Screen time is such an easy form of entertainment because it requires nothing of the participant and is always available; it’s no different to Generation X and Y kids being plopped in front of the TV all afternoon. Unsurprisingly, many parents find it gives them a much-needed mental break from the kids to cook the dinner, load the washing machine or any other number of other things that need to be done.
I’ve been a Bronze Frequent Flyer (the base level of the program) with Qantas for close to 20 years, but after a couple of overseas trips in the past year, I’m for the first time approaching Silver status. For the uninitiated, ‘status’ is earned separately to your frequent flyer points, and once you get to a certain number of status points each year you move up to the next status tier which gives you some extra perks, such as a faster rate of earning points, extra availability of reward flights and access to restricted seats.
I’m by no means a regular traveller, but over the past ~20 years I’ve probably done my fair share. I’ve flown to most major Australian cities on several occasions, and in more recent years I’ve been to Texas, Florida, China and twice to London. And all of those flights I’ve been in economy (or ‘coach’, depending where you’re reading this from).
I was walking to work today a bit after 8 on a clear bright morning, and up ahead near Government House noticed a group of Aboriginal people sitting on the path. I was very interested in analysing my own instinctive reactions and then my subsequent responses to those reactions.
My initial thought was to deviate from the path and pass them at some distance. Then I asked why I reacted that way. I wasn’t exactly sure.
Maybe they’ll ask me for some money, and I’ll feel bad when I say no, so I’ll avoid the situation entirely. I don’t want to give them anything because I’m sure they’ll just blow it on booze.
Maybe they’ll get violent towards me; but that’s never happened to me before when I’ve walked past similar groups, they’ve tended to just sit and mind their own business. The only times I’ve been asked for money is when people have been walking around on their own.
So I kept walking towards them, still with some reticence. Then I had another thought, one which has occurred to me more than once in the past but one I’d rarely done something about.
I’ll say hello.
So I bravely kept walking towards this group of fairly surly-looking people talking roughly to each other, and as I passed them on my left said “Morning”. Their faces brightened, they simultaneously raised their hands and waved and greeted me in return. As I walked on one of them called out asking for the time, which I provided, and I went on my way. Without molestation, foul language or being chased for a ‘cupla bucks for a sandwich’. Instead I felt a warm feeling inside that I’d made a small connection with a group of people who have much less than I do and who I’d rarely crossed paths with.
I wonder how many other people must walk past Aboriginals, homeless people, a group of skateboarding kids and similar groups and just ignore them because they have similar fears to mine? To them we probably look like a bunch of too-good snobs who can’t deign to look upon them, and maybe there’s an element of that for some. But I’m sure for others they share similar fears and just want to avoid the situation. Maybe some of these people aren’t chasing money or booze – maybe they’d just like someone show them enough respect to give them a few seconds of their day to acknowledge they exist and to feel like a human being again.
When I first got my HP Touchpad (vale webOS…) I thought nothing of opening the cover and pressing the Power button to turn on the screen. After all that’s what you always did. But one of the nice little features of device covers in the last four years has been the integration of magnets to activate a hidden power switch, so the screen is turned off automatically when you close the cover, and on when you open the cover back up. It’s become a normal part of interacting with a device for many of us, and I’ve enjoyed this feature on my Nexus 7, my LG G2 and most recently my Surface 2.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered my Surface 3 screen stayed off when I re-opened the cover! Really? Yep; the screen goes off when the cover is closed, but it stays off when the cover is opened.
There was nothing in the power options to change this, nor anything available online. Plenty about closing the lid, but not a cracker about what to do when opening it.
Yesterday’s attempt at Microsoft Support had all the usual suspects – updates, settings and even a full device refresh, all to no avail. Today’s attempt connected me with a different person who advertised this to me as a feature. Yes a feature people! Having the screen NOT turn on when you open the cover is a feature. Remember that. I have to keep reminding myself ‘cos for some reason I mistakenly keep thinking it’s a bug.
The support guy directed me to this Microsoft Community thread so it sounds like I’m not the only one asking this question. But surely if Microsoft want to install this bug / remove this feature they should give the user an option to turn it back on if they want? I’m still at a loss as the reason for making the cover smart enough to turn off the screen when it’s closed, but not smart enough to turn it back on when you open it. After all, when do you open the cover and NOT want to do something with the screen?
I’m waiting on a callback to advise if this can be changed. In the meantime if anyone has a registry hack for this I’m all ears!
