Tag: Skydrive

Surface Pro and Nokia Lumia 1020

4 months working and traveling with the Surface Pro 2 and the Nokia Lumia 1020

In October 2013 I got my Surface Pro 2 which replaced my Surface Pro as my daily work device. Some weeks before I also got a Nokia Lumia 1020. In November I had the chance to travel a lot and I want to share some of my impression about this combo. First of all I love the devices from a design and quality view. Both, the Lumia 1020 and the Surface Pro 2 are great devices with a high build quality.

First, the Surface Pro 2 is a perfect machine if you are doing a lot of traveling. I use the Surface Pro 2 as my daily machine for work, university or personal stuff. In November I had the chance to travel a lot and I really enjoy having a really small and light device with me instead of caring a heavy notebook, ultrabook or even an additional tablet. The form factor and the extended battery life makes the Surface Pro 2 is like one device to rule them all. For example I have used the Surface Pro as tablet during long flights to watch movies and videos or at home in front of the TV.

Surface Pro 2

I also used it as notebook replacement for work or at university to take notes. I really love the stylus to draw and highlight things in the slides I printed to OneNote.

Microsoft Surface Pro

I also used my Surface Pro 2 to deliver my presentations and trainings. The stylus and the touchscreen is perfect especially during delivering trainings or in meetings to replace the whiteboard.

Surface Presentation

The second thing I love it the Nokia Lumia 1020. I don’t really own or carry a separate camera, so I use my phone to take pictures. During the presentations I did in Rome, Paris and Berlin I took a lot of pictures and honestly I haven’t owned a better compact camera yet. The quality of the pictures are just amazing.

This are some dedicated features to the devices itself, but what I really love is how they work together using Windows, Windows Phone and Microsoft Online services like SkyDrive (OneDrive). For example I planned and organized all my trips and presentations on my Surface or PC at home and saved everything into an OneNote notebook. The great thing about this is that all this information gets sync across my devices. So for example the e-ticket for my flight shows up on my phone. And even I lose my phone I can still access everything on my Surface or on another PC over the web, which makes it impossible to lose something.

I already mentioned that I took a lot of pictures with my phone. Now the worst thing which could happen, would be losing my phone with all my picture on it. With the Windows Phone SkyDrive integration, pictures get synced over the internet to my SkyDrive and across all of my devices. The same thing is true for my documents and presentation, I never have to think about coping a file from my PC at home to my Surface or something like that. All my files get synced automatically via SkyDrive. This gives me more time to work on my presentations and enjoy the places I can stay.

I really love the devices and I would really hate it if I had to give up on one of them. I think it would make me less productive and of course I would have to carry more stuff like an extra camera, phone, tablet and a notebook. And don’t for get to carry all the power adapters for all those devices. This is another small but great feature of the Surface Pro, the power adapter does not only charge the Surface it also has a USB port, with which you can charge your phone at the same time. I always thinking what could be better and besides lighter and slimmer devices and more battery life (which is always better, even the Surface Pro 2 runs for me mostly more than hours), the only thing I can think of is that I would love to have a Surface Pro with a bigger screen. The screen right now is great, but if you are working with a device for some hours you really start to like bigger screen.



OneNote Overview

This is why OneNote is Awesome

Well I know I usually blog more about Microsoft Datacenter and Cloud stuff, especially Hyper-V and System Center, but I am a huge fan of Microsoft’s Office Suite. I live in Outlook and Microsoft OneNote. I organize my private life, my work, and university notes in OneNote.

I get often asked by customers or friends about how I work and how I get things done. In this case, I always show them OneNote, which is maybe one of the best keep secrets inside Microsoft. This post shows you why OneNote is awesome and shows you some of the hidden features you didn’t know about.

If you have more hidden features, leave a comment on the post.

OneNote Dock to Desktop

OneNote Dock to Desktop Title

With the Dock to Desktop feature, you can keep your notes visible by anchoring a OneNote window to the side of your desktop. Your notes will stay on top of your desktop while you are working in other programs.

