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Microsoft Surface RT Review

November 6, 2012

Having had an opportunity to use the Surface for about a week, I put my thoughts on paper.  As always, I look at this through the lens of an IT Pro.


Using Windows 8 with touch is great.  It took me about a day and a half using it until I had it down; they key is just trying to swipe from each edge of the screen until you’re used to those motions, and once it becomes natural it’s a joy to use compared to iOS.


That said, the limitations of Windows RT are a pain right now – specifically the lack of some “standard” apps at this very moment, but the core ones are there (or have a third party client).  The live tiles, however, are great.  Ultimately it will be a lot more useful when they release the Surface Pro (January, Price TBD) and you can run some legacy stuff (not having Outlook, as excellent as the calendar app is, is a pain because the mail client is only just barely passable).

My biggest gripe with missing apps is the lack of getting the live tile and notification features.  But the ability to browse the internet with the speed of a laptop using the touchpad and keyboard pretty readily makes up for missing apps that have usable web properties.

The biggest issue holding this back as a work device  – no working Lync client.


The charger is one piece.  No wall wart and USB cable, a single damn charging unit with a permanently coupled transformer and charging cable.  I can’t articulate how awful this really is.  The proprietary charging cable would have been fine – but having to make sure I have this one specific charger, when literally every other device in my bag uses modular charging which allows me to get by with some combination of parts, is flat out awful.


Other random thoughts:

  • The touch cover, while surprisingly functional, pales in comparison to the Type Cover for actual typing.  The little trackpad on the cover is a nice option in certain apps and will be even more useful for legacy apps.
  • I like having a USB port and it supports a mouse and will charge another device. I’m also going to test it with a USB dock and see if it will support a monitor.
  • Mini SD slot and the kickstand are both nice to have.
  • Remote desktop app is excellent and it might make the RT version almost totally passable if your company’s VPN is supported.

Bottom line: I’d wait for the Pro – it will be a legitimate laptop replacement option.

I’m traveling for work this week and wouldn’t have been able to get by without an actual laptop – but I found myself reaching out and touching the screen out of habit while I was on the plane down.  I’ve concluded that Jobs’ old decree that combining touch with a physical keyboard is “stupid” was misguided, and the duality of a hybrid device is something I’m fully on board with in the right form factor.

There’s no doubt on that front: the Surface is a beautiful machine.


I Prefer My Genitals On The Inside

June 21, 2011

Because if there’s one thing this blog I never post on will always be, it’s your #1 news source for vagina-related evening wear.  Check out this little bit of insanity.  Personally, I would have found this much more useful in Sex Ed class, which really should focus on “How To” rather than “Don’t, it’s scary!”   See Jimmy, this little button on top…

Zoom In!


[via Buzzfeed, via urlybits]

Cold Blooded

March 13, 2011

A spectacular ending to an incredible game. I haven’t had that much fun watching basketball in years. Young Zeke!

Charlie Sheen stars in “Apocalypse Now”

March 7, 2011

Charlie Sheen has decided that he is going to behave however he wants, and it appears he has enough money to do so.

He claims he can do or not do drugs as a choice.

He claims he can beat addiction with his mind.

That’s pretty awesome.  He won’t hesitate to tell you how awesome it is.

With 2 million twitter followers and growing, he may be undoing 30 years of drug education. Not the ridiculous “no tolerance” point of view, of course, but the one about the very real consequences and very actual dangers (for most of us, but not for Charlie of course) that come along with abuse of addictive drugs like cocaine and crack.

Charlie Sheen has, if you believe in his sobriety, chosen to allow his id to become the whole of his personality.

Charlie Sheen is behaving perhaps the way anyone would behave in a vacuum if allowed to behave however one would wish with zero consequences.  It appears, given his resources, and depending on his ability to control his addiction, that he may continue to do so as long as he’s responsible and is capable of making smart decisions, those that keep him out of jail and alive.

If one had enough money, one is capable of ensuring that drug use stays as legal as possible.  Pay for delivery, pay to ensure you have access to whatever you want when you want it and nothing more, and do your best to make sure any crimes you commit are of little consequence.  And if not, ensure whatever assets at your disposal are capable of acting as a golden parachute.  Pay well enough to make sure those you interact with are more motivated by loyalty rather than whatever fame or small fortune they may encounter by betraying you (what a fool, that Kacey Jordan!).

Charlie Sheen has well deserved infamy for his behavior with women.  His explanation seems to be that he was pushed to his admittedly intolerant breaking point by the need for him to behave as a member of polite society.   After all, it’s Hollywood, it’s certainly likely that Chuck Lorre is an insufferable ass, and his vanity cards certainly indicate he thinks father knows best.

Charlie Sheen, while deploying some of the most amazing language possible to express himself, has chosen to put us all on notice that he chooses not to live that life anymore, to ignore the rules of society, and to behave however he damn well pleases because he has enough money to do so as long as he stays inside the law.

