Saturday, November 10, 2012

More Thoughts Thunk on the Way to Thinking Other Thoughts

Thoughts thunk on the way to thinking other thoughts;
If you’re gonna copy, at least make as good as the original (if not better).

I was reading a review of the new Microsoft “Surface.” In case you hadn’t heard, this is a new Microsoft tablet / iPad wantabe running Windows 8. The big diff is that the hardware is also produced by Microsoft. If you’re one of those corporations grown fat selling MS software on your hardware, you may not want to hear that MS is now in the HW game.

Personally, I like the HW MS has produced in the past. They made excellent mice (mouses? moose?) and the Xbox is pretty good … or so my nephew Joel tells me. The Surface even has an interesting twist. They copied the Apple magnetic clamp on cover, but this cover has a touch sensitive keyboard, turning the tablet into what MS is really more comfortable with … a laptop. The review complained that the stand for the display when used this way is not adjustable and not really at the right angle for viewing while typing, but I expect MS would blow the subtle ergonomic issues that Apple seems to excel at.

The interesting news in the review was that the Surface has a magnetic power connector. Now those who own modern Apple laptops know that Apple created a very interesting magnetic latching power connector. You can connect the cord from the 110 volt adapter with the wire out the back or toward the front. It is "reversible." That flexibility is typical of Apple product engineering, and it was duplicated in the new Lightning port on the latest round of Cupertino products.

So no surprise that MS copied this nice feature … and why not copy it … it works great and lasts a long time. Think of all the broken power cords and adapters out there wrapped with electrical tape (or white medical tape) and a little spit and chewing gum to keep them working. The magnetic attached power doodad is not only convenient, but it is almost 100% klutz proof … important in a world of klutzes.

However, the Surface reviewer said the magnetic port is hard to get “plugged in.” The combination of black metal and plastic and the un-ergonomic design makes it a major problem to get the cable to attach. Even with Steve Jobs no longer on the watch of product quality, Apple still produces products that just work … right … without a fuss. Get the Apple connector within about three feet of the computer and it just snaps in place like a guided missile.

Apparently Microsoft failed to copy that page of the design cookbook.

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Indeed: when will they ever learn?

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