Microsoft Surface Fits Where?

Surface

I was handed a Microsoft Surface at work and asked to find out where or how it would fit into our daily workflow. We now have multiple devices for every employee. So where will this device fit in and just how good is it? I have been using an iPad as my tablet for years and I make it work with apps that I use day to day. I can say with the Surface being a Windows device it makes more sense in business that is a Microsoft shop such as we are. The screen size seems a little larger than the iPad which is nice. And the keyboard is attached even with a magnet that is better than the one I carry around with the iPad. It is also nice that I can connect the Surface to the same docking system we are using for our Windows laptops. I might have to give that more of a try and make sure everything works. I did just notice that I need to find a way to turn off the trackpad when using a mouse?

As you might have guessed I am writing this posting using the Surface and I find the keyboard is not bad. It has a little spring action on this model but I think this model is a few years older but still working well. I did upgrade it to Windows 1903 and everything seems to be working well. I think with a little practice I can get used to the keyboard. I just got the touchpad turned off when the mouse is connected. Progress is a good thing.

I will give you more updates as I become more aware of how this device works with our office workflows and do some more testing with this device.

Buying A Laptop

 

Laptops

Buying a laptop these days is a scary adventure. I think one of the reasons for this is that there are so many on the market. And with each laptop brand, there are so many prices. There are also so many sizes and weights to think about. I wanted to point out a few key points that you need to consider when buying a laptop.

First, let’s talk about pricing. Many times I see a person going out to buy a laptop based only on price. If you do this you will be very disappointed. Did you ever hear you get what you pay for? Well, cheap is cheap. That’s not to say you may not find a deal but make sure it is a deal on the laptop for want for the following reasons.

Second, is that screen. This is what you will be looking at for hours at a time. You need to find a screen that is easy on the eyes and has good depth and colors. You also have to make sure the screen is a comfortable size to view all day. I normally shop for the 13″ size screen. I find the 11″ too small and the 15″ too big and bulky to carry around.

Third, is the keyboard. You are going to be spending a lot of your time typing on the keyboard. You have to make sure keys don’t stick and have the right amount of travel. You will better understand travel when you test out the laptop at the store. Also, make sure the keyboards keys fit your fingers. If you have a larger hand you don’t want a keyboard with cramped keys.

Forth, battery life. We all hate when we are using a laptop and you are in the middle of a great creation or some work project and the battery dies. A good rule of thought for me is that the battery should get me through the normal 8 hour work day.

Fifth is the amount of RAM and hard drive space and today it should be a solid state drive or SSD. These drives are super fast and will make your laptop startup faster and the programs load quicker. Ram should be at least 8 GIG. Windows 10 likes to have room to breath and using only 4 GIG you will find times that the laptop seems to just sit there when you want it to be doing work.

Sixth and final thought. The weight of the laptop. You don’t want to break your shoulder every time you toss your bag over it. I have also seen many people choose not to take their laptop off their desk because it is too heavy to carry to a meeting. I normally work all day and everywhere on my laptops so it has to be light and portable.

At the end of the day buy a laptop that fits the way you work. Don’t buy a laptop to be part of some in a crowd. And don’t be afraid to spend a little more money to get a laptop that will last you for 3-5 years. And never skimp on the warranty you want to protect your investment.

 

Does Operating Systems Matter

Operating Systems

I have been working with computers since the early day’s of DOS, yes we didn’t even have a graphical user interface. When you wanted the computer to do something most of the time you would have to be able to write a program and then do the project.

Then came Apple and Windows with their pretty point and click graphical user interface. You wanted to open an application you simply double clicked on it and it opened. What was even more impressive was the fact that you could have multiple applications opened at the same time. Which I believe was the beginning of giving all of us a little OCD. This is because we could be working on one project and quickly switch to another application and look at the news. You may do this today? You are working on a large project and you open another tab and check your email or facebook?

At one time the operating system meant that you choose it because of the application you are used to using. Such as running Microsoft Windows because you are a Microsoft Office user. Or using a Mac because you enjoy using Final Cut Pro. Or you might have been a FREE type of person and you went with Linux?

In today’s modern computer world the operating system is really the less important thing on the computer. Why is this? Easy most software vendors have found that programming for the web is the best choice for their applications. I am working on a large database program now and after careful consideration, I decided to write it for any web browser. Why would I choose to do this? I am like the big guys. I want my application to work on any operating system as well as any device that may could be invented for years to come. As long as there is a way to view the Internet I can adjust my program to run on that device.

We see in schools today most of the daily work is done inside of the browser. We have Google Suite and Office 365. Kids take their tests using a web browser. Teachers are teaching from the web browser. So you can see that the operating system basically boils down to what you want to look at all day.

