The little Surface that could GO!

Well, I’m here to report on my Surface Go. The original, not the Surface Go 2. Why I acquired this specific device… the non-profit I work for supplies laptops running Windows 10. At home I use gSyncit from Fieldston Software to get my work calendar synced with my Outlook 365 calendar. The other service I was using was Groupy from Stardock.

Well the IT contractor started locking down software (in the name of security) to the degree the apps installed would not update without the “Admin” login. But I should have guessed it would go this way since that IT service provider also installed McAfee antivirus on machines that already have the very capable Windows 10 “Security” preinstalled. And guess what, locking everything with “Admin” privileges also keeps McAfee from updating. Yeah, security.

So I bought myself the Surface Go so I didn’t have to deal with any of that, and also maintain a more “highly” secured device. I got the 128gb/8gb version with the Burgundy Keyboard and Surface Pen. The main reason I got this Go is for its mobility, it is so compact and easy to carry! Especially in meetings, back when we had “physical meetings”!

I did figure in the “battery life-cycle” (overall battery life during ownership), knowing that these devices are not repairable or are the components replaceable. The fact that they are disposable kind of irks me. So I figured the daily cost of this device over three years and came to a decision it was worth it for my purposes.

The first thing I did was take it out of “S” mode. S-mode provides more security when this device is used in school settings. All it does is prohibits a user from obtaining applications from other sources than the Microsoft Store.

It works better than all of the stories/articles I had read about it and its lesser-powered sibling. I use it for emailing, calendaring, internet, Word, Excel, and my fave… PowerPoint decks! You can use the pen’s “eraser” button to advance and backup slides.

All-in-all, I think it is a perfect device for my needs. Would I buy another, hell yes!

BTW, my favorite apps on this device?

  • PowerPoint
  • Scrble Ink (by Claudia Wey)
  • Index Cards (by Sundaram Applied Technologies)
  • Stardock TouchTasks
  • Coloring+ (coloring book = relaxing!)
  • Pure Battery Analytics (by MedahChaitanya)

Fear NOT! Windows 10 Clean Install not scary at all…

wtenproSo my Dell XPS PC was pretty state-of-the-art back in the day. It came with Windows Vista installed, so we’re going back what 10 + years? I’ve update Windows on this through Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. All of those were updates “on top” of pre-existing ones. Considering the barrage of crap thrown at this machine, I’ve held it together quite well.

Going from builds 1709 to 1803 (yes I live on the bleeding edge of technology as a Windows Insider) caused a bit of a few “niggly” issues. Unfortunately for me, these things start to bug the bejesus out of me long term. I knew I should perform a “Clean Install,” but really dreaded the process.


So I finally bit the bullet. I was going to go the route of buying a suitable thumb drive, using media creation tool, creating an ISO file, hop on one foot, pray to the old DOS G*ds… then I decided to go the easy way. I had attended a Microsoft Alumni event at Microsoft Campus last Friday and dropped by the Company Store. I bought the Windows 10 package which comes on a very small USB drive, the equivalent of making your own but easier and less of a pain for me.

I can’t tell you how much of a glorious experience this was, really I shit thee not! Made sure my BIOS was able to read USB first before defaulting to the hard drive, put the device in the PC and I was on my way, no turning back now. It hand held me through the entire process first asking which partitions I wanted to delete (I boldly selected and deleted ALL of them, I’m such a rebel). And we went from there.

Took 20-minutes for the “clean install” (the speed of my old hard drive is what slowed this down, newer HDs or even SSDs would go faster I’m sure), An additional 23-minutes for necessary updates. And folks that was it! What took the longest amount of time was turning on Windows Insider and going from 1709 to 1803 (April Update) which took 60-minutes. So 1-hour and 43-minutes later I had a spanking NEW PC.


By-the-way… Cortana’s help during the install was something I hadn’t experienced before… she was very helpful and made the process even cooler.

I was so dang impressed, I grab another computer in the house for another surgery… a gifted Lenovo 110S laptop. It came with Windows 8.x and I had updated it to Win 10. That didn’t go so well on a laptop with VERY limited RAM and practically no hard drive space. The update really crippled the machine, just not enough room on the HD to get things done properly. So I went at it with the Windows 10 flash drive, low and behold the Lenovo was resurrected! The machine is quite sprite now, using Wi-Fi with Office 365 apps via the Cloud, this machine (which would have been a doorstop) ROCKS now!

The Install and especially the Clean Install process is something that Microsoft got VERY RIGHT! This was a great experience and I’m sorry I hadn’t done it sooner, but trepidation for clean installs where you’re formatting HDs is real folks.

NOTE: 10 Days Later!

So shortly after doing a clean install on my 10+yr. old Dell XPS… I decided to take the plunge and upgrade to an SSD drive.

Amazon had a good price in some WD SSD drives and I bit the bullet. Nothing like being on the “bleeding edge of technology” eh?

So WD (Western Digital) also provides access to one of their software apps named Acronis. This app allows you to “clone” your hard drive, the entire hard drive with your OS and everything else.

Pretty much plug and play. I plugged it into the tower and rebooted. I started the cloning process and a few hours later (due to the slow HDD) the process finished and shut the PC down for me. Unplugged the original C: drive (so the new cloned drive which when finished was D: drive… takes the place of the original C: drive).

Damn, so FAST! The boot time is incredible; the apps opening are fast, switching user accounts, everything is FAST! After it was determined everything was hunky-dory, I plugged the old drive back in, rebooted and changed appropriate settings in the BIOS so the starting sequence was correct.

Glad I made the update, breathed life into an old work horse.

My “Alexa” Time Machine…

Well, let me start by saying my wonderful Son gifted me a Bose Soundlink Revolve for my birthday. A wonderful Bluetooth cylinder type speaker that pumps out GREAT sounds with volume, bass, and tones that rival any standard music system.


So we have phones that can play our selections (that I’ve burned from CDs or bought as Digital) but then I realized that I have Amazon Prime which comes with its version of free music (to a degree) that I had only been able to listen to via my desktop PC (we use Windows Phone 10, no app…)

So I bought an Amazon Echo Dot at a great price. Now I can listen to Amazon Prime Music through my Bose Soundlink Revolve! I was so impressed with the Dot I bought my Son one.


Time Machine? Yes, Time Machine… because I can remember a band, singer, tune from my childhood or my youth and it plays it for me. Bringing back floods of memories… “Alexa, play Boz Scaggs,” “Play Seals & Croft,” Play Taco,” “Play Pablo Cruise…” “Weather Report is interesting because you have to say, Play music from the BAND Weather Report… 😀 other wise you just get a real weather report!

Just takes me back, there are a few that you can only get via Amazon Prime Music “Unlimited” (e.g., Three Dog Night, and some others) which for a Dot owner is only an additional $3.99 a month. I may pop for that.

But my memory is jogged by:

  • Average White Band
  • Michael Franks
  • Kenny Rankin
  • Al Jarreau
  • The Manhattan Transfer
  • Spyro Gyra
  • Grover Washington Jr.
  • Dave Grusin
  • The Crusaders
  • Chuck Mangione
  • Chick Corea (my youthful dream was to create an album cover for him when I was deep into calligraphy)
  • Herbie Mann
  • Herbie Hancock (his music was my wake up call in college every morning…)
  • Gato Barbieri
  • Stanley Turrentine
  • Stanley Jordan
  • Weather Report with Jaco Pastorius!!!

But all-in-all, it makes listening to music very EASY and makes your memory work to remember your past, I love it! Thank you, Alexander, thank you, Alexa!