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March 18th, 2009
11:38 pm
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Product recommendation
Back in the ancient, crazy days of 2002, I bought a graphics tablet for a very reasonable price. It plugged into those newfangled USB port things, and only one of my computers had a USB card installed, but (even on a Mac) I ran it with almost no trouble. The included software worked well, the drivers caused no issues, the plugins for my graphics programs integrated excellently and took full advantage of the tablet's pressure sensitivity, and the hardware was sturdy. I doubt I used it enough to justify the purchase price, but it was an awesome toy and I'm glad I bought it.

Today I dragged the tablet down out of the attic. It has survived two moves and seven years of sloppy handling. It has outlived two computers and seven OS upgrades. I surfed to the manufacturer website, discovered the tablet is still actively supported, downloaded current drivers for OSX, rebooted, and it's performing like it came home from the store yesterday. There's even a handwriting recognition feature that I haven't yet played with.

Ironically, my computer is too old to use my 2002 tablet at full efficiency. My only installation issue is that The GIMP for Mac OS X doesn't have pressure sensitivity support, because the underlying X11 environment for OS 10.4.11 won't recognize the device as a tablet (which they fixed in OS 10.5). With a commercial drawing program, I'd be set.

So, I would like to wholeheartedly endorse Wacom for their breathtaking awesomeness. This sort of computer peripheral product longevity is unheard of, and if you have any use for a drawing tablet whatsoever, they deserve your business.

Current Location: ~/Brainstorm
Current Mood: impressedamazed
Current Music: Brainpool, "Who's That Man?"
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(9 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:March 19th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC)
Part of it is Wacom tablets just haven't changed much. The Bamboo (or however they spell it) is just the same classic $100 tablet Wacom has always made, just with a different surface.

It's an "if it ain't broke" situation.

Also, Wacom tablets are USB HID devices, and they adhere to the standard flawlessly.

It isn't that surprising, considering who Wacom makes their tablets for and the prices they charge for them.
Date:March 19th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)
In re:
"Also, Wacom tablets are USB HID devices, and they adhere to the standard flawlessly."

This has been my experience as a linux-wacom user, which the company openly supports. Given the generic nature of their devices, I'm surprised they don't have more competition than they do.
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Date:March 19th, 2009 09:07 am (UTC)
I have to agree, Wacom is great. My tablet suffered brutal abuse -- I spilled drinks on it, traveled with it in backpacks and suitcases, and dropped it on the floor so hard that the digitizer case cracked open on numerous occasions, and I drew on it so much that it had no fewer than 15 individual holes worn into the surface -- and it still worked for six years. It outlived two computers, and Wacom still gave me fantastic technical support even though the warantee had long since expired. Thumbs up!
Date:March 19th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
This about summarizes how I treated my Graphire 2.

According to Wacom's site, I picked mine up sometime in 2001/2002. It survived falls, cracks, travel, and the odd Mountain Dew (!) without giving up the ghost. I ultimately cleaned it up and gave it to a friend when I upgraded to a larger tablet. As far as I know, it's still in service.


@rah-bop: Do you use said wacom to make these?
Date:March 19th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Correction: Graphire 3, not 2. So the timeline is actually 2003/2004.
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Date:March 21st, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
I did! Er, the digital illustrations, at least!
Date:March 21st, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
That's really neat! To many more on that hardy little tablet, then. :)
Date:March 19th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
That IS impressive. Also, much much love for GIMP, which I've been using since I can't remember when. I've learned a ton about graphics from that program.
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Date:March 20th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, the graphire hasn't changed much. They've got a patent of some sort which prevents competition, so the price hasn't changed much either.
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