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On buying the Surface 2

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kristalsoldier

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
Huh. Why do you need all those separate devices, anyway? I see your problem, though. You're a collector, which is weird given that MS has been positioning Surface products to simplify and consolidate device usage. Keep one mini-type for bedside reading and then get a Surface Pro to replace all the laptops. Sell all the others for some cash back and to clear space.

:p

Well, I got the Nexus 10 last year because at that time I did not have a tablet and I needed something to read my books on. Currently, I use it mainly to watch movies before I go to sleep. I bought the iPad recently because after having tried a colleague's iPad, the 4:3 aspect ratio seemed to me to be the best suited for reading my books (I was correct!). I bought the Surface RT because I wanted to avoid carrying the 4-year-old ThinkPad R400 to work every day. It is built like a tank, but it also weights like one! I bought the H520S desktop because I had sent my R400 for some repairs and I needed a computer at that time. This was before I got the Surface RT. And, anyways, a dual monitor set-up is excellent! The Kindle I had got as a gift a long while back - have not used it in a while though. The Nokia 720 is my everyday-use phone. I really did not want the S3, but it was left for me by a relative. Can't give it away - don't know what to do with it. Currently use it as a music device (and as a secondary phone for some dedicated calls). Some of my close relatives know how much I love ThinkPads and they have determined to gift me one despite my protestations. And, since the family connections are complicated, I can't be too forceful in refusing to accept their gift, but in the same vein, it would be ultra embarrassing if I were to sell it and they were to find out. In the meantime, I am trying to see if I can get them to present me with a Pebble instead of the ThinkPad - because, ideally, I would like to buy my own Thinkpad and it will be a Carbon (spec'ed by me!).

Edit: Btw, I don't like the concept of the Surface Pro, but I do like the concept of the Surface 2 (RT). I think the latter is a brilliant idea (assuming one has ready and relatively inexpensive access to the internet - either over wifi or by tethering (both of which apply in my case at the moment, thankfully!).
 
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demandarin

Active Member
I have alot of devices like her also. If I do upgrade, I'm thinking I will sell or trade in most of them foe value towards new purchase. I will not use my pro as a trade in though. Paid way too much to take a huge loss so soon.
 

oion

Well-Known Member
Well, I got the Nexus 10 last year because at that time I did not have a tablet and I needed something to read my books on. Currently, I use it mainly to watch movies before I go to sleep. I bought the iPad recently because after having tried a colleague's iPad, the 4:3 aspect ratio seemed to me to be the best suited for reading my books (I was correct!). I bought the Surface RT because I wanted to avoid carrying the 4-year-old ThinkPad R400 to work every day. It is built like a tank, but it also weights like one! I bought the H520S desktop because I had sent my R400 for some repairs and I needed a computer at that time. This was before I got the Surface RT. And, anyways, a dual monitor set-up is excellent! The Kindle I had got as a gift a long while back - have not used it in a while though. The Nokia 720 is my everyday-use phone. I really did not want the S3, but it was left for me by a relative. Can't give it away - don't know what to do with it. Currently use it as a music device (and as a secondary phone for some dedicated calls). Some of my close relatives know how much I love ThinkPads and they have determined to gift me one despite my protestations. And, since the family connections are complicated, I can't be too forceful in refusing to accept their gift, but in the same vein, it would be ultra embarrassing if I were to sell it and they were to find out. In the meantime, I am trying to see if I can get them to present me with a Pebble instead of the ThinkPad - because, ideally, I would like to buy my own Thinkpad and it will be a Carbon (spec'ed by me!).

Edit: Btw, I don't like the concept of the Surface Pro, but I do like the concept of the Surface 2 (RT). I think the latter is a brilliant idea (assuming one has ready and relatively inexpensive access to the internet - either over wifi or by tethering (both of which apply in my case at the moment, thankfully!).

Wow, complicated! :shocked:
Curious, what don't you like about the Pro? Mobile-wise it should be like a combo of Surface RT's form factor but a bit on the hefty laptop side. I believe it's the dock that will really "make" it, though others have their own setups without too many loose cables.


I have alot of devices like her also. If I do upgrade, I'm thinking I will sell or trade in most of them foe value towards new purchase. I will not use my pro as a trade in though. Paid way too much to take a huge loss so soon.

