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Archive for April, 2011

HP Slate 500 – What are your thoughts?

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

I have been using the HP Slate now for 2 months now and I’m still loving it.  HP Slate 500 Front of unitDo you have one and what are you liking about yours?

 

What do you like best about your Slate?

The size, weight, and battery life for me are huge wins.

The Multi-touch and Inking

Windows 7

SSD

What things are you doing with your Slate?

I love OneNote 2010 and combine that with Dropbox where I can put my Notebooks in the Cloud and access them from anywhere.

I installed Sun’s  VirtualBox and installed a version of Android to play around with it.

I am able to remote into work using remote desktop.

What would you change or enhance?

Better Pen

Bigger processor

Windows 7 Ultimate Edition (BitLocker)

TPM Chip for BitLocker

What is your favorite software on the Slate?

My favorites applications on my Slate are PDF Annotator and Microsoft OneNote 2010.  The touch and inking are great.  I also have installed the Kindle app and reading on the Slate in portrait mode rocks.

I would love to hear how you like your HP Slate or what is preventing you from getting yours.

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Categories: 2011, Computers, HP Slate 500

HP Slate 500 N-trig pen and touch setting

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

I am new to the multi-touch device and there were a few things that I needed to do to enhance the touch and pen.  N-trig has some options that make the touch features a little better.

In the sys tray is the N-trig Duosense digitizer options that change the behavior of touch and pen.  I highly recommend changing the input mode to auto.  This allows you to quickly change between pen and touch with a double tap on the screen.  This is helpful to prevent false touching or palm rejection.

Categories: 2011, HP Slate 500

Dropbox – Cloud Storage

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Have you ever been at work and wished you could get access to a document that was on your home computer.  Well there is a way to have these files accessible where you have internet connectivity.  It is a service called Dropbox.

What is Dropbox?  Dropbox is like cloud storage.  It is a small application that is installed on your local computer that creates a folder structure that automatically sync’s to the Dropbox website.  Once there any other computer or device like iPhone or Android that you sync to will have those files/folders available.  Because these files are locally stored they are available offline.  They will sync up the next time you are connected to the internet, not the whole file just the parts of the file that has changed.  That is slick.

For example at work you have a document that you have saved to your Dropbox folder.  Now you get home and you want to edit that document.  If you have installed the Dropbox application on your home computer you can access that file because it will download that document to your linked Dropbox folder on your home computer.

Dropbox also keeps a one-month history of your work along with the ability to undelete files, or revert back to a previous version of a file.

So you can’t install Dropbox on your computer at work, no worries.  Just go out to the Dropbox website, log in with your account and have access to all the files through the web.  You’re at a client site and you need access to a toolkit script, just browse out to the web to your Dropbox account and download the file you need.  You’re at your kids concert and you get an email about a document that needs to get to the client.  You access your Dropbox folder from your Droid phone and then emailed to the customer.  That easy.

Sign up for free and get 2GB of space.  By using the following link get an additional 250MB in space.

http://db.tt/Shpkx31

If 2GB doesn’t seem like a lot, there are other storage options available.

Get 50Gb for $9.99/month

100GB for $19.99/month

HP Slate 500 – What is HP_TOOLS

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

When I first got my Slate I started checking out all the stuff and I noticed a small partition of about 98 MB labeled “D:\HP_TOOLS”.  I have seen on some other HP models that there is a recovery partition built in that can be used to reimage your machine, but this was too small.  I looked at it in the Computer Management and there were no other hidden partitions. 

I like a clean install and I really didn’t want this extra partition there if it wasn’t needed.  I immediately sought advice before deleting it.  I am not in the mind of asking for forgiveness instead of permission.

I submitted a post on TabletPCReview forum and it was immediately answered by a member who happens to be the Project Manager for the HP Slate.  He said “Don’t do it”.  “If removed you will lose the ability to flash the BIOS and it will remove HP System Diags”.  Those were plain enough reasons for me to leave it alone and do not touch.

