Incredible Customer Service - Surface Pro
Wed, May 8 2013 14:07

The battery on my Surface Pro was acting up or rather... it wasn't charging properly.  The issue was intermittent, but annoying and it appeared that I was losing battery capacity.  So I contacted Surface support requesting a callback from their the Surface Support Site. I got a callback immediately.

After a couple of minutes of discussion the technician said that I should exchange the machine. I could do that at the closest Microsoft Store or send it to Microsoft. The Microsoft Store where I got my Surface Pro within 30 minutes so I opted to do that. I called ahead to the store to make sure that they had stock and to find out how long the process would take.  The answers were good. Yes, they had stock, and No it wouldn't take long.

I dropped in at the store a couple of hours later. I had my new Surface Pro under my arm and I was out the door in under 10 minutes. I had purchased the Microsoft Complete Extended Warranty when I got the unit. It turns out that with the replacement unit I get the full one year standard warranty AND the Microsoft Complete Extended Warranty (two years) starts from the date that I received the replacement unit.

I wasn't thrilled that there was an issue with the battery, but that can happen with any portable device. I was very impressed with how everything was handled.

Oh - and except for having to reinstall my legacy (Windows 7) software, I had almost no downtime over this.

Microsoft Surface Pro
Tue, Apr 30 2013 17:56

In early February I found myself standing in line to pick up my new Surface Pro. I was excited.


I was again at the Microsoft Holiday Store (pop-up kiosk in a local mall), and I saw the same staff as I had met 90 days earlier when I got my Surface RT.

There was a lot of buzz there that day and I enjoyed chatting with some local press writers, and lots of potential customers who wanted to know more about the machine. I was fortunate to have had the Surface RT for 90 days and felt comfortable talking about the physical aspects and usability issues of both machines. It was disappointing that so much of the negative market-speak was being bandied about as fact.

Perhaps the most misunderstood value proposition is the active stylus. That's not new ... people have been missing that point for nearly 10 years. But I was surprised that this singularly defining aspect of Windows 8 on Surface Pro was not even on the radar for many people. It seems that it has been overshadowed by touch, but it seems as though people have resigned themselves to that horrific experience of typing on a virtual keyboard. Sure the touch pad keyboard is good, and the type pad keyboard is great, but nothing beats the pure analog experience of drawing a curve to illustrate a movement.

I've had the Surface Pro for going on 90 days now, and the Surface RT for 100 days before that.

Often, for presentations and lectures, I'll carry both but that's probably because I really like to have a backup, and in a pinch, the Surface RT can stand in for most of what I do in a presentation or lecture.

Microsoft Surface RT
Mon, Apr 29 2013 17:42

When the Microsoft Surface RT became available - I was right there in line to buy it. I was excited. I was looking forward to a devices conceived, designed, executed, marketed and supported by the company that made the operating system, Windows 8. I knew that I would miss an active digitizer. This been a standard requirement for me for every portable computer that I've owned since 2003. But I was willing to give this a shot. I was also concerned, but aware that some of my mission critical applications would not run on Windows on ARM. But I was there in line, that first day.

And six months later I am still excited, using it daily and glad to own it even though I got the Surface Pro 90 three months later. and I use that too.

Now if it had an active digitizer (active stylus) this would in many respects be the perfect portable device for me. It turns out that the user experience using Remote Desktop is so good that I can use Visual Studio running on a virtual machine in Windows Azure, and not for a moment miss all of the running on my local device. For almost everything that I need to do, I can do it on the Surface RT.

So why did I get the Surface Pro? Well that was always the plan, to do that. And because, since 2003 I have been using portable computers with an active stylus. It turns out that for some things, nothing else will do.




Windows 8 Tablets: 32 Models In 2012?
Thu, Apr 26 2012 5:45

This just in from Information Week

"Microsoft and its hardware partners plan to deliver more than 30 Windows 8-based tablets to the market in time for this year's holiday shopping season, according to a published report.

Hardware makers such as Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, HP, and Toshiba are planning to release a total of 32 Windows 8 tablets by year's end, according to Digitimes, a Taiwanese publication that closely tracks the offshore electronics manufacturing market. The publication, citing unnamed sources, said that all of the devices will run on Intel or AMD chips, and that Windows 8 on ARM systems will be released later."