Much better to sell on eBay at this time. Perhaps a few years down the road, a trade-in would make more sense. It seems MS is targeting Apple users mostly with their better trade-in offers, though...
 
OP
kristalsoldier

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
@Oion...Well, I think (perhaps incorrectly) that if I wanted the capability of the Pro, then I'd rather get the ThinkPad Carbon (which is a much better machine!). In terms of concept, the RT is a very focused machine and with its cloud-centric orientation, it is perfect for my work. I would always like to have one heavy lifting machine (be it a desktop or a powerful laptop) at home on my desk in my study. But since I spend a lot of time moving around, the RT seems to be the perfect device for that scenario. Plus, the idea of doing away with the desktop is fascinating to me. As things stand, it is only rarely that I use the full power of my desktop machine. For the most part, I am within Office (though therein my demands from Word, Excel and Powerpoint are heavy). I also use the browser a lot and till recently my choice of browser was Chrome, but they have started fiddling around with it too much and I find myself using it lesser and lesser. Most of the time, I am on IE (and that too in the Metro interface, failing which, on the desktop interface), which works well where the Surface is concerned too! There are a few apps that I am eagerly looking for on the Win RT platform - the first is VLC (which is supposedly in the works); the second is a good - a really good PDF app (something like PDF Expert on iOS and Mantano on Android). This is critical for me because most of my books are in PDF format; the third is my banking apps (which are all available on iOS, but none on Windows - though again, I have been told they are in the works, but I don't believe them - they are bankers after all!); fourth, I would really like something like Calibre for the RT platform; and fifth, I would like citation manager like Zotero or something similar (I have the Windows desktop version which plugs into Chrome and FF, but there is nothing for IE - and I also have the stand-alone desktop version, but there is nothing like that for RT). If I have these, then I could very well move out of the full-fledged Windows desktop and move into the RT space. But, I'm afraid that will either take a lot of time to happen or - as I suspect - it will never really happen!
 

oion

Well-Known Member
@Oion...Well, I think (perhaps incorrectly) that if I wanted the capability of the Pro, then I'd rather get the ThinkPad Carbon (which is a much better machine!). In terms of concept, the RT is a very focused machine and with its cloud-centric orientation, it is perfect for my work. I would always like to have one heavy lifting machine (be it a desktop or a powerful laptop) at home on my desk in my study. But since I spend a lot of time moving around, the RT seems to be the perfect device for that scenario. Plus, the idea of doing away with the desktop is fascinating to me. As things stand, it is only rarely that I use the full power of my desktop machine. For the most part, I am within Office (though therein my demands from Word, Excel and Powerpoint are heavy). I also use the browser a lot and till recently my choice of browser was Chrome, but they have started fiddling around with it too much and I find myself using it lesser and lesser. Most of the time, I am on IE (and that too in the Metro interface, failing which, on the desktop interface), which works well where the Surface is concerned too! There are a few apps that I am eagerly looking for on the Win RT platform - the first is VLC (which is supposedly in the works); the second is a good - a really good PDF app (something like PDF Expert on iOS and Mantano on Android). This is critical for me because most of my books are in PDF format; the third is my banking apps (which are all available on iOS, but none on Windows - though again, I have been told they are in the works, but I don't believe them - they are bankers after all!); fourth, I would really like something like Calibre for the RT platform; and fifth, I would like citation manager like Zotero or something similar (I have the Windows desktop version which plugs into Chrome and FF, but there is nothing for IE - and I also have the stand-alone desktop version, but there is nothing like that for RT). If I have these, then I could very well move out of the full-fledged Windows desktop and move into the RT space. But, I'm afraid that will either take a lot of time to happen or - as I suspect - it will never really happen!

OH, you meant in terms of spec preference/design, not necessarily the overall concept itself. Never mind, then. ;)

I'm much the same way--I want a powerful desktop that I can upgrade iteratively piece by piece (until the motherboard doesn't support anything newer) with a decent sized screen and then one mobile device for web/word processing/spreadsheet management away from home. The only thing I would really kill for (or throw money for) is an Opera browser app for RT, but that will never happen. So I make do with both versions of IE on RT, not a problem.

I sometimes think that I could replace both Surface 2 and my desktop far in the future with a fully docked solution like Surface Pro 4, but it wouldn't be upgradeable for gaming, so that musing gets quickly tossed.

