Pragmatic 78: Full Term Surface Pro

20 January, 2017


For 9 months now John has been using a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for work purposes, and Vic’s son uses a Pro 3 at College. We go back and forth on the device as both a laptop and a tablet.

Transcript available
Love that keyboard! Welcome to Pragmatic. Pragmatic is a discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. By exploring the real-world trade-offs, we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. Pragmatic is part of the Engineered Network. To support our shows, including this one, head over to our Patreon page. And for other great shows, visit today. I'm your host, John Chidjie, and today I'm joined once again by Vic Hudson. How's it going, Vic? I'm good, John. How are you? That's good. I am going very well. So Vic, I wanted to talk to you today about something that I have been using now for quite some time. You could in fact say that I've gone full term now, now on the Surface Pro 4. And... Traitor. Yeah, yeah. But so I have now had my Surface Pro 4, it's coming up to its nine month anniversary. Yeah, let's remind everybody, this is your work machine, right? Yes, it is. And I did not pay for it. And we'll talk about whether I would pay for one a little bit later on, but I don't want to spoil the ending, but I'm still using So, you know, just keep that in mind. So in April this year, I showed up to work and there was a shiny new Surface Pro 4 sitting on my desk. And I actually spoke a little bit about this in episode 73. It was about 48 minutes in, but it was only pretty brief, only for a few minutes. Now that I've had a chance to use that machine for a long time, I think it's time I'm ready to go through the details. So if you want to hear the backstory about why I sold my MacBook Pro, I refer you to that episode. Go over, listen if you haven't heard it already. Or if you have heard it, go back and listen again and just refresh your memory. But anyway, this is in short the first time any company has ever, ever, ever actually given me a decent piece of IT hardware. Hardware that wasn't just rubbish. It's been an amazing laptop. Now, the thing is, of course, people are straight away going to say, whether there's better hardware out there for your money. I said, well, yes, that's true. But, you know, and it's not the most powerful laptop ever, but from my work point of view, it's an all Windows environment. So, you know, I was doing stuff with certificates and everything, and I couldn't quite join the domain with my MacBook Pro. There were restrictions. I couldn't do everything, at least on this thing, on the Surface Pro, I can do everything I need to do. It joins the domain, no problem, there's no issues. Everything with Office 365 syncs up without issues and it's a good work laptop. So how I use it then So at work I use a Surface Dock. Now, do you know what the Surface Dock is? I do one of my kids actually has one. Oh cool, fantastic. What Surface version is it? I couldn't tell you that. I I went by his apartment one day and he had it, he's got it, he's using it to connect it to a... He's still in university, college, school. He uses a Surface and when he comes home from school, he puts it in the dock and he's got it. So, he's connected to an external display and a mouse and keyboard. Okay, so straight away, I know that's an older model that's got the dock, you physically sit the Surface in and it clicks into place in the dock. Yeah, that's what you mean? So, it gives him a nice multi-display setup. Gotcha. So the Surface Pro 4 does not have that. The Surface Pro 4 has, it's essentially like a black power brick. That's what it looks like. Off to the side. You plug the power cable into it and you plug up to two. There's two USB ports, two mini display ports, an Ethernet port and audio in and out and a Kensington lock. And actually, I think it's got a Kensington lock. Yes, it does. Don't knock anything over in the process, John. Yeah, anyway, and and at the end of it comes a single black cable with a connector that's about maybe two inches long and just under an inch, an inch, just under an inch wide. And that is a magnetically connects into the side of the Surface Pro. So that one cable carries all of that. And it also charges the laptop. Got it. Okay. So into the Surface dock that I use at work, I have two 24 inch monitors connected via those two mini display ports. So they're HDMI adapters. I also have hardwired ethernet connected via the dock. And here's the one piece of Apple that I just couldn't live without my USB aluminium, full-size keyboard with numeric keypad. So it's still my favorite keyboard of all time. Thank you. I love that thing. So yeah, I use that, an Apple USB keyboard on the surface. It's the only thing. But anyway, I just I can't, I just can't get away with it. Yeah, that just feels kind of wrong. There's some sort of bastardization