Saturday, October 28, 2017

Surface Book 2 - My pre-launch thoughts

Disclaimer - This review is my opinion and does not present my employer or Microsoft views.

I am a Microsoft MVP in Office Development. During my day, I am a productivity consultant. I am passionate about technology advancement be it software or hardware.

To keep myself more productive with my community activities, I purchased Surface Pro4 16 months back as I wanted to keep my community and office work separate. Also SP4 give me more battery to run without hassle of frequent charges while presenting or travelling.

I am happy with the so far performance it has delivered. I was amazed by Surface Book, then Surface Book with performance base and new Surface Pro. As it's agile world, be it software or hardware, you need to keep up to pace.

Recently, Microsoft has launched Surface Book2 with high standards and matches my expectations with the amount of investment.

I am very selective type of person and want to make sure at-least the product which I am buying matches the criteria what I am looking for. My priority while selecting a device for myself was/is listed below -

  1. Weight - I need light weight beast for community activities, I can't carry 4kg laptop on my back.
  2. Performance & Storage - Being Dev, I install tons of software and write applications. I want to have adequate performance and storage to work with this requirement.
  3. Battery - As I travel or speak, I need at-least 2 hours of continuous charge, so that I can complete my work easily.
  4. Screen size - I don't have a fully functional desk at home. Thus I need a decent screen size that does not require my eyes to focus on every letter I type.
  5. Ports - As devices are getting thin, it's challenging to get all standard ports.
  6. Camera - decent 720p front facing camera. So that I can take my exams from home :).
  7. Wireless + Bluetooth + Rest - With latest Intel Wi-Fi, you can enjoy the max speed on Wi-Fi and also help you to save batteries on Bluetooth devices.

I don't expect my work pc to be equivalent to a game pc. If I want then I need to compromise my priorities.

If I compare Surface book 2 with equivalent products of Microsoft like Surface Pro, Surface Laptop (available at I love Surface Book 2 specifically for below reasons as -

  1. First, I get a quad core processor. So definitely powering up PC more.
  2. Second, variation in screen size (13.5"& 15"). *This will depend on your local market availability.
  3. d-GPU - now at-least the d-GPU is available through out the models and also options of 2GB in 13.5"screens and 6GB in 15" screens.
  4. Bettering Battery - Intel is doing amazing job in delivery performance in less power and helping to build better Ultrabook.

I am planning my next device to be Surface Book 2 from current SP4 as it betters the device with my priority requirements.

I am planning to get my hands on the device when it is available in market to feel it. I have tried hands on Surface book already. 

Now, here is a (wish)list which I believe could make this device more better (at-least for me)

  1. d-GPU 4Gb option - d-GPU is very important when you do some graphics heavy work. As part of community, we do record video recording. While rendering videos need the d-GPU, but seems 2Gb is too low and 6Gb little high. An option with 4Gb d-GPU could make more sense and make the device little less costly. And to note, there is no 6Gb d-GPU option in 13.5" devices.
  2. Ports - Generally we complained about just 1 USB3.0 port in Surface Pro devices. But we managed with either using Surface dock at work or using adapters. I really like my Dell adapter ( which does the job for me.
    1. In Book 2, we have 2 exclusive surface connect ports. I don't understand as why? 1 is good enough to charge or use with dock to do all job of extension. Only MS can answer that what's the purpose of 2nd port.
    2. Mini-DP - I generally find mDP does the job in most places and give me my USB port back. I believe keeping a mDP could solve the external monitor connection in most scenario.
  3. Missing essentials - Not sure (may be costing) as why MS can't include Surface Pen with a device which is already at the cost of $3000+. Pen + Keyboard are essential to Surface devices.
  4. Stability as Laptop - as you can still detach the screen to work in tablet mode, few individuals mentioned that does not seems so stable as usual laptop seems. I was thinking to buy as I can use it as proper lap-top. Surface Pro is tricky in working as Laptop and toppled many time.
  5. Reseller/Service channel - MS stores support the buy/return and other fixing issues related to device. But out of USA, there are very less store like Australia got just one in Sydney. i.e. 1 in one entire country. If this is your primary device, then remember to have backup as you have to wait till MS store return it to you. Not sure, but MS can partner with device resellers to return and fix issues in device even when device was purchased from Store. (I am not a authentic commercial person, but as a user it will help me to buy from store and service quickly when I need it). [I purchased my Surface Pro4 from a local reseller so that I can just walk in and change/fix the device when I have issues. I added insurance on top of that. So in this cloud world, I need only install time. I loved Dell with their next business day onsite warranty support.]

Rest seems good to me. I am waiting for the market launch of the device to get my hands on and provide next set of review.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

SharePoint Designer - Keep it up to date

Recently, I was working with SharePoint Designer and SharePoint Online for creating workflow.
After I downloaded the designer from, I couldn't create and publish workflow.
After further analysis and troubleshooting I found that I have to install the SP1 and January 2016 KB update. The link to download those are as below -
SharePoint Designer SP1 -
January 2016 KB download link -,-2016,-update-for-sharepoint-designer-2013-kb3114337

Hope this will help someone to quickly fix the issues.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Office Dev with Agile & DevOps

Hi again,

I have been learning and practicing Agile over many years. Recently, as everyone knows DevOps is a buzz word.

