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    8 inch Surface Speculation

    By Dave, in Surface Geeks,

    Think Smaller

    There’s much speculation about a new class of Surface devices to be released later in 2013.  Beyond the Haswell-based buzz, rumors circulate about a smaller series of Surface RT devices - those with an 8-inch screen.

    In April of this year, details emerged of Microsoft’s plans to enable a smaller class of devices that might even include a reduced license fee structure.  At the time, the only discussion of device manufacturers focused on the OEM community.

    As the Windows 8.1 release date nears, there has been discussion on potential pricing of this new class of devices.

    Did Price Restrict the Surface RT?

    I’ve been a happy Surface RT owner since its release in October 2012.  Being a household of multiple tablets – including the iPad and HP TouchPad – I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the first Surface device.  It’s been a great fit for my needs – not perfect – but actually more than I’d hoped for.  The build quality is exceptional, battery life is excellent and performance has been flawless.  I've been able to use the RT with Windows Home Server 2011 and Server 2012 Essentials shares as well as use it to 'Play To' my home theater receiver.  Release of the Surface Pro in January didn’t cause me to jump, largely due to the cost and promise of a new batch of interesting hybrid convertible models on the horizon.

    However, the proliferation of the Surface RT devices did not take place as I’d hoped it would.  Using yet another device - that it seems only I love - makes me wonder whether this is another Palm Pre scenario.  I’ve had many devices that were critically acclaimed and sometimes superior to the competition but that were withdrawn for lack of interest.  What’s the problem with the Surface – the new Windows interface, lack of proper advertising, improper consumer expectations or is it too expensive relative to the competition?






     

    Is an 8-inch Windows RT Device the Answer?

    Given the success of the iPad Mini and many Android-based models – including the Kindle Fire – the sub-10 inch mark is considered somewhat of a sweet spot for tablets.  Could a smaller Surface RT be the catalyst to ‘click’ with consumers?

    I’m not convinced that the smaller size is the secret to breaking the Surface into the wide adoption it deserves.  There’s one exception to my hesitation – price.  Last year, I’d listened to speculation that the Surface RT would arrive at an affordable price.  I’m not sure why, but I’d pegged the Surface RT at a $400 price point including a keyboard.  I figured that price would ensure success – and I was certain that Microsoft would set the price competitively to make the big impact that was necessary for the format to succeed.

    If the new smaller Surface RT were priced competitively – at $250 or under – I believe that the computing world would take note.  Assuming the competition is preparing a new series of Android-based tablets for the holiday season at the sub-$200 price point, this could be another uphill battle for Windows-based tablets.

    As an indication of things to come, consider the Acer Iconia W3.  This 8-inch tablet runs a 32-bit Windows 8 OS and lists for $379.99 for a 32 GB model.  Partly due to poor reviews and being challenged with a sub-par screen, it's now selling on Amazon for $299.  However, many speculate that it was released 'as is' to get a gauge on the 8-inch form factor. 

    Recent price cuts and financial disclosures by Microsoft further underscore the price pressure on all Surface devices – including a potential 8-inch Surface RT.  I've heard our own 'Surface Geeks' throw out what I hope is the correct outcome  – that a new Surface RT will be in the 8-inch form factor while the 'Surface 2' will continue where the Pro left off but with Haswell processors.

    Estimates Became Reality

    In advance of price points being released for the Surface RT, a blogger named Sameer Singh estimated that it would arrive at a price between $399-$499 for a 32 GB model.  Singh based his estimate on analysis of a Bill Of Materials (BOM) for the then-unavailable device.  Singh correctly picked the $499 mark as it would carry a 38% profit margin.

    Using a similar approach, Singh estimates that the new 8 inch Surface RT will carry a price tag of $349 to ensure a gross margin of approximately 42%.  The argument against a lower price point is especially interesting.  Singh asserts that Microsoft must price the Surface at a premium to maintain a positive relationship with other OEMs considering development of Windows RT devices.

    Will It Add Up?

    Take a look at Sameer Singh’s blog post to review the BOM based on likely components.  While I can’t argue any of the analysis, I do have concerns about the smaller Surface RT entering the market at the $349 mark.  Remember, we're talking about the potential for an 8-inch Surface RT.  Given that you can purchase a 10-inch RT currently for $350, it's likely that any new Surface will exceed that number.  Although I want to be pleasantly surprised (wrong), I am concerned.

    Let’s recall the HP TouchPad debacle of 2011.  While the TouchPad was considered a solid performer with innovative features, sales were non-existent due to two factors – lack of an app ecosystem and a high price.  Sound familiar?  History could repeat itself.

    Only when HP cancelled the device and introduced a fire-sale price of $99 and $149 did the TouchPad sell.  (It was described at the time as a 'nerd stampede' to the retailers who sold it.)  The market’s response to the TouchPad at the $99-$149 price point validated interest in a lower-priced alternative to the iPad 2.

    I don’t doubt that Microsoft has to tread lightly with their OEMs to encourage platform growth.  That said, every OEM with the exception of Dell has moved away from an RT-based tablet.  The battle can be lost in the crucial first months after release (days in the case of the TouchPad).  My thought is – if it can’t be priced competitively - we’re once again setting ourselves up for disappointment, regardless of the manufacturer.  Perhaps the battle – and any hope for a successful Microsoft tablet – has been lost already.  The Surface brand has most-certainly been tarnished; perhaps irreparably.

