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Windows Weekly 367
Leo Laporte: It’s time for Windows Weekly. Paul and Mary Jo are here. We’re going to talk about the Amazon phone the announcement just happened. We’ll get their thoughts. We’ll also talk about updates to Windows phone 8.1 and the Surface Pro 3 it’s about to come out and there is still a major flaw. Will Microsoft still have time to fix it. Find out next on Windows Weekly.
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This is Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley. Episode 367, recorded June 18th, 2014
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It’s time for Windows Weekly! I am sorry I’ve got to do the quiet version. Take 2 don’t want to wake anybody up. Windows Weekly on the air. Paul Thurrott is here. That doesn’t rhyme. I was trying to rhyme it.
Paul Thurrott: You have the suffix downs entro.
Leo: Paul Thurrott from supersite for Windows, winsupersite.com. Mary Jo Foley, also here from the ZDnet blog, allaboutmicrosoft.com. I apologize for the late start on the show today kids. Actually Adobe had an announcement today a little later on there is going to be a T-mobile concert from Macklemore in Seattle.
Paul: What was the Adobe announcement?
Leo: I don’t know what the Adobe announcement was something to give you star ratings in light room for the Ipad. And Amazon had a little event up there in Seattle and they announced a new phone. The question that I have that’s actually for you guys. They showed a maps program it’s clearly not Google Maps. Because they don’t have Google services on this. It’s got to be either Bing maps or Here maps. First of all Bing uses Here, is that right or no?
Paul: It does, yeah.
Mary Jo Foley: It is a very complicated question.
Leo: When Microsoft bought Nokia mobility, they acquired not the mapping technology but the license to the mapping technology.
Mary Jo: Yes
Leo: A. is that exclusive?
Paul: No, oh no.
Mary Jo: I don’t think it is.
Leo: It’s not. It is, it isn’t?
Mary Jo: It is not.
Paul: As far as licensing no.
Leo: So it could very well be that Amazon could have acquired a license. In fact if I were Amazon, I’m not sure what the price would be but that would be the best possible choice for that phone.
Paul: It’s clearly the logical choice. Because Google would have required them to do the full Google experience, you can’t just license Maps I bet.
Leo: Guarantee you not. You would have to do an Android handset and that’s exactly what this is not. It’s based on Android but it’s Fire OS.
Paul: I bet this is Here maps in the background.
Mary Jo: Bennett Mcgovern is saying on his Twitter stream, yes it’s Here he is saying.
Leo: Well that’s good, I like Here.
Paul: That’s fine, yeah. It looks like they’ve got their own presentation maybe on top of it?
Leo: That’s why it’s confusing. It’s hard to tell.
Paul: Well I guess that would be how you differentiate.
Mary Jo: Simone Bison is saying, Amazon has been a Here license holder for a long time.
Mary Jo: He is one of our blogging colleges.
Paul: They really don’t call it out on this page at all. It mentions maps.
Leo: No it doesn’t. Amazon in this announcement didn’t want to mention anybody else except At&t their carrier partner and then the massive Amazon store. Of course they didn’t want to mention Best Buy because you bring this phone into a Best Buy take a picture of your stuff and you can see how much cheaper it is online!
Paul: I am surprised this thing isn’t basically a retail scanning one.
Leo: It has a dedicated button. You walk in the door you push the button. You know that nobody is going to let anymore phones in their stores ever.
Mary Jo: It will be like wearing Google Glass in a bar. Nope sorry do you have the Amazon phone you can’t come in.
Leo: I know this is Windows Weekly so we won’t spend a lot of time talking about it.
Paul: Well we can make a couple comparisons. They were really pushing the camera.
Leo: 13 megapixels, OIF2. Very good spec wise a very good phone.
Paul: Didn’t compare it to any Lumia phones which I thought was an interesting way to continue ignoring Windows Phone. Which I do not appreciate.
Leo: That’s a good point, they had 3 photo’s a Samsung Galaxy S5, IPhone 5S both of which were taking pictures of dark city scapes and they were saying how much better our camera is.
Paul: To be fair both of those camera phones also take great pictures.
Paul: So if it takes better pictures than those cameras it’s in the 90th percentile or whatever.
Leo: Nokia’s is still the king.
Paul: I would imagine they are.
Leo: It does have a designated button for the hardware of the camera. That’s nice. Same feature as Nokia where you push the button once it opens up the camera app and push it again it takes the picture. They say very quick 1 second.
