Surface Pro 3

Get Glasses for Your Surface Pro 3 to Photograph Documents Clearly

 

One of my complaints about the Surface Pro 3 is that the fixed focus camera is totally unsuitable and unusable for capturing documents. You can’t get close enough and keep your documents in focus. All you get is a blurry mess.

I’ve tried using a macro lens designed for a smartphone with bad results. There have been some posts in Microsoft Communities about this, and lots of unhappy customers. Here’s a solution.

Your Surface Pro 3 needs glasses (or more correctly, a monocle).

I started with $17 rimless reading glasses +2.50 strength from WalMart.

start

Some snapping, twisting and bending to get to:

monocle

I hope to refine the above a little, but it was quick and dirty. I then put glasses on the Surface Pro 3 rear camera:

 

glasses on sp3

And took my first picture of a document. This is NOT retouched. Click or tap to open the image below full size.

 

output

Wonder if anyone will be inspired by this to Kickstarter a real accessory. Microsoft, you should make an accessory and provide it free of charge to your SP3 customers. You owe them at least that.

Surface Pro 3 and Apple Airport Low Speed Fix

 

I recently posted my theories on why some Surface Pro 3 owners are reporting low speeds over wireless. Customers in Microsoft Community Forums have been reporting 72 Mbps wireless speeds and complaining.

I’ve worked with a few customers in the forum who were complaining about the 72 Mbps speed and have found for those folks with Apple Airport Extreme routers that specifying an explicit SSID name for the 5GHz channel and not leaving the default “same setting for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz radios” resolves this issue. Should this be necessary? Absolutely not. But for now, if you want to overcome this issue, you should make the change.

You’ll need to access Wireless Options using the Airport Utility and specify a unique 5GHz channel name. While you’re at it, you can optionally change the channel setting from Automatic to a specific channel

 

airport5GHz

I’ve been advised that Apple hasn’t released a Windows version of the Airport Utility that works with the latest 802.11ac Apple Airport devices, so you’ll need to use a Mac or iOS device.

If this resolves your issue, please let me know in the forum thread or on Twitter @barbbowman.

Fixing PhotoShop CS5 Tiny Menus and Icons on Surface Pro 3

 

One more of my “this is driving me crazy” issues on my Surface Pro 3 is now resolved. I haven’t bought into Adobe Creative Cloud, even with the $10 a month special deal for photographers, mostly because I bought the stand alone LightRoom 4 and didn’t see Photoshop CS6 as being worth $10 a month. I was, however, miserable trying to use the tiny menus and toolbar icons in Photoshop CS5. Until today.

I read alot of online sites and forums, and after this past weekend, was making my Monday rounds and came across http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/microsoft/63504-workaround-tiny-photoshop-ui-surface-pro-x-other-apps-other-hi-dpi-screen.html which lead to some reading https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?cid=4BE668230430EFDD&resid=4BE668230430EFDD%21947&app=Word, and http://tinyurl.com/m99e8xc and finally to https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=4BE668230430EFDD&id=4BE668230430EFDD%21935 and some pre-made files. I carefully examined the files and set a restore point on my SP3. I placed the external manifests in the proper folders and ran the registry file. Whoa!

You can click/tap the image below to enlarge it to full size 2160 x 1440 to see totally usable menus and toolbar icons.

fixmenu

I’m one happy camper. My thanks to “Scrambler” for this one.

Some Theories on WiFi Issues with Surface Pro 3

 

I’ve been reading about issues with WiFi connectivity in the Microsoft Community Forums (and trying to help folks with these problems), primarily in two long threads:

 

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfnetwork/surface-pro-3-limited-wifi-problem/bd17691d-f00d-491c-a65e-fcd77a304b3a

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfnetwork/surface-pro-3-wifi-and-network-connections-driver/69c3cd0f-daac-44be-bec6-643d2e53f98a

 

I have some theories, but am having trouble extracting answers to my questions in these threads because I’m asking afflicted users to make changes to their router configurations WHICH THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DO UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. I’ve developed a couple of theories about some of the connectivity issues.

 

1. SLOW WIFI: Some routers (Apple has been doing this for years) ship with both the 2.4 and 5 GHz channels set to the same SSID (name). Other vendors have started doing this, some by default, others let you specify this optionally. It’s marketed as an “Smart Connect” type config where the “best” channel is selected by the client/router automatically. I asked a couple of users in the forum about their config and learned that they were using the same SSID. I asked them to make a change and specify unique SSIDs and attach to 5GHz. They’ve reported their problem has disappeared.

Over the weekend, I experimented with my newest Netgear Router, the newly released R8000. This router has TWO 5GHz radios that support the newest 802.11AC speeds. Netgear optionally offers the “Smart” connect where you can enable the same SSID name.

smartconnect

You have no control which radio you connect to when this is enabled.

If you enable this kind if smart connect on routers covering both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands on certain routers, apparently you will always connect to the 2.4GHz SSID if you are using a Surface Pro 3.

For folks with 2.4GHz 802.11n routers with no 5GHz, your speeds will be slower than if you had a dual band router. There’s just no getting around this.

 

2. LIMITED CONNECTIVITY WHEN COMING OUT OF INSTANT GO ‘SLEEP’: Most routers ship with channels set to auto select so that the user doesn’t have to figure out what channel has the least interference/usage. I’ve always changed this to specific channels here and have had no issues. My theory here is that while the SP3 is in InstantGo sleep mode, the channel has changed and the Marvell adapter can’t find it. Similarly, if the initial connection is made, while using the SP3, if the channel changes, the same “can’t find new channel” situation occurs. I’ve been asking people to make changes in their settings to test this. Again, I know this should not be necessary. But it would seem to be a great diagnostic.

Surface Pro 3 Rear Camera Driver is dated 2006

 

I’m one of the people who is unhappy with the ability to use my Surface Pro 3 to take a usable, in focus, photo of a document, due to Microsoft’s decision to change from a great working variable focus camera in prior models to a dumbed down fixed focus camera. There’s a thread on Microsoft Communities about this, http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfhardware/surface-pro-3-camera-quality/52a2b69b-aa2e-49bb-8287-55dd37f60c6a with no real answers from official Microsoft support personnel.

I was looking around in device manager today to see what drivers the cameras were using and when they were issue and nearly went into shock. While the front camera has a driver from 2014, the rear camera, on my Surface Pro 3, is reporting a driver from 2006.

2006

Now, it may be that the default driver date for ALL Windows drivers is 2006 (Vista era), but the front camera shows 2014. This is just sloppy. I took alook at the details for this driver and there were two. The ksthunk.sys driver reports a driver from a year ago, 8/22/2013.

thunk

I wish someone from Microsoft would comment on the poor decision to use the fixed focus camera and respond to unhappy customers in the Communities forum.

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