Friday, May 31, 2013

Surface Area

Ever wanted more than three rows on your Surface RT? Four Tile Rows Surface RT has been a way to do it, although it resets to default as soon as you turn your screen off. Not perfect, seeing as it’s only a very temporary solution for this dilemma. Thankfully a permanent solution is available.

User, tamarasu, over at XDA Forums has found a solution, and it works. I am writing this currently on a Surface RT that has four rows, and it makes my start screen much easier to use. Here’s how you can do it too:

  1. open notepad
  2. post following line:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Scaling]
  3. save as a .reg file
  4. import into regedit
  5. restart surface
Alternatively you can download this .reg file and run it, followed by a quick reboot of your Surface RT. Also, this will make your on-screen keyboard slightly smaller, but it is just as usable. If you ever want to restore your 3 rows you just need to go in to the registry editor and delete the registry key, and restart the device again. I assume this will work on any Windows RT device, but I haven’t tried it on other than the Microsoft one. Hit up the source link for all the original instructions.


Friday, May 3, 2013

To key or not to key

For someone who types a lot like me (I’m an author), a keyboard is a tool of critical importance. I need the keyboard to be responsive, fast and lead to the least amount of typos. For years, I’ve searched for the best possible keyboard, and these are not easy to find.

Many people agree that the current line of Apple keyboards are amongst the best, and when they came out, I used one for a while, but the unusual key layout they have (with the apple key where I’m used to have the ALT key) kept throwing me for a loop. Even though I was able to use a keyboard mapping software to replace them, I was still having problems when connecting to other computers via Remote Desktop, so I was looking for something else.

Eventually, I found two other keyboards that provide for a comparable experience. The first is the Sony keyboards. These have the same conceptual design as the Apple (often referred to as “Chiclet”, although that’s not completely accurate), but it’s a Windows keyboard. These are actually quite hard to find, as Sony doesn’t sell them to the public. They are typically provided with Sony’s All-In-one computers. You can trick Sony into selling you just the keyboard (if you claim to have their computer, and your keyboard broke…they will sell you one as a replacement part), but that will be VERY expensive. These do occasionally come up on eBay, though that’s also hard to find, as if you type “Sony keyboard” on eBay, you’ll get thousands of keyboards for LAPTOPS. To find one, you can try a more specific combo, such as “Sony wireless keyboard”, or “Sony USB keyboard”. You might also be lucky enough to find one by searching for specific models by model number. These are sold under various model numbers such as VGP-WKB5JP, VGPWKB5JP, VGP-UKB3US and VGP-WKB5US. You might also find one by typing “VGC-JS series keyboard” or “VGC-LS series keyboard”.

A keyboard that’s easier to find, and has some advantages over the Sony is the HP Elite 2 keyboard. These are only available as a wireless keyboard (which means lesser security, as well as battery replacements), but are relatively cheap at less than 30$ right now. Another advantage the HP has over the Sony is the key layout. The Sony has an unusual arrangement of the arrow keys on the right, which can take some people some time to get used to, while the HP’s arrangement is classic 106.