Category - Surface

  1. Microsoft Surface Touch Keyboard

    This week was a big week for Microsoft. The Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book came out. Along with them came a host of new accessories including a new Type Cover for the Surface Pro 4. This keyboard/cover is also compatible with the Surface Pro 3 and that is why I was so excited about it and got one.

    As I may have mentioned earlier, this keyboard is full size chicklet style and utilizes Microsoft’s vast knowledge of building keyboards. It is an amazing addition to my Surface Pro 3. The action on the keys is perfect for me, and the key spacing is the same as we get on full size keyboards. The keys are backlit and it has a Function lock key so that the Function keys can be active all the time and not just when pressing an Fn key.

    This keyboard that I got also includes a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello. What does that mean? I can sign into Windows with just the touch of my finger, and it is fast too. The Surface securely stores my fingerprint and allows me to sign into Windows by touching the fingerprint reader. I’ve used fingerprint readers in the past, just they were always a bit slow in the processing time. Windows Hello, however, is lightning fast. It is certainly much faster that typing in my password every time I unlock my PC.

    There is also IR and Iris scanners that work with Windows Hello. In fact the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 come with the IR camera needed for this feat. The new Lumia Phones, the 950 and the 950XL, also come with the IR camera needed for Windows Hello on the phone. With the camera you just look at your phone or computer and you are signed in.

    This new keyboard is amazing and I highly recommend it for anyone with a Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4.

  2. Surface Pro 4

    Yesterday at a Microsoft Store I got to play with a Surface Pro 4 for a little bit. It is exactly what I feared, a worthy replacement for my Surface Pro 3. It is fast, and although the screen is just a little bit bigger, the resolution on it is amazing. It feels solid and is just a little bit thinner than the Surface Pro 3. All in all I’d say it is an amazing computer. I still can’t justify paying for a new computer so soon after buying my Surface Pro 3, but one thing that I can justify is the keyboard.

    The new Surface Pro 4 Type Cover has an amazing keyboard on it. The chicklet style keys have just the right action and proves that Microsoft is using its vast knowledge of 25+ years in the keyboard industry to create a great keyboard. I got to play with it for just a little while, but I already like it a thousand times more than this old Type Cover on my Surface Pro 3. There is even a version that comes with a fingerprint reader to enable Windows Hello.

    October 26th is the date that the new Surface Pro 4 and the accessories are released. I will be one of the first in line to get the new keyboard.

  3. New Surface Computers

    Microsoft released some new Surface computers quietly this week. The new machines include a new Surface Pro 3 with 128GB storage on an Intel core i7 processor. Color me surprised when I was in a Microsoft store and saw the list of available machines include this. I personally have the 256GB core i7 model and it is a spectacular machine.

    Also released this week are the Surface 3’s with 4G capability. This will allow you to be connected to the Internet from virtually anywhere for a small price per month to your cellular carrier. This is the Surface 3 not to be confused with the Surface Pro 3 that gets the 4G connectivity.

  4. Surface RT and Surface 2 USB to Ethernet Connection

    My company has a very secure WiFi connection. Part of that security comes at a cost though. We can’t do remote debugging of the NOOK for Windows 8 app over WiFi. As many of you know the Surface RT and Surface 2 don’t have an Ethernet port. Under Windows 8 there was a single USB to Ethernet device that you could use, and it worked well. Microsoft asked people hosting that ARM based driver to remove it, and Windows 8.1 appears to be purposely blocking that connection.

    I received notice today that Microsoft supports USB to Ethernet connectors on Windows 8.1 for the Surface RT and Surface 2 in box. I have tried this with the official Surface connector that Microsoft sells as well as the Linksys USB 300M that we were using before and they both work. The trick is that you have to manually install the drivers. Here are the steps:

    1. Plug the USB to Ethernet connector in and wait for installation to fail.
    2. Open Device Manager and find the device that has failed.
    3. Right click on it and choose “Update Driver” from the context menu.
    4. Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
    5. Select Network Adapters from the type of device list.
    6. For the Microsoft USB to Ethernet adapter select Realtek from the left hand side and choose the only option on the right.
      For the Linksys USB 300M or compatible device select ASIX from the left and ASIX 88772C from the right hand list.
    7. Accept the compatibility warning and then you should have network connection!

    I’d like to thank Andy Rathbone (a fellow MVP) and Paul Thurrott for helping out with this information and instructions.