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Witness Ridicules 'Hands-On' Reviews of Surface

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the elbows-only-reviews-from-now-on dept.

Microsoft 206

Freshly Exhumed writes "Danny Sullivan over at Marketing Land has been tipped over the edge by various colleagues: 'After seeing yet another "hands-on" review of the Microsoft Surface tablet, I thought it would be interesting to shed more light on what exactly the journalists who assembled in Hollywood this week for the Surface launch event actually got to do with the tablets. In short, not a lot. Come along as I explain the hands-off reality of what I saw.' In response to Sullivan's criticisms, TechRadar contributor Mary To Many rebuts that merely touching something that does not operate nor even truly exist equates to an actual hands-on review. So, what do Slashdotters expect a "hands-on" review to reveal and/or include?"

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Oh please, get a life. (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431581)

Of course this is no different than an Apple product âoedemoâ or any other new product release event. This "story" is nothing more than typical âoeMicrosoft Hateâ without any real substance. Folks, it was a PR event. The product itself is still under development and yet to be released. Seriously folks, feel free to hate Microsoft, but get a clue about PR-driven product announcementsâ¦

Re:Oh please, get a life. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431637)

But you CAN actually use an Apple product when they are showed to the press. An unfinished product could be miles away from the promess made so the surface reviews are a moot point

Re:Oh please, get a life. (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431871)

But you CAN actually use an Apple product when they are showed to the press. An unfinished product could be miles away from the promess made so the surface reviews are a moot point

This is typically true, largely because Apple's style is typically one of ruthless secrecy until launch; but really orthogonal to TFA's point:

His problem was not that a prerelease product was being shown to the press; but that most of the coverage completely failed to mention how tight a leash it was on.

At what point in the development cycle one chooses to demo a product is a matter of strategy and taste. Only when already shipping? Fine. Pre-alpha, only the boys from the lab can even touch it? Fine. The problem being highlighted is that journalists were(understandably, given the pressure for ad impressions; but very arguably unethically) overstating the amount of information they were actually bringing to their readers. Regurgitating press releases makes you a flack; but it isn't inherently unethical. Re-labelling press releases as 'news' and then regurgitating them is another matter entirely...

Re:Oh please, get a life. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432043)

At what point in the development cycle one chooses to demo a product is a matter of strategy and taste. Only when already shipping? Fine.

This is Apple's modus operandi. Most likely units are already being shipped to their stores when Apple makes an announcement. Of course the problem is that if there's a flaw in it, it's a pain to recall. Like the original white iPhones 4

Crafty bastards. (1, Flamebait)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432977)

I canâ(TM)t imagine the torture of waiting until you actually have a product to announce it. It takes all the fun out of it. I much more support people selling prototypes of half baked ideas. That is cutting edge.

One of the reasons I steer towards Apple products is just that - they are finished products. I had one of the early HTC android phones. I admire the chutzpah of HTC to actually sell such a painfully horrible contraption. My daughter helpfully donated it to a city bus...

There is alarmingly awful shit punted into the CE market; Sony, Dell, Samsung, Archos, Elgato, are all guilty of punting little more than proof-of-concept (and often proof-of-no-concept) as product. MS are no exception.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (2, Interesting)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433299)

And you missed the parent poster's point. At an Apple rollout, there are typically dozens or even hundreds of production units to play with. People actually get hands on time to play with the machines. They're not on "a tight leash". True, it's not the same as an in-depth review, but it's definitely hands-on, and very different from the situation with the Surface.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (5, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431649)

I don't think it's MS hate. If someone put their hands on a new model Jaguar, with no engine and which they weren't allowed to sit in, and then called it a road test, their credibility (the reviewer,'s not Jaguar's) would be dead with me from then on. MS announced something that might be vaporware, in the sense of never coming to market, or might in fact be the device that unseats the iPad. But that's not the issue: deceptive reviews are the issue. Is the keyboard as cool as it looks or an unusable monstrosity? The reviewers in question have no way of telling, but are acting as if they do. That's what annoys.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431719)

Someone should at least get a feel for the key functionality and most popular productivity functionality being there.

Show how to touch the screen for control-alt-del

Show Antivirus software with some cool animation as it kills something

Show a drive defragmenter moving things around

And the most important, show an uninstall program running

And if there's a deluxe premium version, show it able to play a DVD or run Solitaire

Re:Oh please, get a life. (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431831)

I read that Control-Alt-Delete is remapped to WindowsKey-Power.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433937)

Obviously Ctrl+Alt+Del is teh essential functionality of Windows system known as 3KC.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431849)

PS to my previous reply,

These things run on flash storage. NEVER defragment flash storage. They very much unlikely have a DVD drive, so attempting that is not going to happen.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431901)

You don't defragment files on flash storage, you defragment free space.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432595)

So? Just like the trick pictures where you either see two faces or a vase, this doesn't make a difference. The blocks still have to be moved, and it doesn't matter if you look at this as the occupied space being copied, or the free blocks moving around. Think electrons and holes in a semiconductor.

