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Ping 164: IllumiRoom, Skype, Ballmer & Basketball, Surface Pro

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Sit back, relax and let the good times flow while watching Laura and Paul argue over everything under the sun. Ok, maybe not everything...but definitely a few things. Here's what's happening at Microsoft:

IllumiRoom is Uh-MAY-ZING  [03:11]

Goodbye Messenger...hello SKYPE  [18:50]

Ballmer buying the Kings???  [10:03]

Looking at the Surface PRO [14:00]

 

Boycotting Starbucks, really?

 

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  • IRBIRB

    IllumiRoom looks totally bad-* and I want one! MS Research are just the best.

     

    I made the switch to Skype a few months ago and it is a reasonable replacement for messenger but doesn't quite looks as nice. Maybe that will be tweaked over time.

     

    Well I currently own a Surface RT which I bought on release day (using it right now) and I really enjoy using it. It has a good screen, good battery life and the keyboard covers are genius. On the down side the 10.6" screen is a little awkward for holding and the lack of full x86 support can be frustrating at times.

    I'm considering getting a Surface Pro too as I would also like pen input, that is the thing I miss the most. I previously had an HP TC1000 and EliteBook 2730p which I used for taking notes in OneNote, a great tool for meetings.

    What MS should release is an ARM/RT Surface with digitizer support then they would be on to a killer device.

  • dan_tdtower Surface Fan

    I really like my Surface RT but I didn't buy it (Thanks Build!). I will be buying a pro when it comes out for sure and keep the RT for testing. When is pro launching by the way? I think you forgot to mention that bit in the segment. Smiley

    Also, really really like the Illumiroom idea. Please allow this to be a follow up to the Kinect and not another amazing MSR project that's withheld from public availability. Downside is that my current living room may not work well for it because there are too many windows but I could move.

     

  • I've only played with a Surface RT at the MS Store.  Really impressive, and I'm really jealous of my friends who work at MS in Redmond who got Surfaces.  If I had the disposable cash, I think I'd be more inclined to get a Pro.  I still use enough desktop-based apps for it to be worth it, plus I'd love to use it for development (my existing laptop can't run Hyper-V and so I'm pretty crippled with regards to developing my million-dollar-idea Phone 8 app).  The only thing that I'd be concerned with is the battery.  I assume the Pro is going to have a shorter battery life than the RT, just considering its broader capabilities, but I haven't seen any definitive reviews yet.

    But, it's hard to justify the cash for a new machine either way right now.

    The switch to Skype has me a little concerned, to be honest.  The desktop clients ("Metro" and desktop) are fine, if a little peculiar (my former Messenger friends still show up with a "1:" or "2:" prefix).  But what will happen to devices where Messenger was integrated?  I'm thinking of my Windows Phone and my Xbox.  Will they survive the transition just as seamlessly?  (There's a Skype app for WP and I think one for Xbox, but they're not yet integrated into the standard "messaging" section for either one's OS.)

  • Oh yeah, almost forgot:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_SuperSonics

    Played in Seattle from 1967-2008.

  • IRBIRB

    @Yakko Warner: I think the messenger client is dying, but I was under the impression that the service will still be alive for integrated things. Don't hold me to that though.

     

    Also, I think MS initially indicated the battery life to be half the RT but then Intel announced their new chips the other week which are rumoured to be in the Surface which should give battery life a boost.

  • chris / brookinschrisbrooki​ns Let's get weerd!

    I would go with a Surface RT over a Pro for the price difference, if I didn't already have a Nexus.  All you are missing is that 16GB model for $399, or an 8GB model for $299.

    I am sticking with my Nexus until the cost comes down.

    Also, $119 for a keyboard/cover == crazy people.

  • Surface RT vs. Pro

    Neither. The main problem with Surface is that it needs a surface (e.g., a table) to use without holding. I can't just put it on my lap and get a good viewing angle all the time.

    Windows RT vs. 8

    I have no interests in Windows RT at all. I have my set of "legacy" Windows applications that I'd like to use, and that just eliminates RT from my needs.

    My (Current) Dream Windows 8 Machine

    I guess my needs are very specific, but I still have not found a Windows 8 machine that meets my criteria yet.

