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Find this Podcast “MacBook Air vs Surface Book – One Person’s Perspective” on the ThreeWill Soundcloud, Stitcher, and iTunes.


Danny:Hello. It’s June 23, 2017, and this is your host Danny Ryan, and I have Tommy Ryan here with me. Hey Tommy.


Tommy:Hey Danny.


Danny:I know we’re getting together next week, to talk through more about the podcast. I just had something, a topic that I wanted to talk to you today about, and rather than have to write a blog post on it, I said, “Hey, why don’t you just pull into the office, and we’ll talk about it here, and record it, and do it that way.”


Tommy:That’s a common theme around here. No one likes to write. They just want to talk.


Danny:Nobody likes to write. They just talk, talk, talk. So, what the theme is, as you know, here’s the back story on it, which is many years ago, switched over from Windows to a Mac. And I’ve probably have been through three Macs, I would guess, through the years. And that probably puts me back close to seven, to eight, to maybe even nine years ago, where I made the switch over. Have always had a Windows machine around somewhere, for our meetings with Microsoft, or just one as a backup.


Tommy:Now you need a Mac to go to a Microsoft meeting.


Danny:Yes. So, I wanted to talk to you, just sort of in general, about what I went through. Because I think now you’re looking at whether to, what’s next for you, and looking at the iPad Pro.


Tommy:Yeah. Could be a variety of things. Yep.


Danny:Looking at that. So I guess, what are your options that you’re looking at right now?


Tommy:I would say, iPad Pro, another MacBook, or a Surface Book.




Tommy:That’s probably the three kinda top choices.


Danny:And the MacBook would be a, is it Air or is it a regular MacBook.


Tommy:It wouldn’t be the Air. They’re kind of phasing out the Airs with the standard MacBook.




Tommy:So they’ve got kind of their lighter version.




Tommy:Is MacBook, and they’ve got MacBook Pro. MacBook Pros, they haven’t done anything that exciting there. They’ve upgraded some of the processors on it. And then the MacBook is more of a, do I want something even lighter, and it doesn’t need to have that much processing power. And then the iPad Pro is to say, can I use the latest OS, OS 11.




Tommy:For the multitasking, and something different. I think part of it is doing something different. You get bored of being in front of a laptop. And, with that being 10, 12 hours of my day, I’m really to switch it up.


Danny:Well, for me, I guess the sort of backstory for me is that, a long time ago, probably when we first started the company out, I used to have … I don’t remember. Do you remember that compact tablet that I had, which was basically a, it’s something I could write on.




Danny:It was something. It had a real crappy keyboard, but it was something that I used a long time ago. So, I like the whole concept of having a single device that I can write on, and work with. And so, I’ve always wanted to have something like that. Now, the Mac Books that I’ve had, the last one was an Air. Obviously, there’s no touch support for it.




Danny:And that was something that was like, am I going to use it, or am I going to be worried about touching the screen, or just sort of had my general doubts about whether that would be right for me or not, and I think … What ended up happening, I guess, I was sort of looking at, what is it. And I do this, I sort of try to minimize the number of apps that I’m using.




Danny:Just sort of to simplify my life, because I feel like with Microsoft 365, there’s a new app each week.




Danny:And I think this often comes up, which is the issue of contact switching, where, as you’re moving from one thing to the next thing, and just sort of losing as you’re making moves to different. And over time, I was just sort of looking at, well, what am I using? No surprise. I’m using Outlook.




Danny:Pretty often, for email and a lot of my calendaring, and for contacts, and using OneNote typically. We used to be avid Evernote users, and I’ve sort of made the switch over to using OneNote.


Tommy:Before that, we were big OneNote users.


Danny:We were. Geesh.


Tommy:You got to change it up. You got to switch it up.


Danny:We just got to switch it up. That’s the deal. But, so using OneNote. And I like … So, they definitely with the Mac, have really brought a lot of the Office apps. They’re not on par, but sort of up to a level that is really kind of nice. I mean, they’re constantly making updates.




Danny:But I was looking at sort of my behavior, as far as, what are the key apps that I have running all the time, and for me, it was Outlook, OneNote. I also was using, I use Wonderlist quite a bit for my task management, sort of what is it. That’s the next thing that I’m going after.




Danny:Managing my tasks, and my shared tasks, those types of things. And then obviously Chrome, for sort of everything else, was what I was looking at. And there is a lot of … One of the things I was looking at is the integration between Outlook and OneNote is much better. Like, if you have a meeting with somebody, you can easily create meeting notes.


Tommy:Right. Right.


