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back to article END your Macbook SHAME: Convert it into a Microsoft SURFACE

So you've spent well over a grand on a new Macbook Pro. How do you fancy spending even more than that amount, all over again, to mod your laptop so it resembles a, er, Microsoft Surface? Judging by the the cult-like Apple worship practised by covens of fanbois and gurlz, we'd reckon that few people would take up the offer of …

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To be fair, if I needed a pen interface to do my job, and the only available choices were "Windows 8" and "sacrifice a pill of virgins to get a frankenmac" then I would absolutely choose the frankenmac. Windows 8 is one of those things that is worth paying a significant amount of money not to have to deal with.

Alternately, I could just get an x86 tablet and hackintosh it. Or even Windows 7 it. Not exactly routes forward for large enterprises, but good enough for the lone gunman types.

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A nice rant Trevor, but if you need a pen to do your job, then a WACOM tablet and some practice is probably cheaper ;-)

Steven R

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I agree that a wacom tablet is cheaper, but - and please do correct me if I'm wrong - they aren't generally portable unless they've been built into a "proper" tablet. They serve as a second (or mirrored) monitor where you do things like keep palette tools. At least, that's my experience with them...

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Hiya Trevor, you've probably missed these because they are very expensive and niche, so haven't received much general attention:

Wacom released a Win8 Tablet and an Android Tablet in the last year, the latter doing double duty as a screen/digitiser for 'proper' computers when back at your desk.

http://cintiqcompanion.wacom.com/CintiqCompanion/en/

Kind regards

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LDS
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I would suggest you to check Wacom site... Wacom makes both tablets with no display capabilities (the Intuos line, which you can easily fit in a bag), and tablets with display capabilities (the Cintiq line). Usually they need to be connected to a PC/Mac - but the new Cintiq Hybrid/Companion comes with Windows 8 or Android, your choice... and most of the display devices *are not* for things alike keeping palette tools - they are large advanced (and expensive) tools for graphic professionals needing to draw and paint directly on the screen - with pens capable of pressure, tilt and rotation sensitivity. You can also switch tool just switching the pen, and there are mimicking the feel of real drawing tools.

BTW: many Windows 8 tablets and Android ones have Wacom digitizer that allows for using pens (including the Wacom ones) with far better precision and pressure sensitivity than anything you can use with an iPad. I'm sure the next iPad will come with a digitizer as well....

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I was aware of the Android one, didn't know the Win 8 one had come out yet, but it makes sense. Which brings me back to "but it runs Windows 8." If Cintiq wanted to do a Win 7 jobbie on the same hardware, that'd be just fine. Worth a premium, even.

I'm entirely aware of all the tablets with Wacom digitizers (Surface, many of Samsung's, etc.) Hell, I own several.

The reason this Macbook Pro dealie has so many backers - and it isn't remotely the first attempt to "tabletize" a Macbook - is because it runs OSX. Windows 8 is a bucked of warm ebola. Windows 7 isn't particualrly great at being a tablet OS. OSX isn't much better...but it has a cult following, especially amongst "design" types who still buy into a two decade old mythos that says "to do proper design, you need a Mac." (That isn't true, BTW, and ceased being true a long, long time ago.)

The point here is that there are poeple who are willing to spend money on convenience. How is this any different than people who pay 2x or 3x more to get a bag of cough drops at 2am by going to the 24/7 convenience store instead of waiting until the morning and hitting up the bulk shop?

There are people - rather a lot of people - who loathe Windows 8. They loathe it enough that they would rather pay 2x, 3x or even 5x as much for what amounts to the same hardware just to get an operating system whose quirks don't drive them batty.

I sympathize. I am personally in that camp. A slightly modified (give me my fucking up button!) Windows 7 is my preferred environment. I am willing to pay extra and/or put in extra time to get that environment. Quite frankly, if my choices on my next PC were "$5000 Windows 7 box" or "$1000 Windows 8 box" there'd be no contest. I'd by the Windows 7 box.

So yeah, I get why people would mod a Macbook. I also get why they don't want a Windows 8 or Android Cintiq. Both of them are absolutely awful for the types of tasks that anyone with a digitiser is going to do.

So...despite the fretting about a few bent coppers...it's really not all that weird.

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>Windows 8 is a bucked of warm ebola.

One thing you can't accuse MS of is being afraid to make history.

