>He’s a learned man, our Dr. Neil. A man of focus, passion and determined to be of significance. Ironically we met in the elevator of an apartment block my wife and I inhabited. It was 2001 and we were living in the beachside suburb of Dee Why, found on the Northern Peninsula of Sydney. I’d just completed my MCP and was feeling optimistic and invigorated. My first encounter with Dr. Neil wasn’t as memorable for me as I’d now like to recall, but it was eventful. I know that we connected at an umbilical level and shortly formed a sibling like relationship that would later encircle both our partners and my son Leon.

Four years on and Dr. Neil was in the country for yet another short stint. He’d left several messages that I’d ashamedly not replied to. Finally on the third day we connected and were able to talk. “I’ve got to come and see you”, he says, “There’s something you need to see”.

Fidgeting and restless, Dr. Neil hurriedly ate his meal. “I’ve got to show you that thing I told you about”, he proclaims wile masticating his last mouthful. We head to the lounge room and gather around an ottoman, dishes left idle at the dining table.

Falling in love, an event witnessed by many, is an emotion sometimes impetuous, sometimes cruel but always potent. Not knowing that my still rather untamed passion for IT was about to have a very rude awakening, I sat and waited. Dr. Neil ripped open the Velcro clad slip case and slid out the most attractive, most visually satisfying computer hardware I’d ever seen – a Tablet PC, and in this case the iTablet Slate PC.

iTablet Slate PC, now known as the Sahara in Australia

As unaware as I had been about the event about to unfold, I was also now unable to reply to this assault on my senses. “It’s a Tablet PC I found in the U.S”, he states, while simultaneously booting the device and ceremoniously drawing the digitizer pen from the screen itself. I found myself awed by the device and find it extremely difficult to contain my enthusiasm.

Dr. Neil Roodyn studied Software Architectures for Real Time Systems at University College London, for which he received a PhD, and is a Microsoft Tablet PC MVP; he’s an Author of two Tablet PC e-books and a textbook on Extreme Programming for .NET. We spent the rest of the evening going through the intricacies, the pro’s and con’s and a brief history of the device. I know that evening left a huge impact on my life as I’ve since become an owner of three different tablets, sampled tones of them and more recently got involved with distributing the devices in Australia and New Zealand. Had I known that Dr. Neil would have such a grand influence that very evening I probably would have spit polished my shoes, vacuumed, mopped and perhaps showered…oops. I’m forever indebted to that elevator in Dee Why and perhaps blessed in ways yet to become apparent. I know that Tablet PC, in all its majestic printed circuitry, is a device yet to make the splash it intended. When that splash eventually turns into a ripple however, and later a Tsunami, I’ll be surfing the bastard for all it’s worth!

  • Have you met Dr. Neil Roodyn?
  • Do you remember the first time you played with a Tablet PC? (kind of like, where were you when JFK was shot? or Princess Diana was killed?)
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