I consider myself platform agnostic. I have no real allegiance to any companies or brands, and buy what I feel is the best product for me. I have an android phone (Moto X), rMBP and Mac Mini, and a Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows tablet. Now I love the Venue 8. In terms of productivity, nothing beats having full windows. Its made my life so much easier when I work remotely or need to attend meetings. But the Windows store does leave something to be desired. I didn't think the issue was that big until I tried to complete one task this weekend.
The goal: Get the Wall Street Journal online articles synced to my tablet for offline viewing so I can read it during my subway commute to work, which is underground and without service.
Now if I had an iPad, all I would have to do is download the WSJ app, sign in, and be done with it. Offline syncing is not supported in the android or windows version of the app. So here is the work around I had to put together in order to get what I wanted.
1.) Create a Feedly account and add the WSJ RSS Feed to the account. Now the issue here is that you can't sign into subscriptions, so some articles are incomplete. To get around this, I had to use step 2.
2.) Use IFTTT to forward new articles in my WSJ Feedly category to Pocket (formerly Read it Later). Now on android, this would have been good enough since Pocket allows you to add a subscription, and sync for offline reading.
3.) Install blue stacks on the Dell Venue 8 pro, emulate android on the venue 8, and install pocket. At this point now I'm able to sign into pocket, sign into my WSJ account, and have the articles synced for offline use. But now there is another problem.
Blue stacks won't resize properly for some reason and requires some registry changes to adjust the window size
4.) Edit registry entry for Blue Stacks to use full screen real estate in both portrait and landscape mode.
Now it took me a bit to figure out how to get this all set up since I kept trying to find an easier solution at each step. Its just crazy to me that all of this is needed. There is no native Pocket app for windows, and none of the apps include offline syncing. The WSJ app is gimped for no reason at all and doesn't have offline sync. In fact, the WSJ app is the exact same thing as if you went into the bing news app, and clicked WSJ as the source. Even down to the formatting.
Hopefully it gets better. Full Windows 8.1 is really awesome on a tablet. If you're looking for pure media consumption, an iPad or an Android tablet is better suited. But for real work, a full OS is just so much more useful. Its not going to replace my work computer, but it does a great job of filling in gaps when I need it.
If any of you know of a simpler solution on Windows 8.1, I'm all ears!