Surface Pro 4: Episode 12

The dock continues to work very well (so far!).

Unfortunately today the Surface lost touch with its pen again. After trying two restarts and opening various control panels related to the pen, I had to give up and use the “spare” tablet I had brought with me.

3 hours later, I woke the Surface up and it found its pen immediately.

Has anyone found a reliable way to help the Surface to find its pen again when it loses touch with it? (The pen battery level is fine.) On other tablets, when they lose touch with their pen, I have found that switching back and forth between laptop and tablet mode helps. Maybe what I should try with the Surface is attaching the keyboard and detaching it again!


Surface Pro 4: Episode 11

Well the dock for my Surface Pro 4 has arrived, and my Windows Surface is now working with external displays again. Though it didn’t work at first: it turns out that my current display adapter was broken too. With a new adapter (mini-display port to VGA) and the dock all is well.

The new adapter does work intermittently with the direct display port on the surface, but the connection is wobbly and unreliable.

One big advantage of using the dock is that the adapter and VGA cable can then rest safely on the desk/lectern. So I can use my Surface on a laptop stand on a box (for extra height and better writing angle) without there being an issue of the weight of the VGA cable pulling on the adapter and indirectly on the mini display port connection.

Has anyone else had similar problems? I know that some people have abandoned writing with the Surface on a slope because of problems with the connector. Perhaps some good will come of my problems if it helps others in my situation!


Surface Pro 4: Episode 10

Although I can’t currently use the Surface Pro in my classes, I can run Camtasia on it. So I have taken the opportunity to record audio narration with digital pointing to go with some of the annotated slides from the Measure Theory I taught in 2011-12 (the slides where the original recordings failed).

See for the full set of materials.

The two new recordings cover slides 35-36 and slide 37.

Surface Pro 4: Episode 9

Well, currently I can’t use my Surface Pro 4 to teach. The mini-display port has gone from being intermittently a bit of a problem to “intermittently almost working”. Last Friday it became completely unusable. (I have tried with multiple adapters in multiple rooms.)

I am temporarily using my previous (Lenovo) tablet laptop, while we decide what to do. There is a Microsoft dock for the Surface 4 that might help, but it isn’t cheap! It does provide extra USB ports, though, which could be useful.


Misunderstood times

I just misunderstood a spoken time in a way I hadn’t come across before.

Someone tried to tell me a bus was due at 22:11 but I thought they said twenty to eleven!

I guess there are a few more of those …

Surface Pro 4: Episode 8

Latest developments in my lecturing using the Windows Surface Pro 4

The new stylus nib works fine, and this has led to a slight improvement in my handwriting.

I only had one unexpected menu appear today during the lecture, when I accidentally touched the middle of the bottom of the screen.

I have successfully found ways to protect the video port by supporting some of the weight of the video cable on the nearest suitable structure.

I am having some serious problems with my wireless connection from the Surface. I’ll have to try to resolve these next week. Otherwise I can use the resident PC to show the students what they have voted for when I ask them multiple choice questions (mobile phone voting), but it is a bit better when I can show them using the tablet.

I took a break from the tablet to show the class a cylinder and a Moebius strip today. I asked the class “Why did the chicken cross the Moebius strip?” and one of the students came up with the correct answer!

Surface Pro 4: Episode 7

Latest developments

  • I have started to make some use of “pinch and spread” to give myself larger areas to write in when necessary.
  • I am starting to have some problems with the display port adaptor. Because I currently use the Surface on a sloped laptop stand on top of a blue plastic box (to give myself extra height and a better writing angle), the VGA cable can pull on the adaptor, and it can wobble and lose connection. Last lecture I solved this by wrapping the slack of the VGA cable over the top edge of the Surface, which reduced the tension. Hopefully the problem won’t get any worse.
  • Something bad has happened to the tip/nib of the stylus. Hopefully replacing the nib will fix that! That is, if I can find the set of spare nibs.
  • Having reduced the number of unwanted menus from touching the bottom part of the screen, I have now started getting unwanted BlueBeam menus from touching the right of the screen. I am beginning to think that I am always going to have more trouble with touch than without it. The benefits of touch at the moment are panning using touch (which is good) and pinch and spread during annotation (which I am starting to use a bit). But the unwanted menus are definitely a nuisance, and I am not sure I have the skill to avoid them.