May the 4th be with you!

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I have been putting this off for way to long now. Getting my blog back online and sharing cool stuff about living in the Microsoft ecosystem. It is not always easy, and sometimes very frustrating, but when it works, it can really work.

From the extremes of Windows Mobile 10, which is slowly (or not so slowly) sinking into the abyss, to the awe inspiring Surface Book, which is one of the nicest pieces of kit I have ever used. Yes. EVER!

I am subscribed to the ecosystem, and have been for a number of years now. The reason? Simple. It is my job. Working as a solutions architect on Microsoft products ensures I keep up to date with everything that is going on at Redmond. The good and the bad, the successes and the failures.

So this blog is here to discuss, discover and explore everything Microsoft.

So to kick it off, I thought I would start with my Microsoft devices. There are not many, as they are not really a hardware company, but when they kick things out from research into the big bad world, occasionally they strike gold.

Lumia 930 – Windows Mobile 10 – Running on latest insider build of of Windows 10 Mobile.
A surprisingly stable and solid phone. Amazing camera, but as we all know, a big problem with lack of apps, and lack of developers coming to the platform. There is hope in the universal windows platform that makes it easier to build for Windows 10 desktop and mobile, but I am not holding my breath. Living with the untested, beta version of an OS has its challenges. Some bugs get through, but that is why we do it. To give feedback, and try to make the world a better place.

Surface Book –

So I went to buy a Surface Pro 4. I really did. I had every intention of buying the tablet. It had everything I needed, the speed, the portability, the touch screen. Just about affordable. But then, sitting next to it was the Surface Book. I poked and prodded it. Fiddled with the screen release mechanism. Lifted it, studied it. Played with the keys. This thing, this piece of tin, a boring old PC/Laptop thing, was amazing. It took me about 5 minutes to go from buying a practical, affordable Surface Pro 4, to buying a first iteration of an untested expensive laptop. And I can tell you, this thing is amazing. I use it every day, constantly and I do not regret it for a second. If you can afford it. Just go out and buy one.

Xbox One (and 360) –

Yep, I love my Xbox too. I am not a hardcore gamer. I currently play Fallout 4 and Sunset Overdrive exclusively. I jump in and jump out. I don’t have much time for gaming, or relaxing or anything else really. But every now and again, I get to play. But that is not why I love my Xbox. I love it because I can connect it up to all the media services I use, rent TV shows and films, play music from Groove (yep I use that too), stream the Xbox to my PC, Skype (never done that on the TV yet). And soon Windows 10 will be fully released on the Xbox, bringing many of the windows store apps there too. Interesting times.

Microsoft Wireless Adapter – Simple yet effective, stream any device to your TV or monitor. Lag free streaming using Miracast technology. Any screen, phones, tablets, PCs stream instantly and lag free to your big screen and sound system. Blows the chromecast and amazon stick thing out of the water. I generally combine this with my XBox One. Plug it into the TV in socket and then I can use the Xbox to jump between even more content sources.

Band 2 – I was always a bit of a wearbales nay sayer. Could not see the use, benefit and utility of them…that was until I wanted to get fit. I looked at the fitbit, too basic, Android wear, trying to do too much, the Apple Watch, to expensive and again trying too hard. I thought about the original Band, but did not like the look too much, but thought the idea had merit. Once the Band 2 came out, that was it. I had to have one. It has so many sensors. Heart rate monitor, accelerometer/gyrometer (to detect motion), barometer, GPS, microphone, ambient light sensor, galvanic skin response (GSR) sensors (the what???), skin temperature sensor and capacitive sensor. It connects to you phone via Bluetooth and can notify you of text, emails and pretty much anything else that happens on your phone. At present you can only reply to text messages, but you can use Cortana too, which is a cool thang.

So this is my hardware, but that is not really were I find Microsoft offers the most value. It is in the world of software. And that is where we will go next.

So until then, drop me a comment about what devices do you use? Android? Apple? Chromebooks? I want to hear your stories.

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