    So ask yourself, will you buy an 8-inch Surface RT?


    Dave

    Chromecast for a Surface Geek 33

    By Dave, in Surface Geeks,

    Darren and I spend a couple of minutes on the Chromecast but we really dive deep on a lot of news.  We skipped last week so we have a ton to go over on this show.  It's a marathon!We tear down everything.  SkyDrive, Surface RT and the writedown, 8.1, laptop shopping, Best Buy, Office Mobile for everything but Windows Phone, a new domain name, the Nokia Lumia 1020 and a whole bunch more.  Apps of the week too!

    Twitter: Darren Cohen, David McCabe
    Darren’s site, darrencohen.me

    Nokia 1020 Review

    Microsoft to rebrand SkyDrive after losing trademark skirmish, ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley, July 31, 2013

    Microsoft delivers Office Mobile for Android phones, ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley, July 31, 2013 Microsoft rolls out Office Mobile suite for Android phones for Office 365 subscribers.

    Office Mobile for Android Phones Preview, Microsoft’s devices strategy gets a bit clearer, SuperSite for Windows, Paul Thurrott, July 31, 2013

    Microsoft debuts Office Mobile app for Android smartphones, CNet, Dara Kerr, July 31, 2013

    Goodbye Windows 8, hello Windows 8.1, ZDNet, Mary Branscombe, July 30, 2013

    Microsoft delivers to testers Windows 8.1 Enterprise preview, ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley, July 30, 201

    Microsoft losing money on Surface tablets, Reuters, July 31, 2013

    Microsoft reveals $853 million Surface revenue, less than its write-down and advertising costs, Tom Warren, The Verge, July 30, 2013

    Did Walmart just sell out of Microsoft Surface RTs? ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley, July 29, 2013


    Forum Thoughts: Response - Microsoft Isn’T Doomed But Rt Is One Tk Away From Being Banned…

    Instagram deleting and blocking photos uploaded from third-party Windows Phone app (update), The Verge, Tom Warren, July 30, 2013

    Even Nokia thinks that there is a Windows Phone App Gap of Sorts, GigaOm, Kevin Tofel, July 29, 2013

    Forum Thoughts: There is a lack of general app support for Windows phone…

    Snapcam App

    Snapcamcoming to Windows Phone 8 soon, signs deal with Xerox to offer photo book printing globally, Pocket-lint, Rik Henderson, July 31, 2013

    Meetup Info:

    September 21st, 2013

    Indianapolis, Indiana

    Holiday Inn Express, 9791 North by Northeast Blvd, Fishers,
    IN 46037

    http://www.surfacegeeks.net/forums/index.php?/topic/488-surface-geeks-meetup-2013

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    Dave
    It's a packed show this time.  We are showing off the new Chromecast and talking about the network issues with 2012 Essentials R2.  Got some Drobo and SkyDrive news for you and we are in the forums a lot!  Big show, no Meetup talk this time so enjoy!
     
    The
    for this episode is really good. 
    Jim Collison can be found here and on Twitter.
     
    John Stutsman writes for HomeServerShow.com and can be found on Twitter
     
    SkyDrive protest

    Drobo merger.  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/17/drobo_has_never_been_profitable/
    Jim found a  Buffalo Terastation

    Searching for a network card for the N54L

    The Dual Port NIC is: Intel EXPI9402PTBLK Two Gigabit Copper Server Connections 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI-Express 2 x RJ45 - OEM

    Newegg has it much more expensive at http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106015
    and the SYBA Card


    The Intel single port NIC that worked for John Stutsman is the Intel EXPI9301CTBLK Network Adapter 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI-Express 1 x RJ45

    Newegg has a better price at: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106033

    HSS Forums Noticed

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/161bf5f0-b6d3-4c0c-9beb-b9fb0ea1bc1f/windows-server-2012-fails-on-hp-n54l-microserver

    HSS Blog Postings & Podcasts: Blog Postings & Podcasts on Windows Server 2012 Essentials

    One of the best write-ups IMHO for getting started/background on Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview the Essentials Experience by Tinkertry

    TechNET: What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials IMHO a great all round reference
    If you want to support this podcast please shop via our affiliate links.
     
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    Joe_Miner
    By: John Stutsman
     

     
    I finally got Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2 Preview to install successfully onto an HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer after disabling the on-board NIC and using Intel NIC add-on cards. Read about it in the thread: Anyone Successfully install Server 2012 R2 Essentials on a MicroServer?
     
    Many thanks to DieHard who got this to work a week earlier by disabling the on-board NIC and sent me step-by-step instructions via Twitter!
     
    Please join us in the HSS Forums with comments on the above and other threads.

    Dave

    BYOB Episode 128

    By Dave, in BYOB,

    This week Michael and I are joined by John Zajdler as we talk Server 2012 R2 and Server Essentials 2012 R2.  We also have a few updates from prior shows on Haswell, and some new hardware and services to discuss.  A special thanks to John for joining the show this week and brining in his vast experience.
     