His relationship with women, nay, with everyone, can be extolled in single sentence.  “I’m going to behave like THIS, and you choose if you’d like to be around it”.

For evidence, see his tweet about Rachel “Bree Olson” Oberlin moving out of the so-called Sober Valley Ranch, his wishing her well, and immediately requesting applications for a replacement.

Understand that it may be that he no longer feels that he needs emotional “love”, at least from women, by the way he speaks about and will almost certainly fight for his children, the only people in the world who are sure to love him unconditionally, even if they end up hating themselves for it.  Charlie’s parenthood is the only thing that truly causes pause from an analytical point of view, for it’s nearly certain that even if his bottled insanity isn’t drug fueled and doesn’t lead his children into a life of physical pain, it may certainly lead them to a life of emotional turmoil as they are forced to choose between a life in polite society and a life with their father.

Charlie Sheen has evolved into the most aggressive douche you either wish you could be, a Tucker Max with fuck you money, and whom you probably look down on for not being a reasonable member of that same polite society.  But if you’re being honest about the things you think but probably do not say, you might wish you could be, but for one thing: the human goal of love and companionship.

Charlie Sheen may not live by your version of the golden rule, but how does that differ from the way the person who cut you off on the freeway this morning, or who stole your bike last week, or who cut in the coffee line chooses to disrespect you?

The difference is that Charlie Sheen doesn’t have to, because he can afford to live a life surrounded by a bubble of like minded thinkers, or at least those for whom the allure of the lifestyle Charlie’s orbit offers is enough for them to willingly put up with all this crazy shit.

If he truly can use/not use drugs like he says he can, and can perhaps stay sober enough to work regularly and continually replenish his fortune – AND if he’s capable of putting this id away while on set, he suddenly becomes the high water mark, the goal for a generation of people whose primary goal is fame and who’s favorite show is almost certainly Entourage.  A generation of douchebags.  SEE: Teen Mom.

Most billionaires feel a need to improve society, or at least pretend they do as that’s what we expect.  Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and the like have made a second career out of philanthropy, but even misanthropic billionaires create jobs.  Paul Allen, who from some accounts is a borderline sociopath, gives back indirectly to his local communities by owning and generously funding professional sports teams responsible for the joy and distraction of millions.

Charlie Sheen is one man, doing whatever he wants, with something resembling a billion dollars.

The only thing I can recall in my lifetime that’s of similar ilk would be Ross Perot using his own fuck you money to say just that to a government he resented and attempt to change it by buying his way to the Presidency, and more importantly, doing so with conviction.  Who sets the line between “passionate”, “angry”, and “lunacy”?  He who has the gold makes the rules.

Charlie Sheen, if successful at being not only able to indulge himself completely in the nature of the id,  but to make millions of dollars while doing so, may not be cause but may be catalyst for a dystopian future predicted for years by countless movies.   He could very well push us further and faster into the class warfare that’s been growing in America for 50 years and talked about for 25.

A nation of Haves  – those who work toward what we consider a noble purpose: career, family, God – who often enjoy the benefits of moderate to expansive wealth in polite society.  The majority are driven by the need to have the presence of love and respect of others in their lives.  The rest pretend to, they are the ones we fear, the con men who take advantage of the unwritten rules in search of ill gotten gains and are nothing other than Charlie Sheen without the publicly distributed warning label.

And the rest: Have Nots, whose failed attempt to emulate their new Idol leads them near or overwhelmed by a life of  ruin surrounded by drug addiction, poverty, violence, and ignominious death.

Don’t be surprised if you’re soon in an elevator, and when arriving at your floor, rather than let you exit before boarding, Charlie Sheen, with his goddesses in tow, push past you and knock you to the ground.

Expect no apology, but rather a look of disdain and mention of “winning“, followed immediately by an invitation to party.

However many choose to get infused with Tiger Blood may just decide whether our future is Beyond Thunderdome, where this time the mysterious MuhSheen runs Bartertown, rather than Wall-E, because minus the whole having to be fat blobs with no bone structure, isn’t that what the upper middle class is shooting for anyway? Or is that 60 inch TV and recliner sofa there because it’s the best place for you to make a difference in the world?

GD gets Stop-Lossed

March 7, 2011

After nearly a year of radio silence, General Disdain is back online.

Here’s the deal:  I am crazy busy in the real world, but not writing at all (or only doing so 140 characters at a time on Twitter, which hardly qualifies) has been haunting me more than I expected.

So, don’t expect multiple updates a week, but when I’ve got something to get out, this will be the place that I do so.  If you like it, great!  If not, oh well.  So re-add GD to your RSS reader and you’ll have something new to read when I have something new to say.  Sound good?

I’ll accept your silence as tacit agreement.


