Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Be Aware of the USB-C

First let me say this is NOT a full product review. Yes, my household does own a MS Surface Pro 7. Yes, my impressions of it are very positive. No, I have not used it as a daily driver, for heavy production like video editing or for gaming.

However, one thing that seems to be lacking is that if you are buying specific accessories to work with the USB-C, your only choice MAY be to buy from Microsoft.

We bought this primarily for my wife’s work (contract worker with frequent travel) and it seemed to fit her needs pretty well, with a few exceptions. External monitors and charging through the USB-C port.

She had no way to attach to an external monitor, like for a dual monitor set up or to perform presentations. I tried USB-C to HDMI dongles and nothing worked. They weren’t even acknowledged by the OS. I finally broke down and bought an MS dongle and it worked. It was five times the cost but it worked great.

I found on the internet that the USB-C port could be used for direct charging en lieu of the proprietary MS charger. Don’t believe it. It doesn’t matter the cord or quality or amperage of the supply. In a situation where the charger was left behind, the only fix was a mad dash to a local retailer that had the MS proprietary charger available.

Nowhere is it stated or implied in any MS information, either marketing or support, do they let you know the USB-C interface is somehow keyed or coded to use ONLY Microsoft proprietary accessories. It may be that the USB-C can support some industry standard stuff, but I haven’t found any. Buyer be informed.

Fighting Cabin Fever with Telecommuting –

For those who’ve read some of my old blog entries, you’ll know I’ve been working in my home full time since mid-2001. It’s always been a challenge to socialize with other human beings that had things in common with me while full time working from home.
Since that time I’ve maintained a sense of staying busy with single parenting my kids, community organizations, military and what dating I could accomplish. Yes, the calendar was somewhat busy but revolved around very little selfish social interaction leaving me with a sense of emptiness amplified by the constant cabin fever of working from home.
Now, one child is an adult with her own transportation and the other on the cusp of adulthood. They no longer desire to participate in things to be driven everywhere, with the exception of work for the youngest until he has his own vehicle.
What’s a dad to do with all this suddenly empty time, a deep seated sense of loneliness and no strong core of friends? Well, let’s recognize that the workplace is the number 1 place that nearly every American socially interacts with others and develops friendships and cameraderie. So, start by getting back in the workplace. Reconnect with any old acquaintances, start new acquaintances, participate in company sponsored charitable events. That’s the new goal, working in the office at least one day a week. It appears most telecommuters that do visit the workplace in my area migrate in on Wednesday, so that seems like the best.
Number 2, continue to grow a circle of acquaintances based on things in common. I’ve joined several calendars through MeetUp.com. Basically a social calendaring web site with groups that have interests all over the spectrum that also allows anyone to start their own group if they don’t find what they want.
Number 3, community organizations through work and the local area. This is generally an area where friendships develop over time based on your ability to participate of course.
Number 4, don’t be afraid to try new things. If you have the option and can work from a wi-fi cafe you enjoy, do it. Becoming a regular can provide interaction you might not be able to get otherwise.
These are my ideas of how to expand my circle. If you have other ideas, please share.

Hope this helps someone else trying to fight the cabin fever of working from home.