About a month ago it became apparent that some of my kit may need to be redeployed at short notice for a very important need. This would mean that I would need to acquire a new small laptop fairly sharpish. Taking a walk around PC World (Yes, I know with my background in the IT trade I should know of better places top go! I was however in a hurry and the original plan was to buy a Lenovo netbook) I spotted a Microsoft Surface 2 tablet for only £249.99. I played with it and thought that for the discount it was going to be a good deal. I bought the keyboard case for it as well. I did this on the basis that if I did not get on with it, it would be sold on eBay sharpish.
Three days later saw me heading off to Spain for a holiday. I brought this device along and I am glad I did. I have some fairly hefty spreadsheets I use from work and these could be a pain on my Samsung Galaxy Tab because of a lack of macro support. Any way I got a call from London regarding work that required me to get some figures checked, so I grabbed the Surface 2 and headed for a bar that had wi-fi. I logged in and retrieved the spreadsheet expecting a little aggro, but no it performed flawlessly, a quick phone call to London and 10 minutes later the issue had been resolved. Thanks to the surface I was enjoying a beer and catching some sunshine.
As I have for the most part left the IT trade (I still do a little IT consultancy) I no longer need some of the software and tools I have on the laptops and as I now have desktops with large screens I have little need for a full blown laptop and the Surface is proving ideal. The only thing that is letting it down at the moment is a lack of Microsoft Publisher. I use Publisher a lot these days for creating prospectuses and this is a little drawback for me.
So the verdict? The Surface has proved itself after a month of ownership and shown that it is more than capable of earning its keep. It won’t be going on eBay anytime soon!
Annual awards are very of the moment, are they not? Every organisation has them. There’s car of the year, boat of the year businessman of the year, business woman of the year, even condom of the year! So in on the same note, I have decided to do the same and dish out my own annual awards. At this point I apologise for the fact that this post is more of an essay than a blog. Outstanding Excellence of the year award When I mentioned to a friend and colleague that I was writing this blog, he said he would not like to be mentioned on this one and also suggested that a few others involved might prefer not to be mentioned as well. So here goes. Earlier this year for various reasons I was right up against it and right in the whatsit. A number of colleagues in four different countries and a count of hundreds who will never know just how much help they have been came to my rescue and all in their own way made sure that everything that happened, just when it had to happen with the utmost of precision that is normally reserved for an accomplished orchestra playing its most challenging piece of music ever. This award is for every single one of those people involved even though they might not know it. Never before have I seen so much fall into place even when the chips are down. Thank you all so much. Car of the year Volkswagen Golf R32. What I did with this car cannot be discussed here. The police will want a chat. But its sticks to the road like s**t to a blanket and accelerates like Ed Balls backtracking when hes questioned by Jeremy Paxman. A well deserved award. A special mention goes to the Mercedes E-Class a from the point of view of being driven in one at high speed while highly stressed. Racetrack of the year The M1. With special thanks to the traffic police for leaving me be. I can say no more especially about the speeds I have taken this road at especially this year. Ever. Airline of the year Sod the cost, they are expensive but this one goes to Sky Work Airlines, based in Berne. Customer service simply does not come better. British Airways, please take note! Hotel of the year Hotel Baren Ostermundigen, Switzerland are the very worthy winners. Expensive but customer service is second to none. Ever. This is 2900 nights spent on hotel rooms worth of experience talking! Even The Dorchester in London is not as good as this! A special mention does go to Hotel Seattle in Brighton. Car hire Hertz win this one, especially when I got away with standing next to the fuel tank to cover the dent I put in a certain rental car at a certain airport! Well done! I can’t believe it award! This one goes to the co-operative organisation, especially Co-op bank! What were they thinking! I cried into my coffee award This has to go to Sealine going into administration. I did cry into my coffee when I saw this. Now reincarnated this was the end of a prolific boatbuilder as we knew them. Tech Kit Awards Customer Service, Lenovo. They are beating everyone else hands down at the moment. Software: Owncloud. A great private cloud alternative to the usual freemium services. Biggest disappointment: Apple. Going down the pan fast. Old values seem to be failing fast now. Hack: Cyanogen Mod: How to breathe new life into an old android tablet device! Pub of the year award Three winners this year. The Green Man in Ewell, my old stomping ground, for always being a great pub. The Mannor in Tooting for being so accommodating when I spent quite a bit of time there and my local. The Rose and Crown in Wimbledon Village for being a fantastic pub Corporate idiots award The Child Support Agency. When will you ever learn to talk properly, answer questions properly and honestly and stop talking to a script that makes you looks like a corporate version of the Goonies?! Plonkers of the year The Metropolitan Police officers who park on double yellow lines outside my local branches of Costa and Starbucks and lounge around usually for an hour or so when they should be arresting burglars and rapists. Laugh of the year This one is mostly deserved by UK Border Agency staff at Brussels Midi who asked me what the purpose of my trip to England was when I handed over my paperwork pone evening. I live in England you muppets! A special mention must go to the crowd behind me who gave me a standing ovation when I pointed this out to the relvant staff! Lifetime award for utter incompetence and complete spastication Its a bit premature to be giving out a lifetime award but this is so richly deserved. The winner is St Georges Hospital NHS Trust and each of its approximate 8,000 (according to its website) staff. Regular readers of my blog will know I have had a number of run in’s with this outfit over the past 12 months. Never before in my life have I come across a more incompetent organisation. Ever. From the chief executive to the most junior member of staff. Especially on Cavell Ward. Their only saving grace is the Marks and Spencer on the ground floor of the Grosvenor Wing and even their service is farcical! Indeed such is the level of stupidity and incompetence, more of which can be read here that I am concerned for the organisation’s future. Indeed I have already suggested on these pages that that the place be bulldozed for the good of the local community and replaced with well landscaped executive homes. Indeed it goes so far that I wonder and worry about the parents of each and every member of their 8,000 staff and am amazed that these parents never considered either contraception or abortion.Thats 16,000 parents to worry about! St Georges is that bad and as for cleanliness and data protection, well, don’t get me started. They are therefore the most worthy winners of this award.