Source: Information Week

This is incredibly exciting. If you are looking ahead, make sure that your Tablet will have a resolution of at least 1366 x 768 so you can use the Windows 8 Snap feature. Follow the link to get the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or just read down the page to see the hardware requirements..



by wnewquay | with no comments
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Steve Ballmer Says Microsoft Is "Hardcore" About Tablet Computing
Tue, Jul 13 2010 0:42


Steve Ballmer says Microsoft is "hardcore" about making Windows 7 slate computers like the iPad. Ballmer delivered a keynote speech this morning in Washington DC at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). The focus of the speech was on Microsoft's cloud operations, but Ballmer did say Windows 7 phones and slates were coming this year. Microsoft listed all the partners for Microsoft's slates and phones. Twitter user Javiergc posted the below screengrab and highlighted that HP might be working with Microsoft on a slate, after all. Ballmer also said he expects to sell 350 million Windows units this year. Read more:


Windows 7 RC Build 7100 and Tablet PCs - Very happy so far
Wed, May 13 2009 7:09

I've got Windows 7 RC running on most of my Tablet PCs and I am very happy with the results. This includes Tablet PCs that were originally shipped with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Except for some minor issues like getting screen rotation to work on a Motion M1400, things are working as well, if not better than they did XP. Certainly better than they did in Vista. I just got a new external hard drive so I could do complete backups of my last few production machines and then I'll load Windows 7 RC on those too. But overall things are looking great.

As far as I can tell:

  • If something (software) worked with Vista - it is working with Windows 7.
  • If something (hardware) worked with Vista - it is working as fast and probably faster in Windows 7.
  • If something worked in XP and Vista, it is still working in Windows 7.
  • I'm not noticing any decrease in battery life. I might actually be getting more run-time, but this has never been a huge issue for me.

Overall, I am very pleased and that's why I ran out today to get another external hard drive so I could do full computer backups on the remaining machines that are still running Vista.

I'll fill you in on the details when I get everything converted.


by wnewquay | with no comments
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IE8 Beta 2 is available now
Thu, Aug 28 2008 20:52

Read all about and download it  here:


I have been running Beta 2 this morning, and it seems noticeably faster.

If you really want a good insight into IE8, check out the IEBlog. This link will take you right to Paul Cutsinger's  post where he introduces IE8 Beta 2. Paul is Lead Program Manager for the IE8 User Experience, and given how important the browser has become, I think this is well worth reading.

Link: IEBlog and Part II of that series

Installation Notes

I had been running IE8 Beta 1 and it was working fine for the most part. Today when I downloaded Beta 2 and tried to install it, it required that I uninstall Beta 1. Let me save you some time if you are in the same situation.


Go to


Control Panel
- Uninstall a program

click -> View installed updates
You will find it under

Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta  (if you are running Vista - search for "inter". It will come up right away). 



by wnewquay | with no comments
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Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 and .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1
Wed, Aug 20 2008 0:00

Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 and .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1

are available for download

There is also a download for Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition with Service Pack 1. You can read about all the changes in the overview.



Now just in case you are not a developer, there is an other treat.


Autoruns for Windows version 9.3

For people running Tablet PCs there seems to be a passion for understanding and controlling processes, especially those that start automatically. Autoruns is a great tool for finding and controlling all of those.

This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP.

Read more and download


I have Autoruns installed on every machine I own. It's great. This latest version came out a couple of weeks ago (July) so follow the link above and learn more.

by wnewquay | with no comments
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LinkedIn and Tablet PCs
Tue, Aug 19 2008 23:10

I tossed out a question on LinkedIn today.

Do you own a Tablet PC?

  • Do you use the Inking or Touch capabilities?
  • Always / Often / Rarely
  • More or less than you expected?
  • Would you get another one

That was seven hours ago - and in that time there have been 16 answers. That is a pretty enthusiastic response compared to similar questions asked over the past couple of years.  Perhaps this is an indicator of heightened awareness, and perhaps even enthusiasm. Check out the answers. It's interesting to see what people are thinking.

