Surface rescue: How I adopted an unwanted tablet

Surface rescue: How I adopted an unwanted tablet

Summary: Sometimes a piece of consumer electronics needs a good loving home.


Although it appears I have an arrogant, gruff and obnoxious exterior, I have a soft place in my heart for unwanted things. 


(Credit: Petfinder; ZDNet)

For the past 13 years my wife and I have been adopting dogs. We don't have any children, so having the furry and slobbering ones around have made our lives so much more enriching.

I can't imagine how life would be without our three adopted miniature poodles, who give us unconditional love.

Over the years, has been an excellent resource for us when looking for new pets to adopt. It's an excellent website with a great search engine, that allows you to set parameters for what kind of dog, cat, or other animal you are looking for, how old the animal is, how far away it is, and whether or not it has special needs.

If you are considering bringing an animal into your home, I strongly reccomend this site, because it is hooked into all the local adoption agencies so it is a good consolidated source for finding pets.

While three pets in this house is plenty, I heard about another critter that was in a bad situation with its current owner and I felt obligated to intercede.

Now, tablets, like any other pet, have special needs and need to be matched with the right kind of owner if it is to enter a proper loving and caring relationship. I myself own several tablets, including an iPad 4 and a Nexus 10, so I know exactly what is involved in their care and feeding.

I felt the Surface RT would make a great addition to the household, because I had been wanting one since Microsoft had announced it a few months ago.

I didn't buy one when the product was released, because I already had a desktop Windows 8 PC, and it didn't fit in with my (then) current work environment at IBM, since our corporate messaging ran on Lotus Notes and we used Java apps, and I needed a travel tablet that would integrate with that.

At the time, my iPad and Android tablets were (reasonably) good solutions for my work environment.

(Credit: ZDNet)

But work conditions change. In December, I joined Microsoft. While my iPad works perfectly well on Microsoft's corporate network, and I can access my email and calendar with it, and it is a pretty good presentation and web access device and has lots of great consumer apps to play with, it's not an ideal tool for what I need a business tablet for.

The Nexus 10 is cool too, but it's even less useful for business work than the iPad. 

Since moving on from IBM, the work circumstances of my job have changed, in that my business travel requirements in visiting partners and customers are going to be more of the one- or two-day type of affairs than traveling for an entire week at a time where I need a full-blown laptop and am dragging a lot more kit with me.

I need to travel light, so everything I bring with me on a trip including my clothes and gear needs to fit into a backpack. The Surface RT, with built-in Office functionality and the ability to do presentations with integrated HDMI out, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0, and its snap-on keyboard cover fits the bill nicely.

Plus, it runs the full-blown version of IE 10, including Flash capability should I need it, so there are no compromises on web browsing.

It also has an RDP client that I downloaded from the Windows Store so I can access remote desktop applications on the Windows 8 and Server 2012 systems on my home network if I need it as well. And if I really want to, I can even RDP into my Mac system if I purchase some third-party integration products for it.

The original owner of this particular Surface RT spent a lot of money on it, only to find out that his needs and actual work situation did not match what he actually wanted to do with it.

He's a consumer, and was heavily invested in using Google's cloud tools whereas I work in a very Microsoft-centric environment. Different needs entirely, requiring different solutions.

I was happy, however, to put up the "adoption fee" and give the Surface RT a loving home, where I know it will get good use.

How come Petfinder doesn't put up tablets for adoption? Talk back and let me know.

Topics: Tablets, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Windows 8


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Send It To The Vet

    Have the thing put out of it's misery.
    Alan Smithie
    • Funny post but sad result.

      Putting a pet down is sometimes a hard choice but sometimes necessary for their quality of life. One of my pets a few years ago had to have his hind leg amputated. All went well until about a year later when again because of another growth he would have to have his front leg amputated too. It would be the one in front of the leg that was amputated. I did put him to sleep. My vet gave me a copy of this:
      Arm A. Geddon
  • Well, as an MS employee....

    it would not look very good if you showed up with an iPad or Android tablet.

    Perhaps MS has a policy on the matter that you are required to adhere to.
    • There is no such policy.

      But we are all evangelists, to everyone.
      • Are you going to tell us the adoption fee?

        Or you'll just be nice and not tell us, not wanting to rub it in? :)
        William Farrel
      • Presentation device

        So are you suggesting that making a presentation within MS or to MS clients using an iPad or an Android tablet would not be a bad thing for your career there?

