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Microsoft Surface Pro 2017

Surface Pro 2017

I finally got round to replacing my MacBook Air and spoiler: I got a Microsoft Surface Pro 2017. The poor Mac Air still works but the battery has completely given up the ghost and where there used to be a picture of a battery with a percentage next to it, there is now just an ominous X. Which is fine when plugged in but the way the power cord attaches (with the magnet) is way too easy to knock out. With a working battery, this is a great feature – without one, it is terrifying. The slightest nudge and it falls out and I lose all my work. Still, it has lasted 5 and a half years, so it was a good inning.

I don’t like the new MacBook line. The MacBook is nice and slim but has one port. One. So you need dongles and so on and frankly, for the money, what you get is underpowered crap. The MacBook Pro does lots of stuff I don’t need and is stupidly expensive. So balls to Apple (except my iPad Pro which I still love and will mention more in a second).

Not being brand loyal, I decided to turn to the Darkside – Windows 10. I write for a living, occasionally draw and design book covers, and the rest of the time I read (a lot) and watch stuff on Netflix and Youtube. Portability, battery life and weight were main factors. Being able to play Civilization 6 and Cuphead where just added bonuses. I looked at a lot of hybrids and 2-in-1 options and I kept coming back to the Microsoft Surface Pro 2017. It also has a pen.

A lot of my needs were met by my iPad Pro but I use Scrivener and Word a lot and they just aren’t good on the iPad. They are great on the Surface though. The keyboard and pen are likewise superb. I read somewhere (possibly more than one place) that the Ipad Pro is the superior tablet but inferior laptop replacement. I completely agree. When it comes to reading both books and comics, it is better on the iPad. (Comixology doesn’t even have a Windows app which is crap because reading in the browser is not as good. My inner nerd is annoyed by this.) However, the Surface Pro is a fully-fledged laptop with a full set of features. Scrivener is awesome on it. It isn’t a laptop replacement – it is a laptop. Albeit one where you can remove the keyboard and use as a tablet.

Keeping with the iPad Pro vs Surface Pro comparison, I should mention keyboards. As a writer, this is obviously pretty important. For the iPad, I had the Apple keyboard (which stopped connecting after 18 months), a Lenovo thing (which was good but really heavy), and an Apple Bluetooth keyboard (which was fine but had slight lag). None were all that great though. The Surface Pro keyboard connects easily, is light, has no lag, and also has a trackpad. It is a lot better to write on and you don’t need to jab at the screen and painstakingly try to select a small passage when you want to delete something, which is infuriating when on a tablet.

I was initially concerned about the jump from Apple back to Windows but it was actually pretty painless. My books are on Kindle, my music on Spotify, my notes on Evernote, and all my writing on Scrivener and Word are saved on Dropbox. So I can access all my stuff on any device as it is. It took a while to get used to the OS but was surprisingly easy.

I could go on but if you have read this far, you’ve probably got the picture. If you are on the fence and need a good, full laptop that is incredibly portable, then I highly recommend the Surface Pro. It is also a pretty decent tablet for watching stuff and consuming media. So there. Hope this helped.

Oh yeah, and happy new year!

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What happened in 2011?

I hope all my lovely readers had a superbly indulgent and alcoholic Christmas. And will do likewise for the New Year. Unless you don’t drink or celebrate Christmas, in which case I hope you are simply having a superb end of December.

Every TV and radio show is now poised to launch its end of year review show. Some will be funny, most will be depressing. It has been quite a momentous year all things considered. Charlie Brooker mentioned that if 2011 was an episode of a TV show, then it would have been an end of season finale. Good luck topping this 2012! Unfortunately it would be a fairly depressing and gritty show that not many people would want to watch.

Let’s look briefly at some of the bigger events:

Arab Spring

Arab Spring

Someone in the Middle East watched the original Star Wars or Flash Gordon or something and realised that dictators and oppressive regimes suck. So things kicked off and for the first half of the year one mental bastard after another was toppled from power. Thousands and thousands of secret police are now out of work. The whole thing has generally been seen as positive, obviously no one wants to be tortured at random by despots after all. It just remains to be seen how good the new fellows are and if they will sell us oil so we can fuck up the planet for less cash. So fingers crossed.

Osama bin Laden finally found and shot a lot

Keeping with the Middle East, the Americans finally killed Bin Laden! There was no, ‘Unfortunately, he put up a fight and we reluctantly shot him’ bollocks. I guess Obama just thought that as no one would buy that, just shoot the prick and be honest. I think this was a good decision. Why spend a fortune on putting him on trial and eventually hanging him, when everyone for once thinks the bad guy should definitely die. All over the World tedious boring people in pubs where hurriedly denying that they ever said things like ‘You mark my words – he’s dead already,’ or ‘They’ll never find him.’ Hah! Sussed!

