Why do I have a Surface, and an Android Phone, and a Windows desktop, and a Macbook, and an iPad?

Someone saw my Surface this week and shook their head, they assumed I was one of the biggest Microsoft Kool-Aid drinkers ever.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/koocbor/I actually think the Surface is kind of a turd. I only have one because it is a part of the conversation in the industry, the conversation about the evolution of Microsoft and its attempts to return to relevance. I don’t know how to participate meaningfully in the industry if I don’t have firsthand knowledge of the products involved. So I have a Surface. I have a PC with Windows 8.1. I’ve tried a Windows Phone relatively recently.

For the same reasons I have an Android phone now, because there is a huge conversation in the industry about Android vs iOS, the differing corporate strategies of Google and Apple. I have a hard time understanding that discussion if I haven’t experienced the Android product directly. Maybe if I was more insightful I wouldn’t need to actually use the product, but for me, the product experience is essential knowledge. I’ve read some stock analysts’ dissections of Apple or Google or Microsoft and their lack of hands-on product experience is obvious at times, which suggests all their analysis is flawed.

And I have a Macbook, and an iPad. I’ll probably get one or both of the next generation consoles. I have an AppleTV and a Google Chromecast. Important to understand the home entertainment experience. Oh and several linux boxes running Ubuntu and Centos. Hard to understand the trends around open source and modern software development if you aren’t living with these. And a Raspberry Pi, and piles of Arduinos, super important to understand the IOT wave and low cost computing. I also use AWS. And Heroku. And Cloud Foundry. And have played with a couple other service options. I’ve tried Azure. And of course the legion of higher level services for developers and devops.

It amuses me when someone sees what I am working with and decides I am an apple zealot or linux fan or windows diehard. What I am is a technology enthusiast, and an industry participant. There may be other paths to remaining smart about the industry, but for me, it is all about hands-on experience with the products.