Posts by Adam Z. Lein

Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!

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    There are two ways to look at the Surface Pro. You can either compare it to the other "consumer" style tablets out there which are generally considered smartphone-type devices with larger screens, or you can compare it to professional "ultrabooks" out there which are basically full-powered laptop computers compressed to fit in thinner form-factors. In some ways it's better than both of those device types put together, but in other ways it's not as good as either. Of course, your take-away is going to depend on which aspects of a mobile computing device are most important to you. Some would ...

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    There are occasionally rumors going around that Microsoft might build its own Windows Phone kind of like they did with their new Surface tablets and of course the Zune media players.  So with that idea in mind, an industrial designer from Cincinnati, OH, named Michael Matteo decided to design some of his own concept artwork simply as a design exploration.  These are not sanctioned by Microsoft.  These are just renderings made by someone who likes Windows Phone and wants to show off his design skills.  That said, we always like to see innovative smartphone designs, and these designs ...

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    We've been hearing a lot about how horrible Windows RT is with its lack of apps and occasional slowness due to its ARM processor requirements.  Even the Microsoft Surface RT, which seems to be the most popular Windows RT device out there, has only sold around 1.1 million devices since its launch according to Bloomberg.  Nvidia is disappointed, Samsung has cancelled their Windows RT tablet plans, and the general consensus around the internet is that Windows RT is a failure.  That's not to be confused with Windows 8, which is much more popular with sales in the 60 million range. Nobody ...

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    Windows Phone 8 seems to have a major problem with eating up the built in storage for no apparent reason. On the low end devices with only 8gb of storage or even worse, only 4Gb, this "other" storage area's tendency to fill all of your usable space for 3rd party apps can be a real problem. I had to delete so many apps when it came time to install the Portico update because there was not enough space available to download it on the Nokia Lumia 810.  There is an app called "Shrink Storage" which can help automatically reduce the amount of space used by the "Other Storage" category.  ...

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    Today we're going to take a look at some of the things that I often use the Surface Pro for during a work day and on the weekend.  Not all of these things happen every day, but for the sake of demonstrating the wide variety of tasks that the Surface Pro helps me with, I'll compress them a little. Workday 8:45 am After most of the other morning activities are done, I like to catch up on the news.  My Surface Pro's news tile usually has some interesting article animating on the start screen so I'll tap that to see what's going on.  Really what I care about are my custom news feeds though, ...

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    The "Google Glass" heads-up-display glasses gadget has a lot of hype behind it right now.  At TED last week, Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin said that holding a smartphone in your hand and having to look at it all the time is emasculating. "You're actually socially isolating yourself with your phone," Brin told the audience. "I feel like it's kind of emasculating.... You're standing there just rubbing this featureless piece of glass.  In contrast to a smartphone, Google Glass allows people to keep their head up as digital information is overlaid onto their world, no matter where their gaze ...

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    Right now there are over 42,000 apps designed for the modern style of Windows 8 and that's the current count of available apps in the store. Before there was Windows 8, Steve Ballmer said that there are about 4 million Windows Desktop applications out there with about 800,000 that were made specifically for Windows 7.  Some of those include programs developed only for private business use.  You can also find a count for Windows 8 compatible desktop apps that have been tested by Microsoft in the compatibility center which turns out to be 17,381.  So the real number available to ...

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    It sounds like there are a lot of people out there who think the Surface Pro is not a tablet.  How could you possibly think that?  Maybe you don't know what a tablet is, so let's look it up on the internet. A tablet is a one piece mobile computer that typically offers a touchscreen with finger or stylus gestures acting as the primary means of control. There is nothing in the definition of a tablet computer that says anything about what the battery life should be, what type of processor it should use, what kind of operating system it should have, or what apps it should be capable of ...

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    Today I've got both the Surface Pro vs. Surface RT so we're going to compare them! First let's talk about weight. Neither of these feel heavy to me. The Pro is certainly heavier at 2lbs, versus the 1.5lb Surface RT, but even holding them both together is lighter than the camera I carry and definitely lighter than my old 4.7lb Tablet PC. Plus I have the advantage of extremely muscular upper body strength. The Pro has a much faster boot time and shutdown time which actually makes turning the tablet fully off not much different speed-wise compared to putting it into sleep mode.  Resuming ...

