One of the only e-publishing conferences of 2002 survived snow and a smoke alarm as it tried to breathe life into a wheezing industry. The conference, which revolved around Microsoft's heavily promoted Tablet PC and was organized by the Open eBook Forum, drew 300 to the McGraw-Hill building in New York. The Tablet PC is Microsoft's latest big bet and seeks to merge the portability of a palmtop with the power of a laptop.

While geared to the technologically aware, the conference offered practical ideas on how a lightweight machine with sharp display can be utilized by various media businesses. The presentation featured demos of the machine and discussions on the uses for, and consequences on, the publication of newspapers, books and magazines. People like AOLTW's Kelly Leonard talked about the advantages that a Tablet PC could bring, such as the ability to reproduce illustrated books.