My Life On Microsoft: What I used to cover Microsoft’s May 2nd event

Arif Bacchus

Stage for May 2nd Microsoft Education Event

This week I was live in my hometown of New York City to cover Microsoft’s May 2nd education focused event. While I was previously invited to cover other Microsoft events, including last week’s Digital Difference eventthe October 2016 Microsoft event and November 2016’s Microsoft Teams event, this time I carried around a different set of devices with me on the road. So, if you’re curious as to what this Microsoft blogger uses, now is your chance to find out!

Surface Pro 4:

Unlike the prior Microsoft events from last year (Teams and October event,) this time my device of choice was my new Surface Pro 4 instead of my older Lenovo laptop. To keep things short and sweet, I’ve done a comparison of my experiences between last year (laptop) and this year (Surface Pro 4) for you! It’s also worth noting that I recently purchased my Surface Pro 4, and didn’t have it last year during my coverage of other Microsoft events.

  • For one, my laptop was too heavy. For this week’s event, with my Surface Pro 4, I could pack everything I needed into one bag without worrying about carrying around extra weight. I was also able to save space in my bag thanks to the Surface Pro 4’s compact 2 in 1 design, not having to worry about lugging around a large bag through the NYC subway system in my journey to the event.
  • Secondly, my laptop did not have a rear facing webcam. Last year, this proved to be a problem for me, as I had to snap pictures with my DSLR camera and then manually upload back to my colleagues at OnMSFT so we could get posts up using my content. With this week’s event, and with my Surface Pro 4, I was able to raise the device up, and snap quick pictures and post them up to our live blog, bringing quality content.
  • Lastly, my laptop was very large and took up too space on the table at the event. Last year, I found myself putting my essentials on the floor or in my bag instead of my desk. This year, with the Surface Pro 4, I was able to put everything I needed on my desk, including my SD Card, my camera lenses, a beverage, my phone, and my chargers. Surface Pro 4 has a very small footprint compared to my laptop, and it’s amazing.
My Surface Pro 4
My Surface Pro 4

Lumia 950 XL:

While I hate to admit this in such a fashion, my main daily driver is an Android phone, more specifically, a Nexus 6P. Like some other Microsoft reporters, I recently made the switch from Windows 10 Mobile to Android, but unfortunately, I had a very upsetting experience with my Android phone after last week’s Digital Difference event. As a result, for the May 2nd event I carried around my Lumia 950 XL instead, using it to snap quick pictures and videos and to record longer featured videos for OnMSFT’s Youtube channel.

So here is the story. Last week at the Digital Difference event, I snapped some wonderful photos and videos using my Nexus 6P, and sadly, I lost all of my work when I came home to offload photos via a USB connection to my computer. I’m still not quite sure why this happened, but when I plugged my Android into my Surface to copy photos, my Surface froze up and bombarded me with popups telling me that the pictures folder on my Android phone is not available. I may or may not have caused this to happen (since I was multitasking and also copying photos from my SD card,) but when I rebooted and plugged my phone back in, all my photos were gone and nothing copied to my Surface. I guess this is what happens when you take an Android phone to a Microsoft event.

Hey Cortana on Lumia 950 XL Windows Phone
My Lumia with my Surface Keyboard

On the bright side of things, thanks to my Google Photos backups, I was indeed able to recover most of my photos and videos, but the best quality stuff (and large video files) were all gone. From this experience, I figured that it would be smarter to carry my Lumia 950 XL for the Microsoft May 2nd event. With my Lumia as a side phone, I captured some good videos, including a hands-on with the Surface Laptop, and an overview of Windows 10 S.

At the end of the day, the Lumia 950 XL took higher quality videos and also netted some high-quality audio, AND, everything transferred safely to my Surface via USB cable. While I was frustrated with the photos experience on my Android phone, I still used my it to keep in touch with my team using the (much more polished) Android version of the Microsoft Teams app. Since many of my friends use WhatsApp, Snapchat and other apps (which are not either available or not as polished on Windows Phone,) I still used my Android device to personally share event photos to my family and friends, but my Lumia was used for all business.

Lumia 950 XL and Box
My Lumia 950 XL and Box


At previous Microsoft events, I did not live blog, and instead opted for short posts and social media bursts using the photos I captured with my DSLR camera. While I experimented with this last week for the Digital Difference event, I again choose the live blogging platform 24LiveBlog to embed a live blog right here on Like I described above, thanks to the power of the Surface Pro 4 camera, and this live blogging platform, I was able to drop in quick snapshots from the event’s keynote, giving readers a more personal feel.

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Since the Surface Pro 4 carries only 1 USB port, I also carried a variety of accessories (along with my extra camera lenses) to help me get business done in a fast and efficient matter. First up is a USB 3.0 to Gigabit Network Adapter. I choose this accessory because it’s always best to use a hardwired ethernet connection at Microsoft press events and get the most out of internet speeds to upload content back to my team at OnMSFT. And, the accessory also carries two USB 3.0 ports, which means I have extra room for my other peripherals.

Next up is this Transcend USB 3.0 reader. This reader is particularly useful because I am able to pull out my SD card from my camera and plug is right into my Surface to quickly upload photos to my team at OnMSFT. Without the reader, I would be forced to upload via USB, which is a much slower process.

My accessories
My accessories

So, there you have it. I carried my Surface Pro 4, My Lumia 950 XL, used 24LiveBlog, and a few accessories to Microsoft’s May 2nd event. The Surface Pro 4 and my accessories made for a great live blogging experience, and my Lumia 950 XL helped me capture some great photos and videos to share with our readers. I’m looking forward to the next Microsoft event, and will always do my best and carry the best devices to bring the best quality material from Microsoft events. Thanks for reading, and be sure to drop us a comment before with your thoughts!