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(Slate)   Reviewer trying to figure out why Microsoft's new Surface tablet is such a dud. Let's see... it's made by Microsoft and... we have it all figured out. You're welcome   (slate.com) divider line 129
    More: Obvious, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Research, Kindle Fire  
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4401 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Nov 2012 at 8:37 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-06 03:49:16 PM
My laptop crapped out a couple of months ago and I can do most everything I need to on my phone except word documents and spreadsheets. I am not the most tech savvy guy out there so I bring this to the Fark masses. All I need is something that will go on line, create word and excel documents, work with my printer and I would like it to have a USB and HDMI out. I have been holding out on buying a laptop because I was waiting for a tablet/laptop type device. I have never owned an Apple product but I am not necessarily against it. Is the Surface a good choice for my limited needs? What about the Ultrabook? Any suggestions?
 
2012-11-06 04:10:04 PM

titwrench: My laptop crapped out a couple of months ago and I can do most everything I need to on my phone except word documents and spreadsheets. I am not the most tech savvy guy out there so I bring this to the Fark masses. All I need is something that will go on line, create word and excel documents, work with my printer and I would like it to have a USB and HDMI out. I have been holding out on buying a laptop because I was waiting for a tablet/laptop type device. I have never owned an Apple product but I am not necessarily against it. Is the Surface a good choice for my limited needs? What about the Ultrabook? Any suggestions?


Well, I would wait and see what other MS products shake out of the tree, and see what the App store gets like. The thing is, the app store DOES make a difference. And people have been very disappointed to find they cannot run native MS products on the Surface - it has to do with the ARM chipset. So wait for the non RT version, which will be Intel, and more compatible. While waiting, ask yourself what you want to do with it. Create your needs and wants list - what do you need as a dealbreaker? What would be nice to have?what is your existing ecosystem? does that matter? do you tie other things in, like external devices? what is your phone - do you like that?
Then, I would evaluate by:
- budget
- need
- nice : factors such as apps, programs
- the extras : bonus surprises (ereading? videos on the go? travel related usage?)

hth:)
 
2012-11-06 04:11:04 PM

titwrench: My laptop crapped out a couple of months ago and I can do most everything I need to on my phone except word documents and spreadsheets. I am not the most tech savvy guy out there so I bring this to the Fark masses. All I need is something that will go on line, create word and excel documents, work with my printer and I would like it to have a USB and HDMI out. I have been holding out on buying a laptop because I was waiting for a tablet/laptop type device. I have never owned an Apple product but I am not necessarily against it. Is the Surface a good choice for my limited needs? What about the Ultrabook? Any suggestions?


Get the cheapest laptop you can find that has an HDMI port.

Don't become one of those people who "need" a system with a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7, 16GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD drive just to check their e-mail or read their friend's inane "blogs".

Working with word documents and spreadsheets suck on a tablet (it can be done, but it sucks).
 
2012-11-06 04:18:05 PM
Thinking about getting a new Kindle Fire HD when those come out. I've wanted a tablet/e-reader for a while, and it seems like the best one for my needs. My husband is pushing me to consider the Nexus 7 (or Nexus 10, I guess), but I've not been that impressed with Google's tablets.

Is there anyone out there with a current Kindle Fire who can tell me if I'm making a huge mistake with that choice?

/Thanks in advance.
 
2012-11-06 04:22:11 PM
Ty both timelady and WhippingBoy. That helped. I think I might take WhippingBoy's suggestion of a cheap laptop to get my by until I see how this whole tablet thing shakes out. Instead of the best of both worlds I might get the worst of both. I am still drawn to the sexiness of the tablet but I might need to wait until they match my needs better.
 
2012-11-06 04:33:52 PM
So it's an overpriced, underpowered "me too" product? Sounds like it'll be a winner.
 
2012-11-06 04:46:23 PM

MrEricSir: So it's an overpriced, underpowered "me too" product? Sounds like it'll be a winner.


Yep, just like Windows, Office, Internet Explorer...

Complete jimmy-come-lately flops. It's a wonder Microsoft is still in business.
 
2012-11-06 04:47:03 PM

Icetech3: Umm.. yeah.. cause microsoft is a dud... That whole windows thing was a fad... that changed the entire world...

BUT that being said... if the surface would run android apps i would already own one...



Ask and ye shall receive
 
2012-11-06 05:26:49 PM
I want one. For the driver library. I'm in research. The apps I can bake on my own. The driver library is that thing's strength.
 
2012-11-06 05:30:04 PM

WhippingBoy: Get the cheapest laptop you can find that has an HDMI port.

Don't become one of those people who "need" a system with a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7, 16GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD drive just to check their e-mail or read their friend's inane "blogs".


I have one of those ...

but I play a lot of games at friend's houses.
 
