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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
  1.  
    What if you have no pockets?
    • CommentAuthorthehard
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: pcstruthe sharp angles of the case aren't my idea of design elegance; a bit ... err ... German, imo.


    Actually, apple consists of German design + round corners.

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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    I said a while back that Windows 8 might make sense on a tablet. My initial impression of RT was that that was wrong. "W8 is actually worse on this piece of shit" would sum up my view after an hour, and that wasn't the low point. In fact while I was looking forward to getting the Surface, by the end of the first day the prospect of giving it a fair go was almost too much. I had to force myself to pick it up on Day 2 and not phone up to get my money back.

    The mechanisms of Windows (95, XP, 7 etc) are built around a mouse and pointer. You have precision (most people can use a mouse and put the tip of the pointer onto (or within pixel or two of) a pixel. Fingers just aren't that precise. Anyone who has used Windows Tablet edition will know that it was clunky even with a more precise pen as a pointer. But windows has a particular and outstanding strength - backwards compatibility. You can generally (yes, there are a few exceptions) run software from the previous generations of the OS on later generations. That means Windows - those bordered, tabbed, top menu'd stretchy or fixed boxes that pop up and obscure the lovely sunset you have as your desktop background. On a touch screen tablet that metaphor will be clunky at best.

    From that, I can see how Windows 8 came about. The decision to leave a desktop but provide 'Metro' (MDL) was essentially made before anyone even thought about it. Unless you abandon Windows and backward compatibility and start from scratch, then you have to have windows and unless you want a totally clunky piece of shit, you have to do something about the usability of that on a tablet.

    My biggest problem probably came from having used W8 on a laptop and as a VM. It doesn't work the same. On a laptop you use a mouse, and you touch, or approach the edges or corners to invoke particular functions. On the surface you swipe in from the edge. I'd also forgotten a lot and programmed myself to iPad and then Android gestures. Learning is actually a painful process. You are after all forcing physical structural changes in the brain. It's easy to become frustrated and disillusioned, even to get angry! It's not difficult to understand why people get passionately evangelical about iOS, Linux, MacOS, Android, etc. It's not that those things are perfect or even necessarily better than each other, but when people try something else, their first experience is pain and frustration - it's blindingly obvious to them that whatever they are coming from, it's better than "this shit". And telling someone they should give X a try, is very likely to result in entrenching their opinion if they do simply because the first impression is 'pain'.

    So I picked up the device on Day two with expectations at a fairly low point. My main use of these devices is browsing. Those aren't tumbling out of the windows store so it's IE10 or nothing but it works OK (flash aside). I did a bit of goggling for the gestures and took a few minutes to actually learn the basics. Generally I like the layout - when you are on a web page, there is nothing on screen but the page. Which makes it crisp and focused on the content. Swipe down from the top and you can switch between open pages or open up a new page. Swipe in from the right and get the so called 'charms' menu - a jump off to the start, search or settings places. Swipe from the left and switch between running apps or split the screen. Swipe up to get to the url box, refresh etc.

    Mail setup was fairly painless. Connecting to the works exchange server simply involved the email address and password. My personal email took a bit more tweaking and annoyingly mail presents POP3 as an option and then, on selecting it, tells you it doesn't do POP3. That's ... unpolished.

    [...cont]
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    One of the big selling points of this as a device has to be the inclusion of office. With full office retailing at £150 a pop, it's inclusion starts to open up the value of the device. Of course, it's not full office, it's Office RT - no macro's, no fat outlook client; it's just Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. More disturbingly - buried in the FAQ is a notice : "Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview and the final version are not for use in commercial, non-profit, or revenue generating activities". So fuck you if you wanted to use any of that in your job. Of course, you will be able to acquire an upgrade but a) it diminishes any additional value the inclusion of office has, b) it's not as some commentators would have it, a "non-issue" and c) I don't see how it is compatible with copyright law in the UK.

    The office apps are 2013 versions and not specifically MDL designed, so they will open into the old windows desktop. There are some nods to the difficulties people will encounter trying to drive (say) excel with a fat finger; selection blobs sit either side of a cell and a tap will bring up a quick menu for copy/paste and basic formatting. It all works OK and having a keyboard available does allow for some sensible working.

    Other apps are in short supply. Lastpass is there and useable, but not as slick as either the iPad or Android versions. Teamviewer was available but immature (no zoom seemed to be available so trying to manage a 1920x1200 screen from a 1366x768 was impossible). "Angry Birds - Star Wars" was prominently advertised but £3.49 is a huge premium over the iOS or android versions and I don't see how it is justified. These are early days for windows 'apps' so I'd expect things will change as competition increases, assuming of course it does.

