Surface Book

I was really looking forward to watching Windows 10 Devices event today. I knew the Surface Pro 4 was coming out and they showed off the hololens, the new Lumia and continuum in action which was really cool and I thought okay this is all great, but then I was surprised when Microsoft’s first ever laptop, the Surface Book was revealed. I was already pretty stoked and THIS HAPPENED!

“Holy Sh!t…. This is insane!” Are the exact words that I involuntarily yelled out around 59 seconds into this video while watching the Windows 10 Devices live event today!

This is a game changer! This is Microsoft’s first ever laptop, and what a laptop it is! If what Microsoft has already done with windows and continuum was not enough(check out my article on Windows 10) Surface book definitely pushes me over the edge. I Want a Surfacebook! And it comes at the most perfect time because my 6 year old Macbook Pro is now coming to the end of it’s life and although I love Macbooks, what Microsoft is doing with Windows10 and now with Surface Book is mind blowingly awesome!

Microsoft calls it “the ultimate laptop”. The surface pro showcases  a

  • 6th generation Intel core i5 or i7 processor
  • 13.5-inch with a resolution of 3000 x 2000
  • an integrated backlit keyboard
  • optional dedicated graphics card
  • 5 points of touch glass trackpad.
  • It weighs 1.6 pounds (728g)(am I reading that right?)
  • Microsoft claims that it has battery life of 12 hour1 for all day use
  • comes with a surface pen – the same pen works with surface pro 4

Pricing

  • 128GB  SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM: $1,949 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM: $2,199 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM / dGPU: $2,449 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i7 – 8GB RAM / dGPU: $2,799 CAD
  • 512GB SSD / Core Intel i7 – 16GB RAM / dGPU: $3,499 CAD

As you can see the surface book does not come cheap. But this laptop is for some serious work and of course as it comes with Windows 10 pro. This laptop is for content creators, musicians, video editors, developers, architects, engineers on the go.

The Surface Book on its own is pretty cool, but what blew my mind away was this:

en-INTL-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-SP02
Ya..okay so that’s a laptop. ..and…
en-INTL-L-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-mnco
What sorcery is this?en-INTL-L-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-RM2-mncoSnake hinges?

 

en-INTL-PDP0-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-P4
Makes me want to be an architect..

 

It separates from the base and becomes a separate device that you can use in tablet mode, or as Microsoft puts it, “Canvas” mode. It’s the size of an A4 paper.

One thing that seems a bit of confusing is that the Surface Pro 4 is supposed to be the device that will replace your laptop and tablet, and then they reveal the Surace Book. From my perspective, it’s a high end laptop that replaces your Macbook Pro, your tablet and to some extent your desktop because that is the exact thing that it does for me, and in fact I had been wishing for someone to build this devices for at least 3 or 4 years.

Now it all boils down to price…Am I willing to spend this much on a laptop? I don’t know yet, but I think if there is an ultimate laptop title, then it definitely goes to the Surface Book.

That’s my take on the all new Surface Book, What’s yours?

Please leave a comment below, share if you this article! And thanks for reading!

Windows into the Future

I have been wanting to write this article since I watched the Windows Keynote earlier this year!

I never imagined saying this but I believe that new the Microsoft Windows will be in the driving seat to shape the future of what operating systems look like. Engadget titled an article on it’s website When did Apple become the boring one? I tend to agree with that question. Apple has started to get  boring. In fact I am seriously considering moving back to Windows after being in love with MacOSX for the past 6 years. So why am I so excited about Windows ? One word…well.. two.. Windows 10!

Apple has Mac OSX which powers desktops and laptops and IOS which powers their smart phones and tablets. Google has Chrome OS which runs on laptops and desktops and Android which runs on phones and tablets. Microsoft has Windows for desktop, Windows for mobile and an operating system for Xbox. Most of these companies try to make their operating systems on different types of devices work together, but they are still all separate operating systems.