of something going on there. My fingers are in love with those keys and that is perfectly normal or something. Anyway, so at home, I have exactly the same setup. I bought, you know, another one of those keyboards a while back. So I have one at work and one at home because I love that keyboard. Did I mention that? Anyway, except of course at home, I'm a little bit less coordinated with my monitors. And I have one 22 inch and one 24 inch monitor and they don't match. One's an Asus and one's a BenQ and one's on HDMI and the other's on VGA. So I know it's a little bit of a hodgepodge, but you know what? I don't care, it works. And actually-- - That's the important part, it works for you. - Damn straight. And yeah, I use a Surface Dock at home as well, right? So I've got a Surface Dock at work and one at home. So I don't have to worry about all the cables and other stuff hanging out of this thing. So on the Surface Pro, on the actual laptop itself or the tablet section, if you'd like, there's a 3.5 mil stereo port for your headphones. There is obviously the dock port for docking it. There's a single USB three port and a single display port. And that's it, that's all you get. I'm not including the connector on the bottom that obviously connects up the keyboard when it's connected or the type cover, if you prefer to call it that. So, you know, you kind of need the dock to do anything more serious than that. So you can't attach more than one external monitor without that dock. So the funny thing I mentioned, I actually had two screens at work. Well, I actually wanted HDMI displays. And if you go through the building, almost all the monitors are DVI or VGA, but I wanted HDMI because I wanted to be able to use the audio through the speakers. And it made sense at the time. And I wanted to get matching monitors, but I walked through the building and I couldn't find two HDMI monitors. It took me a while. I literally was walking around every single floor looking for these monitors, right? And I finally found the monitors I wanted. Hold on, time out. Were you like creeping onto people's desks and looking to see what they had and planning to steal someone's display? It's not steal, it's It's reallocate resources. That's all it is. I just reallocated them. You see, you see, they got a perfectly functional 24 inch monitor. It just wasn't HDMI, you know. Hey, man, come on. Just, geez. You're right, that actually sounds really good. OK, hey, it's like if I was swapping an app for something that was broken, that's like totally different. Anyway, so I'm- God. So, I'm- -Sanigans. I'm- Yeah, so I searched the whole building and I finally found two monitors that were the same kind, same brand, same model, same everything, so that they would match on my desk. Okay, there you go. I should never have said that story, but I don't care. If some other poor soul came to work the next day and thought to himself, what happened here? Some poor souls. Here was my criteria. Criteria one, it had to be a desk that no one was using, right? So an abandoned desk. I didn't swap it out from someone's desk that was a populated desk. Okay. Okay. That's much better. Yeah. And the second criteria was that it had to be an HDMI monitor. And believe me, those two criteria were difficult to meet in this building. It has something like 11 floors of which we're in nine of the 11 floors is the company I work for. And You know, there's probably about 350 people, 400 people maybe in that building. So there's a lot of desks to check and it took a while, but I finally got matching monitors. Yay. Anyway, there you go. Alas, I do not have that luxury at home and I kind of have to use what I've got. Anyway, it's fine. OK. Now, here's another thing, because I'm using the external keyboard, right, my Apple keyboard that I love, I I actually remove the surface type cover when it's docked. I don't know, I don't actually leave that cover on it. So I take it off. So the whole thing actually sits like a tablet, just like a stand alone screen. It is my third screen, essentially. - Yeah. - And then my Apple keyboard is my keyboard. So I put my Apple keyboard in front of it and it just becomes a, it's like a screen. It sits underneath and roughly in the middle of the other two bigger screens above it that are on a VESA stand above the, above the desk. 