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Creative Writing on a Tablet PC

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

tAblEt pC?

I've been battling with the correct capitalization for the term Tablet PC. In addition to this site, the main character in my novel carries a tablet pc with him on occassion. Microsoft, who coined the term, uses the capitalized version: Tablet PC. Okay, they built the OS and fostered the hardware, so I guess they have a right to make that decision, but making it a proper noun seems incorrect. We don't capitalize desktop, laptop, or notebook, so why should we capitalize Tablet PC? Wouldn't tablet pc be more correct? Or perhaps, the even more gramatically correct yet unbalanced tablet PC? Was this a marketing decision? Does capitalizing it somehow make it sound more important? Special? Worthy?

I dunno. But it's bugging me, because in my writing I have yet to settle on a standard. I've been know to use multiple capitalizations in a single doc and that's just gotta stop. Today. Now. As much as I hate issuing personal edicts (I live in a gray world), I'm going to make one now. For all the world to see. To hold me to. To demand of me.

So here goes...from now on, I shall call it a tablet PC.

Damn, that was hard.


Civisi said...

We don't say desktop PC, laptop PC, or notenook PC. The PC is assumed. You should be able to reference the first time as a tablet PC, and then each subsequent reference should be tablet.

"As the car perched perilously on the cliff's edge, teetering towards impending doom, I climbed out through the back seat, making sure I grabbed my tablet that stored the nuclear bomb codes."

Civisi said...

I wanted to add that Microsoft capitalizes the term because it is the proper name of the OS. Just as it's Windows XP and Windows Vista, it's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Also, I think that because there are still many people who don't know what a tablet is, the suffix "PC" is required to differentiate beween a stone or wood tablet, a pad of paper, or a pill.

Clifford said...


Good point about it being the proper name (in part] of the OS. I have no problems with capitalizing the OS name. But when you're talking about a category of device, just as when you're talking about a laptop, notebook, etc., that's where my concern/confusion comes in. Or is the OS what makes a tablet PC a Tablet PC? Is a convertible PC (another term that may still require the PC bit) still a Tablet PC if Linux has been installed on it?

By the way, though not common anymore, it's perfectly acceptable to say desktop PC, laptop PC, etc.

Thanks for the comment!

Clifford said...


By the way, great paragraph
... I wanna know what happens!

Civisi said...

To keep it short, the reduced weight of the tablet from the back seat caused the front end of the car to be heavier. The car went over the edge, the guy and the tablet lived, and he was given a hero's welcome when he returned home. The following day, he was taking the trash out and tripped over the neighbor's cat in the driveway, suffered massive head trauma, and died. Sad.

Clifford said...

Oh man, I didn't know it was gonna be a tear jerker! Of course, the tablet PC was probably secure in its docking station, fully charged, so it wasn't all bad (:

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.