People's Answers at LinkedIn


I was invited to LinkedIn awhile back and thanks go out to John Hill ( for that. I hate to say how long it's been since he did that and I joined. I was busy at the time and I didn't give it much thought, then or since.  Recently Gaelen O'Connell ( encouraged me to revisit LinkedIn.

by wnewquay | with no comments
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M700 and the Intel Matrix Storage Manager
Sun, Aug 10 2008 19:42

I have read several threads in various forums and there seems to be a thought that uninstalling the Intel Matrix Storage Manager results in better benchmark scores. The numbers look compelling.

I wondered how this might affect me, and whether I would see any difference with applications that I run.

The short conclusion: I will stick with the Intel Matrix Storage Manager

My machine *does* have the 1 gig Intel Turbo Memory installed and this may also have impacted my results. I also have 4 gigs of ram installed running Vista Ultimate 32-bit.

Testing with and without the Intel Matrix Storage Manager.

My test was very simple and to eliminate the vagaries of the Toshiba Utilities and other things that were preloaded I did my testing running Virtual PC with an image having only: Vista Ultimate, ESET NOD32, Office 2007 Ultimate.
The things I timed:

  • Time to Login
  • Time to Desktop
  • Time to fully operation Excel 2007

The actual times are not important - but the differences are.
The times to reach each of these milestones was longer in the Virtual Machine but I got really consistent results. I tested once, and then shut down the Virtual Machine and then did it again.
The interesting result was first time load of the test was slower with the Intel Matrix Storage Manager installed. But the second and subsequent tests were faster with Intel Matrix Storage Manager installed than without it.

Both with and without, the second runs were faster.

  • Without: The second run was 10 seconds faster to each milestone
  • With: The second run was 45 seconds faster to each milestone.

The net result was:
On the second run, using the Intel Matrix Storage Manager was 25 seconds faster.
I am going to leave it installed because having tried it both ways, I did not see a huge improvement in any noticeable way except that second and subsequent loads of applications seemed faster with the Intel Matrix Storage Manager installed.

I don't have any theories to account for what the benchmark numbers are showing.

Tablet Enhancements for Outlook is now Free!
Sat, Aug 9 2008 11:30

This is great news from Josh Einstein.

From the Einstein Technologies site

Download TEO 3.0 for free... no strings attached!

Download Tablet Enhancements for Outlook and find out why so many Tablet PC users will never use Outlook on their tablets without it. There's no expiration date, no limits, etc. It's just free.

I have been using TEO for years and wouldn't use Outlook on a Tablet PC without it. If you don't have it yet, go get it now and find out why.


Thank you Josh!

by wnewquay | with no comments
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Live Mesh Tech Preview
Fri, Aug 8 2008 22:18

I have been using the Live Mesh Tech Preview for several days now and I am quietly excited about what it allows me to do. While I have no good reason to have several Tablet PCs around here, the fact is, I do. Okay - it's because I like to have various kinds of machines so that I can spread them out on a table or pass them around when I do a presentation about them. Anyway, it is just a monstrous task to keep sample files and synchronized. The same is true of presentations. I go through minor conniptions and have major anxieties about arriving at a presentation with the wrong version of a file (or worse, without it) because I grabbed the wrong machine on the way out the door.

I was chatting with an old buddy and fellow MVP the other night, and we got talking about usage scenarios. He's far more adept than I am at making sure that his servers are always up, running, accessible from anywhere, and secure. For him, there was no compelling need to explore Live Mesh.

For me, I am only certain that I am in-sync when all of my machines are on, running, and connected to my home network. So if I grab a machine that was not on, or had not synchronized with a shared folder on my network recently, it is entirely possible that I don't have the latest version of a file I may need to use on the road.

Enter Live Mesh.

It took a couple of minutes to install the Live Mesh client piece on each of my travelling machines, and on the main ones that I use when stationary. From that point, as long as I am connected to the web, anything that is in my Live Mesh has been synchronized and backed up locally. That is pretty transparent. A couple of minutes of setup and then it just seems to be running seamlessly. I can hardly wait until I can connect my Windows Mobile smartphone too.

You can also use Live Mesh Remote Desktop to connect to the devices in your Mesh just in case you need to do something that you can only accomplish on a remote machine. I haven't tried to do this from a machine running Windows Vista Home Edition, but I have asked some others to try it to see if it will work.

So you may not have a bunch of different Tablet PCs but your usage scenario could be Tablet PC and a desktop. Or maybe you have several different people who need to share files without having to consciously log into a SkyDrive, which also another way to approach this. I encourage you to take a look and see if you can use it.