Either way, the flash will wear out.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40433953)

Oh, so on SSDs you compact electrons and defragment holes? I'd think that would lose some information, but if you say so...

Re:Oh please, get a life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431911)

What about a license agreement? It should be illegal to launch products without publishing the license agreement

Re:Oh please, get a life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431995)

What about a license agreement? It should be illegal to launch products without publishing the license agreement

Au contraire, license agreements should be illegal.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431689)

Oh come on. This was not like an Apple event at all. The Surface demo made a huge deal about the keyboard, how much better it was than the iPad's soft keyboard - and then the journalists weren't allowed to try it out, even for a second?

Read the story next time before commenting please.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (-1, Troll)

Altanar (56809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432525)

Unlike an Apple event, where they make a huge deal about a feature, then immediately invite journalists from the crowd to try it out... Wait, that never happens.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432683)

No, that is exactly what happens at Apple events. Two weeks ago when apple showed off all the newest hardware? Immediately afterwards all the journalists got to play with it hands on in finished form. Many were given review models to take home.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432785)

Really? And why should they given that the whole product ships TODAY? Just reading every review about the retina MBP they start with "And finally our MBP was delivered and we proceeded to...". Isn't that normal procedure or just because you have a newspaper ID you get to free ride everything?

Re:Oh please, get a life. (2)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433965)

Well.... Actually when they announced the retina MacBook Pro they allowed for a hands-on. When they announced iPad, they allowed for a hands-on. I can't really think of any Apple announcement that wasn't followed by a video of a hands-on within 24hrs.(And I'm no fanboi)

Re:Oh please, get a life. (3, Interesting)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431699)

Why do you have strange character strings where you should have quotation marks? Did you cut and past this as a pre-canned response?

Re:Oh please, get a life. (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431845)

Why do you have strange character strings where you should have quotation marks? Did you cut and past this as a pre-canned response?

Copy-and-paste doesn't necessarily mean it was a pre-canned response. Slashdot's comment box leaves a lot to be desired in the editing department, so I'm not surprised at all that someone would write their post in a real editor and then copy and paste it back to Slashdot. Someday Slashdot will enter this century and provide WYSIWYG editing for those that don't want to type HTML. Even the acronym "WYSIWYG" seems to gone out of style these days because it's everywhere.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432025)

LOL, I hardly ever type HTML tags into comment fields anymore. There are 'way too many programs that will do it for you. I'm using TextExpander on my Mac, but it is far from the only one.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432139)

Copy-and-paste doesn't necessarily mean it was a pre-canned response.

Obviously. Yet, the question must necessarily be asked.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (2)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431701)

You had to cut&paste from Office to tell us this?

Re:Oh please, get a life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431819)

Reminds me of a former boss who pretty much thought that if wasn't doable with Microsoft Office you couldn't do it. The solution to all problems was Word, a Spreadsheet, or a powerpoint.

I don't work for him any more... and pretty happy about it.

Re:Oh please, get a life. (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431741)

Eh, I don't think that this can be dismissed as 'Microsoft hate'. Yeah, it involves a Microsoft product; but it treats that as a (recent, high profile, and thus salient) example of the phenomenon of absurdly stage-managed 'hands-on'/'reviews'/etc. involved in tech industry prerelease puffery, and the generally supine compliance of the 'journalists' who eagerly enable the hype machine out of some mixture of fanboyism and desperation for ad impressions.

It isn't the world's biggest secret that, even among ostensibly respectable journalists who write about Serious Topics for Serious Publications of Record, 'access', advertisers, and parent companies have pretty severely eroded the teeth of the vaunted '4th estate'; but it never hurts to remind people of that fact. Tech journalism seems to be substantially more dreadful still.

Again, this phenomenon isn't really MS specific; but (given that most of the 'hands on!!!' coverage has politely failed to note exactly how carefully the minders were keeping a leash on things) it is good to have somebody inform us of that fact.

Obviously, a prerelease product is going to have rough edges, which team PR isn't going to want people cutting themselves on in front of the cameras; but a problem arises when most of the coverage simply elides the fact that PR flacks were waving people away from those rough edges, rather than noting them and moving on...

Re:Oh please, get a life. (3, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431743)

I like how you switch from smart quotes to straight quotes and back. What browser is that? It's doing something funny. (Slashdot's incompetence makes it apparent)

Re:Oh please, get a life. (3, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432579)

Sounds like the truth upset a fanboy.

"Reviews" (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431599)

Most "Reviews" I see on the 'net are just summaries of what you find in the product folder, nothing more. So what's new about this?

Re:"Reviews" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431673)

Tech reviewers step on each others toes to be "first". They all have the quality of "the first post" on slashdot.

Have you ever seen a review of a Linux distro coming out a month after release? - Nooo! The all come out a day before, waxing hot about how easy it was to install and how good is the color scheme.

Re:"Reviews" (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431959)

It's probably going to get even worse now that so much of the new hotness is in functionally embedded systems that ship tied to hardware...