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    Many of my friends often consider me to be about 5 years ahead of everyone else in terms of the tech world.  With today's release of Photoshop Touch for Android and iOS Smartphones, here's another example.  Back in 2002 on July 17th, I was at Macworld with a number of industry experts as well as the new Photoshop product manager, John Nack who has since become a popular Adobe blogger.  I showed him Conduits Pocket Artist on my smartphone at the time.  I could open native PSD files, alter layers, perform channel operations, paint, adjust, etc… pretty much everything Photoshop 3 could ...

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    We've already seen how well the Surface Pro performs with high-end desktop programs as well as Android apps.  How about Linux?  Since the Surface Pro hardware supports Hyper-V virtualization, it's extremely easy to install secondary operating systems in a Virtual Machine.  Hyper-V is not enabled by default on the Surface Pro, so you'll have to turn that on first.  To do this, swipe from the right edge to get the charms and tap the Search charm.  Then tap "Settings" and type "Turn Windows Features On" in the search field.  Tap the "Turn Windows Features on and off" item and scroll to ...

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    The two cameras built into the Surface Pro on the front and back are not professional quality at all. They're only 720p resolution, so basically they're only good for things like Skype video calls.  Still the Surface Pro is for professionals, so I'm going to use it to control a full-sized digital single lens reflex camera connected via USB.  In this video we'll be using a Nikon D7000 with the Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 software installed on the tablet.  Most other professional DSLR camera brands are capable of connecting to similar software for remote camera control and image storage. ...

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    You've already seen how well full high-end desktop PC programs perform on the new Surface Pro from Microsoft. What about Android apps though? In the video below, we'll show you how to get your favorite Android apps on the Surface Pro using a new Windows 8 optimize version of the Bluestacks software. This software is an early version that's still in beta, so you can expect a few bugs, but still you'll notice that many things are working quite well. The Surface Pro does not have dedicated Android hardware buttons like "Back", "Home", or "Menu", so the Bluestacks software had to make virtual ...

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    Microsoft has been doing handwriting recognition for a very long time.  They started promoting ink support in 2000 with the Pocket PCs which had inking and handwriting recognition as part of every "notes" field in any kind of data item. Contacts, Calendar appointments, etc.  Then in 2002, inking became part of the Windows Tablet PCs.  Today, that ink and handwriting recognition has evolved significantly and it really shows how far we've come in the Surface Pro with its included Wacom stylus.  In the video below, we'll take a look at just how it works. You'll see how well it can ...

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    I know a lot of you out there are interested in seeing some real world performance tests with the Surface Pro, so in this video were going to show you just how fast this tablet is at things like rendering HD videos in Premiere Pro, Applying Photoshop Filters, opening RAW images, HTML5 Rendering, and some "League of Legends" game play. Booting up the device from a completely turned off state is extremely fast.  If you're not going to use the Surface Pro for a while, shutting it down is not a problem since you can be back up and running within about 6 seconds. The web browser is also ...

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    One of the innovative features of the Surface Pro is the way you can magnetically attach the stylus to the edge of the tablet for safe keeping.  It takes up a lot less room than a dedicated stylus silo would and it's pretty easy to just pull the stylus off the edge when needed.  Unfortunately, the spot where the stylus attaches is also the magnetic charging port where you need to connect the cable in order to recharge the Surface Pro's battery.  So what do you do with the stylus while the Surface Pro is charging? Another nice feature, which is not true of most other tablet styli, is the ...

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    One of the first things I did after I bought a new Microsoft Surface Pro was to install the Adobe Creative Suite that I often use in other projects. I was very excited to test out the 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity in Photoshop. Unfortunately it turned out that Microsoft did not implement the standard Wintab API's used by most high-end graphics applications to interpret pressure sensitivity from a stylus.  The Surface Pro does use Wacom hardware which is what the Wintab API's were originally designed for.  We know this because other Wacom styli do function with the Surface Pro.  ...