Paul: Pocket to picture they call it.
Leo: Pocket to picture. Pocketa, pocketa.
Paul: It’s actually a Windows Phone feature so other phones have it.
Mary Jo: I was saying before the show started this kind of reminded me in some crazy ways of the Nokia X because it’s an Android phone that doesn’t run Google apps and services.
Paul: What do we call that? AOSP is that the term?
Mary Jo: Yeah.
Leo: Yeah. The licensing is weird. But you have the open handset alliance. You have the open source AOSP but if you want the Google service on top of that you have to get it certified by Google as part of the open handset alliance. Then you can install Play Store not can but must install Play Store, Google Maps.
Paul: Does it prevent you from installing your own store?
Leo: No in fact you can download on any Android device, you can download the Amazon appstore now.
Paul: Yes but what I don’t understand is there are many benefits to the Google apps and services. So other app makers Samsung, HTC whatever modify the full Android and still have that stuff.
Leo: No you can. You just got to get it certified to do that. Amazon doesn’t want to do it. Amazon is makings its own. In fact before the show began, I made the point and I think this is maybe the most important takeaway, is that there is now a fourth Mobile OS. You’ve got Windows Phone, IPhone IOS, Android as done officially by Google and others, Blackberry, I guess it’s a 5th OS. Now I think you can safely say Fire OS. It’s not like Touchwiz on top of Android. It is its own OS.
Paul: It is its own thing, yeah that’s fair.
Leo: They’ve completely forked it and that’s not a euphemism.
Paul: Or is it?
Leo: So it’s good, it’s competition. I think it’s great thing. I think what’s Amazon has done great as opposed to Microsoft. You know Microsoft struggles because they entered the market late. Amazon has entered the market even later but what they’ve been doing is laying the groundwork for it all along.
Paul: 2 years ago this phone would have been, I don’t want to say a no brainer, but it would have been a big big deal. Today I have questions but it looks nice and it looks high quality. I have issues, this is something anyone can do is compare the apps that are available between the different stores. If you look at just Microsoft apps for example the selection of Android apps that Microsoft makes is pretty amazing. The selection you can get through the Amazon store is not so amazing.
Leo: That’s interesting.
Paul: That could change.
Leo: So there is no Office for Fire OS.
Mary Jo: So far.
Leo: I am sure Microsoft like others is waiting to see. Well how big will this be. The phone doesn’t come out for another 5 weeks they have to get FCC approval. So they are saying July 25th. It is U.S. only so it doesn’t really compete with the X or any other phones.
Paul: This is how things start. People get burned by that in other countries which is understandable.
Leo: You still can’t get the Kindle in most places. The Kindle Fire. Amazon is kind of a very U.S. thing.
Paul: By the way I am looking in their store. There are exactly 5 Microsoft apps for this phone.
Leo: One of them is One Note.
Paul: Two of them are Smart Glass. One Drive, Ornament, Bing Search.
Leo: Interesting, not One Note?
Paul: No, it’s possible it’s actually in here. Sometimes they don’t come up on the manufacture name. No I don’t see it. That’s what I am saying, it’s a little weird from that perspective.
Leo: By the way Amazon is using Here apps. This is actually on Amazons privacy and security notice. So they are using Here maps on this.
Mary Jo: Interesting.
Leo: Very interesting. But this is not an Amazon show and we have been spending the last hour and half talking about it. But there are some things to say in relation to Windows.
Paul: Sure. We’re just as confused as anyone else.
Leo: It is very interesting that there is now another platform out there. This is a first class platform I think. It’s not a derivative of Android but it’s technically its own thing.
Mary Jo: I was surprised there wasn’t more 3D Ishness to this announcement. They did show and talk about the 3D capabilities but everybody was so painting this as, this is a 3D phone and that’s the big feature.
Paul: Well that was their ad, this video.
Leo: They got it wrong though. Amazon calls it Dynamic Perspective. It’s very different from 3D.
Mary Jo: It is. It looks more applied like something that actually has a purpose than just the cool factor.
Leo: It’s not just a gimmick, although it is a little gimmicky.
Paul: It is a bit of a gimmick.
Mary Jo: It is but less gimmicky than I expected. I was like wow who is going to want 3D apps on their phone.
Paul: It’s not actually coming up out of the phone, right?
Mary Jo: No.
