Makzan’s Weekly Dispatch 2019w5: Dual Tablets setup: Surface Go and iPad Pro productivity

Hi <<First Name>>,

This week I’m exploring a dual tablets setup, with my Surface Go and iPad Pro. Why two tablets? Why two systems? Why not just iPad Pro or just Surface Go?

It is like having a dual displays setup. It allows me to work and have a reference near-by. Two is better than one.

Then why two separated computers instead of having an external display? Tablets use to be touch based and single-app focus. Having an external display for tablet reduces the power of tablet.

That’s why I have two tablets.

I tried to have two iPads working together. But they are too similar to have any real benefits. Then I thought, how about a mix of Windows tablet and iPad? They can be a good companion so I gain benefits from both operating systems and avoid their shorts on each platform.

My requirement is to have iPad Pro 12.9 and an extra lightweight windows tablet. I need 12.9" iPad Pro because it allows split mode of almost two portrait iPads together (regular-width, regular-height). For lightweight windows tablet, I look at the Surface series. It will be over-killed to have Surface Pro and iPad Pro together. So I choose a Surface Go as my 2nd tablet.

Both of them maintain the characteristics of tablet. Each of them has its own strength.

  • Both machines have Notion access so I can write and reference on either one.

  • I can use one tablet as reference machine and work on the other one.

  • I can program on an online IDE in Surface and write down the documentation on iPad.

  • I can write tutorials on one device and draw the explanation chart on another one.

  • I can write lightweight Python visualization script on iPad (with Pythonista) and reference the API documentation on another one.

  • I can write Swift code on iPad and document my thoughts on Notion on Surface.

When I go outside, I bring the iPad Pro without keyboard and Surface Go with keyboard. That provides me both lightweight and power to work anywhere. The Surface keyboard is more lightweight than Apple’s keyboard. When I need to type on iPad, the virtual keyboard on iOS is smart enough to correct most of my touch-typing errors. Actually I had been using original iPad to type in portrait mode even when standing on subway.

If I really need to bring a keyboard for iPad Pro to work outside. I prefer the Canopy + Apple Magic keyboard.

This is my dual-tablets setup.

Links worth sharing

Exiting Medium → Write.as ends Medium integration
I don’t believe in central place to host everything on Internet. That’s why I never believe in Medium. Signal v Noise exits Medium this month as well. The beauty of Internet is the diversity.


PWS on iOS → the good, the bad, and the “not sure yet if good”
Service Workers is available on iOS 11.3. But it is still in slow progress to fully support it. Anyway, good to have some progress here in iOS 12.2.


PWA on Android → Google Play Store now open for Progressive Web Apps
On the other hand, Trusted Web Activities can now deploy on Google Play Store. Despite that is still web technologies, listing on store can increase the visibilities to potential customers. And it follows the progressive enhancement principle that PWA on store gains some kinds of native API support, as an enhancement.


Learn Web Technologies via Source → Paying tribute to the web with View Source
This was how I learned HTML, CSS and JavaScript too, by investing others’ source code. While the world is moving to heavy JavaScript web application development, I still believe in server-side rendering with interaction enhancement done via JavaScript. Yet required the content to be accessible to readers even when JavaScript is not available.

Quote worth sharing

There is nothing permanent except change. — Heraclitus

Until next week,
Thomas Mak


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