Tag Archives: Surface Go

Just like everyone else

For the longest of times, I have worshiped Google. I have always been pro Google, and having worked in their offices for a year, being exposed to the options within Google is just overwhelming (and the food is pretty much the best in the world). So what happens when you are shown that Google is basically just like all the other large corporations? What when you wake up to an early e-mail where google advises you on the new Google Home Hub and the Google Pixels 3 (which is appealing even if it is at the price of your soul), yet 150 minutes later, you are shown by the Wall Street Journal that Google is just like every other corporation at present, how would you feel?

I can tell you that an ice bucket of water over your head at that point would have seemed a soft caress in contrast to the rude awakening I was made privy to.

To get the better view, we need to go back to May 2108, where we were treated to: “Google Australia’s boss Jason Pellegrino, who spoke on a CEO panel at Sydney’s CeBIT tech conference today, told the audience there had to be a “utility exchange” for the data a business obtains, adding if there is no trust, it can prove detrimental“, as well as ““That was about a leaky bucket. That data was going to places that consumers didn’t expect, didn’t agree with and got not value out of themselves. “None of these data buckets should be leaky. However, it’s started a discussion about what’s in the bucket itself. The data that’s there has been used to deliver a great service – no one has been sitting there saying Netflix ‘I can’t believe the data that you’re sharing’ – because they are delivering a wonderful service.”“. So as we were given on Monday ‘Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public‘ with the two quotes: “Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal“, as well as “A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident“, so basically Jason Pellegrino (not the exquisite Italian sparkling water) was basically calling the kettle black, whilst we can agree at this point that he had no business opening his mouth in the first place in light of 3 years of hidden software screw ups. It seems to me that both are in equal hot waters. Even if we water it down (not using sparking Pellegrino) into a setting that Cambridge Analytica was doing it on purpose and that the implied setting by Alphabet Inc. is that their software engineers basically did not know what they were doing (to some extent). We can call a fair dinkum, but something this hidden for three years. What optional issues can we expect from the Google Pixel 3, with Android version 3.14159265418 (Android Pie), as well as the Google Home Hub where the consumer is optionally revealing all their daily needs (including the speculatively implied and roughly estimated 54,233 daily attempts to watch Pornhub) with or without the optional keywords Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Shania Twain, Selena Gomez, Kirsten Dunst and Taylor Swift. Yes, that is the data those marketeers are willing to pay handsomely for, not to mention those unnamed parties speculatively involved in election persuasion consultancy projects.

It gets even more interesting that the Home Hub could potentially reveal when a person is at home or not (like on vacation), because there is no one who would want that data, right? Last week we would not have given it a second thought, yet with the revelations in the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-exposed-user-data-feared-repercussions-of-disclosing-to-public-1539017194) we now have a much larger issue. It was fun to see the review on the Verge where we see this puppy in action (the Google Home Hub) where the operator asks for the overview of the Pixel 2, whilst pre-orders of the Pixel 3 are happening all over the world, another fallen blobby in all this.

So as we see the turmoil that one of the world’s biggest tech giants will face over the last quarter of the year, we need to realise that you should never meet your idol whilst he is still alive. I reckon that Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will be able to hold his cool for the smallest amount when he meets me, but that is presently not a given.

So as well are treated to “The closure of Google+ is part of a broader review of privacy practices by Google that has determined the company needs tighter controls on several major products, the people said. In its announcement Monday, the company said it is curtailing the access it gives outside developers to user data on Android smartphones and Gmail” we need to wonder what is next for the social media people. I actually preferred Google+ as it was less junk driven then Facebook. And it also gave me the timeline as a first instead of the populist drive, which still annoys me in Facebook. So even as some at Google as trying to wane us to slumber, the cold reality is : ‘the company has no evidence that any outside developers misused the data but acknowledges it has no way of knowing for sure‘. That is the immediate setting in this, we no longer know who has our details and we might never know how we were optionally specifically phished and targeted as per 2015, is that not a nice new reality to face?

So as we need to realise “The company will stop letting most outside developers gain access to SMS messaging data, call log data and some forms of contact data on Android phones“, we might think it is no big deal, but this has the data potential to be a lot larger than any nightmare scenario that the UK ‘Hacked Off‘ ever envisioned in their nightmare settings that the press would have been up to, when people with less scruples (not by much though) have been given optional access to and let’s not forget, the criminals tend to be more creative then the law enforcers ever have been (or some of the intelligence services for that matter).

