"The only way to be truly satisfied, is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." Steve Jobs
Once "inking" gets into your veins you will never be able to live without it. Frank J. Garcia

My Surface PRO 3 'Must Have' Accessories List

Monday, December 31, 2012

More than 17700 WinRT Apps

Back in November I did an analysis of WinRT Apps Store and predicted that we should be ending this year with around 13395 Applications. Well I was wrong. But nothing can make me happier than to be wrong in this case. According to WinRT Store we should be ending the year with 17738 Apps!

Fixing WiFi limited connectivity in Surface RT

I thought that it may be useful to summarize some of the changes that have helped to some users to fix this issue. In my case I did not apply the registry changes because I have an AP with dual band 2.4 and 5GHz and both bands identified with different SSID and I'm forcing Surface to connect to 5Ghz.

In Metro, swipe your finger from the bottom of the screen up, select from the bar All Apps, locate the Command Prompt application, select it by dragging down the icon, select from the bar Run as Administrator, OK the warning message, the system will switch to Desktop mode. In the command prompt type the following commands:

  • netsh int tcp set heuristics disabled
  • netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled
  • netsh int tcp set global rss=enabled

At this point reboot your Surface RT. After reboot proceed with this commands:

  • netsh interface ipv4 set address "Wi-Fi" dhcp (if this gave you an error check the name of your connection, it may not be "Wi-Fi")
  • ipconfig /renew

If you still have problems apply the following registry changes:

Open Desktop -> Search -> regedit
Open regedit. Select menu Edit -> Find...
Enter "AutoUse40Mhz" -> do search.

There are 2 such entries in registry. We need to change one, located under

   "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\" branch.

  - Set "AutoUse40Mhz" to "0" (it has value "1" by default)(This limits the channel bandwidth to use 20MHz, this reduce the speed and it's the recommended setting when you are experiencing issues with  n connectivity)

  -  Set "Band" to "4" (it has value "6" by default)(for what I understand this change may force some devices to  connect g)(I would recommend to apply the first registry change, reboot and see what happens before applying this other change).

Reboot the Surface. Some users believe that these registry changes will make the Surface to connect using the g connection instead of n. That's not the case. Your Surface still be connected using the n protocol but using a slower bandwidth.

To achieve maximum output, a pure 802.11n 5 GHz network is recommended. If you have a 5GHz AP these registry changes should not be needed at all. To know what ratio are you using check the connection status to find the connection speed. If your speed is greater than 130Mbps, its 802.11N otherwise not. Some standard values for 802.11N are 150Mbps & 300Mbps. In my case, its 802.11g as speed is 54Mbps.

In your AP, WMM is required to be on for any Wi-Fi Alliance Certified N product. By default WMM is already on but many users disable it which may prevent N rates or lower throughput.

Useful links:


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tips to free space in your Surface RT

I found this forum thread with a lot a useful tips to help Surface Owners to free some Space in their devices hard drive.

The author is promising to publish a tip to move installed programs or it's resources (music, images, Tec) to the microsd card. Something really useful if you are installing large games.

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Windows Phone saved me money

It's not a new feature but it's something that I used yesterday for the first time. A week ago I came home to find that my Multimedia PC was dead, apparently the surge protector where I had it connected was not good enough or the power supply just stop working. The repair cost was high enough to convince me to buy a Backup Battery. I did a little research online and found in Office Depot what I was looking for so I headed to my local store to buy it. Unfortunately, they did not have in stock the one I wanted and the next in line had a price tag of $47. Like 10 dollars more than the one I wanted. Then it came to my mind to do a search for a better deal scanning the barcode with my Nokia 810 with Windows Phone 8. I open an Apps called Scan, pointed the 810 to the barcode and few seconds later I had a list of three local stores selling the same Battery, one of them for just $40. The rest was just negotiation. I asked the cashier if they match the price of other local stores and when she said yes I showed to her my search results. I had to scan the barcode on front of her again to convince her that I was not lying and that did the trick.

So my Nokia 810 saved me $7.

The other trick I used this Christmas was to ask my Nokia for the Closest stores and then drive there using Nokia Maps. Both, the search and the navigation worked like a charm. And the Amolet display performed a lot better outdoor than my old Nexus One Display.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

That simple

My friends at www.wintablet.info have pointed me to a video that is so beautifully done that I have to share here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Surface RT is a hit in BestBuy

Microsoft is selling the Surface RT in BestBuy and is getting from users a very high satisfaction rate of 4.7 out of 5 possible points.

