6 Months with a Surface Pro 4

22 02 2017

After my retirement in August 2016 I moved over from Germany to Thailand.

My company wants my future support so I got a Surface Pro 4 (128GB, Intel Core i5, 4GB Ram, Type Cover) to keep an eye on the further development of the company’s main application, a tool for auditors based on Microsoft Access as the container for all the data needed to audit companies, Excel for analyses, and Word for documentation of the audit process.

The device serves as a Windows 10 based reference system for the company’s internal software quality control.

Like every technical product the Pro 4 has its pros and cons. The energy management isn’t what I would expect from a high-priced mobile device. Optimization (like Apple did it with its macOS on a Macbook Air) isn’t Microsoft’s strength. Maybe this is caused by the many compromises coming with a newly developed universal platform.

Sadly there is another annoying lack (for me). Neither the Type Cover nor the Onscreen Keyboard sports a BREAK key although it’s needed when debugging code. Shame on Microsoft.

Summary after 6 months …

Battery life is still limited and makes a Surface Pro 4 an immovable property if there are lots of points on your agenda; generation of heat is higher than average and definitely too much for a tablet; showcasing Windows 10: indeed, including its occasional frustrations and aggravations.

There are still some dialogs coming from Windows Vista/7 which do not really match with the Windows 10 design. I hope the colleagues will fix it all shortly.

Ironically, where the Surface Pro 4 falls short is that “tablet” part, not because of the hardware but as the result of an ecosystem that is light on the kind of apps that make a great tablet. The same situation I’m faced with on my Lumia 550.

What remains is a fine and good looking portable PC (I wouldn’t call it a hybrid because it lacks in tablet mode) with which I can successfully work through my GTD list. Not more. Sadly.

The Surface could possibly be beaten by an iPad Pro running macOS. But it wouldn’t be an alternative for me because there is a huge app gap between the Windows- and the macOS-based application line-up. Users are supplied with a wide range of high-quality apps for Apple’s mobiles but they are faced with lots of problems to get specialized business software for their Macs. The Windows mobile “App Gap” finds its counterpart in a Mac “App Gap”.

I already used one of the first convertibles running Windows XP Tablet Edition more than a decade ago. Maybe I have to wait another decade to find the ultimate hybrid.

Note (for the youngsters)
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition was intended for specially designed notebook/laptop computers called tablet PCs. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition was compatible with a pen-sensitive screen, supporting handwritten notes and portrait-oriented screens.

More about Surface vs MacBook …

Surface Pro 4 vs MacBook

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R.I.P. Windows and Blackberry

17 02 2017

Market share isn’t everything but a good indicator of the developer’s ability to bring the power of mobile devices to the people. It’s not only the price which affects the market (except for emerging markets) but also the

  • availability of high-quality apps
  • innovative approaches
  • durability and design
  • ecosystem
  • continuity 
  • simplicity 
  • support

which convinces people in the long-term to stick with a product/operating system and remain loyal customers.

It must always be kept in mind that iOS runs on a handful of devices whereas the number of different devices running Android is near to 18k.

It’s also quite interesting not to look at the OS but the smartphone sales of the most prominent vendors in 2016: Samsung 20.5% (Korea), Apple 14.4% (USA), Huawei 8.9% (China), Oppo 5.7% (China), BBK 4.8% (China).

To get back on the track is a sheer impossible endeavor for Microsoft and Blackberry no matter what they will do.

We heard about a so-called Microsoft Surface Phone but Mr Nadella’s announcements are hazy. Do they really think they could do something unique so that customers change their mind? Keep on dreaming.

Stats by courtesy of Gartner, Feb 2017

Chart created with Apple’s app Numbers on an iPhone

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Hey Microsoft

20 09 2016

I gave you 9 months to present a most widely bug-free OS for my Lumia with an exciting UI.

But you failed.

So you lost one more customer and I’m quite sure that your reaction would be a simple MEH if you would read my post.

In remembrance I took this last photo from the lock screen with an iPhone 6S Plus. Dear Lumia, you won’t be unlocked any longer. Feel well in the trash can.

To be fair, I love Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4.