So even as we accept that the Google plus issue is a dwarf compared to the Facebook scandal, it still optionally victimised the setting through: “It found 496,951 users who had shared private profile data with a friend could have had that data accessed by an outside developer, the person said. Some of the individuals whose data was exposed to potential misuse included paying users of G Suite, a set of productivity tools including Google Docs and Drive, the person said. G Suite customers include businesses, schools and governments“.

I am not alone in this, a few hours ago, the New York Times are giving us: ‘How Will Google Play Its New Product Announcements on the Back of a Data Scandal?‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/business/dealbook/google-data-products.html). It is not merely that part, we need to consider that at present only Apple has a seemingly clean slate and they can use this to their advantage. It is in the end watered down by the NY Times through “They’re all part of Google’s strategy to highlight the company’s services via hardware (rather than necessarily become best-sellers in their own right)“, they are all still ruled by software and the cold setting here is that it is their software that was incompletely tested and prodded by those who should have done so. I refuse to merely blame a programmer here, it is a much larger problem!

The failing here can be seen in places like Ubisoft, EA Games, Bethesda, Microsoft and several other large developers. The non-stop trivialisation of proper testing and proper timelines to test settings is at the back of all this. It is not merely a lacking QA, it is a non believe in the power of testers and longer conversations in their insights that is here as well. Issues seen in FIFA 19, several shortcomings in NHL 19, AC Odyssey bugs reported mere hours ago and the less said regarding the Microsoft Surface Go the better and the list goes on. These issues shows that Google is part of the entire problem, the quality testing and scrutiny is seemingly not done (or not done to the extent needed), and with the Google Pixel 3 just around the corner, with a lessened confidence level at present, would you at that point trust the Google Pixel 3XL 128GB at $1500, or will you play it cautiously and select the less powerful, but still a large step forward when selecting the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset at $600, in this day and age, can we feel comfortable with spending an optional $900 too much? I will admit that there are a few alternatives at that price, not merely Huawei, but the list of quality choices is very small.

The revelation that the Wall Street Journal exposed us to on Monday is probably the most inconvenient that Google has faced in a long time. Even before we see whatever Google has to promote in the near future on 5G capabilities and enabling technologies, they now have a visible problem to address. It is not merely a dent in their armour, it now shows us a Google that was optionally never the knight in shining armour it has largely been seen as, which is a much larger problem for Google then they are willing to admit to any day soon.

Too many are hiding behind hype terms like AI and machine learning, yet the realisation that non repudiation and authentication was required on many more levels where data is involved in all this, is a failing on several levels, predominantly the developers one and it is there that Google will possibly face a very hard time to come.




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Tabula Rasa

Yes, the Latin name for Clean Slate. It is an expression that we got from the Romans, who used wax tablet to scribe information, they used a metal pen, or a Stylus to write on the wax. In addition, when the slate was done, it was placed near a 50 degrees Celsius hotspot (like in the kitchen, and the wax would melt, so it could be used again, that is where the clean slate comes from. This is not the only part, there is enough evidence that the Syrians were doing this too about 2500 years ago, so Apple did not start it and even now (and 1 trillion dollar value later), they still use over excessive electronics to allow you to work with a clean slate at the touch of a button, no hotspot required.

So, in this trailed and tested environment, why would others try to budge in?

That of course was a question that answers itself in greed. I got my iPad (the very first one) 7 years ago; I still have it, even as it is not starting to buckle, so the end of a 24:7 life cycle has been reached. It helped me past 3 past graduate degrees (including a Master degree), so it earned its ‘moment of recycling‘. Yet, I will be a little sad; it was a faithful companion since day 1.

I paid about $1200, for the first edition, 64 GB cellular and Wi-Fi. that same setting with a much faster processor, higher resolution and increased speed, as well as camera and video options that I did not have in my edition will set me back $799, but with 100% more storage, or $1399, with 400% more storage and additional 4K filming. On my budget it will be the normal iPad, but the full version with 800% storage Pro and the rest at $1699 is still appealing. Still, the $799 is a great option, so sticking with that (and my budget makes it an optional setting. The fact that something so much larger and more powerful is merely 65% of the version I bought gives additional satisfaction.

