Sep 272013
 

Nokia Canada has this awesome Facebook contest running right now where if you describe the new Lumia 1020 in one word, you can win a Lumia 1020 prize pack which includes:

-Nokia Lumia 1020

-Nokia Camera Grip

-JBL PlayUp Portable Wireless Speaker

-3 Month Nokia Music+ Subscription

To enter, “Like” the Nokia Canada Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/nokiacanada and fill out the contest application form here: https://www.facebook.com/nokiacanada?sk=app_331406573613073

The good news? I already won one of the prize packs!!! Yesterday was my birthday and around 3:00PM I received a message from Nokia Canada telling me I won one of the prize packs! Woohoo!

I’m TOTALLY excited about the phone. I’ve been harassing my Rogers reps for a while wondering when I can pre-order a 1020. This is just icing on the cake baby!

Once I get my hands on it, I’ll be writing an in-depth review on the device. I already have the feeling I’m going to love it!

 

Win Lumia 1020

Feb 222013
 

I have long awaited the release of the Microsoft Surface Pro since their first initial announcement about entering the tablet market. The first device released: “Surface RT” was a lightweight, thin, powerful tablet that could run Metro apps, along with Microsoft Office and had a battery life of continuous use around 10 hours. The second device released: “Surface Pro” was a new device that didn’t fall under either distinction of a Tablet or Laptop but could be used as either, that was a powerful portable computer that could run all your applications, along with the Metro apps, be easily transported, used anywhere, and had a decent battery life (~4 hours of heavy use, I’ve gotten over 8 hours of battery use).

Being an I.T. professional, I figured I would wait for the Surface Pro to be released since I believed I’d mostly be using normal Windows applications over the “Metro” style apps. I’ve been running Windows 8 on my desktop since Microsoft made it available to partners mid way through 2012. During that time, once I tried to configure and use the Metro apps, but using them with  non-touch interface was weird enough for me not to end up using any. I usually stay on the desktop, and when needed to launch a program I simply hit the start button, type the first few letters of the program, hit enter, and it launches.

First off I want to start off addressing Windows 8 being used as a tablet interface. It’s slick! Since receiving my Surface Pro, even after installing Microsoft Outlook and other desktop applications I regularly use, I found that over time, I never even go in to the desktop. Using the Metro interface with touch capabilities is simply brilliant. It’s very easy to use, navigate, configure, and surprisingly enough I find that 98% of everything I do can be accomplished via Metro style applications. I don’t even go in to Microsoft Outlook anymore since I have my Exchange account configured with the Mail Metro app. Occasionally I might use Outlook,  but it’s only to do advanced tasks such as deal with Meeting requests that I need to add info, or dealing with numerous attachments, etc… The Windows 8 touch interface is beautiful and resembles Windows Phone to the tee.

Briefly visiting the desktop aspect, the desktop is your familiar Windows desktop, with the modification of no start menu since it’s running Windows 8. On the Surface Pro you can install any Windows Application, and they run great. This device has the power to run most graphic intensive games, drawing applications, and anything else you can throw at it. It works great and I have no complaints. One thing to note is that Microsoft implemented scaling since the display is a true 1080p display, and with such a small screen the writing wouldn’t be visible for those with bad eyes. I so far have not had any issues with the scaling, and applications look great.

Now going back to the Metro style interface, there are numerous apps available. Use of the Mail, People, Calendar, Internet Explorer, etc.. all work great. I use these all the time and haven’t had any issues. They are perfect for working with you exchange account, browsing the internet, talking with Facebook friends, tweeting on twitter, browsing internet forums, etc… Again, everything works great, no problems whatsoever, and you can accomplish plenty using these.

A few apps to mention, Xbox Music is fantastic. I’ve been using my Zune pass since I purchased my first Windows Phone 7 (Nokia Lumia 900), and have been creating playlists, downloading music on the fly, and absolutely love it. I also use it all the time on my desktop computer as well. When first playing with my new Surface, it was very easy to configure my xbox music pass, and it actually sync’ed all my music from my other devices to my new Surface once I enabled the feature. It’s fantastic, and now I often find myself listening to music whenever working wherever I am in my house, or on weekends when I’m doing work/implementations at clients offices. It’s super slick!

Another app that has come in handy for me, being an IT professional, is the Remote Desktop app. Whenever rolling out updates to clients, or working on my own servers, it’s awesome being able to establish numerous RDP sessions, and switch between them on the fly. It’s just that simple… It’s actually faster to use the Metro style Remote Desktop app, then it is to use the native Windows application.

The amount of apps I use is actually endless, so it’s pointless going in to detail for each and every one of them. The native Windows 8 metro apps are just awesome. One other app I actually do have to mention that is a particular favorite of mine is “Package Tracker”. I regularly sell, ship, and send items to/from clients, and it’s great being able to track all the packages in a simple to use interface. What’s even slicker, is having Package Tracker linked to my SkyDrive account, so packages I’m tracking will be sync’ed between my Surface Pro, and my Lumia 900 Windows Phone.

