“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!” – Henry David Thoreau
In a recent post, I broke up with my iPad and my laptop in one fell swoop. The reason was simple, I needed more power and less bulk. Basically, I’m looking for the convenience and form factor of an iPad with the functionality of a laptop. Ideally it would be a device designed for Windows 8, but since those haven’t shipped yet, I decided to make due with the Samsung Series 7 tablet I received last week while at an event in Redmond, WA (aka the home of Microsoft). For the next 30 days I’m going to use the tablet as my only device to see if the concept will work. Along the way I plan on blogging about my experiences, both good and bad.
Today was day 0. The day I installed and configured the various pieces of software I use on a daily basis. Before I walk you through what I did, let me tell you the hardware setup I’ll be using over the next 30 days
- Samsung Series 7 tablet (with dock and digitized stylus)
- Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000
- Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse 5000
- When not mobile, I’ll be using an HDMI to DVI adapter to use a secondary 27” monitor.
With that out of the way, here’s what I did today.
The first thing I needed to do was get the machine set up. Microsoft was kind enough to install trial versions of Windows 8 and Visual Studio ultimate on the device, but I wanted to start with a blank slate (get it?) The first step was to reformat the hard drive and install Windows 8 Enterprise Edition. Typically I would create a bootable VHD for this, but since disk space is at a premium I deiced to run right on the metal. This process went fairly smoothly and took about 30 minutes.
Next up, I installed the following desktop apps:
- Office 2013 Preview
- Visual Studio 2012 (with Windows Azure Tools)
- Visual Studio 2010 (for Windows Phone development)
- Windows Live Writer (the ONLY tool to use for blogging)
- Zune (to sync my Windows Phone)
- iTunes (yes, iTunes. I’ve made a large investment in music and videos with iTunes over the years and would like to be able to consume those items on my tablet)
Then I installed the following apps from the Store:
- OneNote MX
- Remote Desktop
By the time I was done I had about 75 GB left on the hard drive, not too bad at all. Here are my initial impressions:
- All installs went very smooth. I was up and running in under 5 hours.
- When the tablet was docked I wasn’t getting any sound. This was because the tablet was configured to use USB speakers by default when in the dock. I quickly changed this and was good to go.
- The keyboard isn’t backlit. I have come to love the backlit keyboard on my Dell Precision M2400 workstation as well as the backlit Logitech K800 wireless USB keyboard I keep in my home office. This isn’t a deal killer, just a bummer.
- I noticed a little flakiness with left-clicking the mouse while in IE (both desktop and non-desktop versions). After I rebooted the table the issue went away, but I’ll keep my eye on it.
- MetroTwit is an OK Twitter client, just OK. I’ll probably look at some of the other ones out there as this one isn’t blowing me away.
- Using the digitized stylus with OneNote MX is a great experience. Being able to put my diagrams in a OneNote notebooks is a huge win for me!
- iTunes on Windows 8 is still iTunes on Windows – nothing great. The native Music and Video apps are much better, but I still need iTunes for a lot of my content.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll start playing around with how to replace one feature I loved on my iPad, AirPlay.