Hold off on buying that Surface Pro 4


I reviewed the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft’s iPad and notebook PC rival, late last year for The en. At the time, I noted issues with the software on-board the machine, but expressed optimism that Microsoft would address the issue in short order.

It’s February now, and the Surface Pro 4 still struggles through some very strange issues.

I got it wrong. Microsoft may have fixed the issues causing the display driver to not work correctly, but other issues remain. I’m taking the somewhat unorthodox step of lowering the Surface Pro 4’s review score and adding in a paragraph to warn buyers about the software issues that remain.

Look, I spend my earned money on products the stuff that I review at The en. Continued frustration has led me to bench the Surface Pro 4 and go with a more traditional PC while I wait for Microsoft to get its act together. If I’m frustrated, than chances are that many of you are out there frustrated too. I simply can’t not acknowledge that some people might be in this situation because of my optimism on forthcoming software updates.

Drake remarks on Video Girl, a song from his Comeback Season mixtape, that if lively, curvy women would get their act together “we’d all have something better to talk about.” I can appreciate the sentiment.

I can and I will do better next time. Hopefully, so does Microsoft.

I Wrote This: Surface Pro 4 with Core M3 Review


“When some hot piece of new technology arrives, everyone is quick to either sing its praises or tear it down. That’s the nature of technology and culture. If we aren’t collectively enhancing its mythos, we’re collective pointing out its flaws. Sometimes we do both at the same time. By the time we get a device like the Surface Pro 4, it’s usually the praise that dominates the landscape.

The Surface Pro 4 isn’t a big departure from that device, at least in many of the ways that matter. That’s led to a lot of people singing its praises.

Frankly, I understand all the praise from reviewers; the Surface Pro created a new form factor that no one considered viable before it came along. Anyone describing these devices as “perfect” is out of their mind, though. There are improvements galore. There are compromises too – some of them so severe that I can’t understand how someone begins to describe this device as the best there is.”

Continue reading at The en

I Wrote This: ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ is a masterpiece


“I can’t say that Mozart in the Jungle necessarily hits the mark on all fronts; I’ve never been a musician. I can say that, after watching the show, I feel like I know a bit more about the battles that musicians fight everyday. In some ways, their battles are our own. We all feel like frauds and pretenders, like we’re unappreciated and undervalued.”

Keep reading on The En

I Wrote This: ‘Spectre’ review


My James Bond,” – because I seem to have developed a personal stake in the Daniel Craig films – “would never make caddy references to predecessors and grin at that camera while doing it,” I declared. Spectre, the James Bond film that debuted a week ago today, better balances Craig’s darker take on the British super spy with references to previous films and classic ropes. Plus there’s romance, so much romance.

Continue reading at The En

I Wrote This: Microsoft Band 2 Review

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Wearable makers think that users either want a way to avoid having to pull their phone out of their pocket for each task or a barebones wearable sensor that they have to look at another screen to fully use. The Microsoft Band 2 is Microsoft’s attempt to find some comfortable space in the middle.

Read the rest at Gotta Be Mobile.

Asked & Answered: What tech do you use?

surface pro 3

Asked & Answered is full of questions that people ask me online that it wouldn’t be appropriate answering anywhere else. Send me your questions on Twitter.

The funny thing about giving people answers is they ask more questions. Some days back I answered some mail about what sites I visit on the daily. Your responses were awesome and appreciated. I figure, it’s time to answer another.

What’s tech do you use?

When I was a young geek (Yes, 16 year old Travis. I’m finally willing to own that.) I wanted every piece of gadgetry I could get my hands on. My first desktop PC, the one I would write my first Harry Potter website on, was a Gateway all-in-run running Windows 98. I had AOL and a hunger for code. A ThinkPad R40 and Dell Inspiron 2600 followed it.  Before I could afford my own upgrades mom rented me an HP Pavilion from one of those Rent-A-Center places just so I could stay inside and keep playing games and learning about the internet. That was before she realized she’d also crippled my social skills for life and likely wouldn’t be getting grand children. When I got my first job I’d replace a PC once every year or year and a half. There were times when I even had two PCs.

Today, I hate technology. I loved those days when everything was new and exciting, but to 26 year old Travis thinks that PCs, phones and media players are just tools. I’ve found a center where technology takes a backseat to life, I think. My choice in computers reflects that. I don’t own a tablet and I’ve been thinking about selling my XPS 13 for years. My only PC is a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. It’s my eReader, my desktop, my notebook, my everything away from home. I have a nice Lumia 930 smartphone and two Xbox One consoles too, but the Pro 3 is my prized possession.

Maybe one of these days I’ll do an office tour like my man Scott Hanselman does.  I reviewed the Surface Pro 3 for enConnected a month after I purchased it.

Asked & Answered: What sites do you read?


Asked & Answered is full of questions that people ask me through  online that wouldn’t be appropriate answering anywhere else. Send me your questions on Twitter.

What sites do you read every day?

Honestly, you’d think may I’d read a lot of Microsoft news. Sometimes that’s true — particularly if the company has a major announcement in the works. Often times, that isn’t true at all.

I’ve endorsed it hear before, but Longform.org is my go to place for detailed content. I’m also a big fan of The New Yorker and The New Republic. Reading everyday reporting is cool, but sometimes you want someone to dig deep and fully explore their ideas. I like to read intellectual things, but that’s not me exclusively. There are days when you need celebrity gossiping random garbage to put your mind at ease. I visit Media Takeout for that thanks to a longtime friend of mine who first introduced me to it. For all media, nothing gets better that Awesomely Luvvie.

For gaming, I am a huge fan of Polygon. I still love them, but I also keep an eye on GameInformer, no one does detailed content like they do. It still feels well researched and professional, something I wish I got from other places. Scott Hanselman’s blog is terrific for technology and things beyond it.

I don’t visit that many Microsoft sites. Thurrot I browse frequently, though not a huge fan of Paul, he’s a terrific source for just about anything that comes from the company, like it or not. AllAboutMicrosoft is my bible. It’s just habit at this point. I don’t read any Windows Phone specific news sources because I’m not a huge fan of any of them really. One of the main WP websites is pretty tasteless, the other just isn’t my thing.

And Now For An Endorsement: Longform.org


I enjoy sharing things that I like here. It’s a way to free myself from the confine’s of enConnected’s technology and entertainment focus and just talk about the stuff that I use every day. Over the past year I’ve really fell in love with longform. Think of longform reporting as a news piece with better bones and more to offer. My favorite curator? Longform.org.

These guys offer an absolutely terrific app and podcast too.