Welcome!

Adobe Flex Authors: Glenn Rossman, Matthew Lobas, PR.com Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Blog Feed Post

Surface 2: One Week Later

At MVP Summit this year, many of us were lucky enough to pick up a Surface 2 32 GB.  As many of you know, I have been a die hard supporter of my Surface RT and I think it runs great with Windows 8.1.  I simply love the connected standby and long battery life.  While your buddy’s Surface Pro isn’t notifying them of E-mail because it’s asleep, my Surface 2 chimes every time I get one (except during the new quiet hours :) ).  I also don’t have any desire to run Adobe Photoshop or Visual Studio on the device so sticking to the apps that are in the Windows Store works great for me.  I’m thoroughly impressed with the device.  Let’s take a look at some of the new features and differences and then you can decide if you want one for yourself.

Physical Differences

Meet the new Surface (2).  It looks similar on the front with a visible gray border from the casing.

Surface2Front

The Surface 2 comes in it’s natural gray color with the word Surface prominently displayed on the back.  I hope this leads to fewer people having to ask what the device is since they never had a clue what my Surface RT was. :)  I don’t like the gray color as much as the black on the Surface RT but it’s not a deal break for me.  If you are used to the smooth finish of the RT, you will notice that the back of the Surface 2 isn’t quite as smooth. 

SurfaceBackAnngle1

It features a two position kick-stand which I find highly useful when you have it sitting in your lap with a keyboard.  Here is the traditional angle offered by Surface RT.

Surface2FrontAngle1

Here is the new couch friendly angle great for using Xbox SmartGlass with your new Xbox One.

Surface2FrontAngle2

Camera

The Surface 2 has upgraded cameras (3.5 megapixel front and 5.0 megapixel rear).  I don’t think the camera is a huge selling point on any tablet device, but it’s a nice upgrade.  This is mainly because all I ever did with the cameras was take pictures using OneNote and occasionally use it with Skype.  The position of the camera and the ambient light sensor has varied some so if you have skinned your Surface RT, you’ll need a new one for your Surface 2.  Luckily, these are quite cheap at the Microsoft store (around $15).

Accessories

All of your Surface gen 1 accessories will still work including keyboards and power adapters.  This makes it easy to transition to Surface 2.  The connector on the power supply is slightly different.  When connected it now has a colored ring which makes it easier to tell it is plugged in.  It’s also a bit easier to get connected now as I often struggled when trying to plug in my Surface RT when in the dark.  You can see the ring there on the side of this picture taken in the dark.

Surface2PowerSupply

You may have heard about the new colorful type keyboards.  They feature backlighting.  Here’s an example of the purple (no it’s not mine :) ) Type Keyboard 2 with the key lit in the dark.

WP_20131125_006

Speed

One of the biggest issues among bloggers and reviewers in the last year with Surface RT was the speed of the device.  The device is particularly slow at times.  This is especially noticeable when you have a number of apps open, especially Outlook RT (which we got with Windows 8.1).  I have to say the Surface 2 is noticeably faster (night and day).  The device is generally snappy and the mail app runs pretty quickly as do other apps.  I can even keep Outlook RT running and the device doesn’t start to lag like I noticed before.  For the speed alone, this device is worth the upgrade if you want an RT device.

The memory in the device is still 2 GB.  This doesn’t prove to be a huge issue, but I do feel like the device can hit this value fairly quickly still when you have a lot of apps running.  When this happens you’ll find Windows tombstoning (closing) more background apps than you care for.

Transition

Windows 8.1 makes it so easy to move from one device to another!  When I first powered up the device and logged in it prompted me if I wanted to copy my settings from a previous device.  I opted to copy the settings and through the magic of the cloud, my start screen reappeared with all of my familiar tiles.  I only had to re-arrange a couple of tiles and it ended up looking exactly like my the start screen on my Surface RT.  It recognizes which apps you had installed before and you can click on just click on the icons to get them downloading.