Here are some of the reviews posted there:
For all those looking at surface RT as ipad replacement. I say buy it. I have been using my ipad 3 since release and love it but needed something with keyboard and trackpad. this is perfect. I can watch live stream of cnn and do other things at the same time. Its a perfect laptop replacement for those who don't need lot of processing power. Don't wait for the surface pro. the battery life is all day. I am writing this review on my surface. I was waiting for surface pro but this has everything I need plus the extra battery life and cheaper. I would suggest to buy type cover, its worth it. also there is a way to enable flash videos on all websites. google it. Also there are not lots of apps but you don't need it. you have internet explorer to do everything.
Another user expressed:
I like this way more than I thought I would. So much that I gave away my android tablet after using this for a while. The keyboard and touchpad are unobtrusive but there when you need them and the keyboard has cursor keys!. The gui is actually very well thought out for a touchpad once you get used to it. performance is just fine and battery life is about a day of use. When you need it, it has desktop mode, which is Windows. Full usb is great. I've got a 64G sd card in and almost as much storage as my desktop. Not so good: The email app is primitive. Full-screen IE is usable but needs history view. Could use voice-to-text in most places like on phone. Wish it had full-size hdmi port. Wish I could run full-screen apps in background when they're hidden.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Audible - Audiobooks and more

Audible, one of the most popular and literally eBook readers has been released in Windows RT Store.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Surface RT in the stores near to you

It's a fact. Microsoft started selling the Surface in Staples, BestBuy and other retailers around USA. This is without any doubt a good news for those like me that think that we are in the presence of a product with a lot of potential.

This move makes MS more competitive against the more than 10000 locations where Apple sells the iPad. Microsoft was selling the Surface online and in just 32 stores according to all the reports and info available at Microsoft's own site.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Surface RT software update

Microsoft has released today few patches for WinRT and some specifically for the Surface RT, specifically to "reduce" the amount of different scenarios where some users received a "limited" connectivity message according to post published in this MS forum.

I never suffered from the connectivity issue so I can't report anything about this fix but some users in the above mentioned forum are expressing that the fix did not help them. Being a professional in the Tech Support field I can understand both sides, the owners frustrations and Microsoft's because when you are on front of an issue reported by some users and that's not affecting other users is very hard to find the cause of it and then the fix.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Fake or real

Recently I have seen a wave of TV and Radio stations talking about how to buy fake followers for Twitter and Facebook. The problem is that they have gone after Obama, and all celebrities that they can remember checking their followers statuses and accusing the account holders of buying fake followers. Be careful. I used the same tool to check my Twitter account and this is what I found.

I'm not a big Twitter or Facebook fan. I use them to post, something that happens automatically, any new comment that I publish at my blog. I never have tweaked in any way the amount of followers I have. I just do not care about it. And the results say that 15% of my followers are either inactive or fake. So. How did they get there? The inactive I can comprehend, but 4% fake, where they came from? I think that they are spammers that create them wishing that some of my followers click on their accounts to investigate and this way Spam them or something. So if 30% of a big celebrity are fake do not jump into the wrong conclusion. You may end being sued.

Surface RT coming to other stores

Comparing is in our human nature. One of the most popular topics about Surface around the web is predicting the amount of sales and compare that to Apple's iPad sales. Well, that's not a fair comparison. IPad is being sold in Apple's Stores around the world (395), Walmart (8970) and BestBuy (1150) for a total of more than 10500 stores. There are other companies selling the iPad but I'll just ignore them, with these 3 we have enough for our comparison.

Do you know how many stores Microsoft has around the World? 32. 31 in USA and 1 in Canada. Now you can see why is really unfair to compare Apple's sales against Microsoft's Sales at this point on time.

Lets do an easy and quick calculation, imagine that all these stores only sell one unit per day, after a month the whole total between all of them will end with 325965 iPad against 992 Surface RT!

Lets keep playing and guessing. If the rumors around the web are right and Microsoft will end these two months selling 500000 units, and that the experiment that I read where somebody checked for one day one of the Microsoft Store and did not see anyone coming out with a Surface is real. That means, that knowing that at 1 per day rate all the MS stores could have sold only around 2000 units, we can say that almost the whole 500000 have been sold by the online Store, this means around 8000 units per day!

That's why the rumor of Microsoft starting selling the Surface RT in other retail and online stores is that important.