    • A multi-core x86 CPU with Windows 8: As stated above, RT/ARM is not an option for my Windows machine.
    • Tablet frame no larger than 12". Preferably around 11": For a portable tablet (I am not talking about the table-top tablets), I find that anything bigger seems... too big to carry around. I also think that the recent Intel demo of a display filling the frame when docked and shrinking to have border when undocked, makes a very interesting usage case.
    • Display aspect ratio of 16:10. This is very important for a tablet to be portrait-usable. I find 16:9 to be too narrow in the portrait mode, and 16:10 seems to be a good compromise.
    • Display resolution of at least 1280x800, preferably 1920x1200. When there is a 10" tablet with 2560x1600 (i.e., Nexus 10, and it's 16:10, BTW), it frustrates me greatly that Windows tablets are stuck at 1280x768...
    • A docking keyboard with extra battery: Something like ASUS Transformer. Actually, ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity with an x86 CPU (which is 10.1" 16:10 1920x1200) would be it. The keyboard dock with battery would also add a counter weight, so that in the laptop mode, it won't tip over.

    So, my dream Windows 8 machine is an x86 ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity with the keyboard dock, running Windows 8.

  • @hongcho0:Probably depends on the person but I've never had any problem using my surface rt in my lap. The touch keyboard is plenty rigid. I think it's a question of angle and if your legs are long enough to support the keyboard and the stand. I'm not tall (5'10") so I think it works well for most people.

    And resolution seems a bit like thinness in that there's a point beyond which the gain is negligible and it just becomes a marketing number.

  • I find myself looking forward to these videos more and more lately. Bring on episode 165!

    Surface Pro or RT? Hmm well, since I went out right away and got my hands on the RT I guess I'd have to say the next one I'd buy would be the Pro. I'd probably try to get my hands on one through work though. The idea of the stylus (or pen thingy!) will fit in well with some OneNote use we have at our place, someone has to test the new hardware out! Of course being able to use traditional desktop apps would be cool too.

    The keyboard works fine for me on the RT, I struggle with touch pad at times (in particular right-clicking) but nothing to complain too much about. I do have an issue with the network connection on my RT but I think that is more my router than the Surface RT.  I have to find time to troubleshoot it.

    The Illumiroom looks awesome, I can't wait for it so hopefully it does not die off. The video game side of it is cool for sure, so many opportunities. Also, think about the educational possibilities with Illumiroom. The quick few seconds of space towards the end of the video MSR posted, that could totally be used during homework time with the kids. Give me a prehistoric landscape with some dinosaurs running around or an underwater setting, Titanic exploration as example. Oh boy, overload, overload!

    Good stuff guys! Later.

  • I Prefer the Surface RT for basic, simple, everyday casual use.  It's a great value for all it can do.  We have even replaced our HTPC Windows Media Center in our living room with the Surface RT.  The whole system offers a great 10-foot user experience.  And because it boots so fast, the family actually uses it more than they did the HTPC!  Also, this weekend, when the kids accidently landed on a Fake Anti-Virus site and clicked the pop-up box, guess what?  Nothing happened.  The virus simply couldn't install on Surface RT.

    I also gave Surface RT to family members for Christmas gifts and they use them daily with NO PROBLEMS!  Since I'm the main tech support guy in the family, not having to deal with typical PC problems has been very nice these past few weeks.

    So Surface RT running on mobile processors, like ARM, is just fine for me. 

     

  • I bet very few people would disagree that Apple popularizes touch devices with its i-devices, such as iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, etc. Yesterday, I went to a mall near where I live. As expected, I saw the stalls were flooded with Android devices. Samsung Galaxy Tab or iPad is certainly easy to be found. Windows 8 touch-enabled device? I did find some; that was when I actually tried to look for them; unlike Apple or Samsung, those devices can be seen to be on sale even when I was not looking for them; when I was only wandering around the IT department.

    In the eyes of ordinary shoppers, it's not hard to tell that Apple and Samsung are the two main competitors in the category of smartphone and tablet. Other minor players do exist in these categories. I never owned an Apple or Android device, partly because I did not see the need for it. I've got a HP TouchSmart PC that was shipped with Windows 7 Home Premium when I first bought it. I've replaced the OS with Windows 8 Pro x64. Part of the reasons that I bought this PC was that I was once curious what touch would mean for a desktop PC. To summarize the experience, touch for a desktop PC is mainly for experimental purposes. Stretching my arm over long period of time certainly caused pain over my shoulders and arms; some people would put it as "Gorilla's arm". I realized how comfortable it is to use a desktop PC with wireless keyboard and mouse. There remains a certain distance between me and the screen.