Paul: That’s what we often think of as 3D.
Leo: 3D is tricking your eyes, sending 2 different images one into each eye to give you the illusion of 3 dimensional. This isn’t that at all. This is kind of what Apple’s already done on the IOS7 which is to add kind of a perspective.
Paul: I mentioned that today in an article. It’s funny because they are opposites. The Apple approach is like accelerometer it’s based on the movement of the device. Whereas the Amazon one is based on the movement of your head. It has to do with the camera’s sensing the position of your head.
Leo: 4 camera’s on the front, in the four corners. Sensing not just where your head is but how far away from the phone it is. I think we may see more depending on whether or not developers jump on this or not. There could be other uses for that, that are intriguing.
Paul: You don’t see this a lot on Windows Phone or maybe I just forget to use it. But did you know that you can actually shake your Windows Phone to do an Undo? So like a feature.
Leo: If you shake your Android Phone it says would you like to report this bug to Google. The assumption is you’re shaking your phone in anger.
Paul: I saw a guy, I was in New Zealand a couple years ago and I was sitting across at a bar and I saw him shake his phone and he looked at it, shook it again and then looked at it, and did it again. I looked over at him and said does it run faster when you do that? What are you doing to your phone?
Mary Jo: We’ve been talking on the show before about Microsoft supposedly coming out with some 3D stuff for Windows Phone. Theirs is more like the hovering. You hover your finger over and different things are going to happen with the live tiles and stuff.
Paul: Like a proximity thing.
Mary Jo: So that’s yet another way to approach 3D. Quote on quote 3D. That’s coming supposedly in the first update to Windows Phone 8.1. From all we’ve read and heard. It just shows everybody is just bringing their own take to what is in a very broad sense 3D.
Leo: It also shows that phones are kind of going their own direction. These are some features I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of Me2 perspective or Mayday as Amazon put a help button on this phone. A lot of these features I don’t see a lot of people doing as a Me 2. It’s just kind of like well there goes Amazon. Do you think we will see that, with Windows Phone? Certainly Apple is promoting it’s eco system, Google is promoting it’s ecosystem, Amazon is very much promoting it’s eco system. Will Microsoft do the same? They do in software, if you use Office you should have a Windows Phone.
Paul: Recently not so much.
Leo: Increasingly that’s changing.
Mary Jo: That’s an interesting difference because Microsoft is becoming more and more a cross platform company. Like you’re getting Office on all Platforms. You’re getting One Drive and Skype for everything. It’s not like they are trying to lock you into their own garden. They’re actually making their garden available to every home owner or phone owner.
Paul: It’s a big change actually for Microsoft. That wasn’t the way it was for a long long time. I think it’s a realization that the market has kind of moved on and that the mobile devices particularly in a smart phone are predominately other platforms. You can stick your fingers in your ear and pretend it’s not happening but it has happened and I think that’s reflecting that.
Leo: Alright let’s talk about Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 or something. Isn’t there such a thing, am I making that up?
Paul: That’s the very thing.
Leo: Am I hallucinating?
Mary Jo: No it’s coming. It’s coming supposedly around, when have we heard? Sometime soon. I think that’s all we’ve heard.
Paul: The way Windows Phone updates roll out it kind of happens and then it hits the phone months later. I think one of the neat things that happened with the initial release of Windows 8.1 and I hope it happens with the updates is that people in the developer program are able to get it really early. We’ve never had that kind of access before so it was cool. If that thing does happen this fall or late this summer or whatever hopefully we’ll have that same kind of access.
Leo: I got an update pushed a couple of days ago to the 1520 with Update 1 what is that?
Paul: Yeah, that’s Windows 8.1. That is the 3rd of the post RTM updates that Microsoft has delivered so far.
Leo: Okay so that’s not Update 1.
Paul: No it’s post RTM update 1.
Leo: But it will be something when you get 8.1 on your phone? Are people getting that yet?
Paul: Your phone’s unlocked right?
Leo: Yeah I did that whole thing you suggested I joined developer program.
Paul: No when you got the phone.
Leo: Yeah it’s an unlocked.
Paul: So it’s not clear when you’ll get it but it’s at some point this summer whenever the unlocked phones get the update. When they get the 8.1 release. You’ll get an 8.1 release that is just the firmware updates Nokia/Microsoft has provided and actually that might be it. Because you don’t have any carrier software.