Dock to Desktop

Linked Note taking

 

OneNote Linked Note Talking

While you are using the Dock to Desktop mode, you can enable Linked Note Taking. This will automatically create a link to the page or office document you have open while you have taken note. This is perfect, while I wrote a whitepaper for university and I had to do a lot of research I used this feature. While I was writing the document, I had to mention the sources as footnotes, and sometimes it’s hard to find the source of something you have found on the internet. With linked notes, I only had to check my nodes, and all the sources and references were linked.

 Visio Integration

OneNote Visio Integration

A lot of other Microsoft products to integrate into OneNote. One of them is Visio if you have Visio installed on our computer you can add an existing Visio diagram to your notes. You can also directly create a new Visio diagram from OneNote and add it to your notes.



Surface 2

The new Surface 2

Some days ago I wrote a blog post about my new Surface Pro 2. I not only upgraded my daily work device, I also upgraded my Surface RT which I mostly use at home to browse the web,  read or watch movie sand TV. Microsoft did some cool changes to the next generation Surface 2.

  • Up to 10 hours battery life
  • a lot more performance
  • The built-in Kickstand now features two positions
  • Full HD display
  • USB 3.0
  • silver option
  • better front and rear camera, perfect for Lync and Skype
  • running Windows RT 8.1
  • includes Office RT with Outlook RT

Surface 2

Here are some of my personal first impressions about the Surface 2:

 

  • Hardware quality – As every Microsoft Surface, the Surface 2 has a perfect build quality and the new color makes it look really nice and does not pick up and fingerprints at the back of the device.
  • Amazing display – The new 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD Display with 5-point multi-touch is basically the same quality as the Surface Pro 2. This is a huge upgrade from the original ClearType HD Display 1366×768 pixels of the Surface RT. Not that the screen of the Surface RT was bad, it was still one of the best screens I have seen but the new Full HD resolution adds a lot of value.
  • New Kick Stand – The new kick stand which can be placed in two different angles is just perfect. As already mentioned in my Surface Pro 2 review, I really love the new position if you on the road and working with the Surface on your lap or on your coffee table.
  • Performance – Microsoft added a new Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and it’s looks like they also replaced the storage with some faster SSD storage which in my opinion make a huge difference. If you have used a Surface RT you may had some performance issues, with the Surface 2 this is totally difference. It’s finally as fast as it has to be, which is perfect work the Windows 8 Apps, browsing the web, watching movies or working with Office.
  • Accessories – The new Type Cover 2 which is thinner as the original type cover and comes with backlit is just great. I will never give this keyboard back.
  • Size and weight – The Surface 2 is also a little thinner and lighter as the Surface RT. It is not a huge difference on the paper but if you are working with it you can feel it and you will definitely like it.
  • Battery life – The battery life of the Surface RT was always great for me, but the Surface 2 should have added even more to it which is not a bad thing.
  • Camera – The new cameras in the Surface 2 are just perfect. I do a lot of Lync and Skype video calls and the improved front camera is perfect for that. Video calls only make sense if you the quality is good, I don’t understand why other vendors still include low resolution cameras.

Surface 2

For me the Surface 2 added some great new things which would make it basically the perfect work device. The performance improvements, the Office Suite with the new added Outlook RT, the new Full HD screen and the awesome battery life would make it the perfect device. But there is still some things which make the Surface Pro 2 for me a better choice. First I really love the digitizer pen which comes with the Surface Pro 2, which allows you to draw and take notes on the device. I also love the new docking station for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 which are not working with the Surface 2. And the last point for me as a consultant is that I can run Hyper-V. If Microsoft adds a digitizer pen to next generation Surface it will be a hard decision for me.



Swiss Microsoft Surface Event

Two months with the Surface Pro and how it replaced my notebook

 

At the Microsoft MVP Summit back in February I had the chance to get a brand new Microsoft Surface Pro, after I already used a Surface RT which a had since November 2012. I already wrote a very small review a few days after I got it in the Microsoft Store in Bellevue WA and used it during the MVP Summit.

