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10 things I love about Windows Vista: Part I

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10 – Optimised for Mobile Hardware

In at Number 10, is a feature that won’t really apply to those desktop users out there, but for those notebook users among us, and more specifically, those with swanky Tablet PC’s, Vista is the OS to Enable a Mobile Workforce.

But why, you may ask?  Well let me tell you about the cool ways that Vista enables me to work effectively and optimise the use of my Tablet PC.  First up, the handwriting recognition is hot.  Take a look at this screenshot.

You can see my Tablet PC Input Panel, (which floats around the screen, and docks, off-screen, on my command), and that I can write some pretty illegible text, using my stylus, and Vista picks it up and gives me the result in text.  This is before I use the built in tool in Vista to train the system to my handwriting.  Accurate recognition, right from the start.  Pretty cool I think!  If Vista doesn’t recognise the word, it provides you with its best effort, which, you can click on with stylus, and either select the correct word from a choice of close matches, or edit the word you entered to make sure it is correct.  I mentioned earlier, that there is a tool in Vista, which is used to train the system to recognise your handwriting.  Well, you don’t technically have to go through this training.  After a certain time of using the Tablet PC Input Panel to write, Vista pops up a message asking if you would like it to learn-as-you-go, meaning that as you write, Vista will learn your style.

As you correct mistakes, it will learn your style.  Sure, Tablet PC Input was in Windows XP, but there is no way it was as intuitive and accurate from the start.  The other cool thing about the Tablet Input panel is that it is context sensitive, so, if I’m typing in a web page, like below, you can see that the Tablet PC Input Panel presents me with commonly used inputs for that situation, so things like http:// and .com.

The same applies in outlook, so, remember when you are typing an email address that you have previously used in the past?  Well, when you begin to write in the email address boxes, using the Tablet PC Input Panel, above the panel appears the previous addresses, which change in real-time depending on the letters you are writing with the stylus.

Any box you can normally write text into - this applies to.  You can see the little icon pop up, indicating that you can write with the stylus, into this box, and by clicking this icon, your Tablet PC Input Panel is there, ready to go.

Now the final cool thing that I love about the Tablet PC functionality in Vista, is the Pen Flicks, which make tasks like navigation, a doddle.  I can use my pen to navigate websites, flicking up to move the page down, or flicking the pen down, to move the page up, or to the side, in order to go forward or back between web pages.  The coolest thing about Pen Flicks, is that it is incredibly customisable.  Check out the image below:

On that image, you can see, you can set the different directional flicks to different commands, so a diagonal down flick can result in a Save, Open, Delete or any one of the commands in the list!  Once you get used to the settings you have created, tasks become a whole lot quicker.

It’s features like this that make using a Tablet PC so much easier and more efficient, and make me more productive on the move.  This is just one of the key values of Vista; Enabling a Mobile Workforce, and Vista does this by the bucketload.

You can read more about the Tablet PC functionality in Windows Vista, by heading over to this Windows Vista Community Article.

Tune in soon, for my Number 9 (I’m a poet, but don’t know it.... ;-) )

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