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Creative Writing on a Tablet PC

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Post movie discussion

Of the movies I listed in the previous post, the best post-movie discussion (over red wine and pasta) was about Zoo. It was fascinating to me, because I love animals (no, I'm not Zoo), but didn't have a problem with the issue that seemed to be concerning my friend.


We talked about it for a bit -- the fact that in some cases, consent would have to be assumed or the act would not have been, uh, consumated and my assertion that animals have a different view of sex than humans have. It doesn't seem to carry the same weight/importance/baggage as human sex. How do I know this? Hmm. I guess I don't. I guess I've digested one too many National Geographic Special where the resident animal expert has the nads to tell me what the animals are thinking and why they do the things they do. As if.

And then there's the question of whether animals engage in reacreational sex or just procreational. We know for a fact that Bonobos do, what about other animals?As I write this, Cougar is cleaning himself. I don't even wanna go there.

So consent, I guess, may be the real issue here. As it is with humans. What a complicated world we live in.


Kate S said...

Hmm... not sure what to say here. Reminds me of Katherine McVee's comment about French kissing her chihuaha.

I also read a short story once that ties in with this that I'll post about whenever I'm not at work. :)

Kate S said...

PS: How many dogs do you think would really consent to wearing reindeer ears during Christmas? :)

Ok, just nonsense from me.

Clifford said...


I don't know about dogs, but I've been coerced into wearing them a time or two.

As for French kissing a chihuaha...that's just nasty (:

Carlos Ferrão said...

Hi Clifford, I'm a writer and artist too and have long pondered buying a tablet pc. I know you give it glowing reviews, but are there differences between the models available? Which model do you recommend?


Clifford said...


Wow, that's a good question...but one that's not easily answered unless I know more about your usage patterns...if you're planning on using it primarily for art, you may want to look at a slate form factor (you can always add a bluetooth or USB keyboard if necessary), but my favorite unit of late is the Lenovo Thinkpad x60 (which I own) or the improved, just released, X61. Sorry I can't be of more help, but there you go. For all the info you could possibly want, check out www.gottabemobile.com, or drop me a line with specific questions and I'll gladly answer. Good luck!

P.S. Thanks for reading my site!

Carlos Ferrão said...

Thanks for the speedy reply, Clifford. I would contact you directly but I can't find your email anywhere on the website.

The X60 is a beautiful machine. At the moment I use the (non-tablet) X20! All I use it for is writing and some very basic photoshop, but I am intrigued by the capabilities of a tablet pc for that. In that regard, the x60 is too good a machine for me. I might look at some refurbished x41s...

Clifford said...


A refurbished X41 sounds like a good idea to me -- especially if you're not sure how you'd use it. That said, here are some of the prime times I use the pen:

1. Note Taking. Using OneNote, note taking is wonderful. The notebook metaphor works well, but gives you most of the advantages of computing -- you can search on your ink, make more space on the page, move things, etc. 75% of the time, I take my notes in ink and leave them as ink. There is no reason to convert them. And since I've begun taking my notes in OneNote, finding what I'm seeking is rarely (if ever) a problem. I began using OneNote shortly before I got my first tablet on a traditional laptop and LOVED it.

2. Using text input mode. This allows me to write or work easily from an easy chair, the couch, bed, and on planes. Flexibility and comfort! Prior to getting my tablet, I was battling the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome and had to occassionaly work my hand muscles with a squeezze ball...no more. Switching between keyboard and pen has erased all pain! I haven't had any pain since I began using one.

3. Surfing the internet is nice in a comfortable chair...

4. Marking up copies of word files with ink -- nice!

5. Signing my e-mails. Seems like a little thing, but adds a very personal touch. Sure, I could scan my signature and add it to my footer or import as a graphic, but it's not as nice as individual, unique signatures.

6. Working with others. Being able to sketch out an idea and e-mail it to an artist, while a rare occurrence in my line of work, has worked fantastically! In addition, being able to mark up a PDF or other doc and then sending it back is also very nice.

The secret to using the pen? Use it when it feels right or adds benefit. Give yourself a few months to really get into the groove and begin to "think in ink". The pen is an additional input mode, and at first, you'll likely use the keyboard much more. After a while, you'll likely see your pen usage rival, then surpass your pen usage. That's what happened to me. But in the end, it's about choice...using the input method that works best at the time.

From your need description, the X41 sounds like it will suit you well, unless you end up needing extra speed for Photoshop. But really, from my experience, all of the tablets on the market get the job done.

You may want to upgrade it to Vista though, and I'm not so sure it's totally up to the task (i.e., not sure you get the eye candy, which I find nice). While XP Tablet software is very good, Vista takes recognition to the next level. I was impressed with XP, but I've been blown away by the improvements in Vista. Each time they update the tablet OS, I think that the handwriting engine has gotten as good as it's likely to get and then they take it up a notch! Good stuff indeed!

As for my e-mail, it's cliffbrooks@NOSPAMcomcast.net.

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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.