Novel design … Microsoft’s Surface Book
I found I use the touch screen only in the rare times I’m in tablet mode, though overall it’s a plus. The system comes with a stylus with clickable tip and pads. Maybe if I were an artist or spent a lot of time in tablet mode I’d use it, but after trying it a few times, the stylus became part of the detritus of pens, thumb drives, and mints in the bottom of my laptop bag. The Windows Hello facial recognition for sign-in is neat, but it doesn’t recognize me about 10 per cent of the time. It did unlock immediately for my friend Peggy, who must look enough like me.From a performance perspective it’s a good laptop, and one that I would have been happy using for my small business. It’s when I’m not using it that the big problem sets in.Whenever the system goes to sleep for a few hours or more, chances are it’s not going to wake up. These long sleep periods, such as overnight, usually result in system crashes. The start of my work day, almost every day, involves bringing my Surface Book back from an unplanned full shutdown. If I attend a few meetings then come back, it might be dead. Catch a flight to the East Coast? The laptop won’t make it.
In the three months I’ve been trying to solve this problem, I’ve found it’s so common it has a name. Sleep of Death has plagued Surface users, particularly on Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, since early this year. Searching “sleep of death Surface” on reddit.com brings up 50 relevant threads. Even more damning, the same search on Microsoft’s own support forums yields over 75,000 results; for users who don’t know the bug’s nickname, a simpler search like “Surface sleep crash” nets even more: 250,000.Sleep of Death is just what it sounds like. You leave your computer in sleep mode. When you come back, it’s shut down, and needs to be powered back up, leaving you to sift through auto-saved versions of files, hoping to avoid data corruption. This can happen whether in tablet or laptop mode, on battery power or plugged in (including docked), with or without hibernation enabled. Even if the system is set never to hibernate, long sleep is usually fatal.
Outcry … A search on Microsoft’s support forum for “sleep of death Surface” gets over 75,000 hits
In some cases, the shutdown is worse. (“Crash” is technically the wrong word, as there is no crash dump file; it is an unplanned shutdown.) The system may end up unresponsive to the power button. This has happened to me about twice per month, leaving me to follow online instructions from Microsoft (read from my iPhone, naturally) on what to do when your “Surface won’t turn on or wake from sleep.” In the worst scenarios, my Surface Book has overheated while allegedly sleeping inside my laptop bag. This tends to happen if I close it and put it away without giving a specific sleep command.
From my experience, the best chance to avoid a crash is to close applications before allowing the Surface Book to sleep. The fewer things I leave open, the better the chance it will sleep peacefully through the night or my flight. (Despite these precautions, the longer the sleep, the more likely a crash is.) But if I’m going to close everything, I might as well shut it down. The whole point of a sleep function is to leave your work open on your computer or tablet and then have it be in the same state when you come back.Microsoft is hurt and disappointed that people would think it was trying to “trick” them with a confusing Windows 10 upgrade dialog that scheduled an upgrade without users explicitly agreeing to do so.Redmond recently created a new Windows 10 nagware reminder that presented a dialog asking you to install the OS. But if users clicked the red “X” to close the dialog – standard behaviour for dispelling a dialog without agreeing to do anything – Microsoft took that as permission for the upgrade.Redmond (via its flacks) has e-mailed The Register – and, we presume, World+Dog – to say that the UI had worked like that for ages: “the UI of our ‘your upgrade is scheduled’ notification is nothing new (including the ability to just ‘X-out’ of the notification with no further action needed to schedule your upgrade) – it’s been part of the notification UI for months” (their emphasis, not ours).
In this Knowledge Base article, Microsoft notes that “Based on customer feedback, in the most recent version of the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app, we confirm the time of your scheduled upgrade and provide you an additional opportunity for cancelling or rescheduling the upgrade.”+Comment: You’ll have noticed that Microsoft didn’t say it would re-write the app so that closing the app is taken as a “no”, as happens for just about every other dialog Windows offers.Or is Redmond saying users who didn’t like the UI sleight-of-hand are at fault for delving into its Knowledge Base every time they find a dialog confusing? We’d expect commenters to have an opinion on this … A report by the US State Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton did breach record-keeping laws – by using a personal server for work emails. The watchdog added she was not alone in the practice.The 89-page dossier [PDF] found that three senior State Department figures had broken the rules by using personal email accounts for departmental business: Colin Powell, Hilary Clinton, and Scott Gration, the US ambassador to Kenya.
General Powell, who was Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005, had a private line installed in his office and used a laptop to exchange emails with colleagues and department staff. He was unable to provide copies of all emails sent to investigators.The report states that Clinton took this further and set up a private email server to handle extensive email correspondence and has handed over hard copies of around 30,000 emails handled by that system. However, she hasn’t included messages from January 21, 2009, to March 17, 2009, for received messages; and from January 21, 2009, to April 12, 2009, for sent messages.Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary, the OIG report states.At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.