Tag Archives: surface

Huion Digital Artist’s Glove



Huion Digital Artist GloveI recently purchased a Huion brand Digital Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet via Amazon for use when drawing and painting with my Surface Pro 3 using the Microsoft Pen digital stylus. The idea of a digital artist’s glove is to electrically isolate the parts of one’s hand that would normally rest on the surface of a glass capacitive touchscreen when drawing or painting. This allows the same relaxed natural hand posture that is used when writing or drawing directly on paper, allowing the side of the hand to rest directly on the surface of the glass without interfering at all with the drawing or painting process with the digital stylus.

I find that the Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet works perfectly to isolate the side of my hand from a glass capacitive touchscreen such as on my Surface Pro 3 and also my iPad Air. It provides a very natural, relaxed drawing experience. Normally one must hold one’s hand in a rather unnatural hovering position when drawing or writing with a stylus on a touchscreen surface. An artist’s glove neatly solves this problem. The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet seems to be made of some sort of stretchy, smooth lycra material.

However, trying the same glove on my Lenovo C40 all-in-one touchscreen computer, curiously the glove does not work at all to isolate. I don’t know this to be a fact, however I suspect that the Lenovo C40 touchscreen is made out of some sort of plastic conductive material and not true glass. Tapping lightly on the Lenovo C40 touchscreen to my ears sounds more like tapping on a plastic material than it does tapping on true glass. If you decide to get one of these artist’s gloves, make sure that the capacitive touchscreen you intend to use it on is made out of glass and not a form of plastic material.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet seems to be sized a bit small. Reading the Amazon reviews ahead of time, I ordered the large size. I’m glad I did. The glove fits my hand just fine, but it is certainly not what I would in any way consider a loose fit.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet is constructed in such a way that it can fit either the right or the left hand. It completely covers the wrist, the little finger and the figner next to it; leaving the middle finger, index finger and thumb completely exposed since those are the fingers we typically use to hold a pen or pencil.

Even though my Surface Pro 3 has great palm rejection with included Microsoft applications such as OneNote, the palm rejection feature does not function in every application, especially third party drawing and painting applications such as Adobe Photoshop Elements. Using the digital artist’s glove gives me complete freedom to rest my hand on the screen as much as I want, especially useful when making delicate interactions with the stylus on the screen.

I suspect one using an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil stylus would enjoy similar benefits.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet sells for $17.99 and is an Amazon Prime item. I highly recommend it to anyone that draws even casually on a glass capacitive touchscreen device. I would suggest going ahead and ordering the large size.

 


Device Wars



surface-bookAs technology relentlessly moves forward, functions continually consolidate and devices get smaller as capabilities increase. This march forward has caused form factors to shift. The first desktop computers were relatively large and boxy and certainly not portable. Over time as laptop computers improved, desktop sales began to fall.

Imagine the succession of devices you have gone through over a long period of time. They start out as clunky and single purpose, and over time as the tech improves they get smaller and some of them are simply absorbed such as camcorder and point-and-shoot cameras. Imagine them endlessly changing and continually morphing as your expectations changed over long periods of time. There is an ongoing war not only between devices, their capabilities and their form factors, but there is also a war going on inside of each end user of these devices as to which one is better and performing specific tasks.

The first mobile phones were large and clunky. Mobile phones went through a long progression over time of getting smaller as capability increased and eventually turned into the ubiquitous smartphones we know and love today.
The ongoing warfront is now between smartphones, tablets running apps such as the iPad, and conventional laptop computers. Which one is better at performing what task?

Up until about 2011, I did all of my mobile computing on laptop machines. I got an iPad 2 in 2011. I found the iPad 2 to be a great media consumption device, so between the iPad 2 and my Android phone, I gradually stopped using my laptops for all but real productivity tasks, where the iPad and other tablets really seem to fall flat.

In 2013, I bought an iPad Air. In retrospect, I justified the purchase to myself thinking that the faster processor in the iPad air might enable me to move completely away from laptop computers altogether. Sadly, this was not the case. The iPad remains a great media consumption device, but as a productivity device it is still quite lacking.

My primary use for computers includes writing articles, editing video, editing my websites, and recording and publishing audio podcasts. While it is possible to do all of these tasks on an iPad or an Android tablet, it’s an unnecessarily painful, slow experience necessitating jumping through multiple hoops.

I believe many people did exactly the same thing I did, trying to turn the iPad into a small ultraportable laptop. The iPad makes a lousy laptop. There is no mouse, and though the iOS apps are great for media consumption, the apps make lousy productivity impostors. The iPad makes a poor netbook. I believe that is why Apple forbids the iPad from using a mouse.
The conventional laptop makes an inferior media consumption device.

