It was predictable, even inevitable, yet I was ashamedly caught unawares. While there are a lot of happier Tablet users out there, the complaints about the new TabletPC Experience Pack (TEP) are, nevertheless, rolling in.
There are the usual installation problem and usage complaints, but the most poignant issue (to me, anyway) comes from the Tableteers who are running non-English language versions of the TabletPC OS. As yet, there is no Experience Pack for them, and they cannot use ours, as the TEP installer checks for an English OS and will not install if the operating system does not meet the requirements. Some Tablet users question the need for this kind of exclusivity, especially when they have reported that they have been able to install and run the individual PowerToys Microsoft provides (a couple of these PowerToys received improvements and enhancements for the Experience Pack). Others can accept that Microsoft will release new stuff in their native language before getting around to the rest of the world--if they decide to do so--but were left wondering why Microsoft would remove the original Snipping Tool from the PowerToys download site; such a move would seem to imply that it's no longer needed by anyone, English speaking or not. I did notice that the original New York Times Crossword Puzzle PowerToy has also disappeared from the page; I cannot recall noticing any complaints about that, but it is reasonable that fewer people would miss a game, as opposed to a valuable tool that enhances the functionality of a penabled computer.
It's been said that the TabletPC, no overnight sensation here in the States, is virtually invisible in other parts of the world. Here's hoping that Microsoft will soon do even more to encourage the faithful everywhere. For many of us, the Experience Pack is significant encouragement, but there is no denying that there is more to be done. It's not just a question of making the users you have happy; it's a matter of helping us show the unconvinced just what makes this form factor so essential.