        Are you suggesting that it would not raise any eye brows, given that MS now has a competing product?

        It is pretty obvious that the dog analogy is for spin purposes only. As far as the quality of the blog goes, it is a total distraction and a waste of time. I just about quit reading. I do not come to ZDNet to read about that part of your life.
        • piffle

          "As far as the quality of the blog goes, it is a total distraction and a waste of time. I just about quit reading. I do not come to ZDNet to read about that part of your life.

          And yet you're on this blog two days running with snide trolling comments.
          • I am sure ...............

            there are sites for pet lovers, but this isn't one.

            If you call that trolling you are truly an idiot.
          • So name calling

            if someone comments on your comment is ok. I think it is childish, grow up, or if you can't take it, leave the forum. That would be good for your health.
            Ram U
          • RE: I am sure ...............

            Jason was trying to be creative in his presentation. You may not like it, fine. I don't get why you're butt hurt about it.
            Those who hunt Trolls
      • Here is a very interesting and comprehensive RT analysis

        If you have a strong interest in or opinion on RT, it is a "must" read imho.

        Perhaps Jason could write blog countering the points made. It would probably be more interesting than reading about his dogs.
        • imho?

          Nothing about you appears to be humble.

          As regards to your link, thank you. I just wonder why his opinion is worth more to you than Jason's. Is it?

          I think that you're simply a sad little troll littering this site with your anti-Microsoft bile for your own amusement.

          Unfortunately, you're not the only one.
          • You again?

            I'll tell you why:

            The linked article provides a pretty in-depth analysis, while Jason's is shallow, introduced by a pet story. I guess that pleases your simple mind.

            Is the above the best you can do? How about some thoughtful points rather then fanboy/shill blabbering. I guess the link offended your MS sensitive hide?

            Well, I guess now I've at least got you pegged.
          • Perhaps some elaboration might be helpful

            You asked:

            "I just wonder why his opinion is worth more to you than Jason's. Is it?"

            When Jason wrote his recent blog announcing his move to MS he just dismissed the obvious conflict the move presents as a blogger here as a non-issue. Only people of extreme naivety or people deliberately trying to mislead or deceive will do that.

            I am not saying he cannot blog, but the conflict is so obvious that a sincere acknowledgement and subsequent high sensitivity to it is the only way to deal with it. For all I know, the only reason MS hired him might be to try to "control the narrative" here, as Lance Armstong said in the Oprah interview. And if you do not think MS is trying to control the RT narrative you are not even worth talking to.

            So to answer your question:

            Yes, his (the link author's) opinion is worth a LOT more to me than Jason's. And Jason has only himself to blame for that. It takes a long time to build credibility, but only a brief moment to destroy it.

            And that is just what Jason did.

            If you think this is trolling too, you are beyond all hope.
          • Good,

            I appear to have got under your skin. It didn't take much, did it?

            You know exactly what you're doing, and I've got you "pegged".
          • Under my skin?

            You're even dumber than I initially thought.

            You asked me a question and I provided I pretty clear, well supported and reasoned answer. That is getting "under my skin"?

            Yeah, I got you figured out alright, and it is not a particularly flattering picture. Let's just say you are very far from having earned even the tiniest amount of respect, just like a few other posters here.

            Anyway, I am done with this idiotic conversation.
          • RE: Under my skin?

            I think he's referring to the fact that you come off as opinionated so Saxwulf engages you in conversation and you seem to respond with wording that suggested an agitated state of being.

            I've also been following ZDnet for over a decade. All the articles of Jason's that I've read, his opnions will come through, but I've never seen him come up as biased towards Microsoft.
            Those who hunt Trolls
          • To be fair...

            ...he/she said "imho" which in the good old days meant... "In my honest opinion"
      • Don't Brag About Microsoft

        In the Seattle tech community, working at Microsoft hasn't conveyed bragging rights in about a decade. Tell people that you're a Starbucks barista, instead. Hell, if you're worried about reputation, tell them you sell drugs on the streetcorner. These days that's a lot softer than working for Ballmer!
        • BTW - About Petfinder

          On a more serious note: great plug for PetFinder. I've found that most techies are socially responsible, and reminders about the plight of shelter animals inspires us to adopt, save a life, and make their own life better at the same time.

          Instead of $500 for a tablet you'll despise in 2 years, spent $100 to rescue a dog that will love you forever.