Beginning in May of 2014, a new entrant entered the ongoing device war. I believe a significant portion of the future of computing resides in the so-called 2 in 1’s. I don’t believe that conventional laptops or tablets running apps will go away, but I believe the 2 in 1’s such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and above will eat into laptop and tablet sales. Apple has yet to enter this 2 in 1 market, despite the recently-announced iPad Pro. The iPad Pro running iOS apps will be a bigger iPad and thus a bigger media consumption device that can’t run genuine productivity software.

I personally see a future for myself with a large screen smartphone, and a 2 in 1 tablet/computer, with some room left over for inexpensive mid-sized tablets that function as media consumption devices and offer mapping and GPS functions. I will allow my conventional desktop and laptop computers, the majority of them now-older out-of-date Macs, die of attrition as they inevitably quit working over time.


Coming Full Circle



Surface Pro 3
Surface Pro 3

Over the years I’ve made use of most every personal computing device as it came along. I’ve have been through a long succession of desktop and laptop computers (both Windows and OS/X), along with expensive but rather limited use PDA type devices, and in more recent years smartphones and tablets (both iOS and Android).The capacitive glass touchscreen smartphone era was ushered in by the iPhone. Next came the capacitive glass touchscreen tablet, a device that ate into laptop usage. In the past couple of years larger screen smartphones have taken a bite out of both tablet and laptop usage.

Admit it, it’s happened to you. You are sitting there in front of your desktop or laptop computer with a keyboard and mouse, and you find yourself reaching up and touching the monitor screen trying to pinch and zoom. You are in good company — it’s happened to virtually everyone that’s gotten used to using a capacitive touchscreen phone or tablet.

When I first got an iPad, I realized pretty quickly it was quite good at being a media consumption device. Naturally over time, I found myself trying to figure out ways of doing more with it. It was a bit frustrating, because I almost wanted it to be more of a laptop with real productivity software (not limited “apps”) that I could use a mouse with (specifically forbidden by Apple for use on the iPad).

I have to admit to never using Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. Windows Vista had been such a frustrating experience that around 2006 I jumped over to Apple machines in a big way — three Mac Minis, two Macbooks, one original Apple TV, two iPod Classics, one iPod Touch 4th gen, and two iPads.

Microsoft has to be given credit for trying to blend the capacitive touchscreen interface with the traditional computer interface. Of course, their first attempt at it — Windows 8 and 8.1 — was badly bungled.

With Windows 10, Microsoft has really nailed the blending of the capacitive touchscreen experience with the traditional mouse interface.

Lately I’ve found myself getting excited by the idea of being able to have a high-performance tablet device that could also run real software applications — not just very limited “apps” — that could also function as a desktop class computer. Importantly, real productivity software demands the option of being able to use a mouse instead of fingers if need be. Editing audio or video, for example, demands the precision of a nimble pointing device that can’t be matched by fingers on capacitive glass obscuring the image.

All that being said, I’ve come full circle. I want a high performance tablet that has a great screen, fantastic performance, plenty of storage and a real computer operating system that when attached to a keyboard essentially turns into a high performance laptop computer.

One of the things that has driven me a bit insane about the world of Apple and OS/X (along with iOS) is their penchant for routinely taking valuable things away. I became fairly proficient with Final Cut Express, and Apple arbitrarily decided to stop developing it. For years I used a podcast recording application for OS/X called Ubercaster that pretty much stopped working with OS/X Lion, and the developer stopped developing it. My choice was to stop upgrading OS/X or stop using Ubercaster with no one piece of software that could directly replace it.

My Macbook Pro 17″ from 2007 still works, except the moust button is stuck in the “on” position, rendering it useless. I could get it fixed, but the machine is at least 8 years old and has a high-hour LCD — probably not worth spending any money on at all.

I am not very loyal when it comes to brands or technology. Though I started out with DOS and Windows and mostly moved over to OS/X about 9 years ago, I can easily move back to Windows.

Two days ago I purchased a Microsoft Surface 3 Pro tablet and keyboard with a 256 gigabyte SSD. So far, the experience has been great. The Microsoft keyboard offers a great typing experience. Unlike the cramped and compromised netbook sized keyboards, the optional Surface Pro 3 keyboard works as well as any laptop keybaord I’ve ever used.

To Microsoft’s credit, much vintage/legacy software works just fine on Windows 10. Adobe Audition 1.5, which is at least 10 years old at this point, loaded and functions on Windows 10.

I now have a 12″ high resolution tablet that offers incredible performance. It can turn completely on and off in seconds. I can use it either as a tablet or as a laptop. I have a capacitive touchscreen that I can pinch and zoom if I want, but I’ve also got a touchpad and mouse cursor, completely my choice — whatever I reach for without having to think about it.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the two-in-one experience — a tablet that can function as a high performance laptop — is the new next step in the ongoing story of my usage of computing devices.

