An onion sits on top of the box for Occipital's Structure Sensor

Frustrations and setbacks

Allan Sherman was one of the most important musical comedians of the 20th century. He’s probably best known for that “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah” bit, but he did a lot of work, including a lot of television work, despite the fact that he didn’t believe he had much of a voice at all. The story goes that he likened his singing of silly songs, often accompanied by a wonderful symphony orchestra, to walking up to the most wonderfully dressed display window at Tiffany’s, only to find, on an exquisite cushion in the middle of the display, an onion. The juxtaposition made sense to Sherman’s sense of humor, and I have to admit that there is something kind of genius about finding humor in that kind of disappointment.

One of the biggest issues I have when I’m trying to do something is that I get pretty insistent on doing things my way. I want the world to bend to my will, I guess, or at least at some level I want to make sure that I understand how the world really should operate and then I try to make sure that I’m not wrong.

Well, I’m wrong a lot.

The hope when I bought the new Surface Pro and the Structure Sensor was that I could make the one work with the other. It seems that is not the case. I figured there would be hiccups along the way, but I have to admit that I don’t think I was prepared for this level of failure. The hardware I have on this tablet far exceeds that of what one would find on a typical iPad, but because the sensor was designed with the iPad in mind and the software they make for Windows is designed with post-processing in mind (as in, a much badder graphics card than I have in this tablet), I’m not getting good results here at all. Not even when I tried scanning an onion.

The good news is that I’ve still made the arrangements to borrow someone’s iPad, but the bad news is that I have to freakin’ use a freakin’ iPad. I don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s $750 toy, no, but I also don’t want to have to use an Apple product to begin with. I double especially don’t want to admit that the iPad can do something that my hardware can’t, even if that’s due to an unfair advantage.

Nonetheless, here I am, waiting for the next chance I’ll have to borrow someone’s compatible iPad. If I have to pay for the apps I’m going to use, I’m going to be doubly unhappy; I don’t want a single ounce of my resources going to prop up that company, but it may just have to be something I suck up and do.

On the other hand, I did get the Surface Pen I ordered, so my setup is now complete. I’m typing this post on the new tablet, in fact, and I’m excited at how natural this feels, how good the display looks, and the strength of the magnets holding everything together. Now I just need to figure out how to use the pen to do all those cool things I bought it for, and maybe a few new tricks I hadn’t thought of on the way.

…and who knows? Maybe I’ll pick up some coding experience when I’m done with the dissertation and I’ll end up developing a Windows app that will take advantage of the Structure Sensor’s hardware and do amazing things with it using the light side of the Force instead of the dark side…but I wouldn’t hold my breath. That’s a lot of learning before I can get that far, and I’ve got a lot of work to do on the diss yet, anyway; I don’t need to be planning that kind of shift in my energies just yet.

I should be writing.

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