Suitable Companion Device for Surface RT

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface RT' started by canta2009, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. canta2009

    canta2009 New Member

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    Hello!

    I am a proud owner of a Surface RT. It is a great device and I can really do about 85% of what I need to do on a daily basis for my work as an academic. But - and perhaps with Surface RT there is always a but - there is the inevitable problem of essential programs you need for work and research.

    The three culprits are Evernote Desktop, Zotero Stand-Alone, and Calibre, a library management software. I can use Evernote for Windows 8 but I do not find the program as intuitive for managing immense amounts of data - it is perfectly fine for reading. And I find that the Evernote for Web is just slow on the device. I can use Zotero in Internet Explorer but it runs slowly - and is more compatible with Firefox. But Calibre - the one I rely on daily - is unavailable on RT. I can use the files but to actually manage them is a task. I have to use my work computer but I get tired of carrying it back and forth to work

    The truth is that I am 1) Fairly happy with the device, 2) Not looking to upgrade to a more expensive device yet, and 3) Just need something for a few basic desktop tasks.

    My current plan is to get a companion device for my Surface RT that runs Windows 8.1. I could do one of two things -

    A) Purchase another inexpensive Windows tablet like a HP Stream 7 or Dell Venue Pro 8 and then use remote desktop when I need those programs. I like the simplicity of this option but working in India, I will have to order the tablet, have it shipped to my family, and then shipped to me. I estimate it may take 1 to 2 months.

    OR

    B) Purchase an inexpensive notebook like the Asus X207 or the HP Stream 11 and use that in tandem with the device. This seems like a bit much but I can get the device now in India.

    I do see this as a stop-gap measure until I can eventually get a system that combines both - I ache for a Surface Pro 3 but can't quite justify the price with a low salary and student loans. And again, I think the Surface RT is perfect for most tasks.

    I wanted to ask the forum for any advice or thoughts. Does this sound a bit crazy? Has anyone tried Option A yet? Should I just simply throw in the towel and get a new device? Any advice would be deeply appreciated - thanks!
     
  2. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    First I'll assume you have already used the apps in Remote Desktop with your work computer and find that at least a workable solution for Option A. If not I highly recommend you spend time with this to ensure its a viable alternative. My Rule One is: Never deploy anything you haven't tested. Test every feature and function you'll use.

    I'm not familiar with Calibre so I can't tell you one of the many other eReaders (Kindle, Overdrive, ...) available for RT will do what you want and I'll assume you know about the Calibre viewer and it doesn't work for you.

    Likewise with Zotero. I find http://alternativeto.net/ helpful in locating alternative software.

    Lastly as an alternative to Evernote Desktop have you looked at OneNote 2013 which is a Desktop App for RT.

    Given that Calibre and Zotero are Open Source have you considered converting them to Windows RT? What's your field of expertise? :)
     
  3. B.E.McAllister

    B.E.McAllister New Member

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    You could find a pro or pro two for a lower price that might work for you and take away the need for two devices
     
  4. canta2009

    canta2009 New Member

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    GreyFox7 -

    Thank you very much for your response! A few comments -

    1) I have used Remote Desktop before on my home internet in America with the device but know that I should test it here in India. It did connect on my work internet but I will try it at home when my internet is installed. It is funny that I did not think about that before!

    2) I use Calibre primarily to organize my PDF and Ebook Library. I read on my tablet using OverDrive and the Nook App (I like the later because I can use Epubs and it keeps the page numbers so I can use it for research). So, the problem is not reading but it is the organization of the library.

    3) Zotero is the most convenient (and more important, free and open-source) bibliography program and I have yet to find a Windows 8 application that adapts it.

    4) I actually happily use OneNote 2013! I see Evernote as a "filing cabinet" and OneNote as the place where I do the most of my work - taking the articles in Evernote and taking notes in OneNote and actually doing something with the collected materials. The only big criticism I have on OneNote is that I can't use something like Clearly for Evernote (I can use it in Firefox and Chrome but there is no extension in IE) to clip the article cleanly, without adds and in plain text. I have over 1700 notes in Evernote and I have been planning on moving research and creative works over to OneNote but keeping Evernote more as an archive.

    5) To be honest, I would love to create apps to handle these tasks. There have been a couple of ideas that I've had for Windows 8 applications that I would love to create. I think that one could create a Zotero program simply but Calibre would be harder. It appears to me to be a complex and powerful program that would be difficult to translate to a Windows 8 application. But beyond being a tech enthusiast, I have no computer design background. But perhaps I could try - not even sure where to start!
     
