geekiviews: Microsoft SurfaceRT

Microsoft SurfaceRT
Microsoft SurfaceRT

I’m a Microsoft Girl. It’s not sexy and probably not cool but Windows is my operating system of choice since the DOS days. Now while I might be a windows junkie, I’m also very, very slow to adopt new versions. I ran Windows 2k and XP till the bitter end. I skipped everything in between XP and 7 and only reluctantly started using Windows 7 when it came pre-installed on a Dell laptop. So just as I’m getting comfortable with 7 here comes Windows 8. My aversion was at high alert again. I read about how differences in the OS, including the moaning of the missing Start button. I started thinking about how long I could put off upgrading again. The Start button is life on a Windows platform. A constant reassuring feature that every Windows user understands. Now that I’ve tried a flavour of Windows 8 I don’t have the same extreme aversion I used too. I got over myself a bit.

I don’t do well touch devices. I’m a staunch Blackberry lover. I need my keyboard, its life to me. Touch screens are too inefficient for my old school ways. I hate typing on them, with a passion. These quirks of mine keep me attached to my laptop as the workhorse and the tablets as playthings. I love my Kobo Arc but it’s better as consumption device. I don’t create on it, that’s my laptop. Yes, it comes back to the keyboard plus I like the flexibility of a mouse for fine movements.

I followed the launch of the Surface by Microsoft in June of 2013 and it surprised me. Of course I loved the cover slash keypad. They stressed that it’s a desktop replacement that can do all the work and still have tablet accessibility. I wasn’t in the market for a desktop replacement so that was it.

Microsoft SurfaceRT
Microsoft SurfaceRT

Fast forward to now and through the Work Your Game program, Microsoft Canada provided me with a 32GB SurfaceRT. My operating system change phobia wouldn’t allow me to jump right in and put Windows 8 on my Dell XPS. I needed to see it somewhere else first or have it forced up on me via a new computer purchase. So here I have this fun thing to play with and get to know Window 8.

From a hardware standpoint I love the SurfaceRT. It looks slick and durable. The kickstand is genius and pairing with the keyboard makes the happiest tablet user ever. There are two types of keyboards: Touch and Type which is perfect for old schoolers like me that crave tactile feedback. It’s light and small enough to fit in my Rider bag with the touch keyboard attached. The SurfaceRT has a USB 2.0 port, HDMI port and a microSDXC card slot that lets to add up to 64GB of extra storage.

Microsoft SurfaceRT
Microsoft SurfaceRT

The swipe gestures in WindowsRT are easy to learn and execute. It comes with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview. So you are ready to go with spreadsheets and word processing. IE10 isn’t a mobile browser you so get the full Internet browsing experience. With WindowsRT I find myself using the search feature much more. You just start typing on the Start Screen and the search automatically displays and allows you to search the device, your apps, the Windows store and the Internet via Bing.

Overall, I’m very happy with the SurfaceRT. However there are a few things that I’d like to change. I wish the SurfaceRT ran the full version of Windows 8. I don’t like being tied to app stores on my devices. I have control issues. The Windows Store is lacking a lot official apps and I’m finding this to be limiting as I can’t efficiently duplicate tasks I perform on my laptop. It would be really great to be able to use those applications with the tablet and keyboard combo. With time I imagine the selection will be better as more and more people start developing for Window 8 but it’s just not there yet. One bonus is the fully function browser for web apps that don’t have nd official presemce in the Windows Store. The camera was disappointing. It’s not good but this seems to be a common feature I run into with the various tablets I’ve interacted with or owned. Centralized social profiles can be unmanageable if you have a lot of contacts like me. It took longer than normal for WindowsRT to sync with my all social profiles.

Overall, I like the Windows 8 platform. I didn’t require a long period of adjustment which I liked. The Start button absence is a small shock. After I started looked at the Start Screen as my Start button it fell into pieces. I think the OS great for touch devices. It’s easy to navigate and I find myself using both the keyboard and screen together. I like navigation advantages of the touch screen but having that stability of an external keyboard. WindowsRT has a touch screen keyboard. I avoid it like the plague. I do like that you can choose different layout styles for it. I’m not sure how much I’d like to run Windows 8 on a non-touch device though, however the upcoming Windows 8.1 update might change my mind. Windows 8.1 is Microsoft’s response to customer demand for the return of the Start button. Shows you how important this featured introduced in Windows 95 is so fundamental to the user’s experience and expectations of a Microsoft operating system.

