A little Surface Story - With MacBooks and iPads to today

nongfu

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May 31, 2013
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Hi guys,
I was going to write a little bit for the competition for a Surface 3. When I finally stopped typing I realised how much I had actually written and how much has been on my mind, so I thought I might share this here. Moderators, feel free to move if you feel this is the wrong place this.

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I don't have very high hopes in winning anything here, but here's something I've been thinking about for quite a while:

Don't get me wrong, I love Windows and WP, but that jump from Windows 7 to 8 was just too big. At the time I was running on an old 17 inch Dell that continues to run Windows 8.1 without any issues even after 7 years of usage. There was something great about Windows 8 when I first installed it on there. Something exciting. Something new. But for the lack of a touchscreen, there was also something awkward about it. Opening the Charm bar simply isn't the same with a trackpad, taking several thumb movements just to get the mouse into the top right corner.

I was using the Dell more as a backup laptop for watching movies on the large screen and having some way to get on a computer if my Mac Book Pro was ever unavailable due to repairs, software upgrades or one of a number of other reasons. I?ll be honest, migrating from Windows XP to OSX was a great experience. I loved all the features that Apple had coming and it worked great in an all Apple environment. My school, that is, had a running partnership with Apple where all students were equipped with MacBook?s. They became part of the classroom ? a tool ? that we were able to utilize in so many ways. It was much more than a screen to display our textbooks in PDF form. It brought collaboration and group work to a new level and allowed us to work independently and creatively in ways that would have otherwise been impossible. But I knew that wasn?t even close to the potential it could reach. Together with one of my teachers, I started investigating and working on ways to further integrate technology into the classroom. We worked with a number of students, keen on technology, and brainstormed ideas, rolled out trainings for teachers, parents and students and held a number of events. Through the close ties the school had to Apple, the project was soon picked up by them and before I knew it I was sitting in the conference room of Apple?s Beijing office, overlooking the entire city. In the room with me were staff, students and teachers from a number of schools in Beijing, working on the same mission. Bringing technology into the classroom effectively. It was amazing to see the workings of students as young as early middle school in their brainstorming processes, coming up with any number of ideas. But in this session, I also realised that there are limits. Limits in what was available to us. Limits in the technology that was available to us. There were always compromises.

Drawing back to my Dell. When my MacBook broke and I migrated to Windows 8, I immediately knew that it had come with huge potential. I loved the first generation Surface when I saw it and immediately knew that this device would be what could change personal computing forever. But there were too many compromises. And so I waited, hearing of rumours of a 2nd generation Surface being soon to follow. And when it was announced, I again loved it. But it wasn?t enough.

After graduating school I spent a year studying Chinese in Beijing and interning in the Aerospace industry. For one, I needed a touchscreen for scribbling characters into Bing-Translator, for the other a powerful enough machine to handle cross-linked Excel sheets with tens of thousands of calculations. But I thought that making do with my Dell in the wait for the next jump ? for the surface to mature ? to gain the features and iron out the bugs from the first generation model.

And so, as this year came to a close, so did my computing requirements. Going to University abroad to study Aeronautical Engineering, I needed a computer that is portable, and yet powerful enough to handle CAD software. One that is light enough to carry in my backpack when I cycle to campus and yet has a screen large enough to edit Matlab codes of thousands of lines. I?m also a hobby photographer, and so a machine where I could easily flick through my pictures, and yet have to power and screen estate to operate Photoshop. And so I bought a Yoga 2 Pro.

But there were more requirements, more needs of which I hadn?t even thought about. One is taking notes. Be it in a meeting discussing a project, a quick reminder, or just some scribbles on our lecture notes. In a discussion with one of my professors, he told me that he currently writes down all his notes on paper, then takes a picture of them with Evernote on his iPhone to have it stowed away safely on his Mac. I realized that I was doing something almost identical with OneNote ? taking pictures of work I had done. But there had to be a better solution. There wasn?t. Up until a few days ago.

When Microsoft Announced the Surface 3, I watched in awe. I was sitting in one of our common rooms, revising for exams (which I should really be doing as I type this) when I turned on the presentation to listen to in the background. Soon after they brought out the new device, I forgot all about work. I immediately knew that it was exactly what I was and am looking for. A device I can take notes on with the ease of clicking my pen. A device with a screen size large enough so I wouldn?t need an additional screen for doing graphics related work, keeping me mobile (being a student and having grown up abroad I?m used to moving a LOT). I?m not saying that the Surface is without compromise. In fact, quite the opposite. There is still compromise. There always will be ? with every device out there. But it is a huge jump in the right direction and in my opinion is the best device out there right now. With Windows and Windows Phone converging and the Cloud integration and mobility aspects going deeper into each systems DNA, I can say without a doubt that I made the right decision in buying into Windows ? be it on my old Dell, Lumia 920 or Yoga 2 Pro and can?t wait to see what the future Microsoft has in store for us entails.
 

Guzzler3

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May 4, 2012
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I agree completely.

Seeing the Surface Pro 3, makes me want to get one, and go back to school and finally finish my degree in Physics. I see so many possibilities in the classroom with it.
 

Scott Seabrook

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Mar 13, 2014
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As nice as it is to see you've gone to all this effort (ill admit I only skimmed it) all you need to do in order to enter the competition is leave a comment, perhaps help a person out with an issue they are having on here etc. :)
 

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