GD Update: Death Of A Baby Blog

April 23, 2010

Only a few emails have trickled in over the last 6 months wondering what happened to General Disdain, and I can sum it up for you in a single sentence:  All of GD’s various contributors have full time jobs, and while we all enjoyed working on the blog, we all realized at various intervals that running a general interest blog and attempting to keep it current was sucking up more of our lives than we had intended.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by during this blog’s brief April to December run, we had fun.  The site will stay up in its current form for a while, and perhaps a rebirth will occur down the road.

We’ll leave you for now with one more post by Gluford Tannen (below) , simply because it’s both great work and important knowledge.  Take it easy, everybody.


The New Barkeep: A Life Lesson

April 23, 2010

Since I’m an unemployed deadbeat loser I spend the occasional weekday afternoon as a patron of my favorite watering hole. The good people at said watering hole treat me very well and in turn I treat them very well, too. (Translation: They give me free beer and I tip them way too much. It’s a win-win.) I’ve been on a first name basis with the bartender for going on a year and a half now and each time I waltz in there we share a few stories and have a few laughs. It’s been great.

Yesterday I awoke and decided that it was a good day to slake my thirst. I scooted down to the watering hole expecting another garden-variety day at the pub going through my normal you-give-me-free-beer-and-I’ll-tip-you-well routine. I’d get a good sandwich and some chili, drink a few pops, banter with the bar staff, and read a good book. But when I walked in to the pub I realized it was going to be a day unlike any other: my bartender was gone.

In her place was a completely new bartender that I’d never seen before. My world was turned upside down. Would I now have to pay full price for a beer? Would the new barkeep appreciate my quirky wit and razor sharp banter? Would I commit some unknown pub-related social faux pas and be forever cursed with crappy service and high prices? I was faced with quite the conundrum: how do I get the mildly attractive new bartender to comp me free beer?

A situation such as this requires a delicate balance, particularly since the new bartender was a fairly attractive woman working in a bar whose patrons are mostly scruffy physics professors and wannabe hipsters. If you are shy and quiet, you will be just like every other nerdy grad student that frequents the pub. If you are too friendly, she will think that you are either 1) trying to hit on her, 2) being fake-friendly in a futile attempt to get free beer, or 3) all of the above.

There is a specific set of moves you must make in a “new bartender” situation. While it is possible to execute it all in the first day, it will typically take a few days since time is the only sure-fire way to prove that you are a regular.

Step One: The Pick-Up Line. No, I don’t mean hit on her. The Pick-Up Line is a way to subtly but overtly show the new bartender that you are not just some average joe off the street, but that you are well versed in the libations of the establishment. In this particular setting, be sure to see if there are any new beers offered—preferably seasonal—and say something to the effect of, “Oh, I see that you’re carrying such-and-such now.” By using The Pick-Up Line as your first words to the new bartender you have shown that this is not your first time in the pub and—more importantly—that you are fluent in the varieties of beers offered. You are not a rookie, no, you are a savvy Veteran Of The Bar!

Step Two: Be Consistent. This step usually requires appearances at the watering hole on at least two different days. You should consistently order your favorite beverage from the new barkeep. This will etch your face and tastes into her mind. You will be easier to remember if you’re “the IPA guy”. However, you must be certain that your drink is appropriate for the ambience/patronage. Example: ordering a class of merlot at an Irish pub. You’ll be remembered not as the cool regular, but rather as the effeminate douche-bag who is unworthy of beers on the house. That being said, certain drinks are appropriate in some locations and not others. Cider can be one of these hermaphrodites. Ordering cider at an Irish pub is okay, but ordering it at a brewpub is not. If your favorite watering hole is a brewpub, find a one of their good beers and stick with it. If it’s not a brewpub, find a good microbrew—preferably local—and stick with it. Manny’s or Mac & Jack’s are good ones.

Step Three: Go For The Intro. Once the new barkeep remembers you as “the IPA guy” (or whatever your drink of choice is), introduce yourself to her. Bartenders will not comp beers to anyone with whom they are not on a first name basis. Once you have introduced yourself, make some light conversation, preferably about something a bit more substantive than the weather. You should come off as polite and intelligent (not to mention a good tipper). One word of warning: do not Bogart the bartender’s time. There are other people at the bar who need attention too. You are not her only source of tips.

Step Four: Patience. This is very, very important. Once you have used The Pick-Up Line, been consistent, and gone for the intro, you must wait. Never, ever, EVER ask for free beer. In the world of pubs the barkeep is the omnipotent god of the universe. You exist at the pub solely at her discretion. While the good barkeep can be benevolent, she can also be wrathful and quick to anger. Asking for free beer is hubris that will not be tolerated.

It probably won’t happen during your first encounter with the new barkeep. It probably won’t work the time after that, or the time after the time after that. But with patience, consistency, and good tipping, the free beer will flow.