Scott Hanselman

Karma and the TabletPC Pen

May 28, '04 Comments [3] Posted in TechEd | Speaking
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If you hung out with me at all you no doubt heard me complain that I had lost my TabletPC pen literally an hour after I arrive in San Diego. 

I had all these images of me in "Slate Mode" with my famed Toshiba m205, taking notes in OneNote 2003 SP1. (I was most excited about this feature: "Simultaneously view and edit the same pages of notes with multiple users in different locations."

But, alas it was not to be, and my convertible TabletPC was immediately rendered flacid by the loss of it's magnetic member. (Remember, you can't just use ANY stylus with a TabletPC, the screen isn't pressure sensitive.  You have to use a special Wacom-style stylus with charged pixie dust)  So, I used the keyboard.  Sigh.  I felt so 2001.

Then someone mentioned that there was a hidden reserve pen literally buried underneath the main battery.  Egads!  It was like discovering a new directory on a computer I'd owned for years.  How could I not have known about this feature!

I immediately ripped my battery off and was presented with...SHOCK...AMAZEMENT.  There was only a chalk outline of a replacement stylus.  Had it been murdered?  Stolen?  Gasp...sucide?  Why would Toshiba go to the effort of actually drawing an outline of a pen but NOT INCLUDING IT.

Cheapness.  Stingyness.  Turns out a little Googling explained that the Toshiba TabletPC m205 ships everywhere else in the world with a backup stylus.  Americans, however, are screwed.  Gotta save that 10 cents, eh?

A light in the tunnel...

So, dejected, I went online to the Toshba store and shelled out $50 to get a kit that includes a replacement stylus, a backup stylus (to cover up the chalk outline in my battery compartment) and a tether (yes, a tether) to keep my pen, well, tethered.  But, as things go, it was Saturday and they wouldn't be able to ship it until Monday.  Sigh.

I complained.  Bitterly.  To anyone at TechEd who would listen to my woes.  Then, someone (I think it was John Bristowe) said one day, "Is this your pen?" and handed me a pen that someone else had lost! (I'd lost mine at UCSD.)  Joy!  I was back in business!

I arrived back home with my newly found (someone else's) pen to a package from Toshiba with my ordered replacement and backup.  I secured my tiny reserve pen in it's cubby and moved on.  Then, a few hours ago, Michele emailed me with the news that someone at UCSD had actually found my originally lost pen.  Glory be, it's on the way in a envelope. 

I left a man without a pen, now, I am a man with three pens and one in reserve.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, May 28, 2004 5:44:13 AM UTC
No Scott.. CERTAIN places ship them with the backup pen. Malaysian M200s ALSO don't have the backup pen in place.. CURSE the local distro's stingyness!!!
Marauderz
Friday, May 28, 2004 2:54:54 PM UTC
So, you are of course going to start www.losttabletpcpens.com, right? To return the other pen to it's rightful owner? ;-)
Tuesday, September 14, 2004 9:48:43 PM UTC
SO is the keyboard detachable?
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.