Since I am back from Redmond I am using my Surface Pro for work when I am on the road, at customers, working at the office, at university, at hotels or at home when I am working in the living room. Basically the Surface is my daily companion. At home and for long flights I still use the Surface RT because it’s lighter, has better battery life and it because of it size and weight it feels more like a tablet.

And here are my impressions after I used it now for two months.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Hardware quality – The build quality of the hardware is just amazing. As the Surface RT the Surface Pro is just high quality hardware. Even after 2 months this piece of hardware still looks great and elegant. There is nothing broken or anything else which I am unhappy about. I really like to work with great devices that’s was one of the reasons I used Apple products some years ago and I still think Microsoft is maybe the only one who can keep up with the quality of Apple hardware, because most of the other OEM’s do not get it right.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Amazing display – The screen of the Surface Pro is great with a good contrast and great colors like the Surface RT but with a Full HD resolution. I am really happy with the Full HD resolution, especially when I am working with System Center products or I am taking notes with OneNote.
I am using my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 for lab installations and testing, and the screen is terrible if you compare it to the Surface Screen. The only problem I had with the Surface Pro is that it’s hard to sit in front of a 10.6” screen for like 8-10 hours. At the office I don’t have this problem because I can use a external monitor and most of the customers I work for are doing the same, so this isn’t a big issue.

Surface Pro

Digital Ink – The Surface Pro comes with a digitizer pen which is perfect to take notes with OneNote and other stuff. As I mentioned I am using the Surface Pro at work and at university. At university I am using the pen mostly to take notes and mark some important stuff in documents. At work I am not only using it to take notes, it’s also great during workshops or presentation, where you quickly want to draw something instead of using a whiteboard or a flipchart.

Surface

Performance – The Surface Pro is equipped with a Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM which brings really good performance. Well I cannot really talk about performance because normally you only talk about performance when you don’t have enough, but I never had any performance issues with the Surface Pro and I even think the performance is better than the notebooks I used before.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Features – Well many people already know about features like the kickstand or the Touch and the Typecover, which is by the way pretty good to write on and I am used to use a ThinkPad which has an amazing keyboard. Another cool and useful feature is the build in USB charging port in the power adapter, which lets you charge another phone even if the Surface USB port is already used by another device.

surfacespecsheet

Size and weight – The Surface Pro is not much thicker and heavier than the Surface RT but if you compare them site by site it’s a big difference. Even my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 was a very light and small business ultrabook, the Surface Pro feels a lot lighter and needs a lot less space and is much easier to carry it around.

Battery life – Same as the size the battery life is not like it would be on a normal tablet. I got in my tests 4-5 hours of battery life, when I am working 100% on my Surface Pro. During time at university I get around 6 hours which is enough for one day. During long flights it does not really make sense to use the Surface Pro because the only thing I need there is Office 2013, to work on presentations and documents, a video player to watch movies and of course a lot of battery life to do all this things. The Surface RT is much more suitable for this scenario.

Surface Typecover Touchcover

Accessories – If you want to replace your notebook with the Surface Pro you may need three things, except the Type- or Touchcover. First you need a adapter for VGA or HDMI output so you can connect a projector or external monitor. The Surface Pro has a Mini-DisplayPort output and offers two adapters, one for HDMI and one for VGA, but you can also use adapters from other vendors.

The second thing you need is a USB to Ethernet adapter, because most of the enterprise customers do not offer Wifi access to their network and business users basically need a Ethernet port. The downside of using such a adapter is that you loose the only USB port and this can be a problem if you want to use a USB drive or a external disk at the same time. Microsoft offers also a USB to Ethernet adapter but like for the display adapter you can also use other adapters.

The last thing you need is a mouse, even you have a touchscreen and a trackpad, there are a lot of thing which are much more efficient with a mouse. I use the Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse Surface Edition which is small and perfect if you travel.

