The year isn't over, but most of my work is done. Time to reflect on a few things that worked well for me this year. And maybe a few things that didn't.
- Lumia: I remember very well when more than two years ago Nokia's head of PR visited me at vowe's magic flying circus and expressed his wish that one day Nokia would make it back into my top 3. He was having a really hard time with the Symbian story and I expressed my confidence that Windows Phone 7 would make it a better year for him. I was wrong. Nokia would hit rock bottom. And I was right. They would return, just another year later. For 2013 I can say that I did all my work on Lumias, mostly the 920. Then towards the end of summer the 925, the 1020 and now the 1520. Today, I do all my reading on the 1520. News, Facebook, Twitter, ebooks, mail, messages, it's Lumia 1520 all the way.
- Surface: It was a bit difficult to get a Surface test unit from Microsoft. As always, it's a person who solved the problem. Still not official, I have a Surface RT that I dearly love. It's simple and elegant and leaves the Windows legacy behind. I did a lot of reading on this machine because I like to hold it with its kickstand open. What hasn't worked for me is doing actual work. Neither of the two available keyboards "clicks" with me. That means the machine does not disappear as I need it to for creative writing. I am always operating the machine instead of thinking about my text. Today Surface does two things: it's the best picture frame we have and it is used for all Internet lookups that arise when we are at the table.
- SkyDrive: With Lumia and Surface, SkyDrive is the obvious choice for sharing files. Lumia uploads all my photos and videos to SkyDrive and I can share them from there with my colleagues. Is the data safe from the NSA on SkyDrive? I don't really care since everything on there ends up published on the Internet anyway. It works a bit like the iCloud Photostream, just for all files and not only the last 1000.
- Lenovo Yoga: Throughout most of the year I have carried around a Lenovo Yoga 11. It runs the same software as Surface but it has a really good keyboard. For many people this machine does not do enough, but for me it is absolutely perfect. A lightweight typewriter that turns into a tablet as needed, running well over 10 hours on battery. If I travel for two days, I even leave the power supply behind. Now I am trying to adjust to a Yoga 2 Pro, but it's an uphill battle. The Pro runs on full Windows 8.1 which brings all of Windows' complexity back. I have been a Windows user ever since 2.1, but I have left most of its baggage behind. Now it's coming back. The biggest obstacle however is the keyboard. Where I am expecting to hit Backspace Lenovo has added another column. I am hitting Home instead of Backspace. That throws me off the track and I have to get back on.
- MacBook and iMac: When I want to get real work done, I am back on the Mac. It has all the software installed that I need, I can run multiple Windows machines when I need them, and it never gets in the way. And best of all, I can transfer to a new Mac within one afternoon and never look back. That's going to happen soon since Minitron will be replaced with a new MacBook after five years of service. Jumbotron, the iMac, is just 18 month old and I expect to get a lot more mileage out of it.
- Galaxy: This year I upgraded to a Galaxy S4. And like the Surface keyboard, it did not click. There is so much software on there that annoys me, and there is nothing it can do, which my other devices can't do better. I need the machine to evaluate MDM but I am not using it. It just sits there. I am fully aware of how you could replace the software with something nicer, but that would defy its purpose. I need it to run Samsung's stock software.
- BlackBerry Z10, Q10, Z30: I really like these machines, but again, for me they are not doing anything a Lumia would not do better. I cannot use the greatest BlackBerry strength, keeping corporate data safe, because I would need infrastructure I do not have. As a generic Exchange client, there is no differentiating factor against a Windows phone. Which has more software going for it. What they do have, is the best keyboards on the market. If you type a lot, you will love them. Not only the hardware keyboard on the Q10, but the on screen keyboard on the Z10/Z30 as well. Very big plus is predictive text in three languages at the same time, without the need to switch. If you have the choice, get the Z30. It is better in every respect.
- Belkin Wemo: Running in full auto, the Wemo switches have been very reliable for me. What hasn't worked so well until version 1.4 came out was the iOS client. It sometimes did not find all devices on the network. Now that is fixed and I am happy with a little bit of home automation on top of a solid traditional cabling.
- Sonos: No surprise here. They only keep getting better. Sub, Playbar, Play:1. My only frustration is the lack of modern Windows and Windows Phone controllers. This will be fixed next year.
- Plantronics: When you speak to me, chances are that I am wearing a Plantronics headset. I have not had one bad product from them, ever.
- iPad: When I am presenting, iPad provides audio and video. I do all my presentations in Keynote on the Mac and sync them into iPad (and iPhone) through iCloud. My presentations can easily contain a hundred slides, but they are very plain. I could probably do them in any presentation program.
- Android: So many people out there are using Android that I have to keep current on it, much like I do on Windows. The Nexus 7 is on Kitkat 4.4, Galaxy on Jellybean 4.3 and Yoga Tablet on Jellybean 4.2. They are much like rental cars to me. They get me places, but I have no closer relationship. Lumia 1520 is currently invading this space.
So, a lot more Windows this year. Mac is still my mainstay and is going to be in the future. I seem to be one of the few people who "get" Windows RT. Maybe Microsoft will notice and they send a new Surface 2, RT of course. Lumia wins. Big time. And I need to reflect a bit more on the 1520. It's big, in a good way.
Thanks! Very good reading - as always :)
Many thanks from me as well. One of the best things I discovered and that worked for me in 2013 is this blog - not bad for a blog that strictly speaking isn't one at all :) Keep up the good work!
Not too long ago, the list contained the word iPhone.
"Is the data safe from the NSA on SkyDrive? I don't really care since everything on there ends up published on the Internet anyway." I hope you treat your customers data differently.
"Galaxy S4. ... I need the machine to evaluate MDM" Why not using vanilla Android from the inventor instead of the crippled stuff Samsung is using?
I do not store customer data. What do you know about MDM? SAFE? KNOX?
Thanks, Volker, great read. I liked the part about Sonos and a modern plus WP controller. Good to hear about the 1520, very much looking forward to playing with one.
You are a busy man, Volker.
I am getting more and more tech-change-resistant... and relying on information like yours, which give very good advice, if one cannot avoid change any longer. :)
I spend about 10 hours in meetings. In one year. How about you?
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