So in all that, why on earth is Microsoft being half baked? First they screw up their gaming dimension, sticking their heads in the sand, ignoring consumers and proclaiming that they know what they are doing, whilst at this very same debacle, we see first Cnet giving us: ‘The Microsoft Surface Go is a good computer, but a very bad tablet‘, we also get “Windows 10’s tablet interface still stinks, and there aren’t a lot of popular apps that were built for Windows 10 in tablet mode. The iPad still has the best library of tablet apps“, it is something we all should have known, when it comes to apps and the Apple solution has millions of apps as an advantage, a decent amount of them free and very useful. In addition a much larger proportion is all less than $5 each, often it is the pro version of the free app, so you can fit before you commit (like any decent relationship). Then we get “Microsoft’s bookstore lacks a lot of titles, including some on The New York Times’ best-seller list. The Times, The Washington Post and other popular publications are also missing. While I could check any website, scrolling was sometimes too jittery and annoying, especially while holding the tablet with one hand in bed at night“, which implies that there is no beating iBook, a very essential tool, not merely for reading.

In addition there is: “The Surface Go’s bezels are so wide they’re almost comical. While it doesn’t hinder performance, it makes the tablet look dated from the get-go“, giving the implied setting that Microsoft again did not prepare for a serious war, merely a setting where they want to ‘tip their toes into the water‘, I would have thought that the Surface Pro setting should have properly prepared them in all this. And the killer in all this is “Finally, battery life is pretty bad. Microsoft advertises nine or more hours of use, but I never got close to that. I usually saw about four or five hours of use with Chrome and Spotify open“, which was countered with “I could save battery life by using Microsoft’s Edge browser — Windows 10 said Chrome was draining the battery a lot — but I prefer Chrome“, a setting that will be shared by many users, so in all this, the mere battery drain will get people to prefer the iPad, or an alternative over the Surface Go and that is merely on launch week. If there is one giggle around the corner, then it is the setting that this device will make more and more people consider the options that the $400 Chromebooks have. This is exactly what we get to see at eh end of the CNBC review. With: “You should only buy the Surface Go if you need a Windows 10 computer but think the Surface Pro is too big and expensive. I imagine most people don’t fit that profile though. If you need a tablet, go with the iPad. If you need a cheap computer, a Chromebook or cheaper Windows 10 laptop would suit you a lot better“, we see that Microsoft again comes with a device that has all the right marketing, yet in the end, the users will soon learn that a flawed approach is not a near hit, it is merely a miss. So, let’s thank Microsoft for their efforts in giving notice to the new blockbuster ‘Rise of the Chromebook‘, already available in several e-Stores near you and you can find those places with Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, or was that Microsoft Edge?

In the end, the setting becomes the iPad $799, or the Surface Go $838, in all seen there is, as far as I can tell no redeeming feature scoring for Microsoft. Even the ‘if you need a Windows 10 computer‘ does not hold enough water to spend more only to get an indecent amount less. The battery life alone makes it a nonstarter. In the end, the die-hard Microsoft fans will accept it, from all the sources I watched, it does seem to do what it needs to do, it might not do what you prefer it to do (jab at the battery life). Another source gave us that the sound is not great, I am willing to accept that this is slightly more in the ears of the beholder, yet I never heard that complaint from any of the iPads, which is another issue for prospective buyers to consider, which is funny when you consider that some of the Chromebooks (not all mind you), come with: “listening to BBC Radio live via the surprisingly good Bang & Olufsen (B&O) in-built speakers“, I tend to not go high-gear on most PC and tablet things, so I might not have given the B&O serious consideration depending on the price, yet at the $100 difference, not having B&O sound seems just crazy. In that setting, going towards something like the HP Notebook x2 10-p033tu becomes just as exciting, with optionally a much better choice as it comes with the keyboard at that point. Even the not so popular Samsung tablet becomes a decent alternative at this point (and I have never been a fan of Samsung), with options at $329, with a battery that offers 13 hours of video playback it implies to be swimming circles around the Surface Go, all issues that should not have been coming up as a serious alternative for the Surface Go, not from a tablet well over 2 years old.

