Microsoft just told me to buy a MacBook Pro

Today was the big day from Microsoft where the new Surface Pro would be announced in Shanghai and after watching some reviews and news snippets I can say MS will not be getting my money when I have to get a new computer.  The new Surface Pro is a little thinner and has the updated Intel processors but other than that there isn’t anything compelling me to buy it.  Sure I want to be able to use a stylus for drawing and stuff but thats mostly for work and not for personal stuff (and according to work, I might be able to get a computer with a stylus during the 2018 refresh).  The stylus is much improved from last year but since I draw pretty infrequently I’m debating my real “need” to have a pen with my computer.  I have a stylus for my iPad Air 2 (its not an Apple Pencil though) that I can use just fine although having an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil would be awesome but the Air 2 needs to die first.  

The cost of the version of the Surface Pro that I would buy is about $2699 and thats without a type cover which is kind of essential.  Just on pure cost I won’t buy it, also it doesn’t have any USB-C which I think will be important in the next few years.  Also it only has 1 USB 3.0 port and I always have at least 2 USB devices plugged in all the time.  I can get something relatively similar with a Core i5 instead of an i7 processor from Apple for $2400 but with the 16MB of RAM and 1TB drive which matches the Surface Pro configuration.

I guess its time for me to wait until June to see if there are new MacBook Pro’s coming out.  I only need the processor bump and the date of purchase to make sure its supported for the next 5 years.  I still think its amazing that my desktop computer is still chugging along on Windows 10 after 9 years.  I’m very tempted to stick the SSD from my old MacBook Pro in it to speed things along and give it some juice and new life.  I think that’s what’s making it so slow, the fact that the hard drive is still an old spinning disk and not a microchip.  It’s only 2 or so weeks.  If they let me pre-order on the employee purchase site you can bet I’ll be doing that during the keynote.

Re-Installing Windows Still SUCKS


I managed to royally screw up my daughter’s computer when I was trying to delete the recovery partition because I wanted the latest and greatest Windows 10 updates.  The screw up was so bad that I am actually re-installing Windows 10 right now.  I haven’t done this in a long time and it brings back horrifying memories of when I had to do this over and over again with older version of Windows when I always ran into trouble through installing questionable software to get something done.

Right now it’s going through the motions and I’m just waiting for the thing to finish so I can start configuring it.  There wasn’t any software on the  computer (mainly because there isn’t any room to install any) so I’m not too worried about that and there is also no data on it either.  I just have to reinstall some stuff like Chrome and setup the bookmarks again and everything should be all set.  This experience makes me want to ditch the idea of getting another Windows computer and just getting a MacBook Pro or even just the regular old MacBook when the time to upgrade comes around.

I think in all the time I’ve had the MacBook Pro, I’ve messed it up once so bad that I had to reinstall the OS and even then I was able to use my TimeMachine backup to restore all my files and settings.  I think Apple does a better job of creating backups and restores than Microsoft and that’s one of the main selling points for getting another Mac.  I do still need a desktop level OS to do some things but I am trying to see how well I can survive with just my iPad Air 2 but I just keep on going back to my computers.  I think I’ll skip a tablet for my next major computing purchase and go for a regular computer.  Since I maintain my computers so well, it’s going to be a while before one of them dies (my desktop is currently 9 years old and running Windows 10 and my MacBook Pro is 5 years old and was just upgraded with an SSD).

Woohoo the OS is starting to install, maybe it will require my input soon……

I want a touch screen Mac!

I’ve been following this argument online for a while and I think it’s time that Apple come to the realization that having a touch screen computer that runs OSX would be awesome!  I’ve tried using an iPad Pro at a store and I have an iPad Air 2 as a personal device but I want something closer to the Surface Pro that has ports and other shit so that I can connect my devices and load the content onto the computer.  I can use my regular MacBook for that but I kind of want that 2 in 1 device now as a personal device.

I’m personally fine if they want to make everything USB-C or something as a connector for power but I just want to be able to navigate OSX with my finger instead of using a touch pad.  I’ve come into some instances where I want to touch something on the screen since it’s so much like my iPad but I can’t make anything happen unless I use the mouse.  Access to the file system is pretty important these days for me now that I have a NAS.  I want to put stuff in the NAS but I might need it on my computer first and I wan to be able to organize it the way I want to.  The cloud isn’t good for everything and the there are some things I just don’t want floating around in cyberspace.

