How’s everyone been? Sorry it’s been awhile since the last post. Life’s been crazy. Will try to get something posted soon.
How’s everyone been? Sorry it’s been awhile since the last post. Life’s been crazy. Will try to get something posted soon.
Really like the way this car looks. Telsa needs all those supercharger stations in place between this can be a viable primary vehicle for the general public.
Launch day for the Blackberry Z10 is finally here. I was anxious to finally play with it in person for the first time and after doing so here are my intial impressions:
- The multitasking lives up to it’s promises. I launched the browser and went to the ESPN site and started a 4 minute clip with no issues. While the clip was playing I went away from the browser to check out the other features of the OS and the video clip played without a hiccup the entire time (on LTE, with Wifi off).
- The camera took decent pics and is capable of taking many successive shots without waiting long in between shots. The Timeshift feature is slick. The knock on the camera in reviews have been poor low light pics. I was not able to test this but I don’t really expect great pics in low light with a camera phone.
- The Keyboard is pretty awesome! The predictive text and ability to flick words up to the message didn’t take too long to get used to. The ability to swipe left to delete an entire word makes correcting the last typed word so much easier.
- I checked out Blackberry World to see how many apps were available but more importanly how many FREE apps were available. There seemed to be a decent amount. Especially under Travel, there were many airline apps shown although many were airlines from other parts of the world. I’m sure there are many apps that iOS and Android users are used to will not be there but for me (a very light app user) I thought it was OK. Definitely better than the previous selection available with the old Blackberry OS.
- Screen was sharp and I thought it was a good size but I never cared to have a huge phone with a big screen. I thought the overall size and feel was pretty nice in my hands with a soft grippy back cover.
- Some features are a bit too buried in the menu. The big one for me was the Mark as Read in the HUB. I had to tap the date, then on the menu side bar tap more options, to find Mark prior as Read. 3 taps is too much!
- Speaker volume from the video clip wasn’t that strong despite being set to maximum volume.
- Not sure if this a Con but it took me 2-3 minutes to figure out the main gestures. Listing this in the Con section because a casual user browsing in the store probably won’t try too hard to figure it out before putting the phone down and moving on.
* This list will definitely be longer if I spent more time with the phone since I didn’t get to play with it extensively. This would be true for any phone but only 3 obvious cons is not too shabby.
I was disappointed with the lack of people in the store. As I was leaving the AT&T store a woman stopped me and asked if I just bought a Blackberry. I told her no because I expect to get one for free soon. She told me she was sent by her editor to interview people buying the phone but it has been hard to find people to talk to. It really is unfortunate. I’ve been waiting anxiously for the new phone and have read a lot about it before playing with it today and it has lived up to my expectations rather than disappoint me which I think is good. If the reception in the US is lukewarm then the company will be done soon. Although the Q10 with the physical keyboard coming out in late April will be another important indicator but by then it might be too late.
Perhaps the lack of excitement is due to people like me expecting a free phone from their companies but that may be part of the problem for Blackberry. I encourage people to check it out for yourselves, you might be surprised.
Came across this when looking for shoe rack ideas. Oh the horror! Wedging the shoe in the slots will ruin the leather of your shoes. Don’t do it!
Wednesday was the beginning for Blackberry (formerly known as RIM)…. whether it was the beginning of its restoration to glory (at least a fraction of it) or the official beginning of the end remains to be seen.
I know that no matter what I will be using BB10 in some fashion. Whether it’s by updating the Playbook that I got for watching videos during my commute (and to hedge my BB10 bet) or getting the new Blackberry Z10. I am anxious to see if the new OS is up to snuff for MY standards. I’m not anxious because I think it’s perfect and utterly amazing and so I HAVE TO have it rather it’s because I’m afraid of what it is now and what it may longer be compared to the old models which I’ve grown accustomed to.
