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Comment: Re:football can cause brain damage (Score 1) 405

Surface Pro. I do like it.

The keyboard is nice. As you said, not ground-breaking. But as opposed to a lot of iPad keyboards, "it just works." Snap it on, snap it off. Is it Bluetooth? Honestly, I don't even know. I just know it works well. I assumed the connection was hardware based due to the 5 pins used for the connection.

Not specifically to you, but to many other commenters on this thread:

YES, there are other devices that can do THIS, or THAT. And YES, you can outfit an iPad with a whole bunch of different things to make it similar...but that is not the point. The point is that this is a very convenient device with the connectivity that I need/want. I can kludge together a super-duper tablet but that's not my aim. I much prefer the simplicity of buying something that's fully functional on day 1 and doesn't need anything else to be useful. (Insert comments about the keyboard not being included...)

I can pick up my Surface, with the keyboard as the cover, and go out into the world knowing that I am fully equipped to deal with whatever comes at me. A laptop would serve the same purpose, but it would probably be bigger (My Dell XPS 15 is great...but too big!). Most tablets are missing out on half of the features I need.

Also- I'm now a small** fan of Miracast, which is fully baked into Windows 8.1. There are still a lot of problems with it, but I've walked into a couple of situations with Miracast enabled monitors that I used and was happy with. It's nice that I don't need to add anything to make it work. And it's odd that my Surface is the 'it just works' machine, while iDevices need add-ons and software to make things happen.

**I wish my wireless displays would automatically re-connect, but I can imagine a lot of security based reasons not to do this.

Comment: Re:football can cause brain damage (Score 1) 405

I don't think you understand my 'ingesting photos' item. I connect my camera to my Surface via USB. Shots are immediately on my Surface. In fact, I don't even save them to the SD card, they are saved directly on the tablet. I have have 'Live View' on, to see exactly what the camera sees. This is NOT something that can be done over a network right now. Additionally, most of what I do isn't within range of a network...even cell.

I really am a 'mobile worker'. I go out an do stuff...away from networks and people. I carry as little crap with me as possible. Camera, Surface and USB cable are pretty standard.

Possibly when vineyards are networked I'll be able to work differently.

Example of what I do: http://imgur.com/a/xQ040 (I am not a pro photographer- just an IT guy who knows how to use a camera well enough to document things.)

Comment: Re:football can cause brain damage (Score 4, Informative) 405

USB is important for a few reasons:

#1- ingesting photos. OR even better, tethered shooting. Cameras use USB ports for data transfer and control of the camera. The time to preview pictures is while you are taking them, not when you return to the office. Not saying you can't do this with other platforms, but you can do this with EVERY camera using Surface/USB.

#2- Printers. Sure, wireless printing is great...sometimes. Again, most every printer works with USB. I've been visiting other locations, need to print something and the IT guy rolls his eyes when he sees I need to print a document from a tablet. Once he sees Surface/USB it's like, "Oh..okay, no problem, plug in here." Nobody wants to install some stupid app to let me print.

#3- Wired networking. Again, wireless is great- but sometimes it is not an option. A wired network dongle has saved me a few times.

#4- odd peripherals. Just last Friday I had to provide a butt-ton of files to a lawyer for 'discovery'. They provided an external hard-drive (Aegis Padlock Drive). USB...sure, plug that sucker in and I'll give you all the files you need.

In a professional environment I don't always have control over what I need to connect to. USB has been the most ubiquitous port over the last 10 years. Not having it on your computer locks out out of a LOT of stuff.

My Surface Pro 2 runs Photoshop just fine. Admittedly I don't use it as my primary editing machine (screen size) but when I need it, it is there. Not sure why you say the Surface is underpowered, I would say it is 'run of the mill' in performance. In 2013/2014 that means, "It is an absolute breeze to do photo editing." Also, the fact that the Surface Pro is an awesome digitizer, with a pen, is icing on the cake.

I'm not saying the Surface is the be-all and end-all, but it has features that are fantastic. Most of the detractors obviously haven't used one in a professional environment...where an Android tablet or iPad just don't do what I need them to do. Including having a USB port.

**Someone felt that I was trolling. I'm not a troll, just a person who enjoys using their Surface Pro for work and entertainment. Also, my previous job had me purchasing a LOT of equipment (1,800 users) and I spent soooo much money on iPads it was amazing. Most of those were deemed totally useless once the novelty wore off. I'm just trying to steer people toward what I feel is a very good solution to the mobile computer question.