“10” to Rule them All

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.13.20For the first time, we will get to experience one operating system that will work on all (windows) devices. Windows 10 will work on laptops, desktops, phones and Xbox. Windows 10 will be the new Universal Windows Platform which will give a unified experience on all devices. ( One confusion I would like to clear out is that although Windows 10 will be working on all your(Windows) devices, it won’t be exactly the same. There will be 7 different version of Windows 10. I still think this is ridiculous as people often end up in choice paralysis. In this respect, Apple gets it right – one operating system for mobile, one for desktop/laptop and one for server. )

Microsoft is aiming to run Windows 10 on 1 billion devices in the next 2 to 3 years and to accomplish this Microsoft will be providing free upgrades to anyone who owns a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 device.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade.

Windows 10 Platform – A Developer’s Oasis

In order to make an operating system successful, it of course needs to be user friendly and robust to handle all kinds of situations, however, no one is going to use the operating system if there is a weak collection of 3rd party apps available to be used in conjunctions with the operating system. Microsoft knows this very well and that is the reason it has made sure that Windows 10 is an operating system for developers!

Web

Developers will be apple to publish web apps to the windows store. As the owner of a web development company  I cannot express enough how excited I am about this news. (Check out our services at Okinara.com or visit our Okinara’s Facebook Page. We provide end to end E-Commerce Solutions from development to marketing and hosting.)

Developers will be able to use APIs  to provide locally install app kind of experience for their web services. This can be used in very creative ways and is a win-win for developers and consumers.

.NET& Win32

An easy way to import  all existing apps to windows store and there will be an easy install and uninstall feature similar. This again is a win-win for developers and consumers. Consumers will not have to wait long for their favourite programs to be compatible with Windows 10.

Android – Java/C++

Android_robot.svgDevelopers will be able to reuse java and C++ code used to develop Android apps and for Windows. Windows phones will have an Android subsystem which will use android code and these apps will also have access to Windows-specific extras.

IOS – Objective C 

125px-Apple_iOS_new.svgDevelopers will be able to use their Objective C code for IOS and bring it to Windows. This is bold – Microsoft is trying to take a bite out of Apple.

 

This is great for developers and consumers. Developers will quickly be able to import their existing Android and IOS apps to windows, cutting cost, effort and time. Consumers will no longer be face with dreaded feeling of realizing that the app that they really want is available “only on Android and IOS” and would not have to wait for long.

In addition to that, there will be a single code that will run across all devices – this is huge! Apple developers need to code for Mac OSX and IOS, Google developers have to code for Chrome OS and Android.

There are bound to be some performance issues for ‘imported’ apps, but the ability to quickly import apps at least gives  boost to Windows development which will help developers quickly push their apps and updates to all platforms and can then later tweak performance after launch.

Store

There will be a more unified experience when it comes to shopping for apps across all your devices and as I mentioned above, even web apps will be available for installation. In addition, carrier billing will make shopping experience easier.

The Edge.

Edge is the name for the new Microsoft Internet browser. Microsoft ended Internet Explorer’s run and rightfully so. It was the stupid weirdo that no one liked. Most of you will try and run away from this new browser too, but I have a good feeling about this one, so please give it a try before you pass judgement. Check out my review of Microsoft’s new Inter Browser.

Cortana and Continuum

As a consumer I am most existed about Cortana and Continuem. Cortana is the Siri of the Microsoft world, but Cortana does a lot more than Siri. Microsoft is moving towards developing a true AI personal Assistant much like the Cortana from the Xbox Halo series. By studying they way you use Windows, the kinds of apps that you search for and use and your internet browsing habits, it will make suggestions for new apps and settings, news and more. You will be able to talk to Cortana and give it(…um.. her?) commands like “Cortana message Tim on Whatsapp that I will be late for today’s meeting” Cortana will then open up Whatsapp, search for Tim and send the message.