Things I love about the older Blackberry devices
In order to fully understand where I’m coming from you have to know what I love about the older Blackberry devices. You may dismiss it as me being nick picky but these are things that I truly appreciated about the Blackberry after switching to an iPhone 4. Most of the comparisons are to iOS which is not meant to be an iPhone bashing but it’s what I can honestly compare it to having used it for a long time myself.
1. Blinking red light. - It allows me to know and choose whether or not to check my phone for new messages whenever one arrived. I didn’t have to pick it up from the desk or turn it on, I just knew there was something new waiting for me. Maybe more importantly a simple glance and seeing no blinking light allowed me to continue on with what I was doing. Having used a different phone the past 4 months I have missed countless number of messages (emails, texts, Facebook) that I otherwise would have responded to in a much timelier manner with an old Blackberry.
2. Highly customizable alerts - With all the different sounds, buzzes, banners, and pop ups available on phones today it’s great to have granular control of how I was notified about everything. Perhaps I’m an oddball but all I need is for the Blackberry to be absolutely silent except for when I get phone calls, which I want it to ring and vibrate. For everything else the blinking red light and the red star icon on the individual app containing the new message was all I needed. Believe it or not there was not way to achieve this combination on the iPhone. I couldn’t get ring and vibrate for phone only and if I disable all sound notifications for every app except for phone I still get sounds in the iMessage app if I’m actively in the apps texting with another person.
3. Separate message lists - There’s a unified inbox that has all your email accounts in one list but you can also have each email account separated and have it’s own list. This allowed me to take action for all my email accounts at once or only deal with each one individually.
4. Ability to “Mark Prior as Read” - This a crucial feature for me. I can’t stand seeing the unread email icon because if there are any unread I tend to lose track of what’s actually new and what’s not. This feature combined with the unified or individual message lists help me sort about what’s important and what’s not.
5. Email folder redirection. - Configuring emails that are moved to certain folders by Outlook rules show up in my main message list on my Blackberry was sorely missed. I hate needing to manually check certain folders to see if new email arrived and then backing out of it to go back to the inbox on the iPhone.
6. Filters and rules. - Being able to stop certain emails from getting delivered to my phone using filters that I can set on the phone itself. This was important because as an IT professional I get hundreds of alerts if systems are down. I don’t need the same alert over and over again until the problem is resolved so being able to stop getting them after I am aware of the problem is helpful so that my inbox is not flooded and emails from colleagues are not lost in the mix amongst a sea of alerts during problems.
7. Music app - It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that email on Blackberry is superior than other platforms but I was very surprised by how much I missed the music player in my Blackberry as well. This is especially true if you’re a commuter or a person that walks everywhere to get around. Why? It has to do with the way you can control the music. Using your hands to skip tracks is to be expected but how you use your hands is where the difference is. With many other smartphones you have to look at the screen and tap/swipe in order to control the music or reach for the button on the headphone. No big deal right? With the old Blackberry I was able to hold my phone in my hand while in my pocket and just use the volume rocker buttons to control my music. No need to take my out my phone or my hand out from my pockets and reach for the headset button while I’m sandwiched between people during rush hour or as I was trying to sleep on the train. Another feature that I took for granted was being able to create Playlists on the fly while listening to music. This is especially useful if you can’t read the name of the song because it’s in another language or if you have multiple files with the same name (ie track 1). No need to search for the song and then add it to the playlist.
8. Facebook - Since using the iPhone I have noticed that Facebook notifications do not always show up in real time. Sometimes I would go a whole day before I find out that I have new notifications from Facebook. In this day and age many of use communicate strict through social networks with certain people so this is a bigger deal than most would think. Like many other iOS apps you need to open the app before data or updates show up and if you don’t have a data connection many apps would show up blank until you restore your connection. With the Blackberry Facebook app I got everything in real time and it even downloaded newsfeed content automatically which allowed me to catch up on the things I missed while I was in the underground subway.
