The Microsoft Surface for Photographers and Artists

The just announced Microsoft Surface looks to be a good device for photographers and digital artists.

One of the commonly skipped over features of the new Microsoft Surface is the inclusion of a pressure sensitive pen in addition to the finger touch interface. Now while there are many pens for the iPad and even one pressure sensitive option that uses Bluetooth to transmit the pressure information to specially written software, it is not the same as having pressure sensitivity integrated into the operating system and so more likely to be supported by a wide range of apps.

Real details on the Surface are few and far between, so we don’t know how many levels of pressure sensitivity are supported. But any number will be a big help and I can’t see any reason why it would be less than 256 levels, which is going to be more than enough more interesting photographic retouching and digital art applications. Note that the pressure sensitive pen appears to only be on the more expensive full Windows 8 device, not on the cheaper one.

Other features look positive for us too. USB 3 as well as a microSDXC port will make connecting cameras easy. In this way the 128GB option model may be ideal as an in-the-field image viewer and storage device, with the ability to do some reasonable preliminary editing as well.

We live in interesting times and not all of that is negative stuff. The Surface just might provide the long awaited competition for the iPad. Competition helps us, the consumer, and if Microsoft gets it right then we may all be better off.

Microsoft can do hardware right. I’ve always preferred their mice over everyone else’s, especially Apple’s, for example. So let’s give them a chance and see what they deliver when the Surface actually ships. I know I’ll be extremely keen to try one out.



Microsoft Announces Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows

Microsoft-made hardware to be available starting with release of Windows 8 and Windows RT.

LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Today at an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled Surface: PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows. Company executives showed two Windows tablets and accessories that feature significant advances in industrial design and attention to detail. Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise. It delivers the power of amazing software with Windows and the feel of premium hardware in one exciting experience.

Advances in Industrial Design

Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface represents a unique vision for the seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. Extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience includes the following highlights:

  • Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.
  • VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.
  • Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
  • Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

An Amazing Windows Experience

Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. From the fast and fluid interface, to the ease of connecting you to the people, information and apps that users care about most, Surface will be a premium way to experience all that Windows has to offer. Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.

Contributing to an Expanded Ecosystem

One of the strengths of Windows is its extensive ecosystem of software and hardware partners, delivering selection and choice that makes a customer’s Windows experience uniquely their own. This continues with Surface. Microsoft is delivering a unique contribution to an already strong and growing ecosystem of functional and stylish devices delivered by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to bring the experience of Windows to consumers and businesses around the globe.

Additional Product Information

Surface for Windows RT Surface for Windows 8 Pro
OS Windows RT Windows 8 Pro
Light(1) 676 g 903 g
Thin(2) 9.3 mm 13.5 mm
Clear 10.6″ ClearType HD Display 10.6″ ClearType Full HD Display
Energized 31.5 W-h 42 W-h
Connected microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video,

2×2 MIMO antennae

microSDXC, USB 3.0,
Mini DisplayPort Video,
2×2 MIMO antennae
Productive Office ’15’ Apps, Touch Cover, Type


Touch Cover, Type Cover,
Pen with Palm Block
Practical VaporMg Case & Stand VaporMg Case & Stand
Configurable 32 GB, 64 GB 64 GB, 128 GB
(1, 2 ) Actual size and weight of the device may vary due to configuration and manufacturing process

Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.

For more information about Surface, visit

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Some information relates to a prerelease product, which may be substantially modified before it is commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here.

D-Link® SharePort Now Available – Offering Easy and Convenient Media Streaming, Storage and Wi-Fi Connectivity on Mobile Devices and Tablets

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., June 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — D-Link today announced its SharePort™ All-in-One Mobile Companion (DIR-505) – an innovative new product every tablet and smartphone owner needs – is now shipping. SharePort offers instant USB sharing capabilities with the free D-Link SharePort™ Mobile app, enabling users to share videos, music, and photos from an external hard drive or thumb drive to any iPad®, iPhone® or Android® device. In addition, SharePort provides wireless access wherever an existing network is available and adds instant storage to a mobile device, offering the ultimate set of features for home or on-the-go convenience.

“SharePort is an all-in-one mobile companion that is ideal for anyone who enjoys playing music, movies or viewing photos from their iPad, iPhone or Android device,”said Daniel Kelley, associate vice president of marketing, D-Link North America. “It allows for easy sharing of media to Android and iOS mobile devices. Plus, SharePort instantly adds storage to your mobile device and can also serve as a portable router/access point, Wi-Fi hotspot and Wi-Fi repeater for instant wireless access from anywhere a network already exists, whether at home or traveling.”

