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Someone Make me the King of Note Taking



hulu-kings_-first-night-watch-the-full-episode-now-1Last night was a rare night in the Crocker/Savaiano household. We both had the night off and after a rare lovely dinner at home, and making a silly video, we decided to just be bums and catch up on some TV viewing and wipe some stuff off the DVR. One of the shows we’ve been recording but not watching was Kings.

After giving the pilot a look-see, we decided to plunge ahead. (By the way, it is a pretty good series by network TV standards, although it is probably much more involved than most viewers will care to follow and will probably get canceled.) In any regard, the King has this delicious habit of turning to his assistant and dictating to him exactly how he would like history to record whatever moment has just passed. (It actually is pretty funny and pointed when he does so.) The assistant has some sort of hand held device on which he is always taking notes and dutifully does so throughout.

Not one to not pay attention, my wife asked if the guy was using a small Tablet PC. I answered I guess so. But it is tough to really know as so far viewers haven’t been treated to a closeup of the device.

As I’ve mentioned in a post or two lately, I’m re-evaluating a lot of my mobile and Tablet PC needs lately. I kept thinking about that assistant’s device. In reality, what I’d dearly love to see for my note taking is something very similar in size to the device the assistant was wielding for digital note taking. Obviously, this device in the show is intended to be networked so that the data entered is immediately sent somewhere else (at one point in the show the assistant with a few strokes deletes all records of someone who has fallen into disfavor.) Of course that part is pretty easily done these days and I can accomplish most of that with a 12 inch Tablet PC. The trick is getting the handwriting (digitizer), and communications all into a serviceable small device. Sort of makes me long for an HP tc1100 again, though even that is larger than I would ideally like.

While we may see small hand held devices like this in the future, (it does look like a PDA or an Apple Newton in the show), I have my doubts that we’ll see any new advances in digital Inking for quite some time. The wave of Touch is upon us and that is going to be the focus for the foreseeable future. I had hoped the original UMPC concept would have offered this functionality, but that didn’t turn out so well on any fronts and Inking was very unsatisfactory, at least for my needs.

Kings doesn’ really qualify as science fiction, but it is fiction. I keep wondering if such a hand held Inkable device is going to remain fictional as well, even though we’ve gotten so close.



  1. Dave P

    03/30/2009 at 4:35 pm

    Been there. Done that. No longer in production.

    It looks like what he cold have is a Motion Computing LS800 (8 inch screen and active digitizer) updated with 3G and the Atom processor. Unfortunately, Motion has discontinued this form factor.

  2. Paul Harrigan

    03/31/2009 at 10:25 am

    I agree with Dave’s thought about size.

    Motion has gone mostly into vertical markets, and most of those that they have targetted to date are using the added screen size of a 10-12″ screen.

    It could also be an OQO system, but, more likely it is just a dummy prop.

    Touch will have its day. However, just as pens replaced finger paints, I think the stylus will come back in improved form once touch is not the “new” thing.

  3. Jason Z

    04/01/2009 at 11:50 am

    I have been looking for a similar device and have settled on the iRex Iliad. It’s still on order so it is yet to be seen how well it will work for me. Especially since its marketed as an e-reader with a stylus.

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