* Posts by mmeier

1428 posts • joined 31 Jan 2013


Microsoft Surface Pro launch: It's easy to sell out of sod all stock


Re: How fickle nerds are...

There are two types of critical comments:

a) Those that critizise problems/erros

b) Simple FUD-style bashing "because it is evil Microsoft"

Win8 and the Surface/Pro have problem areas and things that could be done better. I would prefer user-upgradable/changeable SSD, Memory and batterie. I would like the "configureable" text entry window for handwriting from Win7 back (combined with the better Win8 engine), I would prefer Recovery DVD vs. Recovery partition....

Typ a) is useful, type b) a waste of electrons and time (sorting through). I.e over on Amazon I am looking at a Samsung Ativ 500. Two "one star" comments. The Type b one tells me "this unit is <expletive> in a long winded way but not WHY. The Type a one tells me "connection with the dock is bad, Drive is slow..." giving me facts I can use in my decision to buy or not(1)

So downvoting typ b is ultimately useful

(1) Since I do not care for the dock and can live with the drive speed the unit is an option


Actually the form/weight factor works nicely on the lap as soon as you realize the added options. Let's face it if I use a "notebook" without a table etc. it is a best for browsing / watching videos / reading / short mails (at most). All that can be done nicely with a slate WITHOUT the keyboard. And since there is no battery etc. inside the KB leaving it in the bag/attache case is simple and reduces unit weight.

With Surface-class penable devices (That have existed for a decade) I have the additional benefit of actually being able to take the minutes of a meeting or a conference even without the place to put a notebook (or netbook)

Linux Foundation ships UEFI Secure Boot workaround


Re: Not sure what UEFI is actually for...and why Windows is preinstalled

If you are forced to buy Windows - you are shopping at the wrong place!

Yes, the big PC manufacturers deliver their boxes with Windows pre-installed. Because 90+ percent of the end-users want it that way. That is what you find in the big outlets and in the online shops. Simply to keep the choices resonably few (online) or the variety of systems on stock resonably small (brick&mortar). Add in that in some EU countries computers sold to end users must have a OS installed and Windows is the best choice. And for OEMs Windows is cheap!

If you want something different - pick a company that caters to business customers and PHONE! them. Dell, Lenovo, HP have all been willing to deliver "bare bone" units without an operating system (and 20-50€ less) in the past. Since many companies have volume licences this is essential.

As for the rest:

+ You can unistall software on Windows. It is easy

+ There are free AV programs that can for end/home users do the job just fine (Win8 has one included)

+ You can actually use stuff like GIMP or Outdated Office on Windows. It works just fine if you can live with the limits

Review: Living with Microsoft's new Surface Pro


Re: Microsoft Surface Pro FAIL

The UK is lucky, their FOSStards and PenguBoys are a lot funnier than our german ones. If you don't need him any more, could you borrow him to the heise forum


Re: Monstrosity

From experience:

+ The fan is not audible in a typical office/conference environment. Win7/Win8 have good power/heat management on the core-i platform. Even my old 1st gen core-i tablet is resonably quiet and from all reads MS went to some extra length in sound reduction through design

+ The unit in tablet mode is around a kilogram. I know one person that has problems with my 12''/1100g tablet and that is a very thin, 159cm female. For her even the Note 10.1 is borderline...

+ Touch != WACOM stylus. Believe one that has years of experience

+ Touch (or even WACOM) on a notebook != tablet.

This type of unit can be used cradled in the left arm writing on it with the stylus in a way no "touch only" unit can. And it's core-i gives it access to some technologies (WIDI/Miracast) that are blocked to Atoms.

The only stupid thing MS did IMHO is offer this WITH snap-on keyboards instead of classic Slates.


Re: looks great --but

Prices I found start well past 1000€ new. For a 2GB unit with a classic hard disk and a Core2Duo. Not to mention 1280x800 screen resolution. HDD and mobile devices are a "if you absolutely need that much storage" for me this days. NOT having to think about "spinning metal" makes live easier with mobile devices

I seriously doubt any notebook in this price/weight range can have 4 times the processing power. A Fujitzu T902 might get close - at more than 2kg/more than 2000€. Don't get me wrong, Thinkpad keyboards are GREAT and the hardware in general is sturdy. But it screams "work!" not "cool"

As for the OS:

+ I found Win8 to be VERY useable on Desktop and tablet pc

+ Don't see anythink that says "can't install something else"

Granted, that WACOM-support in Linux makes Alphas nuclear waste disposal sites look sturdy and controlled but even that exist.