'Cause I hate the clutter of the cables underneath. I've got them all bundled up and out of the way. So that's how I set it up and that's how I use it. So the things that I like about this thing is the dock is awesome. It getting all of that cable clutter off the desk. And all you end up with is a single black cable between the surface and your dock. And it's far away in a corner of the desk and you can't even see the dock anymore. At home, it's a little bit more difficult 'cause I got a heck of a lot of other rubbish on here. Like, did I say rubbish? Sorry, Hyle, I didn't mean to do rubbish. You're a beautiful microphone. But I have like two microphones and I've got some speakers and a cordless phone and the Onyx Blackjack and a few different bits and bobs. And it's just not as tidy. My home desk is actually a mess compared to my work desk, but nevermind that. So the dock connector and the power connector is for the portable charger. So you get a portable charger that comes with it. That's not actually a dock connector. It's just for charging. So it's very, very skinny. And both of them, they're both bi-directional. So you can actually like magnetically align it with the cable coming up out of the top or down out of the bottom. And either orientation works so you can choose whichever way you prefer. It works fine either way around. So it's bi-directional which is kind of cool, just like the MagSafe I guess, which is cool, although this has got a lot more connectors on it. Okay, let's see, what else? The indicator LED on the dock connector shows if it's actually powered and it's actually working and that's handy, kind of like the MagSafe connector on the old MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros used to be. Oh boy, here we go. Yeah, Apple, yeah, like it used to be. Uh-huh. No, I'm not going to say anymore. You can hear my opinion and my tone. I think everybody got it. Good. All right, not dwelling. Surface Pen is cool insofar as it magnetically attaches to the side of the Surface Pro and And that is really handy because it's sitting there and the other thing that's cool is that when it is magnetically connected, it takes a 4A battery. So AAAA, not AA, not AAA, 4As, really tiny, narrow, thin alkaline battery as opposed to a rechargeable one. So you don't have it plugged in at some stupid angle and then someone says it's a really clever design, it's genius. It's like no, no it really isn't. The Apple Pencil is prone to breakage when it's sticking out of the back end of your damn iPad. Believe me, that's just ridiculous design. Anyway, so the service-- Have you broken one? Came close. You sound bitter from experience. It was slightly bent, but not broken. Okay. And that wasn't me. It was a random passerby that snagged their shorts on it as they were walking past my desk one morning. Wait, wait, wait, wait. So you had the pencil charging in the iPad and it was just like sticking out from your desk? It wasn't sticking out. I didn't think it was because of the angle. So what happens is, okay, I get to work in the morning. I open up my iPad Pro. I plug in the Apple Pencil. It's usually down about 30% and I plug it in and away it's charging. It takes about 20 minutes tops to get a full charge. Sometimes about 15, obviously depends on how discharged it is, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, it was pushed in away from the edge of the desk, but there was just enough of it protruding that it was at around about pocket height for someone who's wearing business pants, you know, like just business trousers. And they just turned around and it just, unfortunately they were pressing up just a little bit against the edge of the desk and it snagged the end of it and basically sent my iPad Pro flying. Fortunately, with all the angles, it kind of flew into my lap and I caught it before it hit the ground and smashed. And when I got the Surface Pen out, it has slight bend in the end of it. So it's like, "Hmm, that was really, really genius. "Yeah, great." (laughs) Stupid. Anyway, so the plus side of the Surface Pen is that when it's magnetically connected to the side, there's a magnetic read switch in it. And that disables the power. It's like an off switch, right? - Mm-hmm, yeah. - Whereas the Apple Pencil doesn't have that kind of thing built into it, which would be nice, Apple. How about you get on that next version? You know what I mean? Because like the Apple Pencil is always on. And hence I can charge it and sit it down and not use it for a day and it'll lose like 30-40% of its charge. So yeah. That's not, that's a non-trivial amount of charge lost. Yeah I know. And their argument is, "Oh it doesn't take very long to charge and it's really convenient." Anyway. So that Surface Pen I've been using for nine months. It's been on its original battery. It's still going. Don't have a need to change it. So, yeah, I like that about the Surface Pen. And yeah, no funny charging thing. The type cover in this model has a magnetic rib. I don't know how else to describe it with a hinge sort of thing, a loose hinge along the top edge of it. And it allows you to sort of prop the keyboard up. So I don't know how to describe it exactly, but it's like the keyboard has the bottom hinge that connects into the connector magnetically underneath on the edge of the Surface Pro. But then there's another magnet that sits across the front just around the corner. And then the whole, that's actually like, that's a pivot point, and