Smaller than a standard mouse, the easy-to-use SharePort offers instant Wi-Fi coupled with a range of useful features designed for today’s mobile professional. The free SharePort Cloud app for both Android and iOS offers access to videos, music, photos, and files on Android and iOS mobile devices. Simply plug SharePort into an outlet, wait for the red light to turn green and insert a thumb drive in order to join a network or access media via the SharePort app. SharePort also features a USB port for sharing content from a USB storage device or charging smartphones, as well as an Ethernet port that enables users to easily connect to an existing network in a conference room or hotel room.


More about the D-Link SharePort (DIR-505)

SharePort offers a range of features in an affordable, compact device:

  • USB Port for seamlessly viewing and synchronizing videos, music, photos, and more from a connected USB storage device to any iOS or Android tablet, smartphone or computer
  • Free SharePort Mobile iOS and Android apps for tablets and smartphones
  • Portable multi-mode wireless router/AP, Wi-Fi hotspot and repeater
  • Ability to act as an Access Point to wirelessly extend an existing network
  • 10/100 Ethernet Port
  • Built in AC plug for easy traveling and use – no additional cables or power adapters required
  • USB Port for charging a smartphone device (when not used with a USB storage device)


Availability and Pricing

The SharePort (DIR-505) is available now for $69.99 throughout D-Link’s network of U.S. e-tail and retail outlets, including, Office Depot and Office Max, and at the company’s online store.

About D-Link

D-Link is the global leader in connectivity for home, small business, mid- to large-sized enterprise environments, and service providers. An award-winning designer, developer, and manufacturer, D-Link implements and supports unified network solutions that integrate capabilities in switching, wireless, broadband, storage, IP Surveillance, and cloud-based network management. For more information visit, or connect with D-Link on Facebook ( and Twitter (

D-Link, the D-Link logo, and SharePort are trademarks or registered trademarks of D-Link Corporation or its subsidiaries. All other third-party marks mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright © 2012.D-Link. All Rights Reserved.

Pioneer Launches One of Industry’s First PC-Based Blu-ray Disc Drives

Revolutionary Technology Results in Five-fold Increase of Storage Capacity

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. today
announced one of the industry’s first Blu-ray Disc computer drives,
expected to revolutionize digital and high-definition media storage.
The new Pioneer BDR-101A will utilize shorter wavelength blue lasers in
order to store up to 25 gigabytes of information on a single layer
Blu-ray Disc.  It is expected to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2006.


first generation product will be targeted primarily to professional
users and serious enthusiasts, generally the first to adopt new
technology.  In particular, content creators will
depend on Blu-ray Disc writers to test and evaluate high definition
consumer Blu-ray Disc titles during the authoring process before
replication.  The drive will come equipped with a data recording application to transfer digital files to Blu-ray Discs.


the market for high definition video camcorders grows, users will
increasingly rely on the Blu-ray Disc drive to store massive amounts of
HD video.  Likewise, a person with a television
tuner on his or her personal computer could use the drive to record
high definition television shows for later viewing. 
The drive also will be able to play consumer Blu-ray Disc movie titles
on BD-ROM discs and will play and record standard DVD media.


one of the first products to utilize Blu-ray Disc technology, the drive
significantly increases storage capacity, while reducing the number of
discs currently needed to back up computer hard drives, digital files
and applications. 


“Storage capacity in a stable medium is critical,” said Andy Parsons, senior vice president at Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.  “A few years ago, no one could imagine needing more storage than available on a CD-R.  Yet today, we need multiple DVDs just to back up the numerous photo and video files on our computers. 
Blu-ray Disc technology fulfills the rapidly growing need for more
storage space and Pioneer is proud to be one of the first companies
bringing it to market.”


The half height BDR-101A Blu-ray Disc/DVD writer will read BD-ROM/R/RE, DVD-ROM/DVD-R/DVD-RW and +R/+RW discs.  It offers the following write speeds:


  1. BD-R/RE (2X)
  2. DVD-R/+R (8X)
  3. DVD-RW/+RW (4X)


Pioneer has been an innovator of optical disc technology since it brought LaserDisc, the precursor to DVD, to market in 1980. 
Pioneer went on to introduce the first DVD writer for computer use in
1997, the first DVD recorder as a VCR replacement in 1999, the first
DVD/CD writer for home computer users in 2001 and surpassed 5 million
sales of DVD writers in 2003.  The company now leads the market with the introduction of this new Blu-ray Disc drive.  Pioneer Corporation is one of the Blu-ray Disc Founders.


Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. is headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., and its U.S. Web address is 
Its parent company, Pioneer Corporation, is a leader in optical disc
technology and a preeminent manufacturer of high-performance audio,
video and computer equipment for the home, car and business markets. 
The company focuses on four core business domains including DVD,
display technologies, Digital Network Entertainment(TM) and components.