Sorry Microsoft, I am breaking up with the Surface

Sorry Microsoft, I am breaking up with the Surface

Summary: I feel like a failure. Despite investing a lot of hours and effort I can't make the Surface work for me. It's not you, it's me.

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Surface RT with Type Cover

I'm a tablet guy by anyone's definition. I'm also a mobile tech guy. When a new gadget or technology rolls around I get all excited and grab it to give it a go.

I did just that when the Surface RT tablet from Microsoft became available months after the surprise announcement last year. I tracked the shipment with anticipation after placing my order. When it arrived I excitedly opened the box and fired it up.

Sadly, that was the pinnacle of my excitement. After too many hours trying to make the Surface fit into my daily work routine, I have placed it on a shelf while I use other devices to go about my business.

It's not that the Surface isn't a fine device, it is certainly a nice bit of kit. It's not that it lacks innovation, the slate form with the keyboard cover pushes the envelope.

No, it's not for a lack of effort on Microsoft's part that the Surface doesn't work for me. It's because I require the gear I use to do everything I need and without fuss. The Surface fails me in this regard despite a big effort on my part to make it work.

My inability to leverage the Surface may just be me. I know quite a few owners who absolutely love their Surface and I am happy for them. Perhaps my needs in a mobile computer are so unique that I am the exception rather than the rule.

Whatever the reason, I am tired of constantly trying to get stuff done with my Surface, only to put it away after a few hours in sheer frustration. I can pick up any other gadget in my possession, and that's quite a few, and easily get things done with little effort.

Why does the Surface frustrate me every time I use it? The lack of good apps plays a big role. I have bought too many apps in the hope that one of them will be the one that turns things around, but to no avail. Even the apps that I end up using regularly aren't as good as the apps I use on every other mobile platform. They lack features, waste screen space, and most importantly they insist on grabbing my attention when all I want to do is get things done.

That even applies to the Internet Explorer browser in the Metro interface. There's something about it that has it taking my focus away from whatever I'm doing. It's a touch on the screen that doesn't register as it should or one that causes the accursed charms bar to fly out unintended.

It's the URL address bar at the bottom of the screen instead of at the top where every other browser/platform puts it. It's the way IE keeps open tabs hidden from view and makes me cause them to display to get where I need to be. It's the way that bar stays open at the top until I specifically make it get out of my way.

Many will say these are little things and I agree with that assessment. But they all add up to constantly grab my focus when I need to be doing stuff. Maybe I'm overly sensitive about this but that's the way it is.

I insist that any mobile device I use for work stay out of my way while I'm doing it. I don't want to be thinking about how to get something to happen, I want to just reach out and make it so. I don't want to stop and think if a control is on the left, the top, the right, or at the bottom of the screen. I want it to be totally intuitive so I am always thinking about my writing.

I am sure some will think I'm too sensitive or that I haven't given the Surface with Windows 8 enough time. That may be but I've given it far more time and effort than I've given any other platform and device I've used. It's left me in a continual state of frustration every time I've used the Surface to work and I just can't take it anymore.

It's not you Microsoft, it's me. I know you've given your best effort to make this relationship work but it's in vain. I wish the best for you in the future. You'll get along fine without me.

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Topics: Microsoft Surface, Windows 8

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302 comments
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  • Stupid seattle metro screen

    I am positively sick of that stupid screen. Could it be that 99% of Windows 8 users can't figure out how to change it, because it is everywhere.

    I am certain they can't figure it out, because it does take some investigating.

    Yet another reason to break up with Surface... err, Windows 8.
    croberts
    • Better way to put it..

      Better way to put it is that you are intellectually incapable of understanding new technology.
      Owlll1net
      • +1

        Well said.
        TheCyberKnight
        • Why is everyone being so rude?

          Its an opinion.
          _NonZealot
          • I agree, no need to be rude

            Why are all the apple supporters like orandy, harvey_rabbit, and userama being so rude?
            toddbottom3
          • This is why we have fanwars

            Because neither side will admit they are being rude/stepping over the line. I haven't had the chance to test Windows RT (Want to though, it looks very cool).

            But when people don't admit there side was rude, that there side was mean (I.E. pretty much every side, but still), it makes others NOT want to try that OS just to spite those who were mean to them (Read: That uptight, stuckup, apple user (example) who always replies to a PC problem with "Get a mac").

            TBH, I couldn't care either way. But this attitude is wrong and blatantly offencive.
            icyrock
          • THEIR you go again

            :\
            Merlin Greenberg
          • Whose you go again?

