The Surface RT in Seattle pt2 [Day 62]




Yesterday was jam packed with meetings and visits

It was great to see a wider perspective on eLearning from a university and a larger community approach and how the smaller organisation can be supported to fulfil their own potential and beyond with the help and support of governing bodies and collaboration. What I found particularly refreshing was that the corporate perspective was very much in line and in agreement with the educational sector and it informs key strategies for Microsoft and their vision for there own products and support.

One of the challenges that instructional developers are faced with is moving beyond the linear approach and providing adaptive material and systems that whilst being able to be delivered to the masses also functions as individually tailored resources that support whilst not overwhelming or allowing shortcuts to be taken inappropriately.

Whilst we waited to be seen by Microsoft three other parties came through reception, two of these carrying surfaces, however the learning team themselves had Lenovo ThinkPad.


The Surface RT in Seattle [Day 61]

I have been awake since 5am due to my body clock still on UK time, tonight’ s sleep should be far better (here’s hoping).

Today’s activity has been visiting shoreline community college and the place is nothing short of jaw-dropping, amazing campus that must keep all their students in a very serene frame of mind or just bursting to get on with their studies due to the quality of provision and resources.

Shoreline have over the last two years have successfully created over 150 learning courses of which some 20% of their students utilise. The college has a real focus on the strategy required for a successful online arm of their delivery and this is demonstrated due to the whole organisation approach and structuring that has gone into supporting the online ambitions.

With Instructional Designers and Faculty-eLearners-in-Residence that enable staff whilst being mindful of Quality Assurance they have seen their provision grow. These mechanisms are further supported by Media Technicians and Faculty Learning Communities that offer a platform for peer support and collaboration.

I cannot remember the last time a day was this full-on with an external organisation, the typing up of my copious notes is not going to be a trivial affair but I can see the impact moving outside of the current project and being food-for-thought for the teaching and learning depth, Quality assurance and the Learning Technologies Manager.

And the memory stick in a pen was pure genius!

Tomorrow I will taking my Surface RT back to Microsoft, not that there is anything wrong with it at all – It he project team are visiting Microsoft, Redmond in Seattle!



As part of a project that I am involved with I have been winging my way State side for a research & information gathering exercise.  The Design E-Learn academy project seeking to address the skills gap in the UK for designers and developers of high quality on-line learning products. With the qualifications first cohorts intake for the 13/14 academic year. More info can be found here.

For the next twelve days I have no idea of what I might blog about (some of the activities will be held close to my chest until officially sanctioned!) and it may well stray from the Surface RT at times but I am going to be cut off from all my usual tech comforts except for:

  • Surface RT
  • iPhone 5 (and battery pack)
  • USB Sticks
  • Canon Powershot SX30 IS Camera

This morning starts with the Great Storm of 2013 (hopefully that sounds dramatic enough) and I wake up at 6.30am to no problems (shhh brain it’s about to get worse!) other than a neighbours tree having a branch break-off and in another neighbours it’s all rosy.

  1. Fence panel goes
  2. Power goes
  3. Another fence panel goes
  4. Local train station has a power loss (thankfully in the other direction I want to travel)
  5. Same as above but in the way I want to go, oh well there is always the tube
  6. The nearest tube to me has technical problems

This is going to be one hell of a journey, to the rescue comes my brother-in-law and his taxi! Off to the M25, we make great time until we hit a problem approaching Heathrow with the slip road sectioned off, three cars from the cordon and like magic they open the approach.

So the check in process is smooth (I think I need a luggage tag!). I chew the proverbial fat with a fellow project team member and the time flows by. Time to board, a short “in-house” tube journey that moves so fast it feels like it has been fitted with a flux-capacitor (if you get the reference then we may be approaching senility together!) and we meet up with project colleagues. The first real chance of a catch-up (and to hear of the mishaps and triumphs of a colleague with check-in woes).

First time I have flown with British Airways and so far a joy, comfort, food is do-able and the film choice is varied!