    Overall, a few days with the device and I'm pretty neutral about it. It's an OK tablet, an OK net/notebook. I personally quite like the look of Windows 8 and despite some initial frustrations, it does work and quite well as a tablet interface. I'm not going to send it back and ask for my (well OK, my employers) money back but I think I would be hard pushed to advise anyone to actually buy one - simply because it's not particularly great value compared to what else is available. Perhaps that will change.
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      CommentAuthorgenesis
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    @pcstru

    so, it is not any good then...
  2.  
    There's only one question I have: Can the Surface be made to dual-boot to give the choice of a Linux computing environment, and the whatever-it-is drafty windows thing?

    Or is that "draughty" ?
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    Dual boot is so yesterday in a virtual world.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012 edited
     
    It sounds like an experience almost nobody not in the IT community and not forced to use it at work will want.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: genesis@pcstru

    so, it is not any good then...


    For what? Compared to what?

    I've clicked a bootloader into a PDP8, via dull orange and yellow duck billed dip switches. The lighting up of a single screen pixel once gave me more satisfaction than any throwaway 'app' ever will. All the computers in my life, from the Xeon based 24 core, 96GB vSphere hosts to the 8 pin Microchip devices simply fill me with shock and jaw drop awe. Some of them can beat me at chess.

    What is not to like about technology today?
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    Posted By: pcstruWhat is not to like about technology today?
    Sometimes the people who design it. Badly, frustratingly, annoyingly, incompetently, foolishly, and irrelevantly. Fortunately, some of it isn't that way. Much.
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      CommentAuthorgenesis
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    Posted By: pcstruFor what? Compared to what?
    in general - compared to it's rivals...
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: genesis
    Posted By: pcstruFor what? Compared to what?
    in general - compared to it's rivals...



    In general tablets are for consuming content. Surf the web, check email, watch video, play a game. Android, iPad, Windows - they can all do it. They all have their 'price'. I gave my iPad 3 to (a) stepdaughter assuming I would buy another one. I like the build quality. I like the maturity of the 'app' (I do hate that) base, I <sobs> loved the screen. I like the nexus for it's sexy file-o-fax size. There is just something about A5(ish)/'book' size that is nice - just usable. It's open too and more mature in software than I'd thought. I probably won't replace the iPad as long as I have the surface. I probably wouldn't buy a surface (personally) instead of an iPad *right now*. How one might look back on that in (say) three years (device 'life') - who knows.

    IMO it's so close you a) can't really go horribly wrong with any of the devices I've played with recently, b) to make a good call you really need to ask (and answer) "what *must* I be able to do with this", "what do *I* like" and "how much do I have to spend".
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    Posted By: maryyugo
    Posted By: pcstruWhat is not to like about technology today?
    Sometimes the people who design it. Badly, frustratingly, annoyingly, incompetently, foolishly, and irrelevantly. Fortunately, some of it isn't that way. Much.


    If only they knew what you know Mary. If only.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: pcstruIf only they knew what you know Mary. If only.
    Many know. Few give a shit about the end user, especially at MS. From the start, all they cared about was money. And, unlike Apple, they never saw that as very much correlated with pleasing the average user as long as corporations kept buying and manufacturers mandated including their products with new computers.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: maryyugo
    Posted By: pcstruIf only they knew what you know Mary. If only.
    Many know. Few give a shit about the end user, especially at MS. From the start, all they cared about was money. And, unlike Apple, they never saw that as very much correlated with pleasing the average user as long as corporations kept buying and manufacturers mandated including their products with new computers.
    Yeah, because big corporate buyers are just sooo much less demanding and easier to please than "the average user" ...
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    Next up, I'll be reviewing YugoOS Tablet edition. Soon!
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      CommentAuthoraber0der
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    Posted By: pcstruNext up, I'll be reviewing YugoOS Tablet edition. Soon!

    Will it have a Flash plugin?
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2012
     
    Posted By: DuracellYeah, because big corporate buyers are just sooo much less demanding and easier to please than "the average user" ...
    Big corporations assume they will need professional IT support in substantial quantities and a full time help desk setup. Individual users and small businesses can't afford on the fly help from Geek Squad and similar companies at $90+ an hour very much. They can't mass install upgrades and changes and application programs. They are stuck with Sam and Susie in India who always seem to want them to start by reformatting their hard drive. And that's if they can get ANYONE to help them without extra charges.
  3.  
    Posted By: pcstru
    Posted By: genesis@pcstru

    so, it is not any good then...


    For what? Compared to what?

    I've clicked a bootloader into a PDP8, via dull orange and yellow duck billed dip switches. The lighting up of a single screen pixel once gave me more satisfaction than any throwaway 'app' ever will. All the computers in my life, from the Xeon based 24 core, 96GB vSphere hosts to the 8 pin Microchip devices simply fill me with shock and jaw drop awe. Some of them can beat me at chess.

    What is not to like about technology today?


    Ah.... we are in the presence of a Real Programmer. I had no idea... I take my hat off to you Sir, and thank you once again for enabling this great forum.

    Isn't it time to take it off the PDP-8 though?
    ;)