Posts for #Tablet PC

As I mentioned elsewhere, I’m working on a DXCore plugin to enable (Tablet PC) ink drawing on the Visual Studio editor surface. A problem I stumbled upon in this regard was the scrolling functionality. Generally this is really easy to implement, using a transformation with the ink renderer. So I had this method:

void UpdateScrollPosition(TextView textView) {
  Point p = new Point(textView.ColumnWidth * textView.HorizontalScrollPosition,
    textView.LineHeight * textView.VerticalScrollPosition);

  collector.Renderer.PixelToInkSpace(textView.Graphics, ref p);
  Matrix matrix = new Matrix();
  matrix.Translate(-p.X, -p.Y);

  collector.Renderer.SetViewTransform(matrix);
}

As astonishing as this problem was, I found a very easy fix for it, suggested in the Microsoft Product Feedback Center, if you can believe it. Apparently, a similar issue was already in the beta 1 refresh that came out many months ago, but was never actually solved. I tried to make my voice heard here, maybe it’ll be fixed in the future. Meanwhile, here’s what needs to be done to get networking back: Uninstall (or don’t install from the start) the “Microsoft Device Emulator version 1.0 Beta 2 - ENU” entry (BTW, anybody in this world know what ENU means? What’s the use of acronyms such as this in my installed applications list? Wikipedia gives a 404 when I search for it…) from the Add or Remove Programs control panel. Networking will be back to normal instantly. Interestingly, in my normal workstation I’ve used the device emulator in the past and it used to work just fine. No idea what’s causing it to fail on the Tablet PC, and some of the other reports in the feedback center don’t seem to be using Tablet PCs at all. Oh well 😃

I have just finished installing VS.NET 2005 beta 2 on my Tablet PC for the second time, with the exact same result: I can’t get any networking whatsoever to work on the system. What I did is really quite simple: I cleaned up the system very carefully because there had been an installation of beta 1 on it before. I found a lot of information about that on the web, like here, I also had collected some experience doing that a few times with the CTPs (on a different system). I’m reasonably sure I didn’t miss anything important, because my main workstation, which has been through a lot more cycles than the Tablet PC, works just fine with beta 2 after the same procedure.

I ran through the setup without noticing anything suspicious. No errors, nothing. Rebooted at the end… and after that’s done, I noticed that my wireless connection didn’t come up any longer. I checked and double-checked everything to do with the connection, but found no problems at all, apart from it not working. The behaviour was rather interesting: the wireless connection was just showing that it wasn’t connected, but searching for available networks didn’t really seem to do anything. You know how this normally takes a few seconds once you click the “Refresh” link in the dialog? This didn’t happen, in fact nothing seemed to happen at all.

It’s free and it contains six add-ons to your Tablet PC. From the web page:

Ink Desktop

Newest information about those TabletPC issues in CDS versions up to this point: James Kendrick reports that Copernic has made a new interim version available for TabletPC users. James says he’s been testing it for a day without any issues. Note that this release doesn’t have any changes apart from the fix for the flickering TIP on TabletPCs. Here’s the direct download link which you can also find in James’s post: Copernic Desktop Search 1.5 build for Tablet PC owners

Copernic Desktop Search has had its version 1.5 released. I’ve had a look at it to see if maybe some of my suggestions from my article What I’d like to see in Copernic Desktop Search have made it into the final version. Unfortunately, there’s doesn’t seem to be any information on changes that have been made since the beta version, so it’s easy to miss something. Dear Copernic guys, maybe you could publish some more information on changes you make during development cycles?

Good news

A OneNote notebook is comprised of separate files, which may be stored in different locations. Sure, if you first create a new “Section” in OneNote itself, the application will create the new file in the default path (which can be customised via Tools/Options/Open and Save). But you can easily move that file elsewhere once it’s been created. Just create a normal Windows link to the file in your notebook folder and OneNote will show the tab with a small symbol on it, so you know that file is not physically part of your default notebook.

In Chris Pratley’s article The best ways to show OneNote to others, I found the idea of storing blog articles in OneNote. Somehow that never occurred to me 😃 So I thought I’d employ the IE2OneNote power toy to copy all my current articles to OneNote to start with. Several problems with this: first, the format of a web page is completely lost when doing that. The power toy simply dumps the textual context of a page, plus the images, into a OneNote page sequentially. Sometimes, I do use tables in my blog articles and I also use formatting for my code samples, so that’s really ugly. The second thing is, IE2OneNote hangs up Internet Explorer reliably when trying to send my article Simulating object properties with ITypedList and custom PropertyDescriptors to OneNote. Most other articles I tried don’t show that problem, I have no idea why this happens… Now, the question is, are there alternatives? Maybe even for Firefox instead of IE?

Update: I just found that part of the reason I’m losing formatting is that OneNote doesn’t support tables at all. Chris Kunicki has that on his list of 8 things he doesn’t like about OneNote.

I just read a very interesting article in Chris Pratley’s OneNote blog, titled OneNote Shared Sessions. Although I’ve been using OneNote for a long time (and lately even more on my Motion Computing M1400 Tablet PC), I had never had a close look at that feature. Now I tried it, I find it fantastic! Not only does it simply work very well, it’s really easy to use (there’s a nice introduction at OneNoteAnswers) and it tries to be easily compatible with your network setup by using only one UDP port that can be fixed or changed through the options dialog. A fantastic accomplishment for a piece of Microsoft software! Performance seems to be absolutely acceptable, I tried it with three systems on a local network, two of which use WLAN, and also through a VPN tunnel over the internet. I found two usage issues while playing around with it that one should be aware of:

  1. When systems (or users) join a shared session, they get a copy of the shared pages created in their own notebooks. Under specific circumstances it’s obviously possible that the page is already on that system, like from an earlier session. In this case OneNote creates an additional copy of the page, which even has the exact same name and creation timestamp as the first copy. I find it hard to think of a much better solution, but still the user has to work out which page is which and where the various copies came from. Maybe using an additional copy timestamp would have been a solution?
  2. When using Ink (also from non-tablet system) to draw into or over text fields, like when using a markup pen, the ink strokes don’t always have the exact same location, relative to the text, as they have on the other systems. So marking up some text to say “look here, that’s what I mean” is virtually impossible.
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