There are four versions of the SurfaceRT tablet available:
32 GB tablet – $499
32 GB tablet with black Touch Cover – $599
64 GB tablet -$599
64 GB tablet with black Touch Cover – $699
If you purchase any SurfaceRT tablet in June you will receive a free touch cover.

This post was sponsored by Microsoft Canada. The views and options expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

I’m a Microsoft girl. It’s my OS of choice since the DOS days. I was excited when they contacted me to join their Influencer Program a few weeks ago. The first event is called Work Your Game with Windows 8. Microsoft Canada invited six people (Amber MacArthur, Carl Edwin-Michel, Sharad Mohan, Steve Dangle and Tyrone Edwards) to play two rounds of golf with a swing clinic in between at the prestigious Glen Abbey Golf Club. It’s a competition with the most improved player winning $8000 for the charity of their choice.

Along with golf we learned about the new Windows 8 operating system. I received a SurfaceRT from Microsoft in order to experience Windows 8 on a touch screen device. So the first round of golf and the MAT-T swing clinic are complete and we moved on to the final round. I felt really good after the swing clinic so the competition was on.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

Before golfing we had lunch at Glen Abbey and learned more about the Windows 8 operation systems and we got more acquainted with our devices. Microsoft Canada had a surprised for us. Canadian Golf Pro, Mike Weir got on Skype and chatted with us about golf and his experiences. Every man and woman in that room was fangirling and fanboying like crazy. Each of us got 10 minutes to talk to Mike personally.
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

Mike also had a copy of our MAT-T analysis and provided us with personalized tips. He demonstrated some of his tips over Skype with his invisible helper making sure he was in shot. It was so very cool. Mike mentioned my name in his tips to the other influencers and it was awesome. He’s totally #teamAnita on this one. I’m not much of a Skype person but the experience with Mike has changed my mind about it and I need to incorporated it more in my life. I would find out days later from my Mother, so very casually that Mike is friends with my cousin’s husband and he was at their wedding. Weird 6 degrees of separation there.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

In our first round of golf we played the first nine holes at Glen Abbey Golf Club, for the second round we played the back nine holes. IT IS LIKE A WHOLE DIFFERENT COURSE! Jack Nicklaus, golf superstar designed Glen Abbey and the back nine is gorgeous. The Sixteen Mile Creek flows through the course and the water hazards, trees and sand traps are plentiful.
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

Holes 11 to 15 are called the Valley Holes with the 11th considered on of the most beautiful holes in golf. The tee off for the 11th hole requires you to hit the ball into the valley and over a pit of massive trees and brush. The back nine is way harder than the front nine and it seemed at every hole there was a story about some amazing performance Tiger Woods had during a Canadian Open like Tiger’s Run at the 15th hole or his incredible 216 yards shot with a 6 iron out of a bunker to birdie the 18th hole

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

It was a beautiful clear day and the perfect temperature for golf. I love being outdoors and having beer delivered to your via golf cart. I wore another bright golf outfit with pants and shirt from the Gap and my lavender Cat Worksong brogues.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

The tee off for the 13th hole is pictured above. You can see how Sixteen Mile Creek weaves throughout the course.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round

Since we teed off around 4:30 we got to see the course at dusk. The setting sun makes for incredible views.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game the Final Round
In the end, I didn’t win the $8,000. It went to Tyrone Edwards. I felt really great about my game though. I was hitting the ball a lot better and got some compliments on my swing. My putting could use some work as it was hitting the ball way to hard. I didn’t use Mike Weir’s gently tossing a ball advice about it. The golf bug has infected me now. I really want to play more and develop my game. It seems my Dad’s love of golf is transferring to me. I seem to have his swing so this doesn’t surprise me.

Check out all my photos from Glen Abbey

This post was sponsored by Microsoft Canada. The views and options expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with MAT-T

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with MAT-T
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with MAT-T

Each participant in the Work Your Game program received a complementary club fitting and swing analysis experience at the TaylorMade Performance Lab located at Glen Abbey. The lab uses MAT-T (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) technology that generates a 3D avatar of the golfer.

The comprehensive three hour fitting experience covers all 14 clubs in the bag, from driver to putter, ensuring a perfectly fit set of custom clubs and offering the individual a deeper understanding of the golf swing. The MAT-T system (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) utilizes 3D motion reality via 6 high speed cameras to transform the golfer into an avatar – a digital rendering of the golfer and their swing that can be viewed from any angle. It is a process and system similar to those used by video game and computer developers to capture 3D motion in a high speed environment.