9. Social Feeds app - This built in Social Feeds app in BB7 was intended to centralize other Social Media networks like Facebook and Twitter but I used mainly for RSS feeds. Like the Blackberry Facebook app it automatically downloaded content so that when I was offline I was still able to read blogs that I subscribe to.
Things that needed to be addressed badly on the old Blackberry.
1. Underpowered specs. - The hardware seemed to always be a generation or 2 behind which resulted in laggy performance (mainly for 3rd party apps). It was fine for the built-in OS components like email, web browsing (which was fine since BB6 in my opinion), camera and pics but was horrible for apps like Google Maps and Yelp. Perhaps it was related to the GPS requirement for those apps as it took forever for it to get a location and the app would freeze until it did or until it gave up. The new BB10 device specs are right in line with all of the today’s high end phones so this shouldn’t be an issue as of this launch but Blackberry can certainly not afford to wait another 2 years before releasing it’s next generation of devices if it wants to stay in the game.
2. Camera. - When they redid the camera in BB6 it took pretty decent pictures using the pause after the snap to allow you stabilize the phone before it captured the pic. But with my Torch and Torch 2 the camera just didn’t seem responsive enough and pics where often blurry especially while indoors or in low light.
Here are some of the new things that I’m looking forward to seeing for myself on BB10:
1. Of the “good” things about old Blackberry, the following have been confirmed to be in tact. - Notification light, Music app controls and playlist creation and Mark Prior as Read are back. So I’m really looking forward to regaining some functionality. This is probably the most important thing for me.
2. Gestures - I admit that devices requiring gestures do have a steeper learning curve but when it comes down to it there’s only a limited number of gestures that are available. It’s not like you need to do a Street Fighter Dragon Shoryuken motion to access an app. They are just simple left, right, up, down, gestures along with 1 or 2 combo (up and right or left) gestures. Once you get used to it navigating through the OS is so much more fluid. I found this to be the case with the Playbook and Windows Surface.
3. Better Camera - Most flagship phones now have a f stop of 2.0 which allows for better indoor or low light pictures without the need for the flash. I also hope that the shutter and the time between shots are much faster on the new phones. Time Shift and Storyteller look cool although I probably won’t be using it much. Having seen demos of the camera it looks like it will be close to what I’m hoping for. Yay!
4. Virtual Keyboard - The Torch allowed me to get used to a virtual keyboard at my own pace while still having the comfort of a physical keyboard if things got serious. I admit that the iPhones virtual keyboard is pretty good and is much better than the Torch’s but it’s still annoying for me to use for the most part. I HATE autocorrect. The demos of the Z10’s virtual keyboard lead me to think that I can actually use and LIKE it. The concept of flicking words as you see them suggested, deleting entire words with left swipes, and accessing numbers and symbols with a down swipe of the keyboard are all pretty cool and innovative approaches to the virtual keyboard. If it works as well as it’s intended it allows users to be much more fluid and LESS precise with their typing while still being accurate with their message. Goodbye embarrassing autocorrects?
What I’m on the fence about:
1. The remaining essentials from the old OS that have yet to be confirmed.
2. Activesync - BB10 will be using Activesync for most emails accounts that can support it. My concern is that it strips some of the email functionality that was so good in the old OS. The folder redirection, filters, and setting out of office from the phone being the main ones. Activesync does solve an old Blackberry annoyances by being actual to sync message status (read/unread) from the phone and the website.
3. Blackberry Hub - While I think it’s great to be able to do a slew of actions while remaining in the Hub app, the lack of ability to separate email accounts by icons has me worried. I don’t want to be restricted to a unified inbox but since there’s still a way to access each account individually within the Hub it may be just a matter of adjusting my habits.
4. Active Frames - There are definitely good uses for true multitasking capabilities, like listening to a podcast or video while composing an email. I think It makes much more sense on a tablet but on the whole I don’t think it’s essential for a phone. While this ensures that apps like Facebook and the browser will not require a data connection to view content like the iPhone does I’m not sure it’s worth the price of shorter battery (TBD) since I was quite content with the background auto updating in the old OS. Besides, how many apps really need to be “live” to that degree?
