My UMPCI went down to frys electronics on Friday [since they told me they had a unit on display]…and i made the terrible mistake of asking if they had any in stock! They had only one in stock…i had to buy it!! Watching all those videos on jkOnTheRun and getting up to speed with all da buzz on umpcbuzz helped convince me that i needed one! I have been using it over the weekend to browse the web, check the latest scores for World Cup Matches, check email etc. and its working out great till now.

The dialkeys onscreen keyboard is simply awesome! If you learnt to type using a typing tutor software then you should have no problems adjusting. The only awkward thing is the enter key is for the left hand….I wish that was customizable. I would however like the guys from jkOnTheRun maybe do a piece on setting up the Q1, talk about things like what programs are safe to uninstall (since the system tray seems to be overflowing) and also maybe list out a few 3rd party software programs that are a must have. I know they have something like that for the tablet pc but tailor it more for the UMPC. Also I’d like to know about accessories, specifically more on GPS connectivity.

Tomorrow I’m going into work and I need to setup my umpc so its totally optimized for taking notes and generating tasks. Do any of you out there use some 3rd party utilities? I have put OneNote 2007 on it. Let’s see what happens tomorrow at work when the rubber meets the road. I know scoble said he would buy one, did you drop 1G on this toy yet scoble?

That's right folks…let me introduce to you the latest ground breaking innovation from all the Phd's at Google – Google Spreadsheets! And yes you guessed it – it's in Beta (yup just like almost every other product they put out). If you have'nt figured it out yet – this is a browser based spreadsheet application. I am not sure what Google is thinking here..are they really thinking they can go up against Microsoft Excel & Office with this? Or maybe Don Dodge is right and they will only eat into the market-share of the freebie's out there like OpenOffice. Why do i think its useless? more on that later.

Well…when i need a spreadsheet application I need: Features, Responsiveness and ease of use. Sorry but the browser can't compete with the Win32 platform. I see blogger's going nuts about this and touting the fact that you can access your spreadsheet from anywhere. Well that's kinda cool..but you still have to save it locally to access it offline and the fact that I can access it from anywhere doesn't offset the fact that it is tremendously lacking in features. Take Outlook as an example – it has an excellent Web Interface [Exchange 2003 OWA] but if you look at the stats people will use the Win32 fat client whenever possible.

Also in the next few years hopefully my long time dream will come true: storage abstraction. I used to work for bigVAULT – an online storage company and there are many more that are emerging as part of the Web 2.0 wave, see here [via TechCrunch]. So the idea here is that one day I will just save my files to my storage device and it will make sure it goes to my online drive and all other places I want it to be replicated to. Maybe once bandwidth permits I will have only one central storage place – my online drive and it will be completely abstracted to the end user. I am particularly impressed by OmniDrive which allows:

the ability to read/write directly to the file with local applications like Office, on the remote server. This last feature speeds the process of writing to files significantly by skipping the requirement to download the file to the hard drive first

So Storage abstraction will pave the way to all kinds of cool apps. That's my theory. But Scoble on the other hand has a different one, check it out.

So why do I think its useless? When I am talking about useless, I am referring to how this is going to be useful in helping Google bring revenues in. I don't see that part of the picture yet. As of right now the only revenue stream Google has is Search, AdWords and maybe some from Gmail (which I like a lot). How is this app going to get them revenue?

I like google a lot, I use their products. When google gets ready to release a product I am expecting something innovative. Spreadsheets have been around for a long time…nothing innovative there….yet.

Hmmmm……UMPC?

June 7, 2006

I took a look at the project oragami when it came out first and thought that it’s just another failed attempt from Microsoft at launching a tablet pc, i think this was also microsoft’s first attempt at viral marketing. Well since then its been renamed to a new hardware category called the “UMPC” and has a dedicated site now here. I was surfing through the site and looked at the hardware and software features and to my surprise they are actually pretty impresive! This might actually work!

It is small, lightweight, portable and ink enabled. Its running the full blown Windows XP Tablet PC edition and the inking capabilities of the OS are pretty impressive. I saw a video on jkOnTheRun which walked through a couple of usage scenarios including handwriting recognition and I have read tons of reviews on it and I have to say I am pretty impressed.

I think the most important features to me are:

  • 7” Touchscreen
  • WiFi (roam freely at work and home) and Bluetooth (pair with my cell phone)
  • External VGA port (to hook to a projector)
  • Good multimedia support

So now I am thinking is this something I can really use? I dont plan on using this as a desktop/laptop replacement, but rather an extension to my desktop when I am mobile – be it in the office or at home. Granted I wont be able to blog such lengthy posts while inking but thats why I have all my desktops for.

With that said the UMPC does have multiple input capabilities including a real funky on-screen keyboard [pic on right]. It also has pen input using ink and the regular keyboard that ships with tablet pc edition. My needs are to be able to:

 

  • Read my email and write short replys, Create Task lists, Digitize my notes and make them completely searchable
  • Do all my web reading while watching TV (laptops overheat on my lap!)
  • Stay connected all the time!

So….. i do think the UMPC might be a great addition to my toolset! I am really tempted to get one now. It is a little pricey (~ $1100) but considering I paid 400 bucks for an iPod (which is a flimsy, fragile, flakey piece of junk) I guess this wouldnt be that bad, and if thats not enought Microsofthas a great video that will talk you into it.