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    Over the weekend, Microsoft released their new Surface Pro tablet with Windows 8 Professional. Sometimes companies launch new products during the week and people complain that they can't get to the store that day because they have to work. Microsoft released the Surface Pro on a Saturday morning, which you would think would be a great day for people to go shopping. Unfortunately in the New York and Northeastern U.S. area, a huge blizzard hit. So what was supposed to be an early 8 AM opening of the Microsoft Store for sales of the Surface Pro turned into about 20 people waiting in a mall ...

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    Back when the original iPad came out, all of the tech reviewers constantly harped on about how difficult it was to use on your lap. (Or did they?)  Sure the optional cover could flip around to the back and allow you to stand the iPad up on a table, but that didn't work well at all on your lap.  It kept falling over when touching the screen, and there wasn't even a keyboard attachment available at that time.  Today, history is repeating itself, and again all of the tech reviewers of the world are hung up with how difficult it is to use the Microsoft Surface on your lap. Luckily Apple was ...

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    Windows Phone 7.8 has been released and most of us with first and second generation Windows Phone 7 devices are able to upgrade.  If you didn't receive the upgrade automatically, there are ways to install it manually.  Some have been waiting for this for a long time since it brings a few new features including the new start screen with resizable live tiles.  Of course Windows Phone 8 has been available for a bit longer, and it offers many dozens more improvements over the 7.8 update for older devices, but it turns out there are a few areas where Windows Phone 7.8 is still a little ...

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    Since Windows Phone 7.8 was released today for some devices, the folks at XDA-Developers have already capture the URLs for the CAB files that are downloaded via Zune.  That means anybody can download them manually, and then use the "Cab Sender" utility to install them to any Windows Phone 7 device in the same way that your Zune desktop software would.  Be sure to read the instructions in the first post of the thread to learn how to install the update correctly.  You must send the proper CAB files to your phone in the proper order and it is very important that you include the correct ...

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    Yesterday the tech news world was up in arms about the news regarding how much free space would be available on the Surface Pro's 64Gb and 128Gb solid state drives upon first boot.  Many articles suggested that the used disk space was "unusable", which of course is not true. The 64Gb model will have 23Gb of free space, and the 128Gb model will have 83Gb of free space.  Yes it is kind of unfair that so much should be pre-loaded on the devices, but if you've ever used Windows you might know that there are ways to delete things that you don't want or need.  Some have been able to get ...

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    Have you ever wanted to use Google Voice while driving by using voice commands and speech recognition?  With the new soon-to-be-released version of MetroTalk that's possible on Windows Phone 8!  It was only a few weeks ago when we saw MetroTalk 3.0 add lock screen integration for Google Voice, and now MetroTalk version 3.1 adds voice commands and speech-to-text features that can be accessed from the centralized speech UI built into Windows Phone 8.  In other words, this 3rd party Google Voice app can be used by pressing the Bluetooth voice dialing button on your Bluetooth headset.  It ...

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    Jaime posted an article yesterday pointing out a few reasons why he is no longer excited about the Microsoft Surface Pro.  I'm a different type of person though, and I was very excited to hear that the Surface Pro would be available on February 9th.  Sure it's a couple weeks later than originally expected due to retailer refresh cycle scheduling, but I fully intend to line up to buy one that weekend. The reason I consider myself different from most of the other tech journalists out there is that this isn't my only job.  I have other jobs that require other skills that make use of ...

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    Back around the turn of the century, personal digital assistants (PDAs) were a popular secondary device that people would carry to help manage contacts, appointments, mobile web clippings, notes, and other mobile computing functions that you couldn't do with a mobile phone.  PDA's had touch-sensitive screens that were much larger than the mobile phone screens of the time and gave you a nice area to get more work done.  The power users of the time would often pair a Bluetooth capable mobile phone like the Sony Ericsson T68i with a powerful PDA like a Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC.  The Bluetooth ...

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