 


Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 up for pre-order



surface 2 show

Microsoft held its big New York City event yesterday, unveiling the Surface 2, which will ship later next month, just days after Windows 8.1 makes its official debut. Today, the Redmond-based company begins taking pre-orders for the new tablets, which begin at $499 and range upwards from there.

“This morning we began taking pre-orders via www.MicrosoftStore.com, Microsoft Stores, and through select retailers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Learn more about the new devices and accessories as well as how to pre-order in your market at www.Surface.com/pre-order“.

Prices have risen back upwards from the original Surface, which has been discounted to $349, and customers must still purchase a keyboard (touch or type) separately to make proper use of the tablet, that is more laptop than anything else.

The stage is set for the release, but customers have sometime to wait for the new hardware, which features the return of the Start button, that went on hiatus in Windows 8. Will you be buying one?


Want a Microsoft Surface? Trade Your iPad for it!



Microsoft Surface
Microsoft Surface

Microsoft is offering an interesting deal: If you have an iPad 2 or greater, you can turn it in for a gift card of at least $200. It’s part of Microsoft’s Trade-in for a Surface program.

It showed up on Surface’s Facebook page Friday. The post says its for a Surface RT, but when you go to the official page, it states this is a $200 (or more) credit for the Microsoft store. You can get a Surface RT ($329) or a Surface Pro ($799).

The Catch to the Trade-In Program

You cannot trade-in online. You must visit a Microsoft store to do this – which includes any Microsoft Specialty store (a.k.a. kiosk store). You need to bring the power cord, too, or else its no trade. The iPad cannot be password protected – although its best to wipe your device completely before you try to trade it in.

Of course, the trade-in value also depends on the condition, version and memory size of the iPad. A 16 GB iPad2 will fetch only the minimum $200 whereas a generation 4 32 GB iPad might net you a few more $$.

This promotion runs until October 27th.


Microsoft Surface Video and Details



For the past couple of months the Surface tablet from Microsoft has not only been vaporware, but also the subject of a lot of hatred from hardware makers who seem a bit put-out by suddenly having a powerful new rival.  Yesterday the long-awaited pricing information was finally released, with tablets starting at $499.  We also saw the first TV ad revealed and the hardware specs for the much-anticipated tablet.

Despite the controversy that many media outlets seem to want to create about Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, all indications are pointing towards a major victory from Microsoft with both the software and hardware.  The operating system shot to number one on the most popular software list on Amazon and the entry-level 32 GB Surface tablet quickly sold out of pre-order, moving from “delivery by October 26th” to “delivery within 3 weeks”.

Today, the Redmond company released a new minute and a half video showing off the Surface tablet and all of it’s features, in both hardware and software.  This isn’t a TV ad, but simply a way of marketing the hardware by displaying what it can do.  The video so far has received very little attention, with only 324 views, but it will likely take off as it becomes better known.


Video of Tim Cook and Apple Legal Team During Surface Announcement



Yesterday Microsoft held their mysterious event and unveiled the Windows Surface Tablets – both Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT versions.  It was a rare time for Microsoft – the pre and post-announcement created Apple-like buzz.  Fitting since the new tablets are expected to compete with Apple and Android in the marketplace.

Of course, rivals Apple and Google were watching this event closely and already planning their responses to this new device.  A new iPad is likely still a ways off, but Google is set to release their much-anticipated Nexus tablet, made by Asus, within the next month.  There also may be legal responses given today’s patent-happy tech industry.  In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his legal team watched the Microsoft announcement especially closely.

Fortunately the folks at WinSource were able to get video and audio of Cook and his lawyers during the LA event.  They have posted the clip online and you can watch and listen below.  If you can’t catch all of the audio then head over to their site where they have also posted a transcript of the conversation.


TechNet Live Tour: Cloud for IT Pros



Microsoft’s TechNet Live Tour is giving a half day seminar on the cloud and what it means for the IT professional. I’ve been invited along so, for a change, I’m going to try a bit of a “live blog” approach, just typing as I go. It’s going to cover Windows Intune, Small Business Server 2011, Office 365, Dynamics CRM 2011, Azure, Windows Phone 7 and IE9.  Could be a long afternoon.

The event opens with a keynote on the Cloud for IT Pros given by Dave Northey. The cloud and the consumerisation of IT are the big impacts of now and Dave will cover them both. Dave suggests that business led technology a decade ago. But today consumers lead. The average home PC is more powerful than work PCs. Most consumers use Windows 7, yet XP is still used extensively in business.

The three big cloud providers are Microsoft, Amazon and Google, with room for a fourth. Cloud computing is Internet-based computing whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand like the electricity grid – Wikipedia.

