WE OFTEN PUT OURSELVES IN HARM'S WAY to bring you the latest in hot tech news, dear reader, braving militant PRs, bothering execs, and sneaking past officials who say we can't go somewhere because we don't have the 'right' badge.
Our pursuit of news has seen us politely refused, scowled and even mildly nudged; that's right, actual physical contact. And the latter was true during the Microsoft's Surface showcase in New York.
First, a caveat: Microsoft did invite us along to the event, so we're glad of the opportunity to get out hands on the latest Surface tech right on the heels of it being revealed.
While we took a closer look at the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X, all of which are shaping up to be rather impressive devices, we didn't get access to the Surface Neo or Duo, the two most innovative and interesting devices Redmond's engineers have cooked up.
These are both prototype devices that won't be available until late 2020, so there's a good chance a lot of their parts and appearances are subject to change. As such, the devices were only available to view behind a barrier. That's unless you were from a few select media.
Naturally, we gawked at the device behind the barrier like everyone else. But unlike some, that didn't satisfy us enough to claim to have a 'first impressions' or 'eyes on' article. So when we spied the pair of devices sitting amongst the other newly revealed Surface stuff on a cordoned raised platform to the side of the showcase area, we grabbed our camera and went over to briefly snap it.
A mere arm's length away from the devices, we raised our DSLR to our eyes and lined up a shot. And then it hit us.
Some Microsoft bloke nudged us and said that we couldn't snap the devices, even though we were behind the barrier, and barked that the area was reserved for "broadcast media". Given the Beeb had a go with the Duo, noting that it crashed when they messed around with it, we're guessing they were some of the folks he was referring to.
Nevertheless, the Surface Neo and Duo are intriguing early-days gadgets, so we returned to the devices we were allowed to photograph. Sadly we didn't have a zoom lens handy so we took mild liberties with the barrier and pushed up against it, a bit like a cat rubbing itself on the edge of a sofa.
No sooner had we done that than another guy came along and nudged us, telling us off for pushing on the barrier. Reader, we were merely testing its torsion, hardly abusing the fabric of its reality.
We ignored the Microsoft rep, despite his touching, and snapped a pic. We then spun on our heels and wandered off with an air of "do you know who we are".
Yet, despite all this effort and pestering, we didn't get our hands on either gadget. So all we can do is speculate on it rather than blather on with any authority.
The Surface Neo is arguably the most interesting device. If the Surface Pro X is an evolution on the Surface Pro, then the Neo is a future-gazing jump in the Surface line-up.
Sure, there are questions as to how well software will work on Windows 10X and whether the design will look a little ancient by the time the end of 2020 comes around.
But the gadget looks rather elegant, and the magnetic keyboard mechanism is pretty slick and makes logical sense in the device's form factor.
We see it as something of a companion gadget to go alongside a workhorse laptop or desktop setup; we always after a compact device that has enough grunt and capabilities to allow us to do our journalist work on the go, without needing to lug around a laptop bag or backpack.
The Surface Neo would, for example, make a more practical writing device than an iPad mini or large-screen smartphone, yet at the same time be something we could probably fit into a coat pocket.
If Microsoft can get the Surface Neo to the market at a reasonable price then we think it could appeal to more people than current 2-in-1 laptop devices or an iPad.
The Surface Duo is something of an enigma for us to wrap our tech-addled brains around. Microsoft's Surface guru and family man Panos Pany made damn sure not to call it a phone. But it can make receive phone calls, with a lady in the video showing it off answering a call.
However, it doesn't have a camera, begging the question is it a smartphone if it doesn't have a camera? Probably not if you're an iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel handset.
We guess it's a shrunken down and folding tablet then, though that's kinda what the Neo is... so what the hell in the Duo? Microsoft would want you to think it's its own device.
That's fine and dandy, but we need to figure out what and who it's for. The Neo makes sense as a compact secondary Window 10 device. But the Duo runs Android at its core, despite Redmond's best efforts to hide it behind a Windows 10X-style UI.
We do rather like Android phones, even iCarly had some positive things to say about the Galaxy S10+, but Android tablets haven't really won our attention. That's mostly down to a lack of good tablet apps and optimised software. Want a tablet? Then get an iPad, even if you'd like nothing more than to set Tim Cook and pals on fire.
So a Microsoft tablet that's a-phone-and-also-not-a-phone that runs Android doesn't fill us with immediate awe.
We haven't got much of an idea of the true capabilities the Surface Duo will have. And there's a good likelihood that its design might change a bit before it comes out in late 2020; which wouldn't be a bad idea as if the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X finally come out, the Surface Duo could look well behind the curve in 12 months' time.
But even if we take it at face value, for the Surface Duo to be a full-fledged Android device with some Windows capabilities, Microsoft will need to have third-party developers working on it. Given that it hasn't happened too much in the Android tablet world, we'd be surprised if Microsoft can get such devs to turn their attention to the Surface Duo.
One potentially slick thing the Surface Duo could do is be a form of portable games console that can run Android games, and perhaps some re-architectured Windows locally, and act as a device that can tap into Microsoft's Project xCloud game streaming service. Obviously, Android phones will be able to do this, but a neat dual-screened device might work rather well; kinda like a fancy Nintendo 3DS.
We'll reserve judgement until we actually get a chance to have a go with the Surface Duo, or at least a natter with Panos or Satya Nadella about it.
If you want our opinion, then the Surface Neo is the device to get excited about as that seems like a properly interesting direction to take the Surface hybrid design.
But both the Surface Neo and Duo are good examples of Microsoft being a company that's found its potential to innovate in a way Apple used to do well.
With Project xCloud, the current and future Surface range, it's work with Qualcomm and AMD, the powerful Xbox One X, and the next-gen Xbox Project Scarlett, Microsoft is genuinely a company worth dragging ourselves across the Atlantic to see. µ