Leo: No I don’t have any carrier software. In fact it’s so good, it is so unlocked which is great I decided to take the T-Mobile SEM out of my MotoX and put it, no I am sorry I took the T-Mobile SIM out and put it in the MotoX and put the AT&T SEM in the Nokia 1520 and it all just kind of works. It’s nice. It’s now an AT&T phone. But I won’t get AT&T carrier stuff.
Paul: Right which is absolutely fine. You don’t want any of that.
Leo: Ralph De Ladaga is not going to come to my house and bug me. What is a Micro Max? Is it big, is it little? I’ve heard of Microsoft.
Paul: Last week we talked about some of the Yez Billy phone and some of the other stuff. This is yet another.
Leo: This is another one of the 8.1 phones?
Paul: Yeah these are a couple phones from a company called Micro Max, I’ve never heard of them. They are fairly inexpensive.
Leo: I like the fist logo on the back.
Paul: 110, 160 dollars they are heading to India so we’re not going to see them here, at least not right away. They look like they are pretty decent phones. There is a low end version, 800x480 low res display and then a 5 inch version with a 720P display. But it’s got, I guess it’s actual leather back with that kind of stitching effect that you see on some Samsung products.
Leo: Oh that’s cool.
Paul: If you look at the top in the photo on the right you can see that kind of stitching effect. Which I personally actually really like.
Paul: Some people don’t like that.
Leo: That’s not fake leather, that’s dead cow.
Paul: Supposedly it’s leather. It says leather stitching.
Leo: That’s not going to sell well in India I think. Isn’t that a place where they like the cows, they want to keep them around.
Paul: Yeah. That’s a good point. I can’t make up these press releases though.
Leo: So the logo is a fist or it looks like a fist around a phone I think.
Paul: Yep, it’s punching the cow right in the face. So it can get the leather stitching.
Leo: Take that you sacred cow. I got your sacred cow right here. Cyab it’s not just a color.
Mary Jo: No it is not. It is also the name for that Firmware update that’s coming with Windows phone 8.1. There was read at AMA where some of the Nokia camera folks came on and they said here’s some of the stuff you’re going to get in Cyan. They made it very specific to the camera, they said better colors, continuous auto focus, better video quality, much better low light performance. All of these things are going to be part of that first firmware update that comes to you when you get Windows Phone 8.1 pushed out to you. If you have a Lumia 1520, 930 or the Icon you’ll get all of these. The other phones are also going to get firmware updates too but they may not get these same set of enhancements for the camera, I am not sure.
Paul: Yeah probably a subset.
Mary Jo: Probably a subset. We know that sometime very soon we think starting the next couple of weeks people are going to start seeing the Windows Phone 8.1 and the firmware updates get pushed to them from their carriers. It should be starting to happen fairly soon. It’s already coming out on some of the new phones preloaded and you’ll get some updates too.
Paul: Actually does your 630 have Cyan on it? It must.
Mary Jo: You know what I haven’t even checked. I bet it does.
Leo: How would you find out?
Paul: It does say it. I think it is in the About screen let’s see.
Leo: Does it say the word Cyan or is it by number.
Paul: Yeah it will. On older versions it would say black or whatever. Let me see if I can quickly figure out where you would go. No it’s not in About, I am not sure. Maybe somebody in the Chat knows exactly where to look.
Mary Jo: I don’t have my phone handy. It’s not here.
Paul: Extra’s and info, maybe? There’s a setting app called Extra’s and Info and on my phone it says Lumia Black. It gives you the name of the software release.
Leo: Cool, I don’t have my 1520 with me so I can’t check. But that’s a firmware update, that’s not a software update?
Mary Jo: Right.
Paul: Well it impacts things throughout. Firmware is funny because like Surface 2. It’s a little weird because some of the stuff is Drivers which is clearly sofware for the hardware and we get that. I often think these Firmware updates aren’t strictly firmware as we sort of think about it with computers. But it’s maybe software that interacts with hardware is a way to describe it.
Leo: Somebody should write a Windows Phone 8.1 field guide just to kind of explain.
Paul: I agree.
Leo: What all this is, how it works. Why don’t you write that Paul.
Paul: I am a sap.
Leo: Why do you say that, Paul?
Paul: I’ll tell you why.
Leo: You’re writing another book, don’t tell me that!
