Wither our post?

Around 5pm today I decided that I couldn’t keep up with what had become a wildly distorted debate that had its roots in a post I made last week regarding the set-up experience I and my colleagues had on the Microsoft Surface.

In the original post, I wrote about the comical event it was in getting our new Surface unit plugged in and the touch-screen interface launched. I made a point to say that my critique was limited to just the set-up experience – that once launched, the Microsoft Surface unit offered a really stunning user experience. But by 5pm today that discussion had become so chock full of “web-muck” (the online equivalent of the telephone game, where the original message gets lost in the transmission) that it was becoming a huge distraction. So like a ship captain desperate to jettison a fouled cargo, I took it down. No one asked me to, I was just overwhelmed with 20,000+ people wanting red-meat in the tireless Apple vs. PC debate.

To those many thousands of  people who asked some really insightful questions about the Surface experience, I’ll happily post a “real-life demo” of the unit itself (from “on” to “off”) and the application we developed for it next week. As I’ve said, I really love the product and I’m excited to be doing more work on it in the future.

To those impassioned souls who accused me of being everything from a “Microsoft Apologist” to “M$ fanboy” to a “complete idiot”, let me just lay out some facts here:

Fact 1: I’ve been working on a Mac since 1989, I own 2 iMac’s (including the old “flower” model), 3 iPod’s (including a 2nd generation one that’s still singing) AppleTV and an original, day-1 iPhone. We also have a HP laptop at home.

Fact 2: I wrote a blog post based on the faulty impression that our experience was what other Surface customers would also encounter.  I got a call from a guy named Jason who works at Microsoft, who first thanked me for pointing out some areas of improvement to their new product, told me he thought my post was funny, and then pointed out that our experience in fact wasn’t what Microsoft intended. Turns out, in fact, that our experience will most likely be unique, in that all customers should either receive an installation service or two days of training. He directed me to the online Surface “Eco-System Partners” site for additional help, info and community. I thanked him for the call, and we hung up.

Fact 3: By 5pm today, the “web-muck” had grown so thick around the original post (“Microsoft Surface is a useless table”, and other hyperbole) that I took it down and replaced it with this second post. It explains the circumstances around how we came by our experience, and why it is unique. And it being unique, how that undermines much of the first post.

I really, really appreciate the debate about usability – I love the fact that there are thousands of others actively engaged in it as well, and with equal or even greater passion than me. But it doesn’t have to devolve into the Montagues vs. Capulets (happy birthday Mr. Shakespeare!) – or the Hatfields vs. McCoy’s. We live in a multi-tech world, and we seek to create quality user-experiences on whatever platform we work (which so far has included the Internet, the iPhone, the Surface and – coming soon – Google Android, among others). In our office we love our Mac’s. We love our Microsoft Surface. We love running MS Office on our OSX machines.

We also love all this traffic to our previously sleepy blog page – come back next week to get the tour of the Surface app!

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