey, y'know, you might be lucky.

Chinese Characters (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541314)

the article states: "Handwriting recognition in the Tablet PC will be a boon for Asian consumers. Chinese and Japanese are pictorial languages with thousands of characters - it is a Herculean task to input these characters into an electronic document."

A herculean task to input these characters into an electronic document? Hardly. In fact I think it's quite the contrary. I've had experience with many Japanese who actually find it easier to type out their language phonetically and have the computer list potential chinese character matches than writing by hand. This saves them from having to recall stroke orders for obscure characters, and is actually faster. Typing two 10 stroke characters phonetically may take four or six key strokes, which is much quicker than 20 hand written strokes.

But then the article then goes on to point out that they have algorithms for two to four stroke characters. This makes me think they are only looking to allow input via Hiragana or Katakana - the phonetic based Japanese character sets. Maybe they understand that the task of recognizing characters with upwards of 15 strokes is overkill and maybe simply beyond reach right now.

Re:Chinese Characters (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541333)

Guess what genius, China and Korea don't have those phonetic characters...Those where only introduced in japan after the war.

And if everyone in china is just gonna start entering pinyin to make characters you might as well pull a vietnam and just all out romanize your language...

I smell a rat. (3, Flamebait)

surfacearea (219926) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541316)

I was in a room with probably 150 hardcore linux users, and it seemed to me that the demonstration just floored them (the entire lecture hall CHEERED a Microsoft product). I believe that Microsoft's own online hype literature is insufficient in describing just how powerful their Tablet concept is. ...

Oh, and the input stylus is electromagnetic, not pressure-sensing, ANY document (not just MS) can be annotated, and the journal software is AMAZING in its power and flexibility.

You can't call Microsoft's stuff hype, and then make a post like this. This is hype. I don't think I need to say anything more.

I think maybe you do need to say something more (2)

dsfox (2694) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541409)

Like, what your definition of hype is, and why each qualifies.

Tablet/'Simputer' (1)

Omkar (618823) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541321)

Wow, the tablet PC actually looks cool. I thought it was just some more hype, but the underlying concept looks good.
On a related note, couldn't this be the perfect direction for the Simputer? It looks easy to use and powerful enough for most needs, and certainly better than a pda. All that needs to be taken care of is the cost.

gosh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541325)

wow, have I been wrong about Micro suck all along?

golly, you college students really have me impressed.

I haven't been so excited since I got an 80 milligram oxy and chewed it right before I passed out dead.

Microsuck is so awesome, I can't wait until they steal my next product idea

Moses could have used these (-1)

SargeZT (609463) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541327)

The ten commandments may have turned out better.

Killer App? (1)

Espen (96293) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541328)

I remember interviewing for a start-up 10 years ago which wanted to make 'revolutionary' use of the pen-based (windows) tablet PCs making it on to the market at the time. Both the products and the company sank without a trace. Considering where we are at the moment, the obvious question is, what makes it any different today? The technology doesn't appear to be fundamentally different, so has somebody come up with a killer app, or is this just a fashion revival?

Re:Killer App? (1)

Helter (593482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541393)

10 Years ago a Tablet PC would either be the size of todays Lunchbox PCs, the power of a Texas Instruments calculator, or absurdly expensive.
The technology just wasn't there to support a useful tablet PC back then. Not to mention computers hadn't become to ubiquitous and essential in our daily lives.
Being the first into a market doesn't do you any good if the market hasn't developed yet.

What next XP for goldfish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541330)

he heh

WTF? (5, Interesting)

Quixote (154172) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541335)

This writeup sounds familiar [bayarea.com] .

I've yet to see a house full of Linux "hardcore" geeks even warm up to a Microshaft presentation. And I've lived in the "geek world" for many many years.

Just so you know: I have seen the Tablet PC; and most of the people (techies) who were with me were thoroughly unimpressed. I don't know what "Linux crowd" you hang out with, but check their foreheads for butterflies....

Re:WTF? (1)

wabbit42 (603645) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541349)

I think the game's up Mr Microsoft.

No one believs you.

Just like the amazing Mac to XP convert the other week... Is Microsoft using SlashDot for advertising?

Don't be too sure (3, Interesting)

dsfox (2694) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541390)

Microsoft Research went on an incredible hiring spree in the mid 90s, Picking up a majority of the top researchers in some fields. I'm surprised more killer products haven't come out of there since, apart from the difficulty of bringing products from reasearch to production I always observered at Bell Labs.

interview (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541336)

I have an interview with Microsoft in Redmond in 3 weeks (after passing their first round interviews that were held on campus). Anyone else gone up there for that? How was it?

Re:interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541355)

Unless your plan is to get hired and bring them down from the inside, you are dead to us.

looks like a laptop (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541337)

From those pictures, all it looks like is a laptop with the screen on the other side.. wow, blow my mind, how DID they think that up? p.s. very few companies have mastered hand writing recognition. hand writing is even more dificult to desipher then speech, and i think we've all played arround with speech recognition and found it to be very flawed.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541347)

Let me be the one to say: WHO CARES?
I don't see how a Tablet PC could possibly be more
useful than a laptop. So what if it's touch screen
and you could write with a pen-like tool? For
some people, using a keyboard is better than hand-writing the same thing. The Tablet PC looks just like another way for microsoft trying to gain
total control over a market.