While the Mac App Store is nice, a convergence of the two app stores and being able to use touch, type, and mouse would be awesome.  Imagine taking something like a hybrid device and hooking it up to a 4K display!  And actually having it be useful to you as well from a computing stand point from a device that more in line with a tablet or as a real computer when you need it.  I think it’s only a matter of time before Apple has to do this, there are too many Windows variants out there and the fact that my work computer lets me touch the screen is pretty freaking awesome.  Now if I could only use it to write with a pen or something, that would be the ultimate!

I think the closest that I’ve seen to a good touch screen computer is the Microsoft Surfacebook.  I tried one out at my local Best Buy and it was a pretty decent machine.  I like that I can draw on it, remove the screen, but still have a mouse and keyboard when I want one.  I didn’t spend too much time with it but I configured one online and good lord it was expensive.  For that price I’ll just keep my 2011 MacBook Pro and my iPad Air 2 and switch between the devices.  But who knows, maybe them touch screen Mac is in the pipeline and we just haven’t been introduced to it yet.  I guess I’ll have to wait till WWDC to see what’s coming.

Windows 8 is a FAIL

Okie dokie.  I’ve been a Windows user since I was a freshman in highschool and back then I wasn’t even allowed into Windows unless my teacher said I could go because the programs that I was using were DOS based (thats Disk Operating System to you youngins).  Windows 3.0 and 3.1 were pretty horrible.  There really wasn’t anything fun you could do with the thing and it looked aweful because of the 16 bit graphics and the windows themselves really didn’t do anything but piss you off.  Windows 95 through Windows 7 has been pretty consistent, it has a start menu, it has search (for the most part), and it lets me get to my programs easily and I know where everything is.

Windows 8 is a step away from all that.  Microsoft has decided to unify the user experience by using a bunch of tiles.  I’ve seen it in Windows Phone, Xbox 360, and now in Windows 8.  I must say that I thoroughly despise it.  My sister in law bought a new computer and wanted me to help her set it up and it had Windows 8 on it and it also had a touch screen (thats definitely new).  I know that Windows 8.1 brought back the Start Menu but Windows 8 lacks any start menu whatsoever.  To me thats is the most important thing in Windows.  To get to the traditional desktop I had to click on a tile that looked like a desktop but it wasn’t labeled “desktop” so I would know to click on it.

After some initial struggles I was able to finally get the hang of it and attempted to get the programs I needed on the computer installed and move some data around from an external drive to the computer.   Needless to say it was a less than stellar experience and it took longer than it needed to if I was using regular Windows 7.  I don’t think I’m going to upgrade to Windows 8 or potentially buy a new Windows based PC if the interface remains the same or if this is the new direction of Windows.  I need a traditional desktop experience.

My future most likely will be OSX Mavericks since its still pretty traditional in terms of how it works.  I’m hoping that they don’t try and merge too much of iOS with with OSX and make it more like Windows 8.  I have to admit that OSX has definitely grown on me since I’ve owned a MacBook Pro over the last 2 years.  The swipe gestures are definitely helpful and since I do most of my stuff using a web browser I don’t have a real need for a whole lot of programs except for iPhoto, iTunes, and Safari.  I’m another 3 years from my next upgrade so I’m hoping that they don’t mess something up that will force me to keep my old PC and MacBook running until something better comes along (hopefully I won’t be forced to use Linux, that would really suck).

Windows XP Stinks

I’ve been a Windows 7 user since the first release candidate and I have to say that it is leaps and bounds over Windows XP. Some of the programs that I use for work still require Windows XP or some of my clients still have Windows XP because they haven’t upgraded yet. Windows 8 is already on the horizon, I remember installing Windows XP on computers back in 2002, in computer terms that’s a really long time ago. I still have Windows XP as a virtual machine on my home computer and it was for testing stuff but it’s become more and more irrelevant to me so I loaded a Windows Vista VM instead for my testing.

