In 1997 I bought an e–tablet from A.T. Cross, the pen company. Codeveloped with IBM, the CrossPad was hailed as a breakthrough product that would open up a whole new category—portable digital notepads. I'm a copious notetaker, so the idea of turning my scribblings into digital files was too good to pass up.
Truth is, I'm not so much an early adopter as an easy mark. Who was I to argue with “Ozzie” Osborne, head of IBM's Pen and Speech Business Systems business unit, when he declared that the CrossPad would “redefine how users perceive pen and paper?”1 So I ran out and bought the CrossPad, but a month later, it was sharing shelf space with all the other “revolutionary” products that had promised to change my life but somehow ...