2012-11-06 05:30:13 PM

thrasherrr: WinRT Apps fall into the categories of 'X86', 'X64', 'ARM', and 'Neutral'. Most app developers are picking 'x86' or 'Neutral' right now. That makes ARM specific apps a tiny minority.


Ah, got it. So it's probably a tradeoff of performance optimization vs. multiplatform compatibility?
 
2012-11-06 06:11:20 PM

Dissociater: It's windows 8, can't it run anything windows 8 can run?


People still aren't clear on the difference between "Windows 8" and "Windows 8 RT" and "Windows Phone 8", and that's why two of those are going to fail.
 
2012-11-06 06:28:53 PM

roflmaonow: We need a poll on FARK to see the breakdown of OS/Tech company allegiances are. At work I have a surprisingly good number of people who are OS neutral and having conversations regarding each unique OS with it's good or bad features is always a good discussion. I learn so much.

Most places online I read there just seems to be a bickering of MS vs. Apple with the occasional Linux user.


I use Windows 7 for my gaming PC, Ubuntu for my media server/DVR, and Android for my tablet. I'm familiar enough with Macs to troubleshoot problems for friends & family, but I don't use them myself. I don't have a problem with Macs, I just prefer other systems. I tend to choose whatever OS works best for the application I'm using, but the price point on Macs means I usually end up building a Linux system instead.

Most of the techie people I know follow that pattern, though a lot of them seem to really dislike Macs for some reason.
 
2012-11-06 06:30:26 PM

zarberg: WhippingBoy: Get the cheapest laptop you can find that has an HDMI port.

Don't become one of those people who "need" a system with a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7, 16GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD drive just to check their e-mail or read their friend's inane "blogs".

I have one of those ...

but I play a lot of games at friend's houses.


I'm not knocking them... some people genuinely utilize their full power.
 
2012-11-06 06:39:55 PM

titwrench: Ty both timelady and WhippingBoy. That helped. I think I might take WhippingBoy's suggestion of a cheap laptop to get my by until I see how this whole tablet thing shakes out. Instead of the best of both worlds I might get the worst of both. I am still drawn to the sexiness of the tablet but I might need to wait until they match my needs better.


If office stuff (spreadsheets, docs, powerpoint) are what you're missing, yes. I'll second the cheap laptop. If it's a Windows laptop (hard to find any other) and there's no version of Office installed, just install LibreOffice (OpenOffice of old). If it's not got Windows installed, then congratulations, and the LibreOffice recommendation still applies.
 
2012-11-06 06:49:57 PM
Related question: I remember seeing some sort of development on an Android app player for WinRT. Anyone remember seeing that somewhere? I know Bluestacks and AMD are doing something, but that's not what I'm looking for...
 
2012-11-06 07:09:24 PM

Malivon: There are so many ideas that could have been done...

A serious investment in flexible display and Kinect like controls when used at home, the office, or other setting. Though simple, one of those could have made a game changer. They didn't.

Everyone is copying/modeling another person's design. No innovation is going into these tablets as far as I can see.

Oh sure, there may be some innovation. The complete lack of jaw dropping innovation makes the current tablet market fall on its knees. They're popular now, but if it is anything like the Netbook drop, 2 - 3 years from now people will be tired of the tablet.


I agree with a lot of what you have said. People have forgotten that there were tablets 10 years ago lol. I honestly do not enjoy them very much and still prefer a laptop. Much in the same vein will be social networking and cloud storage after several more big hits/dox dumps and loss of their non-backed up life. I can't wait for it to make the final sweep so people get back to being non-AW dbags...hopefully lol.
I kind of think MS is taking the long view on this because they can afford to. What we are seeing now is living room dev and testing. I think everyone has a "not sure if you're serious" kind of feeling with 8 and metro right now. I mean it is okay, but how is it different than putting 9 large tiled folders or widgets on an empty win9x desktop with active desktop ;) Sorry, that got kinda windy-kidney stone meds. I hope you are right about the tablets is what I meant hehe.
 
2012-11-06 07:14:03 PM
I have experience with iPad 2 and 3, WebOS (HP Touchpad), and Android ICS (HP Touchpad). I test drove a Surface last week and will likely buy the Pro version. I agree with the reviewer that it feels heavier than it is. Beyond that it's a neat package. The OS interface is more intuitive than the iPad and it has room to grow and be used like a real computer instead of a big phone. I've never been an app fan so the current lack of apps isn't a problem. Hardware wise it is solidly built and the keyboard with the touchpad is something I have wanted for awhile. I wasn't able to do a side by side with an iPad 3 or 4 but the display impressed me. I didn't experience any of the slowness issues the wrter comments on. For me everything was smooth. It also made Windows 8 much more attractive to me. I tried the evaluation version and hated it. After test driving the surface I picked up the rhythm of the OS and got the upgrade on Saturday. So far it's working great on my laptop.
 
