Microsoft Surface Pro – Now the Bad Parts

With all the recent flourishes and praise I’ve been giving the Surface Pro, you might be surprised that now I bring up the things that have annoyed me about the Surface Pro. Indeed, with all that I feel the Surface Pro does right, there are things that it doesn’t. You should read this section if you’re on the fence about buying a Surface Pro, and if you can live with some of these issues and shortcomings.

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Dower’s Surface Pro Setup

I’ve been enjoying my time with my Surface Pro, and I wanted to share with you my setup for working on my Surface Pro. First off, I don’t use the Surface Pro vanilla, I’ve tricked it out with all manner of software and peripherals to make it as useful as possible. I’m taking advantage of all the ports and connectivity the device has to offer. I’ll also give you some of my recommendations for other accessories that you might want to consider if you jump onto the Microsoft bandwagon.

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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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Season of the Technogasm Climaxing Tomorrow!

Well, I’ve been keeping quiet for a while, sitting on the side lines watching this techno gadget porno play out between the big three, Microsoft, Apple and Google. It all comes to a climax tomorrow, with Windows 8 officially becoming available to the masses and Apple opening their doors for the preorder of their newest tablets, the iPad Mini and the refreshed iPad 3 (or what some are calling the 3S). Not to be left behind, Google will make a move with their Nexus 7 next week, by offering a larger capacity Nexus 7 at a lower price. So, what’s to make of all this techno bliss? Let’s reflect on all this.

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History of Browser User Agents

A buddy of mine passed along a link that I thought is worth sharing. If you’ve done any serious web development in the past, then you will have come across the need to check a browser’s user agent string at some point to try and determine what browser is visiting your web site. But have you ever wondered where all that nonsensical text came from? Aaron Anderson over at WebAIM wrote a humorous look back at the history of the Browser User Agent string. It’s not a new article; it’s a few years old now, but it’s a funny read, and highlights how we got into the mess we’re in today. Click here to go to Aaron’s article. If you want a sobering look at how many there are, useragentstring.com keeps track of them. 

Size Matters – Screen Resolutions that is.

In the old days, before the explosion of mobile devices, we didn’t have to worry about screen size that much. Nope, in those days, most humans had monitors that were typically about 800×600 pixels and possibly 1024×768 pixels. Designing an application or web page in those days meant that if you kept to those confines, you’d be ok. These days, that’s not really the case anymore.

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Farewell to 2011 – What a Year!

2011 was quite a year, one of the most turbulent in recent memory. I really don’t know where to start, but I feel I should give my thoughts on some of the events, both personally and globally that happened this year.

It’s hard to believe, but I officially started my blog about a year ago and admittedly, it’s not been too successful. I have a few friends that visit, and the occasional stranger that finds me, but in general I don’t get much traffic. I definitely won’t be making a living from my blog, but then again, doing so would require more time than I have. My blog, however, has been a place where I can talk about some of the tech stuff that I find interesting, and maybe help some folks out if I can. My blog is a personal accomplishment for me and it’s nice to have something of my own that I’ve kept up for over a year. Over the course of this year I’ve learned quite a bit about Search Engine Optimization, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the blogging side of the internet. All in all, a good learning experience for me. My son now actually wants to blog with me, so maybe this year you’ll see a father and son blog come online. So, if your reading this, thanks.

On the technology side of things, I’ll definitely say this has been quite a year. Tablet computing made a huge showing this year with the glut of Android tablets and the iPad 2. Microsoft began making some headway with its Windows Phone 7 platform, and RIM further slid closer to oblivion. Microsoft finds itself in the position of underdog, and Redmond doesn’t like it, so Microsoft does what it does best, throw money around. Microsoft offers some of the most lucrative incentives for development on the platform, so it may be worth looking into. If anything, Microsoft has learned quite a lot from its previous Windows Mobile failure; where they once dominated. Microsoft is going to be one to look out for. HP also made an awful attempt to get into the Tablet market with it’s ill-fated HP TouchPad, which ran Palm’s WebOS. Sadly this tablet, which could have been, didn’t live long. HP killed the TouchPad only after about 3 months on the market. HP’s lack of focus for the Touchpad and its poor pricing lead to its early demise. The TouchPad only started selling well once the company liquidated their inventory for $99. IOS and Android are both the king of the hill going into 2012.

Other tech things to consider for 2012, my prediction of the death of DVD media for computers. It’s hard to believe, but the trend has already begun. Apple’s Macbook Air’s, and other PC ultra portable laptops have already begun ditching the DVD. In an era where internet connectivity is so easily obtained, the need for DVD’s is becoming less. Apple also didn’t ship their latest OS update this year on DVD, it was downloadable from their App Store, and later available on a SD card at the Apple Store. I, myself,  also removed my DVD Drive from my Macbook Pro and replaced it with an additional Hard Drive, finding the extra space more important than the need for the occasional DVD.

Continuing on in my reflection of this year, Social Media was big. Twitter and Facebook are credited for helping the Middle East movements that toppled the governments in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia. Social Media is playing an ever increasing role in influencing hearts and minds with movements like the Occupy movements that have cropped up all over the states. It’s hard to deny how powerful social media has become, and this medium will just continue to become increasingly important and sadly, invasive in our everyday lives.

Natural disasters were pretty big this year too, the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand and Turkey, flooding in Thailand and parts of the US, and volcano’s too! It gives us pause to think about how volatile our world is and from an IT perspective; how ready are you for a disaster. Some of the best planning might not be enough for some of the magnitude problems that occurred. Japan was a painful example of this with the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, what if those generators were put in a better place?

Lastly, on the tech side of the obituaries, Steve Jobs passed away, just in case you lived under a rock this year. I wasn’t a huge fan of his, but his influence in the industry I am a part of is undeniable.

OK, enough rambling, I think I spoke enough to wrap up this year… Let’s hope that 2012 is a more prosperous and happier year. Happy New Year everyone.

IOS 5 Battery Drain, Thoughts of Android Fragmentation, and Windows Mobile

Engadget reported yesterday that an IOS bug was discovered that seems to be responsible for poor battery life found by many iPhone 4S users. Luckily for me though, it seems that I’ve not run into any major battery problems, but I must admit that I’ve not experienced the improved battery life Apple promised in the 4S. Apple has committed to fixing the issue with a software patch in the coming weeks, which is good news. But this bug report isn’t the real reason why I’m writing this blog article.

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