    Ultra Mini Keyboard
     
    ProXPN
     
    Haswell Updates
     
    Memory Performance Comparison
     
    _______________________________________________
     
    Remember to send us an email at byobpodcast@gmail.com
     
    Follow BYOB on Twitter!
     
    Mike Faucher’s Blog
     
    Michael Martis’ Blog
     
    E-Mail – byobpodcast@gmail.com
     
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    Joe_Miner
    By: John Stutsman
     

     
     
     
    When Dave “joined the club” of new HP ProLiant N54L G7 MicroServer owners he went to the HSS Forums, as many have done, to ask:


    How much RAM is in it?
    Can I upgrade it?
    Should I flash the BIOS?
    It is not necessary to drop a lot of cash to set-up a MicroServer that provides very good performance. Many may find helpful the suggestions for new users in comment #21 in Forum thread: HP ProLiant G7 Server N54L Shell Shocker.
     
    Benny269 asked similar questions on setting up his new HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer – as I tried to emphasize in comment #9 in the thread: First Time MicroServer With WHS Build, it’s possible to start out a Home Server with very little additional hardware and software – then add in the future as new needs require. As I commented to Pancakes, you really do not need a SSD to start enjoying the benefits your MicroServer can provide.
     
    Please join us in the HSS Forums with comments on the above and other threads.
     
     
     
    Additional References:
     
    MicroServer HardWare Links
     
    More Interesting MicroServer Links
     
    ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 Links
     
    HSS Forums => HP MicroServer

    Dave
    That was a horrible headline but the gamers will get it.  One more team kill buddy and your outa here!  I also use "doomed" in the title because I've seen that word a few times this week and I keep asking myself if they aren't doomed what will they do in the mobile space?  Let's rewind a little bit back to the Acer Iconia W3.
     
    This thing was a disaster for both Acer and Microsoft and for what?  I think it was to prove an 8" Windows tablet is feasible but it was done all wrong.  The mass media will disagree with me but it's better suited for RT than the regular Windows 8 x86 OS.  I think RT is the obvious choice but it might have been the easier way out for Acer in order to get the 8 incher out the door.  They have since agreed that the screen is garbage and it will be improved in a future version.  I think this device was requested by Microsoft and rushed to the Build conference for developers to use for 8" testing.  You will now find it primarily on eBay for a heavily discounted price.
     
    If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this; "RT would have been perfect if it was Metro (Modern UI) only."  Microsoft seems to be late to the table for just about everything these days and RT is no different in my opinion.  I too think it would have been a better product without the desktop, without the confusion, and maybe a different name.  It's hard for me to criticize the product though because I do use and enjoy it but I think there are improvements to be made with it.
     
    Here comes the "doomed" bombshell.  Microsoft reports a 900 million dollar loss with Surface RT.  I don't care how much they make that is a loss and a big one at that.  I realize other branches of the "One" Microsoft can pick up the slack but that has to change things as Surface is concerned.  What will those changes be though?  Did Microsoft get enough feedback on the 8" to push forward with it's own offering?  Will gaming be enough to support a device like this?  Is the corporate environment enough to support Surface in 2014 with Windows 8.1?
     
    I ask those questions because that is what I believe the next push will be.  I can't see them giving up on Surface or RT but I'm having a hard time seeing where it fits now.  Google just announced at $229, 7" tablet that looks like a great contender to stand up to the iPad.  That put's RT in a tough position.  I was maintaining a position that RT could dig it's way out of the 900 million dollar hole if it got smaller and lost the desktop.  I'm not so sure of that anymore.  I was also thinking that maybe they should target the gaming market and accessorize the xBox One with a gaming Surface but I'm not so sure that will work either. Wii U? I do think it's time to dig a hole right beside all those Atari ET cartridges and move on to Surface 2.  Either that or give me a 7 inch tablet with Windows Phone 8 on it!
     
    I believe that Surface Pro is here to stay though.  I think the next push will be to the corporate folks.  If it works for the corporate IT folks in the server room and from home connected back to the server room you can chalk up a win.
     
    Summing it all up, no, Microsoft is not doomed but they have a huge hole to dig out of and it will be interesting to see how they choose to do so.

    Joe_Miner
    By: John Stutsman
     

     
    Figure 1 -- Storage Spaces in a Nutshell
     
     
     
    There was an interesting issue posted in the forums about some bizarre behavior a user was experiencing when trying to replace a HDD in his Storage Spaces Pool in Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2 Preview. I had experience with a test setup of Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 Essentials over a six month period and posted a few helpful (hopefully) comments in the Forum thread: Bizarre Storage Spaces Behaviour.
     
    Please join us in the HSS Forums with comments on the above and other threads.
     
     
     
    Additional References:
     
    TechNET Library: Storage Spaces Overview
     
    TechNET Library: Deploy Storage Spaces on a Stand-Alone Server
     
    TechNET Library: Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials & Windows Server 2012 Essentials
     
    MSDN Blog posting: Virtualizing Storage For Scale, Resiliency, and Efficiency
     
    TechNET Blog Posting: Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces: Is it for you? Could be….

    Dave

    BYOB Episode 127

    By Dave, in BYOB,

    Tonight Michael Martis and I talk about a variety of short topics.  We get into some hardware and even cell phone plans.


