scribbles tagged ‘surface’

Unubiquitous computing

Saturday, August 15th, 2015 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Very excited about my first trip to India (Bangalore).  I’ve got a ‘Tripit’ account because it leverages other corporate software systems for travel. Tripit’s got an App on my iPhone (work supplied, OBVIOUSLY!) and my personal windows phone and…..

I made the technology-ignorant assumption that if I could use an App on my Windows phone, there would be an equivalent for my windows surface…. they’re both windows mobile devices….

Silly me

Must remember that technology rarely meets use expectations of the technically naïve

So I’ll be sat at the airport during icky layovers (New Jersey on the way out, Mumbai on the way back) using my surface to read and surf the nets for pleasure but my tripit notifications will be coming through whichever phone I’ve decided to turn on

Unubiquitous computing
1 vote rating 5

4 bits of fabulous banter »

rough surface

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Since September 2013 I’ve been using a surface pro 1

4 frowns (NO! It’s just wrong) 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁  Rating scale explained

In 20yrs of buying computers, this computer ranks as my single worst computer purchase. Expensive and ‘unfinished’.  The Microsoft surface range is already on Version3 and the company no longer manufactures compatible power-cables – that fail within 8 months anyway.  My current power cable has just died. This means I either have to get a new PC or try another power cable made by someone other than Microsoft. The last non-Microsoft produced power cable I tried lasted all of 2 months.

Furious, I was

When I first got the thing the software was all buggy, it took nearly a year of updates to get that working smoothly.

During skype-calls with mum, progressively we encountered problems where she could hear me, I couldn’t hear here her. Rebooting my surface solved the problem. Sigh.

The top volume has always been a bit too quiet for listening to music or watching films. I’ve been using a jambox to get a better volume but the sound keeps cutting-out, even when the Jambox is physically connected to the surface. It gives the impression that the hardware was too poor quality for sound production.

What to do now?

Microsoft will give me (up to) $150 trade-in on my current surface if I can take the risk that they’ve actually acted to change all the problems with the surface 1.  I’ll get a year’s free subscription to office 365 and free upgrade to windows 10 when it’s released.  Windows upgrades are not something that I enjoy spending half my weekend doing… I’m not sure $150 will cover the inconvenience because I have to mail them my old surface for them to assess if I’m entitled.  That means…

  • finding packaging, wrapping it, taking it to the post office, paying for the mailing.
  • Worst of all, that means being without a personal computer for how long? Days? Weeks?
  • I don’t get the advantage of checking the contents of my old computer against the contents of my new one

Oddly, there is still a risk I might buy a surface pro 3. I call this risk ‘optimism’ and a belief that Microsoft learns quickly from it’s mistakes..

Really, I don’t want a sensible plan, I want a new computer NOW!

rough surface
4 votes rating 3

3 bits of fabulous banter »

cloudy backup

Sunday, October 12th, 2014 | tags: , , , , ,  |

What documents and technology should I:

  • Carry with me as hand luggage when relocating to Minneapolis?
  • Check into the hold – have ready when I arrive
  • Ship in the container with my furniture – will probably go into storage and I could be without for months

I’m sorting through my paper files today. Obviously I’ll carry my Surface, and the internet, provide access to much of the critical information. But not all. While thinking about what documents are critical I decided to backup my Surface, it’s got useful documents stored locally – photographs, resumes, a blog back-up etc

I looked for the “Windows Easy File Transfer”, this had helped me transfer some of my windows content from my last PC to this one. Discovered that it only allows you to transfer stuff ONTO the surface, not for use as backup or a way of transferring stuff to a new Surface. Explored the backup options and they all use the ‘Sky Drive’. Looks like the Skydive saves all my computer settings but not any files I’ve stored locally. Pain in butt.

Now I’m using what looks like the old windows backup to ‘copy’ all my files on an external drive.