With software, the vendor essentially faces the choice of keeping it under wraps, or of having pre-release builds leaking all over the damn place. Maybe if it's just a handful of partner companies with some seriously mean NDAs; but once it gets to the journalist level you can forget about it(analogous to the Oscar screeners that get leaked every damn time, despite being subject to just about everything short of armed guard...)

Hardware, though, with the exception of the occasional unit that...um...goes missing in a bar, is easier to keep a tight grip on. Plus, very-late-prototype hardware, in limited quantities, is inevitably available to the vendor a modest period before retail hardware is available. That sort of thing is perfect for rewarding, or punishing, media outlets. Play ball, and you'll be seeing a sample unit in the mail in time to have your benchmarks and review done before the other guys get back from Best Buy. Don't, and you can read your competitor's reviews while you wait in line to buy something to review...

This sort of thing has gone on for years in the gaming-enthusiast-wanking sector of CPU, GPU, and motherboard reviews; but it hasn't really been all that relevant. Enthusiasts care a lot; but there just aren't a lot of enthusiasts, so it was mostly just sideshow, and the truth usually managed to surface by the time whatever the product was trickled down to the '80% of the speed, 20% of the price' market where people actually buy things.

Now that the 'mainstream' devices are tightly embedded hardware units, though, there will likely be a lot more room for the same sort of shenanigans that rule enthusiast hardware wank to worm their way into mainstream tech coverage.

Re:"Reviews" (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433467)

Well I don't know about the mobile stuff but most of the "hands on" reviews I've seen on the PC side equals them putting the hardware through the paces and seeing what it can do. I remember reading one before the AMD E-Series chips had been released where they went to the trouble of bringing their own SSD loaded with testing tools just so they could get a few benches and see what the unit could do.

So if all MSFT is doing is turning the unit on and letting them go through some carefully scripted demos? Sorry that's not hands on as far as I'm concerned, that's just marketing BS.

Obviously a functional unit (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431613)

MS's problems are really kind of bizarre. It's not for lack of talent or trying they just keep screwing up. It has to be management. You don't get such systematic across the board f' ups unless management is behind it.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431925)

It's [bloomberg.com] management [businessinsider.com] alright [seekingalpha.com] . It's been management for years. Microsoft consistently hires the best people in the field (well, those that Google doesn't snag—prior to that, though, they were nearly unchallenged, and consequentially MS has had a huge number of very respectable older researchers and engineers, including a large contingent of ex-DEC people) and then squashes them with bad managers, who spend so much time politicking and infighting that they can't recognize genius like the Courier [wikipedia.org] .

Unfortunately this is an increasing trend in the whole software industry; the very recent example of Diablo 3's utter failure to live up to hype, even though it's now the fastest-selling game in history, can largely be attributed to management changes in Activision [teamliquid.net] . The underlying problem seems to be hiring management and leadership from non-computing sectors instead of promoting from within, although in MS's case it's more like a long-term family feud.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432133)

I largely agree.

The MBAs are very useful for administration but that doesn't mean they need to be in charge. Subordinate them to secretarial functions and give actual department control to people that actually know what is going on.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (5, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432591)

Unfortunately this is an increasing trend in the whole software industry; the very recent example of Diablo 3's utter failure to live up to hype, even though it's now the fastest-selling game in history, can largely be attributed to management changes in Activision [teamliquid.net].

Er... you realize you have a contradiction in that statement, right? "Utter failure to live up to hype" and "fastest selling game in history" don't really work together. Also you ignore the fact that the Blizzard side of Activision-Blizzard, and the Activision side of it are separate, and wholly autonomous. Or at least I haven't seen a single credible, informed, source stating otherwise. Even your link amounts to little more than a conspiracy theory, linking disparate facts into a structure without any actual evidence towards the premise. Yes, there might be the same masters (which Blizzard has had before), but this doesn't really mean much since you don't actually know whats going on. For all we know they are hands-off of Blizzard since they are the most profitable game company in existence so they must be doing something right (as evident from Diablo 3, which is justifiably making money hand over fist).

That said, and back on topic: I think MS has a behemoth problem, they are so large, and their fingers are in so many pies, that they lack the ability to quickly adapt to anything. I'm going to get flamed here, but many of their "failures" have actually been pretty decent, but they failed to grasp the market, or marketing, needed to make it work. They try to win by sheer weight, and not by finesse. This works sometimes (Office, the IE domination of yore, Exchange), but generally fails in a non-business arena. The iPod and the Zune weren't really that different, with one being better in some areas, and the other in others, but the Zune completely died because you can't compete on pure specs, especially with Apple (the masters of image and sexy). I suppose this does boil down to managment, but also to the fact that they are MS... Its hard to say "Microsoft" (insert picture of Bill Gates/Balmer)" and "sexy" in the same breath, much less sell it to the masses.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40433729)

"Utter failure to live up to hype" and "fastest selling game in history" are not at all a contradiction. Big budget games are now like big budget movies, where sometimes the hype is so great that they score gigantic initial sales and most of those people say it sucks. The difference being that in movies, it's more easily tracked because the number of repeat customers will be very low relative to blockbusters people enjoyed.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433745)

Hmmm... Blizzard is one of those companies that could pinch a turd off in the toilet and sell millions of copies of it so long as it has their logo on it.