This contains the files necessary to apply flash updates to the BIOS.  It uses Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI).

If you are a bottom line person.

Remove = BAD!!! 

Categories: 2011, Computers, HP Slate 500

HP Slate 500 – TPM Chip and BitLocker

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I tried to make a case for the Slate at work but the lack of Trusted Platform Module chip (TPM) unfortunately made it a deal breaker.  I work in the aerospace industry and we have some strict policies for mobile computers and one of them being TPM with BitLocker encryption.  The TPM chip gives additional security by forming a “Root of Trust” between the BIOS and the TPM chip.  Basically the TPM chip has to be there to authenticate which prevents the drive from being access if removed from the device.  The lack of TPM chip in the Slate would basically just encrypt the drive at a software level.  If the drive was removed from the Slate it could be accessed by hacking the encryption.

BitLocker without TPM

You can enable BitLocker on a computer that does not have the TPM chip, it just is not as strong security as with the TPM chip.  To do this on the Slate you will need to do a few things.

1. Upgrade OS from Professional to Ultimate or Enterprise. BitLocker is not available with the stock Slate OS Windows 7 Professional.  This will require the upgrade anytime feature or a fresh install.  In my test I decided to try a fresh install of Windows 7 Enterprise edition (90 day Eval).

2. Because the Slate does not have the TPM chip you will need to go into group policy and allow BitLocker without TPM.

Enter gpedit.msc in the search box or run command (must be run as a local administrator).  Under Local Computer Policy browse to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | BitLocker Drive Encryption | Operating System Drives. On the right screen double click on Require additional authentication at startup.  You must first Enable it and then select the Allow BitLocker without a compatible TPM check box. 

3. Then you can turn on and enable BitLocker.  It took about 3 hours for it to install/encrypt the 64GB SSD.

Please note that you will have to create a USB BitLocker startup key and a Recovery key on another USB.  The Startup key is required in the Slate when you restart the computer or you will be required to enter the 48 digit code every time you restart.  Also note that the onscreen keyboard is not available in the BitLocker boot up routine, so you would have to have a external keyboard connected.

I ran this for about a week without any system problems.  The only problem that I ran into is I forgot to bring my USB Startup key (only once), which rendered the computer a brick for that one day.  After that I did put the recovery key on my phone which I do take everywhere in case I forget the USB Startup key.

I hope that the next generation Slate will have a more powerful CPU with the TPM Chip.

HP Slate 500 – Protect your investment

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT

As I was waiting for my HP Slate to arrive I was perusing TabletPCReview.com forum and one of the posts that caught my eye was a person reporting seeing scratches on the glass.  I have to admit I got a little nervous after reading that and concerned.  Last thing I want is a scratch on my new Slate. 

PRICE
After doing some research and reading several great posts on the subject I decided to go with the NuShield DayVue screen protector.  I believe the screen protector with tax and shipping was around $22.  GRADE: B

FIT
The NuShield DayVue screen protector is a custom protector for the Slate.  The Slate is still fairly new and they do not have this as a standard available protector.  You will have to go into the custom area to select it.  I believe a user from the TabletPCReview forum sent NuShield the dimensions of the Slate and they created one.  The dimensions are spot on and it fits the Slate like a glove.  The only exception are the corners.  The corners are hand cut and are a little jagged.  Once this becomes a regular item I am sure that will be a non-issue.  In fact you aren’t drawn to the edges, they blend in very nicely with the black edges of the slate.  It is unfortunate but definitely not a deal breaker.  GRADE: C (just because of the edges)

TOUCH
I am very pleased with the texture of the screen protector with the multi-touch of the Slate.  I have no problems or interference from the screen protector.  Using  the on-screen keyboard and the scrolling are a breeze and are very smooth.  GRADE: A

WRITING
This was a huge concern that I had.  What would it feel like when I try handwriting.  I had tried a screen protector on my TC1100 and immediately took it off after the attempting to write with it.  It was way to soft and the stylus tip actually would get stuck.  The NuShield is a bit more hard which makes writing with the stylus very pleasant.  It took me a few days before I really liked it.  At first it seemed a bit to firm, but after about a week of touching it with my fingers the oils really made writing very nice.  Another bonus with the screen protector is it helps a little with the N-trig pen noise.  GRADE: A

INSTALLATION
This was probably the easiest screen protector I have ever installed.  I installed a screen protector on my Droid 2 and must have tried multiple times before I got it right.  This was so easy.  The screen protector is a little firm like a piece of paper, this made it very easy to move it around before setting it in place.

