ThinkPad 10 Tablet

July 21st, 2014

ThinkPad 10 Tablet is the newest addition to my gadget harem. This Windows 8.1 (full, not RT) device has a 10.1” 1920 x 1280 IPS touch screen, but weighs a scant 1.3 lbs and is a svelte .35” thin. The TP10 has an advanced Bay Trail processor (Z3795) + long (> 7 hours) battery life. The piece de resistance, an active digitizer for note-taking. Here are my initial thoughts.

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New WiFi Router

July 19th, 2014

I replaced my Linksys (Cisco) EA4500 Wi-Fi router at home with an Asus RT-AC68U. The Linksys had good signal strength. The problem was I needed to prioritize bandwidth for my VOIP phone which, from home, connects over VPN to my work network, so from home I’m a (virtual) extension of the work phone network. However, the QoS (quality of service) settings available on the Linksys to enable this prioritization were too general for this specific prioritization. The prioritization available in the ASUS was far more granular. Big improvement in the VOIP connection!

Changing Primary Microsoft Account on Windows 8.1

July 13th, 2014

My wife is taking over my Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch laptop. She needs a laptop, and she really likes the X1 (which is still quite new).  I’m getting the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 10 in a few days, and the Surface Pro 3 in a couple of weeks (I sold the Surface Pro 2 to a co-worker), and how many tablet/laptops can I use in one day? (You’d be surprised, but that’s another story).

The OS on the X1 is Windows 8.1. You usually log in to that OS using your Microsoft account. I wanted to change the Microsoft account used for log in from mine to hers. This way she can access her OneDrive, her DropBox, etc. rather than mine. However, I did not want to have to reinstall all of the apps (Outlook, Adobe Acrobat, Visual Studio), as you used to have to do when changing user profiles in Windows 7 and earlier.

The process is generally described in the answer in this Microsoft Community forum thread. Basically, there are two steps:

  1. Switch the existing primary Microsoft account (mine in this case) to a local user account. The forum thread is a bit brief on how to do this, but Quick Tip: Change Microsoft live to a local account in Windows 8.1 illustrates (literally) how.
  2. After logging on under the newly-created local user account, switch that account to the new primary Microsoft account (my wife’s in this case) per the instructions in Step 2 of the forum thread. Then restart the computer, and login using the new primary Microsoft account.

Worked smoothly, and  I did not have to reinstall any apps. Of course, I have to change the email accounts in Outlook, but so far, that’s it.

Surface Pro 3’s 3:2 aspect ratio

June 30th, 2014

SurfacePro3Primary_PrintI’ve pre-ordered the core i7 version of the Surface Pro 3; it’s supposed to arrive by August 1. However, the core i5 version is already available, so I was able to play with a demo unit at the local Beast Buy. My focus was whether the different aspect ratio of the SP3 — 3:2 rather than the usual 16:9 – was good, bad or indifferent.

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Back to the Future

March 29th, 2014

2014-03-29_17-00-54Some of my 20-something Computer Science students at the community college where I teach see me as a living fossil because of the several decades age difference between us. Their perception is reinforced when I tell them I use decades-old tools like batch files. However, sometimes an oldie can still be a goodie. If you’re interested, read on.

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iPad Mini 2 Ordered

November 12th, 2013


Apple sneaked the order page early – but not by me. I ordered the 128 GB Verizon Cellular model. Supposed to ship 5-10 business days, with delivery between November 25 and December 3.

My wife is leaning towards the iPad Air, but will take a look at my new toy to see if the retina display compensates sufficiently for the smaller screen.

Excellent Surface Pro 2 Review

October 29th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChuong Nguyen of GottaBeMobile has posted an excellent review of the Surface Pro 2.

As Chuong details, the Surface Pro 2 improves, mostly under the hood, on the OG Surface Pro.  To me, the most significant improvement of the ones Chuong lists is the Haswell processor. I own the OG Surface Pro. Often enough, I was in meetings where there were no convenient outlets. I worried whether the 3+ hours battery life would last. Battery life with a Haswell processor should be 6+ hours. If a meeting lasts that long, I’m outta there.

Will I replace my OG Surface Pro with the Surface Pro 2? Not sure about that. I doubt I would get too much for the Surface Pro on e-Bay, and the differential between that money and the cost of a new Surface Pro 2 likely would be enough to buy another device. That new device (can you say iPad mini 2?) would seem to get me more bang for my buck than the incremental improvements between the two Surface Pro versions.

Additionally, I’m thinking of maybe 13.3” screen UltraBook. Still portable, and the larger screen would be very helpful for document review.

Decisions, decisions. More to come.

iPad mini 2 vs iPad Air

October 25th, 2013

This article discusses the conundrum my wife and I both face in replacing our aged, and now seemingly heavy, iPad 3’s. As the article correctly observes, both the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 are light, thin, fast, and have beautiful displays. The one meaningful difference is the display size (duh), 7.9” vs. 9.7”. The article’s advice:

For those who are not certain, I’d ask you to look at the ways in which you use your iPad. If you primarily use it for consumption, such as reading websites, books, and other basic computing tasks, you should look closely at the iPad mini. It’s great for those tasks. If on the other hand you’re working on documents, using the on-screen keyboard a lot, and doing tasks that are more content creation focused, you may want to look at the iPad Air. I’ve been watching my wife, a technology-muggle, using her iPad the last few months and she does a tremendous amount of work with the on-screen keyboard. I don’t think the iPad mini would ever work for her.

I would add: How good is your reading vision? If not so good, the large screen will make a difference.

This article also discusses choosing between the two devices. The author’s choice is the iPad mini 2. But another writer from the same site leans toward the iPad Air.  Interesting debate.

I believe my wife and I will end up going to the local Beast Buy and get in line to play with the two devices. Sometimes you need actually hands-on time to make a good choice.

Nokia Lumia 2520 vs Apple iPad Air

October 24th, 2013

Interesting comparison. Shows the Lumia 2520 gives more for your money, plus microSD, USB. Still, the iPad Air is lighter (478 g vs. 615 g) and thinner (7.5 mm vs 8.9 mm), + of course a far more complete App Store. Yet, this comparison shows a possible justification for RT 8.1 devices such as the Lumia 2520 and the Surface 2. And here’s another comparison of these three devices.

Verizon Nokia Lumia 929

September 30th, 2013


I’ve had my eye on this Windows Phone for some time. The 929 appears to be the smaller sibling of the 1520 going to AT&T. By smaller, 5” vs. 6” screen. As much as I like large screens, perhaps 5” is large enough, and certainly more pocketable than 6”. Unclear yet if, apart from screen size, the specs otherwise will be the same.

Per Windows Phone Central, the 929 is coming to Big Red with a launch date in early November with an off-contract price of $500. I’ll be watching for and reporting on more information.