Re: Monstrosity

The Pro has written "niche market" all over it. But a market that has existed for more than a decade, has a loyal following and that has demands an Atom can not met due to the restrictions build into the platform (2GB, slow "SSD", low graphic performance) or the available/announced hardware (low screen resolution). This is the replacement for units like ASUS EP121, Samsung S7, Fujitsu Stylistic series (and the T580) and similar units. Resonably low priced, very sturdy, good screen resolution, resonable battery duration. A penable tablet PC and actually usable with touch (a first for Windows penables(1)).

Granted, it is not your typical "Couchy" for simple browsing/reading(2) but for drawing, drafting, graphics works, presenting (3), note taking and as a replacement for an upper class notebook they are fine. The unit has enough power for light-medium programming work at a customer site as well. Once you get used to the additional capacities tablet pc (and convertibles) have over a "simple" notebook you don't want to go back.

It's like driving a Mercedes G. Most of it's jobs could be done by a Ford Mondeo as well. But after you have gotten used to 4WD, high seat position and real cross-country suspension that can ignore the typical german 2nd/3rd level road with it's potholes you don't want to go back.(4)

(1) The last Win7 units had touch but Win7 and touch don't mix well

(2) Also quite useable for that as well

(3) Even more so if you need to go "past powerpoint" and present Java-based Web applications

(4) As much as I likes the Mondeo that I drove for a decade. But with german roads being what they are these days "Wolfie" is the better choice. No plastic - all metal


Re: I still don't get the touch screen fascination.

I have the slightly older sibling to the Surface/Pro (An ASUS EP121)(1) lying right next to me. Touch has been disabled on the unit since day one. I use the unit daily and will likely replace it with a Haswell-based tablet (A Surface/Pro v2 or a Helix/2) when they are out. Why?

+ If I have a work environment where I could use a notebook I dig out the BT keyboard/mouse and have a notebook where I can adjust the distance to the screen. The unit is older so no USB3 and USB3 docking but with that it could even replace a desktop at home(2)

+ If I lack the space I pull out the stylus and use the thing one handed or proped on a knee etc. Note taking is easy, Handwriting Recognition both directly and later is working fine. Using it on a train for annotating text etc. works fine

+ It is a full notebook. I never have to ask "will Presentation X work" - it will because the unit runs Office 2010.

+ The /Pro supports WIDI(3) so I could do the presentation free standing/walking with the unit in hand no longer needing a presenter, can react to comments by annotating.

+ Can be easily handed around the table like a legal pad, used to make a quick drawing etc. Again either beaming directly or (good viewing angle) lying flat in the middle. Stylus keeps it clean. And unlike paper I won't loose the notes, can mail them around (All Windows units have MS-Journal)

+ Has replaced the legal pad and most printouts for me. I write in OneNote or Journal (Depending on target audience), annotate PDF in Foxit by handwritten notes instead of printing them, same for Word-Dokuments / Powerpoints and mail them back(4)

+ Both units lack 3G but tethering (either to a mobile phone or a MIFI router) solves that. MIFI has the benefit of allowing LTE by switching an external component.

+ It is a Windows unit (Win8/Pro) and the company admins love it since it can be easily integrated in the Windows-based infrastructure

(1) Same weight class, same CPU / memory / SSD class. The kick-stand is in the sleeve not the case and the detachable keyboard is BT. Has around 30GB free (no recovery partition, MS-Office, GIMP, ArtRage, Eclipse and some tools installed) Data is on a 64GB SD-card

(2) And a unit like the Helix with 8GB and a "dock" surely can

(3) Changed the WLAN card on the EP so it does as well, carry an adapter box that takes HDMI or VGA

(4) Readable handwriting helps - I am old enough to have one


Handwriting-Recognition is NOT new

HWR is build into Windows since XP Tablet and Win8 can do so just fine on EVERY tablet-pc I have around / tried that has a stylus. This is not a Surface/Pro "special feature". The input form shown is the same I get on my 2011s EP121 or Samsung ATIV.

Oh and the Surface/Pro definitly is NOT "inspired by the iPad". Tablet-PC in this form factor have been around since at least 2003! Price and the problem with a Harddisk in a device that is used like a legal pad have kept them rare but with SSDs they have come into the "mass market" in recent years.

Last point: Sure there are alternative keyboars. Any BT keyboard will do, even more so with the device having a build in kickstand.

