Running with Code Like with scissors, only more dangerous


A Week with a Surface

A week ago, on October 26, Microsoft released the Surface, along with Windows 8. Because this was my first product launch (other than TypeScript, though that technically wasn’t my product), well, I just couldn’t help myself: I waited in line at the Bellevue Square Microsoft Store and got mine on release day. It was a madhouse:

I got a 32gb device along with a Type Cover, the thicker one with the mechanical keys. I believe that the specs for the Type Cover say that it’s 5 or 6mm thick; okay, that might be twice the thickness of the Touch Cover, but it’s still tiny.

Not only is it awesome for taking to meetings, but I can actually get work done on it. I can’t code, of course; well, at least, not at the office, since I can’t RDP to my desktop from it. But I’ve spent the whole week taking it to meetings, taking notes, and writing specs. I can’t believe how snappy everything is.

Now, let me set the stage a little bit more. When I started at Microsoft in April, I was assigned a Lenovo ThinkPad X-Series convertible tablet. It supported multi-touch, has a keyboard, an extended battery life of about 6 hours, and on day one I was able to install a daily build of Windows 8. I’ve been using Windows 8 on my desktop PC (no touch) at the office since then as well, and in August when we RTM’d, I installed it onto my home iMac (of course no touch), which I previously dual-booted with OS X and Win7.

I didn’t really understand how cool Windows 8’s touch functionality was until I got the Surface.

Now, this isn’t to say that partner / OEM vendors don’t have worthwhile devices. I haven’t played with them at this point. I hope they’re as good as the Surface, or even better, because if they’re better, then, DANG. But all that having been said – I have to give my kudos to the team behind Windows RT and the Surface. They have done a remarkable job.

If you haven’t experienced Windows 8 on a touch device yet, get thee to a Microsoft Store. Try it. The productivity losses of being completely addicted to Jetpack Joyride will definitely be offset by the productivity gains of being able to flick a Word document up to scroll, and then just pointing the cursor into place on the screen rather than using the mouse.

And to be honest, as much as I have been thinking I might want to code on the Surface, in retrospect, I’m not sure that’s true. I have a 17″ laptop and a 27″ desktop screen, and I use that screen real estate judiciously when I’m coding.

OK, who am I kidding? I’ll be getting a Surface Pro whenever it comes out. But until then, I’m having a good time on this awesome tablet!

Surface with Type Cover

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