  1. After Earth – 6/10 a slightly soppy family based Sci-Fi, I am used to better films from Will. I found myself wishing the end to
    come around soon
  2. The Lone Ranger – 9/10 now this started of promising, and I loved every minute of it
  3. G.I. Joe Retaliation – 7/10 a mindless bit o’ fluff
  4. Alan Partridge: Papa Alpha – 7/10 don’t mind Alan, worth  spin

The headphones were rubbish (I did not have to pay for them thankfully) and my Sony’s (in an earlier blog) were far better (I could hear for one) and were far louder.

Now what really gets me (and coming back to the subject of this blog) is that using the Surface RT to write this blog entry (albeit in Word) was an absolute joy – perfect for the in-chair tray.

And now I’m in the hotel room (with free WiFi) I can happily modify my blog prior to publishing

I have also noticed I am using more than the statutory allowed –‘s



Eduroam onthe Surface RT [Day 80]

This week I got an opportunity to quickly try out the Eduroam network( ), whilst this did not provide any obvious benefits within my current organisation I realised that it was a great alternative in the deadspot that I was in whilst trying to pick up our normal open network. On looking deeper into the Eduroam system it became apparent that it is a great system if you are likely to move not only between campuses but also other organisations that have taken up the Eduroam network, effectively an international network of some 5,500 connections.


Here’s hoping future organisations I visit use this 🙂


Sign is in the following form:

  • Username: (e.g.
  • Password:  organisation-password (e.g. password you normally logon to your desktop or laptop with)


Setting Up Outlook on the Surface RT [Day 57]

With Windows 8.1 RT we now get Outlook 2013, to set this up for the organisation I work In (it is worth noting I set this up within the organisation whilst on the student/open network)

  • Ensure e-mail account is selected (not manual setup or additional server types”
    • Your name:  staff member
    • Email: (your email address)
    • Password: ******* (the password you log onto work PC’s with)
  • Select “Yes” for the certificate request (if you are offered)
  • Use another account:
    • Username: MIS\username (the username you log onto work PC’s with)
    • Password: *******  (the password you log onto work PC’s with)
    • You may need to use these last two details a number of times
  • Select finish

Once in outlook and your mail folders are all up-to-date it would be worth ensuring your ribbon is pinned open (so you can reply to emails)
Click on the HOME tab and select the PIN in the bottom right hand side of the ribbon or alternatively press CTRL + FN + F1


Accessing the Intranet on the Surface RT [Day 54]

As a follow on from the recent Ericom® PowerTerm® WebConnect Application Portal post the organisations Intranet site can also be accessed, However, On attempting to connect it will set your domain as your Surface RT’s Name, entering false details for username and password (such as xxx) and selecting OK will offer the option to use another account. This will allow you to insert the correct domain name in the form of DOMAIN\USERNAME and your PASSWORD.


Windows 8.1 Returns for the Surface RT [Day 55]

Windows 81 RT was AGAIN available as of yesterday, if you having trouble locating it in the windows store then you can view this post from your Surface RT and Click Here.

The update is a little over 2GB so will take some time. Do expect at least four restarts and settle in for an evening of not using your Surface RT.


Ericom® PowerTerm® WebConnect Application Portal on the Surface RT [Day 56]

Ericom® PowerTerm® WebConnect Application Portal is the mechanism by which staff can log into the organisation’s systems to access available applications such as office applications, drives and MIS systems. Although I will not discuss details beyond this it goes some way to demonstrate that the organisation I am working are willing to embrace more than one device (and rightly so). I di trial this out a few weeks ago (knowing it works for iPads) and I am now pleased that this method has been enabled.


Windows 8.1 Retracted for the Surface RT [Day 53]

The Windows 8.1 RT update has been removed from the Windows Store, with a resent post quoting:

“Windows RT 8.1. Microsoft is investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows RT devices to Windows RT 8.1. 
As a result, we have temporarily removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store. 
We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and apologize for any inconvenience. 
We will provide updates as they become available.”  

To assist those whose devices are effectively BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) or effectively bricked can download an original image of the Surface RT, along with instructions included on how to use, can be found here