Comment: Re:football can cause brain damage (Score 4, Informative) 405

Surface user here to respectfully disagree. The Surface is an awesome device that can be used for all sorts of good.

When people see me using my Surface as a tablet, they are then amazed when I show them the USB port (so simple...but why not on iPad?) and keyboard. Yes, the keyboard seems strange at first, but I really do use my Surface about 50/50 keyboard on/off. I've been popping that thing on and off for a few years and I really like it.

When people see me using it as a laptop, they are then surprised when I take off the keyboard, pop out the kickstand, and use it as a movie viewing tablet. OR, when I am out in the field and pop open Photoshop express to do some quick photo editing with my fingers. In about 6 seconds (really) I can have a photo cropped and 'shared'.

You are right, it is a tablet that wants to be a laptop, and a laptop that wants to be a tablet. Not cheap by any means but worth it for me.

I can tell you that from my perspective, this is the best device in either the tablet or laptop class for my use. Previously my Surface was also my desktop- but a new job brought on a ridiculously over-powered desktop that I would be crazy not to use. Now my Surface spends the day as my music player until I need to go out, then it is my usual note-taker.

***All that being said, we have a few other SP2's floating around in my organization that are barely used because people have no idea what they can/should be doing with them. Some were purchased after they saw my 'success' and I really want to say, "hmm...maybe you should have gotten an ipad..."

Comment: Re:Hahahaha (Score 5, Insightful) 405

Going along with the story...

I use a Surface Pro to connect to my Canon camera for macro shots. Super cool, full control of the camera, tethered shooting (straight to Surface) which is then automagically uploaded to SkyDrive. Full screen preview, editing on the Surface, etc.

I can do tons of work directly on the Surface, really works out nice.

Every day I swear that I will "Strangle the next person that calls this an iPad", but that hasn't happened yet. But each time someone does that, I take the time to point out the USB port, the fact that it can run full Photoshop, etc. etc.

iPads were a cruel joke played upon people who thought they were getting a device that could actually DO something. iPads are great for consumption, but once you move beyond NetFlix, they are not good for much.

Comment: Does it matter? (Score 3, Interesting) 365

by bigman2003 (#44447041) Attached to: With Microsoft Office on Android, Has Linus Torvalds Won?
The whole idea of 'winning' or 'losing' is misguided. The whole idea of marketshare being an indicator of quality is also misguided. I am an admitted Microsoftie. I'm on a Surface tablet right now. My Windows phone is sitting next to me. I've got an Xbox, subscription to Office 365, etc. I'm all in. The phone market has really taught me a lot. I used to carry an iPhone, but I was never really impressed with it. Eventually I switched to Windows and I was much happier (with my phone). A lot of people look at my phone as a lesser product. They'll send me links to articles predicting the demise of Windows Phone, or articles describing the horrible marketshare. But guess what? None of those articles...or the low marketshare...or the possible impending demise make me think less of my phone. Not at all. They have no impact on how I feel about the technology in my pocket. So the point is- I feel that others should do the same. Ignore the marketshare (unless you are an investor or developer) ignore the articles written by the hacks (Motley Fool is determined to bash Microsoft 30 times per day) and just use the technology in the way it was intended. Don't get emotionally invested in someone else's business. Microsoft put (a decidedly strange version of) Office on Android because they want the money. It has nothing to do with either satisfying, or challenging the fanboys. It has to do with money. That is what companies do. Apple had a horrible marketshare in the desktop OS market. It didn't mean they had an inferior product, just a less popular one. Getting emotional about this is silly.
Media

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-look dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."
Hardware Hacking

iFixit Moves Into Console Repair 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the red-ring-of-rebirth dept.
sk8pmp writes with news that iFixit, a website known for Apple gadget teardowns and repair guides, is expanding into the game console market, launching a series of troubleshooting and repair guides to help gamers fix their own machines. They're also starting to sell replacement parts and the tools necessary to work on them. "Right now there are repair guides for 24 gaming consoles, including 206 repairs and upgrades. Some of these fixes deal with major issues, such as the infamous Red Ring of Death from the Xbox 360, but others are simpler. For instance, right now there is no easy way to clean out the fans inside your console. 'I think this is probably the number one cause of overheating these days now that manufacturers have mostly gotten their act together,' Wiens said. 'This is routine maintenance, and it's mind-boggling that the manufacturers don't provide people with an easy way to open the case up and blow it out.' You'll also learn how to replace broken LCD screens on your portables, replace the motherboard on your PlayStation 3, and do just about anything else you might want to do to these systems, from the simple to the harrowing."
Security