    I prefer larger screen and clearer image (high-definition). Touch certain gains traction on smartphone or tablet; perhaps it would make sense to use 'touch' on smaller, portable device?

    Then I got Nokia Lumia 710 and Sony Vaio Duo 11. Nokia Lumia 710 is a touch-only Windows Phone 7.5 device. Sony Vaio Duo 11 is a versatile mobile PC with touch, trackpad, and keyboard. It's small, thin, and light but larger and heavier than ordinary tablets. It's running Windows 8 Pro x64. Unlike Surface, it's completely usable for it to be put on top of my laps. One of the crucial design differences is that the motherboard and battery is put under the keyboard for Sony Vaio Duo 11; kick-stand may make Surface usable on a desk but not on my laps. My brief experience with it told me that I would use whatever input method that makes the most sense, no matter it's touch, trackpad or keyboard. Although the keyboard with optical trackpad can be hidden, I found myself slide it out most of the time because keyboard is the most effective input device for inserting texts.

    No, I do not use it as a pure touch-device. Why should I limit myself to a less effective way of doing things? Many web sites and applications are still better off with trackpad or mouse compared with touch. A command such as 'mouse-over' simply does not exist for 'touch'. On-screen keyboard itself is a compromise for the sake of beauty and portability. No wonder keyboard is one of the most popular add-ons for iPad and Android tablets.

    I welcome touch as a useful input method for a mobile PC. If you regard touch-only experience as tablet experience, then a pure tablet experience is probably not my cup of tea. I would like touch as one of the options, not the only options. Tablet? Laptop? It's just a device that works.

  • Terry W SutherlandTerry W Sutherland

    I bought the surface RT and received it on the release date. I used it for a week and all the while thought my sister would like this too. We went to the MS Store, got one for her - Great experience. I think the Surface RT is Great, I can Remote into my Desktop and use ANY program on my Surface.

    I want the Surface PRO for the higher resolution, the Pen, Faster Processor and full windows 8 compatibility. I will buy my sister the PRO (because she would never do that) because it will replace two devices (Surface and a touch convertible) she currently carries for work. There is a windows app she needs for work on the touch device.

    Great Show, thank you for continuing (the two of you) working together.

    Terry
    Seattle

  • IRBIRB

    @hongcho0: The only problem with having a resolution of 2560x1600 on an 11" display using Windows Desktop is that the text will be virtually unreadable :/

  • martinminemartinmine I eat C# for breakfast

    I would buy the Surface Pro. There are many programs I need to use like Visual Studio and other dev tools that are not supported on RT. Also, I think it is sad they are shutting down MSN. The UI is a lot better on MSN than Skype in my opinion. It also got custom emoticons and doesn't have that annoying logging system, which is in my opinion the most annoying thing with Skype: When I have been chatting with someone on Skype on my phone, and I later go on my laptop, all the 500 messages I sent the last hour pops up as unread. That is one of the main reasons why I would say MSN is better than Skype on IM. 

  • For the use I'd get out of a tablet, a 7-8 inch Micro Surface makes more sense than an RT or Pro. I think the consumer market is eventually going to trend that way.

  • cfanguycfanguy Developer

    I would buy a Surface Pro for Visual Studio and development program support not available on Windows RT. I really would want to buy a Surface Pro but I could not justify it since I already have an Early 2011 Macbook Pro that can run VS really well in Bootcamp Windows. If I had bought my Macbook Pro later when I learned about the Surface, I probably probably have waited on the Surface Pro reviews.

  • I'll probably buy a Surface Pro for myself. The main reason is that I still use pen and paper a lot and I can't wait to see if this is the Courier done right. The other, more rational reason is that there's a good chance the Pro can actually work as an emergency laptop replacement.

    Kudos to Ballmer, that's great PR for himself and for Microsoft. I wonder if the team will get renamed on its way north... just make sure they don't become the "Seattle Kins" as that might backfire. Smiley

  • Paulo Morgadopajocomo Paulo Morgado

    Only Pro runs Visual Studio. Need I say more?

