Tag Archives: Microsoft Surface

Surface Pro 3: The Writer’s Perfect Companion

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A few years ago I posted about the original Surface tablet. I praised it for its portability, slim keyboard cover, free Office and amazing battery life. I still use mine to write, surf the web and entertain my daughter. However, the device can be a bit limiting with only one kickstand option slow processor. Today I would like to introduce you to a true laptop replacement, the Surface Pro 3.

angles-better
Many angles – millions of possibilities

It all beings with a slimmer design, faster processor and 8 hours of battery life. That stuff may not be exciting to non-techies, but it is very important. It will enable you to load applications faster and work longer.

Why is this device such a great buy for writers? Where do I begin? For one, you can buy a keyboard cover to make sure you always have a fast, accurate keyboard anywhere you are. Any time inspiration hits, just flip open the Surface and get writing.
The kickstand can be positioned to any angle you need. Writing on a tabletop with a pen? Flip it all the way back. Writing at a desk with a keyboard? Position it at any angle you choose.

But those are mostly novelties. What’s the reason to sell your old laptop and get a Surface as a replacement? Glad you asked. It, of course, runs all Windows applications, including Office. You have Word with you anywhere you go. And all of those Word files can be stored in the cloud via OneDrive. When I update my latest story on my Surface, it saves automatically to the cloud. If I go home and want to continue working on the story on my desktop PC, the story is there waiting for me right where I left off.

Canvas mode. Perfect for creating.
Canvas mode. Perfect for creating.

Not only will you have access to 6GB of free cloud storage with OneDrive so you can work on your documents and have them sync seamlessly between your PCs,  there is also a USB port and MicroSD slot on the Surface. Let’s say you are out at a conference somewhere and there doesn’t happen to be Wi-Fi. All you have to do is carry your documents with you on a USB Memory Stick, external hard drive, or MicroSD card and you are ready to go. Or, of course, store them directly on the device itself.

Write directly on the screen. Send edits and comments in your own handwriting!
Write directly on the screen. Send edits and comments in your own handwriting!

For those who like to write by hand, the Surface Pro 3 also comes with a special pen. This digital pen will allow you to instantly write on the go. Just simply double click the top of the pen (just like a real life retractable pen) and your Surface will wake up and launch OneNote. What else can you do with this pen? Well, there’s Photoshop, Paint, etc. You can also write directly into Word or OneNote and it will convert to digital text. The perfect compromise for those who still wish to write by hand! You can also write directly on Word documents for editing, proofing, etc. and those notes will be viewable by any other person an any PC. Cool stuff!

The Surface Pro 3 is the perfect device to travel with you to the next writers convention. Leave your bulky laptop at home and get just as much work done in an even faster time with your Surface.

Surface Pro 3 is available for preorder at the Microsoft Store.

Inspiration Place: It’s a Grind Coffee House

My next journey for inspiring writing places tales me to It’s A Grind Coffee House in Long Beach, CA. For all of my writing sessions, I am using a Microsoft Surface RT with Touch cover and Office 2013. picture010

With a mostly comfortable plastic chair underneath me and an adequate sized wire mesh table, the outdoor patio is a very relaxing and inspiring place to get writing done. I was able to get a perfect table overlooking the lone plantlike tree thing which blocks out the view of the parking lot. Here in an urban setting this is the best I’m going to get unless I go down to a park.
There is also a lot of opportunity to get lost in one’s work at this location. Most of the time the other patrons of this establishment either have their iPods going or are furiously typing away on a laptop. It is an almost library-like setting without the smell of stale books. As I spend more time at this location I have a feeling people will come to recognize me, as a few regulars came by while I was writing and were enthusiastically greeted by the staff and a few patrons. This sense of community is definitely a plus of living in the walking, biking and artist friendly Bixby Knolls section of Long Beach.

picture011Listening to the chirps of birds from the, uh, plant and the slight chatter of people enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend or partner really help make this spot the best I have written at so far. It is quiet, I can get in the correct mindset, and on cold days there is ample seating inside the coffee shop with  undisturbed quiet corners. I look forward to returning to this location and I urge all of my fellow writers to get out and find the place that is right for you.

Surface: The Perfect Writer’s Companion

As a writer, it is very important to always have easy access to all of the stories one is working on, especially on the go. That is why I would like to take the time to review what I believe is the perfect on the go device, the Microsoft Surface.

What is Surface? Surface is a tablet computer released by Microsoft, running Windows RT. Think of Windows RT like it is an iPad. Apple has the OSX operating system on their Macs and iOS for its mobile devices and tablets. Windows RT is a stripped down version of Windows 8.

Built in USB port means you can bring all of your files with you.

Why choose Surface? As I mentioned before, it is extremely important to have access to all of my stories I am working on, as inspiration  may hit at any moment. The Surface tablet has built in Wi-Fi and cloud storage, so all of my documents are always available. And when I update Eliza, the Witch on my Surface, it saves automatically to the cloud, so if I go home and want to continue working on the story on my desktop PC, the story is there waiting for me right where I left off.
There is another reason the Surface is a great writer’s companion: it comes with Office preinstalled for free. That is something that no other tablet can offer at this time.

A built in kickstand allows for greater portability, with the ability to set up and type in a matter of seconds on any surface.

Not only will you have access to 6GB of free cloud storage with Skydrive so you can work on your documents and have them sync seamlessly between your PCs,  there is also a USB port and MicroSD slot on the Surface. Let’s say you are out at a conference somewhere and there doesn’t happen to be Wi-Fi. All you have to do is carry your documents with you on a USB Memory Stick, external hard drive, or MicroSD card and you are ready to go. Again, another feature the iPad does not have.

Of course, the hardest part about tablet computing is always the typing. Portable keyboards are rarely that as they take up a lot of space and usually run out of batteries fairly quickly. The Surface has a solution for you, and it is nothing short of amazing. The Touch Cover for Surface is not only a smart cover for your screen, it also acts as a built in portable keyboard that is only a few millimeters thick. The keys are slightly raised and feel like felt and typing is as easy as tapping your fingers on a table. I had a few hours to play around with one and after about 10 minutes I was typing just as quickly as with a standard keyboard. On the plus side , you don’t even have to buy a stand for your tablet. The Surface has a built n kickstand that keeps the tablet at the perfect viewing angle.

With all of these great features, the Surface tablet from Microsoft is a must on any writer’s list this Holiday season. The clincher is definitely the free Office (although the USB port is extremely useful).
There really is no better tablet out there for a portable writing experience.

Microsoft Surface tablet is available for $499 at a Microsoft Store near you, or available online at Surface.com. Touch Cover is $119.

Thin and portable

Microsoft Store locations: http://content.microsoftstore.com/home.aspx?WT.mc_id=onlinestore_footertray

 

Surface.com: http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US