The problem that I have currently is that Windows XP is so slow and doesn’t take advantage of any of the newer technologies in computers because it’s so dated by any standard. Under the hood, XP is just Windows NT with some nice window dressing put on top of it. I struggle with it for work but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Thankfully they are rolling out Windows 7 soon and you can bet I’ll be one the first people in line fore getting that upgrade. What makes me laugh is that they just announced Windows 8, if it’s a game changer you can bet most companies will stay away because it would require a whole revamping of applications so it will work right unless you install it and use the older interface that is just under the covers.

I’ve avoided it for years but maybe it’s time to give OSX a try again. I remember my first computer being an Apple IIC, then I moved on to Windows 3.0 and from there I’ve been a Windows person until I encountered OS9 and hated the living crap out of it. I’ve seen the promo videos for OSX and it might be the time to jump into apple again. I have enough apple products at home already and I’m due for a new computer too since its been almost 5 years since my last one 🙂 the trick is convincing my wife that I need one hehe!

SkyDrive, Microsoft’s Hidden Cloud

I’ve been trying out different cloud services over the past year in search of the perfect service for my lifestyle. So far I have tried Box.net and Dropbox. Both of them serve a specific purpose so far, I’ve divided the services into work and personal areas. Due to restrictions at my current job, Dropbox is blocked so I no longer could use it for work stuff like storing copies of my expense receipts. Hence I decided to get Box.net since that service isn’t blocked. Each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses to be sure but both are decent enough at storing my crap.

I decided to go to my Hotmail account one night and since it had been a while, there were plenty of new buttons to click on. One of the services that I saw that was new was SkDdrive which is Microsoft’s cloud service offering. Just like Dropbox or Box.net, it provides a place to store all your crap and it gives you 25 gigs to boot! That’s way more storage than any of the other service providers by far. I think the reason that not that many people have seen it is because it’s part of Windows Live and it’s really buried in there, it’s not even prominent on the front page of Windows Live or appears at the top of the navigator of services offered.

I’ll admit that I haven’t really tested out the service yet because I already use two, using one more wouldn’t make sense. Not to mention a big thing that’s missing is an app for iPhone or iPad. With Box.net and Dropbox I can see my documents on my iPad easily which is a big thing for me and probably a lot of other people. A lot of apps that I use to edit my cloud files also don’t connect to SkyDrive as far as I know which is also another minus. I guess on the plus side it is a cloud storage service for the masses but it needs to be advertised way better so people actually KNOW it’s out there and can be used to store crap on there. There also needs to be apps for Android, Apple, and webOS devices so that it is more universal. I don’t know how MS will make money from it but I’m sure they’ll figure something out. I hope MS doesn’t mess this up like they have the rest of their online strategy. They need to do some major advertising like they did with Bing to get the word out and maybe do a rebrand of their services or something or at least re-launch their online products to make people aware of their existence.

Even though I have been a loyal Hotmail and Microsoft user for over 15 years, that may not continue if MS doesn’t do something to reach out to the consumer and give us products that WOW is like the Connect did for Xbox360. I saw how iCloud is going to change how Apple interacts with it’s customers data and music and I gotta say I was impressed. Sorry SkyDrive, when you finally get integration with my iDevices and other apps maybe I’ll give you another look but for now I’m sticking with Dropbox and Box.net.

Bing for my iPhone

I figure that I haven’t blogged about this yet and I’m bored tonight so why not.  After a long wait Bing is finally on the iPhone with their own app and everything (as seen on the left).  Bing used to be MSN Search or whatever it was called, it was the search engine that was there but was rarely used since there were other options like Yahoo and Google which people seemed to like better.

I like Bing and have been using it as my default search engine on my PC since it came out.  I like the pictures that change daily with the neat facts on the search front page and that function seems to have been ported over to the Bing app for iPhone so it looks just like if you were using your regular computer.  The search results aren’t bad so far and there isn’t much else to say about it, it just works like its supposed to which is a good thing.

The only thing I wish I could do is change the search engine to Bing for Safari on my iPhone.  I only have the choice of using Google or Yahoo but nothing else which totally stinks.  There might be an awesome search engine that I want to use but have no ability to use it.  They should make it more like Mozilla Firefox where I can add different search engines to the search bar so I can pick which one I want to use.  Web search is not limited to just Yahoo and Google alone!

I don’t have anything to look up right now on Bing but I’ll continue to click on the picture that comes up to find some fun facts on things that live on the planet Earth.