then it pivots closed. And then when you open it, you can actually open down that first section and that magnetic rib at the bottom stays connected to the front face of the Surface. And that has the effect of tilting the keyboard up only a few degrees. Like maybe it's five degrees, six degrees angle. And that means that you have a slightly raised set of keys. And I think that that's a cool idea. I also hate it. So I actually never use it, but I think it's cool. You think it's cool, but you hate it. Yeah. That's it. That's what people with, with, um, you remember a few weeks ago, we were talking about the touch bar. Yeah. That kind of thing. Yeah. novelty. I'm impressed by the novelty and that's where it ends. Anyway, so that's the keyboard, right? Anyway, all the versions of the Surface Pro had the kickstand out the back, but it was only adjustable in a small number of positions, you know, like two or three and that was it. But this one, it's infinitely adjustable. And the best part is after nine months of use, I thought, nah, this thing, you know how things sort of get a little bit more limber and looser after you use Like these things after a while, like positioners, they just sort of start to slowly drift. And so I was expecting after a while, this thing would just like slide open on the table. After nine months of use, it's just as good as day one. So you set it to a position and it stays there. It's really good. And one of the really good things is that if you can actually pivot this thing way, way backwards. So like if you imagine fully closed to zero degrees, you can actually pivot this thing out to about 160 degrees. So practically 180 degree flat the other direction. But what that means is that the actual touch surface is just at the right angle. Like it's a drawing board and you can write on it and sign things on it like that and press down on it. And it actually, it feels just like you were drawing on a drawing board, a very small drawing board, admittedly, but still a drawing board. Okay. The pen pressure sensitivity, it's much more granular. than the Apple Pencil. Like I can be very, very precise the amount of pressure I put on it and it will show a real proportional increase. Whereas the Apple Pencil isn't that granular. I don't know why, it just isn't. The material on the outside of that type cover, the surface type cover is really nice. It feels, it's like a plush, not quite leather material, but it's like a plush, furry, fuzzy, but not fluffy. I don't know how else to describe it. I'm terrible at describing things and how they feel. But it feels really, really nice. It feels expensive and it's just so much nicer than pretty much any cover that Apple has ever made. I mean really, it is that nice. You know, it feels so good. So I walk around carrying my Surface Pro and if I'm carrying it, my fingers or my thumb is resting on that surface and it's like that's nice. Whereas I'm carrying around my iPad, the outside of the cover is like just a rubber so it feels like a rubber material. And then of course I've got my Logi Plus keyboard case for it as well that I wear and use it most of the time. And yeah, it's just hard plastic, hard rough plastic. So anyway, so those are the things that I really like about this thing. Now you're ready for the things I don't like? - Sure. - Okay. Well, you know how I said I love how the Surface Pen is magnetically attaches to the side of the Surface Pro? Yeah, that's great as long as you don't put it in a bag. 'Cause once you put it in the bag, it just comes right off. It's like, first few times it happened, I'm like, where the hell's my Surface Pen gone? It had fallen to the bottom of the bag. So whenever I put into the bag now, because it kept coming off, I just take it off whenever I go on the bag. Oh, well. - Okay. It would have been nicer if the magnets were stronger. Anyway, the nib, that's like the tip of that surface pen that comes with the surface pen. It's actually really quite resistant to movement. This is just a little bit too much friction. There actually is quite a bit too much friction in the one that comes with it. Turns out one of my kids dropped the pen and didn't tell me, and I'm like, how did this smash? Did it smash itself? Hmm. Never mind. So I bought, there's a replacement of four packs of four pack of nibs and it was like 15 bucks. So it's not too expensive. But I actually went through and each of them is supposed to be imitating a different kind of pencil. So the 4H pencil, I think this one is a 4H nib and it is so much better than the one that comes with it. And it's a lot more like the Apple pencil. So I like one that sort of glides over the surface a little bit more. I don't mind that feeling. It feels a bit like a really nice smooth ballpoint pen, like a medium point. There's not much resistance, it's nice. But it's a shame, it should come with that or it should come with the pack