Aside: Microsoft tripped a bit when trying to introduce Windows RT--I understand what it's for and its advantages/disadvantages and particular niche use, but I think the vast majority of users don't get out of the "Windows is desktop OS" mentality to properly apply the "walled garden" expectations. I think Jeff was right--Windows RT is a much more ambitious and pure Windows 8 experience that would truly showcase the Metro possibilities with multitasking and whatnot. The mere existence of "desktop" unfortunately confuses some people. But to be honest, I personally would never want to get rid of the desktop. "Desktop" Windows is an MDI interface with parent/child nesting and everything, something Metro/tiles/snapping can never truly accomplish.
 
OP
kristalsoldier

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
OH, you meant in terms of spec preference/design, not necessarily the overall concept itself. Never mind, then. ;)

I'm much the same way--I want a powerful desktop that I can upgrade iteratively piece by piece (until the motherboard doesn't support anything newer) with a decent sized screen and then one mobile device for web/word processing/spreadsheet management away from home. The only thing I would really kill for (or throw money for) is an Opera browser app for RT, but that will never happen. So I make do with both versions of IE on RT, not a problem.

I sometimes think that I could replace both Surface 2 and my desktop far in the future with a fully docked solution like Surface Pro 4, but it wouldn't be upgradeable for gaming, so that musing gets quickly tossed.

Aside: Microsoft tripped a bit when trying to introduce Windows RT--I understand what it's for and its advantages/disadvantages and particular niche use, but I think the vast majority of users don't get out of the "Windows is desktop OS" mentality to properly apply the "walled garden" expectations. I think Jeff was right--Windows RT is a much more ambitious and pure Windows 8 experience that would truly showcase the Metro possibilities with multitasking and whatnot. The mere existence of "desktop" unfortunately confuses some people. But to be honest, I personally would never want to get rid of the desktop. "Desktop" Windows is an MDI interface with parent/child nesting and everything, something Metro/tiles/snapping can never truly accomplish.

Well, I meant it both in terms of specs and design, but also in terms of "design intent". In other words, I like the idea of the Surface RT (alternatively, RT OS) as an operational concept. This is based on my perception (again, perhaps wrongly so) that most (say >80%) of users in the consumer space don't use the desktop environment of Windows. So, the question stands - what kind of an OS (operational space - to play on the acronym) can be offered to such folk (among who I count myself)? iOS is too limited - as per my experience even if the form factor was not the iPad. Android remains too fragmented though Chrome OS is a possibility (but the pure app model like how Google implements it or wants to implement it seems to make a lot of assumptions about connectivity, which may work in developed countries, but not elsewhere). RT is one candidate (though I am the first to admit that it is still not there yet) that can provide a viable space. It is relatively well-spec'ed and while I am not fully conversant with the tech details of RT, I suspect it can be opened a lot more than what MS currently allows, which means it is extensible. What the RT OS (again operating space) requires is the introduction of formerly desktop programs as Metro apps. I think it is a misnomer to call any RT-centric machine a consumption device. The iPad is that. An RT device can just as easily be a highly productive device if only it has the tools configured to work in its OS. Here I am thinking about the Office Suite as the standard. As a side note, one experiment that I am going to embark on later this year is to see if I can accomplish a mission critical task (which in my case is the authoring of my next book) ONLY on the RT. When I say authoring, I mean not only the writing, but also the online research element of it. While I would have liked to also do my reading-related research on the Surface, the apps (except perhaps for an ePub reader) are simply not available. So, that part I will do on the iPad. I also think I will be able to pull it off!
 

demandarin

Active Member
Wow, sounds like a great plan. Please make sure to let us know how it goes. IM also sure MS would want to hear about it also. An author that completely wrote a book using the surface RT alone. Maybe next year they will invite you to their event and you will get new surface et and pro like jnj did..haha
 

oion

Well-Known Member
Breaking up your wall-o-text to make it easier to read. ;p

Well, I meant it both in terms of specs and design, but also in terms of "design intent". In other words, I like the idea of the Surface RT (alternatively, RT OS) as an operational concept. This is based on my perception (again, perhaps wrongly so) that most (say >80%) of users in the consumer space don't use the desktop environment of Windows.