    Insteon Hub and Leak Detectors
    Verizon JetPack Mifi 5510L
    Asus RTN66U Wireless Router
    Update on Essentials R2 Anywhere Access
    BIOS status of Haswell boards
    New cell phone plans, Verizon Edge and ATT Next
    _______________________________________________
     
    Remember to send us an email at byobpodcast@gmail.com
     
    Follow BYOB on Twitter!
     
    Mike Faucher’s Blog
     
    Michael Martis’ Blog
     
    E-Mail – byobpodcast@gmail.com
     
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    Dave
    Today we will be reviewing the Acer Iconia W3 on video. Darren and Dave both have rants and we talk bad about people!

    The
    is a good one.  Lot's of screen changes and not just talking heads! I show the W3 a lot too.  I think I have finally figured out my YouTube strategy and it should be like this from now on. (except for the browser window showing on the video!)
    Cloud Backup as low as $50 for lifetime backups

    Will the NSA use XBOX One to Spy on your family? The Verge, Sean Hollister, July 16, 2013

    Attention, Shoppers: Store Is Tracking Your Cell, NYTimes, July 14, 2013

    Microsoft: We do not give the NSA keys to bypass email encryption, ZDNet, Zack Whittaker, July 16, 2013
    Microsoft Surface Watch: Dumb Idea, Or The Dumbest Idea Ever? Fast Company, Kit Eaton, July 15, 2013

    Surface Watch? Microsoft allegedly testing a 'translucent aluminum' smartwatch, The Verge, Tom Warren, July 15, 2013

    Microsoft is cutting the price of its Surface RT tablets, base model to cost $349, Tom Warren, July 11, 2013

    Microsoft slashes Surface RT price by $150, USA Today, July 17, 2013

    Is the Surface RT cheap, or is the iPad mini expensive? ZDNet, Matt Baxter Reynolds, July 17, 2013

    Forum:http://www.surfacegeeks.net/forums/index.php?/topic/616-microsoft-cutting-the-price-of-surface-rt-to-349/

    Windows 8.1 Fixes Microsoft pushes out a handful of fixes for Windows 8.1 Preview, ZDNet, Ed Bott, July 17, 2013

    Windows Phone 8 Microsoft details new Windows Phone 8 update, but real fixes won't come until 2014, The Verge, Tom Warren, July 12, 2013

    Tapatalk Forum App Released for Windows Phone, Mobile Syrup, Daniel Bader, July 4, 2013

    Official Vine App Coming to Windows Phone 8, The Verge, Tom Warren, July 11, 2013

    Microsoft launches native OWA apps for iPhone and iPad, ZDNet, Jason D. O’Grady, July 17, 2013

    Microsoft Wants Developers To Start Creating The “Companion Web”, TechCrunch,  Frederic Lardinois, July 17, 2013

    W3 Review - It’s not a glowing recommendation however it’s a confirmation that 8” can work.

    Buy the W3 or not? Buy the RT or not?

    http://surfacegeeks.net/review-acer-iconia-w3-8-inch-windows-8-tablet.html

    Shout out to Viewers around the World... Thanks for listening!

    http://www.surfacegeeks.net/forums/index.php?/topic/619-hi-there/#entry3536

    Meetup Info:
    September 21st, 2013

    Indianapolis, Indiana

    Holiday Inn Express, 9791 North by Northeast Blvd, Fishers, IN 46037

    http://www.surfacegeeks.net/forums/index.php?/topic/488-surface-geeks-meetup-2013/

    Dave
    I've got an alternative backup idea for you and will share that as well as a little follow up on last week's show.  A lot going on in the forums and we will talk about some posts.  Big week for the Meetup and I'll announce a few things about that.  This was a fun show!  Enjoy.
     
    Jim Collison can be found here and on Twitter.
     
    I had an SSD question.

    Forums are really hopping lately!

    It’s an absolute blast to chat with you guys in these forums.  Thank you so much for particpating like you do.

    Alternative Backups

    I’ve been to Fry’s again and have a few things to discuss and share.  New Egg search on externals.


    $99 at newegg, $79 at Frys.
     
    Good deal on an external enclosure. If you already have a drive laying around why not put it to good use.

    Also found this SanDisk 128GB SSD for $99 at Fry’s and it is $89 at newegg.  Was going to do the “match internet prices” thing at Frys but they were out of stock.

    This SSD popped up on sale today:


    Patriot Memory Gauntlet Node PCGTW25S 2.5" Black USB 3.0 Wireless Hard-drive Enclosure - Fits 2.5" HDD/SSD Wifi Storage    

    Same at Fry's only cheaper!
    I’ve also been looking for a 16 port switch for my desk.
     
    My WHS 2011 Build
     
     
     
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    iOS App Store
     
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    Dave
    I tweeted out a photo of the Acer Iconia W3 when it arrived at my house.
     

     
    I knew what I was getting into as I have read the reviews.  Some of these reviews are even in the Surface Geeks Forums.
     
    I know the screen is suspect but I had to test the form factor for myself.  I was keeping my eye on the Amazon links to the 32GB and the 64 GB tablet for a few weeks.  Then, the popular Microsoft Developer conference took place in San Francisco. Attendees were treated to a Surface Pro and the W3.
     