I am still figuring out different ways to use Live Mesh, Windows Live SkyDrive, Microsoft SharedView, Office Live Workspace and whatever else pops up next. But these seemingly simple tools are changing my workflow and making things simpler. Maybe they can do that for you too.

Motion founding member / current COO/President Dave Altounian interview
Tue, Jul 29 2008 14:42

John Hill at TabletPC Buzz / Allegiance Technology has posted his interview with Dave Altounian. Dave Altounian was involved very early (2001) in the life of Tablet PCs and he is very open in his insights about the future at Motion.

From John Hill

Here is the streaming audio link to my interview with Motion founding member and current COO/President Dave Altounian.

sorry for the minor reverb! Also, because this was recorded using webex, you will see a windows open but there is no video in this recording.

Click here to listen to the interview

you can read the press release of his appointment here

(Disclosure: My company, Allegiance Technology is a major reseller of Motion Computing)
John Hill
TabletPCBuzz Owner/Editor

Discuss this over at TabletPCBuzz

21 Great Technologies That Failed
Tue, Jul 22 2008 13:07

PC Mag still doesn't get it.

Imagine including the Tablet PC as one of the 21 Great Technologies That Failed

Tablet PCs (2002)
Rather than typing on a PC, why not write on it as though it were a pad of paper? And have the CPU interpret your chicken scratch, sort your notes, and generally work in a much smarter way? Based on sales, it seems the world still isn't ready for the Tablet PC. Nevertheless, Gates is convinced you'll eventually love this system.

I think the failure here, is that PC Mag doesn't comprehend that having the Tablet PC features mainstreamed into Vista is a great success.


by wnewquay | 1 comment(s)
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Redemption Time for UMPC - Article at
Fri, Jun 6 2008 13:30

Well when he writes "What the heck is an Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC)?" the rest of the article illustrates the writer's confusion. Perhaps he can be forgiven for this as he is reflecting the market place.

I think he casts too broad a net in considering many of the sub four-pound machines including the likes of the ASUS EiiPC4g. The original vision for the UMPC was a device that included a touch screen interface, running Windows Vista.

From Microsoft's UMPC Site

The UMPC offers a display of 4-7 inches and touch capabilities, all in a package that weighs less than 2 pounds. But don't underestimate this small computer—it can run all of the same Windows Vista-compatible software you're already familiar with.

Still, it is an interesting article in that it may be an indication of the general state of perception of tiny machines. But by including so many machines in the article, I think the author just adds to the confusion around the meaning of the term UMPC.

Link: Redemption Time for the UMPC 



I just spent a solid 14 days with a Sony UX380CN - hammering away at it under every possible scenario I could imagine. For me, a touch-screen or stylus input of some kind is absolutely essential in a small machine. I will be writing about that experience in the next day or so.


by wnewquay | with no comments
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The Buzz is back - a lot faster and looking good.
Tue, Jun 3 2008 13:47

John Hill at TabletPCBuzz has completed the transition to the new forum software. He writes.

As of today, June 2nd, we have successfully migrated all the users and posts from our previous (Snitz) forum software to our new (vBulletin) forums.

I hope you like the improvement. I am very appreciative of all your patience.

If you are an existing user, you will have to reset your password. It takes just a minute and is an automated process through email.


It will take 24-48 hours for the DNS to point the domain to its new location.

If you have any questions or problems, please post here or email me at

Thanks again for supporting the Buzz!

John referred to password reset process. Here it is in a little more detail I wrote for someone yesterday.

  1. Go to the Buzz message board as usual
  2. Click the Log In button. If you password has not been reset you will get the Invalid Password Screen
  3. Then click the link as though you have forgotten your password.
  4. Follow the prompts to have the system send you a new temporary password
  5. Follow the prompts in the resulting email and
  6. Set a new password 
  7. Two minutes round trip. Well at least that is all it took for me. Others have reported that it takes a little longer.

When you cruise around the updated forum, there will appear to be fewer topics. That is likely because the default filter is set to one month. You can change that at the bottom of the screen. From what I can see, pretty much all the history is there. There may have been a very few posts that got lost in the transition during the past few days. but other than that it looks okay to me.

So head on over to Tablet PC Buzz and check it out. It still maintains a character of its own, with the same respect, courtesy, and great information that you have come to expect.