2012-11-06 08:12:21 PM

Cooper420: Terrible article.

As for the rest of you, please actually spend time on something if you're going to make comments. Reviews only take you so far and are usually a product placement or "nothing is better than Apple, here's another example of crappy competition"

Use the hardware, try it out... then make a reasonable opinion to share.


Manjoo is Slate's Ric Romero, but with less charisma. I hate everything he writes. I usually close articles on Slate if I open them up and see his name on them.
 
2012-11-06 10:10:57 PM

ManOfTeal: I would very much like to read a review about Microsoft Surface from someone who hasn't yet had experience with the iPad.

If you go in already having a benchmark. How can you be objective?


I'm sure that a pre-contact tribe from New Guinea would be quite impressed with the new Surface tablet running Windows 8.
 
2012-11-06 10:45:10 PM
I bought a Surface the day they came out. I bought the 64GB version which comes with the keyboard and paid for the better keyboard too.

The Surface has a USB port, a mini-SD slot, and mini-HDMI out. I love my Surface for on the go options. It even has a working Remote Desktop which is a boon as an IT guy. The Lync app for the RT version sucks. I cannot get it to connect to our Edge server at all. But I can live with that.

My boss and I both installed Windows 8 onto our work laptops and they work fine. We can run ConnectWise, Adobe Acrobat, mRemote and PuTTY, ScureCRT, Remote Desktop, vSphere client, attend WebEx meetings, and use Office, Lync, and Visio 2013 without any issues. And we love the look of Outlook 2013.

We're installing Windows Server 2012 onto ESXi 5.1 VMs and using them to run Lync Server 2013 and SharePoint 2013. We'd consider Exchange 2013 but Microsoft is making everyone wait until 2013 for the ability to actually migrate.

The amount of integration between Office 2013 and Lync is getting ridiculus but its all useful. I have to wonder who the hell needs OneNote-Lync integration but its available.

All in all, I am impressed with my Surface and Windows 8 on a non-touch system. People just need to learn to use Windows 8 and they might learn to love it too.

Regarding both Windows 8 and Server 2012, they really are fast at booting up, shutting down, and overall application responsiveness and speed.

I predict as more people actually bother to use Windows 8 the more people will start to embrace its simplicity.
 
2012-11-07 12:27:56 AM

Torese: I bought a Surface the day they came out. I bought the 64GB version which comes with the keyboard and paid for the better keyboard too.

The Surface has a USB port, a mini-SD slot, and mini-HDMI out. I love my Surface for on the go options. It even has a working Remote Desktop which is a boon as an IT guy. The Lync app for the RT version sucks. I cannot get it to connect to our Edge server at all. But I can live with that.

My boss and I both installed Windows 8 onto our work laptops and they work fine. We can run ConnectWise, Adobe Acrobat, mRemote and PuTTY, ScureCRT, Remote Desktop, vSphere client, attend WebEx meetings, and use Office, Lync, and Visio 2013 without any issues. And we love the look of Outlook 2013.

We're installing Windows Server 2012 onto ESXi 5.1 VMs and using them to run Lync Server 2013 and SharePoint 2013. We'd consider Exchange 2013 but Microsoft is making everyone wait until 2013 for the ability to actually migrate.

The amount of integration between Office 2013 and Lync is getting ridiculus but its all useful. I have to wonder who the hell needs OneNote-Lync integration but its available.

All in all, I am impressed with my Surface and Windows 8 on a non-touch system. People just need to learn to use Windows 8 and they might learn to love it too.

Regarding both Windows 8 and Server 2012, they really are fast at booting up, shutting down, and overall application responsiveness and speed.

I predict as more people actually bother to use Windows 8 the more people will start to embrace its simplicity.


Shill more!
 
2012-11-07 02:23:29 AM
What Microsoft would really like is for all the windows developers that are writing enterprise software to start writing that software for windows 8. Write once deploy across the enterprise on servers, desktops and mobile devices. Can they successfully convince corporate developers and enterprise ISVs to do ths? We will know very soon. If they can their App Store will fill up rather quickly with hardcore business apps.
 
2012-11-07 06:19:40 AM

sarajlewis83: Thinking about getting a new Kindle Fire HD when those come out. I've wanted a tablet/e-reader for a while, and it seems like the best one for my needs. My husband is pushing me to consider the Nexus 7 (or Nexus 10, I guess), but I've not been that impressed with Google's tablets.

Is there anyone out there with a current Kindle Fire who can tell me if I'm making a huge mistake with that choice?

/Thanks in advance.


I have both, so I think I can give an educated answer.

Get the Nexus 7 or the upcoming Nexus 10 if you want the larger tablet.
It's not that the Fire is bad, it's just that it's skinned so badly by Amazon.
There are ways to get around that, but it's still running ICS.
 
