Tag Archives: Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 Update

SurfaceIt’s been going on about three months since buying a Surface Pro 3 tablet with a 256 gigabyte SSD, an I-5 processor, and Windows 10 preinstalled, so I figure it’s time for a bit of an update.

Since getting the device, there has been one major Windows 10 update, along with countless small spyware and virus updates for Windows Defender, which is built in to Windows 10.

So far, between the hardware and the operating system, there have been zero hiccups. Windows 10 has been absolutely rock solid. I am still really enjoying the Windows 10 experience. The one area lacking with the Windows 10 tablet experience has been the lack tablet mode apps from the Windows App Store. Many types of apps are just non-existent, or as in the case of the Windows Facebook app, are barely adequate but obviously lacking in up-to-date Facebook features present in the Android and iOS counterpart apps. I am willing to overlook this poor Windows app experience because I can easily just go to the various websites and get the full website experience if I need to. Also, my Galaxy Note 4 phone is where I end up running most of the standard apps anyway, so when it comes right down to it I don’t need them on a large-screen tablet device anyway.

I also purchased the older generation Microsoft Keyboard. Additionally for a paltry $15.99 I purchased the Fintie Surface Pro 3 Case Folio Slim-fit Leather Stand Cover with Stylus Holder from Amazon. The version I got was navy blue, but it comes in a very wide variety of colors and print designs. Fintie also sells an updated version of the case for the Surface Pro 4 for $13.99. Both products are highly rated. The case does an excellent job of protecting the unit and gives me a very secure loop along the top of the screen to insert the Microsoft Pen stylus that came packaged with the unit.

Of course the big advantage of the Surface Pro line is that it packs a full, powerful PC into a thin tablet form factor combined with an amazing high-resolution screen.

I spend weeks at a time traveling and living in a very compact area. The less bulky stuff I can carry with me, the better. The Surface Pro 3 completely covers my mobile computing needs. I was able to delete an entire laptop bag from the stuff I carry around with me, which included an old white plastic MacBook and an old Asus netbook.

I still listen to a number of popular Apple-centric podcasts, and I am beginning to hear the frustrations I suffered with for at least the past year when I was trying to decide what to do in order to update my computing hardware. I thought about newer MacBooks, but because they forced newer versions of OS/X, they wouldn’t run the aging media creation software I wanted to run. The iPad experience is great for media consumption, but is absolutely painful for even the most minimal productivity tasks including writing articles and media creation.

The Surface Pro 3 has solved my problem. I am confident to travel just with it, since it is more than capable of handling all the tasks I need it to handle. I feel a bit sorry for the people who are trapped in the Apple-only mentality. Fortunately, even though I bought my fair share of Apple products in the past 10 years, I wasn’t trapped and could easily switch back to Windows once Microsoft corrected its terrible operating system mistakes (namely Vista and Windows 8) with the release of Windows 10.

I hear people use the phrase “living in the future.” For me, the future is here and I am already enjoying it as never before. I have a super-high-quality, unbelievably fast touchscreen tablet that also happens to be a full PC that can handle everything I throw at it.

Ever Want To Learn How To Draw?

Digital Art

Have you ever wanted to be able to draw decent-looking artwork for your website? One of the things I’ve had a fledgling lifelong desire to do is learn to draw. However, I never took the desire seriously. Somehow I’ve always been convinced that in order to be able to draw well you have to be born with some mysterious “drawing talent” which I somehow never had much of.

I recently purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which comes with a high resolution touchscreen and a precision stylus called the Microsoft Pen. I was drawn to the Surface Pro 3 strictly by the ability to run a full version of Windows 10 on an ultra-portable touchscreen tablet equipped with a powerful processor that doubles as a laptop running full Windows 10. The Microsoft Pen stylus was a curious extra packed in the box. The first couple of weeks I left the stylus in the box because initially I didn’t have any secure place to put it. Once I purchased a protective case from Amazon that has a loop to securely stick the stylus in, I finally dug the stylus out of the box. Only then did I start to play with it a bit, initially looking at it the same way I look at the stylus that came with my Note 4 – potentially useful on occasions, but parked in the holder the vast majority of the time.

Curious about how other people were using their Surface Pro’s, I watched a bunch of Surface Pro YouTube videos. I ended up running across a very detailed video by an artist named Riven Phoenix reviewing the drawing capabilities of his Surface Pro 3. As often happens when watching interesting videos on YouTube, I ended up watching some of his other videos, and I quickly discovered he is a veteran 20-year art teacher and has quite a few art training videos posted to YouTube. After following along with several of his videos, I was quickly convinced that his teaching methods could teach me the skill of drawing. I had always assumed that drawing was a mysterious ability you had to be born with, but in fact the ability to draw is a skill to be learned if one is able to supply the motivation and is provided with the proper instruction. Riven Phoenix teaches with the powerful approach of inventing concepts and then constructing sentences with those concepts.

After watching several of Riven Phoenix’s videos, I went to his website www.alienthink.com and ended up purchasing full access to all of his instructional videos. He gives free access to the first 19 videos of his 225 video course on how to draw the human figure. He currently has full access to his entire website priced at $45 dollars, which includes 77 hours’ worth of video lessons. The first free 19 videos posted to YouTube contain a lot of material and completely convinced me I CAN learn the skill of drawing whatever I want.

His teaching skills come across very well in the videos. He breaks the task of learning to draw realistic-looking human figures down in a very formulaic way so that virtually anyone motivated and following along with his instructions in the videos will successfully learn how to draw realistic-looking human figures.