Use Microsoft SharedView to Mirror Your Tablet PC on another machine anywhere
Wed, May 28 2008 9:59

I just found this - Microsoft SharedView - it's free, supports up to 15 users over the Internet, and from what I can see, I am going to be using it a great deal.

It seems to work as well as Windows Meeting Space (see Use Windows Meeting Space to Mirror Your Tablet PC to a Projector ) but unlike Windows Meeting Space, SharedView will work with Windows XP and across the Internet. For that second point - this means that unlike Windows Meeting Space - you do NOT have to have both machines on the same subnet.

This is was a great find as I am doing some presentations this week. I am mirroring my Tablet PC onto another computer that is attached to a projector.

I was having trouble with Windows Meeting Space because there was no way to be sure that two machines would end up on the same subnet. Also, the computers that were available to connect to the projectors are running Windows XP.  I had to bring my own second machine so that I could be sure that the one attached to the projector was running Vista.  Microsoft SharedView has made this all so much easier.

Definitely check this out. I will be using it for some distance conferencing over the next few days.

OneNote and Education Blog
Thu, May 22 2008 18:01

Mike Tholfsen - Test Manager of the OneNote Team has kicked off his blog, OneNote and Education.

I am interested in how OneNote can help enhance the learning environment and I believe OneNote will be a primary tool for 21st century education.  We also plan to have other guest bloggers from the OneNote team and from other Microsoft teams post education-related entries here.  John Guin is still writing the OneNote Testing blog so even though I'm the test manager, this blog will be about OneNote and education.

Because there are so many things happening right now with OneNote and education, we wanted to start this blog to have a dialog with the education community, as well as share ideas, resources, and gather feedback from teachers, students and faculty.  We also hope to point to examples of great things that educators and students are doing today with OneNote and education.  In addition to K-12 and Higher Education, you can also expect to see topics on eLearning, training and on-boarding with OneNote.  Many companies, including Microsoft, are delivering eLearning solutions using OneNote...

Mike's blog entry continues

OneNote  strikes me as the main application in the Microsoft Office suite that seems to have been designed to really use ink, but I am sure that I have missed some great opportunities to better utilize it in my Education related activities.

I am looking forward to Mike's ongoing thoughts.

Link: OneNote and Education.

Use Windows Meeting Space to Mirror Your Tablet PC to a Projector
Thu, May 22 2008 1:17

I use my Tablet PC when I do public speaking.  I like to use it to display and build MindMaps using MindManager or draw diagrams with SketchBook Pro. This should be very straightforward, but it gets interesting when I want to display my Tablet PC with a projector, and to walk around the room at the same time. (Try that with at conventional laptop machine).

I have been using MaxiVista for this application for years. (see: Wireless Presentations with a Tablet PC with MaxiVista)

MaxiVista has been great but there are some issues with Vista. You can work around them, but when I got an Toshiba M700, I thought it would be worthwhile to consider some Vista based alternatives.

Just a note: MaxiVista works well on XP or in an environment where one machine is running Vista, and the other is not.  You have to been running an XDDM video driver on the Tablet PC if it is running Windows Vista.

Windows Meeting Space

If you are running Windows Vista on your Tablet PC and have Vista on a desktop PC attached to a projector then consider using Windows Meeting Space to connect the two machines and mirror your Tablet PC on the Desktop PC and from there, display it on the projector. It is very quick to set up, and in my testing it has been really stable.

The quick overview:

  1. Start Windows Meeting Space on both PCs.
  2. Create a meeting and "join" it.
  3. On the Tablet PC - Share your desktop

I have set out more detailed notes for this in: Windows Meeting Space to Mirror Your Tablet PC on a Projector

Origami Experience 2.0 Part 2: RSS
Wed, May 21 2008 16:05

Brandon LeBlanc has just published part 2 of 4 of his preview of the Origami Experience 2.0.

In this installment he covers RSS features in Origami Central, one of the three applications in the Origami Experience 2.0 software.

To start at the beginning of the series see: Taking a Closer Look at the Origami Experience 2.0

I have had mixed success integrating a UMPC into my mobile life. But Origami Experience 2.0 has come a long way in making this more viable. With a touch optimized experience designed around a smaller screen, this is worth investigating again.



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