Previously, in my post-IMACS blogging, I passed along some comments regarding the physical and network aspects of using tablet PCs in the lab. I even commented on the size of the screen but will say more about that, today, because even though we want bigger and bigger screens in our living rooms to watch sports, movies and the like, that’s not necessarily the case in our labs (and kitchens).
Why My Kitchen is Like the Lab
For years, my husband and I have wanted a touchscreen PC for our kitchen. We have a habit of printing off recipes and scattering them all over, for one. However, the technology has never quite been practical-enough for our overall needs. The Sunday before the IMACS event, we finally saw our “dream machine” advertised at a local electronics store. We pondered the purchase and forgot to make a decision on it, having our usual hesitations that it wouldn’t quite be what we needed. Side note: for those of you who know me, you know I’m hard on technology in my personal life. I want it to work, want it to be fast, want it to be easy to use, and if it’s not at about 98% of my expectations, I just won’t be happy with it, meaning that I’m almost never happy with whatever the new thing is.
Anyway, I went of on my trip and got an e-mail from my spouse reminding me we hadn’t decided on this great boon to our existence. So, in e-mail, we made a rash decision to rush right out and get this machine before the sale was off. AND once my spouse ran out and got this he stuck it on the counter and e-mailed me that it was really great and such, prompting me to get so excited that I probably told EVERY SINGLE PERSON at IMACS what a great thing was waiting for me at home!!
If you guessed I had a mini-trauma upon my return to find out it wasn’t at 98%, you’ll have guessed right. For one, just finding a place close-enough to an outlet was an issue. But the big problem was that the screen was HUGE at 23” diagonal. Unlike those people who have a large dream kitchen, this thing takes up major counter real estate in our little kitchen.
We gnashed our teeth, moved it around from counter-to-counter and wailed a bit about the great sadness we would feel if we had to give-in and return it. In the end, we were able to find a spot. The screen can be tilted and can be pushed up-and-down (to be higher or lower). In order to fit it under our cabinets and take up the least counter space, we have it pushed all the way down, so the wireless keyboard can’t be stored vertically under the screen, as we’d hoped. However, being wireless, we stand/sit across the kitchen at the breakfast bar to use it. Running a cable to the network wouldn’t have been practical, so the fact that we have a wireless network setup is the only practical way we have to use it.
The reason I’m telling this story is that it sounds just like the stories people were telling at IMACS around bringing a tablet PC to their lab bench. With regard to the issue of size, those users that have a successful tablet PC setup are now asking their labs why they can’t have something smaller they can just drop into their lab coat pocket instead of carrying around the tablet.
In the case of my own tablet PC, it still looks huge but we’re recovering from that shock. However, our great usage of it still remains in showing each other favorite YouTube videos and not using the it for any of its originally-intended purposes. In the lab, that’s how the iPad usually gets converted to a sample tray. 🙂