Bring out your dead: Reg readers reveal filthy, filthy PCs...


That's not one of ours! Ours are white...

Had a Kyocera tech "on site" once to do maintenance on a heavy duty laser printer. Pointed him towards the (grayisch) unit, got that answer. Well it WAS one of theirs (barely a year old). So he opened the unit and the next question was "what is that black dust in here?" One of the guys in the "office" dryly replied: "Coal dust. We dig that stuff out of the ground right there" pointing to the nearby mine shaft...

After cleaning the thing and replacing a small field-replaceable part the unit worked just fine again. Okay, it took some time and a quick swig of brandy to convince the tech that the office would not fall of the wall (where it was attached) when the mine hoist started working (it was in the building the office was attached to)

Review: Seagate Wireless Plus Wi-Fi hard drive


To bad it is spinning metal

Somethink like that with a SSD in the 128-256GB range and I will buy. Even at a price in the 2xx range. Might still be tempted with this one, shove it in the notebook bag, switch on when needed, connect. Since MY mobile OS speaks NTFS fluently it is even formatted right...

Samsung: Never mind Steve Jobs, let's snap off a piece of stylus biz


Re: Handwriting

Handwriting get's better with use :) Honestly, mine had atrophied just as yours did but since using penables I has improved a lot back to at least school standards. Handwriting-recognition actually is a nice teacher. My spelling OTOH - well I love spell checkers :)

And the moder Win8 integrated Handwriting-recognition is quite capabel Win7 ist good if you use the "formular/predefined grid" mode, both are a better than the Note 10.1. The option to do a "batch recognition" (write freehand than tell MS Journal "recognize" after it is done coupled with a good spellchecker helps as well


Note / Note 2 and either the integrated SPen or any other pen for WACOM-based tablet pc. Some are the size, feel and use of a ballpoint pen and should work nicely


Re: History in the making

So does basically every Windows tablet or convertible. Depending on the complexity of the task and the money available one can choose anything from Atom to full-powered "desktop" core-i and from 2-16GB of memory.


No stylus - no business

I have tried hard to like the finger based UIs and failed. Asides from getting the idea that the real business plan was "sell the hardware cheap, make a killing on the cleaning tools" I have found many websites, mostly forums, to be at least difficult to use with either finger of capacitive stylus. It was always either

a) Increase font size so I can hit the forum entry reliably loosing (already scarce) screen real estate

b) Zoom - select - Unzoom and clean the screen every hour to keep it readable

So I am back to where I was since 2003 - Induktive digitizer (WACOM or NTrig) and a stylus. No zooms, no need to enlarge the font size to 200+ percent.

In addition to this the stylus has a number of additional benefits:

+ Quick note taking simply by writing into MS-Journals/OneNote/SNote without Handwriting-Recognition

+ Limited writing into forums etc. WITH Handwriting-Recognition

+ Fine lines drafting/drawing during discussions about UI etc.

+ Commenting on documents (PDF, MS-Office) with handwritten notes

Since a tablet takes a lot less place than a net/notebook and has no "Chinese Wall" between me and the people I talk to handwritting is a lot more "accepted" on the table. And the "clean" state of a stylus-based tablet makes it more acceptable to others, just like a piece of paper / legal pad that gets swapped around the table with everybody adding notes/comments

And having used both "capacitiy styli" (for iPad and Iconia A500) and the real things (for Note 10.1, Thinkpad Tablet 1 and half a dozend tablet pc) - one is a thick way crayon and the other is a finely honed pencil

Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus


Did they finally manage to produce a WACOM driver for Linux that works more stable than sweating dynamite on a truck? Otherwise the Ativ 700 is "PAL" since you can get the same stuff without paying for the WACOM by buying one of the Acer units (touch only) for less money, slightly better runtime (Wacom eats battery power) and touch works more stable last time I looked.


Re: Transformer

My guess is that Atom-based Tablet-PC will kill the Android tablets giving us the "next gen netbook". Unlike Android the devices have a lot of "tablet enabled" applications (All the legacy Windows applications) and the Modern UI apps are also "tablet enabled". Similar duration, equal or better processing power to the current-model ARMs (and the new BayTrail promises more on both) and a company with a well proven update/patch record (3 years after the next gen OS at least unlike many 1st gen Android tablets that are already out of support). And since the Android tablets lack the "Hippster" factor of the iThingy they can't even sell that way, at least not in the 500+ Euro price range.