    When Build 2013 wrapped up, eBay was inundated with the W3.  Prior to Build there were just two up for sale.  It was easy to tell the new listings were Build W3’s because they were all 64GB units and came with a bluetooth keyboard.  Most were classified as “New In Box” and a few were described as “opened to make sure it turns on.”  Or, I wanted to check it out before I cashed in.
     
    The 32Gb version goes for $379 new, and the 64GB for $429.  The keyboard has been estimated to sell for $50 to $70.  eBay auctions are listing anywhere from $350 to $499 and the ones I have seen are selling mostly around $350.  Why am I going over eBay pricing so much? Read on and you will see.

    First Impressions
    How do you compare the first 8” Windows 8 tablet when it’s the first of its kind?  Well, I own the Surface RT and the iPad mini.  I owned the Surface Pro for a few weeks too.  I have a couple of 10” iPads but my kids don’t let me touch them unless they are goofed up in some way.
     
    Let’s bring up the basic stats on the W3 first. (detailed stats here)


    Screen Resolution – 1280 x 800
     
    Weight – 1.1 lb.
     
    Screen – Acitve Matrix TFT LCD 8.1”
     
    CPU – Atom Z2760, 1.50Ghz, Dual Core
     
    RAM – 2GB
    It’s b/g/n WIFI, has an HDMI out, one micro USB, and a microSD card slot.  It also comes with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 Edition.

    The screen

    Let’s just get it out of the way quick.  That’s why your reading right?  Does it look as crappy as everyone says it does?
    One issue with this 8” tablet is the 1280x800 resolution that will not allow you to snap an app to the side of the screen in the Modern UI interface.  You need a 1366x768 resolution or higher to do that.  Not everyone will be turned off by that as snapping is a preference not all will use especially if your coming from iOS.
     
    But, this is an 8 inch tablet. In the modern UI its really great at serving one app at a time. it’s a good consumption device. Don’t get to hung up,on the snapping issue.
     
    I compared the W3 to its “size related” best seller. The iPad mini.  The mini is an a/b/g/n WIFI tablet with a 1024x768 screen sporting 163 pixels per inch.  The Acer W3 is a whopping 186 ppi. Huh? More pixels?
     
    It comes down to IPS vs LCD. And a mediocre LCD at that.  The W3’s LCD screen is grainy and very unimpressive.
     
    I handed it to Mrs. Surface Geek and she had two statements.
     
    1. Where did you get this? (I didn’t run this purchase through the accounting department)
     
    2. This thing looks horrible.
     
    I handed it to her with SkyDrive photos on the screen for her to show family members.  She knows what they should look like.  My rebuttal was the perfect apologist and defensive answer.
     
    “Well, it’s full Windows 8 and it’s cheap!”
     
    Mrs. Surface Geeks, “Ok, but it' still looks like sh*!.”
     
    How can this be explained?  Think of an iPhone 3GS or older smartphone with a plastic screen protector on it.  You remember the grainy look it had?  That’s it!  There is a grainy look to it like there is a layer of “something cheap” under the glass.

    Don’t stop reading yet!
    I know, I confirmed it, the screen is bad.  Is it that bad though?  Is it bad enough to not consider a sub $400, full blown Windows 8 tablet with bluetooth keyboard?  Keep reading because you want to know about desktop apps on this tablet. Don’t ya? (updated at bottom)[gallery ids=895,896,897,900,901,903,898,899,904,906]
     
     
     
    Productivity vs. Consumption
     
    I started writing this article with the bluetooth keyboard on a hard surface. The awesome thing about the W3 is that I started with Windows Live Writer which is an app you can only install on an x86 PC.  Yes, I could have used a different app to start writing the review but the point is I used a full blown PC app and that’s what sets the W3 apart from an ARM based tablet. Is it necessary though?
     
    As I said, I started with the keyboard and really was just as productive as I would be on a PC. I used a Modern UI app to help with the photos and the keyboard performed very well. When I moved to the couch in the evening it was much harder with the virtual keyboard on this little screen.  Yet, checking email, weather, news, is very easy. I can do that with my Surface RT though!  I’m very conflicted about the whole thing and hanging on to the idea of running legacy apps on a tablet.  I don’t know if it’s just laziness or just habit.  I like the old way.
     
    The screen is a bit to small for the desktop.  It’s hard to get around and the touch points are tiny.  Having said that I made it happen and everyone who gets an x86 tablet whether it’s 8 or 11 inches will try it.  I’m not going to tell you to not try it.  It’s entirely possible to pull off too.  It’s just a pain sometimes.  If you wanted to add a mouse or a pen device you could make it simpler but who are we fooling here?  If you do that you should have purchased a touch notebook or some convertible.
     
    I keep coming back to the phrase, “you can do it if you need to.”  Desktop, Pen, Mouse, Keyboard, x86 apps.  It’s versatile if not anything else.
     
    If anything, I proved to myself that I like this form factor better than the Surface RT.  It's a more friendly "couch companion" than the RT. Change the screen in this little guy and you have a winner!
     