That fan loyalty however was hard won by delivering good games.

Blizzard might have made money but they lost respect and lost credibility. Their ability to do that again is reduced. Think of when Disney started opening disney stores all over and completely devalued their animation department?

The company died a little. And even now they haven't recovered from what Michael Eisner did to them.

What is happening to Blizzard is comparable. They're being sold out.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433805)

Its hard to say "Microsoft" (insert picture of Bill Gates/Balmer)" and "sexy" in the same breath, much less sell it to the masses.

But you can say MS and sexchange in the same breath and sell it to the masses, try it -- "MS Exchange."

Re:Obviously a functional unit (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433977)

Just to wrap up the Blizzard talk and defend my position: no, it's not a contradiction; the available statistics [xfire.com] suggest that a lot of people bought the game, and then have failed to continue playing it. It sold very quickly at first, but now no one wants it. The hype sold it, but the game itself hasn't succeeded in holding onto that player base. Many of the patch changes nevertheless appear to correspond to the agenda put forth by Activision's new management in the aforementioned conspiracy theory, even if Activision doesn't actually have direct influence in Blizzard's management: continued nerfing despite promises not to do so [battle.net] , removing drops from destructible objects, and only slightly modifying the difficulty of Elite monsters all appear to imply that the company wants to force players to participate in the real money auction house in order to finish the game.

Even if you dismiss all of the above as circumstantial, and want to completely ignore the prospect that Blizzard is prioritizing profitability over not alienating their fan base, it's still very apparent that Diablo 3 doesn't have the same class flexibility as Diablo 2, and that a very vocal group of fans considers the game broken. I've heard that Blizzard's testers couldn't actually complete the game on the hardest difficulty, and that they knowingly shipped the game in that state. While a tiny number of people were able to complete Inferno difficulty, Blizzard still decided to patch it to be easier, which they rolled out just last Tuesday. To me, that sounds very much like bad planning (if not another attempt to force people to gear up in the auction house), and the sort of thing we should attribute to managerial failure.

At this point, with Microsoft, I really, truly believe that people are so conditioned to hate their products that they can't rightly succeed any more with their current brands. This is the fate of all greedy computer companies, I think.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431937)

While some here on slashdot debate who copied whom first, I think we can agree MS tried to copy Apple's style of product announcements but they missed some key details. When Apple announces a new product, the product is already being shipped from China to their stores. As such Apple has a launch date and pricing detailed. The only exception is probably the original iPhone but Apple explained the 6 month lead time was because Apple couldn't keep it a secret as they had to get FCC approval. But Apple did list price and an estimated quarter.

Because the product is pretty much ready, Apple can rehearse the entire presentation ad nauseum to make sure it works. At best MS had a working prototype of Surface. However, the Surface tablet froze [betabeat.com] in the middle of the presentation. It's an incident that anyone who had done a product demo dreads. The most glaring gaffe at an Apple announcement was when Jobs couldn't get the original iPhone to surf the web via wifi. The technician traced the problem to too many wifi users at once which isn't a big deal. I think MS timed the PR event to follow Apple as Apple had their WWDC a week earlier to try to steal the thunder of everyone talking about the new MacBook Pro Retina displays.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (1, Insightful)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432807)

The technician traced the problem to too many wifi users at once which isn't a big deal.

Only if you live inside the reality distortion field. What, you want to use your WiFi at a conference, or a busy place like an airport, or the university cafeteria? You can't, but no big deal. Oh, and you're holding it wrong.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433075)

So you're saying that a clogged wifi network causing glitches during the middle of a presentation of product using wifi(which isn't a fault of the product but the network devices) is totally the same thing as a product freezing in the middle of a presentation. What world do you live in?

Re:Obviously a functional unit (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433807)

So you're saying that a clogged wifi network causing glitches during the middle of a presentation of product using wifi(which isn't a fault of the product but the network devices) is totally the same thing as a product freezing in the middle of a presentation.

Yes, and I gave examples of why, as a non-fanboy, I'd have cause for concern. I saw the Jobs video and cringed while watching it. Placing the blame on the WiFi devices instead of the product is ridiculous. Do you expect everybody to turn off their device in a crowded area, or do you expect your product to work in such places?

What world do you live in?

Outside the reality distortion field.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (4, Informative)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433227)

However, the Surface tablet froze [betabeat.com] in the middle of the presentation.

Not only that, later on presenter was trying to show camera widget and it "only" took him 4 tries :). I stopped watching after that.

MS==GM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431977)

MS's problem is that like GM they got a long free ride where they didn't have to worryt about customer satisfaction.
In their case it was due to being a monopoly.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431991)

It feeds down form the top. "Balmy Balmer" is a real piece of work, and Bill was notorious for managing by screaming like a petulant child. You don't get a layer of calm, rational management under CEOs like that, you get a rabbit-warren of hate, paranoia, and fear.

