Tablet PC, MD

I just returned from an appointment with a doctor whose office had upgraded to Tablet PCs since my last visit, and it was pretty cool to see non-techies benefit from these gadgets. The office had several docking stations which held the tablets, and my doctor undocked one as he walked in to see me. Geek that I am, we talked more about his office tech than we did about my reason for visiting (a simple clogged ear, btw), and he obviously loved his tablet. During the visit he took notes on the tablet, and he even used the stylus to draw a picture of my inner ear to show me what the problem was. When he was done, he handed his tablet to a nurse, who jotted a few notes down before re-docking it. This was a real-world display of tech “in the wild,” helping someone do their job.

I also own a Tablet PC, and it comes with me to every conference I attend. I’m often surprised by how few tablets I see in the crowd, since I love mine and everyone I’ve met who owns one feels the same way. Keyboard-centric apps like word processors aren’t that great on a tablet, but something like FeedDemon is pretty slick.

BTW, does anyone else run FeedDemon on a tablet? If so, feel free to post a comment here if there’s anything I can do to make FeedDemon even better for tablet use.

18 thoughts on “Tablet PC, MD

  1. Nick, I use FeedDemon on my M200 and the nicest thing you could do is to build in a left handed option. Reaching across for scroll bars is the biggest pain on the tablet.

  2. Great article, Nick. Loved the part of the doctor drawing a picture of your ear to point out the problem area – the power of the personal touch!

  3. I’m itching to get a tablet, and share your surprise they aren’t more prevalent. Especially among the geek crowd. They seem to be getting more popular lately. Microsoft needs to work with the vendors to market them more effectively, and get the prices down.

  4. Nick Bradbury: Tablet PC, MD

    I’m contemplating the purchase of a tablet pc. It’s cool that your doctor’s office uses them. Beats out my doctor who carries around a pocket pc. As far as seeing tablet pcs in the crowd… now that you mention it

  5. I have a HP/Compaq TC1100, and it works very well.
    A problem is that I want to use the tablet in parks where there is no wifi access, but I can’t see the images and the links are of course not possible to see.
    I would really appreciate the ability to prefetch all the images that are referenced in the rss feeds, so that I can see them when offline.
    For the links, I would like to be able to have feeddemon save the links I click on somewhere and give me the possibility of opening them all in tabs when I get connectivity again.
    Oh, and be able to mark as read and flag items directly from the newspaper view would be cool :-)
    Wishes, wishes, wishes… ;-)

  6. I don’t have a tablet but I have to say that there are some great practical suggestions for furthering FeedDemon cropping up here.

  7. I’m getting problems with my M200 – even the blue death screen! Sometimes takes ages to boot up and also locks up. So I hope the doctors surgery ones are more reliable.

  8. I’m a left-handed, Tablet-owning, FeedDemon user as well. I also dream of left-handed scrollbars throughout Windows. Currently MS OneNote is the only program I know of the has true left-hand support. It would be great to have it in FeedDemon as well.
    On another note, I use my Tablet with Verizon BroadbandAccess. This is great for RSS while in airports. However, as soon as I’m in flight – no more Internet. Could some kind of article caching feature be implemented? So that I could, say, “Cache all articles related to unread news items in Favorite Channels”. This would provide me with a lot of fresh reading materials on the plane.

  9. Scaleable-width scrollbars, perhaps? I have a convertible tablet, and (sadly) I tend to use it in “laptop mode” a lot… but I love using FeedDemon in “tablet mode”!

  10. I use it on a tablet, and the single key reading is the single greatest hangup for my reading in tablet mode. ;) I have a button on the tablet mapped to the space bar, which is great. However, it would be 10x better if the spacebar scrolled through long items before going on to the next one (much like Outlook does). Also, it would be great if I could map a shortcut to a particular newsbin, that way I could read with one button, newsbing with another.

  11. tablet pc used in a doctor surgery

    Nick Bradbury the developer of feeddemon (which is the amazing rss reader I use and love!) has posted on his recent visit to the doctor.
    I just returned from an appointment with a doctor whose office had upgraded to Tablet PCs since my last visit, a…

  12. Thanks for all the feedback, folks. Looks like left-handed scrollbars are a popular request, but after digging around I’m afraid it doesn’t look like this will be possible. This thread from an MS newsgroups explains the issues:
    Also, I’ve seriously considered pre-fetching links so you could view them offline, but quite honestly I think that the amount of information coming in via RSS makes pre-fetching links impractical
    For example, imagine you update a FeedDemon channel group which contains 10 feeds, and each of those feeds has five new items which each contain an average of five external links. That’s a total of 250 links that would need to be pre-fetched. As you can imagine, pre-fetching 250 links – along with their associated images – would take a very long time (not to mention fill up your hard drive). And this example is for a single group – imagine what it would be like when you update all of your groups at once.

  13. It’s actually quite easy to prefetch the pages manually: I just run wget with one level link retrival on the aggregated news page, and I have all the links available.
    I tried it already, and guess what: you are right :-) It’s mostly impractical.
    What bugs me though, is that in the newspaper view it does not prefetch images that are referenced in the rss, nor can I mark items as read from that view, making the newspaper view that I actually love almost useless.

  14. Nick-
    I use a Motion M1300 and FeedDemon and would love to see toolbar items for “Mark Channel as Read” and “Next Unread News Item”. That’s how I have NetNewsWire set up, and over VNC from my tablet, it rocks.

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