Microsoft Surface

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Workforce Management

2 08 2016

using the latest build of Microsoft Dynamics

UWP saves workforce
Saved workforce saves energy
Saved energy keeps the planet green
Are there other reasons for Microsoft’s decisions?

“It began in mid-2014 when the company announced plans to cut 18,000 of its workers by the end of June 2015. In July 2015, Microsoft revealed another set of job cuts, affecting 7,800 more of its employees. In October, Microsoft confirmed it had made more reductions in its workforce, which were rumored to have affected 1,000 more team members. With the announcement in May 2016 and the SEC-filing of July, Microsoft has confirmed plans to lay off 4,700 more workers.”

I feel with all people losing their job and hope they will find new ones to earn their living and support their families.

Thanks for surfing by.

I feel good

30 07 2016


Well, I’m not working on Windows phones.

Come on Microsoft, we like competition.

You did and still do a brilliant job in other tech areas and I’m sure you are able to transform your phones into smart phones as well.

When things don’t go your way.

17 06 2016

Windows smartphone market share:

2007 12% 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

2008 11% 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

2009  9% 😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟

2010   5% 😳😳😳😳😳

2011   3% 😢😢😢

2012   3% 😭😭😭

2013   3% 😡😡😡

2014   3% 💀💀💀

2015   2% 🗑🗑   (Windows 10 RTM, July 2015)

2016   x% 🚽

Windows Devices Chief Terry Meyerson had this to add about what we can expect from Microsoft’s “Phone” division:

“There is no lack of recognition to realize how important this form factor is. But for Microsoft with Windows and for our platform it’s the wrong place for us to lead.

We’re going to do some cool things with phone.

But this year phones are an important part of our family but not the tip of the spear. The lack of focus on Windows phones is something that will carry on until 2017.”

Microsoft’s platform, cloud, communication and device ambitions sound inspiring and encouraging and for many trying to process how this will all work from an everyday user perspective – it can also be a bit confusing. But, more than anything else, to many Microsoft fans, writers, and other industry watchers it seems to be taking a very long time for all of this to come together.

Microsoft’s leaders should keep in mind that they can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking they used when they created them.

Mr Nadella, think about this saying of Nicholo Machiavelli …

The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.

It’s not about Microsoft’s vision, it’s about customers experiences, preferences, and purchase behavior. Do the leaders really think they can close the gap between Windows 10 and Android/iOS?

Here is my ironic constructive suggestion to solve the phone and app disaster:

What about an XBOX shrinked to 5″ and capable of making phone calls?

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About Keyboard Shortcuts

6 06 2016

Shortcuts are designed to abbreviate tasks.

I don’t know who exactly pressed these keys at Microsoft. What I know is that such people are usually high-paid but not responsible for their decisions.

Ctrl + Waste + Your Time
Ctrl + Waste + Your Money
Ctrl + Waste + Your Ambitions
Ctrl + Waste + Your Reputation
Ctrl + Waste + Your Developers

This is my very personal opinion about Microsoft’s strategy regarding smart phones and it’s supported by many others.

“While the app gap has always been a problem, Windows Phone is now five years old and it’s still facing new challenges. Over the past year developers haven’t flocked to Microsoft’s platform to improve its app situation. Instead, more and more high-profile apps have actually disappeared. Mint’s removal this week is the latest, angering Windows Phone fans, but it’s not the first, nor will it be the last.

American Airlines, Chase Bank, Bank of America, NBC, Pinterest, and Kabam have all discontinued their Windows Phone apps in the past year. These huge apps have simply disappeared or will no longer be updated. Some companies have cited a lack of Windows Phone users, and others have remained silent, but each removal has put Microsoft another step behind in the mobile race.

It’s not just third-party apps disappearing, either. Microsoft has removed several MSN apps and its popular Photosynth app, and the software maker has also killed off a number of special Lumia camera apps. Windows Phone users still don’t have great Skype or Office apps like Microsoft produces for the iPhone. It’s stunning that, after five years, the best experience of using Skype or Office on a phone isn’t on one powered by Windows.”


Windows Store Challenges

Finally …

Ctrl + Alt + Del

but it’s not yet clear how many restarts are needed to let Microsoft get back on the track and to stop using customers as guinea pigs.

Thanks for reading.

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