Dec 29 2013

An illuminating trip to the Microsoft store

Microsoft has, as you may know, released a piece of hardware called the Surface Pro 2. I own one. It's currently a doorstop, but I'm told it may compute once again maybe sometime tomorrow. What's sad is that the hardware isn't defective; the developers are.

Specifically, MS pushed out a firmware update for the Surface Pro line on December 10th that, well, it bricks your system. This is an own-goal for MS: the firmware update wasn't particularly anticipated, as it didn't fix anything major. They could have kept it back and tested it. Instead they released it, and it actively prevents people's batteries from charging. The messageboards at MS are alight with reports of this.

That's not what this post is about. Instead I'd like to discuss the state of Surface as viewed by the employees who have to use them.

I approached the young man who my service appointment was with at the service desk. He was amiable and professional. He whipped out a Surface Pro to verify my appointment, and immediately exited the start screen to get to the desktop view. Desktop view? Isn't that the old way of using Windows 8? Not so---he needed to use it.

I inquired: "you guys don't use the Metro interface for your work here?" He replied: he never uses the Metro part of Win8. I confided in him that I currently have an unused $25 voucher for free apps from the store, but was unable to find anything I even wanted. He said that the employees had all received the same gift from the company for Christmas, and he has also found no use for it.

As the employee navigated to enter information on my problem, I saw him detach and reattach the Type cover several times. I told him I have problems with the touch pad being flaky. He said they are all like that. I believe he used the word "terrible". It certainly fits.

After struggling with his Surface Pro for about 5 minutes, the employee threw up his hands and put the Surface down. He went under the counter and pulled out a Dell laptop. With that, he was able to do his job and get my Surface to the repair department.

I think that about sums it up for me.