We are talking about the potential of selling 1000 units per day in the retails stores of other companies to 10000 per day in their online Stores. Imagine BestBuy and Walmart online Stores selling per day the same as MS, 8000*3= 24000*31= 744000 units per month! And if the retails stores of Walmart and BestBuy just sell 1 unit every two days we are talking about 150000 unit's more per month (counting that Microsoft is thinking about selling the Surface in these two big companies).

After seeing all these numbers I believe that with this move Microsoft can sell easily around a million of units per month. Which is a decent number.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Stay away from the Desktop

I was reading today some comments posted in our Spanish Site for Windows Tablets and in one of them the author was saying that what's killing Windows RT is the Desktop. Later on I found this other article where you can read the following statement:

What aggravates me the most with the Surface RT is the Windows 7-style desktop layout inside - it’s a fallacy, ignore it - this isn’t Windows 7 or Windows 8. Even calling it “Desktop” is a lie. 
As soon as anyone set eyes on this, they do everything in their power to stay inside it, thinking they’re home. This isn’t home, it’s a husk filled with a lackluster Office Suite and Internet Explorer - and that’s it.
The whole article is good but these few words nailed the whole secret behind those that say to love the new Surface RT. I use the Desktop only when I'm using OneNote or when I'm researching the registry or using some hidden Windows configuration tool called using the wonderful modern UI search feature located in the right menu bar. One search for everything located always in the same place. Nothing is easier neither simpler.

When you are using WinRT the Desktop is not your friend. That's only a shell needed to launch Office and the full version of IE. Stay in the Modern UI from where you can do everything, call and use everything.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Trackpad Setting

Microsoft has released an application to configure the Surface's Trackpad, here is the link.

Still, it's the best

My previous posts have been written trying to show why I think that Microsoft's effort should be directed to fix current issues with the Surface RT instead of rushing to release the PRO thinking about it as the money maker. The money maker is the one on this video:

The high risk behind the Surface PRO

TabletPC have been in the market close to 10 years and it has been extremely popular with just a small portion of the market. I have been using them and I love them but when Apple released the iPad showed the world why TabletPC never gained in popularity. TabletPC were heavy, they were most of the time slow and the battery life on them never passed the 4 hours barrier. The iPad in another hand were not heavy, software run fast and the battery life was more than 10 hours.

Now, let's check the Surface PRO, it's not that heavy, but UMPC were not and they were not a lot more popular than TabletPCs, we do not have any elements to judge the speed of it but we can say that it uses an i5 processor which have not impressed me personally at all, you will find applications like iTunes taking a long time to load and do anything. And the battery life is between 4 to 5 hours. Sorry, but nothing classifies closer than this to a TabletPC. The Surface PRO is a TabletPC.

Now, the question that I have in my mind this whole time is, what the heck is making MS believe that they will be able to retake the old concept and make it popular this time?

Why being a TabletPC fan I selected the RT over the PRO? Because of the processor, the RT performance and the battery life.

The ARM processor runs virtually cool, there is not any need for a fan or extra heat dissipation. I wonder how this issue was resolved in the Surface PRO but I can tell you one thing, the Surface PRO will never run cooler than the RT. That's for sure. And if a fan was needed then there will be some noise. We can speculate about how optimized is the OS in the Surface PRO to make it faster but again, there is not any way to make it faster than what you see in the RT version which has been cleaned all that's possible removing most of the drivers and other things that never will be used in the RT. In the PRO version so far they said to have included Windows 8 PRO. The same thing they said about the differences between Office RT and Office Full version to be included also in the PRO. So definitely I do not expect to see a better performance in the PRO version. A Battery Life of 4 to 5 hours is virtually half of a working day. Tell your employer that you are going be working half of your working day. Get it? That means that you will be forced to carry a charger, or an extra batteries or load the Surface PRO with an extended battery if that's possible in the PRO version. Any of this solutions means an extra thing to carry and an extra weight.

So why PRO? Just to be able to run any Windows Application? The amount of applications for RT is growing daily and soon you will find replacement for those Windows programs that you are currently using and missing. For the rest a very simple approach. Keep a PC in your home always running and use it as application server. When you need to run iTunes, for example, you connect via Remote Desktop and run it there. I have been using this method with my iPad for more than a year and now with my Surface RT and it works very well.

So what's the selling point of Surface PRO? At least for me none. So if MS did not convinced me who will be convinced?

