You read part 1, right? Well, I’m on my second week with Windows now and I figured it was time for an update. My initiation into Windows went fairly smoothly. I loaded up my Adobe suite without issue, got the atrociously designed Outlook 2016 working with all of my email accounts, and then got to work figuring out the unknown replacement software I’d need. Namely:
- iCloud for Windows. It’s very limited for Windows users, but it did allow me to sync my bookmarks through Google Chrome, sync my contacts through Outlook, and sync my photo stream. I’m still dearly missing iMessages and the little things that come with the Apple ecosystem like synced browser tabs, copying and pasting between devices, etc… But, this does cover the “bare necessities.”
- iTunes for Windows. Self explanatory. My media now syncs.
- 1password. I upgraded to 1password 6 which stores your logins on 1password’s cloud rather than in dropbox like the older version. It was a bit complicated to setup, but some perseverance has it all under control.
- PhraseExpress. I use TextExpander on my Macs and iOS devices solely as a method of sending canned responses to support emails. However, TextExpander for Windows is unusable… A google search turned up PhraseExpress and it’s actually quite good. I think I might even like it more than TextExpander.
- DfontSplitter. I have a 25 year old font collection and didn’t want to give them up. DfontSplitter converted that library into TTF fonts so that I could use them in Windows. Free too!
With all of those issues addressed, I was starting to feel at home on the Surface Book. And then, I started streaming YouTube videos and couldn’t help but notice the poor performance I was getting out of the wifi adapter. Speedtest.net proved the point… The SurfaceBook was getting around 7mbps down in the exact same area that my MacBook Pro was getting 70 to 80mbps. I did some google searching and saw that wifi performance has long been a problem area for both the Surface Book and the Surface Pro. I tried all of the fixes I could find, but nothing worked.
Then, a gentleman on Reddit had me download HD Tune to run a drive diagnostic. Turned out it wasn’t only my wifi adaptor having issues, but my hard drive was failing as well. So, back to the Microsoft store I went. Their customer service was fantastic and fifteen minutes later I walked out with a new Surface Book and a job to do – reload all of my software and get windows set to how I like it. AGAIN.
Last night I got all of those chores done and then went to test the wifi. Instead of 7mbps, I was getting around 60. Not as good as my MacBook mind you, but good enough. With all of that out of the way, I detached the tablet and readied for some down time figuring I’d spend it looking at the Windows store for software unknown. The Windows store refused to open. It would just crash at startup.
More time on google… And again, I was met with lots of “fixes” that didn’t work. Obviously, this has been a problem in the past with Windows 10, but no matter what I tried, I couldn’t fix the “bad cache file” that was rendering the software useless. Then, an hour later, it just started working again. I’m still clueless as to what went on, but apparently lots of folks lost access to the store last night.
In any case, that leads me to the present. I’m still enjoying the build quality of the Surface Book and I’m still infatuated with the versatility of the machine, but I’d be lying if I said I was completely confident in the stability of both Microsoft’s hardware and software. It’s been a really shaky start to my journey, but I like the idea of the Surface Book so much that I can’t help but not give up. So, I press on…
All of this brings two Apple tag lines to mind:
“Think Differently.” There’s not a doubt in my mind that Microsoft has done this better than Apple in the past year or so. The surface devices are, theoretically, beating Apple at their own game. Apple is building appliances while Microsoft is building innovative tools for makers.
“It just works.” Thus far, I still think Apple is ahead of Microsoft in both usability and stability. Apple’s ecosystem is really hard to trump simply because Apple has so much control over it. It works. And thus far, my Surface Book experience hasn’t been the most stable.
To be continued…