Was the Courier Project really killed off or did it transform into the Surface, OneNote and Windows 8?

Six years ago before the Apple iPad there was rumor of a 7 inch dual screen tablet from Microsoft, the Courier project, two years later in 2010 that project was killed, but was it really killed?

It was rumored to be a device that supported multitouch gestures as well as a stylus and came with special applications for note taking and tight integration with the cloud. Does any of this sound familiar?

It is very interesting to see how the idea and mockups of the Courier transformed into the Surface Pro and the tablet computing flood that followed the accusations of vaporware. While the iPad made it to production and the Courier did not, the Surface Pro 3 lives up to Microsoft promise of the Courier in ways that the iPad has yet to do.

Four years ago I wrote a blog post expressing my disappointment when I heard that the Courier Project was killed, today I manage a fleet of Surface Pro 3 devices that run AutoCad, Revit and provide the note taking and entertainment features todays users have come to expect.


Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on the HP TouchPad – CyanogenMod 9 Alpha 0.5 (bug fix)

The Cyanogen team does it again. I took the leap and installed this on my TouchPad and wow!!! This is wicked.

I went to Best Buy today to compare the performance on the TouchPad to that of other available devices. I left the store with a smile, the TouchPad even with the remaining bugs in this build, can compete with the most expensive Android 4.0 device. I cant wait till the Cyanogen team perfects this mod.

Today they published an update (actually a bundling of updates).

Alpha0.5 Release notes:
This is a minor release that bundles fixes that were previously a separate download and a few other things:

  • Fix kernel crash that happened most frequently with Titanium Backup but also many other apps(fix found by verygreen)
  • Touchscreen fixes by Dees_Troy(helps with rapid distinct touches being interporated as a single motion)
  • Fix graphics corruption that was happening in some games
  • CM9 changes from Flemmard
  • CMStats added
  • Browser: open link in incognito mode
  • Change needed for fsck replacement
  • Other general changes that were merged since alpha 0


The internet brings world unity, what’s next? World peace?

On Wednesday Jan. 18th thousands of sites went dark to protest SOPA & PIPA, two US bills in Congress that threaten the foundation of the internet, freedom of expression and information sharing. Some sites displayed black banners, others went completely dark. The Stop SOPA movement went global in a short amount of time, with internet and technology companies leading the charge to stop this vague regulatory measure from being imposed upon internet service providers and their end users. Again we see the power of the internet at work and the voice of the people coming together this time with large corporations to shape the laws of the land.

In 2011  the occupy wall street movement started with a tweet and most of us learned of the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Gaddafi via Twitter and Facebook before they saw the news on TV. Most news organizations and politicians now rely on online social media for fundraising and opinion polls. This voice of the people is being heard and that voice is making social, political and economic change happen.

In the early 1900’s Lee Deforest was the person who first used the word “radio” to describe his invention (AM Radio) that leveraged the works of many scientists before him, around that same time, similar advancements were being made in the area of television. The first national live television broadcast in the U.S. took place on September 4, 1951 with President Harry Truman’s speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco, California. These advances ushered a new age of information sharing across the globe.

In the 1960s and early 1970 the Internet was born. Much like the advent of television, the internet continues to shape the political and social landscape, bringing information literally to our fingertips and connecting us in ways we only dreamed about (or read and saw in science fiction like Star Trek).

What’s next world peace? Call me optimistic, but I like what I see. The internet has become the true voice of the people, no one owns it and all attempts of controlling this media have failed. The internet continues to evolve hand in hand with human social evolution (some would even say it shapes it), by giving us not only an information repository, but also a venue for all to discuss and argue the issues that affect our lives.

“Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking”
– Stephen Hawking 





1860’s – James Clerk Maxwell predicted the existence of radio waves.
1886 – Heinrich Rudolph Hertz demonstrated that rapid variations of electric current could be projected into space in the form of radio waves similar to those of light and heat.
1866 – Mahlon Loomis, an American dentist, successfully demonstrated “wireless telegraphy.”
1884 – German university student, Paul Nipkow proposed and patented the first electromechanical television system
1895 – Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor, proved the feasibility of radio communication.
1900’s –  Lee Deforest invented AM radio
1960 – 1970 – The birth of the internet

The history of Television 0n Wikipedia

Into the clouds


In November I decided to see how high into the clouds I could get without having to pay a dime. The answer…”Very far”.

I set two goals for this endeavor:

  1. I wanted to break my dependency on hardware, if my laptop died I should be able to pickup new hardware and immediately be functional without having to install anything.
  2. I wanted to be able to get to all of my content anywhere and on any device.

For me this is what the “cloud” promises, so I set out to find out if it could be done.

How did it go?

I was able to create complete backups of 3 computers (20GB), break my dependency on Microsoft for all of my document editing (word, excel, powerpoint etc.) and build 3 websites, without a single penny spent. I now have all of my files automatically synchronized to the cloud without having to lift a finger and can access them from any device.

How did I do it?

Google docs and sites, SugarSync and Microsoft Office Live Workspace . Here are my steps:

  1. I installed SugarSync on all of our computers and syncronized My Desktop and My documents folders (you might want to fine tune this so that it does not pickup your music library)
  2. I went to Microsoft Office Live Workspace and installed the needed software. This is the “Cloud” add on for the Microsoft Office suite. I installed it only to see what they had to offer in this space and found that it was an excellent alternative to the installed Office suite and allowed you to sync documents from the actual software to the cloud. I use One Note a lot and this was the only way to make it cloud based to meet the goals of the mission.
  3. I went to Google and logged into my gmail account, then clicked on the documentslink. I’ve used Google Docs for some years now, so this isn’t new to me, but now I was focused on living without word installed on my computer.
  4. Last step, I went to Google sites and created a website for my home business www.fairygodauthor.com.

Total out of pocket cost = $0.00

The test

I pulled out an old laptop that I keep as a backup. It has nothing installed other than the OS and SugarSync. I was able to work comfortably for a week. There were a few hiccups:

  1. Gmail doesnt allow you to attach documents stored in Gdocs directly, so you have to save it as a Word document to the device, then find it and attach it.
  2. On the iOS devices it is very difficult to work, mostly because of browser issues and Apple’s restrictive ways.
  3. On the Android devices everything worked well, especially when I had the Bluetooth keyboard attached, it was like working on my laptop, minus the mouse. Not having a mouse is distracting.

Is it worth it?

YES!!! I am now able to get to any document I’ve ever created from virtually anywhere and on any device, Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows 7, HP Touchpad, if it has a browser, I can work.


You are putting your content into the cloud. You need to take a leap of faith that the companies that are hosting are reputable and offer privacy and protection for your content.

You need to make sure that you have a strong password set for these services. Don’t get sloppy, both your device and the service needs to be password protected.

How did I get so much space in the clouds?

Referrals, most of these services will give you more space if you get others to join. SugarSync starts you off with 5Gb.


Products like these create a security risk in the corporate environment, as now any employee has the ability to move content to the cloud. Administrators should take note and come up with policy to protect the corporations content. My best advice here is to find a way to work with the tide not against. Click here to go to an article on CIO magazine on this topic.