Surface 2 Diaries: day three

About The Author

CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

Today, Word has been the word.

It's been a heavy writing day and, quite frankly, being able to use Word rather than Google Docs (as with the Chromebook experiment) has felt like a blessing from heaven.

In fact, again, it was fairly smooth sailing all day, although there are one or two things worth mentioning.

Firstly, I managed to make the poor old Surface 2 get a bit sluggish, thanks to my habit of working with as many browser windows open as humanly possible. I realise that any fool knows you can't do that on a tablet, but the overall experience has been so smooth, it's hard not to revert to a desktop working style.

Secondly, I've found a weird little quirk wherein if I click on a link in Outlook on the desktop, it opens it in the tablet version of Explorer, instead of the Explorer where I already have twenty or so windows open.

(Also, and this is nothing to do with the Surface and everything to do with how my brain works, but because the Outlook icon in the taskbar is a "O" I actually keep thinking it's telling me I have "0" — zero — messages.)

Finally, after saying yesterday that I was using the tablet app versions of Twitter and Facebook, I've rapidly come to the conclusion that they are some of the least user-friendly apps I've ever encountered. It's kind of killed my social media use (which may not be bad thing).

Of course, I've been very much office bound, so to really put the Surface 2 through some paces I'm going to spend a solid chunk of time tomorrow out and about to see what the mobile experience is really like. Wish me luck.

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Vespasian68 posted a comment   

Great posts on the S2 cnet, well done. I work at a bank and thought the S2 might help with me do a bit of work if I'm out and about (we're encouraged to work in a flexible way). Seemingly from your comments yesterday, you are sold on the battery life. I used my S2 on Sunday for about 3 hours work and it drained completely from around 80%, Had nothing open other than my browser which hooks into my work profile (and wireless on so I could do it). I may have an exception but there does seem chatter about battery drain. Other than that issue it is great. Was able to use it at a meeting yesterday when the printers were down for the entire building.


booboosix40 posted a comment   

Can anyone explain why windows 8 is actually two operating systems not one. I don't understand why they don't drop the desktop side of the system. How is the metro tiles any different then the shortcuts everyone has on there desktop. Having to switch from the metro OS to the desktop OS to open certain programmes is just unfriendly.
The only reason I can think of why they have kept the desktop OS is an attempt to keep the old window users happy.
Sorry Nic this has nothing to do with your article. I would love to get my hands on one, the concept(tablet/laptop) has plenty of potential.
Fingers crossed for day four.


tksurface posted a reply   

I think only Microsoft Exec privy to major insider information can answer that question. We can only speculate and guess that it was a combination of factors.The desktop is extremely powerful. Try managing 500 audio files in metro / modern mode. Rename the file, change the track number, move 50 to a different folder. Create a new folder to put them in. Access your Network Attached Storage (NAS). While sure, it would be possible to rewrite all of windows to metro mode, it would take a very long time, it would be very buggy, and you would have to teach everyone a new file management system.You have all the power of windows 8 with some restrictions. You can see computers on your network, access the same familiar control panel (or the new metro control), you can access and write code if needed. The desktop version of IE 11 allows you to hit F12 and access developer tools like changing your UA (User Agent) so you can trick websites in to thinking you are chrome or safari (given Google and Apple are now officially evil - their products work much better on their own browsers).I could go on, and on about the power of desktop on Windows RT. I hope Microsoft never gets rid of it on the Surface tablet line - at least the 10+ inch line. Whether they should get rid of it on 8 inch tablets, I'm not qualified to answer because I don't own one.There is also a group of people (many tech writers) who think Microsoft should divorce the two. Make tablets and phone only metro and leave desktops and laptops only old-school desktop. While that is an option, I think it is a terrible one and doesn't fit with Microsoft's theme of 1 interface for all devices.In the end, you have to be educated about what you are buying - unfortunately, most consumers are not and expect the wrong things. I defer to PR and sales people to fix this. You have to know the limitations of your device. Your iPhone doesn't load full PhotoShop or Final Cut Pro. Well the Surface 2 doesn't load that custom application you've been using since windows 98 - sorry.There are two processors. There is the power friendly ARM processors that all mobile devices have been using (until recently with Intel's very low processor). ARM forced Intel to develop low power processors for mobile. By Microsoft supporting ARM, Intel made a new processor and then sells it at a loss to compete with ARM to make cheap windows devices that run full Windows 8. Without Microsoft supporting ARM, this likely wouldn't have happened.There are likely a bunch of other political reasons why Microsoft designed windows for both ARM and Intel. All I know is that if you know your device's limitations, you will end up loving your Surface 2 with an ARM processor running windows RT.


TomR3 posted a reply   

I have no idea why people say hat the desktop has to go when they have never used the Surface. That is the best part of he tablet.

Ever try and move a file from one location to another with Astro? I sucks.

It's drag and drop as you would on a regular computer.

The familiarity of using the desktop as you would on the computer at home is great when you want to do anything other than apps.

Want to drag and drop from your Homegroup drive to your USB on the Surface? Drag and drop.

You want to move things around on a hard drive you have attached? Good luck doing that on a regular tablet. Desktop mode is AWESOME for that.

I have had my Surface 2 since November, and I am in the Desktop mode almost as much as the Start screen.

Give it a try, the Surface is awesome!


RickyH2 posted a comment
Shows you how to make the links open in the desktop version of IE


tksurface posted a comment   

If you want to bash RT IE 11, write about the lack of print to file feature. Can only print to endnote or xps file.

While you can then go to PDF... It's extra steps that shouldn't be there. Especially when I heard that windows 8 can print directly to PDF.

The lack of this feature does force MW to use one note more though... And with skydrive auto saving, that might not be a bad thing.


tksurface posted a reply   

OneNote, not EndNots


tksurface posted a reply   

Me, not MW. Man I need a real keyboard.


tksurface posted a comment   

It's actually impressive that yiu got it to lag. The RT (gen 1)was quite easy to make it lag by opening a bunch of apps and microsoft haters / tech writers looking for hits would post videos of games lagging (but they secretly had dozen of app simultaneously running in the background).

The Surface 2 doesn't lag even when I forget and have Skype, camera, news, weather, 3rd party Google Music app, etc open all while streaming Pandora from Desktop version of IE and running word.

I'm guessing the lag occurred because you were using desktop IE and not metro / modern IE. Metro IE doesn't allow background tabs running while desktop IE does.

Again, if you check out this youtube review 'why I love my surface 2' you'll see him playing a game while playing movie off a plugged in USB hard drive. Really, just watch this man's surface 2 video. It will give days of material to write about.


tksurface posted a reply   

You* (nexus phone typo fail)

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