This is what you can find within the hour, so in all this, the Surface Go is not only less competitive, it is merely latching on whatever it can for visibility, that is no way for a product to distinguish itself, a system that is nothing more than the runt of the litter. So, as a tablet, it is not merely in no way a decent alternative to the iPad, there are a few other choices that would make an equal if not a better alternative at this point. All this, whilst only a week ago, the website Mashable gave us: ‘Save up to 30% on Chromebooks from Samsung, Acer, ASUS, and Google‘, now I get that this is temporary, yet at this point (using Google Ads for example), Microsoft could have bid on that specific page and get students across to consider the Surface go at the ‘match price of the week‘, an opportunity Microsoft did not go for (seemingly), so whilst we are drowning in Windows Central reviews on almost every digital channel, we see Microsoft in the wrong places, or perhaps better stated, not in the right places. Missing on loads of opportunities, especially when you realise that most universities with the Spring (AUS) / or Autumn (Europe) semesters are only 5 weeks away, so whomever needs stuff, now is the time that they are getting it.

These are the days where starting with a clean slate (new data device) is important, especially in your new education, in all this the settings that I am noticing give me the distinct feeling that Microsoft has not been very serious in cornering a market, and from my point of view that is the second time where they are forgoing a serious market share on anything. I just cannot work out why someone allows for that not once, but twice in a row, it is (again, merely from my point of view) not the setting of opportunities missed, they are the setting of market shares lost and once lost, regaining them is not really an option, unless they do something so essentially ground breaking that everyone takes notice, a scenario that has not knocked on the doors of Microsoft since Windows XP.


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On the ropes again

It isn’t often that I see a corporation setting themselves up for a fall, to do so twice in a short time span is almost staggering, but would you know it, Microsoft pulled it off!

Now, we need to consider the setting in the right light. They want to capture part of the Apple market and that is a valid jump, yet they are doing it whilst the Apple is sitting there with hundreds of thousands of apps, a setting that almost smoothly sets you up for your music, your photos, your face time and your data. I still have the very first 64GB iPad. It has been running 24:7 for close to 7 years. Only now, only this year did I get the first issue with my 1st generation iPad. This is the situation that Microsoft is facing up and guess what! They still fumble the ball. So the equivalent of the 128GB iPad (the new one) is $100 more expensive than the Apple edition. In addition, the Surface Go does not offer Cell next to the WiFi, which Apple does, making it more ‘on-the-go’ than the Microsoft version is.

The fact that they still screw around with 64 Gb in this day and age, whilst most consider 128 GB now a minimum for anything larger than a mobile phone was the first fumble. It goes beyond that and the editorial of NewWin gives the best voice in all this, they tell you ‘Microsoft’s Surface Go is not the tablet that can replace your tablet‘, no way is there an option for me to phrase it better. They do one better with “But the Surface Go doesn’t make sense as a tablet, because Microsoft hasn’t invested in building a decent Windows 10 tablet experience, and this goes beyond apps“, that in a setting where we need to look deeper at what Apple offers, the numbers that were released in LifeWire gives us that as per March 2018 2,100,000 apps have been released, as per March 2016 – 1,000,000 iPad apps have been released. This discrepancy is mainly as the separation between iPad and iPhone apps went away, the iPhone became larger and as such we can run most apps on both, in addition, as apps designer focused on iPhone apps, as they would work on both is pretty much the other reason. You can read more on these numbers (at https://www.lifewire.com/how-many-apps-in-app-store-2000252). That is the setting Microsoft was up against and whilst they mess around with a 64 GB and larger, the mere setting to just accept that 128 GB is the minimum norm would have been a clever step, the mere consumer difference is $70, that whilst Microsoft will always have a much better price, that is the given and the consumer feels cheated! It is even clearer when we look at the PC World views (at https://www.pcworld.com/article/3288206/tablet-pc/microsofts-399-10-inch-surface-go-rethinks-the-windows-tablet-for-consumers.html). As we focus on “Microsoft designed the Surface Go for people in motion: the sales exec who makes a quick edit or two to a presentation while at her daughter’s soccer practice, for example. A Wi-Fi-only model will ship first, followed an LTE model later in 2018“, yet when we consider ‘the sales exec who makes a quick edit or two to a presentation‘, whilst ‘at her daughter’s soccer practice‘, considering that she is in a place with flaky Wi-Fi and optionally out there with no Wi-Fi makes the absence of a cellular option even more confusing. Not unlike the Xbox One fiasco, it seems that Microsoft does not comprehend their customers, plain and simple. Instead of learning from Google and just hand everyone a 128 GB model even with merely 6GB would have made all the difference but the people setting the stage do not comprehend that rationing the gravy or ketchup merely gives the visitor most likely merely a dry meal, and today the people realise the power of storage, they see it every day, to just take storage doubt off the board they could create trust, Microsoft decided not to do this.

