"You had me at the pen ..." The X61 Tablet PC

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007
I recently visited with my good friend and fellow productivity consultant, Kelly Forrister, at her home in beautiful Ojai California.  The purpose of my visit was to show her the Tablet PC system and environment and to give her a tour of my most recent addition to my mobile knowledge worker productivity toolkit, the X61. I've known and worked with Kelly and her husband John at a number of organizations over the past 15 years and we share a common passion for finding cool gear to help us get things done. (For those of you who started with the first Palm Pilot and early Palm hand-helds, you may remember that Kelly published a very successful email newsletter with productivity tips on how to use the palm productively.)

Lenovo was kind enough to provide me with the amazing ThinkPad X61 Tablet PC and I have been enjoying using it and demonstrating to folks how Tablets work and how I use the Tablet PC. (Be sure to search my "Tablet PC" archives for other posts about this incredible tablet.) The X61 combines the best of features - a powerful processor, a long battery life, high resolution and highly visible screen, light weight and the fantastic ThinkPad keyboard 7 TrackPoint to create a flexible and powerful computer. Add to this, Microsoft Vista (I know; it's not ideal on the desktop, but it is a much improved Tablet OS) and I have a powerful tool for mobile productivity.

Listen in as I give Kelly a tour of the new Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet PC.

  • Discussion of screen sizes
  • What makes up the Tablet PC Experience
  • Hardware: laptop mode
  •         X61 Hardware Overview
  •                 Pen, fingerprint reader, buttons, navigation
  • Kelly and I belong to the same club
  • How Kelly would use a Tablet PC
  • People love flashing lights and gauges on computers
  • Kelly takes the X61 for a spin
  • Vista is a great Tablet OS
  •         Unfortunately, many of my apps (e.g. Palm desktop) won't work with it.
  • "You had me at the pen, Eric"
  • Windows Journal - notepad on steroids
  • MindManager 7 and the ribbon UI
  • Now, look at MindManager in Pen Mode!
  • Tables allow the brain to move fluidly between linear thought and creative thought
  • The value of having low-tech capture tools around you for creative capture
  • OneNote Launch button for quick capture (27:00)
  • Lotus Notes on the X61 tablet PC - demo of a non-ink enabled app (31:00)
  • Gentle prompt to IBM, calling for ink support in Notes
  • Don't look at my in-box; not healthy.
  • Oh my, Kelly walked out of the house without a capture tool. (34:00)
  • Flicks in Vista for most common keyboard tasks in non-ink enabled apps
  • How I use the Tablet: Laptop vs slate mode
  • How Kelly might use the Tablet PC
  • Scanning books into the Tablet - paperless challenge
  • PDF annotator for document review & markup
  • You can create your own handwriting font
  • Tour of Tablet Apps
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking with the Sony MX20 handheld voice recorder
  • ArtRage - the ultimate art studio for Tablet PC
  • Using the Tablet PC for presentations; annotate on your PPT slides
  • Michael Sampson mind mapped his presentations in real-time w/Tablet PC
  • ActiveWords Inkpad for the Tablet - gotta have it
  • The X61 Tablet makes computing fun again
  • Tablet PC as a digital capture tool
  • Benefits of using a Tablet PC in meetings (50:00)
  • Tablet PCs are more people friendly, more natural in meetings
  • Use a Tablet PC and people pay more attention to you, really.
  • Thank you, Lenovo, for allowing me to use the X61 Tablet PC. I can't wait to see what's next!

This is probably the best quality recording I've done using my new Sony MX20 handheld voice recorder. You can even hear the birds singing outside the window!

I like to share with folks how I use technology to work smarter; I often feel that I learn as much or more than the people I'm teaching.
I hope you enjoyed listening this podcast as much as Kelly and I enjoyed recording it.
Are there other topics you'd like to hear about? Let me know. I'd like to hear from you!

I really enjoy doing these kinds of recordings and I always love to evaluate new gear and software that can be used to help people be more productive. If you have a cool tool or technology that you'd like me to have a look at, get in touch with me. I don't charge to blog or podcast about it and, as you can see on this site, I don't advertise. This site is my on-line journal where I talk about whatever interests me. My criteria for the technology that I blog about is simple. a) it must catch my interest b) it must pass the "will I really use it two weeks from now?" test, and I have to see a clear benefit over current tools or methods. if so, there's a good change I'll blog about it either here or over on my Notes On Productivity blog.

I recently purchased a Sony voice recorder and I've been experimenting with it for mobile dictation; a podcast on that should be coming soon, once I get it all sorted out...

Meanwhile, I hope you find this podcast helpful.

Podcast: 54 Minutes

Discussion/Comments (20):

Which Screen?

Hi Eric --

I see a Lenovo tablet some time in my future. The only question is which screen to get. What are your thoughts on the multi-touch vs. normal screen?



Posted at 09/03/2007 5:49:13 by Steve A.

re: Which Screen?

Steve, I chose the normal screen, because it was important to me to have 1400x1050 resolution. However, the multi-touch is very nice.

Hopefully, someday, you'll be able to get both. For now, you must choose based on what you want to display and how you want to interact with it.