Win 8 is so unpopular it has become a legend - up there with the Edsel, New Coke, and the last two Matrix movies.

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Megaphone

there was only one matrix movie what are you talking about

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Sorry, my bad, I meant a WACOM digitiser, as in the external, flat devices you use that aren't a display.

I stand by my inaccurate and rather childish point. Because I am myself, rather inaccurate and childish.

Hugs and kisses,

Steven R

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LDS
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Despite its user interface, when it comes to touch and digitizer support Windows 8 is far better than Windows 7. There are many under the hood improvements in handling that kind of input which 7 lacks. People got so focused about the Metro UI they missed what other was done. I understand any attempt to build a tablet with good pen input supports needs Windows 8, not 7.

You may like It or not, but in "tablet" mode - without a mouse and a keyboard - Windows 8 "modern UI" works well enough, as it does in Windows Phone. If you need to build an application using a "clean" working areas with all toolbars, etc. hidden, Windows 8 UI frameworks already works that way and you don't need to reimplement it from scratch while keeping away all the other apps. Sure, this is not way most business application works, but for some, it works, and very well.

It's when you try to use it in a classic desktop environment it really doesn't fit well - while the classic shell is not really good when you need to use it on a tablet - and that was what made "Tablet PCs" a niche product.

I use a Surface 2 Pro as my portable device - and I like its pen input very much, I get rid of paper for quick notes and sketches, but I still have Windows 7 on my desktop too (where I have a Wacom tablet connected, anyway).

Also you may like it or not, but most of the photo/design/etc. business workflow is built upon Macs. Using a Mac ensure a smooth workflow avoiding all those little differences that can get in the way when you're not an IT guy but an "artistic" one , they are willingly to pay for the convenience, as you say. But as you said - "to do proper design, you need a Mac." (That isn't true, BTW, and ceased being true a long, long time ago.)" - today Windows applications are on par with the Mac ones.

Once you're inside the application, and it does what you need - you don't care much about the OS running it.

Unlike other users that may use several different applications at once, those working in sectors like photo editing, design, etc. spend most of their time within a single application. I know some that even keep a second computer at hand for "secondary" stuff like email, browsing, etc, because their expensive workstation with custom calibrated monitors run only the software they used for production. They rarely see the OS.

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Cheaper still

A 4 notepad and a Parker pen?

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"I sympathize. I am personally in that camp. A slightly modified (give me my fucking up button!) "

Personally, I want an un-fucking up button, for when someone fills their PC with crap by clicking ok without reading... Or deletes files with names like system.ini, or finds regedit.exe and thinks it can post edit their Reg posts...

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You'll never convince me to switch to Windows, but...

...a really awesome post; you point out the relative advantages of software and OSes when built to purpose without coming off like a fanboy or a shill or a paid troll. That said...

"...Also you may like it or not, but most of the photo/design/etc. business workflow is built upon Macs. Using a Mac ensure a smooth workflow avoiding all those little differences that can get in the way when you're not an IT guy but an 'artistic' one...

The first computer I ever owned was a Mac, in early '85, and that's all I've ever used. I'm one of those weird guys -- a professional designer, trained in the arts, but still a space and sci-fi geek with an interest in computers that goes back to my '60s boyhood. So, when I started using a computer to do my work, I went with the Mac, no contest, and dived into it way deeper than most of the designers in the shop, to the point where I ended up being the unofficial "IT guy" in the design department.

"...I know some that even keep a second computer at hand for "secondary" stuff like email, browsing, etc, because their expensive workstation with custom calibrated monitors run only the software they used for production...

Yeah, that's me. I'm totally doing that here. My main work machine is a loaded MacBook Pro with an external keyboard and mouse (to keep from wearing out the MBP keyboard) and a 17" Acer hanging off of it so I have enough real estate for stuff like my CS apps, and a Web browser (I have all my Web and email on it, too, as it's also my "road" machine).

The old G4 iBook which used to be my "road" machine is now the "entertainment server", set up with a Web browser, QuickTime, VLC Player and iTunes, with a big FireWire drive with all my music and movies on it, and the audio out patched into my stereo amp.

Hell, I still have my old G4 tower in the studio -- cleaned, scraped, re-optimized, decommissioned -- while I make up my mind whether or not to experiment with Linux Mint on it.

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"Despite its user interface, when it comes to touch and digitizer support Windows 8 is far better than Windows 7. There are many under the hood improvements in handling that kind of input which 7 lacks. People got so focused about the Metro UI they missed what other was done. I understand any attempt to build a tablet with good pen input supports needs Windows 8, not 7."

