Microsoft Surface Book: A Tale of Love and Woe

I remember back during my college days, in a Technology Transfer class, the professor told all the students that early adopters often times pay the price for being first (in more ways than just monetarily). No statement is truer than my experience with Microsoft’s first laptop, the Surface Book. When Microsoft announced their Surface Book, I was ecstatic, I can’t remember being this excited about a piece of technology since the first iPad. Microsoft hit all the right notes, and made the machine I’ve always dreamed of. A 2-in-1 device with a large detachable display, armed with a touch screen AND DIGITIZER, with the added bonus of a dedicated GPU!. I was luckily able to snag one of the first pre-orders from the Best Buy web site at midnight October 26, release day. What follows is are my experiences and struggles with what should have been my unquestionable love affair.

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Dower’s Guide to Surface Pro 3 Must-Have Accessories

It’s the holiday season and maybe you’ve just purchased a Surface Pro 3; what next? It’s a wonderful multipurpose device, but even if you picked up a Microsoft Type Keyboard to go along with it, there are some things that you should also get to make it the best productivity tool you can use. I’ve been using my Surface Pro 3 since it came out, and it has now become my primary computer for all my work; which includes video editing, image work and development. Here are some of the accessories I recommend to go along with your Surface Pro 3.

Please note that these recommendations below are not limited to the Surface Pro 3, they will work fine for any Surface Pro tablet.

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X-Wing and Tie Fighter Now on GOG!

It’s hard to believe, but LucasArts release the first X-Wing game back in 1994! That’s 20 years ago! LucasArts followed it with Tie Fighter in 1996, both games were fantastic and became an everlasting part of my past. The horror of the story is that these games never saw any type of re-release, until now. Good Old Games, GOG, has gotten the rights to sell these games! If you never played it, I highly suggest you get them, both games are $10 each, and come with the all their expansions. So, now, instead of trying to dig up old floppy disks or pirating the game and struggling with emulators, GOG did the hard work for you. For me, this was an instabuy! I’ll be reporting later on how it’s like.

Microsoft Makes Windows 10 Available for Everyone to Test!

Windows 10 ScreenshotThis past Tuesday Microsoft announced the next version of Windows, dubbed Windows 10; skipping over the number 9. The announcement was at a small press event and with little fanfare, but the big news is the availability of the new OS to the public to test; following what Apple has been doing with their updates to OSX. I downloaded the image off Microsoft’s website and first installed it as a virtual machine on my Macbook Pro using Parallels 10. It was a bit quirky at first, since Parallels likes to make things easy for you by offering you known OS’s to install. Windows 10, isn’t known to it yet, so I had to play around a little to make a VM for “Other Windows”, and point it to the ISO file for Windows 10. I must admit, the install process went far faster than I expected. It’s unclear if the fast install experience was because of Windows 10 being still a technical preview, or if this will be how the final version will install.

Upon starting up, it didn’t feel that different, there is no new logo, and everything appears like Windows 8 until you realize that there is no more Start Screen! You are taken to a more familiar Windows 7 desktop. It’s only when you hit the Windows Key or the Windows Charm you’ll notice the Start Screen is now part of a new Start Menu. Beyond this obvious change, there is the new Virtual Desktops and the enhanced task switching. I’ll try and go into these things later when I have a chance to delve into Windows 10 some more in the coming days.

Checking out the Asus Vivotab Note 8

Asus Vivotab Note 8When I heard about the Asus Vivotab Note 8 from this year’s CES, I was pretty psyched! Not only is the Vivotab Note 8 An 8″ Windows Tablet running full Windows 8.1, it comes with a Wacom Stylus; a feature that sets itself apart from anything else in the 8″ Windows Tablet space. The only problem is the difficulty in getting one.  It seems the tablet is only available from the Microsoft store in limited quantities, when they do get them in, they seem to sell out fast; which hopefully is a good sign. I managed to grab one, and it arrived this past Wednesday, so I’m busy configuring it and giving it a once over. Stay tuned for my full review!

My Return… Finally… I hope.

It’s hard to believe that the last real thing I wrote on my blog was almost a year ago. It’s not like I didn’t have anything to say; on the contrary. With so much that happened in the tech world during the last part of 2013, it was hard not to want to, but I guess I became a little bit disenchanted with blogging. I had many other things going on to, such as my real job. It took me over a year to deflate and get into the rhythm of the company I work for. It was a good thing, and I found my work groove, a much better one than the place I spent almost 10 years at before.

I’ve also not been silent. I instead took time to work exclusively on my YouTube Channel (http://bit.ly/1dWFJTS). I should have updated my blog at the same time, but, like  I said before, I became disenchanted with the styling and feel of it.

Now, I decided to try and return, clean things up a bit, add a fresh layer of paint, and try again.

R.I.P. Lucasarts

Yesterday while poking around my RSS feeds for news, something caught my eye, it was a headline that Disney has shuttered Lucasarts. At first I thought it was an April fools joke, since I didn’t pay much attention to this years pranks, but I looked at the date and the announcement was April 3. From what I gather, Disney broke the news to Game Informer and indeed, it wasn’t a joke. So, I took a moment of silence and shed a small tear for a company that had given me some fond memories growing up.

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Dower’s Surface Pro Finally Arrives – My Initial Impressions!

Microsoft’s Surface Pro made it’s world wide debut this past Saturday, and the launch was rather disappointing. The problem wasn’t so much the product, but more with the way the launch was executed, shipments were slow to arrive and Microsoft didn’t allow for pre-orders on their website; in contrast with their Surface RT launch back in November. Needless to say, my hopes of getting in over the weekend were dashed, with retailers like Best Buy and Staples not having much stock. My wife was lucky enough to get a pre-order in on Friday at Best Buy, but that didn’t materialize until yesterday afternoon.

I was on my way home from work when my wife sent me a text message saying I could drive down to Best Buy to pick up my Surface Pro, and immediately changed course to do so. The pick up was uneventful, and once home I was able to film my unboxing video, and did a quick physical comparison to my Surface RT.

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Pardon the Dust!

I’ve taken a bit of a break from Blogging, but now that Chinese New Year is upon us, I think it’s time to  reboot my blog. Pardon the mess while I try to retool my blog a bit… I’ve decided to move to a more advanced theme framework, and I decided to give Gantry a try. But it’s proving a bit more tricky to setup, so much of the site is styled wrong. I hope to have this sorted out in a few days. 

Happy New Year everyone, I’ll be with you all shortly.

Microsoft Surface – My Weekend Experience

FedEx delivered my Microsoft Surface RT right on time this past Friday at 10:30am, and as soon I was able to make it home from work at lunch I unwrapped it and began playing with it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited to about a new device… I’m can’t exactly explain why I was so excited about the Surface RT, but I think much of the excitement was the prospect of a really new device. Windows RT is different enough from the glut of Android offerings and the iPad to really get me excited. I pre-ordered the 64GB edition that came with the Touch Cover, but I knew that I would be trying to do more typing on it, so I order the Type Cover… If anything, it’ll give me more to talk about. So, now that I’ve spent some time with it, what are my thoughts?

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