I HAVE TO HAND BACK the Microsoft Surface Pro next week and I can already feel my loss of productivity. That was always going to happen because having the little tablet was meant to keep me working while a creaking Windows 7 laptop got a long stay in the maintenance bay. I've three quick observations worth sharing to anyone considering the jump to a Microsoft Surface.
1. Works well in feet-up mode.
I can watch its screen while sitting three metres away. I didn't think I'd be able to follow YouTube clips from that viewing distance but it works. And the on-board mic actually picks up my voice when I talk back to the webcam from more than a metre away. I've successfully used a Bluetooth mouse when sitting on my bed, moving around playlists and tabs with better precision than I expected.
2. Trustworthy OneDrive mode.
Although OneDrive won't work well without a broadband connection, I've been able to offload gigs of working files back and forth to OneDrive. I got exceptional productivity by right-clicking and saving entire semesters of work to my local drive so I could revise them while crossing the Atlantic. I got the syncs to work while in departure lounges and that surprised me.
3. Lumia mode deserves special mention.
Part of my Surface working routine involves the Lumia 1520, a handset given to the Youth Media Team by Microsoft Europe. It's simply amazing to be able to open slide decks and spreadsheets on the phone and then to use Lumia Beamer to project the phone's screen onto large screens. I have edited those Lumia presentations and then uploaded them to change master files held in OneDrive.
Everything just worked. I'm actually thinking about keeping all my archives in the cloud and not saving anything locally.
I hope I can share some of these workflow changes with colleagues during an upcoming in-service training session--but without sounding like a Microsoft promoter. I'm sure this kind of effortless synchronicity is possible with other platforms. However, I'm using a legacy system that simply rolled over and worked with efficient 21st century production processes. I'm very happy with the results.
[Bernie Goldbach is the senior pilot creative multimedia lecturer in the Limerick School of Art & Design.]