Software – Windows 8 is the perfect mix from desktop and tablet OS. For a lot of people the mix of two different UIs is something bad, for me its just the best solution because the OS offers me the best from both worlds. I am also a huge fan of the Microsoft Account integration which syncs settings from all your devices.

SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro make my life a lot easier, I don’t really have to copy files between different devices because they are available everywhere and get synced automatically. And Office 2013 or Office 365 Home Premium integrated perfectly in this scenarios and you get 20GB of extra SkyDrive storage.

The Xbox integration with the Xbox Smart Glass technology is just perfect, if you are sharing media in the living room or watch movies or listen to music it’s the a great Xbox companion.

Conclusion – Well after two months I don’t carry my notebook anymore, the Surface Pro totally replaced it not only because it is much smaller and lighter, not it only because of the additional features I get with the Surface, for example the Touchscreen, the tablet form factor and the digitizer pen.

My wish list for the next Pro version would be:

  • Make it thinner and lighter like the Surface RT would be great
  • Longer battery life – I know it’s hard to get performance and battery life at the same time, but 8-10 hours of battery life would be just awesome.
  • Different sizes – This is maybe not just about the Pro version, but maybe for the whole Surface series. A smaller Surface around 7” would be great for doing some small tasks. The other thing I thought about would be a 11” or 12” Surface which would be even better, if you use it as a notebook replacement.
  • USB ports – A second USB port or a passive USB hub, which would not need extra power but fix my problems.
  • More cool accessories – In todays tablet world it’s hard to be different. One thing is the OS and the other one are the accessories. Microsoft did a great thing with the kickstand and the Touchcover but I pretty sure that there is more in the Microsoft labs.
  • Availability – Well make them available outside of the US ;-)

What would you be on your wish list?

Update:

Microsoft announced yester day that they will expand the Surface Pro and Surface RT availability. Surface Pro will launch before the end of May in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Surface Pro will launch in Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand before the end of June. Surface Pro is currently available in the U.S., Canada, and China. Thanks to Bjorn for the link.



The new SkyDrive rocks…

Microsoft SkyDrive

Today Microsoft released some new SkyDrive Apps for Windows and Mac and alos offers 25GB of free online storage. I really love SkyDrive to keep my files in sync and access them everywhere. With the new apps the integration is much better, easier and 25GB of free storage is a fair deal.

Making personal cloud storage for Windows available anywhere, with the new SkyDrive

With the new Apps, SkyDrive is integrated in your operating system. If you need some online Storage, Cloud Sync or you are already using a service like Dropbox or GDrive you should have a closer look at Microsoft SkyDrive.

SkyDrive Explorer

 

New features:

  • SkyDrive for the Windows desktop (preview available now). View and manage your personal SkyDrive directly from Windows Explorer on Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista with this new preview app available in 106 languages worldwide.
  • Fetching files through SkyDrive.com. Easily access, browse, and stream files from a remote PC running the preview app to just about anywhere by simply fetching them via SkyDrive.com.
  • SkyDrive storage updates. A new, more flexible approach to personal cloud storage that allows power users to get additional paid storage as their needs grow.
  • SkyDrive for other devices. We’ve updated the SkyDrive apps on Windows Phone and iOS devices, bringing better management features and sharing options to those devices. We’re also releasing a new preview client for Mac OS X Lion, letting you manage your SkyDrive right from the Finder.

 

Checkout more about SkyDrive



Windows Live Mesh 2011

Windows Live MeshMicrosoft released Windows Live Mesh 2011 last year but I did really spend a lot of attention to it. Until this weekend I needed to conneced to my Lab but VPN didn’t work so I didn’t really had a chance to do that. But after sometime I realized that I have a management computer installed with Windows Live Mesh and I could connect to it using Windows Live Mesh Remote Desktop. This really saved my weekend.

Windows Live Mesh 2011 even more cool features

  • Sync between computers
  • Sync program settings
  • Sync on SkyDrive
  • Connect remotely to other Computers