Re:Obviously a functional unit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432295)

Its not only that I think the Surface launch was premature, but didnt coordinate with any other branch of MS for a huge release. Not enough detail about pricing or whether it had 3G or LTE or wifi only, no information about worldwide availability. All they've done is stop anyone wanting to buy any other windows tablet until they see what MS are going to do, just in case. Dell actually have a working tablet that I've seen the MS evangelists with, but it costs nearly NZ$3000, and that is just not going to fly, when you can buy an ultrabook for less than NZ$2000. Thats also what killed the Pen tablets BTW, was the cost. I had a nice HP TC4400 and that ran with a pen just fine, but it cost a fortune, and the battery life was abysmal. It runs Windows 8 just fine, but my iPad is faster to start, easier to use and runs all day on a charge. My "Pen Tablet" pretty much sits un used now.
Only days later they also released information on Windows Phone 8, and this was also just after the big games conference, and I still havnt seem MS say how they are going to improve the Metro interface for us old fashioned mouse users. The hidden charms are just painful to use, the horizontal scrolling is pointless with a mouse with only a vertical scroll wheel. and Metro IE just looks like a joke on a 24" display 8)
Even my 9 year-old called it a kinder-surprise browser, and though initially it was something from LeapPad.

Reviewers hands were filthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431615)

Filthy hands, never heard of soap.

Useless blog link for a non-story. Why did /. post (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431619)

All this relevent information was already covered by Engadget, TheVerge, etc, etc. None-story here. They did a press event. No prices, no date of availablility, and they didn't want folks to actually touch the demo models running beta versions of an OS on beta hardware. Shocker.

Re:Useless blog link for a non-story. Why did /. p (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431889)

Agreed, reviewer also seems amazed by the fact it's a complete OS running on a tablet, as though it's a first. Supposedly nobody told him Samsung released the Series 7 Slate. Even knowledge of the domain you are discussing seems to be too much to ask nowadays.

Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (1, Troll)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431629)

Was "Surface" the best name they could come up with? Geeze.

It even makes them sound like a copycat who is coming up a day late and dollar short.

Makes "zune" seem like something they actually had a marketing professional come up with by comparrison.

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431647)

I'm just waiting for the inevitable headlines if it fails in the market: "Surface takes a dive!".

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431695)

Surface is a recycled name from a failed product they put out a few years ago. Microsoft Surface used to be the name of tabletop pc. (the pc was a table not a pc that sits on a table)

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431823)

That wasn't a "failed" product, it was a prototype.

Be fair... jessh.

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431975)

Surface Table (now called PixelSense) was purchased and installed in a few places as kiosks. Not many but I wouldn't call it a prototype when it was shipped to customers. From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

On April 17, 2008, AT&T became the first retailer to sell the product.[8] In June 2008 Harrah’s Entertainment launched Microsoft Surface at Rio iBar[9] and Disneyland launched it in Tomorrowland, Innoventions Dream Home.[10] On August 13, 2008 Sheraton Hotels introduced it in their hotel lobbies at 5 locations.[11] On September 8th, 2008 MSNBC began using it to work with election maps for the 2008 US Presidential Election on air.

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40433507)

LIES!!! Everyone knows that the touchscreen wasn't invented by Steve Jobs until 2010!! ;)

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (5, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432433)

That wasn't a "failed" product, it was a prototype.

But that's what everyone is calling the "new surface" now, it's just a prototype, that's why nothing works yet. But just wait, it's coming, we promise! (just like the original Surface)

That wasn't a product demo, it was a dream demo "this is what we are going to TRY to make". They spent most of their time speaking the word "surface" over and over like they were trying to brainwash the viewers, while telling everyone over and over ad nauseum how wonderful the clicking sound of the stand was etc. It was insulting. It wasn't a product demo, they were there to tell us what opinion of their product we are supposed to have, without any physical reason to back it up.

The demo itself was a disaster. That poor guy was up on stage, I felt sorry for him when he kept saying "xxx is wonderful!" and tried to get it to work, and it didn't. And so he just moved on to the next thing, "and yyy is wonderful!" and it also failed to work. He finally gave up and grabbed a hot spare off the table and it immediately failed to work on the next thing. "and it plays great games!" (game fails to launch) "and the video is great!" and the video still opens but the video refuses to start playing. "and this keyboard is wonderful!" (but I'm not going to ever attempt to type on it!) "and these menus are great!" (and no menu will stay open) I bet he headed to the bar after that demo. Considering the train wreck that it was though, he was pretty smooth with it.

Someone else a little above here was saying the difference between MS and Apple demos is that Apple is shipping units to the stores when the put them on demo. MS is demoing a product that may never make it to the stores. They aren't even finished designing it yet. They're so late to the tablet game that they're throwing a barely bootable early prototype up on stage and dangling it on a string over reviewers heads trying to stall for time. All they've done is shown their hand about where they'd like to be in 6 months. By then there will probably be a dozen tablets that have magnetic clicky keyboard cover/stand accessories available for them. This demo is probably going to do them more harm than good. And if they're as consistent with the Surface's "early preview" launch as they usually are, a few of the features they talked about it having won't even BE in the final product.