EDIT: 15 Feb 2015: A subsequent tech told me they’d done this because some people had had the cover opening and closing in their bag and running the battery flat so this feature’s not available anymore. I’d rather have the option to make this decision myself but as at now this decision has been made for us. 🙁
By now you’d all know that I’m onto a Surface 3 which naturally has full Windows 8. I’m sure this upgrade path is common for Windows RT users. But I’d like two minutes on the soapbox being (as it appears) a lone voice in support of the Windows RT project.
Windows RT was more than adequate for my needs while I had the Surface 2. I never expected it to be a full version of Windows and I didn’t need that; I needed a lightweight portable device with a browser and MS Office, and with the alternative being a heavier and pricier Surface 2 Pro, the Surface 2 with Windows RT was the best choice for me. I didn’t expect it to run desktop apps, because I knew it couldn’t. I didn’t expect 100% driver compatibility, because I knew Windows RT to Windows 7 was like iOS to OSX. Two different beasts for two different purposes.
Microsoft evidently wanted to make a device which could be competitive (on some levels) with the iPad, but back when they started this project (well before the release in 2012) low power x86 CPU’s like the Cherry Trail didn’t exist and weren’t even on the horizon. That this is correct is born out that the ‘right’ hardware didn’t come along until three years after the original device released. The x86 hardware available to Microsoft at the time meant a Surface Pro-like device with its weight, heat and battery drain, and no-one looking for an iPad was ever going to go for that. So their next best option was Windows RT, a stripped-down OS specifically designed for a range of CPU’s which DID have the low power architecture they wanted, i.e. the ARM range.
It’s easy to stand here in 2015 and lambast Microsoft for Windows RT, but at the time I think it was an entirely logical decision to write a version of Windows which gave people some of the features and interface they were used to in a low-power, slim package.
Would they do anything different in hindsight? No doubt; it’s been far from a blazing success and I’m sure they’ve learnt a few things in terms of timelining and marketing. But in 2012 I think Windows RT was the right decision. Equally I think its time is done now the hardware is at a stage where devices like the Surface 3 are possible.
Thanks for the work you did, Windows RT. You served a valuable purpose at the time, but I suspect you won’t be missed.
OK so you would have seen yesterday’s post where I finally moved on the Surface 2 with its screen issues and now have a shiny bright Surface 3.
OK it’s nothing like before, but the issue I now have is that the screen turns off when I close the cover (as expected), but it stays off when the cover is opened! I Googled this and didn’t find any other people with this problem. I’ve done all the updates, restarted the machine a few times but to no avail. As we speak I’m with Microsoft support who were looking for HyperV in the Windows Features (it wasn’t there), they have run a sfc /scannow operation (which found nothing) and are now doing a device refresh.
I hope this doesn’t turn into another case of a changeover device. I’ve just installed a brand new screen protector! (Which BTW isn’t the problem because 1) it was working before and 2) it still registers when the cover is closed).
Have you experienced this? What did you do about it?
The touch screen issue on the Surface 2 never properly went away. It would work for a while, then often after a restart it would stop working. About 50% of the time it would come back after the battery ran flat, so I got through the last ~6 months by keeping it powered up whenever the screen was working, and if it did go flat and the screen stopped responding to touch I’d let it go flat again and try again.
I had already recommended my brother to purchase a S3 which he did and he was very happy with it. So when it spent the last month with the screen stuck not working something had to happen. I got approval through work to upgrade to the Surface 3 so I utilised the extended warranty to get a refund rather than just change over to another S2 unit.
So I’ve now got a 64Gb Surface 3 with a grey Type Cover, Surface pen, video adapter and (aftermarket) screen protector. Time will tell how this one behaves!
In last week’s post about our unplanned week at home, I promised I’d expand on an incident which occurred on Friday at a Hungry Jack’s restaurant.
For those who came in late, I had the kids to myself for a couple of days while my wife was interstate for a family funeral. We’d paid a visit to the hospital and, having stayed longer than we planned, found it was time to eat and we were still on our way home with no dinner started at home. On a whim I stopped at HJ’s to grab a bite and ate by the indoor playground.
A small four year old boy (we’ll call him Charlie) was near our table and was slightly interfering with our peace so his parents told him to move away. Charlie showed no signs of having heard, much less acting upon, his parents’ request, though he quickly bored with us and moved back to the playground on his own volition. Twice more his parents issued instructions while he was on the playground, both of which Charlie ignored to which his parents responded by doing precisely nothing.