Here’s another IT-related post. A while ago, Microsoft introduced it’s first computer in decades (or ever, I’m not sure). It is called “Surface” and is a strange hybrid. On the one hand, it’s a tablet with Windows 8 on it. The tiles really make sense here. On the other hand, it’s a full-fledged Laptop-style computer if you attach a keyboard to the long side. There’s a Windows desktop available (sans “Start” button in Win 8) and it comes with a little pointing stick. The keyboard has a small but useable trackpad to move the mouse pointer about, too. So, it is a mixed bag of user interfaces. To complicate matters further, at the moment four versions of “Surface” are sold in stores: Surface RT, Surface Pro, Surface 2 and finally Surface 2 Pro. Let me untangle that. Surface RT and Surface 2 have ARM processors and a Win 8 version compiled to run on that. Surface Pro and Surface 2 Pro have Intel Core i5 processors with similar clock speeds, the same RAM and SSD storage. They run the original Windows 8 and Microsoft Office. Surface RT and Surface Pro are first generation, the other two second generation and cost about 150 € more. Where’s the difference between Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2? Number two comes with Win 8.1, which is a free upgrade to Win 8, which comes on Surface Pro… Guess what I bought. Upgrading Windows…
Anyway, it is a brainf**k using Windows again after so many years of abstinence. I think Microsoft did good on that version 8. If you accept the premise of these tiles, they are quite useable as shortcuts to often-used applications. They make sense on a small, touch sensitive screen but I can’t see using them on a 24 inch desktop monitor! Of course, there’s a break if you change over to the traditional Windows desktop and it’s conventionally styled apps. Things get much smaller then and you need good eyesight. Surface’s screen delivers, though. And really, I’ve seen stranger window managers and and desktop environments on Linux. Keeps you on your toes!
Some programs are AWOL, e.g. my Zinio magazine reader, but perhaps the upgrade to win 8.1 will improve that. I plan on installing Visual Studio Express and I’m curious how that IDE is for development.