Replacing this surface with another one *should* be relatively easy. Moving between service providers, for example from Microsoft to Apple would be painful by comparison.

rate wendys scribble

2 bits of fabulous banter »

Out of State

Monday, May 19th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

Surface power adapter exploded – sparks everywhere.  Just before I went to the airport for a long, long trip. A quick l;ook online shows that these power adapters are getting poor customer reviews for lasting, like mine, under 1 year. Tush and Pah!

Dixons at LHR doesn’t sell Surface power adapters. At Atlanta airport, none of the 4 technology outlets sold surface power adapters. It’s still covered by a warrantly but all my documentation is at home so that’s no use to me. I’ve ordered one online for delivery to the hotel. 1-3 days. I hope it arrives before I leave for my next destination. Amazon’s tracking service makes it look likely 🙂

TrackingI suspect a dearth of posts for about 3 weeks, but dont worry, my camera is working overtime and the stories are flooding in …

Out of State
2 votes rating 4.5

4 bits of fabulous banter »

Buying a computer in John Lewis’s

Monday, February 10th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

We wandered around the computer displays.

Wendy: which one do you like mum?

Mumsie: I can only choose based on how they look dear

Wendy: They’ll all work for what we want them to do, so that’s an ok way to choose

Mumsie: This one has a big space-bar, I want a big space bar. Why is that one [an Apple] so expensive?

Wendy: It’s for people who like showing off that they can pay a lot for their computer, I can’t help you with using that one, I can help you using with all the others.

The large store was very busy in January. We asked for an assistant and were put in a notional queue, we browsed while we waited for an assistant.

Assistant: How can I help you?

Mumsie: I don’t know, we want a computer with a keyboard

Wendy: Mumsie wants to do emailing, share her digital pictures, use Facebook and write the WI minutes. And I don’t want to push her into getting anything she doesn’t feel comfortable with

Mumsie: Oh, is that what we want?!

Assistant: You want a Surface RT, it comes with Microsoft Office installed for writing your minutes

Mumsie: Wendy, is that the ‘Word’ thing that I use? I just copy last month’s minutes and make small changes each month

Wendy: Yes mumsie [turns to assistant] Do any of the others have a version of word installed, and how much would it cost to add Word [annoyed because my surface pro didn’t come with any version of Office, just the option to purchase the full version]?

Assistant: Only the surface comes with Office installed, it is a reduced version but should be sufficient for your Mum’s needs. You’d have to buy and install it on other Windows8 machines

He started talking about Bluetooth and other technical features at this point and I could see mumsie getting disengaged.

Wendy: can mum have a go with it?

He took us to see three Surfaces, each with a different coloured keyboard. Mumsie really liked the keyboard because it had a decent space-bar, but mostly because it was backlit so the letters on the keys were really easy to see. We bought the surface because the value for money and enabling mum to keep using word was important.  Then on with the shopping, we wandered off to look at the winter coats. Mumsie carried the surface easily around the store as we continued browsing. Nice. It was like buying a computer had become just another thing you buy on a shopping trip. A bit scary for mum, but it was my money so it all went smoothly. The package even fitted under the table in John Lewis’s café as we stopped to treat ourselves to coffee and cheesecake. Mum doesn’t use a walking stick, but if she did she would have been able to carry the surface easily around John Lewis’s. Well done.

I was a bit scared about how right the Surface RT would be for her, I would soon find out, but that’s another blog post…

Buying a computer in John Lewis’s
3 votes rating 5

5 bits of fabulous banter »

Surface Pro first impressions

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

BoxedIn early September 2013 I bought a Microsoft surface. The box is firm, strong and its easy to both see and feel what to do next, pull the white box out from the darker gray box. It’s a tight fit, but smoothly pulls out revealing a continuation of the simple branding, without the typical set of legal, feature, geeky must-know information. Nice.

Lid offThe white box is opened by a lid, again it’s obvious and easily turned back to open. No latch or catch used because it’s not needed with the sleeve design lf the gray box. Pleasingly simple, it feels like playing pass the parcel with myself, and I’m almost at the prize… The inside of the lid is the same bright blue as the logo on the outside.