Cloud Data Centre
Shared resources – stability, security, reliability, QoS, SLAs

On-Demand – pay as you go, no upfront investment, instant access, scale, no money wasted when projects fail

Public Cloud v Private Cloud
Private cloud uses own data centre. Control over data but less scale.

Regardless aim is for capacity to follow demand. What workload patterns are suitable for cloud?
– On and off, e.g. Batch jobs, video transcoding
– Growing fast, e.g. Unexpectedly successful services
– Unpredictable bursting, e.g. Spikes caused by natural disasters
– Predictable bursting, e.g. End of month for finance.

Type of cloud services
– Software as a Service (SaaS) for users
– Platform as a Service (PaaS) for developers
– Infrastruce as a Service (IaaS) for IT

Datacentre evolution
– Traditional datacentre
– Virtualised datacentre
– On premises private cloud
– Off premises cloud
Virtualisation was a pre-requisite for the cloud.

The private cloud is virtualisation plus self-service, scalability and automation.

Azure is Ms’ platform as a service. It’s a developer offering linked into Visual Studio, .net, PHP and so on. Three components – Azure AppFabric for access control and comms, SQL Azure for database, Windows Azure for compute and storage.

Dave then gives a demo of some of the features of Azure including simply connecting to a folder stored in the cloud but the most impressive part was the management of all the virtual machines. In the (short) demo, a cloud-based server was provisioned with web services.

Cloud services are coming, with private clouds first followed by the move to the public cloud.

Ooh, they’ve announced a Surface device is here.

Surface1

Surface2

Surface3

Surface4

Dave also gave an inpromptu demo of Windows Phone 7 which was as much a selection of soundbites as it was a demo.
– Microsoft expects to be #2 behind Android and ahead of iPhone.
– Multiple forms factors from HTC and Nokia who make over 100 million phones per year.
– It’s a consumer device first
– Marketplace will have quality, tested apps.
– Try before you buy option available to all developers but only one version required – that’s clever.
– Average app lifetime, i.e. Find, download, try, delete is 5 mins.
– Expected that a developer wil earn 10 times as much from Windows Phone app as from iPhone.

Next up was Office 365 by Patrick Herlihy.

Office 365 is the new Software as a Service offering which includes Office, Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online and Lync Online.

Office licensed on a pay as you go per user. Full and latest version of Office. Lync will offer IM, presence and web conference from the start. Voice will arrive later.

Different licensing options for different types of users, e.g. Kiosk worker for basic options, Information worker for more. There are lots of different licensing options depending on your organisations need.

The process to moving to the cloud and using Office 365 goes through standardisation, deployment, service change and includes privacy & security considerations. In particular, most ActiveDirectories will need a good tidy.

Regarding sign on, there are two options – Ms Online IDs or new Federated IDs which allow single sign-on from existing credentials. The latter will need an internal deployment of ADFS.

DirSync synchronises the organisation’s internal ActiveDirectory with the version hosted in the cloud for Office 365. This is needed to keep online permissions etc in step with the organisation.

Exchange Online can co-exist with in-house Exchange and there are tools to move mailboxes between the two systems.

Patrick gave a quick on-line demo of the product. The on-line versions were all very similar to their Windows-based equivalent. Firefix, Safari and IE are all supported. The management tools were comprehensive as well.

The public beta of Office 365 is available now.

Patrick continued to Microsoft’s Intune, a cloud-based PC management service. It offers malware protection, alert monitoring, patch management, software and hardware inventories and remote assistance / desktop sharing. He then gave a demo of the system and it was competent enough. I could certainly see it replacing a number of separate tools. However you got the feeling that it was version 1 and version 2 would be much better. Probably best suited to SMEs with hundreds of PCs rather than thousands.

As proceeds were running late, I had to leave, missing some of the subsequent sessions. But I’ll be back…

Overall, a useful introduction to Microsoft’s vision of a cloud-based future.

 


Multitouch Display



Multitouch

Tom Newman spoke to Timo of Multitouch Display about the multitouch display they are working on. These displays are multitouch and multiuser. You can have multiple people using the display at the same time. You can put up to 14 of these displays together.This system can run on a wall or tabletop. The displays are stackable and can be movable. The displays themselves are between 32 and 42 inches. They hope to get the display down to less the 6 inches. All the displays are run through 1 PC. The system can work with Windows , Mac OS X and Linux. They will be offering SDKs for programmers. The system will take programs created in C++, Flash or Silverlight.

Right now these displays are geared toward business and large organizations. It is found in business lobbies, museums, and hotels. However they do plan toward the consumer market. Since the what is on the screen depends on the application that are being given to it. It is just a blank screen without the applications. One possible consumer usage could be for games. This is an interesting technology and will only get better and more compelling over time

Interview by Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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