My name is Christian Wallace, I am a research analyst for Emancipation Capital and live in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Surface Pro 3 has been part of my life for the last several months and it has far exceeded my expectations of both compute power and portability. As a tech analyst I am typically evaluating technologies for stock investment purposes only, but after getting my hands on the new Surface I knew it would be an effective business tool that would also be great for personal use.
Emancipation Capital is a value focused hedge fund based in New York City that invests solely in technology businesses. We look at a wide variety of companies and use many data intensive propriety Excel models, as well as several CPU heavy financial applications. Network and data security is also a top priority for us. Desktop computers do a great job of handling our in-office needs, but traveling has always been an issue. We had secure VPN remote access into our domain already, but finding a truly portable machine that could run full desktop versions of our tools on the road was an issue.
I was surprised to see how powerful the specs were on the Surface Pro 3. It had a stronger processor than my desktop PC and just as much memory. The speed of the solid state drive was the bonus that I wasn’t expecting. My Surface instantly turns on and even heavy applications load faster than on my desktop. Thomson Reuters Eikon is the most important application that I use. It provides my market data, portfolio updates and live P&L. The Surface doesn’t flinch at handling the workload. It runs perfectly, even with multiple Excel models streaming quotes, Outlook and OneNote up and my Redi execution terminal open.
Another surprise was how well the docking station transformed a tablet sized device into a desktop PC with a large screen monitor and mouse connected. It’s powerful and there is no lag, which I have experienced with other devices.
Now when I go to a conference or due diligence trips, I am no longer simply using OneNote and email, I have my full suite of applications running simultaneously. On top of that, with the Surface Pen I can take hand written notes while standing and talking to someone without having to awkwardly type on the screen or use a keyboard. The combined convenience of its form factor and ability it gives me to work more fully out of the office has without a doubt made me a more efficient employee.
OneNote has been an invaluable to me for years and I believe it is the best organization tool available. I track past management conversations, quarterly earnings summaries, business events and use it for several of my hobbies. The new functionality, mobility and durability of the Surface has improved my ability to perform all of these tasks on OneNote, and I have begun using it in completely new ways. The camera allows me to discreetly capture pictures of slide presentations so that I can pay closer attention to the speaker. The Surface Pen adds a whole new dimension to note taking. I can make quick informal notes, add drawings or symbols and highlight or underline important sections of documents without printing.
At home the Surface has become not only a media hub where I stream music to Bluetooth speakers, control my television through Xbox One, browse the Internet, and check email, but also an incredible tool for a couple of my favorite hobbies: Fly fishing and boat restoration.
I have been tracking an embarrassingly large inventory of feathers, hooks and threads used for tying flies for years with OneNote. A few expensive purchases of materials that I already had was the original reason for me doing this. Checking OneNote on my phone while in the fly fishing shop saved me a lot of money. Instructions on how to create my favorite flies is also very convenient. Now I go fishing with my Surface in my backpack. Every stream fishes differently, and as an east coast fisherman I have trouble adapting to the larger water strategies out west (technically still east for Redmond). Going into a fishing trip I now paste in maps of recommended, but unfamiliar fishing areas, fishing tactics for different water conditions, pictures of popular flies to use during different times of day, and guide service information. With no cell service in most fishing areas, it is easy for me to access all of the information that has been saved to the Surface, and I can input new information to use the following day. I would never remember small details like how long of a leader I used, or how many split shot brought in the biggest fish of the trip.
Surprisingly, my Surface has also become a great tool for restoring an 80 year old mahogany fishing boat. It is the first time that I have ever worked on a project like this, and how-to videos saved to the Surface have been extremely helpful inside the shop, which doesn’t have WiFi. The camera lets me take pictures to track my progress, and creates a guide for how to put parts back together after restoration. I also create lists of the exact parts I need so that the project isn’t delayed because I forgot the exact screw size. Through OneDrive, all of this information is shared and updated real time with the others in the shop, mainly so that they can steer me correctly!
I can’t wait to find my next unique use for the Surface.