5. Battery life - In addition to the previous point this is the first LTE Blackberry. LTE devices usually suffer in terms of battery life. Several unboxing videos show a new charger that can use an extra battery to charge the phone while it’s still in use. This is different and innovative but probably means battery life is not as good as previous devices. TBD.
5. Maps - I’m surprised that Blackberry is not using Google for map data having seen the backlash Apple went through with the iPhone 5. But as long as the maps app is responsive and mostly functional I don’t really care for all the bells and whistles of Google maps. Besides the web browser is full HTML5 and Flash compatible so I can always use the website if I wanted to see 3D maps or Streetview.
6. Selection of Apps - I admit that I’m not a big app user. But with the iPhone I did go through a few phases of addiction with games like Tap the Frog, Doors and Rooms, and Frog Jump. There were a few really useful apps as well like the LIRR app, ESPN Fantasy Football, Embark subway maps, and a useable Tumblr app. I can certainly live without games and I can always use a browser to get useful information but it would be really nice of apps like these were available on the BB10 platform as well. Not a deal breaker but a nice to have for me. I know this is not the case of most as App selection seems to be Blackberry’s Achilles heel right now.
I obviously don’t have a new BB10 on hand to review and this is NOT a review but rather a history of my Blackberry use and what I hope BB10 delivers. Many of the tech reviews I’ve read state that BB10 lack the “game changing” factor to entice people away from other platforms. I have 2 problems with this proclamation. First, unless there’s a new form factor that’s not a handheld (ie Google Glasses) or a device that can change its physical form (ie Samsung’s OLED flexible smartphone) nothing coming into the market in the near future is going to be a “game changer” because it won’t be drastic enough. So to say Blackberry or any manufacturer has to have a “game changer” is setting it up for failure. Every phone can receive emails, listen to music, watch videos, play games, and make calls. But if a particular OS can address some of the specific problems that bother certain types of users that’s more than enough of a reason to switch in my opinion. In today’s mobile landscape iOS is getting dated and Android can be overly complex for a lot of people so I definitely think there’s room for another platform for those of us in the middle. BB10 is mostly well thought out and can be improved with updates. The bugs or oversights in the launch version are NOT set in stone and to declare it a failure because of these minor, fixable things is being short sighted and frankly just bias.
Another point that many writers are harping on is it’s not enough to make people want to switch to BB10 and therefore SAVE Blackberry. As if switching to a different platform (even a phone) is solely based on the platform itself. The reality is the rate of switch has more to do with a person’s ability to switch without penalties from contracts than it has to do with the OS itself. No doubt that an OS has to been good in order to warrant a change but it doesn’t have to be “game changer” good I think. If every single user who is on the fence about iOS or Android was allowed to switch without penalties I’m pretty confident that BB10 is good enough that a large percentage of those people would give it a try. Case and point that circumstances are more of factor that prompts a switch is when I stopped using my Blackberry because my company stopped paying for it. I was not going to pay an additional $15 dollars a month to have BES access to access work email on my Blackberry. So I switched to the iPhone in the meantime because it was functional enough for me to use despite all the things I knew would bother me about it and it didn’t cost me additional money to do so while I waited for BB10. With BB10 you have an option to bypass BES for corporate email so I should be able to go back to using Blackberry without spending the extra $15/month. For others it just about getting the latest and greatest when they are eligible for an upgrade. BB10 can certainly make a case for itself for that group people right now.
I can’t wait to get the new Blackberry because it’ll either be the last device that truly suits my demands, the rebirth of a company with many more good devices to come, or a run of the mill smartphone that’ll leave me longing for the Blackberries of old and ending my loyalty to Blackberry. Unfortunately I’ll have to wait another month and a half to find out but hopefully by then a lot of the early bugs will be fixed.
Geez that was long. God Bless you if read the whole thing!