Um, no. I'm pretty sure that I said Windows 7 was ass at dealing with pens, or being a tablet. I know full well that Windows 8 has many under the hood improvements over Windows 7. It's the chrome that makes it a bucket of warm ebola.

And it isn't just Metro. It's the fucking charms. And the flat everything. And the zero delineation of controls. And the "cloud integration". And the streaming of your every move back to the hivemind. And the...

Seriously man, if it were just fucking Metro we wouldn't hate it this much.

Ultimately, that's the reason why people don't want to use it, even if the digitizer support is better. It's the 10,000 "little things" in the UI that pick and nag at you like a cloud of bees in your brains. Using the damned thing is just awful, and that's why people will cheerfully pay significant amounts extra to avoid it.

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Pint

@Ben Bonsall +1 for making me larf. Good show, that man.

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@Trevor

Great points, well made with humour that made me laugh out loud, and if you don't mind I'm going to borrow the phrase "bucket of warm ebola®" as my preferred description of Windows 8. Work just gave me a lovely new Thinkpad, ruined by 8 so I am not feeling very charitable towards that OS right now.

Have an upvote from me.

Cheers,

-an Intel guy who's dealt with you in the past

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@Dave 132

Ahoyhoy! You coming to VMworld? I think I owe you a keg or three of beer...

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"Also you may like it or not, but most of the photo/design/etc. business workflow is built upon Macs."

Not if you are a 3d artist or CAD designer. Windows is where all the major pro packages have traditionally lived (apart from a few on linux) - some are still not available for the mac or get released a version behind.

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Resistance is futile Trevor

"Windows 8 is a bucked of warm ebola."

MS knew it was only a matter of time before Win8 would grow on (in?) you...

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Re: Resistance is futile Trevor

"MS knew it was only a matter of time before Win8 would grow on (in?) you..."

Coming from an account named "Fungus Bob" just makes that statement all the more creepy...

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WTF?

Re: Cheaper still

"A 4 notepad and a Parker pen?"

Or throw your macbook under a bus...

YOYOY?

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Re: Resistance is futile Trevor

"Coming from an account named "Fungus Bob" just makes that statement all the more creepy..."

:)

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Your claim for Windows 8 is not true.

My preference is for stylus input and navigation.

I use Windows 7 on a tablet PC because the onscreen keyboard docks properly to the top of a landscape screen, with start, taskbar etc on the bottom. The Windows 8/8.1 options are limited. This particular aspect is widely criticised.

There's a patch promised for next week to improve distinguishing between mouse and stylus input. I am not holding my breath. The new Frankenstein UI hasn't sorted background apps stealing focus.

Don't get me started about OneNote. A big step backwards then staggering in every direction.

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Anonymous Coward

The Good Book of Steve isn't written in stone

Actually, that's...very nice. Good job. Just because Apple designs a product doesn't mean that it wasn't handed down by Moses himself, never to be questioned by mere mortals.

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Apple legal department behavior pretty much is, though

And as soon as Apple decides this little project is infringing on their shiny, shiny image, you can bet that this Kickstarter will be punted to a judges' feet to be squashed.

After all, even officially-recognized Apple fan sites have been squashed before, and they didn't even try to make money off it. This project not only attempts to make money, but does so by destroying the purity of Apple product and, in the process, making it look like a Microsoft product.

I just cannot see Apple stand by and let that happen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple legal department behavior pretty much is, though

MAcbook/Wacom mods have been going for over a decade IIRC. When I got my 10 year old baby Wacom I saw there were more expensive options to get a larger one and a Macbook conversion.

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Re: Apple legal department behavior pretty much is, though

Apple are happy for you to do whatever the hell you want to a Macbook, as long as you buy it from them first.

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It beats...

carrying around a MacBook Pro and a Cintiq, if that is your workflow.

I'm very happy with my hybrid Windows 8.1 device and it was one of the reasons I chose it over getting a new Mac.

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First impression

$50k pledged? The war on drugs has failed.

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Just one question

Is it possible to pledge negative amounts on Kickstarter?

I 'd have a higher opinion of this project if it came with some tasty potato salad

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Coat

Re: Just one question

@ Frankee Llonnygog

"Is it possible to pledge negative amounts on Kickstarter?"