That's impossible, though--NOT using the desktop environment of Windows. It's MDI, you don't get around it even if you only have one application open at a time... unless you're in command line all the time or always run one application full-screen like in kiosk mode. On the other hand, with Windows RT and if ignoring MS Office (until the Metro versions), you can really ignore the desktop. People wouldn't get Windows 8 unless they wanted to install legacy software, so those too are always desktop mode.

The "design intent" is pretty obvious for the Pro, I think: Consolidate all devices into a mobile powerhouse. Especially with the dock, it's an all-in-one solution. Arguably, it's not ideal for reading a book by the fireside, but I think a mini-type device and Pro+dock would fit virtually all use cases (but since I can't upgrade parts for gaming, not for me ;)).

To be honest, it's the touchscreen clamshells that make no sense to me. They're not hybrid so you can't move the keyboard out of the way to access the screen, and because laptops are larger than most tablets, it's a lot less ergonomic to continually reach across to touch the screen (with the keyboard always in the way). And forget using a stylus comfortably at that angle, certainly not for drawing or any amount of handwritten notes. At least with the Pro you can rip the keyboard off for some real Photoshop use.

RT is one candidate (though I am the first to admit that it is still not there yet) that can provide a viable space. It is relatively well-spec'ed and while I am not fully conversant with the tech details of RT, I suspect it can be opened a lot more than what MS currently allows, which means it is extensible. What the RT OS (again operating space) requires is the introduction of formerly desktop programs as Metro apps.

You're missing a critical component: Windows RT was designed for ARM processors, so the architecture is vastly different. While there is a sideloading jailbreak (which I did try but found I didn't really need), applications that are sideloaded must still be recompiled to run on ARM. It doesn't matter if Microsoft can or can't "open" the OS more--the incorrect assumption with that thinking is that suddenly people can start installing x86 legacy software.

On top of that, except for MS-sourced applications, everything else is 3rd party and the responsibility of those 3rd parties to compile to Metro specs. As for extending the browser a bit more, I expect Java to be impossible, sadly, due to a standing lawsuit loss. Allowing certain other IE add-ons would be great, though.

I think it is a misnomer to call any RT-centric machine a consumption device. The iPad is that. An RT device can just as easily be a highly productive device if only it has the tools configured to work in its OS. Here I am thinking about the Office Suite as the standard. As a side note, one experiment that I am going to embark on later this year is to see if I can accomplish a mission critical task (which in my case is the authoring of my next book) ONLY on the RT. When I say authoring, I mean not only the writing, but also the online research element of it. While I would have liked to also do my reading-related research on the Surface, the apps (except perhaps for an ePub reader) are simply not available. So, that part I will do on the iPad. I also think I will be able to pull it off!

I'm pretty sure everyone on the Surface forums who owns an RT already agrees that RT isn't pure consumption; MS just fucked up that 1st gen marketing. I do plenty of online research with my RT in relation to writing in Word, so it should be fine unless you run across databases that are somehow not compatible. I forget which PDF reader I use, but it's not terribly robust (probably Adobe's version). It's a matter of finding people willing to develop for Metro at this point, really.
 
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kristalsoldier

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
You're missing a critical component: Windows RT was designed for ARM processors, so the architecture is vastly different. While there is a sideloading jailbreak (which I did try but found I didn't really need), applications that are sideloaded must still be recompiled to run on ARM. It doesn't matter if Microsoft can or can't "open" the OS more--the incorrect assumption with that thinking is that suddenly people can start installing x86 legacy software.

On top of that, except for MS-sourced applications, everything else is 3rd party and the responsibility of those 3rd parties to compile to Metro specs. As for extending the browser a bit more, I expect Java to be impossible, sadly, due to a standing lawsuit loss. Allowing certain other IE add-ons would be great, though.

Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting either sideloading legacy desktop software or ignoring the fact that RT is ARM-centric. What I was saying is that the possibilities of actualizing the potential of the RT platform are immense and can be done in way that showcases its productive capabilities. In this MS can (and, in my opinion, should) play a major role. For example, it is stunning that MS is unable to provide a very high quality PDF app. They either could have paid for its development or (the more likely scenario), they could have bought out a small outfit (and there are many around) well ahead of their initial release date (in 2012) and had one designed from ground-up. The same could be said for a number of other basic and core functions. And yes, MS did mess up their first round of marketing with the "pure consumption" implication.
 
