In electronics news, I purchased a refurbished Surface 3 from Amazon.  Quad core, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB drive with a “10.8” inch display.  I also picked up the pen, the Type Cover/keyboard, a 128GB MicroSD card and a 128GB USB 3 thumb drive (all from Amazon).  I was a little apprehensive on the “refurbished” aspect, but it came out of the box like new.

I’m liking it. A lot.  I use it mainly for reading gaming .pdfs in portrait mode, but it’s got the moxie to connect to work through VPN.  It has full windows 10 and runs Office 365 well enough for my needs.  The 10.8 screen is eminently readable with 10″ x 7″ usable area within the black borders.  I don’t think I’d be happy with anything smaller, as it is I don’t have to scroll to read a page.

The back camera is pretty good, compensates for my shaky hand quite nicely and good resolution.  The selfie camera is a bit grainy, but this is a few generations back, so I’m not terribly upset.

The pen changes written notes into text in notepad. That’s a nice plus I hadn’t anticipated.  It’s learning my handwriting too.  With the pen you can mark up your documents, even .docs and .pdfs.  It came with a couple drawing apps with different brushes available for those of an artistic bent.  not so much for me…

The keyboard feels a little bendy when not lying flat, when flat there’s enough action and no bendy feeling.  The touch pad is serviceable, but I find it occasionally throws an odd action as the result of my ham-fisted motions.
The touch screen is nice.  Other than my smart phones this is the first touch screen I’ve spent any time with.  I’ve found I’m surprisingly facile with the on-screen keyboard, surprising since I’ve become accustomed to the action of my Qwerkywriter.
There’s no place to store the pen, well not exactly, there is a little sticky backed loop that you could attach to the keyboard or tablet, but I’m not doing that for aesthetic reasons.  Removing the keyboard from the tablet requires more pull than I expected, it uses a magnetic strip and contacts to hold the keyboard to the tablet.  Not sure how long it’ll last, not showing any signs of wear and tear yet though.

Also, I upgraded my desktop from Windows 7 to 10, it seemed to go smoothly but services were pegging my hard drive, Windows Defender wouldn’t start and as I looked deeper I found General Disarray.  So I backed up everything and did a fresh install.  Worked smoothly, got rid of the HP bloatware, and the updated system found my Bluetooth keyboard (Quirkywriter), mouse (MX Master) and headphones right off.  The updated Bluetooth also meant I didn’t need the dongles I had been using for the mouse and keyboard: freed up 2 USB ports.  A few hours of loading up software and cleaning up my documents and music folder and the system is smooth and stable.  Except for the HP external hard drive with the Simplesave software. Ran the executable. Noticed I could no longer delete a folder if it had any subfolders.  Checked the website and they do not offer support any longer, so I checked, and no uninstall in Programs and Features.  So I deleted the software, cleaned it out of the registry and formatted the drive. That done I did a back up of my files to the external and everything’s good.

Photoshop 7 installs and runs, but won’t save to Terabyte drives so I save to a USB stick then transfer to my pictures folder.

Subscribed to Office 365 home for all the systems I have a nice feature is that it boosts Onedrive to 1TB of online storage.  The Surface counts as a PC, as does the wife’s laptop so I went for the Home edition.  Chiefly I use Word and Outlook, for work I occasionally need Excel and Power Point.