Two Unpatched Flaws Show Up In Apple iOS 171

Posted by samzenpus
from the rotten-apple dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "The technique that the Jailbreakme.com Web site is using to bypass the iPhone's security mechanisms and enable users to run unapproved apps on their phones involves exploiting two separate vulnerabilities. One of the vulnerabilities is a memory-corruption flaw that affects the way that Apple's mobile devices, including the iPad and iPod Touch, display PDFs. The second weakness is a problem in the Apple iOS kernel that gives an attacker higher privileges once his code is on a targeted device, enabling him to break out of the iOS sandbox. The combination of the two vulnerabilities — both of which are unpatched at the moment — gives an attacker the ability to run remote code on the device and evade the security protections on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The technique became public earlier this week when the Jailbreakme.com site began hosting a set of specially crafted PDF files designed to help users jailbreak their Apple devices and load apps other than the ones approved by Apple and offered in its official App Store."

Comment: Re:Simple, it can be cloned (Score 1) 511

by bigman2003 (#31562778) Attached to: What Is Holding Back the Paperless Office?

My wife signs all kinds of documents for me.

I accept documents that are signed, but I've never met the person, and I probably won't. I don't have any sort of official signature to compare against. For all I know, someone else other than the 'human authorized' signed the document.

Physical signatures are not perfectly secure. The expectation that digital signatures must be perfectly secure is naive.

I think that society is looking for a 99.9% solution- knowing that there will always be a way to cheat the system. The amount of effort to make ANY system perfect is just not worth the trouble.

Comment: Re:Electric Shock (Score 4, Interesting) 951

by bigman2003 (#31316572) Attached to: How Do You Get Users To Read Error Messages?

I disagree with your comments about the puppy picture. It is not an apology at all, it is a VERY effective means of communicating with your users.

I *do* use this method. I have pictures of cake, a cartoon alien, a dumpster, etc. throughout my systems with different pictures having very specific meanings (to me).

Every error gets emailed to the developers, and also logged, so there is a lot of 'professional' stuff going on behind the scenes.

But here is a scenario I've been in before...you are sitting in a meeting, and the conversation turns to your newest creation, when one of the people says, "I was using the system this morning, and I got an error." Which could be a show-stopper as far as an positive discussion is concerned.

But then they add, "It was a piece of chocolate cake." To which I respond, "Okay, thanks for letting me know about that- I'll get it fixed ASAP."

The conversation moves forward, because confidence was restored in the system. The user did not have to talk about, "I don't know what it said- some computer gobbley-gook," which I would respond with "I will look into it."

With the cake picture, the user tells me everything I need to know, in a very simple and easy to understand way.

Comment: Re:Geek Sociologists Replacing Jock Sociologists (Score 2, Informative) 68

by bigman2003 (#30798030) Attached to: Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace?

Just a guess (being that this is Slashdot, it is a fairly educated guess) you spent high school playing computer games, NOT being the captain of the football team. (So did I, so I don't have any problem with it.)

But the point is...the recruiters are going to tell you ANYTHING to get you to join the military.

It's a sales job, and flattering you is part of the job. I wouldn't believe anything a recruiter says. In fact, if you had signed up, you'd know that the entire military jokes about it constantly. "What? Did you believe your recruiter?"

I'm not even disputing the information you are putting out, just pointing out that your source is notoriously bad.

Comment: Re:half the jobs in IT are cleaning up (Score 4, Funny) 783

by bigman2003 (#29896755) Attached to: Moving Away From the IT Field?

Not quite the same, but...

I work for part of a University that has a name that sounds like a telemarketing firm.

Frequently, one of my high level clients will call me in a panic and leave a message. I call back, but 50% of the time I get screened by a receptionist who just assumes I am trying to sell something.

If the client is a jerk, I don't even bother to explain. I'll wait until they call back and then tell them I got screened.

This happened to one client 5 or 6 times. Finally I explained to the secretary who I was, so the call would go through. The secretary said, "Oh, I know who you are...but she gave me a list of words to use to screen calls with. And your unit has two of those words in the name. Besides, it's fun to watch her get mad when she doesn't get the call."

I don't blame the secretary at all. But then again, you could only get away with that in the public sector.

A memorandum is written not to inform the reader, but to protect the writer. -- Dean Acheson

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