All this is great, but everyone owns more than one device and this is where Continuum comes in. You will be able to start and stop your work on any device and still get a seamless experience. All this looks good an ‘paper’, but will it actually work? I think there is a good chance that it will. Since there will be one operating system installed on all (windows) devices, and the code base for apps will be the same, the chance of this working is very good. We’ll just have to wait and see if it actually works in reality.

Microsoft is really getting in the driver seat when it comes to software technology with Windows 10. All this is really great, but is this cool or creepy?(especially Cortana and Continuum). Windows 10’s timing is perfect for me since, I am due for a laptop upgrade and I am leaning heavily towards Windows and Surface Pro.

Microsoft is also taking a leap forward with holograms and their HoloLens. I’m not going to talk about this, you can read more here.

This is my take on the upcoming Windows 10, if you like what I have presented for you, please like and share. If you notice errors, please do let me know as I am juggling between writing, developing and running and expanding my business.

If you have tips, or if you would like me to write about something specific that you like, please feel free to get in touch with my on Twitter, Facebook,  Linkedin, or contact me via my contact page.

You can follow Okinara on Twitter and Facebook to get web and software and general tech related updates.

 

The Stylus is Making a Comeback

‘If you see a stylus, they BLEW it’

-Steve Jobs

7986400732_4d90b1c2d1_zIf anyone had asked me a week ago, “When was the last time you wrote something with your hand?”, it would have taken me a long time to think of a time when I was actually writing with my hands. I recently got into handwriting for a few minutes a day and I also started sketching designs on my whiteboard which I had not used in many years instead of doing it directly in Photoshop.  I have heard many times that the act of writing something with your hand connects different portions of your brain and in doing so you retain more information and are more likely to follow through on what you write about.

However, now I am beginning to fall in love with handwriting again. So much that I am actually contemplating on cancelling my order for the Galaxy S6 and getting myself a Note 4.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-9024As you may already know the Note 4 uses a stylus with many interesting and productivity boosting features. You can easily write a note with S memo. You can do cool things like smart select to select text freely with the Stylus. Write on a screenshot or existing picture and do some doodling. A stylus mostly is thinner and more precise than your fingers and that gives finer control over what kind of strokes are applied to the image or document that you are working on. It acts as a cursor on the screen so you can do things more accurately. Taking out the S pen from its docked state fire up the Air Command to allow you to quickly start doing some work with your pen.

surface-pro3-pen-2Microsoft Surface, the tablet/laptop hybrid also uses a stylus.

The Surface Stylus takes things up a notch with the ways in which you can use it. You can click the top button to open OneNote. Double-click to capture a screenshot. The right click button acts like the right-click button on a mouse. Click it once in apps like OneNote to open a menu, to choose pen color, thickness, and other options. Microsoft on Friday confirmed it bought the stylus and display interface technology for the Surface Pro 3 from the company that made it. This signifies a big win for the stylus.

Other tablets that use a stylus are the Lenovo ThinkPad 10, Asus VivoTab Note 8, Toshiba Encore 2 Write, Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2HP Slate 7 Extreme.

Not only that, it is rumoured that Apple’s new iPad will also use a stylus. Steve Jobs was strongly against the use of a stylus and even said

“if you see a stylus they blew it.”

“Who wants a stylus? You have to get ’em, put ’em away, you lose ’em. Yuch! Nobody wants a stylus. So let’s not use a stylus.” – Jobs said while introducing the iPhone

“God gave us 10 styluses. Let’s not invent another”  Jobs said about the stylus, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography.

So if the rumours of the iPad getting a stylus is true, it is definitely a big deal! The stylus is really making a come back!

 

 

 

 

 

Top 3 Alternatives to Microsoft Office

microsoft-office-365-logoMicrosoft Office is the industry standard when it comes to office suites. Most people think that when it comes to office suites Microsoft Office is the only option they have. Either that or they think that any other alternative is not worth experimenting with. I’m here to tell you that that is not the case. I have 3 multi-platform alternatives that work on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. If you are a student or a small business owner with a tight budget or have very little use for an office suite to pay $8 to $10 a month for or for whatever reason just don’t want to use Microsoft Office then the following 3 are definitely worth trying out.