This thing has "Zune" written all over it. (although at least the Zune's demo went fairly well, before it cratered)

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431821)

They already own the name, and they therefore don't have to buy a company just to get a trademark that is also a word in a language that is not dead or imaginary.

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432393)

But look at how they managed to miniaturise a table sized computer into a 10" widescreen. Awesome engineering!

Re:Was THAT The Best Name They Could Come Up With? (0)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433211)

Wow, modded down to "1" as a troll for expressing an opinion probably dozen of other people have. I'm impressed. I never thought Slashdot would be taken over by Microsoft fanboys.

Sorry people, my comment wasn't aimed at upsetting Microsoft fanbodys. I really do think "surface" is a 100% lame attempt at a name for a product that is copycat entry and now sounds like one with the name they chose.

I would drop (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431639)

I would drop the most basic things like
1. Weight on hands (as every person finds it different)

2. Feel on fingertips (every person finds it different, and I mean personal opinions "This feels nice" but you can say if there is texture or rubber or it is slippery)

3. Where the slots are (you can find them from screenshots, but I would like to hear which way the slots are if they are under cover, meaning some MicroUSB ports are wrong way installed so you need to plug cable other way as well).

4. Opinions of color (you can only mention available versions but not opinions are they cool looking etc).

5. All the typical "This is "X-based"" and so on. No need to mention "This use Android Ice Scream Sandwich" as it is enough to mention at start "Android 4.0".

6. Use correct names for software systems, like not "Android Ice Scream Sandwich" but "Android 4.0" as that way people know better what it is about, so leave code names to ignorance nerds and wannabe teens.

7. Do not show basic stuff... like "this has a touch screen" unless it is something new and special way, like having touch screen on keyboard etc.

8. Again, leave all personal opinions out unless you really want to focus for specific fans.

Re:I would drop (2)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431941)

6. Use correct names for software systems, like not "Android Ice Scream Sandwich" but "Android 4.0" as that way people know better what it is about, so leave code names to ignorance nerds and wannabe teens.

Depends on how much of a hash the marketing makes of the names. With Android 4.0 you have picked an example where the official name is actually meaningful. So far, so good.

But on the hardware side, the codenames are often more useful to identify the product generation of a certain model. As a particular bad example, consider Nvidia's GT 640: three different models under the same name. Two new ones in 28 nm and one obsolete one in 40 nm manufacturing.
With codenames (in this case "Kepler" versus "Fermi"), you can at least tell which is the obsolete one ;-)

"Journalism" (2, Interesting)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431651)

How many journalists can you name from the top of your head that follow a code of ethics and perform their function which is to report the news ojectively?

Yea, I thought so.

In this buzzphrase-dominated media society, journalists rank very high on own fart-smelling.

Re:"Journalism" (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431839)

Erin Burnett?

You should be laughing.

Re:"Journalism" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40433659)

Greg Palast

Robert Fisk

so... two.

Not hands on? (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431675)

I guess these reviews just scratched the surface.

Re:Not hands on? (1)

akeeneye (1788292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431797)

I can't wait for the reviewers to test the Frictionless Surface model. After trying to keep it in their laps, after trying to type on *that* keyboard, they'll have a few choice words for M$.

That's easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431713)

If the reviewer's hands were on the device, it's a hands-on review.

Duh.

Re:That's easy. (4, Insightful)

adamstew (909658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431761)

That makes about as much sense as someone saying that they got to sit in a parked sports car that didn't have a steering wheel and they weren't allowed to turn on the stereo or push any buttons.... but since the car was parked on the road it's a "road test".

Re:That's easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40433439)

Those concept cars displayed at the big shows, it's like calling sitting in one of those a road test of a new model.

I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (2)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431733)

I think the surface will be terrible to use as a tablet just because MS chose the ratio to match current laptop screens.

Its just too thin either orientation.
You loose half the screen for things that pop-out from the bottom or top including the keyboard and if you turn it upright its too thin to deliver a decent experience for most things. Traditionally you use portrait for web-pages buy the arm one does not horizontal resolution to view it naively.

If its a poor tablet then and it wont be as good for typing as laptop then its doomed to find its self a small uninteresting niche. This is made worse because its only available online or from an MS store.

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431803)

I was rather skeptical as well, but I bought a Toshiba Thrive (10") when it came out about a year ago, and I've been quite pleased with it. In particular, the taller aspect ratio makes reading text more convenient, since 6" is a bit wide of a column width, and a 16:9 screen gives a narrower column and a longer page.

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (2)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431913)

Looks like they changed it to 16:10 for the current models [toshiba.com] .

Text and the arranged list of tiles they use to demo the portrait work pretty well because they rearrange without needing to stretch anything.

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (2)

anss123 (985305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431813)

Traditionally you use portrait for web-pages buy the arm one does not horizontal resolution to view it naively.

