WinRT Surface–experiences

Today we went over to the Microsoft Store again to review the WinRT Surface device and try it on our own.

Tablet Plus

The first impression of the Windows RT device is that it is more than just a tablet. As it contains Office 2013 it is also a productivity tool. It is easy to just write a letter, do some spreadsheeting or create a presentation using PowerPoint. Obviously you won’t be doing those sort of things by just using a tablet, you’ll need a tablet++.


It is hard to decide what the weight does to the machine. Yesterday I quickly touched Surface and somehow thought it to be somewhat heavier than expected. Today however, when in depth looking at the device I now thought the device to be a lot lighter.Especially when removing the keyboard, power chords etc it resulted much more as a ‘real’ tablet. Easy to hold, and excellent to carry around, stand included on the default machine.

Here are some pictures










Build 2012 – Pre Conference comments


A long trip behind us from Amsterdam to Seattle but we arrived safe and sound and in one piece at our hotel on Saturday. The flight was delayed for more than a couple of hours as the Delta crew found one of the front tires of the plane to be a bit under pressure. So back to the gate… An other hour went by, the tire was tested and had the right pressure so the sensor showed wrong readings. I really don’t know what is worse, a flat tire or bad reading. I’d hate it to get in a landing sequence with instruments stating to be a 100 feet higher than its actual height!

Due to the fact that we had to return to the gate we also used a part of the fuel needed to complete our trip. That meant refuelling, waiting for a fuel truck and to fill out the paperwork by the crew. We lost about two to three hours and they didn’t allow us to get off the plane… Anyway, we arrived in our hotel and it was time to do some sight seeing. First mission was to check out the Microsoft Store to have our first look at the new WinRT Surface tablets that Microsoft released this week.

The shop was actually very crowded and it was almost impossible to have a look at the devices other than trying the keyboards to a certain extend. One other thing that came to mind is that we wondered how the charger would be able to fit in our 220V European connector as the US connector has a plug fixed in the  casing. We asked around and it looks like the adapter is going to need another adapter when buying a US tablet. Chargers are however sold separately and could, at this time, maybe be ordered in the German store.

Sunday we decided to take a trip to Seattle and go over the highlights of the city. Our goal was the see Renton, but missed the bus and didn’t want to wait for two hours to get the next one. Most parts of Seattle we already have seen before as we’ve been there several times but still, I finally found the Hardrock Cafe I missed in all the earlier years. I bought the black Hardrock Cafe Seattle cap to add to my collection of HC caps. Tomorrow registration, that is … if there is a shuttle to take us there and a couple of pre-conference events in the evening from DevExpress or DeepFriedBytes. Can’t wait for the conference to start!

Build 2012 … counting down

Tomorrow is the day I will drive to the airport, hop on a plane and move myself to Redmond (Bellevue to be exact) to settle down for the second edition of //Build, Build 2012.

What can we expect? I don’t know … According to the agenda registration opens on Monday from 3-8PM to collect a … badge (again, according to what we know is published on

Other than that, there is Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, More Sessions, Lunch, Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, More Sessions and hé a “Beer Fest”, on Haloween!

Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, More Sessions and another (!) party, the Attendee Party. Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, More Sessions and … Conference Ends.

What?!?!? You say … Is that it? Is that why it sold out within the hour? What is all the fuzz about, you may think?

Well yes and no. Sure, it’s ‘just’ another conference as every other conference. Sessions, eating, drinking and sleeping. That’s it.

No, stupid! That’s not it! There is so much more than meets the eye! Let me discuss a couple of things and maybe I can convince you.

First of all there is the dedicated attention from you to the presenter. When I’m at home, I often try to find a webcast, recording, LiveMeeting of session done on earlier shows and conferences just to learn a couple of new things when I’m having my lunch or just ate dinner. I start to listen to what they have to say but I realize that after a while I started to do some other things. Opening another browser, working on my administration, test some code … you get the picture. My attention moved away from the presentation to do ‘more important’ stuff. It is not more important, but that is what you think at that time. On a conference, you are traveling light. You don’t bring all the stuff you have at home so even if you wanted you cannot do what you did at home. Also there he/she is, right in front of you, so it is somewhat embarrassing to do other things in a big crowd.

Second, there is the networking element. The conference is hosted on Microsoft Campus this year, so changes are that you’ll meet one or more guys from the development team and talk to the guys one on one. I’ve been there before and it appeared that the bug you reported and never got through to fix you were able to show them but now one-on-one and you could put your comments next to it and all the sudden the bug is picked up and fixed a couple of weeks later. It really happens! That alone is worth a lot more than the conference fee and T&C all together.

Third, there is the networking element. Ohw, I already mentioned that? No I didn’t! This time I mean networking with your peers. You are there with hundreds, no thousands of other developers, designers and architects and there is a 100% chance, not even a chance anymore, that you will see some things from those guys that you have never seen before. A shortcut, a library, a method, way of working, whatever. Guaranteed you will pick something up that you can use from now on!

Fourth … Energy! You’ll get so much energy from these events. Everyone who has been at one of the shows before, PDC, TechEd, DevDays, will confirm that they left the conference full of new ideas and can’t wait to start working on it. Downside is that, almost immediately, you also get back into the old issues that are still there when you return home. But now you have this glow of energy to move on. Think of other great solutions that you haven’t thought of before!

Fifth, meeting all your old other conference buddies. There are people that I know from years and years ago, and it is always a pleasure to meet one or more guys from the ‘old boys network’.

Sixth … Well I can go on and on about it. Even as the contents for the conference is not revealed I am pretty sure the conference will be a success. And if I have a couple of hours left I drag what’s left from me over to the Microsoft Store, Apple Store and Best Buy to name a few and bring some cool gadgets home that we don’t have (yet) in the Netherlands!

Looking at the clock it is almost 1PM again and in about 6 hours I must be up and awake again, ready to move to the airport. The next days I will keep you updated and if there is news you’ll hear it, through my Twitter account (@aafvstam), Facebook or this blog!

See you at the other (for some the right) side of the ocean!

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