Apache OpenOffice

AOO High Res Logo PSD FINALApache OpenOffice is one of the oldest open source alternative and one of the most well know. It has switched hands multiple times throughout its history developed by Star Office, which was later acquired by Sun Microsystems which was acquired by Oracle Corporation, the lack of commitment from Oracle and other issues led to a split in the development team and LibreOffice was born. Oracle then laid of its paid developers who were working on the OpenOffice project and donated the code and trademark to the Apache Software Foundation. For some time after that the office suite was weaker compared to its fork LibreOffice, however since mid-2014 Open Office is back in the competition. OpenOffice.org claims that OpenOffice is being used in Governments, Education, Businesses, Not for profits, IT Businesses.

Apache OpenOffice lets you save documents in the  OpenDocument format, read Microsoft documents and save your work in Microsoft document formats too. It offers 6 programs in its suite:

  • Writer –  the word processor alternative to Microsoft Word that you can use for anything from writing a quick letter to producing an entire book.
  • Calc  – the spreadsheet alternative to Microsoft Excel with all the tools you need to calculate, analyze, and present your data in numerical reports or sizzling graphics.
  • Impress  – the multimedia presentation alternative to Microsoft Powerpoint.
  • Draw  – this Visio alternative lets you produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations.
  • Base – is the alternative to Microsoft Access that lets you manipulate databases seamlessly, create and modify tables, forms, queries, and reports.li
  • Math lets you create mathematical equations with a graphic user interface or by directly typing your formulas into the equation editor.

LibreOffice

LibO_Logo_Highres_ColorLibreOffice is very similar to OpenOffice because it is a fork of OpenOffice and is developed by The Document Foundation. At the time of this writing LibreOffice was slightly ahead of OpenOffice mainly because it had a head start while OpenOffice was looking for a stable home to settle down for some serious development. I was a big fan of OpenOffice until LibreOffice came into existence. I still use LibreOffice and Google’s Office suits on a regular Basis.

To someone who is new to LibreOffice it can be a confusing process to download the right version of LibreOffice. LibreOffice Fresh is the most recent stable version with cutting edge development. If you want the latest features and are okay with using software that has not gone through the test of time then the Fresh version is for you. If you want something that is stable and has gone through a good amount of testing then LibreOffice Still is for you. I use the “Still” version and that is what I would recommend you to use.

LibreOffice boasts the same set of programs that OpenOffice does. It generally has newer and advanced features than OpenOffice and has a more active development team and support community. This may change in the future since OpenOffice has improved quite a lot and it is also supported by a strong organization, Apache which at one point powered 70% of web servers.

Google’s Office Suite

google-drive-logo_11Google’s Office Suite was named Google docs before but now it does not seem to have a name that encapsulates all its apps. Docs is now the name of Google’s word processing app and all the other components are now standalone apps on the web and on the IOS and Android platform.

The biggest difference between Google’s Office apps and the the previous two is that LibreOffice and OpenOffice are both desktop applications where as Google’s is everything on the web.  If you are someone who is on-the-go a lot or use multiple devices to do your work, or are heavily invested in the Google ecosystem then Google office apps is the way to you.  They are not as full featured and robust as the  desktop applications mentioned above, but they get the job done. Since we at Okinara Consulting Services all work remotely from different locations around the globe we depend on Google for our emails and to share and collaborate on documents. There are various apps that work together to form Google’s office suite.

  • Docs – is the Microsoft Word alternative app that lets you Open, edit, and create documents. 
  • Slides – is the Microsoft PowerPoint alternative that lets you open, edit, and create presentations
  • Drawing – is the Microsoft Visio alternative that lets you create diagrams and flow charts
  • Sheets – is the Excel alternative that lets you open, edit, and create spreadsheets

That’s my take on alternatives to Microsoft Office. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.