of different nibs, but it doesn't, you've got to get it separately. I don't like the trackpad. I think I said this actually also a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about the brand new huge enormous multi-touch trackpads and the new MacBook Pros, which I was very impressed with, but those... I was impressed with the trackpads, not the touch bar. Anyway, this trackpad is just pretty terrible. Once you get used to it, I think once you get used to an Apple's multi-touch trackpad, everything else is just horrible. Yeah, it definitely ruins all the others. It ruins your fingers, man. It's just like an addiction. I must have my Apple trackpad. So yeah, it feels pretty horrible that trackpad on this. Like, anyway. The other thing that's interesting is that I have the surface mouse, which is the one that kind of, you know squashes flat to turn off and bends in order to turn on which I actually kind of like, but the thing is that you there's a setting in the settings. You can say that whenever you've got a Bluetooth mouse or external mouse connected, it can disable the trackpad on the built-in keyboard, which, because I hate the trackpad like yep I'll do that. So I've tried this with that setting on and off and yeah what's supposed to happen is if you do have the setting on or if you have a setting if you have the setting on when you had disconnect or turn off your mouse the trackpad should enable itself and usually it does if it's off then the trackpad should always be enabled. So either way no matter whether you connect the mouse or not but the funny thing is I've had it multiple times quite a few times now in fact, where it'll just disable the trackpad no matter what you do. You can say trackpad on, like never disable it, or if you have a Bluetooth mouse, you can have it to disable it when the Bluetooth mouse is connected and you turn off Bluetooth, you turn off the mouse, the trackpad doesn't come back to life. In fact, I had cases where the trackpad stopped responding. I couldn't move the cursor. I actually had to get the Surface Pen out in order to, like, you know, to click on things. That's not good. good no pretty simple stuff right anyway and the thing is that I have like I'll take the cover off I'll put it back on but there's nothing my mouse to control no nothing so if you don't have the pen it struggles sometimes you can get it with your finger sometimes but it's not as good and I said I was singing praises of the pen before but I'll be honest it's just not as nice as the Apple pencil the weighting doesn't feel as good for whatever it's worth but the The reality is that even with a nicer nib, I found that the accuracy of the Apple Pencil was better and the responsiveness was better as well. The only thing where this is better was the pressure sensitivity. That's it. The tilt on the Apple Pencil is great for shading and different apps. So no, the pen is not as good as the Apple Pencil. Oh, and the other thing is the palm rejection is not so good either. It's nowhere near as good as the iPad. My single biggest complaint is Windows 10, not just Windows 10, it's the fact that Windows 10 can't handle the transition reliably between docked and undocked and back again. And it's so terrible. I've just started to shut the machine down and I just restarted again and make the transition when it's off. So like, if I want to undock it, I'll shut it down, take out the dock connector, attach the keyboard, and then go to the meeting and fire up my laptop. - Yeah. - 'Cause it just can't handle it. If I would have disconnected and then just attach the cover, put it to sleep, I'd take it to the meeting room and it would struggle. And when I say struggle, it's like it would struggle to turn back on. I'll talk a little bit more about that in the Windows 10 bit. I just wanna keep going about other things about the Surface Pro specifically in terms of the hardware that I don't like. Or stuff that's specific to the fact that it's Surface, right? 'Cause Windows 10 is Windows 10 and I think it has sleep/wake problems. Anyway, the touchscreen keyboard is shocking. Like I can pretty well touch type on the iPad screens keyboard, like the iPad Pro 12 inch, 12.9 inch. And I know that the Surface Pro is not that big a screen. It's close, but not that big. But honestly, the touchscreen keyboard in Windows is terrible. It's just shocking. You know, responsiveness is terrible. The keys are dodgy spacing. It's just, it's just rubbish. I don't like it at all. And I cannot touch type on it, no matter how hard I try. And I've tried a few times. Ultimately as a tablet, it's not very good. You know, it's heavy. It gets hot under moderate use, like quite warm. The fans are going off under moderate use. Hardly any apps that are on there, 'cause it's for Windows 10, you know, they haven't been thought through for the touch interface. So the gesture, you know, the gesture thing