Danny:So that sort of thing. The experience between the two is much better on Windows, than it is on a Mac. And in general, just sort of, I’m a power user of Outlook, so a lot of the add ins, and stuff like that, I sort of found that I was wanting to use more of the Windows version of Outlook, versus the Mac. And so or many years, I think, it was never that I went away from Windows, it was, usually, I was using it with parallels. And every once in a while, just like you, I would try using the Windows version of Outlook on my Mac, and like that. But then it was a little bit of a janky experience, with having two operating systems. It just finally got to the point where I was like, okay, what is my work machine going to be. And then, I think, so I was going to go back to a Dell was originally, I think, when we were talking a while back, was like, Okay, everybody here uses a Dell. And then, looking at what Microsoft had done, with the different products that they were putting out. I think, for me, I ended up getting a Surface Book. And this was probably a month or so ago, maybe. So I’ve had some time with it. And my reasoning for it was I wanted to try the whole … Typically, before, I carried around a iPad, along with my MacBook Air, and wanted to see if I could have just one experience with one device, and see how that would work out for me. I liked all the overall. So let me just sort of, brother to brother, share with you what my experience has been, moving over, and stopping, and not using the Mac primarily. One of the biggest things I net. One is I love the getting back to the Outlook, and OneNote, and that who experience has been great. Productivity wise, it’s been wonderful. The whole File Explorer, and actually connecting up the OneDrive thing, which I’m sure is already coming to, or at the Mac as well.


Tommy:Yeah. You can, like I’m connected to the sales account folder.




Tommy:The contract folder, so that’s nice.


Danny:So that experience was wonderful, just being able to download all of our marketing files.




Danny:And really organize things, because I try to carve off some time during the week, just grooming all the stuff there that accumulates through the years. It’s amazing how much stuff is out there. And try to organize all that stuff. So the experience is really nice, with the File Explorer view.


The big thing that I miss, I think, making the move over, is iMessage.




Danny:And what I ended up doing, okay, I can use Skype for some things, but there’s not like a clear, like what Apple does with the whole, I get a text message on my laptop, along with my phone. There’s not … I think Microsoft was attempting to do it with their messaging app, but it never got there. So what I ended up doing was I got a Verizon app, because I use Verizon for my mobile phone. And there’s an app, and it’s janky. I mean, it’s not there.


Tommy:I would imagine.


Danny:It’s janky. It’s just not … Whoever created it, God bless them. They just, the user experience is not … You know, I won’t get all of my messages, and I’m just sort of not really … I can’t rely on it, like I could with iMessages.




Danny:That was the biggest thing. I mean, overall, my Chrome is just Chrome. And it’s still-




Danny:It’s still a great experience with using Chrome, so that’s not really a big change for me. I like, so the move over, my overall experience with the Surface Book has been, battery life is just fine. You can take the top off of it, and that battery life is really short. But you can take it off, and they call it a clipboard, basically, and you can take it to a meeting, an hour meeting, but probably not much more than that. And then you come back, and put it back on, and it start to … The battery is primarily inside the base of the keyboard.




Danny:I like that you can switch it over. You can flip it around, where you have it more standing up like a tent, like a tent move with that, which is nice. I have the pen. There’s some neat things with. So I’ve sort of, when I’m using it, I find that I’m using my finger more than … I mean, I’ve got a mouse.




Danny:But over time, I’m starting to use more of my finger, for pointing at things with it. This is, the pen is nice. It’s a, I’m not using it like a … I haven’t been doing OneNote notes like a clipboard. Maybe I’ll start to do that. Right now I haven’t sort of switched over. I’m still doing a lot of keyboard based stuff. This is, it’s kinda neat, because the top, you click on it, and have it do different things, based upon what you want that to do.




Danny:So like, if I want to take a quick … I can launch out OneNote. I can use it as an eraser, so I can write something and erase with it. And it ends up going, it fits off to the side like that.




Danny:And I haven’t lost it yet. I will lose it, but I haven’t lost it yet, and that seems to work out real well. As you see, basically the bottom of what I’m using right now, is pretty common, which is Chrome, Outlook, Wonderlist. I’ve got OneNote pulled up. Teams is usually up and running as well. And then the two Skype programs that are there. And I still use the, I’ve got my standbys, that as making the move over. My Password Manager, is one password. And what I’ve found is, a lot of the Mac, primarily Mac programs that have on Windows, they’re starting to really build on the Windows side of things as well.


Like One Password just did a release, and it was like, it’s full. It’s everything that I would get on the Mac. It feel like that way.




Danny:Maybe there’s some missing pieces. But the same thing for me was text expander. For the longest time, text expander was just on the Mac.




Danny:And then they released a Windows client.