This analysis is exactly the same as the pros use to get their clubs to match their swing perfectly. I was really excited about this session as I have a B.Sc in Kinesiology. Analysis of movement was something I was interested in at school. The final project for one of my Biomechanics courses involved something similar to the swing analysis but on a much more rudimentary level. The computers I was using back then ran MS DOS. I filmed one of the members of the women’s basketball team shooting a jump shot. I took the film and transferred it to the computer where I manually plotted the major joints the body over many frames. With the plotting made the computer was able to extract measurements of the player’s movements. MAT-T is way more advanced than what I was doing all those years ago.

Microsoft Canada was wonderful and provided me with black car service to Glen Abbey. I walked into the TaylorMade Performance Lab, wearing my brightest golf outfit, and there was a sign greeting me. It was a thoughtful gesture and I felt special for sure. I met Shawn, my certified TaylorMade Club fitting Professional. He would perform the analysis and give some pointers on how to improve my swing. I learned that Shawn played on the pro tour for 3 years himself. He’s a great teacher.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with MAT-T
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with MAT-T

We walked into the analysis room which is fitted with 6 high speed cameras place strategically around the room. Shawn got me suited up like an actor in a sci-fi movie. Sensors were placed all over my body and the machine was calibrated to my frame. I was handed an iron that also had sensors placed on it and was instructed to swing. It was a little weird smacking balls in a small room but there is a net and padding that prevents the ball from bouncing back and smacking you in the head. After a few hits you ignore it. Shawn showed me the details of my swing with an iron on the screen. He heard that I had a B.Sc in Kinesiology so he went into extra detail for me. I was in sport nerd heaven. Shawn corrected my swing stance and showed me about proper placement. We then moved onto the driver

Shawn’s tips were amazing and I really felt like I improved on things. My analysis proved it. It was time to take things outdoor to see if I could carry my new golf posture outdoors. Shawn was amazed and surprised at my swing. I was amazed and surprised at my swing. It was consistent and I could hit it pretty far. I felt like my late Father was helping me here. He was known for his swing. After some hits outside it was back to the Performance Centre to analysis and work on my putting. The MAT-T system is pretty amazing. You can compare yourself to previous recordings which Shawn did to show me how I improved my stance. It’s also great to comparing yourself to the pros as they have many of their results on file.

After the session was over I received a customized list of clubs and settings for when I’m looking to get myself outfitted and a CD of the analysis. Unfortunately, the CD only runs on 32bit machines and the only laptop I have with a CD is 64bit. So I haven’t even gotten a chance to review it myself. I learned so much about Golf from Shawn and how complicated the equipment is. It’s absolutely baffling. After going through the MAT-T system I don’t know how anyone goes and buys equipment off the shelf without expert consultation. It’s amazing that this technology is available for everyone from beginners to experts.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with MAT-T
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with MAT-T

So armed with my improved swing, I got mentally prepared for the final round at Glen Abbey. It would decide who gets the $8,000 for their charity. I can raise more money for Story Planet with the help of my social networks. The more you RT my tweets, view my blog posts and videos will give me an opportunity to add up to $1500 to the minimum $1000 Story Planet will receive because of my participation. Use the hashtag #teamAnita on twitter to show your support. Whoever has the most active social community will receive and Xbox 360 and Windows 8 tablet to give away to their lucky readers.

This post was sponsored by Microsoft Canada. The views and options expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada- Work Your Game with Windows 8