in Windows 10, we like slide your fingers in from the left, from the right to open up that button, the selection bar at the side. That selection bar and the gestures and stuff and the keyboard itself, as I just mentioned, they're just not as intuitive as iOS. And it's hard to put a figure on that, like quantitatively, it's just not as easy to use. The battery life isn't that great, even in low power mode. So if I'm in my litmus test is word, Microsoft word. If I'm working on a word document on iPad pro, I could go for 10 hours and on a reasonably high screen brightness, no problemo. Word document on my MacBook pro, I used to get about six hours, similar conditions, same setup on the surface. And I would be really lucky to get four hours and that's on low battery mode. So it's just, you know, there's no comparison, right? It's like it's not in some ways, though, it's not a huge deal breaker because I don't do like long stints like that all that often. But when I used to go to long meetings, I used to be able to go with my laptop without charging lead or a power pack, you know what I mean, to charge it. Yeah. Now, if it's if the meeting's longer than two hours, I take it with me just to make sure I don't go flat, it doesn't go flat. That's pretty bad. It's annoying. The surface keyboard keys, they're better than the ones on Apple's smart keyboard cover by a reasonable amount. But compared to what I've got on pretty much any other laptop I've ever owned, even on the the weird low height the butterfly mechanism thing, keys that Apple are peddling these days, even they feel better than the keys on the surface keyboard. And that's why I use my beautiful, wonderful Apple external, you know, aluminium keyboard at my desk. That's why I use that. Love that keyboard. Anyway, Windows 10. Okay. So I started talking about this before. And I know I have this thing where it's hard to separate the Surface Pro 4 and Windows 10, because you have to run Windows 10 to use a Surface Pro 4. Don't get the choice. So what do I hate about Windows 10? You'll notice how I started. I actually don't have a love list. My love list for Windows 10 is it mostly works. That's not my definition of love. It's my definition of it'll do. That's kind of where I'm at with Windows 10. You know what I'm saying? Yeah. So anyway, forced reboots when there are updates. Have you heard about this one? I have not. So here's the thing. You get this notification. My Windows experience is still primarily Windows 7. That's what I use. Well, Windows 7 you had a choice. Windows 7 you could choose to postpone or download and restart now. But on this thing, you don't get a choice, mate. It downloads. So it just updates and then reboots itself. It comes up with a message and it says, "Downloads have been updated." Sorry, "Updates." Oh, my God. I said, "Downloads have been updated." "Updates have been downloaded and need to be applied to your system. They will be applied in 30 minutes. And it gives you a timer. You cannot cancel it. You cannot postpone it. You cannot do anything about it. You get to start saving all your stuff and just wait. But you see you dismiss the dialogue and it disappears, right? And you forget about it. And you're like, "Oh, I can just get this email done. I can just finish working on this PowerPoint slide. I can just get this. Oh, crap, I lost it." Wow. I have sat in presentations where the guy given a presentation has had his computer shut down to do updates halfway through a presentation. I kid you not. So is there no... Is there no registry setting or anything you can... Is the Windows registry still a thing? Is there a setting somewhere you can hack the hard way for this? You know what? I actually haven't looked. There probably is, but it's just like seriously out of the box. you don't get a choice. What the f***? Anyhow, so yeah. And then, of course, it'll apply those updates for 20 minutes and you're locked out, then you may as well just go and get a cup of coffee and then when that's done, go get another one. Anyway, so it doesn't sleep wake reliably. And I think I mentioned this before. I've actually thought I'd put it to sleep and I've come home having had it in my bag for an hour and the fans are going like crazy psycho. And this thing is just like spewing out heat. And I open it up and it's got like 20% of battery left. And it turns out it didn't actually go to sleep. It's just been running the whole time. It's been running the whole time. Just in a bag. In a bag, shut. Building heat. Mm-hmm. It's been a... It's warming up all of the stuff in the bag for me. Thanks. It's good. Really. That's what I needed. So I've actually given up on trusting sleep/wake. Because sometimes if you wake it or you try to wake it when you do that, sometimes if you open it up and you use it in laptop mode or you plug in the dock cable, you just get a black screen. You can press the sleep wake