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Will ink take off on Windows 8 Tablet PCs?

Ink has been available on Tablet PCs since Windows XP Tablet PC edition in 2002. Mindjet released an ink version of MindManager in 2004.  I think this tool has been under exploited except perhaps by artists (see these galleries on ArtRage and DeviantArt) and delivery men taking your signature. Will Windows 8 revitalise this functionality for business applications?

I have my doubts. Have you seen any native ink applications for Windows 8? Is the ink “keyboard” a useful alternative to the touch screen keyboard? Why does it have to take up half the screen. It’s not optimised for the stylus users. I liked the smaller pop up inkboard that Windows used to have.

I have enjoyed using MindManager’s ink mode since it was first released in 2004. It’s a quiet way of recording a boardroom style meeting. Ink does not intrude in the same way as either a traditional or virtual keyboard. It’s a fluid way of building the map. As the meeting wanders around the agenda or a comment on one item becomes relevant to another, I can easily add subtopics in different locations on the map.  I think it’s a powerful and under developed tool. Mindjet having only made minor improvements to their ink tool set since its release?

Yesterday at a Business Scene event sponsored by Dell I had the opportunity to see their new Tablet PCs. Neither have Wacom (pressure sensitive and very precise stylus) screens but they are making good use of Windows 8.

The Windows 8 RT XPS™ 10 Tablet is a light weight iPad sized slate which plugs into a keyboard docking station. Reminiscent of the HP TC1000 & 1100 both of which I enjoyed using between 2004 and 2008. I still have three TC1100s in my draw, so I can send a squad of MindManager inkers to events. No RT version of Mindjet as yet, so no immediate use to me. It is a tempting piece of kit. It only weighs 635g compared to the 1470g of the keyboard less TC1100, is a lot more powerful, has two cameras and I bet the battery lasts a bit longer even if it isn’t replaceable.

The rotating screen Ultrabook™ XPS™ 12 which folds into a slate and runs Windows 8 Pro.  It is useful to me because I can run Mindjet Desktop in Ink mode using my finger or a capacitive stylus (yuk!). Will it replace my HP 2740p, not yet.  I want a Wacom screen please (well maybe I should give the new touch screens a trial.  My address is ……).
Back to the original problem with Windows 8 and Mindjet 11: From Windows XP through to Windows 7 the virtual keyboard and ink pad have lurked at the edge of the screen waiting to be used. Run MindManager full screen in Windows 8 and you will find it difficult to call up the virtual keyboard in slate mode. And when you do, it occupies half the screen. Have you found a way to get the old floating keyboard or similar on Windows 8?Have you seen any applications where ink is taking off on a Windows 8 Tablet PC or any other OS for that matter?

About Andrew Wilcox

Andrew is an experienced user of MindManager who shares his knowledge and advice for free here. And provides commercial training and consulting on how to exploit MindManager and other mind mapping software applications in business, organisations and for individuals at Cabre For more information about Andrew please visit his Google + profile.

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