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with Windows 8
Yes, Microsoft Canada invited me to playing Golf for charity. I imagine there is some confusion happening on your end. Golf, Microsoft and I want – I got, how do these things fit together? Well let me break it down,
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with Windows 8
I’m a Microsoft girl. It’s my OS of choice since the DOS days. I was excited when they contacted me to join their Influencer Program a few weeks ago. The first event is called Work Your Game with Windows 8. Microsoft Canada invited six people (Amber MacArthur, Carl Edwin-Michel, Sharad Mohan, Steve Dangle and Tyrone Edwards) to play two rounds of golf with a swing clinic in between at the prestigious Glen Abbey Golf Club. It’s a competition with the most improved player winning $8000 for the charity of their choice. Along with golf we learned about the new Windows 8 operating system. I received a SurfaceRT from Microsoft in order to experience Windows 8 on a touch screen device.
WorkYourGameDay138
Regular readers have never seen a mention of golf on this site until now. I’m not a regular player but I do enjoy the sport. My connection to golf is through my late father. He loved golf. He was my model of someone who was totally devoted and in love with their sport. This was something that I would model throughout my young adult years when I dedicated much of my life to sport. My father tried to get us into golf as kids, taking us to the driving range and getting us to hit balls in the backyard. It didn’t take. My brother and I loved soccer and running around. Golf is too cerebral a game to grasp as a hyperactive kid. So fast forward to now and the last time I played a round of golf was 8 years ago. I jumped on the chance to join the Work Your Game with Windows 8 event because I wanted to be close to my Dad in a way. I was hoping I could channel some of his amazing skills as a golfer. He was really good and my childhood memories of him are filled with his golf trophies.
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with Windows 8 My charity selection is Story Planet. I learned about this youth literacy charity through friends who did some branding and illustration work for them.

Story Planet is a literacy organization that inspires young people to be creative and effective communicators. We encourage them to develop their unique voices and help them launch their stories through the written word, visual arts & digital media.

I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with Windows 8
Microsoft piled all of us in Black cars early one Tuesday morning and we made the drive from downtown Toronto to Oakville. Glen Abbey is a super exclusive club and we received a lot of rules before arriving, especially about dress code. Collared shirts and golf pants are a must. Sporty clothes are not acceptable and make sure those shoes have no spikes. It wasn’t hard to dress the part because I actually have golf shirts in my closet. They are colourful and I use them under sweaters generally. I opted for Tretorns instead of Converse.
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with Windows 8
Microsoft mentioned that there would be a film crew because they would create videos for each of us to share about the experience. I didn’t really grasp the concept until we pulled up to the Glen Abbey clubhouse and the Video team of with two cameras were waiting patiently. Yikes, I thought. It’s 7:30am and this film crew is here. I automatically put my sunglasses on before getting out the car, time to be on.

Everything was setup for us when we arrived. Four golf carts with full sets of clubs all lined up in a row, just begging us to drive them. Well that was what it felt like to me, I LOVE driving golf carts. Thankfully, most of the other participants weren’t golf experts. To make it easier on us we played Scramble Golf. That way we wouldn’t spend too much time at each hole pissing off the tournament that was teeing off behind us. Our ragtag crew was hilarious and the film crew followed us for 5 holes. I could only imagine what the members were thinking. I’m sure we were a total pain in the ass for the Golf Rangers who travel the course making sure everything is running smoothly.
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with Windows 8
I enjoy golf even when I’m playing badly. Being outdoors with friends is the best part about golf. Drinking on the course is another thing that makes the sport great. Unfortunately at Glen Abbey there were no beers on course. Mind you it was way too early to be drinking. Golf is the kind of sport that makes you more aggravated as you get better. My goal for this round was just to hit the ball. I couldn’t remember any tips or the proper posture. My driving game got better as we progressed and I even managed to get par on one hole. I only hit my ball into the water hazard once when I decided to use a bigger club than necessary. I was just happy with the long hit. My putting game stayed pretty consistent and it was much better than my driving game.
I want – I got x Microsoft Canada – Work Your Game with Windows 8
Glen Abbey is a beautiful course. Peaceful and immaculate with lots of water hazards around. We gawked at the houses that back onto the course, they are massive. The one time I partied in Oakville was at a house that backed onto Glen Abbey. At nightfall we hopped the fence and smacked balls around. I kept looking for that house but didn’t see it.

We only played 9 holes which was a blessing for a first outing as 18 would have been a hell of a slog. We all got back to the Clubhouse and recorded our initial scores. My initial score is crap and I’m not going to mention it here. You’ll learn about it when I tell you about the final round that will choose the winner.

So about that video Microsoft Canada produced. It hit the Internet last week and you can view it on YouTube. It’s really fun.

I can raise more money for Story Planet with the help of my social networks. The more you RT my tweets, view my blog posts and videos will give me an opportunity to add up to $1500 to the minimum $1000 Story Planet will receive because of my participation. Use the hashtag #teamAnita on twitter to show your support as I prepare for tomorrow’s final round. Whoever has the most active social community will receive and Xbox 360 and Windows 8 tablet to give away to their lucky readers.

Check out all my photos from Glen Abbey below in the slideshow

This post was sponsored by Microsoft Canada. The views and options expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.