  • I'm looking at the Pro. I wasn't impressed with the RT display. Everything on the Pro is what I'm looking for, so if anything it's the real world battery life that will make or break the sale. I'd probably get an RT too for my daughter to play with, but the price is going to have to come down.

  • I'm going Pro!  For the price, I just don't think the RT is worth it.  Especially when you count the fact that the keyboard (a major selling point) is over $100 more.  With Pro you can run anything!  Nuf said!  

  • Justin M. SalvatoJustin​MSalvato Microsoft junkie

    Well, I would choose either if they INCLUDED a keyboard.  At $499 for the RT or $899 for the Pro, I can't justify paying those prices without the keyboard.  The commercials make it seem as though the keyboard come with the device. The app selection (HELLO, Mythly) is not there yet and there's room for a lot of improvement in the way a mouse interacts with metro applications. 

     

    Microsoft is still fighting an uphill battle and I don't see them succeeding until they make the consumer realize that their product is THE product to get; people will notice IF the keyboard is included with the $499 or $899 price. Microsoft can afford it: http://mashable.com/2012/11/06/microsoft-surface-profit-ipad/

     

    To Paul, thank you for correcting Laura regarding the difference between RT and Pro.  After all, one is running Windows 8, the other isn't.   Hopefully Laura isn't going around confusing people outside of the Microsoft campus Smiley

  • keithernetNiner991576 Code what's RIGHT, not what's easy.

    I love my Surface RT (thanks to Microsoft and Build 2012) - but I plan on buying a Pro. Windows RT is just too limiting and doesn't work well in an enterprise environment.

    With the Pro I can run pretty much anything, can even put Visual Studio 2012 on it, and it has the sweet stylus! I want to use it for hand written notes in OneNote, and for UX sketching.

    The 1080p display is also sweet! Just like LAURA!

  • ak919ak919

    I have to go laura here... pro of course.. for the pen with palm block.. if only they had this on the RT..

  • IRBIRB

    @JustinMSalvato: isn't the keyboard included for $499? I thought the base model was $399 without but im not sure as here in the UK they are MUCH more expensive all round.

     

    EDIT: Actually you are right just checked $499 without keyboard :/ but I suppose they are aiming for the iPad especially on the fantastic build quality. the 32Gb WiFi iPad without keyboard is $599.

    Still, cheaper would be better as it is £399 without keyboard here in the UK.

  • Justin M. SalvatoJustin​MSalvato Microsoft junkie

    , IRB wrote

    @JustinMSalvato: isn't the keyboard included for $499? I thought the base model was $399 without but im not sure as here in the UK they are MUCH more expensive all round.

     

    EDIT: Actually you are right just checked $499 without keyboard :/ but I suppose they are aiming for the iPad especially on the fantastic build quality. the 32Gb WiFi iPad without keyboard is $599.

    Still, cheaper would be better as it is £399 without keyboard here in the UK.

    Ah, but do you see my point? In the U.S. anyway, at $499, people are going to ask, "who has the better app selection?" And the answer will be the iPad.  Microsoft has to either get some KILLER apps for RT immediately or include the keyboard for that price. 

     

    Again, when you see those street signs of the Surface, they show the keyboard with the tablet. 

  • IRBIRB

    @JustinMSalvato: Sure, I think they would sell much more if the dropped the price to say $399 or $449 without keyboard or just bundle it with the $499 model. However, I bet they aren't that cheap to make (not $100 worth tho). There might also be pressure from OEM's to not make them too cheap so they don't kill off the chances of other OEM's RT devices selling.

  • I'd rather have the Surface Pro. There are things I've wanted to try for a while on a touchscreen that would be easy to do on the Pro because it can run all the software that's already out there. If I got an RT tablet I would have to wait for someone to write an RT app that does the same thing and there's little hope it'll ever happen.

    I don't see much happening with RT any time soon when it comes to being able to anything other than content consumption. If you want to get anything done you still need "real" Windows.

    I'll have to wait for good reviews and detailed specs to see if it's a good ultrabook as well as a tablet. I'm concerned about the low amount of RAM it has and whether the onboard sound works well with ASIO4ALL.

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , IRB wrote

    IllumiRoom looks totally bad-*

    Agreed.

    I'm considering getting a Surface Pro too as I would also like pen input, that is the thing I miss the most. I previously had an HP TC1000 and EliteBook 2730p which I used for taking notes in OneNote, a great tool for meetings.