Re:So what? (2)

WetCat (558132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541426)

I want it. I just want something that
1) doesn't fold like laptop
2) has palm graffiti AND handwrite recognition
3) be 2 times larger than a palm pilot
4) has at least an equivalent of 200Mhz Pentium,
energy-independent storage and >=32 Mb memory
hmm... may be Simputer?!
and surely I want Linux on that thingie (or at least to have an ability to put Linux on it).

I don't get it (5, Insightful)

Sleestack (94766) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541353)

Exactly how are these features beneficial?

I learned typing so that I didn't need to use such a painfully slow method as handwriting anymore. Why is everyone so delighted that your WPM is going down?

As far as speaking, I don't know about the rest of you, but voice processing is useless for me practically everywhere I use a computer: On the train, in meetings, and at my desk. Everytime I've heard someone use a Dragon speech product I almost immediately hear someone else asking them to turn it off because it's annoying.

Microsoft's mission (4, Insightful)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541359)

... seems to be to desperately try to put a x86 in place of every electronic device.

Just look at XBox: Big, loud, fragile, power-consuming, sold at 150$ loss - and still behind Gamecube and Playstation.

Now the same with Tablet-PC: Isn't it just an oversized PDA? The way I see it, it combines the disadvantages from PDA and Laptop: It's too heavy and big to casually carry it around in a pocket, battery lifetime is measured in hours like with a Laptop. - But it lacks a keyboard, many interfaces and connectors.

Why should anybody choose it over a Laptop? or a PDA?

Re:Microsoft's mission (1, Offtopic)

SomeOtherGuy (179082) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541392)

I know this is OT -- but your description of the Xbox was about the best I have heard yet. If you visit the demo centers usually the PS2's and Gamecubes are running strong, and then you have the Xbox's sitting their with the "blank screen of death". The fact that they die on demo in so many places is one feature that has reminded me not to pick one up.

/. effect in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541363)

The video download on the acer site is downloading @ 12kb/s, instead of a usual 60kb/s for a 512k/bit pipe

Recollections from '98 story (1)

rakeswell (538134) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541364)

I recall reading about this in the NY Times in '98 or '99 (in newsprint). From what I can recall from he story, the tablet pc idea was one that has been attempted and aborted by many big hardware players for a long time, and the view taken by the story was that MS's success was a long-shot, tempered, however, by the fact that the product was seen has a very high priority within the company.

The thing that stood out in my mind, however, was that the story indicated that the general wisdom of the time was that consumers could care less about a "tablet" PC, but it was being persued because technologists thought it was a cool thing to do.

Personally, I think it sounds cool, but I'd rather use a laptop: I hate using styli for anything other than 'point-and-click'.

Handwriting on a Screen (5, Interesting)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541365)

I've used a palm for a long time, but I've realized one thing - writing on a piece of plastic is nothing compared to writing on a good sheet of paper. For example, my signature is consistent on paper. With the electronic signature things more stores are getting, I have a problem with my signature because the tablet doesn't feel the same way as paper. It seems like too little friction or something, but it doesn't doesn't feel right. So until I can write on real electronic paper that feels like paper, I don't think I want to spend another $500 on a tablet pc that I'll end up being annoyed with.

Text recognition (4, Funny)

hopbine (618442) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541369)

If the handwriting recognition software is as good as they say it is, give one to every doctor - that way we will all understand the damn prescriptions.

write where i want it? (5, Funny)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541370)

Swap the stock photo girl out with Heidi Wall chicken-scratching GIMP under X windows, and I'll buy one. Tell me I can bash alias a frowny face to /dev/null and I'll buy two. Tell me someone's working on a GUI iptables interface where I can flick digital bugs with my index finger, and I'll swap out my router. And if I can get it with an at&t natural voice Majel Barrett module, I'll wet my pants and run around in little circles. Now to resurrect a cliche- will it run linux? oops, I mean, how long til it runs linux?

crush it and snort it and it works better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541377)

I have heard, but I have never done this, that if you crush the tablet and then snort it that it works better.

But you might end up dead.

off-topic, m$ security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541380)

thats funny...

http://www.microsoft.com/germany/ms/officexp/sic he rheit/index.htm

You know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541396)

Hitler produced some fine technology during his reign as well. Bill Gates in all fairness is nothing like Hitler(I actually respect him on his non-business side), but his companies business tactics must be considered at all times when discussing anything they produce. These are the same people who called Linux a cancer, pressured the government to outlaw the GPL, and are out to destroy us at all costs. Oh yea, they also happen to want to bankrupt every other technology company in the world.

Just like Exxon, there is nothing that Microsoft can produce that isn't tainted by their business practices. If you think this isn't a war with MS then your flat out asleep at the wheel.

That's why I object to the headline. It's not that it's not possible to MS to produce something that works well, it's just that its not possible for MS to produce something that doesn't support their "bad for the rest of us" monopolistic agenda.

