I love the Tablet PC as a platform. But in light of some recent postings about it, I have to say one thing: application software that takes advantage of the pen is still extremely rare. There’s a current ad from Microsoft showing a literary agent marking up a book proposal on the Tablet PC (actually, it’s the book proposal for Carter Beats The Devil, which was already an established hit before the Tablet PC saw the light of day, but maybe hot-shot literary agents are on early access). The ad shows a ho-hum book proposal “beefed up” with standard proof-reading marks, and the implication is clearly that one is editing the original text. The ability to use proofer’s marks on a text document is a clear killer app for millions of customers, as is the ability to handwrite long pieces of work. You can’t edit text with inked proofmarks on a Tablet PC with existing software. You can’t write continuous texts on a Tablet PC with existing software. These limitations are strictly application limitations and I fully expect both abilities to be available within a year or two, but new software will need to be written to exploit it.
RSS was, I think, the very first XML format I ever saw (I may be repressing VRML, but that’s not surprising). And remember Active Desktop in Windows 98 (?). I guess if you’re Microsoft, it isn’t such a bitter pill to be ahead of the game, but wouldn’t you hate to be a former PointCast employee? Here’s a relevant link to Marc Canter’s speech at Reboot, in which he says “Things need to be small and modular: programmers working nights, little companies. The VCs pushed us to head for IPO, so entire companies were based on one feature. ” (link via Boing Boing)
Praise for books by Fritz Onion, Shawn Wildermuth, Don Box and Chris Sells, Jeffrey Richter, and others in my latest .NET and Windows Watch column in SD Times.
Eric Gunnerson is the most publicly vocal member of Microsoft’s C# team and his blog is likely (I hope) to be a primary source for early word on Microsoft’s take on C# directions, rumors, etc. If you’re interested in the future of the C# language, this should definitely be on your blogroll.
When I tried to RSS subscribe, I got an error message, but replacing USERNAME with ERICGU in the URL of the RSS feed fixed it up. (Here’s the correct URL for the RSS feed.)
The mind boggles. The mind, em-boggled, tries to conceive of a way to top the stunt. Even a Web Server written in Visual Basic for Applications would not be as wonderfully absurd. Perhaps a Web Server embedded in a refrigerator magnet?