Un Hack de folie: le i-Tablet

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Joseph DeRuvo est un peu fêlé: quand il veut quelque chose il l’obtient coûte que coûte :)
Il veut une Tablet PC à base de Macintosh et comme cela n’existe pas, il a décidé de s’en créer une à partir d’un iBook ! Vu que MacOS X intègre des composants ink directement issus du moteur de reconnaissance du Newton, il lui a suffi de soucher une dalle Wacom et de supprimer le clavier.

Bon c’est pas aussi simple que cela et comme pour le moment le pauvre site web de l’auteur est down car il s’est fait Slashdoté, aussi je vous ai mis dans la suite, le texte intégral (sans les photos) de l’article.

Le texte complet de l’article:

Contributed by Joseph DeRuvo Jr. Friday, 10 December 2004

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Close to 12 years ago I caught wind of an Operating System called PenPoint. This was one of the first pen driven operating systems out there. I had contacted them and spoke of how so many people had been left out of the technological revolution and I had thought it was due to the awkwardness of the current state of hardware and software design. At that time I would have hoped Apple would have risen to the challenge to develop a Tablet but as it turned out it was Microsoft who took the chance.

Working with a computer all day long, I have to say that there is nothing quite as pretty as OS X. It is by no means perfect, as a Photographer running 4 Epson printers and depending on the quality of output, it is a continuous frustration and I am afraid the fault lies with Apple not Epson.

As a Photographer and a Dyslexic the idea of being able to use a Tablet as a platform for showing photographs, editing, and an extension of my badly organized memory is very appealing. I had purchased an early QBE, which I was happy with, except for the problem of going between the QBE and all my other desktops which are Apples, it was always the odd man out, in addition to the frustration of finding cross platform software. So taking matters into my own hands I cut into a Dual USB iBook and didn’t look back.

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The first thing to consider is what I needed it to do. As a Wedding Photographer I needed something that would serve me in the field, so it needed to have:
-A built in Compact Flash Card reader
-Firewire (USB would be to slow)
-Two built in hard drives (so that the flashcard could be written to both at the same time)
-Extra Firewire ports for external hard drives and DVD burners.
-Bluetooth built in for keyboard and mouse when needed
-touch screen and the driver board for it.

Some functions I wanted to keep intact:
built in mouse click
on off switch
built in CD burning
good air port reception
mic for voice recognition
ability to put it into sleep mode when I close the cover

Putting it all together I have to thank God wasn’t so bad, miracles happen everyday.

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The first problem was how to make it touch sensitive. I obviously had thought of going with Wacom but, using their technology would require a different screen configuration which would make it more difficult. Thank God I had found out about Troll Touch, they were a pleasure to work with. Troll Touch are makers of touch screens for Kiosks. They were one of the few manufactures that had a driver written for OS X, the digitizer sits in front of the screen and is touch sensitive, while the driver board runs through a USB port. A resistive digitizer is good and bad, it means you can use your finger to navigate and click, even ink will recognize your hand writing, but you do not have the full functionality of what a Wacom tablet will give you.
The second problem was how to fit all this inside. I had acquired the shell of a dead iBook so with that I took the top plate and used it as a spacer. Recognizing that I had no need of a keyboard I pulled that out making room for the extra hard drive and slot for the flash card reader. I also had to make room for a USB and Firewire hub in the shell. Not to make light of all this but it is a creative process, like baking bread, there is a recipe but, there is also some room for making it up as you go along. After opening the thing up and figuring out where everything will fit, I started to look into removing the screen and hinges. I also came to the (frightening) realization that to get the hubs to fit and not have their cables running from the outside I would have to de-solder the USB and Firewire ports and solder the hubs directly to the mother board.
Next I needed to figure out how to get the screen in place, thinking of a picture frame, I took the original cover from the iBook and cut a window into it, and in essence reverse mounted the screen into the cover. I built up a frame that would allow me to attach the cover and spacer to the bottom unit where the bulk of the workings are. In all that’s about it, nothing really that high tech, more prayer and patience than anything else.

Once again the idea of a Tablet Slate is a good one. I believe that people need to be made aware of all that can be done with them. To recognize that the Tablet opens the door to a level of creative and collaborative computing that will look very different than what we have been use to seeing. I am not talking about another appliance or gadget I am talking about a technology that will change how teachers interact with students how artists interact with their canvases, how people will communicate with each other. This is not an issue of inventing technology that does not yet exist, this just is a matter of having vision and a willingness to show people that things can be done differently.
We do have to give Microsoft credit for making that effort. Their website makes information available for teachers who want to integrate Tablets into the classroom. I know we all like to bash Windows (and for many good reasons) but let us look objectively and give credit for what has been done well. I for one am praying that Tiger will correct some of the printing problems. Better support for EXIF info and sorting at the OS level would also be greatly appreciated.
In all honesty, doesn’t it seem that Apple should have been at the forefront of this? Isn’t it time that Apple offers something to give us a choice? I know they say that the person who is at the cutting edge usually has bloody fingers, but PLEASE Mr. Jobs! We’re all waiting…

One last note

This whole post was done on the i-Tablet

I have been walking around class while teaching, having coffee with my wife and children, and getting much assistance from the fine people here at MacMod.

Ever see people with laptops trying to balance the machine in one arm

while typeing and mouseing with the other

Enough said thank you all for your time

Joseph DeRuvo Jr.


le i-Tablet: le Tablet PC à base de Macintosh

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