Sad loner in Norway kills lots of innocent people because he is worried about increased Muslim… er… was fighting a crusade against… er… was a colossal fuckwit that should be ignored

In Norway an horrendous loser blew up a bit of Oslo then killed a load of teenagers on an island. He was complaining that his country was under attack from extremists or something. He wanted to draw attention to his moronic belief by the massacre of innocents. The press obliged and went on about it for weeks, thereby assuring any copycats that this technique works. Sadly they didn’t just shoot him and cover it up. Or publicly ridicule him until he becomes a twisted laughing stock putting fellows nutters off. Sad.

Disasters. Sadly there were lots

There were also plenty of disasters around the world. It was all very depressing and tragic. Flooding and mudslides in Rio killed 903 in January. More flooding killed 434 in Pakistan in September, Cambodia lost 207 in flash flooding in September, but the worst hit was Thailand (my past and probably future home) with floods killing 657 people. The biggest disaster of the year was of course the tsunami  off Japan. An estimated 15,840 were killed and 3,926 are missing. Other disasters included an earthquake in Turkey (604 dead), famine in Somalia and 1,249 killed in the Philippines by a storm. I could go on but I am getting down thinking about it.

The West’s economy gets fucked over by Europe. That doesn’t include Britain, we’re just next to Europe and join in occasionally.

Invest in 'defensives': gold, tobacco, and beer.

Economically the entire planet stayed pretty fucked. Even China’s rapid growth has shrunk to being very slightly less rapid. Although every country on the planet would probably dream of having this new reduced rate of 8.8%, so it’s hard to be that sympathetic. In Europe tons of things happened economically, with France and Germany doing the bare minimum to keep the EU going but without doing enough to actually fix anything. They did the maximum bleating about it though. Annoyingly I have to agree with Cameron using his veto. People argue that it might diminish our power and influence in Europe but as Cameron said he would go along with Merkozy et al if they agreed a few small concessions and they flatly refused, just how much say do we have anyway? Bollocks to them. Anyway, to conclude, Europe’s dicking about has caused chaos and misery.


There were a lot of people blowing themselves and others up all over the place. I don’t know if this has been an increase or if it just seems that way when I look at news sites and statistics. Like all the above, it’s very depressing.

The Iraq war ended

Hooray! The Iraq war ended and happiness and peace spread throughout the land. Unfortunately the people who live there haven’t realised they are at peace and continue to have a horrible time. Afghanistan still has coalition forces in it though. Not sure why Iraq was a huge success but Afghanistan still needs work. I have been fairly disgusted with the whole thing for years now so won’t write more about it. One thought comes to mind though… if the West had just left Iraq alone and the Arab Spring had kicked off there too, would it be in a better or worse situation than now?

Science has cheered me up.

Science has had a good year. Which is a relief because having read all the above I want to be injected with longevity drugs, put in a spaceship and escape. The sad news was that the Space Shuttle project ended. On the plus side, this may open the way for others to leap into the inky (hopefully sexy-alien-filled) void of space. I wrote about these exciting new things here. In other science stuff:

The world’s first artificial organ transplant was done successfully. It was an artificial windpipe make from stem cells and is giving hope to smokers everywhere.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took photos of what looks suspiciously like proof there may be liquid water during the balmy summers on Mars. Liquid water means that there was highly likely to be life on Mars at some point. Religions around the world are hurriedly rewriting their beliefs to make it look like this somehow fits in with what they have said all along.

Juno, the first solar powered spacecraft is launched and is on its way to Jupiter. Also launched is the ‘Curiosity’ – the most advanced Martian exploration vehicle ever (due to land in August 2012).

Finally, the Large Hadron Collider dudes discovered a new particle. Those whacked out scientists captured the public’s imagination by naming it chi-b(3P). Awesome. It has something to do with matter apparently and will help scientists understand things most of us never will.


Apart from science things seemed pretty dire. Of course lots of great things happened too. They just don’t get mentioned. Things like the worldwide launch of www.scifiward.com. Other things like the Word of Ward getting 1 million hits from 50,000 unique visitors!

But most important of all. I published a book called The Uneven Passage of Time
on Amazon kindle. I know for a fact that not all the 50,000 visitors bought one so let’s change that shall we? Buy my trilogy of short stories and I may be less self absorbed next year. Think of it as a Christmas present. Click here to buy and support the arts this New Year. Or the tab at the top of the page that says ‘my books’.

If I’m happier, then maybe next year I will write about all the good things that happen in 2012. Stories like: The Mayans were wrong and world doesn’t end (although they didn’t predict that but who cares), or Everyone is still broke but triple dip recession is unlikely, or aliens are discovered but only want to enslave us, not destroy us. Or something.

Anyway, enough blathering.






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