I've been to that presentation (5, Informative)

NotoriousQ (457789) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541402)

and saw the tablet pc. Not all of those 150 people were rabid linux users. In fact I am quite certain there were not even 50. But you obviously misundertood what impressed the people. Noone cared that you could copy and paste ink. That is trivial. Annotations are passed through the bitmaps, as the guy specifically mentioned. Yawn. What impressed me and a ton of other people in the room was the kick ass handwriting recognition. I have not seen one that worked that well yet. For those of you who have not seen it, the recognizer is not line based, so it can form chunks of recognizable text at any position and angle. Nothing too mind boggling, but definitely a technical feat.

WallsRSolid? (0, Troll)

mrfantasy (63690) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541413)

Hmmm, maybe they need WINDOWS? Hello?


Damn astroturfing.

What is its goal? (0)

SirCrashALot (614498) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541416)

I haven't read the exact specs yet, but is the designed to be an all purpose computer, i.e. replaces laptop, pda, paper+pen, or is it a niche device. The article said that MS's design idea was to make it easy and natural to use so that anyone can use it. How does this factor with handwriting recognition. Who writes in book? Graffiti takes a long time to learn, and I still make mistakes with it.
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition also enables users to interact with their PC in more natural ways by writing directly on the screen using a digital pen, in addition to using a traditional keyboard and mouse.
I think the idea is really good, but I don't think everyone should throw out their laptops just yet.

Re:What is its goal? (1)

davisshaver (583015) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541433)

I hope they use something like Newton's hand recqonition. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but i think thats the best one out there at this time.

In-freaking-credible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4541420)

At Carnegie Mellon (the university in question) there are an awful lot of Slashbots who'll parrot knee-jerk reactions to Microsoft and even mock them while stealing their free food. When it comes time to get a job, of course, everyone promptly shuts up and starts applauding.

Those who don't let go of their childish name-calling do not escape from CMU [warmbutter.com] . They become staff.

fun for artists (4, Interesting)

kisrael (134664) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541430)

Tablet technology seems like it would be great for doodlers and maybe other artists, depending on the sensitivity of the input device. It'll be great when my big ol' LCD monitor can be taken off of its stand and used on my lap for a bit of drawing.

On the other hand, right now, when I see the pictures all I can think is that it looks like a comically over-seized PDA.

guerilla marketing (4, Interesting)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541432)

Again I believe Slashdot has fallen victim to guerilla marketing. Were the poster in fact a real person, they would have linked to their university.

The post might as well have been straight from a textbook. No facts, just unsubstantiated hype.

The question is: who is the poster working for? Acer? Microsoft?

(And the next question is, why is Taco falling for this shit?)

Tried one yesterday (5, Informative)

joebp (528430) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541434)

My dad got one of the Acer's a few days ago in order to test his company's software on it. I had a go in the local cybercafe down the road.

Pro's:

Nice feeling pens (there are two)

The swivel idea is nice, abeit a little fiddly.

It looks cool!

It's pretty small and light

Windows Journal is very nice

Con's:

Windows XP is as slow as a dog! I don't know what spec the machine is, but there is very noticable latency between clicking and menu's appearing for example. This might have something to do with it having an absolute shitpile graphics card.

There is no positive feedback that you have clicked. A tiny click sound would improve usability 110%. This is where the whole thing really fails. I found myself reverting to the touchpad in a few minutes because it was just so frustrating to try and double-click.

The onscreen keyboard is good, but the handwriting recognition is both crap and slow (about 1.5 seconds delay after writing 'jpixton').

The screen has a protector on it which makes it rather reflective.

Fiddly as fuck for clicking anything small. They really need to realise you can't just use a pen with windows which was designed to be used with a mouse. They need to alter the user interface to be more usable with a pen!!

cough...cough...cough (1, Troll)

toupsie (88295) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541437)

cough...cough...Astroturf...cough...cough...Astrot urf...cough...cough. So what Getty stock photo does WallsRSolid use for his college yearbook?

I remember these things when Windows 3.11 was around. Dumb idea then, dumb idea now. I can type faster than I write, plus how you are going to do "Control-Alt-Delete" with a pen?

Here's why (2)

RainbowSix (105550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541439)

Here is what floored everybody:

You can open up a lecture slide on say, power point during a class, write notes on it in a spiraling circular fashion, then later search through your spiral scribble AS IF IT WERE TEXT. You write "foo," search for "foo" and "foo" in your hand writing will be highlighted.

They did it during the presentation and it appeared to work very well.

When I take notes in class I use paper and a pen because I like the variety in handwriting to help me remember things. If it were searchable... I'd buy on of these and I've used Linux exclusively for 2 years.

No keyboard? (1)

payndz (589033) | more than 11 years ago | (#4541440)

It's of absolutely no interest to me, then. Even with just two fingers I can type a hell of a lot faster than I can write (and my handwriting is barely readable anyway), so a computer without a keyboard is to me - as a professional writer - as much use as a car without an engine. If I want to take a small computer with me on the road, I'll stick with my Psion Series 5, thanks!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>