One thing to note.  If you happen to buy your device when you are on the road, configuration at a hotel might be a minor issue.  Typically the WiFi at hotels requires you to sign-in, enter a code, or click a button before you are online.  The initial configuration experience doesn’t play well with this.  To get around it, I fired up my MiFi and did the configuration with that device.

Screen Resolution

It doesn’t take long to get spoiled by the HD resolution (1920x1080).  You start to notice this in places like the Start screen and on the desktop.  When you go back to your Surface RT, you can really tell a difference.  Windows automatically makes adjustments to the scaling so things are easier to read on the desktop, but if you have good ideas you can tweak the device to run at normal scaling and see some very small icons.  Take a look at the screenshot of my desktop on the Surface 2.  Compared to the Surface RT, you can see that more tiles fit on the screen horizontally.

Surface2StartScreen

Here’s the same start screen on my Surface RT.  Notice how the last column of tiles gets cut off.  Even the background image is cut off in places.

SurfaceRTStartScreen

If you run Remote Desktop, you can run at the full 1920x1080 screen resolution.  This allows you to see everything on the device, but I find that it’s a bit hard to use with touch because the pixels are so small.   It’s fine if you use a mouse or the touchpad on one of the keyboards.

Apps

The app story keeps getting better for the Windows Store.  At launch, we finally got Facebook and Flipboard.  These were big apps that people had been waiting for (although you could always use Facebook in the browser just fine).  Since, I have no desire to run Photoshop on my tablet (although you can run Photoshop Express :) ), I am quite happy with this device as a bridge between business productivity and fun and games.  I never have understood why people used this particular application to judge the success of the Surface.  It’s not like IOS can run it.

Storage

I opted for the 32 GB this time as that was what is available.  I also had a Surface RT 32 GB for a while and never really had an issue with storage.  Movies and videos can be offloaded to the SDXC card.  Documents can be stored in SkyDrive with the included free 200 GB of storage for 2 years.  I don’t suspect storage space will be an issue at all.

SDXC Slot

The Surface 2 features the same SDXC card slot but it has been moved down slightly making it easier to reach.  One thing to note about this slot is that when you slide the card in, it will actually click twice.  If you only hear it click once, then it will not be detected.  Push it in further, and you’ll hear another click and Windows should detect it.

WP_20131125_011

Speakers

Another common complaint of the speakers of Surface RT is that they just aren’t that loud.  I never found this to be an issue since I always paired my Surface with a Jambox (or other Bluetooth speaker).  As far as speakers go, I would say Surface 2 is pretty comparable.  I did a few tests between the two devices and couldn’t tell any noticeable difference at max volume.  The Surface 2 adds an additional microphone.  This should help for conference calls using Skype when not using a headset.

Ports

The Surface 2 now features a USB 3.0 port whereas Surface RT only has a USB 2.0 port.  This is a nice improvement but I never found it to be a blocker on my Surface RT.  I haven’t found myself copying large files off of external hard drives or anything like that.  It’s still a nice upgrade.  Surface 2 still features a Micro HDMI port out.  I would like to see Surface and Surface Pro use the same port at some point.

Battery Life

The battery life with Surface RT was already ridiculously awesome.  I had no issue exceeding the quoted 8 hour battery life on a regular basis.  The story with Surface 2 is even better.  It’s quoted at 10 hours when playing video and I bet it can do even longer.  I have had no issues with battery at all yet.  The nice thing about RT devices is that they also charge rather quickly as well.  They can usually charge in just over 2 hours or so.

Issues

No device is perfect, but this one is pretty nice.  I have encountered a few minor issues but I have been able to work around them.  I noticed the first issue when I was on the airplane home.  I plugged my headphones in and couldn’t get any sound to work.  When visiting the Manage Audio Devices control panel, I would receive an error related to the drivers.  This has seemed to resolve itself though since I have gotten home.  Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again. 

The other issue I have also affected my Surface RT.  About once a week (maybe more), I find that Surface refused to turn on.  Pressing the Windows button will vibrate but pressing the Power button does not turn the screen on.  When this happens, you can hold the Power button for an extended period of time and it might turn on.  However, sometimes the only reliable way to get it to power back on is to plug it into external power and then hold the Power button for a bit.  I have only had this happen once on the Surface 2.  I was hoping this issue wouldn’t follow us to the new device but it looks like it may be there.  It’s not a huge deal, but it is a bit of an inconvenience.