NeoWin gives even more (at https://www.neowin.net/news/microsofts-surface-go-is-not-the-tablet-that-can-replace-your-tablet) and with “Users have complained about missing features like multi-selection of tiles for improved app organisation, folder naming, requested a more touch capable File Explorer and more” they are showing us that they are before the moment that Apple surpassed at least two generations earlier in their devices. This is a level of non-vision that you expect from sophomore students, not in a Fortune 500 company, and I reckon it will all be to push them into the Azure cloud, because that is what brand X requires. I am actually puzzled how Microsoft is not losing market share in a much faster rate. Apple and Google are surpassing IBM and Microsoft at a better and faster stage than ever before, from what I can tell it is done by looking at the population that fits the board of directors, not in the setting that actually represents the population. A view set on corporate policies, not on what the people need, desire and prefers.

It escalates when we consider “while the Microsoft Store app ecosystem is a dead horse that’s been beaten over and over, it has gotten worse since the Surface 3. Microsoft is no longer pushing the Universal Windows App ecosystem as hard as it did in previous years and developers have subsequently jumped ship“, this now implies that the Surface Go is a system that goes nowhere fast and will reduce its own market and options faster still, so when we see that it is $100 more than the Apple iPad with cell and Wi-Fi, why would we consider a device that was surpassed by Apple by 2014, 4 years ago and the Microsoft version has not even been released yet. The only selling part might be Microsoft Office, but yet there we see that Google with Docs and Sheets is an equal in pretty much every way, so there we are with hardware that I dreamed off in 2003, Apple delivered 7 years later and Microsoft is only now getting to that point, and when you realise that you need a keyboard and pen to make the Surface Go decently usable, which is another $200, what direction would you take? Apple or nowhere? So what is Microsoft doing exactly?

Even when we consider other fields, the Microsoft Go will falter on no less than 5 given field settings against the Raytheon Tablet that is already pushing technological boundaries, some that would frighten Apple to a certain extent, others are not worthy of consideration when we consider the market Apple is in. In that my sense of humour takes over when we consider two developers, the first Steven Weeks, the Hydra Swarm program manager who gives us (in regards to the Raytheon solution) “Drop it in the water, you can do that.” and then there is Jeff Mazurek, the iConnect program manager who gives us “What the army is focused on is a single, central battery that will connect to the other batteries and trickle-charge them” , yes you can giggle all you like, Microsoft is THAT far behind, a military developer like Raytheon surpassed them not overnight, but in the timeframe where they (Microsoft that is) were all falling over one another on the ‘greatness’ of Azure cloud and all the logic defying marketing on the Surface pro (and how it was actually really overpriced) in that time Raytheon got a tablet past primary development that is surpassing whatever Microsoft is offering the consumer now. In all this, Raytheon has the basic setting of a field version of a table that would be interesting for pretty much anyone in the Middle East, Latin America, Canada and Rural India and China. By the way these populations surpass the 2 billion mark, 25% of the population on the planet. A group that Microsoft has always ignored and that is fair enough, because the bulk cannot afford a tablet, but to offer one that is already lagging in too many fields is just slightly too weird for my liking and I actually love weird at times.

In the end PC World gives us “The Surface Go enters a tablet space whose most popular players include the Android-based 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S3 for a lofty $599 and the far more affordable Amazon Fire HD 10 for a mere $150, as well as, of course, the dominant Apple iPad, which starts at $329. It appears that Microsoft is shooting for somewhere in the middle“, I cannot completely agree. Not on the assessment of PC World, but on the path of Microsoft, if they were serious in any way, than they would have given us one model, the 128GB storage/6GB RAM model, allowing the people to get traction, allowing others to see what apps can grow the business whilst giving the people a device that has enough for all their office needs and entertainment value (music and video), that would have been a serious step, Microsoft faltered there (yet again). And whilst offering that for a mere $450 to the education community getting the growth of the next generation through loyalty growth they had a starting path. It seems to me that someone decided against that and they are merely a niche taste that had no distinctive taste and has the aroma that would have been accepted by the consumer 5 years ago. In today’s market it merely looks like an ‘1850 salt print’ in a 1.6 million colour digital marketing world. Some will love the nostalgia, yet a mere 5 minutes later they will be required to meet the updated deadline(s), and when Wi-Fi is flawed, those users will not have any real option.

In the end, is this the Surface Go or the Surface Go Away?


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