Add in that many corporate admins loves them (they ARE Windows so they can be easily integrated in the Windows-based network) and they have the "same software as my desktop" benefit and they have a lot going for them compared to Android. Offline Word processing - just add MS-Office or whatever you prefer


Re: Battery life isn't a selling point in the consumer market

I want 6+ hours of working time out of a mobile device (WLAN/BT on, no videos but Office, Handwriting and speech input) desperatly enough to either go Atom (< 800€) OR high end (> 1200€, 1+kg) to get it. Not having to lug around the charger for a typical work day is the difference of "just the tablet in the book-case" vs. "the notebook bag with the hole pile of stuff". Tested a Note 10.1 last year and while ultimately it "always tried hard to perform the task" and got sold off the low weight/high portability and long running times where nice.

I was event (and still am for some reasons) considering the 2kg/2000€ "Terminator" (Fujitsu T902 with dock, 8GB, 128GB SSD, second battery) as a main maschine replacing the whole zoo (Desktop, Tower, Smartphone). A tad heavier than I like but I could still carry the maschine only. Currently waiting for Q3 and the Haswell and Baytrail CPUs and what that brings us (Vaio Duo Gen 2, maybe the Helix)

If I go mobile I want to do so for a long time and without looking at the charge indicator or thinking about "how to conserve battery". This is the main "dislike" I have with my current tablet pc - power lasts 3-4 hours so long meetings get tricky.


Re: I have an answer for you - laptop with battery life of 16 hours (!) for $700

That and it's bigger 700-series brother looked nice - until I realized the <string of swear-words and hints at genetic ancestry of the developers/decision makers> only used a capacitive digitizer. Knowing that Windows has some excellen scratchbook software on board (MS-Journal) or available as part of office (One Note) that accept handwritting just fine makes a inductive digitizer a "must have" for me. Only with that the tablet pc can really shine, replacing handwritten notes, A4 pads and even a smartphone.

Too bad the designers went for cheap instead of low price


Re: Gonna miss netbooks...

That unit is a nice one. But quite a bit more powerful than a classic "Netbook" could ever be:

+ 4GB memory (Atom has max 2GB)

+ Full sized SSD (Atom used a slower variant)

And a useful screen resolution. That is more a small notebook


Re: An idea: daft or not daft?

There are some "mobile monitors" so that part should be doable. OTOH the setup will likely approach the "Surface Pro" price-range (1000€+) and in that case - I can get a 10'' 1920x1080 tablet-pc that has a display port or two for the occasional "need a bigger screen"


What do you want the Netbook for

The big question is: What does one want to do with a Netbook on a conference?

If it is simply "Take notes, read email, do some minor work" than the "Netbook" still exists. Lighter, more compact, easier to use and with a better screen. Granted, it will cost more than the 450€ Lenovo S10-3 (after all needed upgrades) I bought IIRC in late 2010 but it delivers more in a smaller package. These things are called Win8 Tablet-PCs, more exactly the systems with an ACTIVE digitizer instead of the "Steve Jobs rememberance smear" finger only capacitiye stuff build into most ARM systems (IIRC the Note 10.1 is the only "in production" system with a WACOM - and the software like SNote on that is second rate compared to what Windows has out of the box)

And if I need to type something longer I can lug around a BT keyboard/mice. CAN! not must. I use Tablet-PC for notetaking/mobile work/presentations for quite some time now (granted, a 1kg core-i system) and while I have a BT keyboard in the carry-bag I have rarely (1 day per month) pulled it out. Handwriting -> Text translation works just fine, either directly or "post writing" (something SNote lacks) and even the aging Cedar Trail has more power than the Quad-Core ARM in the Note 10.1 (Compared that to an ATIV500)

Android gets tipsy on Wine, runs WINDOWS apps


The question is - WHY?

If I am using MS Office this is likely a "work environment" with quite a few other Windows-only programs and little to no Unix software. So why would I want to run Android to run Wine to run my Windows-Programs? Add in that Windows is touch/stylus optimized and support for WACOM/NTrig is about as stable as Alphas "Storage Site 2" and the question get's even bigger (Assuming Android/x86 since Android/ARM makes even less sense)

I can understand WINE for the die-hard penguinista who wants to run a decend game but otherwise spends his time under Linux but those guys won't run MS-Office even if they could download it "free". And in the (rare) company that uses Linux desktops it is either OO/LO or they have a terminal server with MS-Office set up so the (typically developers) can use that in the rare occasion the need it

