Passively Cool – The Surface Pro 6 Review

One of the computers I was interested in at the beginning of this yearwas the Surface Pro 6 from Microsoft. I had owned a Surface Pro 3 in the past and was very happy with it. But, as mentioned in a previous article, I had noticed something like a moiré pattern on the screen when white background was displayed. It wasn’t as pronounced on the Surface Pro as it was on a lower resolution HP notebook, but it was there, and I was afraid it would bother me.

I managed to get my hands on a Surface Pro 6 base model with a Signature Type Cover in Alcantara and used it as my main computer for about a week instead of my MacBook Pro.

Guess what: it didn’t bother me, and I could have saved a lot of money compared to the MacBook Pro. But that’s only part of the story.

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Why a MacBook in Favor of Windows or Linux Laptops

As discussed in a recent blog post, I was in the market for a laptop. Several days after I had written about that topic and spent countless hours researching pros and cons, I had made the decision and went out to buy one. As the title suggests, it resulted in the most expensive product of the three options I was looking at and I’m here to write about it. This, however, is not the review as it would clearly blow up this piece. I’ll leave that for another day (I have written >1000 words already *tease*). In this blog post I’ll be explaining myself. Why I went with the MacBook Pro over the much more affordable and better equipped non-Mac laptops.

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Writing a Custom Backup Solution

If you are a user of any form of computer and care one bit about your sanity, then you probably have a backup strategy. Otherwise, if all hell breaks loose and your whole computer burns to ash or the hard drive melts to a heap of metal, turning it into an ugly door stop, you’ll likely be kinda angry, maybe slightly pissed, your pulse most definitely at 180, that you’ve lost all your data. I’d certainly be, especially about all my pictures of all the festivals and places I’ve been to. 

(And maybe some family 😅)

But, to be honest, I’ve been a bit lazy about backups for some time now. I do have copies of all my important files, but that’s not a backup. It’s a copy. A backup lets you go back in time and get an older version of a file or folder, not just the most recent one that has been synced.

So why is it, that I’m not as diligent as I should be? There are a few factors in that equation. It’s laziness for one, knowledge that I do have at least one copy, the fact that I haven’t had any data loss so far and stinginess. Why the latter? Up until now, being a Windows user (not any more though, on my main machine), I was relying on Acronis True Image, a commercial backup software. However, the version that I own – 2014, I think – stopped being reliable in one of the past Windows 10 versions. I simply don’t want to spend the money any more.

I’m not here to tell you that I have changed my mind on that. No. I’m, of course, coding my own solution. Why wouldn’t I? Everything is done multiple times in the Open Source community.

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New Laptop: Windows, macOS or Linux?

I am pondering the idea of buying a laptop and I’m having troubledeciding on the platform. Ultimately, sometime in the future, I’dlike to get rid of my stationary PC and replace it with

  1. a laptop as the center of my data and (hobby) work and
  2. a console for gaming.

The latter is a long term plan because I wouldalso need a better television. Right now, all my gaming is Windowsbased and therefore I’m still somewhat bound to that OS. But that’sa different topic.

I do not explicitly need a mobile computer.There’s nothing technically wrong with my PC. In fact, moving to alaptop would mean to sacrifice a lot of performance. But I really donot like to place myself in front of the desk to get something done.I don’t even play games as much any more. And that’s solelybecause it feels too much like work-work. Apart from it being apretty sleek looking PC tower instead of a notebook hooked up to twomonitors as is the case at work, the act of sitting in a chair infront of a big desk feels too much like being at work. Don’tget me wrong, I like my profession and I even like going to theoffice (again; after switching jobs). I’d even like to tinker athome some more. But, as I was saying, I don’t want it to feel likework. Sitting at the desk is also very constraining. I have to be inthis one particular spot to do some computing. In that regard I’meven more flexible at work because I could just pop out the computerfrom its docking station and go somewhere else. Why can’t I freelychoose where I want to sit with my computer when I’m at home? I amactively procrastinating as a result. I do have ideas for projects tocode and to write and it makes me sad that I do not want to pursuethem.

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Windows 10: First Impressions (Preview Build 10041)

While I was grooming my unicorn on Crazy-Talk Island I read on the Internet about a thing called Windows 10. Curious as I am, I went out to watch the huge presentation on Jan, 21 where Microsoft officially unveiled the mobile version of Windows 10 and the cool hardware stuff. There’s also a very nice set of videos by Scott Hanselman on YouTube that show the changes from version to version.

Actually I’m very much aware of Windows 10 since the beginning, as a developer I’d be crazy not to, so I registered as a Windows Insider yesterday and downloaded the technical preview build 10041. Here’s a summary of my first impressions.
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Windows 8.1: One Year Later – I Get It Now

Windows 8 wasn’t all too well received, hardly a secret if you follow the tech press, neither by customers nor by businesses. There are a few folks who like it but they are, like those Windows Phone enthusiasts (that really do exist), a very minor minority (without report).

*Ahem*

About a year ago, I started using Windows 8.1 as my main operating system (which I’ve written about a few months later). Before, it was just a necessity to get the Soundblaster audio card to work. However, going through the same positional-sound problem again after upgrading from 8.0 to 8.1, I’m sure using Windows 8 fixed the problem by accident. Creative’s drivers are just a bulk load of crap, as they’ve always been. Had I not had the iMac as a work computer at that time, I’m not sure I would’ve installed Windows 8 instead of 7, but rather gotten rid of the Soundblaster Z. If you’ve read the post about the sound card, you know I was one of the many people that had an axe to grind with this OS.
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Windows Phone: 3 Months Later

What started out as a reasonable decision at the beginning of 2014 now reached its climax with the Surface Pro 3: switching away from Apple, in every regard, and move to the Microsoft platform. First the PC, then the phone and lastly the tablet. Since having a Windows based PC is nothing unusual (although I might be one of the few that actually came to like Windows 8 – just as I was one of the few that liked Vista over XP; what does that say about me?) and the Surface is still too new to write about it in any meaningful way, that only leaves us with the phone.
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