Can you please provide us your thoughts on how long (lengthwise) one's suit jacket/blazer should be? I am personally a fan of the short (ok very short) blazer (e.g. Black Fleece, Maison Kitsune). The obvious problem is those brands are ridiculously expensive. I do not understand why we aren't seeing shorter suit jackets. For example, have you ever noticed how long the jackets at J. Crew are? It looks unrefined in my opinion (no offense to any J. Crew suit owners, I have one myself). Thanks
Since I haven’t posted anything in a while I’ll provide a few different answers so that I can fulfill my blogging word quota for the month.
The classic take on suit jacket length is that the back of the jacket must cover your rear end. Older generations grew up with this basic principal. Men who do not care about dressing well will generally abide by this rule as well (probably unknowingly). The difference between those wear it well and those that don’t usually comes down to having proper fit and proportion for the individual’s body. If you have short arms or torso buy a S (short) rather than a R (regular). Not doing so is a common mistake for many men. Is your J. Crew suit a S or R?
The PC answer is that it’s a matter of your personal preference. In fashion there are always trends that stray far from the classic or the norm. Designers are supposed to be trendsetters and put forth their unique spin on clothing. The short suit is one interpretation of the suit and there is obviously a market for it. Thom Browne is most synonymous with the short suit and has capitalized on it. With the recent endorsement by the first lady during the inauguration this past week, I’m sure we’ll see more of Thom Browne’s fashion influence in the near future. Likewise, there have been periods when suits have been overly large and baggy which seemed to have resonated with athletes (See Jay Culter below).
Since there are a million other blogs and forums that have endless discussions of the “proper fit/style” of anything this will just be my take on the matter and you can use it as you see fit.
It’s important to take notice of trends and to be able to incorporate it with your personal preferences. As a slim, shorter man, it is extremely difficult for me to find suits off the rack that fit well. Most stores will have a very limited selection of 36S suits or not carry them at all. So when I first came across the Brooks Brothers Black Fleece line I was very excited because the shorter length design was something that was so hard for me to find and I thought this was my answer. I tried on a BB0 size and the sleeves were more or less the perfect length for me. But as I looked longer and longer in the mirror something seemed slightly off. Then it hit me, the extreme short cut of the jacket made the proportions of the suit unappealing to me.
While I lean towards a more classic fit, I do agree with you David, that the cleaner look (at least according to the current consensus by those who are “authorities” on the matter) is to have a slightly shorter jacket. I still make sure that my bottom is covered but just barely. My suit jackets/blazers never pass the middle knuckle of my fingers. I measure this by standing straight with my arms relaxed on my sides and cuffing the bottom of the jacket as if I was holding a book in each hand. Ideally there should be no extra fabric in your hands while doing this. It’s on the shorter end of the classic jacket length spectrum but proportionally I think this works well for me because it doesn’t cut off my legs which adds to the appearance vertically.
This would be my ideal length for a jacket as worn by Alan from the Armoury.
Most men have jackets that are past their entire hands with makes them seem shorter than they are because most of their legs are covered by the jacket.
Jay Cutler is a prime example of how most men dress. The jacket length is too long, shoulders too big and pants too baggy. Such a shame, with all his resources…
…Cutler should take a cue from Jack Donaghy. (OMG is Culter his son?!) Something to strive for as you get older Jay!
On the flip side, having a super short jacket makes your body seem smaller and if you go “full Tropic Thunder” with the get up and wear high water pants too you might end up looking like a little person.
Lastly, regarding the affordability of the short suit designs that David seeks. If it’s really just the look you care about I would say go custom for a fraction of the price. Perhaps you may find a store that sells teenage boy’s suits, those suits might have proportions that are similar to the short look when worn by an adult after it’s been tailored but I would not seriously consider this route. If it’s about the name on the label, well you have to pay for that unfortunately.