One last thought of today’s post. This is why when Google released the Chromebook it is such a great hit. Because people who use a computer know that the only place they will be spending their day is inside of a web browser and most people choose to use Google Chrome so why not buy a full function laptop for a few hundred dollars and put the saving into some other form of technology.

Google Chromebook or Windows Cloudbook

ChromebookorCloudbook

I have been reading across the web that Microsoft is releasing a Chromebook killer their words not mine on May 2, 2017. Will this be a knife in the side of Google or a knife in the side of IT Administrator in schools trying to rush to buy this new product? I wanted to give you my thoughts from the IT Administrator side. I have been working in the IT field in education for the past 20 years. Again these are my views on the subject.

I have been using Microsoft products since I started in computers some 30 years ago. I have watched the company struggle to innovate on every level. I am not saying their software is not great, I am saying they normally are not the first ones to the table or playing field. Does anyone remember Bill Gates saying “The Internet is just a Fad”? Well that statement didn’t work out to well. To catch up to other big players in the Internet field Microsoft began to give Internet Explorer away with Windows. If you can’t build something better then NetScape, just giving yours away and try to crush the computation.

Now let’s move forward some 20+ years. Google releases a Chromebook, at first not a promising product. I remember watching their product release and the Chromebook didn’t boot well and sometimes hung when trying to use it. After some years of work and getting the Chromebook to shine they started getting the attention of people like me, IT Administrators in schools. Why not give this device a try? Google has been supplying our education market for years with Google Apps and FREE email services, which I jumped on that wagon 15 years ago. This is a company that is building on a foundation and building slow and steady. Now let’s jump to today.

Now on May 2, 2017 it is said that Microsoft will launch a Chromebook killer? Microsoft has always tried to do this build off of everyone’s success. Remember they don’t innovate! I really don’t think the schools that have adopted the Chromebook will drop them to run back to Microsoft. I also don’t think that a brand new product to hit the market will be accepted with open arms by very many IT Administrators in schools. Will they get a few nibbles? Maybe? But I know the field well and I know the people doing this very stressful job and none of them need or want a new player in the field of Internet based devices.

A final thought on market share for education. The Chromebook has played a major role on cutting Apple and Microsoft into lower shares of the education market. Is it only price that sets these devices apart? I as a person who has had the pleasure of managing Chromebooks have to say it is also the ease of administration. I can go into one web based console and manage every aspect of the Chromebook. Recently we looked at changing from iPad’s to Chromebooks as a budget move. In our final minutes of crunching numbers Apple made a smart move, they lowered the price of the iPad. This will help them maintain some market share. Microsoft made a move such as this a few years ago by giving Office 365 to education for FREE. This will keep office products in the reach of shrinking budgets across education. But bringing a Cloudbook to the education market might just prove to be a little late to the game? Anyone remember the Windows Phone?

Portable Computing The Easy Way

At one point I wanted to create a Christmas list of items that everyone would love to find under the tree. I still will reserve the right to create that list to help you to make some choices that are sure to make your loved ones smile.

This post covers the item that about a million or more people are asking for this year. The portable tablet computer. I have been in this field for so many years that I remember when the mini tower case was the portable computer. Computing devices are changing all the time. Bill Gates once said that he wanted a computer running Windows in every household. I also remember the same Bill Gates standing on a stage with a portable tablet in his hands saying “This will be the future of computing”! He was of course right, but like my self to many years early with his invention.

Today we see tablets all over the place. The number one of course is the IPad followed by about a thousand Android devices and then a few hundred Windows devices. To give the Windows devices their fair shake, I have tried them and they are really nice and easy to use.

Can a table replace your computer? In the way that many people use their computers more as a consumption device then I would say yes. You can also create on a tablet why do you think they make key boards for them?

My final thought on tablets and what you might be buying. If you family member ask for a IPad then buy them the IPad. If they ask you for a Kindle HD then buy them the Kindle HD. I know there are cheap knock offs out there and remember they are CHEAP for a reason. Happy Shopping!

Tablets

 

Microsoft Surface and Windows 8.1

Are you using the new Windows 8.1? If you are using Windows 8 you need to download the FREE upgrade to 8.1. I have been working with this new version since RC1. There has been great improvements.

I am also looking into the Microsoft Surface. We have one of our staff that bought one and I have to say it is really cool. Move over IPad there is a new tablet in the market. I am still running many Mac’s in the house and at work, but I always tell everyone Microsoft has been a part of my career since 1990.

Stay tuned here for more Windows and Windows server updates. And don’t worry if I get a Surface I will do a unboxing and have that on the You Tube channel.

Microsoft_Surface_RT

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