Archive for the ‘tech’ Category

windows 10 tablet mode annoyance

Having tried a Surface Pro 3 for both work and leisure, I’ve come to the conclusion that Windows 10 is more schizophrenic than being 2 great superheroes in 1.

For work: I couldn’t work out how to access the desktop in Tablet Mode. And that is significant because the desktop is a shortcut space for me to access folders and short-term files (e.g. PPT to show at the work conference).

And for the love of everything sacred you cannot find anything online because ‘desktop’ happens to be the name of other Mode in Windows 10 – so any search just returns oodles of results about the ‘great’ feature of being able switch between Tablet and Desktop Mode.

For leisure: as previously mentioned, Windows 10 doesn’t pop-up the onscreen keyboard for Firefox (yet) automatically; sure, not entirely the fault of Microsoft, as Mozilla probably hasn’t updated Firefox to be fully conformant to Windows 10 – but still, its annoying.

cold storage

Yes please! Hopefully some retailer like Officeworks will have pay-per-disk backup stations with these burners for people to archive their photos and videos.

good NAS proposition for home

With constant-sync freely available for the really important files on the cloud (e.g. work docs), the question of how to store the occasional-access important files (e.g. archives of old photos) remain.

Storing these in the constant-sync cloud is too expensive, yet glacial services offered by Amazon is not user/consumer friendly enough. Backup-all-services like Backblaze is great for that anomalous disaster but doesn’t facilitate occasional-access.

I think a dual local medium strategy is sufficient. One copy on your primary computing device, and another copy on an external harddisk. The primary computing device is important enough – and an external harddisk is cheap enough – for the inertia to replace to be very low. Hence it is fair to assume that there will for most-of-the-time be two copies of the data.

The Synology RT1900ac is good value proposition for consumers to further make this external harddisk accessible – for both backing up and occasional-access of the files. A home can have a low-powered NAS for not much more money than what one would spend on a router already.

One of the issues with this strategy is storage on the primary computing device as we take more videos, especially when SSD that are becoming more popular in laptops still lags mechanical drives in capacity-to-price ratio. Perhaps another external harddisk instead of relying on the primary computing device is the solution, but I also think backing up on two harddisks has much higher inertia.

el capitan

Took the plunge with El Capitan on a late-2011 MacBook Pro 13″ (4GB RAM and original HDD). Had concerns that the upgrade might need a SSD. But apart from some sporadic microscopic delays, all seems well. Yeehaa!

windows 10

Not sure why, but I don’t like Windows 10. But its hard to explain why, and it might not be even Windows 10’s fault.

  1. On-screen keyboard doesn’t pop up automatically for Firefox, but does for Edge (Surface Pro 3 in tablet mode). One assumes because Edge is an Universal App?
  2. Traditional Chinese keyboard doesn’t display candidate list automatically; you have to press down-arrow every time to see the complete list. That is 1/4 to 1/3 more keystrokes per Chinese character!
  3. Pressing the touchscreen for any action (e.g. close windows, ‘Ok’ button etc) has a minute but discernible lag, especially if you are used to an iPad. Two finger touchscreen scrolling is great though. Does this lie with Win10 or Surface Pro 3?

Or maybe I’m just a grumpy old man set in my ways. I will seriously mourn the day Microsoft stops supporting Windows 7.

windows update as metric

Its finally finished. Windows Update has been calculating which updates to apply since 9am. So that’s more than 6 hours to calculate – now comes the actual update part.

Fair enough, this is a fresh reinstall of Windows 7 on a relic of a CPU: AMD Athlon x2. But its desktop class and not RAM constrained.

I reckon Windows Update should be the real-world metric to assess how fast a system is. Sure, this way of measuring has a big flaw, since new updates are constantly available so updating at different times will produce different results. Regardless, it’ll still be a good-enough rough measure of how a system would perform for the average person using the PC in real life.

using a surface pro 3

I’m typing this using a Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover – on loan from work. Initially I had doubts about its ‘lapability’, but after using it tonight on the couch whilst watching TV, I’m convinced that it can work as well as a traditional laptop.

Coincidentally I spent about a half hour in the Microsoft Store frantically typing on one laptop after the other. None of them had a good enough keyboard in my opinion. The Type Cover I’m using at the moment is heaps better in terms of travel and key size.

However, the track pad on the Type Cover is quite small, and still not as responsive as MacBook’s implementation; using it to scroll puts my wrist at a weird angle that will no doubt cause problems in the future. But that’s when the Surface’s actual screen comes in handy – once I remember that it is indeed touch enabled.

All this prompted me to fill out the ThinkPad Retro surveys. Having used all these keyboards (MacBook included), I’m really hoping for an ultrabook ThinkPad that has the Trackpoint and the classic keyboard.


windows 10 calendar

Found this post at reddit that is tempting me to click yes to that ‘upgrade to Windows 10’ notification:

Anyway, jumping forward to Windows 10.. I noticed that the calendar app baked into Windows 10 will let you sign into iCloud, it will let you sign into a Google account, in addition to your account, so BAM! The Windows 10 calendar app is all kinds of awesome for the way my family and I use various calendars. I can finally automate all of them together in one spot. In my testing it syncs back and updates/deletes/etc on all of them correctly. I’m super happy about that.

So much so that I’ve contemplated going to Windows 10 NOW and not waiting for the July 29th public build – JUST because of that one feature. 🙂

One minor nit about that. The Windows 10 calendar app doesn’t sync the chosen calendar colors down from iCloud and Google, it would be nice if it did since I spent the time on those services getting them the way I want.

Anyone with devices spanning the 3 MAG ecosystems will appreciate how amazing this would be.

apple beware

The more I think about the Surface Book, the more I think Cupertino should be worried. Surface Book is a product for creative content producers, a market segment that Apple has led in both shares and heart. But a pressure sensitive stylus enabled tablet connectable to a discrete GPU base running a full desktop OS? That is a rocket – massive boost for Microsoft and aimed squarely at Apple.