Finding something that fits perfectly off the rack is nearly impossible, even if you are a “model” size. Sizing is not an exact science and it doesn’t help that every brand/designer has their own take on sizes and fits.
Size is based on measurements. (ie Waist size, Neck size, Chest size, etc)
Fit is shape. (ie Regular, Slim, Extra Slim, Boot cut, etc)
Typically even the smallest size available will be too big for me. So what do I do? If I like the item and it’s the right “size” I’ll buy it regardless of how it fits. Why? Because I can get it tailored to my exact preference. As a smaller build guy who also loves finding great deals, this is EXTREMELY liberating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to find a great deal on something that I like but doesn’t have the right fit (regular fit vs slim fit) but I was still able to buy it. The money saved from finding deals may cover the cost of the tailoring!
You and your tailor
Like any relationship, the one with you and your tailor will take time to develop. He/She may have amazing skills but it will take a few times before the two of you figure out what you are looking for. My tailoring preferences took about 2 years to hone. Some of my shirts have been altered as many as 3 times before getting it to how I like it today. So be patient and start with a couple of items that you like but don’t love and see if the right tailor can make you love it. If you find that the tailor you are working with is not patient or doesn’t want to do the things you ask, move on to someone else.
Work within these guidelines and you should be well on your way to your best fit.
- You can’t make something bigger if it’s too small. This should be obvious but I just had to put it out there.
- Stay within your size. That means if you’re a Small then don’t buy a Large and hope that the tailor can slim it down for you. SOMETIMES you might be able to do get away with going 1 size up but try to avoid it as much as possible because even with tailoring the proportions will be slightly off.
- Suits. Buy your proper size (chest size and length) with the best possible fit you can find off the rack AND still get it tailored. A tailor can make a suit look close to custom for you but only if you give them a solid foundation to start off with. Tailors CAN change sleeve lengths, slim down sleeves/pants, shorten jacket lengths, and take in the waist BUT they CAN’T (or shouldn’t try to) change shoulder widths, size of armholes and size of lapels.
How to start
If you have something that you absolutely love the fit of, give that to your tailor to use as a template. If you have something that’s almost perfect ask your tailor to fix the 1 or 2 things that you think need fixing, once it’s perfect use that as your template. Which brings up a very important point, you should know what you want or need fixing. Don’t expect your tailor to tell you what’s wrong with it. At the end of the day YOU need to feel good about it, not your tailor.
Having a tailor may sound extravagant or unnecessary but think about it this way, whether you’re of modest means or a baller, it’s an investment in the things you buy AND in yourself. If you’re trying to be frugal by buying something at 90% off it’ll be a waste of money if you can’t wear it because of the way it fits. On the flip side, no one is going to notice or care about the $300 shirt your wearing if it looks sloppy, and they will probably laugh at you (hopefully not in front of you) for paying that much on something that fits so poorly.
I hope this helps. It’s a new year people. Time to step it up!
I decided to wash my sweaters last night rather than dry clean them. If done properly it’s really the better way to clean sweaters. I’m happy to report none got ruined and I was even able to resize a couple that were a tad too big. It was a lot of work and it took up a lot of space laying them all flat to dry but well worth it. I have to mention though, the J. Crew sweaters were the only ones that felt worst after cleaning compared to the others that felt better after. Seems like the wool used for those sweaters are of lesser quality. Surprising.
The new Windows Surface RT tablet is Microsoft’s entry to the tablet space. The Surface is completely designed and manufactured by Microsoft rather than one of its manufacturing partners (Samsung, HP, Dell, etc). The hardware has a nice fit and finish with a built in kick stand and a 10.6 inch screen. It runs on a ARM processor that is not x86 based so full apps are limited (only an RT version of Office 2013 is available) so users are limited to the apps available in the Microsoft store. The optional cover keyboard ($119.99) snaps into place easily via magnetic connectors but takes time to get used to. I found myself hitting the wrong keys very often and pressing harder than I needed to because I’m expecting feedback. I would play the extra $10 bucks for the keyboard with feedback.
