pen

One of the best things about the Surface Pro 3 is its pen. It’s changed the way I take notes, brainstorm and review PDFs. As useful as the pen is, however, I can’t help but think its implementation in Windows is a half-measure.

Currently, the pen’s behavior is different depending on where you use it. In the operating system parts of Windows and in programs like Word, the pen is a mouse replacement. Then in certain apps like OneNote, it acts like a pen that you can draw with. You can mark up PDF files, but not JPG or DOC files.

This specificity is fine for knowledgeable users, but for casual users it’s confusing to remember what the pen can be used for where. If there’s no clear sense how a tool will be used, chances are it won’t be.

For the pen to ever have mainstream adoption, it should be used consistently no matter where you are, like the mouse or keyboard. Ideally, you should be able to write, draw and mark-up with the pen everywhere. The pen doesn’t ever need to be a mouse replacement.

Read Full Article

I used to work in management consulting. We’d travel overseas on Mondays, do work at the client site over the week and return on Fridays. Rinse, repeat, month after month. It was hard to maintain friendships back home this way, and when you’re alone in a foreign city, there wasn’t much else to do but work.

Work consisted of three things: White boarding to brainstorm and debate; Excel spreadsheets, which sometimes got so large and complex we had to turn off the automatic updating of cells; and huge PowerPoint files that could be the client’s 3-year strategic plan.

To do that, we lugged a 15-inch laptop everywhere we went. I don’t know how heavy my bag weighed with the laptop, power adaptor and all the printed files we’d invariably need, but it was like a ton of bricks. Consider how much walking we did in airports, hotels and offices — it was gruelling.

This is a long lead-in for a Surface Pro 3 (SP3) review, but you can see where this is going. For someone working in that kind of job, an SP3 would have been a godsend. It would have changed the quality of my life in a meaningful way, and that is why I always believed in Microsoft’s vision for the Surface.

Read Full Article

I’ve made it plain on this blog that I’m a fan of the Surface concept, despite its flawed unveiling. Yes, the same Surface that lost Microsoft over a billion dollars. This must mean the concept sucks right?

Well, no, it it’s not because the vision is flawed, it’s the execution and timing that weren’t right. The first and second Surface Pros were too early — the hardware wasn’t ready to deliver the vision. The first Surface RT was just plain bad. I thought the Surface 2 was ready for primetime, if not for its Windows RT roots.

Timing aside, I’m a fan of the concept because convergence will happen between laptops and tablets, just like the telephone, camera, MP3 player, GPS navigation and PDA converged into today’s smartphone. Microsoft absolutely has the right idea with the Surface; just a few years’ early.

So, does the Surface Pro 3 do it? I’ll want to use this bad boy for a few weeks before concluding anything. My initial impression is that it falls just short for the mainstream; it’s too expensive and the form factor is a hairline from perfect.

Fortunately, it still hits the mark for someone like me. I’m loving the Surface Pro 3 so far.

Read Full Article