Now on to actual physical characteristic of the Surface Pro. The device is thin (thinner then I’d expect for a fully working high performance computer), and it’s built using great materials. It feels great in the hand, and the use of the kickstand is great! They have two separate types of keyboards/covers for both Surface models. I’m using the Touch keyboard and love it, it takes advantage of pressure applied to the keys of a pad with printed letters on it, also has a fully working track-pad. The other option available is the Type keyboard, which actually has mechanical keys on it, for those of you who prefer that. I haven’t seen or played with a Type cover, but the Touch cover is great for typing, using as a screen protector when mobile, and when flipping it backward the keys are disabled so you can’t accidently trigger any of the buttons (and in the 2 weeks I’ve had mine, it’s been working flawlessly).

The Surface pro also comes with a pen that you can use for marking up documents, taking notes (really cool to use in Microsoft OneNote), and also as a mouse when you want something more accurate then lets say your finger. Now Microsoft really shined with implementing this, you can actually rest your hand on the screen while writing with the pen, and since the Surface Pro recognizes the pen is near/present, it will disable any touch input from your hand. I tried as hard as I could to mess it up, but again flawless every time. The pen also has a magnet mounted on the side so it actually attaches to the tablet when mobile. At first I thought it would fall off easily when moving around, getting in/out of the car, etc… But it’s been rock solid and I haven’t had any accidents where it’s come off except when I actually want to remove it and use it.

As for some other random hardware notes, the surface comes equipped with a USB 3.0 port, and a Mini Display-port. I’ve used the display port to play movies from the Surface to my 1080p television and it was slick. Quality was amazing.

One major contribution that the Surface has given me, is the capabilities to work during meetings, have information readily available, and take notes. The device is so small, that when you meet with someone, and use it to take notes or reference material, that it’s not obtrusive if setup between you and the person you’re meeting with. Normally I have “Internet Sharing” setup on my Windows Phone, connect to my corporate VPN and I can access documents on the fly, generate invoices from QuickBooks, prepare quotes on the fly, and pretty much have access to any information, when I need it. I can’t tell you how amazing it is, to have all this information at your fingertips in such a nice little package.

Now to one of the biggest conclusions I’ve come to since using the Surface Pro, after realizing I use mostly Metro style apps, I could have actually gotten away with using a Surface RT instead. 90% of the day to day work I do could be done on the Surface RT. I actually plan on purchasing a Surface RT soon, and use the RT for day-to-day meetings, web surfing, music, web browsing, etc… And then use my Surface Pro for when I require a full computer, implementations, work at clients offices, when I require the use of Windows Desktop applications.

 

Overall I’m very impressed with this device, it’s slick, beautiful, and has increased my productivity. Perfect for everyday business or everyday personal use. I’ve demo’d the device to numerous clients (over 10) and they all love it and plan on purchasing one when stock is available.

 

Now as for my only complaint: The Surface Pro does not have LTE capabilities. This is somewhat of an annoyance since I regularly connect to my corporate VPN for network resource. Although it’s an annoyance, you can easily work around it by either using a LTE USB data card, or using “Internet Sharing” on your Windows Phone.

Oct 082012
 

Well, after having the same layout up for 3-4 years I finally decided to update my companies website. I also decided to discontinue the separate corporate blog and integrate it in to the main site.

Any feedback is appreciated! Let me know what you guys think!

 

Corporate Web Site: http://www.digitallyaccurate.com

Corporate Blog: http://www.digitallyaccurate.com/?page_id=293

Aug 222012
 

To my readers:

I hope you don’t mind me taking up a few moments of your time, but I thought I’d just upload this message in case it may have some worth to either you, or someone you may know.

As I’m sure most of you know my company (Digitally Accurate Inc.) is an I.T. Solution and Managed Services provider. We’ve been in business for 6 years now (as of July 27th, 2012) and have a proven track record in providing quality IT Services, Solutions, and Support to businesses in Calgary.

In 2012, we’ve been on an advertising blitz to round up as much new business as possible and help businesses invest in their IT infrastructure which in turn helps their business operate smoothly and grow.

We are always growing and looking for new clients and opportunities!

This is where this message comes in to play. I just wanted to reach out and see if any of you may know of any businesses that may require IT Solutions, Support, or Managed Services?

We have a referral program in place, and I can provide details on request.

If you could think of anyone who would benefit from our services, we would be very grateful! Please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Sincerely,

 

Stephen Wagner
President
Digitally Accurate Inc.

 

Aug 162010
 

Pictures from a camping trip last weekend. Covered a large part of southern Alberta looking for the perfect campground!

Jul 062010
 

So recently the other day I came across this article that I was interviewed for. I’ve taken a clipping of the part that has to do with me:

The actual document is available Here. I’m on the top right of page 3.

WOW was I young. I was fresh out of high school and was 18 years old. Things have changed big time! (PS. I almost didn’t consider posting this since I had my haircut botched the day before. I was borderline bald!)

Those were the days back when I was JUST getting into business!