Since returning from the network wilderness that sometimes afflicted us during our recent trip to France, it seemed like a good idea to complete some technology refreshes that had been on the back-burner during vacation.
The first was to remove the Windows 8.1 Developer Preview from my Nokia Lumia 1020 in an effort to convince the phone that it should really install Nokia’s “Cyan” upgrade for Lumia phones. I don’t regret following Paul Thurrott’s advice to install the Developer Preview because it has worked well on the 1020 for the last few months. However, it was disappointing that the 1020 wasn’t able to use the Cyan upgrade once it was released as this contains some nice enhancements to the camera among other things.
I used the process described on WPCentral.com. First, I took a backup of the phone first (always a good place to start) and then reversed course to install the original software. This was done by downloading the Nokia Recovery Software Tool and running it to apply the necessary magic. The tool required an update, which slowed things down, and after a few false starts (mostly my fault) and many warnings that failure to do this, that, or the other thing would lead to horrible consequences for the phone, the 1020 was back to where it started and was then able to download and apply the Cyan update.
Restoring the phone from the backup brought the apps that were previously installed back onto the phone but I was surprised to discover that settings were not recovered. For instance, podcasts that I had subscribed to were not there, FM radio favourites were missing, and so on. In any case, it didn’t take long to put everything back into the right shape and I am now happily experimenting with the Cyan updates.
Next on the list was to swap out the 32-bit version of Google’s Chrome browser for the newly-released 64-bit edition. I had been running the “Canary” (development) version of the 64-bit code since June and it seemed pretty stable, so I was happy enough to remove the 32-bit version for the promise of greater stability and security promised by its 64-bit counterpart. The process involved removing both the 32-bit and 64-bit (test) browsers and then reinstalling the supported release of the 64-bit code.
So far the only glitch I have encountered is when joining Lync Online meetings. Clicking on a meeting link launches Chrome to connect to the meeting and an invitation to install the Lync Web App plug-in. This works well with the 32-bit version of Chrome but not so far with the 64-bit version. The workaround is easy – I switch to IE11 and paste the link into it to make Lync happy.
The last item to report is the acquisition of a Surface Pro 3 i5 with a Type keyboard. I chose the 128GB model on the basis that most of the information I would use with the device would be stored in OneDrive.
I bought one of the original Surface Pro models (we also have an original Surface RT in the house) and had used it for many trips since. Its last voyage was when my son took it with him on a month-long visit to the U.S. The Surface functioned perfectly throughout and proved to be a good choice for a space-constrained traveller before it hit some bad luck on the penultimate leg (LAX-ORD) when, for an unknown reason but likely a bag in an overhead compartment, the Surface ended up with a cracked screen. Microsoft offers a repair service but the prospect of spending €231 for a new screen for a device that is showing its age didn’t seem an attractive option.
So far everything is going well but I haven’t really stressed the Surface yet. I like the form factor and the pin-sharp screen and the new Type cover seems to be more responsive and easier to use than the last version. I also hear good things about the docking station as this addresses the lack of USB ports and other connectors. However, the combination of Surface Pro, cover, and docking station (an extra €205 in Ireland) quickly adds up and marks this out to be a premium laptop or tablet or whatever it’s supposed to be.
I leave for a two-week trip to Orlando and Las Vegas (Exchange Connections) on Saturday and will bring the Surface Pro 3 instead of my normal HP Envy 17-inch i7 mega-laptop (a great workhorse but oh so heavy…) and this will give me a better idea of its capabilities.
Speaking of technology, is anyone else frustrated and under-impressed at the way that Facebook updates your news feed? It appears to include articles and updates on a purely arbitrary and ever-changing basis that never gives a feeling of predictability. It must be the way of the new world…
Follow Tony @12Knocksinna