    I had a bunch of tablets with styluses.  I found the pen to be very useful, but infrequently useful.  I type very, very fast, so writing by hand seems incredibly laborious.  The stylus was only useful when I wanted to use the device as a digital whiteboard.  Definitely love OneNote.

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , dtower wrote

    When is pro launching by the way?

    I was never privy to this information when I was at the company, let alone now! Smiley The rumor is that it is being released in the "coming weeks".

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , Yakko Warner wrote

    The switch to Skype has me a little concerned, to be honest.  The desktop clients ("Metro" and desktop) are fine, if a little peculiar (my former Messenger friends still show up with a "1:" or "2:" prefix).  But what will happen to devices where Messenger was integrated?  I'm thinking of my Windows Phone and my Xbox.  Will they survive the transition just as seamlessly?  (There's a Skype app for WP and I think one for Xbox, but they're not yet integrated into the standard "messaging" section for either one's OS.)

    That's a good question. I imagine all of the Skype clients will be refreshed in the next 6 months... and the Messenger apps will give error messages, if opened.

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , chrisbrooki​ns wrote

    I would go with a Surface RT over a Pro for the price difference, if I didn't already have a Nexus.  All you are missing is that 16GB model for $399, or an 8GB model for $299.

    That's tough to do for Surface RT because the OS and the default apps take up ~14GB of space, IIRC.

  • JulesJules

    Both Surface RT and Surface Pro, are well made machines, but here in the UK they are poorly marketed, and expensive for general consumer utility. We are falling in love with iPad Minis and Nexus 7 Tablets (which has a GPS). I looked at Surface RT,and considering a Surface Pro, but I already have a multi monitor Desktop PC and 3 year old Laptop for Visual Studio software development, and occasional Office use so could only see a Nexus 7, as being of use.

    Surface Pro is really an Ultra book, to compte with the likes of Mac book Air. And ultrabooks remain just to be for posers, who like paying a lot of money for snall screens, but don't do a lot of real work in the day. I am not sure what market the Surface RT is really trying to hit, at tht price point. I guess its a much more flexible competitor to an iPad (USB and file tarnsfers as well as Office). But I really not convinced that the consumer market sees much use for Office or the Desktop, when they will already have a 5 year old Laptop which still does that job on occasion.

    Microsoft needs to price their products well below iPads and Mac Book Air. A much cheaper Surface Mini RT with an 7 to 8 Inch 16:10 aspect display would be better,so long as it could still do 2 Apps side by side. But this would nee to be around the $250 point to be consumer competitive. Other OEMs will compete on the Windows 8 Pro variants for Business.

    Surface, interesting, but still not convincing for those that have to look after our money here in the UK and the rest of Europe.


  • Since I have a Nexus 7, there's absolutely no need for the Surface RT (especially if I add a Wedge Wink ).

    The Pro is very tempting as the next laptop (I'm mainly a desktop user though) - but I'd prefer to see a better battery life, more RAM (4GB max. wtf?) and an option to bundle either cover for a much lower price point.
    It's an essentialy accessory, +US$50 for the touch and +US$60 for the type, when bundled, sounds reasonable.

    However... just tempting. There's a few interesting Ultrabooks in that price range as well.

  • A little late to the party but I will post my 2 cents..

    I got Surface RT with lots of unrealistic expectations and now it's just relegated to a test device.

    • The first issue I have with it is that the browser really isn't that solid. E.g. When you go back in IE10, you sometimes end up on a blank page.
    • The keyboard skips a lot. If you connect an external keyboard it's even worse. If you type really slow it may work OK.
    • Short of supporting all the apps out there, it's really disappointing that it doesn't support flash (hbogo) or silverlight (business apps). I thought it was incredibly short sighted to not include a silverlight build in RT, even if they were going to retire the platform.
    • The screen changes brightness randomly when reading large articles. I have played with the settings but have have not worked out the magic setting yet.
    • I don't need many desktop apps. I didn't expect to dev on this but I was hoping that a decent SSH solution would there for me to connect to the server(s) to fix something small in a pinch.
    • I wish it could join the domain so I could easily do some winrm stuff.

    The list of what I like about this device is way too long and it really is a fantastic device. I severely under estimated my needs though and the device has crossed that threshold of being the "right fit" for me. I now have to make too many compromises.

     

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