Amid all the recent hype about the Microsoft Tablet PC and handwriting recognition, here's a sobering thought: Who needs these things? Most people have horrible handwriting, and indeed, all the examples of onscreen writing that I saw at COMDEX last year were miserable. Furthermore, most people can type much faster than they can write, so the Tablet PC's note-taking capabilities are an occasional benefit at best. All in all, I'm not so sure that the Tablet PC makes any sense. The only unit that people seemed truly excited about was Acer's "convertible" model; you can spin the screen around and latch it in place so that you can use the device as a laptop. The most telling news about the Tablet PC: Dell, the number-one PC maker, isn't making one. Neither is Gateway, IBM, nor Hewlett-Packard (HP). The bottom line: A big gap exists between cool and useful.