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December 12, 2013

Keeping Up with the Roaches: a three-Surface family in Seattle

Whether it’s a hybrid car, outdoor fire pit or jumbo play structure, there’s always a family in every neighborhood that sets the pace for the rest of the street. Consider the Roach family from Seattle. They become a three-Surface household before many people even knew that Surface had launched. After discovering that the Surface RT was perfect for running his consulting business Jeff introduced his family to Surface, which quickly became an extension of their busy family. Jennifer uses Surface to juggle teaching and a doctoral program and Ian gets to skip the computer lab line at school and not miss a beat (worth noting Ian can type 120 words per minute on a Touch Cover). When I talk with Jeff and his family I’m reminded that Surface 2 is great for busy families who need something that can do double duty for work and play. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Jeff, Jennifer and Ian.

Bryson Gordon
Director- Microsoft Surface


I love my Surface 2 because it just makes my life so much easier.  I’m a working mom and a full-time doctoral student so I need to have everything in one place.  I can grab my Surface for any task whether I’m doing research for my dissertation or creating lesson plans for my work as a pre-school teacher, or even if I’m cooking in the kitchen. It’s also great for just relaxing with a video or game.  The screen in amazingly beautiful and so crisp.  I love that it’s light and thin and fast.  It’s really a great way to manage everything I’ve got going on.


What do I like to do with my Surface 2?

One thing I like about the Surface 2 is having Office included; using OneNote for notes to save weight and my typed notes are so much easier to read than my handwriting. Another is PowerPoint for presentations, which is beginning to occur during the school year again which becomes more helpful by the day. Also, Word for essays, stories, and writing (on the touch cover 1, I could type around 80-90 words per minute, on the touch cover 2, it’s gotten closer to 126 words per minute).

Another thing I like about Surface 2 is the game apps mostly games with Gamerscore for bragging rights. Another point is the unique feel to games on a table such as in Asphalt 7 Heat while turning. Another is the speed the Surface 2 plays graphically intense games such as one of my favorite games, Halo Spartan Assault. I confess I do play a mean game of Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja now and again.

Also, one of the best things I’ve noticed is the improved Skype performance, I have friends all over the world that I’ve met through online gameplay, and with the improved hardware everything comes across crystal clear.

Because the Surface 2 is so thin and light, I find myself being able to use it anywhere so I catch up on my favorite topics using apps like the Top Gears news app, the geek trivia app, or curling up with an good book using the kindle app.

One of the surprising things I found; because I’m so focused on the apps when I remember Internet Explorer 11 is a full blown browser I am able to go to all of my favorite sites like I was on an regular computer.

And just for good measure I typed this on my Surface 2, I really do love this device.

Jeff Ian Roach Store Launch

Jeff and Ian joined us at the Bellevue Microsoft store for the launch of our newest Surface devices to share their Surface tips and soak up the scene.


I’ve been using my Surface RT for the past year, it started just as my after work personal machine to check mail and surf the web and maybe use a few apps, but I quickly discovered that I was using it in meeting to take notes using OneNote, doing quick edits to Customer Proposal Decks in PowerPoint or enter data in Excel. As mobile professional having the ability to be out all day without worrying about battery life the Surface RT became my go to machine, handling everything from Conference Calls using Lync 2013 Mobile to organizing my social or family life using SkyDrive and the Productivity Apps.

Now with the Surface 2, I get all of the same benefits in a sleeker lighter and more powerful machine. I find that the Surface 2 is the best VOIP Client I’ve used, better even than my Surface Pro 2. As an IT Consultant, I live and die by Outlook and having that now as part of the Surface 2 is invaluable, I use it with OneNote’s integration to keep track of To Do Lists, Meeting Notes and Lync Meetings (it keeps a list of those who joined the meeting!!!).

I also use the Surface 2 for personal interests, I’m a moderator on a Tablet PC related Forum and an active member on other similar sites and using IE 11 I can keep up with what is happening and be part of community, sharing how we use our devices. I also find myself using the Zinio, Kindle and Nook apps for both professional study and personal reading, I start each morning with the Bing News and Weather Apps and me the geeky dad has started playing Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja trying to beat my son Ian’s scores!!!

Speaking as a father, one of the reasons we bought Ian his RT originally was we needed a device that allowed him to be a kid and have fun but also allowed him to excel in school giving him the same tools that me and his mother use to be productive. But he is still a kid, a great kid but a kid none the less so the biggest selling feature for us was Family Safety, we are able to set limits on what he can do online, how long he spends online and we get a record of all he does on his machine (including what he searches for or what he sees) and these settings cut across his Surface 2, his Pro 2 and even his Nokia Lumia 920 that he bought with his saved up allowance and birthday/Christmas Money. It gives us as parents the ability to allow him more freedom without exposing him to things we would rather he not see.

Yes I have the Surface Pro 2, and it is a great machine, but at the end of the day it is my work machine, I find myself picking up my Surface 2 much more to do tasks that most people would only do on the powerhouse laptop or x86 tablet, but even in just these couple of days the Surface 2 has replace my RT as my everything machine, always with me both at work and play and have I mentioned this thing gets incredible battery life, I’m writing this tonight at 10 PM PDT and my Surface 2 has been on battery since 6AM this morning

I’ve been using Microsoft Tablet PC’s since the beginning, I piloted a deployment of Tablet PC’s in a government setting back in 2002 and have used them as my personal and business machine since 2003, I’ve owned 8 different Tablet PC’s in a variety of form factors and sizes from heavy convertibles to slates and now that I’m using the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2, I don’t see myself using anything else for the foreseeable future (Well until the Surface 3).