Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tablet PC Tech: Fits and Starts

Warning! The following posting will be tedious and boring to all but the most dedicated of geeks who delight in the trials and tribulations of tech support.

The projector worked, the tablet worked, the teaching materials were prepped I was ready to go!

Or so I thought.

When I combined the materials, the tablet and the projector I was in for a surprise. The materials were developed and adapted for the tablet’s native screen resolution. When the tablet was connected to the projector, the tablet automatically switched to a lower resolution. The tablet’s pen interface then had to be recalibrated and that is when things started getting interesting. Whenever I tried to re-calibrate the tablet/pen interface to the lower resolution, the calibration would not proceed past the first tap. (Calibration involves tapping a series of targets on the screen with the stylus so that the screen is aligned with the pen’s input.) After attempting several permutations I decided it was time to call the vaunted Gateway tech support. Fast forward five days, 13 hours on the phone, and three levels of issue escalation to the loftiest and most rarified levels of Gateway tech support (where even the pocket protectors have pocket protectors) and I am told that the matter has been passed on to an even higher level of problem solvers who are so expert at solving problems, they never ever speak directly to regular people. I have been assured that when they solve this issue they will convey the solution to the highest levels of tech support (Moshe?) who will filter it down to the mid level tech support personnel (Zekainim?) who will someday tell the masses (i.e. me). Believing I was at a standstill, and stuck with a brand new tablet PC that would be as useful in the classroom as freeze-dried-iguana-paste, I decided to do some ole’ fashioned fiddling around and discovered a well hidden setting in the ATI graphics control panel that allowed the tablet can be calibrated at the lower resolution if the display is centered as opposed to stretched. This means I have nearly a one inch of black unusable space on either side of the TabletPC’s screen, but I am calibrated and can project!

So now I am good to go!

I will report on what the first week of Tablet PC based instruction was like in my next posting.


Elky Langer said...

A perfect portrayal of tech support in today's times!

In my case, the promised call back never came .. and I solved it myself with the old-fashioned Google search method.

Glad you finally got it to work!

Rav Aaron Leibowitz said...

I am considering a tablet pc for teaching purposes - how has you hebrew experiance been? Aaron Leibowitz