Techno whinges

My blasted laptop PC seems to be dying on me. Keyboard’s no longer working, which makes it less than useful as a portable, and at least for a while it was crashing if the lid wasn’t at a particular angle. It weighs a ton and the battery lasts about fifteen minutes. Mind you, it has been hammered for the last four years. I’d really like a Tablet PC — that technology that everyone slagged off a few months ago. I think I’m on of the few people who really benefit from that. I seem to spend my working life taking notes on paper and then typing them up into reports. If I could take the notes and then convert them to text afterwards I could save maybe 30% of my time. Basically, with these things you write into the screen of the laptop with a special pen thing, and what you write gets converted to text afterwards. I have a Palm, but this would be more convenient, because you just write freehand. I tried a Toshiba Portege 3500 that belonged to a guy I was working with and it seemed great. But they’re very expensive — The Tosh would be about £1800, maybe more if I want to put Firewire on it. That’s a lot for a laptop, though it does have a 1.3Ghz mobile P-M thingy and wi-fi.

What I want to know is whether Windows XP for tablets has any trouble running music apps. I’m not buying it for music but for work, but nevertheless this puts a big and unexpected hole in my technology budget, so I’d like to get some musical return on the investment. Especially since my equally ancient and decrepit beige G3 Mac is beginning to fall over — Cubase 4.1, which admittedly is a very old and pretty ropey version, crashes constantly — so something like a second-hand Quicksilver G4 was on the cards. Looks like that will have to be delayed so I can cope with the cost of a new laptop.

So I want to know if it’ll have any problems running fruityloops or muzys, on which I’ve been doing some technoid ragga, and maybe Soundforge or Cubase — will the Tablet stuff stop them running? It would be cool to have it as a recorder, maybe with a little USB audio interace hanging off it… But I can’t find anything on the net about it. There’s some Tablet PC-specific music apps, but they don’t prove that audio apps will work. But this guy seems to be using a Tablet PC with fairly normal music apps, albeit not the ones I have in mind, though his apps still seem to use MIDI and possibly audio recording, so maybe interference with drivers and DLLs isn’t that bad. It’s a bit of a worry though.

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