Another thing that I liked about it was I had to send my original Slate back because the glass was separating or popping up.  When I got the new Slate I removed the screen protector and installed it on the new Slate without an issue.  It has stayed in place ever since.  GRADE: A

GLARE and VIEWING
Unfortunately I haven’t used the Slate with the screen protector out in the sun.  Haven’t seen to many sunny days to give it a grade.  I don’t think that the screen protector distorts or has any degrading of the nice bright screen.  GRADE: B

CONCLUSION
I couldn’t recommend this screen protector more.  I give it high grades for the Touch, Writing, and Installation.  The only bad thing that I can say about the NuShield DayVue screen protector is the hand cut corners.  They aren’t very professional done.  As I mentioned above, once the die is created for the Slate it will fantastic.  FINAL GRADE: B+ (Highly recommend)

Categories: 2011, HP Slate 500, Reviews

HP Slate 500 impressions

April 2, 2011 4 comments

HP Slate 500

I have been using the HP Tablet PC TC1100 for several years now and have been looking forward to when HP would improve it with an updated model.  Well needless to say I was very excited when Steve Ballmer made his announcement at the CIS 2009 show where he showed off the HP Slate prototype. It did however take more than a year for it to reach the market, but it has been everything that I could have wished for.

SPECIFICATIONS
HP-Slate-500-Front-of-unit_thumb2Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 32 bit
Processor: Intel Atom Processor Z540 (1.86 GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, 533 MHz FSB)
Memory: 2 GB DDR2
Internal Storage: 64 GB SSD Flash Module (SATA)
Display: 8.9-inch Diagonal LED-backlit WSVGA
Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 500 Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video Accelerator
Audio/Visual: High Definition Audio, Integrated Stereo Speakers, Integrated Microphone, combo stereo headphone/microphone jack, two integrated cameras: VGA webcam (inward facing), 3MP camera (outward facing)
Wireless Support: 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth
Expansion Slots: Secure Digital supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC
Ports and Connectors: (1) USB 2.0 Port, Power Connector / HP Slate Dock connector, combo stereo headphone/microphone jack; optional HP Slate Dock: (2) USB 2.0 ports, (1) HDMI connector
Input Devices: HP Slate Digital Pen (N-trig digitizer)
Dimensions: 5.91” x 9.21” x 0.58”
Weight: 1.5lbs
Included Accessories: Docking Station, Leather Folio, and Stylus Pen
Cost: $799

HP Slate 500 Docking Station

ACCESSORIES (Included)
Docking Stations / Cradle: A nice small compact device with folding leg that fits nicely in a bag. Includes two additional USB slots, HDMI, and additional audio jack.
Leather Portfolio: Case that the HP Slate fits nicely into that has a front facing cutout and back cutout for the cameras.
Digital Pen: Stylus pen that contains AAAA batteries with a right click button.
Software: EVERNOTE is loaded, but with an out dated version.  It is free software so updating it is easy.  What is nice is there is no other bloat ware installed.