    Conclusion and Random Thoughts on the W3

     
    It’s not a speed demon.  You will need a little patience during some operations. Installing, adding a new tab to IE, etc.  It’s an Atom processor so think back to that Netbook you carried around and wouldn’t show your friends.  Yep, that’s it.
     
    The charging port is a standard DC plug that’s on the bottom of the unit.  The headphone jack is on the same side so it can be confusing in low light.  See photos.
     
    A 10 inch or better tablet size would be more suited for desktop use in Windows 8.
     
    This size is awesome to hold. I think more so than rt.  I want to love this device but Acer is making it hard to!
     
    Holding it, my left hand is always warm.
     
    I've seen reviewers say it feels cheap.  It's plastic, hello!  It's at a certain price point for a reason.  Folks, it does not feel cheap.  It feels like plastic and glass.  It feels fine.   The seams from plastic to glass are good.  The buttons are good.  It's not an iPad so stop comparing it to one.  You can compare the screen quality to the iPad like I did but show me an iPad that can run the apps that this thing can. Be wary of anyone comparing it the iPad much like the crowd compared the Surface RT to the iPad.
     
    It's bigger, it's heavier.  It has an Atom processor in it that runs x86 apps.
     
    The recovery process will not use the microSD card as a target, only USB. The micro USB port is not real handy to plug normal USB keys into obviously, so you will need to head to Amazon and get a cheap converter.  It's only $3.09 when I looked.
     
    Stickers on the W3 are on the back. Surely you know how to properly remove stickers right? It's easy to complain about this but one shouldn't make a major deal about it.

    It's so easy to dismiss this screen, call it lousy, and move on.

    I think most reviewers see the screen and will then tear all the other factors about this tablet to pieces regardless of quality.  Ignore them.
    The screen is bad folks but I mentioned eBay earlier for a reason.  The screen is so bad that I wouldn't purchase it new from Amazon, Acer, or the Microsoft Store.  However, it's liveable if you can get a good price for it.  Viewing angle?  What are you doing? Sitting to the side of the thing?  Come on, it's not great but put it front of you!
     
    If you can get the W3 off of eBay for a good price then I say go for it. Have fun, you just got a full blown Windows PC for the couch for less than $400. (see update)

    UPDATED:
    This just in! Acer admits selling a crappy display and is re-tooling to improve it! Whoa, this changes everything.  I think my review is different than the others I have read, so instead of dismantling it to include this information I wanted to leave it intact and review this new info and see if it would change my mind any about the W3.
     
    It does too.  I liked the W3 and if it had a quality display I would like it even more.  This news changes everything though!  This should push eBay prices down a little bit since most of the W3's listed out there are from Build.  If you can pick this up for sub $300 pricing it is still a viable piece of gear. I'm thinking $250 tablet only, $280 with keyboard.  We still need some official confirmation from Acer on the screens though.
     
    Get crafty with it. Put 2 in the car for road trips.  Build it into a wall for Windows 8 software for the house.  Use the Ceton App to control your Windows Media Center and throw it on the coffee table.  You just found a new remote for your TV!
     
     
     
    Manufacturer Link:  Acer Iconia W3
     
    http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/series/iconiaw3

    Dave
    DrivePop, powered by Live Drive, is a cloud backup service that runs on your PC's, Macs, and has apps for every flavor of mobile device.  Yes, even Surface RT and Windows Phone 8.  This deal has been very popular and is only available until Thursday, July 18th.
     
    DrivePop is a cloud backup service for one to many PC’s and Macs in your network.  I worked out a special limited offer with DrivePop that gives you a LIFETIME subscription for only a small up front fee.  It’s DrivePop‘s hope that you will return the favor by telling everyone that you use DrivePop.
     

     
    I know you have SkyDrive right? Yes, most of us do.  I sync my SkyDrive service to almost everything I own.  I use DrivePop for my bigger files and for more files than I do the SkyDrive service.  I don't want huge video files on SkyDrive.  This is a supplement for SkyDrive users.
     
    I chose the $99.99 Ultimate plan just so I don’t have to worry about what PC’s I’ve used on the service.  I’m betting the Family plan is what is best for most folks though.  Like Crashplan and many other cloud services, this is a backup service and not a archive service.  Archive services like what Amazon offers cost a TON of money.  It's also not a "bare metal backup" for your PC.
     
    Live Drive will give you a tool to choose what directories to backup and also let you set a scheduled time for the backup as well as a method to control the bandwidth the service utilizes.  The service will "version" your files up to 30 times!  If you completely hose up a document you can go back and restore an older version.
     

     

     
    Look, Surface RT!
     
    This deal is only available until July 18th.  Pass the link on to friends and family members to get them backed up!  Get started HERE!
     


    Dave
    A huge week of news for Microsoft and partners. Nokia releases the Lumia 1020 and we prognosticate a little about the camera with a phone attached.  Darren goes off with the "Swing and a Miss" theory about Microsoft and I put on my backup hat and tell you about a new cloud backup service I'm using.  It also has WP8 and RT apps!