Danny:And then that Windows client is just as … I don’t know if it’s just as good, but it’s coming. It seems like they’re investing in it.




Danny:It’s something that they’re doing. So, from my experience, making the move over, that was … I have what I need with a password manager. I have, for my blowing up my short codes are there so that’s been nice. And what I ended up doing was, you’ll get a kick out of this, was I, every once in a while, I want to use iMessage, so I ended up getting Go To My PC, and I have my Mac up and running at home, so that if I need to send an iMessage, I just crank that up, send an iMessage, and Okay. That’s my way of dealing with the fact that I don’t have iMessage anymore.


Tommy:Right. Right.


Danny:Is I just remote into my old one. And especially if I’m sending a bunch of texts, I really like being able to do that. So, my last one over there is, it’ll Go To PC, and I’ll just connect and send, work with that. Or there’s also some of the apps that I have on my Mac, I don’t have here. And they’re such … Dropbox, and OneDrive are so, sort of like, your hard drive is anywhere and everywhere. I can work on the Mac if I want to. I can go in full screen, and just sort of switch back over. It’s sort of like what I did with parallels, is every once in a while, I wanted to switch over to the Windows applications, and work from there.


So there is more, you know, the move, the overall experience has been really good, with making the move. So the real question is, am I going to get my next machine right now. What would I get if I had to do it again today, and I’m pretty happy with this.




Danny:I am overall. I had an issue with Microsoft where, to get the warranty, I needed to go to the store, and they messed up. They messed that up, but I’m working with somebody online to get it fixed. They gave me the wrong type of warranty, and so they’re having to fix that. And so I’m working with somebody to get that. That wasn’t the best experience. It seems like they’re working that out.


It’s interesting, by going through this, I’m thinking about my next set of things, because I’ve got my iPhone’s coming up for renewal, and I’m half thinking of doing the Google Pixel, as my next device. Sort of tying a little bit of everything. Because I’ve gone all Apple for so long. And it goes in waves. I might come back and do all Apple again in the future, and say, “Forget all that. I just want to have everything work together like this.” But I also, it’s been kind of interesting, being able to sort of be heterogeneous, and have different. There’s benefits of each of the different platforms, and sort of what you’re using with each of the different platforms.


I did get a dock at home, that connects up two monitors. So what basically the dock is set to work with two monitors, and I just drop this into it, and it connects both monitors up, which is nice. It’s a real, it’s a great setup. And ended up, you can see right now I’m connected where it’s just got this bigger, this guy. This is a proprietary thing for Microsoft, but I just connect that up at home, and it’s all set.


Tommy:Is that power and-


Danny:Power and.


Tommy:And monitor.


Danny:And monitor.




Danny:I’m going to do a little neat thing with the … Hang on. With the power supply they actually have a little USB. They did some pretty cool stuff. So this is the power supply, and you actually have a thing for my iPhone, so I plug in my-




Danny:So there’s a nice little USB port that’s hanging off of that as well. So that’s … I’m trying to think of, any questions that you have? Sort of, what would be your, as you look at a Microsoft book. Maybe since I’ve been focusing on that’s what I made the move to. What’s your overarching concern about moving to that?


Tommy:Well, when I look at it, it’s funny. I used to like to tinker quite a bit.




Tommy:And get into the guts of things, and configure things. And as time has passed, I feel like I don’t have the time to do that anymore.




Tommy:And so my trump card for things, is simplicity.




Tommy:And actually, trying to challenge myself to have less things open, and try to kind of hone in, and just stay focused at one thing at a time, versus too much multitasking. I tend to get sloppy and go too many things at one time. And so, what could be a drawback, but I can see an advantage in going down the iPad path, is it’s a very simple multitasking environment. And also, the features of the applications, having less to tinker with.




Tommy:And only have kind of key features. And you know, that’s something that I think has made me more productive, without having to go search for things, but just use a few things very well, and stay focused on that.




Tommy:Versus, I used to look up everything you could do, with a pivot chart, and really try to hone in a lot of fancy formatting, and things like that. So that’s what’s attracting me in that direction of can I go even more simplistic. Because if you look at, what I’ve done over time is, I haven’t used parallels in probably two years.




Tommy:And so I broken that dependency. Just because the things I do, I don’t need it. The only thing that’s been a drawback for me is probably Skype. That’s been my biggest challenge, is some organizations, the way their Skype is configured, when they invite you to a meeting, it’s trying to redirect to link 2010, and then it never logs in appropriately. And I have ways of working around it, but I never seem to get a really clean connection. So that’s a thing that I know I could get rid of if I go back to a Windows machine.


The Outlook, and OneNote, taking notes, that’s intriguing to me, but I think, for me, is trying to stay focused, and try not to have too much multitasking to go around.


