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.



PowerPoint (wireless) on the Surface RT [Day 91]


I gave a presentation remotely yesterday and love the functionality of PowerPoint on the Surface RT (see recent post for Wireless Connectivity). The tools accessed from the bottom right corner, ghosted, really come into their own when used on a touch screen (see above. The laser pointer allows you to move around the room and still put focus onto relevant points easily.

The downside… a protracted question and resultant answer resulted in the Surface RT going into sleep mode, effectively cutting off the wireless connectivity – in the end it would have take to long to restore the connection, so I continued with the PowerPoint on the Desktop connected to the PC. I certainly did not want to give a clipped answer to the question.

I have ordered myself the Micro HDMI to VGA Adapter and do want to revisit PowerPoint again, having seen other posts on the functionality this connection offers.


Wireless Presenting on the Surface RT [Day 89]

Today I had the opportunity to wireless present in the classroom (something I feel has been lacking on the Surface RT). Admittedly it is not a direct connection (such a Miracast) but a workaround using RDA (Remote Desktop Assistance)  to the PC attached to the Interactive Board (mentioned in a previous post).

Required: USB Drive (for transfer of assistance file)


  1. Turn on all the Surface RT, Desktop for Interactive Board and associated projector
  2. Ensure you are logged onto the Eduroam network (USERNAME: – not your email / PASSWORD: work logon)
  3. Plug in USB Drive
  4. On the surface RT search for “invite” and select “invite someone to connect to your PC and help you, or offer t…..”
  5. Select “Invite someone you trust to help you”
  6. Select “Save this invitatation as a file”
  7. Save file to USB (for good USB removal practice carry-out the intermediate steps underneath in place of this step)
    •  Save file to the Surface RT, such as the main drive or SD Card
    • Copy file to your USB Drive
  8. You can make a note of the code (I like to save this as a text file to the USB drive)
  9. Ensure you are not writing to the USB stick and remove (or for good practice safely eject drive first)
  10. On Desktop PC plug in USB
  11. Run the “invitation” file
  12. Enter password when requested
  13. On the Surface RT accept permissions by clicking OK
  14. Minimise the Windows Remote Assistance Window, by selecting the “-” in the top right hand window
  15. Rock ‘n’ Roll 🙂

NOTE: If you wish to control the Surface RT from the desktop PC you will need to request Control (top left of   Windows Remote Assistance Window on the desktop PC) and accept this request on the Surface RT

There is slight lag, due to the network, but it is excellent none-the-less and I hope to test it on a better part of our WiFi network tomorrow. A number of presentations were tried with differing success, more on this in a later post, however animated sequences such as those with Prezi do not do any presentation justice. But to wander around the room whilst presenting is something I am really eager to try!


Flying back with the Surface RT [Day 70]

I really could not think what to put in this post mainly as I did not use the Surface for anything other than a quick game of “Water” by Disney before landing and it was more about occupying my time than anything else. I lost 8 hrs flying back to the UK and the rest was spent with my family or sleeping! I would say though that the Surface RT has been a great bit of kit and I don’t think it really has made me miss my desktop at all other than being a little slow at transferring images between devices (I thought I would do that in one go once I was back).



The Surface RT in Victoria Pt2 [Day 69]

The last day of the North American Trip has been reached and I am amazed at how prevalent WiFi is around the North America, Not only do we have WiFi at the Airport, but also on the Ferry back from Victoria to Vancouver and also the coach that we drove on and off the ferry in. In fact WiFi is so openly available that I have not had use my phone once to communicate with other than jumping on internet systems such as Facebook or Skype (which in all cases fared better on the Surface RT).


The Surface RT in Vancouver Pt2 [Day 67]

An extremely busy day in Vancouver yesterday with a visit to BCcampus which is a publicly funded organization that uses information technology to connect the expertise, programs, and resources of all B.C. post-secondary institutions under a collaborative service delivery framework. We provide valued services to institutions, ensuring B.C. learners, educators, and administrators get the best, most effective technologies and services for their learning and teaching needs. We provide an ICT infrastructure for student data exchange, shared services, online learning and distance education, communities of practice and online resources for educators.

Followed by a visit with Vancouver Community College which is refreshingly similar to a UK FE educational establishments, in that they services the community as their primary focus (don’t we all) win teaching staff having gone through teacher training  and delivering approximately 25hrs a week, inn stark contrast with Washington State that has 15 hers teaching face-to-fate with no requirement to have teacher training (although the insistence of a Degree).

Both organisations offered Eduroam (see an earlier post) that allowed for the Surface RT to jumps on the internet, again the iPhone constantly jumped on and off this network, so I am convinced that given the two devices that the Surface RT would definitely be my device of choice to jump on the net.


The Surface RT in Vancouver [Day 66]

Another hotel, and with absolute rubbish WiFi, but as I am near the top of the hotel there is a feint pick-up of the free executive “gold” WiFi. I cannot even so much as get out on the iPhone – the Surface RT does this effortlessly.


Road trip with the Surface RT [Day 65]

Well a train trip actually, Amtrak, a great way to see the land. I love the fact that the horn is blaring out every 10-15 mins (like the US trains are portrayed in the media) and they do love their marble in the train station. Although after a comfortable journey the horn blowing is a little annoying!

Everyone around me has iPads, what do they use to type up summary notes from the past week? My Surface RT! Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to convert anybody – make your own mind up. But there certainly is a convert amongst the team now.

Canada is wet, actually its very wet, but Vancouver is certainly is a lovely looking city. But its an evening with poor unreliable wife and typing up notes


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.