    Cloud Backup as low as $50 for lifetime backups

    Blog Post: Microsoft’s Swing and Miss

    Surface Geeks Forum: Microsoft’s Swing and Miss - Response

    The missing pieces from the Windows 8.1 preview, ZDNet, Ed Bott, July 9, 2013

    Windows 8.1: Close, but no cigar, ZDNet, Steven J. Vaughan Nichols, July 8, 2013

    Windows 8.1 update to be finalized in 'late August,' ready for PC makers, The Verge, Tom Warren, July 8, 2013

    Aiming for “Functional Coherence,” Mulling a Different P&L and With Advice From Ford CEO, it’sMicrosoft Restructuring Set for Thursday, All Things D, Kara Swisher, July 8, 2013

    Microsoft's Products Need More Horsepower, Wall Street Journal, Rolfe Winkler, July 7, 2013

    New hints on what's coming next for Microsoft Surface, Skype, Windows Phone, ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley, July 10, 2013

    Microsoft warns of 'targeted attacks,' points finger at Google researcher's flaw disclosure, ZDNet, Zack Whittaker, July 10, 2013

    Microsoft’s 256GB Surface Pro Hits the States, All Things D, John Paczkowski, July 1, 2013

    Tablet Tease: Microsoft Surface Channel Debut Bypasses Bulk of Partners, CRN, Rob Wright and Steven Burke, July 01, 2013

    Windows 8 tablet outscores iPad in new Microsoft video spot, CNet, Lance Whitney, July 10, 2013

    Making Windows Phone an Even Better Choice for Business, Windows Phone Blog, Robert Hoover, July 10, 2013

    Recap: This week’s Windows Phone news from T-Mobile, Sprint, and Nokia, Windows Phone Blog, Michael Stroh, July 10, 2013

    Microsoft now gives developers 180 days to plug security holes in Windows, Windows Phone, Office, and Azure apps, The Next Web, Emil Protalinski, July 9, 2013

    Spotify for Windows Phone 8 comes out of beta, finally brings track scrubbing, The Next Web, Jon Russell, July 8, 2013

    Nokia's navigation apps for Windows Phone 8 will learn your commute, provide traffic updates

    http://www.theverge.com/microsoft/2013/7/9/4508674/windows-phone-8-nokia-here-navigation-apps-update

    Flipboard Surface Geeks Magazine

    Have iOS, get started. If not, wait for Windows 8 app. Saw it on a Surface used in demos at WPC this week.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/next/archive/2013/07/01/flipboard-is-coming-to-windows-at-just-the-right-time.aspx

    Everyone knows about BLINK right?

    http://conversations.nokia.com/2013/07/05/never-miss-a-shot-with-blink-for-nokia-lumia/

    W3 Conversations in Forums

    http://gigaom.com/2013/07/05/hands-on-with-acer-iconia-w3-full-windows-8-on-an-8-inch-tablet/

    Meetup Info:

    September 21st, 2013

    Indianapolis, Indiana

    Holiday Inn Express, 9791 North by Northeast Blvd, Fishers, IN 46037

    http://www.surfacegeeks.net/forums/index.php?/topic/488-surface-geeks-meetup-2013/
     

  • Our picks

    • I throw this out every once in a while.  Is anyone interested in writing up "semi-formal" reviews here on the forums?  I say semi-formal because they don't have to be pro level, just a good attempt at telling the story about the gear.  Something you have purchased lately.  You don't have to go buy stuff, just incorporate what you have already have purchased.  Hit me up with any questions.  You never know where it will lead!
        • Like
      • 2 replies
    • D-Link has dropped a couple of new products and additions to their lineup of smart home gear.  Hold on because there is a lot of gear!
      Let's start with cameras.  D-Link has new Wi-Fi cameras, the Full HD Pan and Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8302LH) and Full HD Indoor and Outdoor Pro Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8526LH).  These are not just new, and good looking cams, they can now perform people detection and glass break detection.  The new cameras also feature expanded ways for customers to save video, including ONVIF Profile S, which enables custom storage and streaming options to personal NAS devices, built-in storage microSD capacity up to 256 GB, as well as free and paid cloud storage options. 
       

       
      This year's camera models include both an indoor and an outdoor model. The outdoor model features a spotlight and siren that can be triggered when motion is detected, deterring potential intruders. The indoor model pans around to give a full 360-degree view of any room and tracks motion. Both include two-way audio. 
      Full HD Pan and Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera is the model (DCS-8302LH), available in Q2, 2020, and retail pricing will be $99.99.
      Full HD Indoor and Outdoor Pro Wi-Fi Camera is the model (DCS-8526LH), available in Q3, 2020, and retail pricing will be $119.99.
      One of my favorite products is Wi-Fi.  D-Link has a whole lot of new products coming including Wi-Fi 6, Mesh, Alexa and Google Assistant integration, IFTTT, Parental Controls, and more!
       

       
      There are so many new SKU's that I can't make heads or tails of them!  I'm going to be speaking with D-Link more this week and will sort all of these out. I do want you to see all they are offering and what the release date and projected retail pricing will be.

