Can't Afford a Tablet PC? Try This!
Pages: 1, 2

Using the Windows Journal

The strength of the Tablet PC no doubt lies in the Windows Journal. The Windows Journal is an application that acts like your notebook (in the literal sense), allowing you to scribble notes and drawings. You can also perform searches based on your handwriting, something that is truly impressive.

To be honest, I am skeptical of handwriting recognition technology. While Microsoft demos always seem perfect, I really wanted to see for myself if the technology works for me. So, with skepticism, I powered up the Windows Journal:

Launching the Windows Journal
Figure 6. Launching the Windows Journal

And so I started scribbling. As you can see, my handwriting is really terrible. With all these years of using the keyboard, I don't have much chance to use a pen for writing. And with this tablet setup, writing is not very natural for me.

Scribbling on the Windows Journal
Figure 7. Scribbling on the Windows Journal

Windows Journal allows you to save your notes as Digital Ink. Or you can convert it to text. So I tried to convert my hand writing to text. Surprisingly, it was recognized correctly. It evens suggested some word replacements. Now I am impressed.

Converting the handwriting to text
Figure 8. Converting the handwriting to text

You can also highlight your writings with a highlighter. If you make a mistake, an eraser is always on standby:

Highlighting with a highlighter
Figure 9. Highlighting with a highlighter

Reading on the Tablet PC

Zinio Reader is an e-magazine reader that allows you to read a magazine on your computer, much like reading a paper copy. You can download the free reader from You also have the option to download a sample Business Week magazine.

With my pen and tablet, I can draw on the magazine itself:

'Drawing' on the magazine
Figure 10. "Drawing" on the magazine

Or write notes on it:

Pasting a note on the magazine
Figure 11. Pasting a note on the magazine

I actually like the idea of reading an electronic magazine on my computer, as long as the computer is light and easy to handle. Imagine purchasing all your favorite magazines, downloading them to your computer, reading them anywhere you like. It not only lightens your load, it's also environmentally friendly.

Final thoughts

Just to recap why running the Tablet PC OS on a conventional notebook or desktop isn't a crazy idea, here's why you might want to do this:

  • You want to test drive how the tablet PC actually works, but are unable to get your hands on the hardware.
  • You want to develop applications for the Tablet PC.
  • In a larger operation, you might not be able to supply all of your developers with the new hardware, so a reasonable alternative is to get each developer a graphics tablet and a copy of the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.

Have fun!