Living with the Surface RT [Day 100]

Surface RT

I have hit 100 days with the Surface RT and I can say that they only thing about it that has been an uphill struggle has been this blog (only at times!). I certainly would have liked it to be more educational that it has been but attempting to blog daily has limited that. Id on’t intend to stop blogging, but I do not intend beyond today to blog on a daily (or attempt) basis but I do feel that this entry should look back at what I have tried to do and where i still/want to go with the Surface RT.

  1. Connecting wirelessly to another display
  2. Tethering to my phone for when I cannot get Wifi (made some headway – Bluetooth only real solution from a cost perspective, and so far not needed to!)
  3. Finding at least one good app (and free) for all categories (a bit ambitious now the categories have expanded i.e. sport & government not my thing!)
  4. Trying to write this blog from the Surface itself (setup has been on a PC, entries have been on an iPhone 5)
  5. Not writing this blog retrospectively (which it has up till now!)
  6. Purchase & use a stylus

I still have a few projects/research pieces involving the Surface RT that will be a part of this blog.

  • Tethering to my phone for when I cannot get Wifi (from my original list above)
  • Micro HDMI to mini HDMI adapter (on order)
  • VGA adapter (on order)
  • Working with whole groups of students and staff to utilise tablets in the classroom

I do have to say that I have not powered up my works laptop since July 2013, the Surface RT has been a great replacement and the abilities it has serves it well:

  • light
  • portable
  • Small form factor
  • Amazing battery Life
  • Productive (especially love office and OneNote app)
  • App store is starting to mature


I am going to have to dust off the laptop, if only because I’m teaching game engines and the software is on my laptop ready to utilise. I am still holding out hope that miracast will come to the Surface RT (although knowing it not coming), but overall I don’t see myself being drawn back to the iPad.

In fact I would probably be persuaded to move onto a Surface Pro or similar tablet/laptop device.




Voice Recognition on the Surface RT [Day 73]

Today’s post is in regards to voice recognition on the Surface RT, from dictation to O/S control. I could write a short overview or a long drawn out step-by-step guide but I would not do it any justice in comparison to this blog post at “Love My Surface” – go read it here

In reality it does take awhile for the Surface RT to catch-up with anything longer than a short sentence. Background interference can also play havoc, even though the microphone are of good quality, so do use a local mic.


The Surface RT in Seattle pt4 [Day 64]

Seattle News: We actually got time to sit in on a live meeting with the Seattle Times News Team. Particularly of interest was the discussion on the real-time analytics of their webpage as well as the discussions between which stories were to be web-on or as print as well but more in-depth, etc.

I must admit that the key thing w’s skyoing with my family, the room has free WiFi but both my device pick it up but the iPhone is not stable enough for a decent conversation, however the Surface really did an excellent job and di not stutter or lag through the conversation.


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.


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.


Video Blogging on the on the Surface RT [Day 51]

I have a trip to the US pending and as part of the information gathering exercise we have been asked to capture a variety of media from images to video logs (VLOGS) so thought it was worthwhile to do a little test.

I could record at the following (under windows 8.0 RT);

  • 240p (4:3)
  • 360p (16:9)
  • 480p (4:3)
  • 540p (16:9)
  • 720p (16:9)
  • 800p (16:10)

With the 720p setting chosen with the camera facing forward I recorded a 5 minute clip (no I’m not willing to show!) it comes out at approximately 210mb (42mb/min). The same length of video set at 360p is a resulting 52mb (10mb/min). Although the audio does not play back on the surface, on a PC with reasonable speakers it is fine (so no need to use external speaker). I did try out a set of headphones with an inbuilt mic that will be outlined in a future blog that were very good. I do like the fact that you can trim the ends of your recorded video upon review.

The file is stored in your camera roll. I did have issues with uploading the 720p video to SkyDrive, but this could be due to the size as the smaller 52mb file uploaded with no problems at all.

Note: I have tried a number of 5min 360p videos and some come out as 80mb+, so limiting any clip that you want to send to SkyDrive to not much  than 5 mins would be a good recommendation


Update:  Within Windows 8.1 RT you no longer have the options within the camera app to change the resolution of the camera, merely the ratio, so I have noted the resolution below alongside each ratio…

  • 4:3 – 640 x 480p
  • 16:9 – 1280 x 720p 
  • 16:10 – 1280 x 800p 



Facebook on the Surface RT [Day 48]

I have tried the plethora of third party apps for Facebook and it is reminiscent of when the iPad first came out, they sort of did ok but always had something lacking or didn’t function smoothly. The iPad eventually got a good quality third party app (the name escapes me) just before the official Facebook app was released which was exactly what it needs to be.

None of the Facebook apps sit comfortably with the Surface RT but I am not bothered in the slightest as the Facebook site works so well within Internet Explorer. So pin a shortcut tile and smile.

Update: Released today – the official Facebook App – requires the Windows 8.1 update!


Yammer on the Surface RT [Day 41]

Facebook + LinkedIn = Yammer (by MicroSoft)

It looks surprisingly similar to facebook (it even has “like”) but links you to your organisation and its departments through your company email domain name. A far better way to encourage social networking from a work perspective. Im extremely new to it, but will certainly be keen to try out its features such as document collaboration.