I’m continuing to work with the Surface.

BOOM

I just had my first crash. I was in IE when I tried to switch tabs and the pull down window would not stay open. So I tried closing IE. That didn’t work at all. I tried switching to the Start window or switching apps. No joy. I then did a hard restart, holding down the power button for about 10 seconds. On restarting, the system started updating itself, which was weird since I had made sure to do all the updates when I started. The update finished, I logged in, and noticed that the wifi symbol looked funny (wish I had a screen capture, ooh, is there a utility for that?). No big deal until I tried connecting to the wifi service, which just wouldn’t happen. In fact, it said there were no wifi services available. So I went to the settings. Wifi was gone. Not even an option.

I’m sitting there, heart in my mouth, my expensive new toy is toast. I’m just boarding an airplane when this happens, so I’m not going to be able to spend time troubleshooting. I finally decide to do another reboot, just because (have you tried turning it off and turning it on again). It reboots while I board the plane. Just before takeoff I check and wifi is back. Shew! But what caused the weird lockup?

I went to the desktop, which is a weird and funny place on a tablet like this. It’s Windows… mostly. I checked through the event logs, which look exactly like you’d expect. They’re also just about as useful as usual. I could see that I had an unexpected reboot. But I didn’t see any errors prior to the reboot that would indicate what had gone wrong. In fact, everything looked perfectly normal. More fun with the Surface.

POSH

Next up, PowerShell. Yeah, it’s Windows 8. This means we have a direct method for controlling the device. What’s more, since you can do Remoting from PowerShell, I can use this device to take charge of others. If you’re already using Windows 8, you know that the Start screen is actually in two layers, the pretty one, and the one with everything else. Go to the one with everything else and you get a whole bunch of apps that are immediately evident, including PowerShell. This opens inside the desktop.

I ran a little command, just to see what would come back. dir env:

Worked great. I can see the four processors, information about the machine and my login. Just like a real computer running PowerShell on a real operating system. Which, pretty much means I am running on a real computer with a real OS. This absolutely opens possibilities. I’m not sure what to do with it yet, but it’s something I’m going to keep in the back of my head as a mechanism for making this table more functional.

TWEETS

Part of my job is community engagement. Lots of that is done through web apps, posting on news groups, posts on G+ or Facebook, all through the browser. But, I also tweet. And tweeting through just the browser? Blech! I need an app. I’ve gone through four apps so far.

ROWI: Pretty. Very pretty. As a matter of fact, if most of the tweets I received had pictures, this would be a great app. Well, until you start tweeting yourself. No picture attachment capability at all that I could find. No completion when typing people’s twitter handles. No lookup for handles either. I couldn’t find a way to add search columns either. While this is a very pretty interface, it’s a pretty useless tool.

MetroTweet: This one was pretty good. It’s not as pretty as some of the other apps. Instead, it’s functional. It works really well. You can do most of what you would expect from a good twitter app. Tweets allow you to add location and pictures. You can set up searches and save them as new columns. I really liked this app but for one thing. It doesn’t allow for lookups on users handles. I’m sorry, but I’m not smart enough to remember the exact spelling of everyone’s twitter handle. So this is a contender, but not my preferred app on my Surface.

Tweeterlight: This is a clean and simple interface. It has to be because it gives you very little control over the environment. Basically, you have to set up searches in Twitter itself. Then they’ll be available in this app. Otherwise, nope. Tweeting is ok, but week. You can add pictures, but not take them. No name lookup at all. I’d rather use MetroTweet if these were my only choices.

TweeTro: My current winner. This app is very pretty. They really went after following the new RT styles. But, it’s still quite functional. You can add searches directly through the interface and move between columns by scrolling around. Tweets let you add pictures or take them. You get name look ups and searches directly from tweets. It doesn’t have location on the tweets, but that’s not something I use much. It even has a column just for the pictures that people are tweeting like ROWI. Tweetro is a solid, well put together, twitter client that does most of what you would need and does it with some style.

7 thoughts on “More Surface

  1. I like the TweeTro the best so far as well. My favorite feature as a SQL guy is when you go to your feed and select a tweet with a hyperlink in it you get a fully functional browser to slide in from the side and load that link. Great for flipping over to read someone’s blog post without even leaving the app. And you can navigate fully to other links from within the browser. The only thing I wish it did was have the ability to open that link up in the IE app f you wanted to in order to use other features.

  2. You can. There’s a little button on the bottom that launches the link into IE. I don’t think TweeTro is perfect, but it’s the best twitter app I’ve found on the Surface by a long shot.

  3. Ah, very nice! That must have been in the app update I just applied from the store this morning. Good to know, and good to see the devs working to keep expanding the boundaries of what their apps can do.

  4. RE: PowerShell
    Can you test out which objects can be used and which not?

    Can you control IE like this:
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/ITCG/thread/9d003109-0903-414b-a635-ca2a9c485381/
    Or Excel like this:
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/winserverpowershell/thread/1fb86c9e-9951-45ca-88f9-b21059576bec

    I am most interested if it can be used to make custom “desktop apps”.
    For example:
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/stephap/archive/2012/04/23/building-forms-with-powershell-part-1-the-form.aspx
    Or with WPF:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/archive/2008/05/22/wpf-powershell-part-1-hello-world-welcome-to-the-week-of-wpf.aspx

    As an alternative, does Windows RT support .hta files? They are just .html files with changed extension, but the javascript in them gets more permissions and they should open without the standard browser interface. If it works, I wonder which objects can just a script create and which not…

  5. Seem to remember reading that screenshot was something like Window Key + Volume Down on the SurfaceRT. I don’t know if this is for all Windows 8 tablets or just Surface, but that should help.

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