  5. canta2009

    canta2009 New Member

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    I really would like to get a single device to do all these tasks. I am currently working in India as an academic so I do not believe I have good access to any Surface device. Granted, I have not looked extensively but my experience is that India does not have as many of these "higher-end" devices because of the price. And I am just not as impressed with the some of the lower end devices like the Asus Transformer 2 in 1.

    Do you have any suggestions of other devices to look for?

    What I have considered is to save up my money and perhaps get a Surface Pro 3 when I come to America for the Summer.

    The thought now is that I could get something that would fill in the gap until then. A bit of a clunky work-around but it what may be best for me at this point. But ultimately, I strive for simplicity. It is something I have actually liked about Windows 8 - being able to sync settings and even the start screen between my work computer, my Surface RT, and my Lumia 735. I am excited to see what comes out with Windows 10.

    Thank you for your post!
     
  6. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For a single device the Dell Venue 11 Pro 5000 series might be the closest fit. Since your already considering the 8" Dell at an additional 200+ if you can recover the RT investment the net wouldn't be that much different.

    Yes, heresy :)
     
    B.E.McAllister likes this.
  7. kristalsoldier

    kristalsoldier Well-Known Member

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    OK. I was in a similar situation as the OP when I first got the Surface RT. However, there was one big difference - I had (and still do have) a desktop machine running Win 8 (at the time). My basic idea was to use the RT as a mobile jack-of-all trades (excepting legacy software) when out and about and when traveling. For the most part, I was able to do this. However, also being connected to academia, I needed some software like referencing software. While I could install it on my desktop machine, the RT was out of bounds. For what it was, the 1st gen RT was good, but the angle of the kickstand was terrible (for me) and so, when the Surface 2 came out, I jumped on that. Better battery life, better kickstand angle, and an overall better experience, but the core problem remained. While I could spend most of my time in basically the Office Suite and the MUI version of IE was a very good experience, I always hit a problem in trying to use desktop apps. At this time, I also realized that I needed a second screen. This is because having converted a large portion of my physical library into digital format, and saving the same in OneDrive, I could take my reference texts everywhere. But the problem was the snap and split screen facility on the Surface, while works well, the resultant window made texts too small to read and manipulate. So, for the second screen, I opted for an iPad 4 (subsequently upgraded to an iPad Air). Why the iPad? Simply because of two apps - PDF Expert (most of my books are in PDF format) and iBooks (which serves well for ePubs).

    Ideally, I would have liked to move to an SP2, but the weight and thickness was a put-off. Many a time (and sometimes on this forum too), I had bemoaned the fact that the Pro device should have had the profile of the SP3. And when that happened, I was in line to buy it on the first day it was released in North America.

    Now, having got the SP3, I am truly mobile and will be giving away my desktop - literally in a couple of months.

    Recently, however, I have placed an oder for a Dell Venue 8 Pro. Why? Because the iPad is now showing its limitations. I was to be able to use a device as an ereader that I can mark up (limited to PDFs - Drawboard PDF is the solution here). I am hoping that despite the reported issues with the Synaptics stylus of the Venue 8 Pro, it will be sufficient to serve my limited needs. At that point, the iPad will become a vanity device, which I may also give away.

    All this to suggest to the OP that he/ she should probably look at a device like a Dell Venue 8 Pro (Asus, ThinkPad, Toshiba, I believe make comparable (and perhaps even better) devices - for example, I know that the Asus Vivo Tab comes with a Wacom stylus, which is supposed to be very good).

    Why this suggestion? (1) relatively low cost solution (2) full Win 8.1 experience (and will upgrade to Win 10 when it is time) (3) reduces the bulk and increases mobility (4) limited onboard storage can be enhanced with MicroSD cards and OneDrive/ Dropbox combo.
     
  8. peaches930

    peaches930 New Member

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    My Device:
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  9. peaches930

    peaches930 New Member

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    My Device:
    RT
    I am so sorry for yoyo, your blinded by the lights
    I really hate this surface two. Get This
    Microsoft makes a program called rt. No other company wants this operating system, it gets better, No Joke
    So,,,,,, Microsoft uses this failed program that they can throw it in a surface two, RT. And Yet Has the nerve to sell this surface to unknowingly people like you and, I! I think the fair thing for MICROSOFT to TAKE BACK THIER FAILED GARBAGE OR PUT A RECALL ON I SINCE IS WORTHLESS COMPUTER AND SEND ALL OF US THE BETTER PROCESSERS SO WE CAN ALSO GROW WITH THE NEW OPERATING SYSTEM WINDOWS 10. AND LET US GROW WITH IT AS WELL!!! I THINK THIS FAIR. MICROSOFT MADE THIS GARBAGE? AM I RIGHT
     
  10. TPadden

    TPadden Member

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    In a word: no.
     

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