OP
kristalsoldier

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
Wow, sounds like a great plan. Please make sure to let us know how it goes. IM also sure MS would want to hear about it also. An author that completely wrote a book using the surface RT alone. Maybe next year they will invite you to their event and you will get new surface et and pro like jnj did..haha

Thanks. Well, I don't know about whether the plans is great one or not, but that is what I intend to do - as far as possible. In fact, in many ways, I may be forced to do so given my impending travel schedule for the rest of the year and for the first half of next year!!! But, I don't think I am blessed with the luck of getting a new Surface like Jeff. Not complaining though!
 

oion

Well-Known Member
Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting either sideloading legacy desktop software or ignoring the fact that RT is ARM-centric. What I was saying is that the possibilities of actualizing the potential of the RT platform are immense and can be done in way that showcases its productive capabilities. In this MS can (and, in my opinion, should) play a major role. For example, it is stunning that MS is unable to provide a very high quality PDF app. They either could have paid for its development or (the more likely scenario), they could have bought out a small outfit (and there are many around) well ahead of their initial release date (in 2012) and had one designed from ground-up. The same could be said for a number of other basic and core functions. And yes, MS did mess up their first round of marketing with the "pure consumption" implication.

Ah, gotcha. Well, I think MS already gave WinRT the largest killer app in existence for productivity, so most everything else is a bonus of some kind (IMO).

Per the PDF thing, I look at it like this: Microsoft has never shipped a PDF reader with any product, if I'm not mistaken. It's always been third party. Instead of adopting development on that front, when it comes to Windows RT, Microsoft should look at the extant Win8 elements that were essentially removed or unported. They finally added Outlook RT to Office RT--good move. They added VPN support in 8.1, but I don't know if it goes far enough. Then it's up to the market to pressure the developers to add features and whatnot. I've been in contact with an app developer, for example, and have influenced some functional changes and upcoming inclusions. But then what about something like the classic Media Player?

That brings up the question, why doesn't Microsoft enter the app market themselves? Maybe they worry that creating their own "robust" and "complete" apps would create a chilling effect on the app market? Media players and PDF utilities are among the most common apps out there next to photo editing and games, so perhaps they wanted to break out those functions for others to fill the gapy, who knows. I don't feel strongly about MS entering the app market "all in" and tend to wonder why other developers don't fill the gaps, because that's more important for general ecosystem longevity. That's the exact reason why Windows as an operating system has that world market share and longevity. Are the RT/Metro APIs that limited or limiting? Do the 3rd party companies like Adobe feel Windows RT has no market share and thus no ROI?
 

ChemCat

New Member
Ah, gotcha. Well, I think MS already gave WinRT the largest killer app in existence for productivity, so most everything else is a bonus of some kind (IMO).

Per the PDF thing, I look at it like this: Microsoft has never shipped a PDF reader with any product, if I'm not mistaken. It's always been third party. Instead of adopting development on that front, when it comes to Windows RT, Microsoft should look at the extant Win8 elements that were essentially removed or unported. They finally added Outlook RT to Office RT--good move. They added VPN support in 8.1, but I don't know if it goes far enough. Then it's up to the market to pressure the developers to add features and whatnot. I've been in contact with an app developer, for example, and have influenced some functional changes and upcoming inclusions. But then what about something like the classic Media Player?

That brings up the question, why doesn't Microsoft enter the app market themselves? Maybe they worry that creating their own "robust" and "complete" apps would create a chilling effect on the app market? Media players and PDF utilities are among the most common apps out there next to photo editing and games, so perhaps they wanted to break out those functions for others to fill the gapy, who knows. I don't feel strongly about MS entering the app market "all in" and tend to wonder why other developers don't fill the gaps, because that's more important for general ecosystem longevity. That's the exact reason why Windows as an operating system has that world market share and longevity. Are the RT/Metro APIs that limited or limiting? Do the 3rd party companies like Adobe feel Windows RT has no market share and thus no ROI?

The worst thing Ms could do is enter the app market. It creates a demand for habit. Look at the blackberry. About 1/3 of the apps in their store is from 1 dev, which can be traced back to RIM.
 

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