2012-11-07 08:49:30 AM

poot_rootbeer:
Shill more!


I am quite serious. Windows 8 and Server 2012 work amazingly well if you take the time to use them.
 
2012-11-07 12:30:13 PM

BullBearMS: If Microsoft wanted this to be anything other than a flop, there would be a version of Office with a touch interface, and Surface wouldn't have a bigger profit margin than iPad.


I really think comparing the surface to iPad isn't quite the way to go. It is more akin to the Nexus: it is a "gold" standard device, with the added understanding that Microsoft (as is usual) is beholden to the hardware partners to some degree.

Google doesn't operate under these constraints, since they give away Android for free. Google doesn't need to make a profit on software (or hardware), they monetize every transaction/search/function you do on their OS, through either data gathering and/or selling ads.

Microsoft makes money by selling their OS (and now their hardware). They can't undercut their partners on price, or there would be a existential threat to their larger business model. Look at it this way: Acer is already complaining that Microsoft is selling hardware, even though the hardware is priced at a healthy premium. If they start making products that take away from partner sales and they lose partners.

Apple doesn't operate this way, they don't need to worry about "partners", they own the entire pipeline for their product. The make money everywhere along the chain: hardware/software (consider it one and the same), apps, ads, content and even some of the Google type data.
 
2012-11-07 01:15:22 PM

Irregardless: What Microsoft would really like is for all the windows developers that are writing enterprise software to start writing that software for windows 8. Write once deploy across the enterprise on servers, desktops and mobile devices. Can they successfully convince corporate developers and enterprise ISVs to do ths? We will know very soon. If they can their App Store will fill up rather quickly with hardcore business apps.


As a .net developer, no.

There are a few problems that I'll try to explain.

1) you really can't develop an app that works for a Surface and a desktop. Apple understood this. The interface is different and when you're on a tablet, you want the Fisher-Price version that does the basics and on the desktop, you don't want to be babied with the Fisher-Price version.
2) Most enterprise development on .net is now web based. So, the UI toolkit that developers know is HTML, CSS and JS and jQuery. Not XAML. Despite it being "Microsoft", for Windows 8, almost every developer will have to tool up in XAML to write an app. Which also means that companies are more and more reluctant to use this stuff because finding the staff isn't easy.
3) Phonegap. Following on from 2, I'm actually more comfortable (despite being a Microsoft developer) with developing in Phonegap which uses HTML, CSS and JS, and anything on the backend in an ASP.NET MVC REST web service. And doing so allows me, as the developer to build a touch app that works on Android, iOS or Windows 8 with pretty much one code base.
4) Most enterprise software isn't "app store". You're often installing it for the client, or tweaking it for their needs, or you've consulted with them on how to integrate it into their business. Nothing that I've built in the past decade would go in an "app store".

Also, I think people need to understand that a lot of businesses don't care if they have MS tablets. Desktop matters because of the applications, but tablets are a different thing altogether. A friend of mine is selling tablet-based solutions to retail customers and they're using Thinkpad tablets running Android.
 
2012-11-07 01:19:45 PM

poot_rootbeer: Torese: I bought a Surface the day they came out. I bought the 64GB version which comes with the keyboard and paid for the better keyboard too. ... I predict as more people actually bother to use Windows 8 the more people will start to embrace its simplicity.

Shill more!


Yo, Torese, who's yer handler at Microsoft? I need to make a few extra bucks and am willing to shill for free hardware and software.
 
2012-11-08 08:51:24 AM

RyansPrivates: BullBearMS: If Microsoft wanted this to be anything other than a flop, there would be a version of Office with a touch interface, and Surface wouldn't have a bigger profit margin than iPad.

I really think comparing the surface to iPad isn't quite the way to go. It is more akin to the Nexus: it is a "gold" standard device, with the added understanding that Microsoft (as is usual) is beholden to the hardware partners to some degree.

Google doesn't operate under these constraints, since they give away Android for free. Google doesn't need to make a profit on software (or hardware), they monetize every transaction/search/function you do on their OS, through either data gathering and/or selling ads.

Microsoft makes money by selling their OS (and now their hardware). They can't undercut their partners on price, or there would be a existential threat to their larger business model. Look at it this way: Acer is already complaining that Microsoft is selling hardware, even though the hardware is priced at a healthy premium. If they start making products that take away from partner sales and they lose partners.

Apple doesn't operate this way, they don't need to worry about "partners", they own the entire pipeline for their product. The make money everywhere along the chain: hardware/software (consider it one and the same), apps, ads, content and even some of the Google type data.


Hi RP Thanks for straightening him out. BullBearMS is an Apple shill and resident paying troll. Just add his syphilitic pig raping arse to the ignore list along with GAT_00. You'll find Fark slightly more bearable.
 
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