Is your Surface Pro a bit full? Slot in an SD card, it's not from Apple


Having used Windows tablet PC since the days of Win-XP and Win8 since the day it was released (actually testet it since the first previews):

Win8 takes time getting used to it AND the will to leave behind old concepts. Ones you do that, give it a few hours and accept it is not "same stuff they cloned from grandpa Xerox" it is a fine system both on desktops (dual monitor) and Tablet-PC (12''/core i5) There are quite a few nice changes "under the hood" like changed WLAN startup (Win7 never managed to re-connect to the NAS forcing me to enter passwords, Win8 does it(1)), smaller footprint than Win7 and improvements in Handwriting-recognition and speach-recognition. And if you are a "keyboard worker" (I do software development) you start liking the "no mouse needed" approach quickly. W8 can be controlled "keyboard only" and FAST!(2)

Touch is (ironically) still so-so, It works fine in Modern(Metro) that is well designed for it, IMHO as good as Android 4.1 but for the desktop I still prefer a WACOM stylus (3). And for normal Websites/Forums this beats fingers even on a Note 10.1 tablet for speed/precision.

(1) I am a "wireless" household, even my desktop uses WLAN

(2) Okay, it took a while to accept that you switch of the box with the power key

(3) Truth be told: I ALWAYS prefer one, don't like fingerprints


Re: Plenty of room for multiple tablets

Yes, lot's of room. Just make a criteria list or three (Must have, shiould have and nice to have), tick of the points and buy the one that fits best. I.e for me "Induktion Digitizer" (Stylus) ist a "Must" and "Wacom" a "should". So quite a few systems simply are out since they are "capacitive Digitizer only". Would like a Retina display WITH a Wacom :) but the only non-Windows system in production is the Note 10.1 (and that failed in other areas for me)

For me the end result typically is "Windows/x86" (except Application Server, there it is SOLARIS) and once you buy into an "ecosystem" it has benefits to stay there like data exchange, one UI for all devices(1), one set of software for all but others happily mix systems (Win and iOS are the most common followed by Win and Android)

(1) I am currently getting rid of smartphones in favour of a ATOM tablet and either build in UMTS or a MIFI router - depends on LTE coverage / build up speed


Where is the problem?

Okay, I would have preferred MS to deliver recovery disks and not a recovery partition. But that is easy to cure. Generate the recovery disks, remove the partition and either re-install the box or expand the base partition. Problem solved, you should have about 35-40GB on your 64GB SSD free (based on experience with an ASUS EP121 / Win8)

Still not enough space and not interested in the 128GB model? Well, get a fast 64GB SSD and install your non APP programs there (Or just the data). Works like a charm (doing it since 2011). Not as fast as the internal SSD but still useable. If data storage is your only problem - add USB devices. IIRC there is even a battery powered external SSD that does WiFi so you can keep it in your pack.

The final question is always "what do you want this for". I use my tablet pc as a notebook with inbuild graphic tablet and not so much as a media player (also it can do SD quality movies just fine and the Surface could do HD nicely) so I do not need Terrabytes of memory. YMMV but worst case : Bring an externa USB drive and play the discs (Been there, done that and beamed it over to the 42'' Samsung)

Google's Glasses: The tech with specs appeal?


Who needs to wear two sets of glasses for this one

From the looks of the GGs I can simply get prescription glasses in the frame and use ONE set. Since I switch glasses depending on what I do anyway (I.e an untinted one for painting, a self-coloring/tinting one for driving etc) I see little to no problem with that.

And as one wrote: Having such a kit to super-impose Calendar/Mail etc. in my field of vision would be nice. If done properly this thing would finally allow me to do away with the smartphone, linking to the tablet-pc I carry around even when it is closed/lying on the co-driver seat/packed in a attache case, giving me back the classic "lasts 14 days between recharges" featurephone.

Surface left on shelves as world+dog slurps up small slates


The problems with RT [as well as ios or Android]:

It does not run the programs and tools I use for my hobbies

Most have No active digitizer making using many forums time consuming

Different programming model, I can not run a quickly written Java Swing or .Net application

Software is less mature, just dropped a Note 10.1 for that reason

With the Atom based W8 tablets having more power and similar duration the ARM based tablets are less attractive, even more true for RT. And with Haswell coming in, giving core-i base tablets with 6+ hours runtime at 800-900 gram there are many who prefer a "wait and buy a Helix/Duo 11b or similar" in Q3 attitude

And rightly so in my opinion since a tablet pc is vastly more useful than a mere tablet


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