Sunday, December 16, 2018

Mouse vs. Pen

It seems that even the sturdiest off-brand laptops have their limits in terms of durability. When a keyboard's circuit board cracks after three years and a frequently used number key becomes significantly less reliable, it's time to shop around.

I had not been aware of Microsoft releasing its Surface Go line of products this year. Apparently it's an attempt to win an increasing slice of the student market. I saw a deal for one on Craigslist and picked one up this weekend.

There are three things that I wish I had looked at closer. There's currently a bug in Windows 10 when using the auto-brightness setting. It seemed to kick in with use of a Surface Pen. It has no USB ports, only a USB-C. Apparently that lone port also does not charge the device. This means some additional investment in a couple accessories like a port adapter and another charger or two (three total, 2 in fixed locations, and one for travel) eventually.

So far the biggest adjustment is from using a wireless USB mouse to using a touch screen and pen interface. I literally have decades of experience using a mouse and its wheel for scrolling, so it's quite an adjustment. I still cannot make OneNote work efficiently. Maybe some additional demonstrations may help me see the value of it.

One of the things I like about this the most is that the device itself is smaller than my laptop, has a minor reduction in horizontal landscape resolution, and—the best part—a signficant increase in vertical resolution thanks to the 3:2 ratio.

After getting some initial keyboard enhancements and browser profiles in place, I'm using the new device to write this tonight. I've enjoyed 10" computers in the past, and this may be even better than a 13.3" laptop. For some reason laptops get more expensive as they get smaller until you get down the tablet size, and then they can drop in price again.

In addition to the need, this purchase also falls in the category of making what Cal Newport calls a “grand gesture” toward making progress on a project. Hopefully Christmas break will prove to be exactly that kind of opportunity.

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