Posted at 09/03/2007 7:40:26 by Eric Mack

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

I got the "normal" screen because of the higher resolution and the glass surface. With this you can rest your hand on the display without process. Further I think he resolution of the multi touch version is a little low, isn't it?

Posted at 09/05/2007 11:40:39 by Carsten

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC


I liked your recording and think the quality was very good. How was your recorder set up to capture your voice and Kelly's. There seemed to be good separation of your voices. Did you have any mics attached (ie lavilier) for each of you? I have a similar recorder and want to add external microphones for me and whoever I am interviewing. Great job.

Posted at 09/07/2007 9:46:42 by Carol

re: You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Carol, I used only the built-in mics on the Sony MXD20 recorder. Sounds great, doesn't it? I help the unit in my had - that was a small problem. If you listen closely you can hear how I turned over the unit which makes it sound like Kelly and I keep switching places during the discussion even though we were seated. I'm still figuring out how the directionality works. I plan to look into purchasing a kit of lapel mics; I welcome any recommendations you may have,

Posted at 09/07/2007 12:14:11 by Eric Mack

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Any ability to connect multiple displays through this device when docked? I love the portability, but the productivity of multiple screen is a real draw when I am in the office.

Great site, I will be back!

Posted at 11/13/2007 9:38:46 by Greg Whisenant

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Eric, I suppose you're aware that the audio cuts out just as you are about to comment on Vista?

Posted at 02/02/2008 11:38:58 by Kevin Meath

re: You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Thanks for the update.

Posted at 02/08/2008 15:04:07 by Eric Mack

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Hey Eric, re:Audio cutting out - will this be fixed?

(I'm seriously considering buying the X61 once the new round of Lenovo money-off coupons are made avialable at the end of this week...

Posted at 03/26/2008 13:33:14 by Bart

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Hi Eric, there is a problem with the mp3 file, with no audio after the 16th minute mark. I've tried different players and downloaded a few times with the same result. Can you repost please? Thanks.

Posted at 04/28/2008 1:25:21 by Ken

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Eric -- excellent podcast. I am about to buy an X61 Tablet. But your audio disappears around the 17 minute mark just as your about to give your take on Vista. I tried this in iTunes and on streaming audio but it fails at the same point. What a disappointment for me! Any advice?


Posted at 05/05/2008 19:26:27 by Ed S.

Welcome Back - Please Repost X61 Tablet PC Podcast

Eric - welcome back. Any chance as you get "back to civilization" you can repost your X61 podcast with Kelly? Thanks.

Posted at 05/13/2008 14:37:32 by Ed

re: Welcome Back - Please Repost X61 Tablet PC Podcast

Ed, did you try to right-click on the link to download the MP3 to your computer? That should work.

Posted at 05/14/2008 0:57:28 by Eric Mack

Welcome Back - Please Repost X61 Tablet PC Podcast

Eric - thanks for the reply. I downloaded the mp3; I also streamed it; I did it all. It just shuts down at the same place. I gather from earlier comments that I am not the only one experiencing this issue.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the part I did hear. Thanks.

Posted at 05/18/2008 18:26:53 by Ed

I have uploaded a new version of the Podcast

Ed, you are right, the version on-line was bad. No idea how that happened.


I just uploaded a new master copy. The version for you to enjoy. Thanks for reporting this. Eric

Posted at 05/25/2008 20:21:33 by Eric Mack

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Hello Eric,

I have talked with you a couple times on your website on a different subject. I visit your website once in awhile because I enjoy reading different subjects on it. I saw this tablet PC subject and just have to tell you what we are doing over here at Environmental Management at Edwards AFB.

I and my coworkers are software developers. Currently we have developed MS Access databases for these ruggedized tablet PC's we have. The tablets are used by environmental inspectors and biologists. They basically replaced the old paper clipboard. We use the replication feature that is in Access 2003. Basically the way it works is: An inspector gets his tablets, heads to the field, does his/her inspection of an area by adding data to the Access application on the tablet. The inspector gets done with his field work, comes back to the office, plugs the tablet up to the Edwards AFB network, press's the Sync button on the application. The data is then sync up to the database on the network, the tablet is sync to the data that is on the network. This has saved the inspectors countless hours of writing on a clipboard, then coming back to their desk and typing what was on the clipboard into the database.

Looks like the project is growing to. Other organizations that do inspection type work are wanting in on the fun. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

And yes, I did say MS Access 2003. It does replication. I had no idea about this feature in Access until I started working over here. My lead has really pushed Access to the next level.

Dan Strong

Posted at 10/30/2008 8:37:35 by Dan Strong

The X61 Tablet PC -Windows Journal for Xp

I have a x61 tablet , dowgaraded to Xp pro from Lenovo.

It came pre-installed with windows journal 2.1 , is there an updated version of windows journal for xp cause im having a problem

opening PDF files.


Posted at 12/08/2008 6:28:32 by Jitesh

re: The X61 Tablet PC -Windows Journal for Xp

I recommend checking the Microsoft support download site.

Posted at 12/08/2008 11:34:33 by Eric Mack

You had me at the pen ... The X61 Tablet PC

Do you know of any good training classes or cd's for learning how to use the X61 Notebook?

Posted at 12/30/2008 13:18:23 by D. Masvidal

Discussion for this entry is now closed.