Not that I disagree about 9:16 being potentially awkward, the arm surface has the same horizontal resolutions as the ipad 1 and 2 in portrait mode.

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431877)

Not that I disagree about 9:16 being potentially awkward, the arm surface has the same horizontal resolutions as the ipad 1 and 2 in portrait mode.

The iPad is sometimes gets sent to mobile websites, if MS is fine with letting servers do the same then the native res is not as much of an issue.

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (0)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431965)

s/tablets/screens/

16:10 and 16:9 are not really useful for anything except watching movies. Ok, s/ except.*?\.//, as there's nothing really worth watching there too.

Basically anything you work with: text, code, images, webpages, etc, is better viewed on something that's not a thin strip, no matter if that strip is horizontal or vertical.

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432371)

s/tablets/screens/

16:10 and 16:9 are not really useful for anything except watching movies. Ok, s/ except.*?\.//, as there's nothing really worth watching there too.

Basically anything you work with: text, code, images, webpages, etc, is better viewed on something that's not a thin strip, no matter if that strip is horizontal or vertical.

So lets get this right...for textual information that adjusts to any dimension automatically, shouldn't it matter what screen dimensions are with wrapping. The only time this is not the case is when text is does not wrap[you need to horizontal scroll to read], or web pages[like slashdot] that are designed with not to shrink below a certain size; have extra columns for navigation and advertising. Both of these cases wider is better. As for Images...my camera phone takes them now at 16:9...and Video that way too. In fact I cannot think of a single instance where widescreen isn't superior. I think your exaggerating because you own that expensive tablet with a fruit on the back.

...Personally I would love a 2.35:1 monitor

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (0)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432627)

A human cannot comfortably read too wide a column of text. That's the reason why most newspapers use multiple columns, even in portrait orientation, and why webpages tend to restrict text width as well.

And I don't have an use for a phone or tablet without a keyboard that you can't even install a compiler on.

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433423)

A human cannot comfortably read too wide a column of text. That's the reason why most newspapers use multiple columns, even in portrait orientation, and why webpages tend to restrict text width as well.

Newspapers is a really really bad example. This is where I suspect you and I are both out of out depth...so I will refer to an expert. http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/nov02.asp [humanfactors.com] [Bob Bailey, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for HFI, discusses the optimal line length when reading prose text from a monitor.]

The short version is Newspapers optimum line width was 3.6" with a maximum of 4", only the Galaxy note is small enough to work reading text, by your example, but that was with old 10-point printers with black on white text.

For Monitors using larger text...for speed wideris is better 8-9-10 inches about the Width of Widescreen Android Tablet ..but user prefer reading at 3.6-4" which is about the width of a Kindle Fire and other 7" tablets...so Apple tablets are out.

Re:I think 16:9 tablets don't work regarless of OS (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433475)

16:10 and 16:9 are not really useful for anything except watching movies.

Myth. People keep forgetting we work in a window'd environment.

They've even unveiled a new logo for MS Surface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40431801)

http://www.freeimagehosting.net/79hsw

(Embeds not allowed.)

angry birds played by a toddler (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431907)

a hands on review must include a game of angry birds

preferably by a drooling 3 year old

if the toddler plays for more than 3 minutes without dropping the thing and wandering off (weight and functionality), the tablet will be a success

Re:angry birds played by a toddler (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432475)

And that test is exactly how you will tell if it wll work in a corporate space. If a 3-year old can use it, then it will probably not break at the hands of an executive when travelling overseas away from tech support.
Stuffed laptops are our number one time consuming fault with travelling ViPs. If their phone dies, we prep a new one hand have it to them anywhere in the country overnight, if over seas, then we nuke and re deploy one of their EAs's phones if its that important to them. But Ive had more call than I want from a grumpy ViP who just wants to get a frikken 3G modem to work in whatever country they are in. Nearly all the execs I deal with now have an iPad, and I haven't had to deal with a single faulty one. One got stolen, and we issued a remote wipe over activesync and it has never shown up on Find-My-Ipad, but thats it.

He wrote (2)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431943)

>Again, like I wrote before, if I could have only two of three tablets, I’d go iPad then Windows 8 and not Android, because Android’s not offering me anything I can’t already do on the iPad but with (to me) what’s not an elegant environment. Windows 8 is different, unique, seems to offer some compelling features even without the icing of a kickstand that goes “click” and thin keyboard.

Wait wait he bitches about not being able to use the tablet to see what its all about but he prefers it over an Android tablet because there's something potentially magical about it even though he has no clue what that could be...

I've never used it but doesn't Asus Transformer already do the same thing as the windows tablet. Convert from laptop to tablet and vice versa?

Write up is a troll (3, Insightful)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432021)

She doesn't say "merely touching an unworking product makes it hands-on review" at any point. She says that she can give a review that's "hands on" even with just a short time using the product, as long as she's clear it's just an impression and isn't an in-depth review. If you read the review, it's full of qualifiers like "At this stage Microsoft is being very cagey and no-one has had much time using Surface RT yet, but from our experience of trying it out."

Just another unfair article summary by some Slashdot basement dweller with an anti-Microsoft agenda.