The other thing that concerns me with the, say the iPad, is the keyboard, and having a more robust keyboard, which I could do a Bluetooth keyboard as a workaround for that. Because I think the Surface Book looks like it has a more substantial keyboard, because it’s on that laptop chassis, versus being in a cover that you would put on the iPad.


Danny:I definitely use it primarily in laptop mode. Yeah. And what’s interesting is, as I go through with setting it up, is a lot of these applications have like a … Like let’s take Outlook. Outlook has Outlook 2016. And then you have a mail app, that’s sort of like a scaled back version of Outlook.


Tommy:Right. Right.


Danny:And same thing with OneNote. OneNote has OneNote 2016, and then it has a OneNote app. And for a while I was going like, I almost, I like the OneNote app, because it was cleaner, just for simplicity’s sake.


Tommy:Right. Right. Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:But then there’s some things I use from OneNote 2016 that I like as well, so it’s like this conundrum. Which one do I use for it.




Danny:But what I end up, what I’ve found is that there are some things that I do use every once in a while, and there’s … It’s that enough to justify maybe some of this overhead that we have. Yeah. I think for right now, it seems to work out. And a lot of the apps, you have like a Windows store version of the app, or you have the full fledge download the MSI or EXE off the website versions of things.


So you can sort of say, do I want to have that full version? Some of them, like GoToMeeting, the Windows client is much further along than the Mac client is, so you have more options for what you do with it.


Tommy:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:Yeah. It’s interesting, because I think we’re both trying to go in the same direction of having fewer, like how do I stay focused? Fewer apps I’m dealing with. Just the thrashing between different things that you’re trying to get done. It’s sort of like the browser catches everything. The browser catches most everything, and then there’s a couple of key apps that you need to have going.


Tommy:Yeah. Even the Outlook, I’ve spent a lot of time using Outlook through the browser.




Tommy:And there’s some things I like about it better than the full fledge desktop app.


Danny:So you’re not going Chromebook like Dad?


Tommy:No. That’s probably the last direction I would go, is a Chromebook. Not that I wouldn’t have a Chromebook, but it just doesn’t intrigue me.


Danny:Yeah. Shout out to Frank.




Danny:If you want to talk about doing a podcast Dad, we’ll have to have you on to talk about your Chromebook experiences. Well, Clark Howard recommended it, so Dad will do it.


Tommy:That’s right. That’s right.


Danny:But, anything else? Any other questions that you might have?


Tommy:No. I mean, knowing about the life of the detachable pad, that’s something to keep in mind. That’s a short lived if you want to be in tablet mode more often, then that could be a challenge.


Danny:And I really see that as if I need to run off to a meeting, I just grab, it, run off, and then go into clipboard mode.


Tommy:Right. Right.


Danny:Yeah. It’s overall, the … Windows 10 has been pretty solid.


Tommy:Yeah. It’s a good operating system.


Danny:It’s been good. And I haven’t run into any real jinky problems that I remember having to deal with. I haven’t gone and needed to edit the registry, or anything crazy like that, recently. So that’s good.


All these things from your past, you’re like, whoa, what did I do to do that?


Tommy:Yeah. You know, part of me says I just like doing different things, so part of the attraction is it’s a new frontier.


Danny:Part of the reason why we started this business.


Tommy:That’s right. I don’t like following the status quo all the time.


Danny:Yeah. It’s funny how we’re getting to the point where we’re talking about, oh that … We’re trying something different, so we’re trying a Microsoft PC. But, yeah. It’s interesting how things come around.


Tommy:Well, thanks for sharing. I appreciate it.


Danny:Absolutely. Hopefully some folks who are looking at this as well, hopefully there were a couple of pointers that you got out of that. Definitely leave a comment. I’m sure people who they’re staunch Apple fans, and staunch Microsoft fans. I think for us, Tommy and I are a bit of a whatever works for us fans. And for a while there, I was pretty much solidly Apple, and now I’m trying, branching out in some new things.


If you do the iPad Pro, I’d be interested.


Tommy:Yeah. We could do something.


Danny:I’d definitely want to talk with you about, sort of what it, what was your experience.


Tommy:Yeah. I’m intrigued to see … There’s a part of me that like simplicity and a challenge at the same time. So, the whole iPad.


Danny:You are a sick, sick man. You’re …


Tommy:I want to continue to learn, but learn ways to make life simpler.




Tommy:And ways to cut back and stay focused on things.


Danny:Yep. All right. Well cool. Thank you for taking the time to do this, and thanks everybody for listening, and have a wonderful day.


Tommy:Thank you. Bye.





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