What is DevOps really? How is it different than Agile? Do I have to learn something new?

These were the same questions in my mind as well.

I am primarily an Office developer and focus on SharePoint, Office 365 and Office Development. These practice sounds good when it come to .NET based projects. But rarely you will find one using in productivity projects.

I am written down my thoughts, my process ideas, my challenges and how to overcome those. You can read in details using below link.

Read my blog at ESPC here

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Learning Resources

The purpose of setting this page is to find the reference links for learning or references.
I am putting them with tags so that you can find related info on this page

  1. - Office 365 leaning
  2. - Office 365 learning

Monday, August 8, 2016

GigJam - first experience

Hi All,

Recently, I played with Microsoft new tool called as 'GigJam'. It is a cool tool to bridge the systems and get the things much quicker.

It is not a screen sharing tool where you depend on bandwidth to get the screen shared. You share the canvas of application and define what section can be seen by other party and what action can a recipient can take as read/write.

I have recently presented it at Melbourne Office 365 User group and uploaded details at below location.
Feel free to browse them and leave your comments for improvement.

Slide - @SlideShare
Detailed information - @European SharePoint E-books 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Microsoft Stream - With Office365

Microsoft announced a new service called as ‘Microsoft Stream’. For details, please check out the blog at

It is a new video business service and anyone with a valid business email address can sign up for the service. Microsoft aiming to solve the below business challenges via Microsoft Stream services –
  • Getting started in seconds to use the service. This has been a challenge due to IT involvement for the end user requirements.
  • Allow easy upload and organization of videos. With easy drag and drop capabilities, upload your videos and organize them by either starting a channel or contributing to a channel based on team, group, topic etc.
  • Search the relevant content quickly. There are options like “trending” videos powered by machine learning, as well as search by hash tag, most liked videos and other key search terms.
  • Watch anywhere, on any device, anytime.
  • Security on content - who views your video content by determining how widely to share within your organization, and to what channels. Secure application access is enabled by Azure Active Directory, a recognized leader in identity management systems, to protect sensitive corporate content.
  • Follow what is relevant to you.
  • Socialize videos by sharing via email, “Like” your Favorites and embed videos to web pages within your organization.
I tried my hands on this service and found it quite easy to use from an end user perspective.

Sign up Process –

Signing up for Stream was easy. What I did, steps are as listed below –
  1. Open an InPrivate browsing session in Edge/Chrome/your fav browser.
  2. Log in to the service using your Office 365 credentials.
  3. In the same browser session navigate to  
  4. Click on the ‘Sign in’ option, which is located in top right of the page. Clicking on sign-in will take you to a page which will have your logged in user email address as below
  5. Click on the ‘Sign up’ button. And the page will take few seconds to loop through the internal process and displays that you are almost there to use the service.
  6. On clicking Start, you will be redirected to share page. Here you can invite other colleagues.    
  7. You might land on home page. But just click again for sign in. (this happened during my experience and may not be the case with you).
  8. Now if you go to your Office 365 Apps, you can see the newly added Stream App in app launcher.

Uploading video
  1. Now we can start uploading the videos. Click on the arrow button available in top bar on top right section (highlighted in blue).
  2. On Browse page, you can see the videos sort by options like relevance, trending or other valid options.
  3. On Channels page, you can find channel relevant to you, or popular channels or channel with most videos.

Comparison with Office 365 Video service –
Microsoft Stream
Office 365 Video
Upload speed
The upload speed was good and similar to O365 Video services ((for 10MB file)

As competent as Stream service. (for 10MB file)
Video Processing
As soon as the video was uploaded, it was available for viewing and defining other attributes (as shows in above screenshot)
It took few seconds to process the video and made available for viewing.

You can share the video using URL directly.

You can use the URL same way to share it or using email.
The portal provides you an option to choose the frame size and auto play property for your web pages.

It is depending on who you embed your video in the page.
Multi device support with bandwidth
Stream offer multiple quality of video options.

Video portal has good options but less than Stream service.

Like, View statistics are immediately available.

It takes up to 1 days to process the statics and
Overall comparison
Overall, Stream service offer the same as Video but with
New Look
Fast statistics processing
More video quality options
Similar to other video service in consumer space
But miss options like Yammer, download (I haven’t seen an easy way to download it), finding embed code for video.

Looking forward how this goes and integrate with other O365 services like Group, Yammer, BI and others.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Collab 365 - Summit 2016 - Select the best development approach for your case

In continuation to my talks on Office 365 Dev, I delivered a talk at Collab365 - Summit 2016. You can find more information on their home page.

My session is about how we shall compare the multiple development styles available to us and select wisely a preferred situation for development. The focus here is to deliver what will maximize the benefit to end user productivity.

Session details -

This is available on demand and can be viewed anytime now.