            Whose you go again?
            vanax
          • Bad use of vocabulary

            Their refers to possession of other people eg: that was 'their' car...
            There refers to place: Your car is over 'there'

            Correct use - "There" you go again.... Just saying.
            KeithAu001
          • Sides?

            Would someone please tell me why there must be sides in these matters!!

            These machines are just tools. There is no god given right that one must be better than another in some absolute terms. They either do or don't do work for us to some measurable degree. If they offer you enough to get your work done they are a good tool and you should be compelled to use them. Other wise use something else. By definition this means there should be no sides! just pros and cons. Which you must determine for your self!

            But then I guess just taking sides is allot less effort than actually really thinking about something!
            ken@...
          • Believe it or not..

            I was, when I was still a pup, a construction mechanic, and you cannot believe the junk that went on between those who spent a fortune on Snap-On Tools and those who bought Craftsman. Funny thing is, both are excellent tools, one you have to go to Sears to get/get replaced, the other comes to your door. And of course they come to your door, why else would you pay twice the money for a tool that is not any better in the long run.. And they both have a lifetime warranty.. So it is no surprise that even it OS's there is a "Mine is better than your's!" simply because I chose this.. I guess.. Silly and childish.. some things some people just never outgrow.
            Putertechn
          • An OS Superbowl

            Will justify all of the smack. Otherwise, "taking sides" and cheerleading an OS or brand looks stupid.
            flyguy29
          • Indication of insecurity.

            I interpret their rudeness as as a reaction based upon insecurity. It takes an emotional invetsment to be rude and clearly their emotions have been tweaked. If they really believed that Windows 8 and surface were all that great they could just sit back and laugh without getting emotionally involved.

            Suggesting that James doesn't have the intellectual capacity to adapt to something that really isn't that great is frankly childish.
            Astringent
          • Being Rude Is Not Always Bad

            First, it does not take any emotional investment for me to be rude to someone who deserves it. I once saw a strange man on the tramway in Boston brushing up against a 10-year-old girl every time the train rocked. My own girlfriend and I saw him do it maybe 7 or 8 times, and there was no ambiguity about what he was doing. After around the 10th time, I'd had enough, so I let him have it.

            There are a lot of people who absolutely detest what Microsoft is attempting to achieve with the Metro interface, especially the "always in your face." These people are so numerous that, it would have made sense for Microsoft to have given the option to disable it. But Microsoft did not do that, after all most a year of begging and pleading by its own customers.

            In situations like this, where respectful dialogue, copious consumer responses, begging and pleading, etc. don't work; the only thing left is to be rude.

            At least then, Microsoft can know how you really feel.
            Le Chaud Lapin
          • What the...

            Apple is Steve Jobs' own cult religion. You can never modify the interface and froced to use and work the way Steve Jobs wanted you to. If Microsoft should be criticized for trying something like that for the first time, it is only the simple matter of courtesy that you must first criticize the dictatorship of Steve Jobs and the limitation Apple confines its users with.
            Jae K Oh
          • Perhaps you've never seen OS-X

            If Steve Jobs was as inflexible as you're suggesting, the Mac OS would have changed its UI to NeXTSTEP back when it became OS-X. Instead they came up with something took elements of MacOS and NeXTSTEP. And then there was the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors. The removal of firewire. etc.

            Sorry, Jae K Oh, you need to look at history to see how SJ and Apple works. No other company has done a better job of parting with established technology if/when it makes sense. MS is the ones who compromises the user experience for compatibility.

            And if you want real flexibility, you're better off with Linux on the desktop and Android on your mobile...
            MammyNun
          • Because this man constantly writes articles

            from perspectives biased.
            Jae K Oh
        • LOL someone actually uses the +1

          Google thing. Wow that's pretty funny
          ScanBack
        • TheCyberKnight you and Owlll1net should understand this

          A better way to put it is that you BOTH are intellectually incapable of understanding WHY new technology dosen't always work for everyone.
          Over and Out
      • lol

        I didn't say I didn't know how to change it. I said it required some investigating, and implied that based on the fact no one seems to change it, it is likely very few can figure it out (or can't be bothered to invest the time into something that should intuitively take a couple seconds).

        I'm not sure how that translates into "intellectually incapable of understanding new technology", but if that's troll-speak for "My UI standards are too fussy and that Windows 8 is perfect the way it is", then so be it.

        Interesting however, that Seattle's population is approximately 620,000 against the population of the country at approx 311,600,000 (0.19 %), yet the best MS could do was slap Seattle on everyone's screen whether they live there or not. Not like picking your time zone wouldn't be a big clue that you live elsewhere...
        croberts