      AC1900 Scalable Mesh Wi-Fi Router (COVR-1900-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1750-US), Q1 2020, $99.99
      AC1900 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1950-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1755-US), Q1 2020, $99.99
      AC1950 Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1955-US), Q1 2020, $109.99
      Smart AX1500 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X1560-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      Smart AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X1870-US), Q2 2020, $139.99
      Smart AX2400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X2460-US), Q3 2020, $159.99
      Smart AX5400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X5460-US), Q1 2020, $279.99
      AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Range Extender (DAP-X1870-US), Q2 2020, $129.99
      AX1800 Whole Home Mesh System (COVR-X1872-US), QX22020, $269.99
        • Like
      • 0 replies
    • RESET Merch Shop
      Get ya Merch here!  I've created a T-Shirt shop with the famous RESET paperclip. I've pasted that clip on just about everything so you can wear it around town!  Cable bags, Coffee Mugs, T-Shirts, and more. 
       
      https://reset.threadless.com/
       
      or you can get it it via
       
      https://reset.fm/store
       
      Here is the main design.
       

       
      Below is a part of the order that I put in!  
       
       

       
      The Heather Grey above is the Extra Soft version and it is awesome.  I highly recommend the softness!    The "Chili Red" is the Tri-Blend and probably my favorite feel and color.

       
      This is the Zip-Up Hoody, Heather Indigo, Sponge Fleece, Men's, Large.  In my podcast I couldn't remember what style it was but it is Sponge Fleece. It's REALLY soft on the inside. Soft outside as well. The only problem is with the zip up hoody the logo is on the back. Regular hoody, it will be on the front.
       
      https://reset.threadless.com/
       
      or you can get it it via
       
      https://reset.fm/store
       
      Thank you for supporting this community. Everything you purchase will help keep the lights on the hard drives spinning.
       
      • 0 replies
    • OneDrive Personal Vault and expandable storage
      Microsoft's OneDrive has a few new features and options worth pointing out.  Personal Vault and Expandable Storage.
       
      Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive that can only be accessed with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS. 
       
      Personal Vault gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files, photos, and videos—for example, copies of documents such as your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information—should someone gain access to your account or device.
      Plus, this added security won’t slow you down. You can quickly access your important documents, photos, and files with confidence wherever you are, on your PC, OneDrive.com, or your mobile device.

       
      Beyond a second layer of identity verification, Personal Vault also includes the following security measures:
       
      Scan and shoot—Using the OneDrive app, you can scan documents or shoot photos directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device, like your camera roll.
      Automatic locking—No need to worry about whether you left your Personal Vault or your files open—both will close and lock automatically after a period of inactivity.
      BitLocker encryption—On Windows 10 PCs, OneDrive automatically syncs your Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive.
      Restricted sharing—To prevent accidental sharing, files in Personal Vault and shared items moved into Personal Vault cannot be shared.
       
      Taken together, these security measures help ensure that Personal Vault files are not stored unprotected on your PC, and your files have additional protection, even if your Windows 10 PC or mobile device is lost, stolen, or someone gains access to it or to your account.
       
      Expandable Storage
       
      If you are and Office 365 Subscriber you get 1 TB of OneDrive storage space with all the other Office goodies like Word, Excel, etc.  I know personally that I have gone over the 1TB limit and have always wanted to be able to add additional storage to my account.  Now you can!

       
      Pick and option and keep on hoarding, errr, I mean saving! Cancel anytime, upgrade at any moment.
      • 1 reply
    • Ubiquiti adds new items to the Unifi Line including UAP Flex HD and the Unifi Dream machine
      Ubiquiti has been busy.  There area ton of new items to recently released and I'm going to share two of my favorites.
       
      The UAP Flex HD and the Unifi Dream machine. The Flex HD is a mouthful of descriptors like most of UI gear is.  It's a 2Ghz 2x2 MIMO, 5GHz 4x4 MU-MIMO, POE, Indoor/Outdoor, multi mount, mesh point that is no bigger than a can of Coke.

       
      You will still need the Unifi controller although you can configure it with basic functionality with the Unifi App.  I've always found it's best to configure with your controller and then use the app as an add-on.  There are several mounting options that include sitting it on a shelf! That is something that Unifi has not had before unless you count the ceiling AP I have awkwardly mounted placed on top of a few books.  It can be found on the Unifi store for $179.
       
      https://store.ui.com/collections/wireless/products/unifi-flexhd
       
      The Dream Machine is an altogether different beast that I hope lives up to its naming.  This is the gateway drug, for lack of a better term, to the Unifi world.  The starter kit.  It is an Access Point, Gigabit Switch, Security Gateway, and the Cloud Key all in one package.  The latter being the most significant as this is something that has deterred new users from getting started with Unifi.  Requiring new users to purchase a $100 item just to run the AP's has been somewhat of a roadblock in the past.  Granted, that is improving every year with the ability to run it in the cloud, on a NAS, a Pi, Docker, MacOS, and of course Windows, it is still a barricade to getting up and running when manufacturers such as Eero offer simplicity in an app.
       

       
      The switch includes 4 LAN Ports and 1 WAN port.  All of which are Gigabit and security services such as IPS are rated at Gigabit speed. It's $299 in the Unifi store but I'm unsure how nicely it will play with other Unifi gear.  This may be a nice "first AP" with its built in Cloud Key if you can add additional units or other Unifi access points.
       
      https://store.ui.com/collections/routing-switching/products/unifi-dream-machine
      • 4 replies


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