Now that I have a Surface 2, I have noticed that my Surface RT is not staying charged.  If I leave it unplugged, the next day it will be completely dead.  I’m not really sure the cause (maybe power settings), but I suspect it is due to jealousy of the new kids on the block. :)

Wants

I think the one thing I want from Surface Pro (no not the x86/x64 apps) is the stylus.  Although I don’t see myself using a stylus a lot, I would love to see that functionality make it’s way to the RT line of devices.  I was hoping that would make it into this version, but who knows there is always the next revision.

Summary

There is a reason why the next generation of Surface is flying off the shelves.  They are nice devices.  If you aren’t looking for a highly productive business device that can do some great consumer tasks, this device is for you.  If you have expectations of turning it into a developer tool or running your 15 year old software then go buy a Pro.  If you have been holding off to buy a Surface, go buy a Surface 2 now.  I have even heard the most skeptics of colleagues, bloggers, and tech writers totally pull a 180 on this device.  This is a device to be had!

Follow me on twitter: @coreyroth.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is a consultant at Hitachi Consulting specializing in SharePoint and Office 365 for clients in the energy sector. He has more than ten years of experience delivering solutions in the energy, travel, advertising and consumer electronics verticals.

Corey specializes in delivering ECM and search solutions to clients using SharePoint. Corey has always focused on rapid adoption of new Microsoft technologies including Visual Studio 2013, Office 365, and SharePoint.

He is a member of the .NET Mafia (www.dotnetmafia.com) where he blogs about the latest technology and SharePoint. He is dedicated to the community and speaks regularly at user groups and SharePoint Saturdays.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how these devices generate enough data to learn our behaviors and simplify/improve our lives. What if we could connect everything to everything? I'm not only talking about connecting things to things but also systems, cloud services, and people. Add in a little machine learning and artificial intelligence and now we have something interesting...
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) irreversibly encoded. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, will look at how this identity problem can be solved and discuss ways to use existing web identities for real-time communication.
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn real-world benefits of WebRTC and explore future possibilities, as WebRTC and IoT intersect to improve customer service.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, an Open Source Cloud Communications company that helps the shift from legacy IN/SS7 telco networks to IP-based cloud comms. An early investor in multiple start-ups, he still finds time to code for his companies and contribute to open source projects.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services to the modern P2P RTC era of OTT cloud assisted services.
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehension and conference efficiency.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example to explain some of these concepts including when to use different storage models.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace. These technological reforms have not only changed computers and smartphones, but are also changing the data processing model for all information devices. In particular, in the area known as M2M (Machine-To-Machine), there are great expectations that information with a new type of value can be produced using a variety of devices and sensors saving/sharing data via the network and through large-scale cloud-type data processing. This consortium believes that attaching a huge number of devic...
Innodisk is a service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, with a focus on the enterprise, industrial, aerospace, and defense industries. Innodisk is dedicated to serving their customers and business partners. Quality is vitally important when it comes to industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products. That’s why Innodisk manufactures all of their products in their own purpose-built memory production facility. In fact, they designed and built their production center to maximize manufacturing efficiency and guarantee the highest quality of our products.
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital business.
BSQUARE is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success. For more information, visit www.bsquare.com.
With the iCloud scandal seemingly in its past, Apple announced new iPhones, updates to iPad and MacBook as well as news on OSX Yosemite. Although consumers will have to wait to get their hands on some of that new stuff, what they can get is the latest release of iOS 8 that Apple made available for most in-market iPhones and iPads. Originally announced at WWDC (Apple’s annual developers conference) in June, iOS 8 seems to spearhead Apple’s newfound focus upon greater integration of their products into everyday tasks, cross-platform mobility and self-monitoring. Before you update your device, here is a look at some of the new features and things you may want to consider from a mobile security perspective.