button on top and nothing will happen. Pressed a few times. Nothing happens. Press and hold it for maybe a minute. You might see signs of life. And even after you do see signs of life, you usually have to restart it again. Afterwards is really, really annoying. And that's the one thing that I really miss about my MacBook. is the ability to open it up and away it goes. Close the lid, shuts itself down or goes to sleep, or I should say. Anyway, so that is very annoying. So the only plus side is that at least the Surface Pro is booted up within like 30 seconds or less, like 20 seconds. It's pretty fast and shut down is even quicker. So that's not too bad, but still it's annoying. Dragging windows between screens with different DPI resolutions. That is insane. It is just so bad. So, I mean, if you got a window and it takes up an entire screen in high DPI mode, I don't like because the Surface Pro screen is high DPI and I'm going to a 24 inch monitor that's not high DPI. As I'm dragging that window, it goes from it just fits the screen to like two and a half times its size. The size of the screen. Yeah. Yeah. So then you're just seeing a corner of the window. That's it. And it's like it doesn't resize itself. Good times. Yeah. Anyway, and of course, the other way around, you'll take one off the 24 inch screen, low DPI mode into the high DPI and it's microscopic and you cannot read anything. Postage stamp mode. Damn straight. Yeah. Winning. So that just pisses me off. Alright, the menu or the toolbar is never quite right if you connect or disconnect the dock when it's running. You know, so the menu or toolbar, so it thinks that you're a certain zoom ratio when you're not. And if you go into the display settings and try and change that zoom ratio, it doesn't help much. So you can set the, it's like 100%, 150%, 200%, 300%. And so you know what I mean? zoom in and out in a sense and it never quite gets it right unless you reboot it just dynamically it just can't do it if you try and dock and undock when it's running so I just gave up on that and I just reboot it because it works that way yeah it's comical but the final nail in the coffin of a lot of this stuff comes back to is it a tablet is a laptop and the problem is that most of the software developers for Microsoft have not cottoned on to the fact that the Surface Pro is also a tablet or it's supposed to be. So most of the software doesn't really support touch properly. So you'll get this thing where it's got to work with a mouse and with touch. You're getting that good bolted on experience. I certainly am. But some of the software does have a touch mode and a mouse mode and I have switched between it just for giggles. Yeah, just for giggles. Yes. Anyway, and there's actually usually not much of a difference except that in touch mode, the icons in the toolbar or the ribbon gets slightly bigger and then a little bit more widely spaced than a mouse mode where there's a little bit more cramped together. And I'm like, they both fit on the screen. Why didn't you just like have one that did both and now both bigger and slightly better, more space, whatever. in reality, the iPad is an amazing tablet and it makes a passable laptop in a pinch, as I've proven and a lot of other people like Federico Vatici, who came on the show a while ago, he also is doing a great job with it as a laptop replacement. The Surface, on the other hand, is a passable laptop, but it makes a crummy tablet. It just doesn't make the great as a tablet. So honestly, I'm not convinced. I'm not convinced I'd buy a Surface Pro 4 with my own money. It's still the best computer that my work has ever provided for me ever. But that's more of an evaluation, relatively speaking, of what other rubbish they generally give you and just how bad the other laptops really are bad. Yeah, You know, seriously. So, um, as my wife would, would say, um, it, uh, it had a low bar and it just, it was above that low bar. So that was good. Um, but it's a low bar. Anyway, occasionally, um, when I'm out and about, I'll eye off a MacBook one, you know, all the non touch bar MacBook pro, MacBook escape, that escape the touch bar. But honestly, keeping that Surface Pro for work and the iPad for podcasting and personal use, reading news, reading newspapers, Twitter, and also using as my work journal, handwriting journal, then the iPad is still working really well for me the way it is. And having this Surface as my work machine is working really well. but I only use it because it's my work machine and I'm not entirely convinced that I would actually buy one with my own money. I mean, it's good. It's, it is good, but honestly, it's just not quite good enough in a lot of ways. But I'm still not gonna go invest in the MacBook again for a while until I'm convinced that Apple have fixed the issues with Sierra and other things. And I've been dealing with another one. My wife's messages