Dave O’Leary, bringing CEO, CIO, VP, Chair insights on his Microsoft Surface Pro Journey

I have known Dave since the 1980s’ as a leader in business, industry, government, media, society, academia and internationally. He has several interesting ideas he shared with me as articles that I will be posting starting with this one today. His profile is below followed by his article, “My Microsoft Surface Pro Journey.”

Dave O’Leary M.Ed. I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P

dave-o-pixDave is President of the Canadian Information Processing Society of British Columbia and currently works as the Vice President Institutional Advancement at Northwest College in British Columbia. He serves on the Professional Development Committee of the Practitioner Board of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as well as on the CCITC Bachelor of Technology Management advisory board. Dave is a recipient of the National Leadership Excellence Award from Colleges and Institutes Canada. He is a regular contributor to IT World Canada. He is a serial entrepreneur starting as co-founder, CEO (2000) and now board director of an ISV computer technology business and mentor to a number of successful start-up ventures. He serves as a task force member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is the past chair of the Canadian National Council of Deans of Information and Communications Technology. Dave has served as an invited panel member in a number of Microsoft Canada webcasts. In July 2007, as one of seven invited global experts, he presented a paper on the impact of educational technology on management strategies of higher education institutions at the International Conference on Higher Vocational Education in Qingdao, China. Dave has also served as a CIO for institutions.


Here is Dave’s article, “My Microsoft Surface Pro journey”.

As the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 makes its way to market I find myself looking back over my Surface experience that started with the first Surface Pro. It has been a little over three years since I purchased my first Microsoft Surface Pro 128. I was a very early adopter and experienced the excitement and challenge that is the norm for those who buy early production runs of any product.

My work schedule immediately following the purchase afforded me the opportunity to put my Surface Pro through its paces in two countries and nine cities in twelve days including a trip down a coal mine. It was on that trip that I rebranded my Surface Pro not as a tablet or a laptop but as a “laplet”. I was very satisfied using the Surface Pro in either laptop or tablet mode and found the stylus enabled handwritten note taking functionality to be particularly helpful while on a walking tour of a large industrial facility. I did identify some opportunities for improvement but overall the first Surface Pro was, for me, a new and better tool completely at home in my demanding work environment.

Ten months after purchasing my First Surface Pro I upgraded to the Surface Pro 2. Any good retail analyst will tell you that the best thing to do to hit a target market is to listen to your customers. When I opened the box on my Surface Pro 2 128, I felt that my initial suggestions for improvement had been heard.

First of all I was able to head to a local electronics retailer and buy the Surface Pro 2. They had lots of them in stock and the staff was knowledgeable. This was a marked supply chain improvement over my first Surface Pro procurement experience.

Ten minutes after opening the package I was up and running. I was thrilled with the two added value gifts of a one year Skype Premium Account and 200 GB of Skydrive storage. The device itself was a significant improvement over the initial version. The battery lasted a full work day, the two position kickstand made viewing more comfortable, and the backlight typepad keyboard was a gift when I had to take a redeye flight.

By the time I had used my Surface Pro 2 for a month I was convinced that the product development folks at Microsoft must have listened to their customers and got it right. I continue to use my Surface Pro 2 and still have people come up to me and ask me “what is that”? I personally know of two have gone out and purchased one for themselves after trying mine. It is simply the best productivity tool available for anyone who needs full laptop functionality combined with tablet portability in a small and flexible form factor. As far as I am concerned the only improvement I would still make would be to find a better way to store the stylus on board the device. Otherwise the Surface Pro 2 does the job in every way I need.

In the next while I will have to decide whether or not to continue on my Surface Pro journey and upgrade to the Surface Pro 3. From what I hear it has moved a bit closer to being a light and powerful laptop vs a hybrid laptop and tablet - “laplet”. Improvements made from the original Surface Pro to the Pro 2 have apparently been upgraded again on the SP3. The cameras are better, the screen resolution is improved, the kickstand now moves through 135 degrees, and the slightly larger Type Pad keyboard (increase in size is necessitated by the slightly enlarged display) has an improved trackpad. All of this is good but the big improvement for me based on my past experience is the addition of a latch on the Type Pad Cover to hold the stylus. Sometimes it is the smallest thing that matters most.

With the release of the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has made it clear, if it wasn’t already, that it is serious about its position in the device market. I love my Surface Pro 2. It does everything that I need it to do and does it well. I will watch the Surface Pro 3 with interest and who knows, I may be writing about my experience with it in the future.

Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Here is an article from David O’Leary from his roles as chair national council of IT Deans, CEO, CIO

  2. Anonymous says:

    David O’Leary shared this article with me today from his past roles as chair national council of IT Deans

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