Trying Windows 10 on the Microsoft Surface Laptop

A Windows user from the 90s rediscovers Windows.

Trying Windows 10 on the Microsoft Surface Laptop

Apple Computers dominated my educational years. I grew up in Tennessee attending public schools. Every classroom had an Apple computer. On occasion, I would visit family and friends that had a PC, and I was drawn to PC games such as Sim City and Civilization.

When I arrived at the University of Tennessee, I began working shifts in the university computer labs which were divided evenly between Mac and Windows. One of my favorite activities, after a lab shift, was to C: on a PC into my favorite game.

When I had saved up enough money in college, I bought a laptop running Windows 95. After college, I switched back to Mac for personal use. Not really sure why I made the shift. I think I was just impressed by the hassle free experience of mac OS.

Recently, I've been using a Chromebook. The Chromebook simply worked and paired well with my affinity toward Google Services. Chrome OS has a bright future and is even more simple than mac OS.

Last month, I started thinking about the Windows experience. Microsoft Stores are refreshing and less hectic than their competitor's. My family enjoys Microsoft xBox games. I use Microsoft Office 365, and I've been impressed with the progress and improvements across all of the Office 365 apps.

My personal pivot to privacy focused apps most compelled me to consider a Windows 10 computer. On the Chromebook, I was running the privacy-centric Brave browser and Signal messaging app via Linux. Running Linux on Chrome OS is a good feature, but the experience isn't native. To me, Linux client apps have never had the polish you can find on other platforms.

I also started thinking about the old PC games that I used to enjoy so much. Unless you want to play Android-based games or use Stadia, Chrome OS is not the most versatile approach to gaming. Like Chrome OS, I'm pulling for Google Stadia to be a success.

With the renewed admiration of Microsoft, the ability to install privacy focused apps and the idea of playing some old school strategy games led me back to Windows. Specifically, a Microsoft Surface Laptop running Windows 10.

After a month with Windows 10 and the apps above, I can report that Windows 10 is good. The Surface Laptop is good. The capability that I miss from Chrome OS is Google Assistant. On the Chromebook, I would often use the Google Assistant command line to adjust the Nest and turn off and on lights.

The Surface Laptop hardware is solid. I could however live without the Alcantara finish. Gaming on the Surface Laptop consumes much of the 128GB solid-state drive. The unexpected best part of Windows 10 has been playing in a Fortnite squad with my kids.

Speaking of unexpected, Windows Terminal and Windows Subsystem Linux establishes so much technical credibility. There was a time when the Mac Terminal simply couldn't be an easier way for the technologist to troubleshoot REST APIs and SSH into Linux servers. Windows 10 closed that feature gap with Windows Terminal.

I'm happy to have re-acquainted myself with Windows at a time when a giant organization like Microsoft appears to be leaning in to tactics that align with my technical needs.

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