WINDOWS 8 – How I spent Saturday morning – some quick reviews of new Win 8 machines

Spent this morning at the Microsoft and Sony Style stores in Tysons Corner, Virginia trying out the new Windows 8 machines. Nice.

Windows 8 is definitely a new experience. Confusing but mostly good. I believe that it will do good things for Microsoft.

Certainly Windows 8 creates many new opportunities to reimagine the PC.

>>> The big winner with Windows 8 is Lenovo, the Chinese PC maker that bought out IBM’s PC division back in 2006. Lenovo has some very innovative and interesting desktop and laptop/tablet combinations. It seems as if Lenovo is trying to capture all of the different computer categories at once. It certainly took on the competition and every one of their 7 new PC computers is a WOW.

— The Lenovo IdeaCenter A520 is just pure beauty if you are looking for a new touchscreen desktop and don’t mind paying $1499 for what is really an amazing machine … although many laptops provide all the power and pizzazz that you need for only half of that. Note: The Lenovo website says ‘coming in December’ but the Microsoft store has them now for you to play with and to buy.

— The other Lenovo winners include the 13″ Yoga — the Yoga also offers higher resolution than available on most Microsoft notebooks — and the 13″ Twist. One literally bends over backwards to work in various configurations ($999 at Best Buy) or the Twist which has its touch screen twist around and fold flat to make a Windows 8 tablet ($899 at Staples … BUT $799 at Staples online). The Twist offers only normal 1366 resolution.

Sony has a whole slew of new machines as well — competitively priced (which is new for Sony). The Sony Windows 8 laptop/tablet is called the Slider … while unique and nice it was something that I couldn’t get comfortable with. Instead of trackpad it has a …. it has a … something like a g-spot mouse. (Not a good word for it). The Sony has a shiny spot stuck in the middle of the keyboard, kinda like the IdeaPad has its red mouse stick, but this is shiny and as you glide your finger over it the computer responds. It works … but just in real life it would be nice to have more to work with. =^) … Additionally, when stored flat the screen always faces out just like a tablet … so you need to be very careful when tossing it into your backpack.

The other Sony VAIO S Series 13 Custom Laptop models are traditional clamshell style and come in very, very brushed alumnium metallic designs … although metallic comes in many different pastel shades. (Literally pastels … alumnium pastels).

Dell XPS 12
Dell XPS 12

The Dell XP 12 Ultrabook is a tad expensive but it works hard for the money and can convert to a really nice Windows 8 tablet in just seconds through a unique flipscreen … you’ve got to see it to understand it. The screen seems like it would be flimsy but it is plenty sturdy. This is a sexy machine that unfortunately sucks at battery life … just 4.5 hours per session. … But sometimes looking good is more important than lasting the whole night so … check it out at on Dell’s website.

Samsung Series 7 Slate
Samsung Series 7 Slate

MISSING IN ACTION with an all new Windows 8 convertible thinkgamajig is Samsung. Have come to love Samsung machines.

While the other manufacturers were saving their ideas for Windows 8, Samsung was out there in fal of 2011 with an incredible laptop/tablet combo that borrowed heavily from the ASUS Transformer Prime school of design. … The Samsung Series 7 Slate runs Windows 7 Professional and is available via Amazon.com  … this model remains among my Top 3 choices for new, interesting and useful.

The Samsung website appears to show that the Series 7 Slate remains its primary offering in this category and that Windows 8 is offered as an upgrade. … !!! Amazon.com is offering this machine at $300 off … probably because it is no longer considered the latest and greatest … BUT I think that it is a deal … see the Samsung website for more info.

… and after all of that play I went and got myself a McDonald’s coffee because it is only $1/cup for any size.

BTW – the Microsoft store at Tysons Corner was jam packed with folks looking at the new Windows 8 stuff. I didn’t discuss the new Microsoft tablet because I am waiting for the PRO model to come out.  The big hoopla currently is about the Windows 8 RT version … while it does offer an onboard version of Office for RT, the RT version of Windows 8 does not run legacy Windows software. I am just too invested in Microsoft products to abandon them.

ABBA – The Visitors (B-POP Numb & Frozen Dance Remix)

ABBA became part of my DNA at some point in the distant past. Voulez-vous hooked me … but perhaps my favorite ABBA album was their very last.

After all the great pop hits, ABBA gave us The Visitors. It was a rather dark album in many ways that matched my life at that moment. I was busy trying to keep a marriage together while travelling around the world doing stuff. People were mad at us. We had introduced the neutron bomb into Europe (only in the UK really), and then there was the Polish Crisis and I didn’t speak Polish, just Czech — which oddly seemed close enough for government work (Polish sounds like gibberish to be me and my brain could never sort it all out), and Russian leaders were dying faster than the KGB could find replacements. At the very least I was fortunate and blessed to be in a very special little military intelligence unit in Augsburg, Germany with the world’s best group of people that ever did ‘stuff’  (the 326th ASA Company) … although I also thought that about the 307th ASA and my time in the FCAC … and I was rather fond of my time in the 750th ASA in Japan … and then … anyway, ABBA had a song playing the entire time.

Soldiers

ABBA: ‘Soldiers write the songs and soldiers sing the songs that you and I don’t sing. They blog their horns and march along’.

I did sing the songs that soldiers sing. And I loved it! Would do it all over again … on most days.

Zensational – Starry Skies, God, Beer & Free Pizza

My side of the wall has plenty of green grass, and flowing clear water and memories to last a lifetime.

However, I want to see what I haven’t seen. I want to think thoughts that tickle my brain. I want to understand.

Does God exist? I do not know. I exist … so why not God … or gods … or pubs with free pizza and beer? Am in search of them all.

Walls - on the other side

2012.10.15 Captain’s Log — Just wandered into a cloud, several of them

Web Clouds — Am moving many of my websites completely to the cloud … which is scary for me because I’m an Adobe Coldfusion/Microsoft guru and I’m migrating to PHP/Apache.

Rackspace.com was recommended to me as being incredibly cloud-smart and ‘fanatical’ about customer service.

The Rackspace.com website has more info that I was able to understand … and I admit to not fully grasping the ‘order this if you want this’ information provided … not even after reading and reading and reading … so I contacted customer service online at 7pm hoping to get a call back tomorrow.

OMG! They are fanatics and real people are involved too. I immediately got a call from one of the friendliest customer service ‘advisors’ ever … and I’ve been in technology a loooooooooooong time now. She couldn’t quite answer all of my questions so she connected with someone else … the second service representative spent almost 30 minutes with me and sent several emails explaining their suggestions.

I’m still not sure what all I agreed to but I grabbed my American Debt Express card and now I’m the proud owner of two cloud servers with a thingamajiggy to manage load balancing. (Will be trading in two Cold Fusion servers — am a balanced budget kind of guy).

Rackspace.com — you may not quite understand what you bought but you’ll feel confident that someone else does.

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By the way, if you need Cold Fusion servers I recommend Enterhost.com — I have four dedicated servers with them. They may not be fanatical but they are efficient, good value and always there 24/7 if you need them. Have been a customer since January 4th, 2006. These folks will work with you and I have always felt confident that they are doing right by me.