When I’m in class I like to take my notes on my Microsoft Surface. Well most of my classes. My psychology professor has a ban on all electronics, and I use a physical notebook for my two economics classes as I prefer to draw graphs by hand. My main reason for using the Surface is that I can easily add notes to all of the PowerPoint presentations using Microsoft Office and the keyboard.
Now, I have already written about what I consider to be the three biggest design flaws of the Microsoft Surface, so I suppose this is just adding one to the list. Perhaps I was waiting for 8.1 to come out as I thought Microsoft would fix a problem as visible as this. Here it is:
When I use my surface, I always have the task-bar auto-hide. I mean the display is only six-ish inches tall, so there really isn’t enough space to want to always have it up there. Besides, having the task-bar takes away some of the clean-cut feel of the device. Of course, when I want the device to display the task-bar I just click down at the bottom to get it to pop up. But here is the problem, when I want it to go away, the cursor gets stuck on top of the task-bar so it just stays there. You can try to click somewhere else on the screen to move the cursor somewhere else, but no dice. You need to use the trackpad from the keyboard to move the cursor to get the task-bar to hide again. If you don’t have the keyboard plugged in, tough luck. Very frustrating indeed. Sometimes you can click an icon on the task-bar and it might hide eventually, but by this point I’m already frustrated enough by the experience.
On the flip side, I am sure that the task-bar needs to stay up there for some time so that people can find exactly what they’re looking for. Ultimately, I believe the solution is that Microsoft remove the desktop mode all together. As is they are in this odd limbo between the desktop centered layout of the previous versions combined with a new side swiping app centered layout of Windows 8/8.1. I touched on this point a little in a post about Windows 8.1 in general back when I was on the consumer preview.