Re:Write up is a troll (3, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432269)

She says that she can give a review that's "hands on" even with just a short time using the product, as long as she's clear it's just an impression and isn't an in-depth review.

Holding a device, that isn't turned on, for a few seconds, is not a "hands-on review", except in the world of unethical scumbag journalists.

Re:Write up is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40433879)

Did you read the article? Did you read the post you were replying to? She made no such claim. It's terrible that you can make pronouncements about how other people are unethical scumbags, when you can even bother reading what it is you're talking about.

Re:Write up is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432417)

You may call it trolling as you've included that now famous Slashdot 'why is everyone so 'anti-MS' line in your trollish comment.
A few years ago, I attended a OLPC event, back before Negreponte sold out to MS and muddied up the Open Source community's faith in the project. During the presentation, they handed out several XO-1s to the audience to play with and then pass along. There were only three or maybe four of them but it was a relatively small venue so while it took a while I was eventually able to mess with one for a few minutes. These were working prototypes so we in the audience could do whatever we wanted -- reboot them, mess the Sugar interface, etc. THAT'S a hands-on review

Re:Write up is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40432787)

I always interpreted hands-on as meaning "taken home and used for a couple days". I don't think I'm alone with that interpretation. A good, solid, reasoned analysis takes place when the author picks the appliance up and asks "what can I do with this?" Anything other is nothing more than rewriting "A Thousand Little Pieces."

Re:Write up is a troll (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433873)

She doesn't say "merely touching an unworking product makes it hands-on review" at any point. She says that she can give a review that's "hands on" even with just a short time using the product, as long as she's clear it's just an impression and isn't an in-depth review. If you read the review, it's full of qualifiers like "At this stage Microsoft is being very cagey and no-one has had much time using Surface RT yet, but from our experience of trying it out."

Just another unfair article summary by some Slashdot basement dweller with an anti-Microsoft agenda.

As far as Anandtech, at least, which is usually the only tech site on the internet worth reading, there was no claim of a "review" and the author made it very clear exactly how much contact he had with the device.

fake arguments (0)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432229)

That guy is trolling for attention with false and idiot statements:

- "MS said their KB is better than a true KB". FALSE. they said i's better than a *touch* KB.

- My bike has a kick stand, and it's not a key feature. DUMB. a tablet's kickstand is for when you actually use the tablet, as opposed to a bike's kickstand.

Overall, a second rate blogger having an hissy fit about being shown a pre-prod unit (was it his first time ?), and trying to blow things out of proportion with idiot arguments. Oh, and he censored my negative comment on his blog, too.

Re:fake arguments (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432325)

That guy is trolling for attention with false and idiot statements:

- "MS said their KB is better than a true KB". FALSE. they said i's better than a *touch* KB.

- My bike has a kick stand, and it's not a key feature. DUMB. a tablet's kickstand is for when you actually use the tablet, as opposed to a bike's kickstand.

Overall, a second rate blogger having an hissy fit about being shown a pre-prod unit (was it his first time ?), and trying to blow things out of proportion with idiot arguments. Oh, and he censored my negative comment on his blog, too.

The guy might be a total asshole for all I know, but, if he is telling the truth (i.e., no one at the event ever actually got to use the device or even touch it for more than a couple of seconds) then he has a legitimate point, which is very simply, that you can't honestly claim to have done a "hands-on review" of something if you've never actually used it for more than a few seconds.

Re:fake arguments (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433695)

My take on it is that the outside was ready, not the inside. So the journos did get to play with the case, stand, keyboard, and some very limited apps. This indeed is "hands on" only in the most complacent sense. But then that blogger goes on a rant and throws several falsehoods and fake arguments in the process, which looks to me like a contrived grab for attention.

More hands-on reviews, please (1)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432603)

I will gladly volunteer for a review of Scarlett Johansson.

*sigh* (2, Interesting)

Altanar (56809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432697)

If anyone's want to know exactly what went down at the press conference without being fed a heavy dose of cynicism, you could always check out ArsTechnica's liveblog and post-event coverage: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/06/liveblog-from-la-microsofts-major-announcement-rumored-tablet-unveil/ [arstechnica.com]

Slashdot's reaction to the Surface has been a mixture of amusing and frustrating. The reaction was immediately: "Surface is complete garbage. Horrible fail. After all, Microsoft never makes anything good." A few days later after some of the announced features of Surface disseminated the reaction changed to: "Utter vaporware. Never coming out. After all, Microsoft could never make something like that. They must be lying." Never in my life have I seen a piece of unreleased hardware declared vaporware in mere days of it's announcement. Never. Microsoft must've really touched a nerve with some people.

Never underesimate ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433371)

.. the power subsumed by a religious icon [wikipedia.org] .

Keyboards (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40433691)

People, you do know there is a real keyboard for the iPad. Right? One from Apple. A bunch from other companies. I have the Apple one. Excellent feel. Oooo... So, Microsf, what's the big deal again? Playing catch up and still can't catch Apple's tail coat? Ah...

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