same old routine
Get the carp into education and it will spread from there.
Microsoft is slashing the price on its Windows 8-powered Surface RT tablets to slap the unwanted kit into students' palms. For a limited time, Redmond will knock 60 per cent off the price of a 32GB ARM-driven fondleslab to $199 (£127); a 32GB with Touch Keyboard Cover will be slashed by 58 per cent to $249 (£158); and a 32GB …
Getting a Nexus 7 would give them a toy without a compliant office suite to submit their assignments with so they would have to buy a version of office and deal with the extra hassle of maintaining a computer. Some people don't like computers. (Or care anything at all about them). If this broke their documents would be on skydrive so they could just print them from a computer lab or whatever.
" It is not an environment where you could write an application of any great size."
True. But comms and sharing documents with colleagues on the team, tweaking the odd file perhaps direct in an online repository (git etc), with suitable apps you could do some lightweight development while on a train etc, and then there's Remote Desktop.
For those who just need access to fiddle with servers, to use as a portable console, it would be quite handy.
But then an Android slab would do all this too.
My interest in a Win slap is for Win apps... that don't run on RT.
Shall we start taking bets on whether RT will get Windows 8.1? and whether this is what will be used to enforce obsolescence?
This is a perfect example of the mess that Microsoft have got themselves into. They needed to get into mobile phones and tablets to try and stop Apple and Android partners, but they've picked the dumbest strategy
Android - Targeted phones then worked it's way onto tablets
Apple - If it's got an 'i' it runs iOS whether it be a phone a tablet or an iPod.
Microsoft on the other hand have gone for the same interface across three different OSes
Windows Phone 8
This has caused confusion amongst the less technical people I know and the way that the RT tablets are sold there is very little distinction made in shops by the staff or the signs to educate people of the differences. If you don't ask the questions the staff don't tell you and will happily let you buy a tablet running RT and an antivirus package that isn't compatible.
Now microsoft are talking Windows 8.1 and are keeping very quiet on Windows RT. Chances are some features will be ported to Windows RT, but then what does that become? Windows RT 8.1? Windows RT.1? Microsofts big interest is keeping people on X86 so they ideally need to limit the features of RT while at the same time exploiting the battery life benefits it brings to phones and tablets.
Microsoft obviously had a need to rush stuff out there and will more than likely try to unify all 3 OSes down the line, but they've stumbled out of the blocks and made a number of cock ups and I think they'll drive a lot of people away before they get their overall goal of one OS across all devices...
They've already relented and have a version of sorts of Office running on iPhones and iPads. That was their ace in their hand and now they are slowly giving other platforms access. How many customers are going to switch to iPhones / iPads and Android devices because of that? Yeah it's not the full feature set (yet) but a lot of people don't need the full suite and while they gain a 365 licence they lose potential Windows Phone, Windows RT and Windows 8 licence sales as well as the Office 365 sale.
I think they are selling these Surface RT devices off at this price because they are ready to cut and run. I imagine they'll withdraw the RT product in 5 to 6 months after little or no more development and they'll hope that Asus and the like continue to make them, but by then who knows how far Android will be ahead of Microsoft
Killing RT and using Haswell + Windows Desktop/Metro UI 8.1 down to size of the current ASUS 8" tablet at 10W (4.5W) allowing 1024×768
AND scaling up the Windows Phone 8 GDPR3 using Qualcom SnapDragon up to 800 Series 3W (5W for Tablets) allowing 1920x1080
THUS overlapping these two platforms => No need for RT
It's not about to be discontinued, no it's priced to sell.. once you strip out the profit margin that they were looking for, it comes down to the market price.. it then becomes a question of whether they want to push a product they just don't make any money from, and that's still a yes.
MS can't afford to skip on tables (it's not like Zune) because today's PC will start to look like a mini-computer of yesteryear very soon and they're not dominating in Cloud services... now that the diversion is out of the way, we can look forward to "price dumping" claims from Apple and the inevitable race to the bottom.
Ummm...surely that requires the Uni's et al to buy this stuff on a whim as the new term doesn't normally start until well into September in the UK. I really don't see any educational establishment chuckign large amounts of money out on the off-chance that they can encourage students to take one in place of the perfectly good laptop/iPad/other tablet they already bought.
I am pouring over the spec for a Win8 app as, apparently, Win8 is the best thing ever and poised to replace iOS. Clearly our product management don't read the news or operate in the real world.