The surface is right there, wrapped in a shiny cellophane wrapper, not necessary but I loved being able to see it and having yet another level of the present unwrapping feeling. The power cable was wrapped in the same shiny cellophane, given the same gift status as the actual surface. They were Out Of the Box (OOBE) and plugged in within the minute.

Shiny packagingAt first I barely noticed the paper user-guide and electronic pen placed under the surface. I didn’t need to notice. The power cable had ‘snapped’ into position on the surface, there was only one place it could go and they were literally magnetically attracted, no need for me to be dextrously precise in placing it. Ooh! NICE! Below the surfaceOnly 2 buttons on the Surface, one looks like volume so the other must be power. I pressed both as I reached for what I presumed was either a user manual or quick start guide. It turned out to be a 3 page, concertinaed quick start guide labelling all the external hardware features. Easily digested, superfluous yet comforting.

I turned away from the packaging and logged into the surface using my ancient Hotmail account, it was so smooth, quick and immersive that I didn’t take any photographs and was finished in a couple of minutes, relaxed in my comfy chair, exploring the possibilities

Quick start guideThere were some minor demo’s of interactions that showed how to find the side controls and search, the bottom of screen controls and the stuff on the right. Possibly some more, I can no longer remember if I was told about or discovered the pinches, flicks, pulls and long-presses. They’re not intuitively discoverable so someone, sometime must have shown them to me.. ready to goIt wasn’t long until I white screened, while loading my thousands of photographs up to the SkyDrive, which couldn’t cope.

I twitted about this and then got into a frustrating bug-diagnosis discussion with the surface twitter feed. Oh dear, a great start, packaging, went down hill dramatically quickly as the expensive device demonstrated poor usability performance and ill thought-out social media use which merely inflamed my situation. I didn’t learn, over the next few weeks. I had several frustrating interactions with Surface twitter who asked me questions I wasn’t able to answer, making me feel stupid, and not making any noticeable progress to solving my problem. Compiling the anti-climax of my first experience.

Alas, Mumsies experience this January went downhill from when we turned the power on, but that’s another blog post…

Surface Pro first impressions
5 votes rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

car over football

Sunday, January 12th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

what does it mean?Mumsie: But how do I keep the email address so that I can find it again?

Wendy: You can ‘Save’ it in an address book on your computer. Can you see anything here that suggests ‘save’ or ‘keep’?

Mumsie: No

I look at the symbol of the floppy disk and wonder what dipstick in the Microsoft visual design icon set development team thought that a floppy disk would be meaningful to youngsters who’ve never seen one and oldies like mum who’ve never used one. While I can’t imagine a universal symbol for ‘save’, ‘keep’ or ‘store’, this symbol clearly misses the mark now and will miss the mark even more with the younger generations to come.

Wendy: What does that look like?

Mumsie: the car driving over the football?

Wendy: Yes! Brilliant, that’s exactly what it looks like, a ‘hummer’!

Mumsie: What’s a ‘hummer’? Someone in a choir who’s forgotten the words?

She’s quickly learnt the symbol now I’ve told her that it means ‘save’, the car saving the goal strike. Mumsie is very bright. Gotta love her and question who was recruited by the windows 8 user testing team to test the legibility of this icon.

car over football
5 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

Surface Super FAIL

Saturday, September 7th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

The default (Microsoft) App for

  • mail crashes everytime I paste a link into an email, which is for most emails
  • calendar crashes every time I paste a link into a calendar invitation

Surface shipped too soon. I’m not a Beta tester, I paid full price for this half-baked product. Those are bugs that should have been found during the internal use, before even going to Beta testing or Preview. I’m Furious and want to return the machine and get my money back. Meanwhile, @surface behaves as if my anger is an opportunity to uncover the bug reproduction steps, to waste my time on something they should already know because its such a consistent behaviour. How to make a furious Wendy fume even more!

twittersurface

Surface Super FAIL
1 vote rating 4

3 bits of fabulous banter »