Monday, April 19, 2010

Tablet PC Software, Installment 3

One of the more challenging areas of slate tablet pc usage is navigation. Transitioning from the keyboard and mouse to stylus and hardware buttons is not as natural as it could be. Moving up and down in a document or in a webpage can be painful when searching for that narrow scroll bar or that teensy scroll arrow. Moreover for left-handed users, reaching across the page with your arm, thereby obstructing one’s view of the contents of the page can be downright frustrating.

So what choice do we have?

Scroll Control.

Scroll Control is really merely a component of a larger program—InkSeine, by Microsoft Research-- which attempts to capitalize on the merits of stylus-in-hand tablet computing. The genius of the Scroll Control executable is that rather than confine your stylus to one are of the page (for instance, the scroll bar), the stylus can actually initiate a scrolling action from the scroll control, but control the scrolling activity from anywhere. The beauty of this refinement is the user can control the scrolling of his pages from where it is comfortable to do so—anywhere on the screen.

Like so many other tweaks to a power tablet user’s pc, the trick is to avail the utility when you want it, and with minimal fuss. Normally, Scroll Control will load whenever InkSeine is invoked. But I prefer to just pin a shortcut to the Scroll Control executable to the Windows task bar. Another option is to drop a link to the executable in the Windows Startup folder, whereby it will already be running soon after loading the Windows environment.

Give it a try! Scroll Control is available in InkSeine from Microsoft Research and is free for download.

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