tablets

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I ran up to Stuckman yesterday with Wendy. We wanted to try the only lab version of a Wacom Cintiq at Penn State and their 144 lab has a 21 inch model. I've used a standard Wacom as my input device almost exclusively for over ten years. I have no trouble with drawing on my tablet while watching the stroke appear in another place, but some folks, new to tablets, do. Having the opportunity to try the Cintiq's direct-on-monitor input is something I can't pass up, even though for me it isn't necessary. Being able to use my tablet experience and expertise in consultation on a real project is a welcome novelty.

Unfortunately, the machine was down: isn't that a bit like
putting a racing saddle on a pack mule?
the monitor screen had a warning stating that some sort of installation procedure was taking place ( and had been taking place for at least the past 78 hours). We didn't want to interfere with any end of term installations, so I called the hotline and was told that I could reboot. We tried, got the same dialog again, then talked to a lab consultant. The young man was very polite, very attentive, very much in the dark about the Cintiq, and he called for help- which I imagine is in process...

I'm generally annoyed by most of the tablets I run across. Some have the proportions set incorrectly so when you draw a circle on the tablet you get an oval on screen, and users don't even seem to notice. Some are set up in "mouse" mode and users don't realize that there's another option; how do you draw if every new stroke just pushes the cursor along the same line? So when I saw that the tablet wasn't working in 144 Stuckman, I was annoyed but not surprised.

What was surprising was that the librarian who loaned out the pen remarked that she hadn't loaned a pen for months. In fact, she didn't know which pen went with the 144 Cintiq. I can't expect a librarian to track such things- my surprise is at the Cintiq's limited use. While we sat at the machine another student walked in asking about it, disappointed that it was down. We mentioned that we'd called for assistance and he replied that he was glad it finally would be fixed. Hmmmm.

One final thing was a surprise: the Cintiq was in a Windows lab, on a Dell. Excuse me, but isn't that a bit like putting a racing saddle on a pack mule? No wonder it gets limited use. and I'd been afraid we wouldn't get to use it because we didn't have reservations...

2 Comments

Cole said:

Should get one of these? OR maybe borrow that one for some tests? Would it be useful for us? Maybe in video shoots having that kind of control of onscreen activities ... I would like to see it working as well.

Is this a CLC Lab?

dave said:

144 is a CLC lab; we received confirmation from them that the machine needed to be rebuilt. I've never used a Cintiq; but I've never used a tablet PC that actually worked either- so I'm guessing based on my Wacom experience that the method of input is worth exploring. I don't think all uses would require pressure sensitivity, but for those that benefit from it, direct input would be a real benefit. Youtube (of course) has video of he Cintiq in action.

I don't know if I could justify the expense for our group. I don't think anyone else here uses a tablet on a regular basis.

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