I am absolutely convinced that anyone with the motivation can use these videos and begin to learn how to draw. To my complete surprise, I’m now finding myself spending an hour or more each day practicing with the videos. I had no idea that purchasing the Surface Pro 3 would end up leading me in this new and fun direction.

Though devices such as the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 3 have something called “palm rejection” that enables you to rest your hand against the screen as you draw or write with the stylus, there are products for sale called “digital artist gloves” that cover the part of the hand that naturally rests against the writing or drawing surface. They are designed to electrically insulate the part of the hand resting on the capacitive touchscreen. I ordered the Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet priced at $17.99 on Amazon. I have yet to receive these and will write a future article once I’ve used them for a while.

With the popularity of the Surface Pro and Apple’s newly-released iPad Pro, here is an opportunity to learn the skill of drawing and put that new equipment to work.


Pickup Trucks

When the late Steve Jobs introduced the iPad a few years ago, he made the analogy comparing the iPad to cars and conventional computers to trucks.

h3tAt its essence it is a good analogy. Cars provide comfortable transportation for a limited number of passengers. Trucks can haul massive payloads. There are a myriad of vehicle sizes in between that serve many different functions. Overall in this blend, there are more cars on the road than trucks, but there are plenty of vehicles that fall into the hybrid category.

What would happen if we press the analogy farther? Where do vehicles such as pickup trucks and the ever-popular SUV variants fit in to Jobs’ vision? Vehicles of different sizes perform different functions

Modern computers also come in many different shapes and sizes. We started out with massive mainframes in corporate and government computing centers, and we have ended up with extremely powerful miniaturized computers that are so inexpensive and useful they are virtually everywhere.

If smartphones could be considered the computer equivalent of the chopped-off looking “Smart” two passenger car, and iPads and other tablets could be considered normal four and five passenger sedans, while desktop and laptop computers are trucks, then where does the ever-popular pickup truck fit in?

Enter the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and 4 tablets that are also powerful PC’s in their own right. After buying and using a Surface Pro 3 for a variety of computing tasks, I’m sold on the Surface Pro 3 form factor. This category of computer – the convertible – has legs.

The Surface Pro 3 and 4 could be considered pickup trucks in Steve Jobs’ analogy. It functions well as a capacitive touchscreen tablet media consumption device, but it also is a full-fledged, no compromises PC that can handle real-world productivity tasks. This is the computer I’ve been looking for since becoming intimately familiar with my first iPad.

I feel the need to reiterate once again that I am a fan of technology. I own many Apple devices as well as Windows and Android devices – I feel no monolithic loyalty to any of them. Setting aside irrational emotional reactions for or against companies or operating systems, the convertible tablet PC is a fantastic computing concept that through blood, sweat and tears Microsoft has made into a reality.

Will the convertible tablet PC catch on? My prediction is yes. Will Apple produce the Mac OS/X version of the Microsoft Surface Pro? Again, my prediction is yes, though they may stubbornly resist for a while the same way they resisted producing larger-screen iPhones — they pivoted when they realized they were leaving money and mindshare on the table.

Barriers To Productivity

logosIt’s been just a few days since purchasing a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 256 gigabyte tablet with the type cover. I am finding that I really enjoy the experience. Microsoft really has struck a chord I find myself responding to.

I believe this is the computing experience I have been seeking for a while now. Over the years I’ve had multiple desktop and laptop machines, both Mac and Windows. Certainly over the years I’ve had my fair share of problems with Windows, and to be honest fewer problems with Macs. I’ve also gone through the modern capacitive touchscreen experience with both iPads and Android tablets. The iPad media consumption experience is superior, but newer Android devices have mostly caught up and offer tremendous value for money when compared to over-priced iPads.

As I’ve noted in prior articles, over time I hoped to somehow transform the tablet experience from being perhaps the best media consumption devices developed to date into genuine productivity devices. The sheer portability of a tablet is dramatic when compared to laptops, the necessary bulky laptop bags, and the sheer weight of their accumulated accessories.

After trying three separate Bluetooth keyboards on two different iPad models, I found typing on an undersized netbook-sized keyboard was a notably unpleasant experience. Posting articles to the web from a tablet can be done but it’s not the most pleasant experience without the aid of a mouse.

Laptop computers have shrunk in size in recent years, but a laptop is still a laptop and does not offer the same portability and overall ease of use of a modern tablet. The non-touch, laptops I still bring with me have ended up not being used nearly as much as they once did.

Now that I’ve experienced the sheer portability and convenience of a tablet with a real keyboard and touchpad, I find myself being a lot more productive.

I believe there has been a subtle psychological barrier that has developed over the past few years that has limited my overall computing productivity. The sheer ease of use of touchscreen phones and tablets contrasted with the much more clunky experience of non-touch conventional laptop computing ended up making it easy for me to justify in my own mind being less productive. I would have ideas for articles to write or videos or other media to compile that would necessitate me digging a laptop out of its bag, plugging it in so I wouldn’t run down the battery, booting it up, etc. and this psychological inertia made it easier to just procrastinate instead.

My Windows 10 experience so far has been exemplary. It takes the Surface Pro 3 less than 5 seconds to boot up completely from a cold state. That encourages me to simply turn it off when I’m not using it. I can turn it on and immediately start using it. That’s a far cry from machines of old running off of hard drives. I find it amazing that I have a full, powerful PC that can run real productivity software in a tablet form factor.

The Surface line of computers running the Intel version of Windows is a genuine game changer. I can already hear the howls and catcalls from some quarters, but the combination of Windows 10 and the surface has brought me back actively to the Windows platform.