Surface RT and EuroSTAR recap

I’ve been home for a few days from by brief trip to Amsterdam for EuroStar. As I mentioned in a previous blog post (or two), I used my Surface RT as my only device for the trip. Overall, it went quite well. I was able to accomplish most of the things I wanted to, including using my RT to drive my presentation. No glitches in the OS, and no glitches in PowerPoint. Some of my highlights and lowlights include:

Highlights

  • Battery lasts a long, long time.
  • I brought a small Bluetooth keyboard (I’m actually typing on it now), and although the flat keyboard is pretty cool and remarkably usable, a keyboard with keys that go up and down is just much easier to type with for long periods at a time.
  • As I mentioned above, everything just works. Between the office apps, IE10, apps from the marketplace, and the OS itself, I was able to stay in touch, and get some work done.
  • It’s just cool. I used it in both keyboard, and pure tablet mode quite a bit and never had a glitch.

Lowlights

  • I could be a homer and say there were no lowlights, but I’m too honest for that. There are just a few things I didn’t like, or missed by not using a “traditional” laptop
  • The mail app is usable – but that’s all. It seems a bit sluggish to respond (could be the fancy animations), requires that I view in reading pane, and is probably a bit harder than it should be to navigate. I suppose it’s slightly better than mail on a smartphone, but I expected a bit more.
  • There were a few times when it would have helped if I could have accessed some files on the MS corporate network – i.e. there’s no VPN feature in Surface. This is hardly a deal breaker, and I’m probably a bit out of the ordinary for wanting to check out files remotely, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
  • This has been mentioned by others, but typing on your lap is a bit of a pain. For me, the Surface bounces as I type. I didn’t have any problems with the screen angle in any position though.

The Conference

This was my first EuroStar, and I had a fantastic time. The conference begins with a day and a half of tutorials, followed by two and a half days of talks. My talk, “Test Innovation for Everyone” was the opening keynote. I had a good time with the talk, and received some good feedback. . If I ever give the talk again (something I rarely do), I’d clean those bits up a bit. There are a few places where I could have stitched together things a bit smoother, but overall I was happy with it.

Esther Gons drew a picture of my presentation that sums up my topic pretty well.

Esther Gons Drawing of my EuroSTAR prezo

I also met a lot of really cool people – many who I knew of from blogs or twitter, but had never met in person. I also met some folks from Skype there who all seemed pretty sharp. I would try and list the names, but there are way many to list, and honestly, if you saw the list of testing celebs I got to hang out with it would just seem like name dropping anyway.

I had a great time, and hope I get a chance to see Europe and some of the great testers there soon.

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