Apple has shifted the market showing users other ways that work better for the majority of the users. Sticking to old concepts will not in anyway help Microsoft to compete against Apple.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Microsoft, I'm hanging my boxing gloves

Microsoft, I’m hanging my boxing gloves

Something in this company is extremely wrong and you do not have to be an expert to notice it. The scariest thing is that those with the power to do something do nothing. It’s like they are blind.

A month ago Microsoft released the Surface RT to the world, according to the company the reason to start selling its own Tablet was the lack of quality of the Tablets and other devices that the hardware partners were selling loaded with Windows. If you want something well done you have to do it yourself.

For those that follow the life and changes of this technology world this sounded like an awakening of a huge monster that was sleeping perhaps for a very long time. This was what everybody was waiting to see. The beginning of a real competition between this company and Apple. Without competition there is not a source for innovation. Part of us were tired of seeing iPads released with the same old iOS full of restrictions and without big changes since it was released for the first time. Windows 8 and Surface RT was the change that we were hoping to see. A hardware well made with an Operating System that finally was bringing something new and different since Windows 95 was released, an OS with a new user interface capable of handling touch and mouse. Simple and easy to use.

And what did we get? A Surface RT with a hardware that you could only dream about it with a keyboard of amazing characteristics that under heavy use lasts few weeks, no reaching even a month. The first fiasco. What failed? The lack of experience of the company picked for this project? The poor quality control from a company – Microsoft- with little experience as PC manufacturer?

And if the keyboard fiasco was not enough with have hundreds of users complaining about WiFi disconnecting or connecting with limited functionality, we have little problems with the OS and some of the programs included in the Surface RT and we had to deal with a preview version of Office 2013 that generated a lot of bad press in the blogosphere from people testing it without having upgraded first to the full version.

I cannot imagine a scenario where nobody at MS did not notice the WiFi issue. Yes, I’m not suffering from this issue but I have played around with my AP and Surface RT up to a point where I got it working. SOMETHING THAT THE AVERAGE USER SHOULD NOT BE DOING. What the average user wants is something that finds an AP and connects EVERY SINGLE TIME. Like an iPad. If Microsoft did not find this issue was because they rushed this device to the market without testing it enough. And I’m talking about real life tests. No Labs tests. I do not know how many 1000s of MVPs Microsoft has, why you don’t use them for these tests, you do not trust them and NDA, then use your own employees. DO SOMETHING, THINK OUT OF THE BOX! But do not release a product in this condition if you are thinking about set an example to be followed by your hardware partners.

A Mail software without POP3 support. I do not care if this is an obsolete technology. I do not use it. But there is a lot of users using it. You were open minded to support Flash, another obsolete technology, so why exclude POP3? The Mail program has many other problems, it stops working from time to time, crashes, it does not report correctly the number of new messages in the home screen tile, etc.

I was reading yesterday an article from one of the news sites I follow where the conclusion was that the Surface was not ready for the average user and just for IT professionals and I hate to say it but I agree. I won’t recommend this device to anybody that is an average user. I have been defending this device that to me is a lot better than any Tablet in the market including the iPads. But it’s not for everybody. It’s not ready to compete against the iPad.

But wait, this is not all. This week the prices and official specs for the Surface PRO was unveiled. A battery life of about 4 hours! That’s all you read everywhere!  4 hours of battery life was what the best UMPC were getting. And the whole UMPC concept was dropped and one of the reason was that. It’s time for manufacturers to comprehend that if they do not release a Tablet with at least 8 hours of battery life is better to no release it.

Another point that scares me is that may be somebody at Microsoft is thinking that by releasing the Surface PRO as soon as possible they can generate more sales. You are wrong! With that battery life users are looking at Surface Pro like this one is just an UMPC or TabletPC and those two concepts are not working any more. They love the simplicity and mobility of Tablets. They do not want to carry a Tablet and a charger. You will get more revenue by fixing the Surface RT issues before Christmas and staying with RT than wasting your time and money with the PRO version.

Surface PRO is a TabletPC and the market will act like it has been doing it all these years with TabletPCs and UMPC. None of these two concepts were popular and have not been able to compete against Apple’s iPad.

I believe that Surface RT is a winner product. But for this to become that we need to see changes at Microsoft. The responsible for all these mistakes and bad decisions have to pay for them. I wouldn’t like to see the Surface following the path of the Zune, the UMPC and Windows Mobile.