and FaceTime just got locked out her MacBook after 10.1 was applied, so she can't still receive on that. So, it's just you know... High ground. Damn right. Anyway, so have you ever actually used a Surface at all, a Surface Pro 4, like you said your son had one? I played with it for like 5, maybe 10 minutes tops, so I would have to honestly fairly answer no, not really. Okay, but generally unimpressed? It seemed like a workable device. He seems to like it. It's his only computer that he's got right now and he's going to school and he's able to do everything he needs to do with it. Okay, well that's good. I don't have any personal experience with it really whatsoever. Fair enough. Well that's okay. Alrighty, cool. Any other thoughts then before we wrap it up because I didn't have too much more else to say to be honest. I just thought it'd be people interested to know, you know, what the heck I thought I was doing. They're saying, "John, you're so crazy." And I'm like, "Yeah." And now they know. Now they understand the depth of my insanity. And there's a van with men in white coats coming. Surely they've got more troubled people. Seriously though, is the Windows registry still a thing? Yes it is. Okay. Regedit. I'll bet you could probably get in there and hack that setting. I'll bet you're right. But you know what, my days of registry hacking, I'm just, I'm done with it. Yeah, I don't miss those. I don't miss those at all. Yeah, that's it. I'm sitting here quite smugly pleased that I didn't even know if the registry was still a thing. Oh dear. Oh dear. Well, if you want to talk more about this, you can reach me on Twitter @johncheggy or you can follow Pragmatic Show to see show announcements and other related stuff. Pragmatic's part of the Engineered Network and you can check out the network and all the shows at anytime you like. Causality has really taken off recently. It's a solo podcast that I do. I look at cause and effect of major events and major disasters in history. So if you're a fan of this show, you may like it too. So be sure you check it out. Both causality and analytical episodes that I do are about 10 to 30 minutes each. So they're pretty easy on the ears. Make sure you check them out. Now if you'd like to get in touch with Vic, what's the best way for them to get in touch with you, mate? They can find me on Twitter @vichudson1. That's the way? Excellent. And if you'd like to send any feedback about the show or the network, please use the feedback form on the website. That's where you'll also find show notes for this episode. And remember, if you are enjoying Pragmatic and the work we're doing at the Engineer Network and you want to support us, you can. Like one of our backers, Chris Stone, he and many others are patrons of the show via Patreon. You can find that at, all one word. If you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, it's very, very much appreciated. So yes, as always, a special thank you to our patrons for their support and a big thank you to everyone for listening. And as always, thank you, Vic. Thank you for having me, John. [END] Peanut & OtherĂ¹ng (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) [Music] I feel like it's been ages since we've spoken. It's been at least a few weeks, but here's the thing. I want to talk to you about something. I want to talk about, oh God, I keep hitting my damn foot switch. I'll try that again. I want to talk- I heard you the whole time. Did you? I did. I didn't hear myself. Damn. I must, hang on, let me just, I'll just knock on my forehead. Yeah, so it's hollow. - Yeah, so it's hollow. - So I must just mute your recording, but not the Skype stream. - Maybe Skype was predicting what I was gonna say and it made noises for me. - There you go. (laughing) It's predictive speech. - That's just terrible, that's terrible. Watch this, I hope it's all doing that. - The next big thing in AI. - Yeah, that's it, this is AI, Skype has AI. Oh man, that's a worry. You just got-- - Sorry, sorry, sorry. - You just, didn't you? All right, you want to try and recover this or do you want to start over? I am totally just going to keep on rocking. We're going to keep trucking. All right. You know, I like saying that. I don't know why, because I've never driven a truck. Well, like a big 18 wheeler, but I always wanted to. It looks like a lot of fun. Anyway, back on topic. Now I'm going to get back on the surface. Let me just shut it down and restart it so I can connect the screen. Oh man. Good times man, good times.
Duration 42 minutes and 34 seconds Direct Download

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Episode Gold Producer: 'r'.
Episode Silver Producer: Chris Stone.
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Vic Hudson

Vic Hudson

Vic is the host of the App Story Podcast and is the developer behind Money Pilot for iOS.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.