They do get to go on lots of MS paid junkets, I wonder if there could be a connection...
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Don't get me wrong, I love the Raspberry Pi, but it's horses for courses. The Pi is a great tool for teaching programming and the like, but it's usefulness as a tablet is practically non-existent....so it's not really fair to compare it to the Windows devices referred to in the article
MINIATURE COMPUTER THAT CAN'T BE USED AS A TABLET FAIL
At the risk of being tarred with the same brush as Eadon ;-), I have to agree with him on the disturbing extent to which Microsoft and Apple have already undermined computer education. I have been hiring engineers for some 30 years now, and I am alarmed at way their "computer literacy" has *declined* during that time. Today's MSEE/MEng graduates are often completely incapable of using their computer as a toolbox for general problem solving, instead regarding it primarily as an appliance which can be used to run pre-packaged proprietary applications.
Microsoft is the worst offender in this regard, as their OS and applications alike are proprietary; Apple is somewhat better (it even comes with a compiler and development environment), but of course their applications and display manager are still proprietary. The problem here is that proprietary software is fundamentally incompatible with computer education — users are simply passive consumers in their interactions with Windows, and are legally forbidden from adapting the software to solve a particular problem, or from satisfying an intellectual curiosity by examining its source code. An education using the power of computers should be a means to freedom and empowerment, not an avenue for one corporation or another to instill its monopoly through indoctrination.
For the majority of students, computers - like Eadon - are a tool.
Accountants, the next wave of English novelists, burger flippers, call centre phone jockeys, do not need to bend a computer to their will to get things done. They use apps (whichever OS) they are on. And most all the everday problems (putting words on a page, removing red-eye from photos, etc) have already been solved and are available in proprietary or open source forms for free or for large amounts of cash.
Microsoft make it easy to get into using Word and Excel with the "Home and Student Office" package which tempts those already using Office at their place of work to buy it for home use (thinking that there might be an occasion when they'll type up that letter or make a party invite at home, rather than in the office while the boss is out at an appointment).
Computer science has not necessarily degraded recently, years ago my mother said the best programmer she ever worked with was a ex-monk, the comp sci graduates were generally lacking.
> For the majority of students, computers - like Eadon - are a tool.
You now realize that the country is full of fools how think that having a mental representation of their most important tool as an agglomeration of multicolored iconography that can be shifted around is sufficient.
Zarg from Xandax 5 will now push the "eradicate" button!
This is the 21st century, and anyone in technical fields or with a smattering of interest about computers ought to be encouraged to learn how to make computers do what *they* want, not just being taught how to operate Microsoft Office. Even your accountant is being ripped off if he pays for a "computer education" class and instead is only taught how to use Excel.
When it comes to electronics engineers (the only college graduates I generally have to vet and hire), if they can't describe how they'd go about automating their design verification tasks, or perform simple optimisation of a mathematical system model, or quickly assemble a tool to analyse their 100MB data sets, they're going to be shown the door with a polite "it's been nice talking to you". I don't care if it's Visual Basic, or Perl, or Java, or ..., but in the modern world, if they aren't familiar with some programming language, they simply can't effectively do their hardware engineering job.
"This is the 21st century, and anyone in technical fields or with a smattering of interest about computers ought to be encouraged to learn how to make computers do what *they* want, not just being taught how to operate Microsoft Office."
Well said, Quxy.
Though the follow-up question would be: how do we give those "in a technical field or with a smattering of interest about computers" the chance to learn? I got my first micro back in the Spectrum days because I wanted to cheat on my maths homework and soon learned that the machine couldn't perform miracles just because I switched it on. I had an Oric-1, with something of a dearth of mathematics programs, so to get anywhere I had to program the damn thing. It taught me an awful lot.
So how do we encourage the incoming wave of schoolkids and students, literally, to "get with the program"?
Yes, of course in a limited sense the computer is a tool even if it's only used to run Microsoft Office. But saying that you know how to use a computer on the basis of your clerical skills is exactly like claiming that you know how to cook because you can peel the cover off a frozen dinner and pop it in the microwave.
For office workers, the limited ability to use Microsoft Office may be enough. For accountants, competency with Excel and tax codes may be adequate. But people who claim to know how to use a computer (a fundamental skill for technical specialists, I would assert) need to show that they can use their computers for general purpose problem solving.
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