Spread betting on kickstarter options? Bring it on.

Coat icon: I'm off out to pay some bills

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Re: Just one question

"Is it possible to pledge negative amounts on Kickstarter?"

As it was partly your idea I'm going to have to cut you in on a slice of my new venture, but here it is: Kickstopper.

Basically we come up with really fucking terrible products, and the good people of the Internet have to pay to stop us making them.

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Re: Kickstopper

I like it. Put me down for -£50

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Re: Just one question

Not sure if your wish came true but in the article it said the current investment was $51773 (I think) but when I clicked the link it was only $47k so maybe some people had pulled out.

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Re: Just one question

Too late, MS already have a bloody huge advane with W8..

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Tempting

Oh, I'm very tempted to send my Macbook for modding. Better still, it isn't mine, so I'd love to see the look on the faces of our IT Support team when I take it into the office. Sadly, while our head of technology would think it funny, I'm not entirely sure the support guys would, for obvious reasons :-)

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Re: Tempting

Wow! That's almost enough material for an entire BOFH episode right there! I hope Simon Travaglia is reading....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tempting

I don't even have to wait to see the Simon version of that story to get a chuckle out of it - the very idea brings a smile to my face!

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Anonymous Coward

Of just wait and see about the new iPads and MacBooks from Apple - would not surprise me to see some convergence with touch screen MacBooks with or without keyboards and capable of running iOS apps.

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Gimp

MacBooks with or without keyboards and capable of running iOS apps.

What's the point though if you have a real multitasking device that supports useful thing like tabs and being able to search for text.

Any way the trackpad gives you the benefits of touch screen ease and doesn't get the screen greased up (unless you sneeze violently or cough as your swallowing a well masticated bacon butty gob full).

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Those prices seem reasonable

Seeing how easily Apple fanboys part with their money.

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Re: Those prices seem reasonable

Easily?

If it were easy, Modbook would have sold enough of their previous version to not require Kickstrarter now.

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Devil

Add a Clown Nose…

… and the mod will be complete.

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Errr one problem

You can hackintosh a surface pro with most of the same advantages for around £400.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Errr one problem

Maybe, but the Wacom digitiser is better in the Modbook. If you are using it to earn a living, then the premium may well be worth it.

If you use something day in, day out, you become more sensitive to the little details.

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Anonymous Coward

I present to you, the ultimate portable writing device. Stand back and be amazed.

http://www.blinman.com/biro_1.jpg

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Linux

!#@$

How does that thing .... remotely .... look like a surface ? Oh, you mean, you pull the keyboard off ? They have been doing that for years, what you do is, hook up a apple wireless keyboard, mIghtyMouse (or any other wireless USB keyboard/mouse ) and a cheap stand, like the ones on display in stores where you find tablets, and you are good to go ..... The surface is supposed to be portable with keyboard, I doubt this thing is ...

As for me, no way ... when 1 infinite loop decided to solder mem and storage they definitely lost me as a customer. As the Germans say: "Ich bin doch nicht blöd", YMMV ;-)

As for the Windows 7/8 fans fighting on here, 8 is abysmal, 7 is almost as bad as Vista, as was XP, Me, 98, NT4, 95 they only fixed the memory allocation bug in 7 and you call that great when you all despise Vista ??????!? ROFL. Server OS' left out coz, well, they are not what is written on the box (for servers).

Windows 8 interface sucks as much on phone as on desktop, hove not tried surface [pro] as I do not know anybody with one ... ;-)

I am happy with my ui from the 90's on the desktop ... does the trick ... and my BB10 phones works for me as well ...

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Re: !#@$

Hans, sorry, not enough caps for FOTW. Nice try though. I thing there is a conspiracy to make all UIs suck as they age or get created. The recent rash of back to the past updated Linux desktops indicate I am not alone.

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Apple

If there is a real market for this Apple will do it.

They may sue these people out of existence anyway.

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Re: Apple

Sue them? On what grounds?

>If there is a real market for this Apple will do it.

Like truly ruggedised laptops, it's not a big market - but it does exist.

If Apple wanted to sell such a machine themselves, they could easily undercut the price of a Modbook, and possibly tweak the OS to give themselves a competitive advantage. Apple can't be bothered with a diverse product range, and so are quite happy for Modbook to fulfil this small niche.

You don't hear Harley Davidson complaining that people keep buying their motorcycles at full-price before chopping them up.

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