(Magnetic connectors for keyboard)
(Volume rocker, 3.5mm headphone jack, and left side of wimpy speakers)
(Magnetic power connector, USB port, micro HDMI port, and right side of wimpy speakers located all the way on the left)
It has a 10.6” HD Display that’s clear and bright. I did not have a problem with glare during my time with it. The Surface has a Vapor Magnesium body that is smooth but is prone to accumulate fingerprints. It’s easy to wipe down the entire tablet including the detachable touch keyboard with a wet towel and not worry about things getting trapped in between cracks. At 1.5 lbs it’s heavier than the regular iPad and I found it tiresome to hold for more than a few minutes.
The OS is pretty smooth but initial launch of apps are slightly delayed (about 5 seconds). Like many mobile devices, most apps are useless if you’re not connected to WiFi. The People tile which acts as a social hub and automatically combines all your contact lists for your various accounts (Yahoo, Gmail, corporate email, Facebook, Twitter, etc) will display any updated information for someone within your contact list. What’s awkward is you’ll see the same handful of people flash in the live tile randomly and it can be someone you may have no interest on getting random updates about. Apparently with a Windows 8 phone you can set up groups of people to address this problem but not for the Surface RT (not sure about Windows 8 Pro). I find the live tiles in general to be a bit distracting at times but things do catch my eye. Another thing that bothers me is that you need to go to different places to post various things to services like Facebook instead of having the Facebook app. People hub to post status updates, the Photo hub to post pictures, and the Video hub to post videos. Again everything needs an Internet connection. So while it’s great to have access to your Facebook and Skydrive photos once you link those accounts the pics are not all cached for offline viewing, only the ones you’ve viewed are. If you wanted to download a pic from your Facebook account to send via email you can’t, there is no menu option for to save as a file locally.
The only app I’ve downloaded from the Microsoft store is Netflix and it worked wonderfully. The streaming video runs smoothly with no delays, the video quality is crisp, however the built in speakers are a bit weak. I watched 2 movies and it didn’t even consume 50% of the battery. Surprisingly, I loaded some AVI files and had some difficulties with with playback (would not play the first 3 minutes of any AVI clip) but had no issues with MP4 files.
Linking your various accounts is a bit convoluted since Microsoft wants you to associate everything with your Live account. So in order to connect my Facebook account, which uses my Yahoo email address, I needed to provide my Facebook user name (my Yahoo email address) and password info to my Live account. After doing so, my default profile pic was of 2 horses and it took me a while figure out how to change it. I needed to log onto my Live account via the web in order to change it, after doing so it took a few minutes to sync with the Surface.
The gestures for the tablet took me 1 evening to get used to but once you do they make navigating through the OS very easy. As a side note, these gestures are very similar to those of the Blackberry Playbook using the bezel of the screen, which at the time I thought was too much to learn (at least during my 5 minutes of playing with it at the store) but it turns out they make a lot of sense. No more constantly clicking a home button.
The browser is running a mobile version of IE 10 and is pretty good. I liked that I was able to use the attached keyboard and have functions like CRTL F to look for keywords on a page. The Bing tile also displays top trending searches which can be interesting at times. The Sports tile is cool but needs some more polish.
The News tiles aggregates many of the top news stories from sources like the NY Times, USA Today, etc.
All in all the Surface is a decent device and Windows 8 shows a lot of promise. The hardware is nice but I would recommend getting a Pro device with a touchscreen over the RT version so that you’re not limited by the processor. I also found that being unable to have the screen prop itself up on a hinge like a normal laptop was slightly annoying and make it hard to use the keyboard while sitting on a couch or in bed.
(Propping it up requires the kickstand which makes it hard to use with the keyboard if you don’t have a flat surface.)
At $500 it’s not a cheap tablet but if you’re looking for something that can do a bit more than web surfing and mini apps and is a bit different this might be a good option to consider.