BUILD
The back of the HP Slate is a nice rubberized material with a diamond pattern, which gives the Slate a great grip. The Slate has a nice solid feel and is a great fit in your hands.  At 1.5lbs it is very light in weight.  Slides very nicely in my bag.  The Slate internals are enclosed and are not accessible.  The Slate is very quiet as well without fans.  Huge knock on the TC1100, very noisy fan.  GRADE: A

PERFORMANCE
Unfortunately the Windows Experience Index rates the Slate at a 2.4 which is determined by the lowest score of the gaming graphics.  The next lowest score was the processor (2.7).  The Slate has an Atom processor which is similar to what is in a typically netbook.  The boot time is rather quick compared to my work laptop and the 2gb of memory and 64gb SSD Disk are rather nice and make it pretty snappy.  GRADE: B
Windows Experience Index

BUTTONS
There are five buttons located on each side and on the top. The button on the left side is the keyboard button. On the top are the volume buttons, the home button, and the CTRL-ALT-DEL button. On the right side is the power button along with a screen rotation lock switch.  GRADE: A

SCREEN
The display size is 8.9” and is the brightness is very adequate.  I have heard of people on TabletPCReview forum stating that they have experienced some scratching on the glass.  I installed a NuShield DayVue Screen Protector to protect and prevent the scratches.  The screen protector did help a little with the loud sounds the digitizer pen makes.  Not sure how the Graphics can score a 4.4 and the Gaming graphics score a 2.4. GRADE: C

BATTERY
The battery is not accessible, so there is no way to change it out if it goes bad.  You will need to send it in to HP for them to change it.  There is a year warranty on the battery so we’ll see if this is a problem.  HP claims the battery is up to 5 hours and I can confirm that the battery lasts that long.  I just recently was at a conference and used it for taking notes in OneNote and some light web browsing and it lasted close to the 5 hours of use.  I have noticed that it does take a long time to charge the battery back up to full strength and the battery meter sometimes does not accurately update real time.  GRADE: B (Not accessible)

POWER ADAPTER
Huge flaw in this device is the non-standard power plug.  Use the same plug for the docking station.  Have to hack a power cable to build a cable for Energizer battery pack because there is not a standard plug.  GRADE: D

INKING
The HP Slate uses N-trig pen and driver (Driver version 1.26.8.45 & Firmware version 4.7.27.24.15).  This is my first time using N-trig and I am not impressed at all.  The TC1100 uses Wacom and it is a far better inking experience.  This is really my biggest gripe because inking is my primary use of the slate.  Also, the pen noise is terrible.  It makes a very loud clicking sound when inking.  The contact of the nib inside the pen shaft.  Note: Highly recommend setting the Digitizer to auto mode so you do not get any false palm touches.  Being a left hander I was initially having issues when writing with my hand rubbing across the screen as I was writing.  Auto mode enable you to switch quickly between either pen or touch screen by using a double-tap anywhere on the screen.  GRADE: D

TOUCH
The multi-touch uses the N-trig DuoSense interface.  I am new to the multi-touch and this is such a huge win for this device.  One thing that I have noticed is the pinch zoom in and out is not as fluid as the iPad, but not a show stopper.  IE9 rocks with multi-touch.  GRADE: B

MISC
The Slate includes a front (VGA) and rear facing (3MP) camera/video.  The quality of the rear camera is better than the front facing.  Sad to see the lack of a Ethernet port in the device or the docking station (Wireless only).  I was successful in using a USB to Ethernet port from the docking station and it worked great so it is a workaround.  I have not tried out the HDMI port on the docking station, but a nice option to attach to an external monitor or connect to HD TV if you wanted.  GRADE: B

OVERALL
The pluses are the size, weight, and battery life.  My main negatives would be the pen digitizer (N-trig) and processing power.  Overall I would give the HP Slate a solid B grade.

RECOMMENDED CHANGES FOR NEXT GENERATION OF SLATE
1. Better pen digitizer.  The pen noise is horrible.  Make the pen longer.  The battery in the pen makes the pen not very balanced in the hand.  Recommend WACOM!!!!
2. Better power plug that is a standard type plug.
3. Faster CPU that includes TPM Chip for BitLocker maybe even 64bit.  Windows Ultimate instead of Professional for the BitLocker.
4. Harder Glass to prevent scratching.
5. Ethernet plug in the docking station.