Paul: I thought this was going to be an easy update to the Windows Phone 8 book and then I started kind of filling in where all the changes would go and what they were. It’s like clearly a much bigger release than the 8.1 number would suggest. Which I knew obviously but I kind of thought this was going to be a quicky couple months and it’s not. It’s not going to be quick. I am an idiot.
Leo: At least it’s swell graphic.
Paul: That is cool. That’s courtesy of Mclean.
Leo: You need a Fedora.
Paul: I have a picture of me in a Fedora.
Leo: Do you? Just to give you an idea we are at book 0.1.
Paul: Yeah we’ve got a ways to go. Let’s be clear on that.
Leo: Yeah but you can get it. It’s free in PDF, MOBI or EPUB. No actually we were talking about this on MacBreak on Tuesday. The idea of an Ebook. Those are the key 3 formats I think, PDF, MOBI and EPUB. What is your workflow? Sereni Caldwell has a whole talk about this.
Paul: Oh for converting and so forth?
Leo: You start in Word I presume, yeah?
Paul: Yeah everything is written in Word. I use Word to convert to PDF which may or may not for a file size perspective. But I have not examined other ways of doing it. In fact I just want to be very clear.
Leo: Oh there are plenty of ways on the internet, that’s not a problem.
Paul: I want to write the book and not worry about this other stuff on the side. So I spend as little time as possible on that and my time on this. But for converting from Word doc to MOBI and EPUB I use a tool called, let me bring it up. It’s free, calibre.
Paul: Calibre as I call it.
Leo: Well it could be either, no one has ever really said it out loud before so you’re the first so you get to choose.
Paul: It works fine.
Leo: No Calibre is cool and it’s free. I think it’s open source.
Paul: I can say from going to the publish process through Amazon, if you use their tools you can arrive at a file size that is smaller. I know that to be a fact. But like I said I am just trying to get it out so it works fine.
Leo: One step is the key. By the way reporting in, Web 8554 from Denmark, his Nokia 630 is running Lumia Cyan. In Denmark.
Paul: Did he say what color. The word’s Lumia Cyan are a color. Like the black one is orange.
Leo: Bittersweet shimmer. Oh you mean the words themselves are in color?
Paul: Yeah. Like in that app they are going to be a color.
Leo: So 8544 what color are the words Lumia Cyan? Is that important?
Paul: To me it is. That’s my way of saying no not really.
Leo: Only to me is what you’re saying. He hasn’t reported back but as soon as he does I shall let you know.
Paul: Actually I guess it’s kind of a red color. Actually I can show you.
Leo: It’s reddish. Yeah it’s pinkish. That’s Lumia black. 8554 says it’s Cyan. Which is a blue right?
Paul: YES, right. Good, smart.
Leo: Very exciting.
Paul: I can see why they didn’t make it black because you wouldn’t be able to read it. Those engineers over at Nokia.
Leo: They are thinking. They probably tried black. Brought it to the focus group.
Paul: If only you could tilt the phone a certain way and have it be a 3D effect.
Leo: Cortana is there actually speculation that they might move it to Android and IOS?
Mary Jo: Yes and they are the ones who are the source of the speculation.
Leo: That’s interesting, really! I saw your article.
Mary Jo: So we just talked about cross platform right. It’s not going to be something that happens right away. They haven’t even really planned it at all. But they’re kind of opening the door to say maybe we will bring Cortana to other platforms.
Mary Jo: They didn’t give a timetable, they didn’t say they’re difinitively doing it. In fact they said the priority first is to make sure Cortana on Windows Phone is the best and get it going in other countries and all that. But they definitely opened the door for this to come to other platforms. Or at least the possibility of it to be considered.
Leo: That is really what we were talking about at the beginning Microsoft seeing itself not as a hardware company or even a platform company. But as a software and services company.
Paul: Right. There are 2 problems with this though. One if this strategy fails.
Leo: They have no differentiators at all.
Paul: Well yeah they also have created this situation where you’ve kind of thrown yourself on your own sword. The other thing is if you live in a country where Cortana is not supported and you have a Windows Phone device and you’ve heard that they are now considering putting it on other devices. That’s not good news
Mary Jo: To be fair when they did say and nobody reported this, they did say the first priority is getting Cortana on Windows Phones Internationally.
Paul: They might want to be clear about that kind of thing.
Mary Jo: They do. I think they were clear about that. Everybody wanted to just jump onto the wow they’re going to put Cortana on Android and IOS, crazy.
Leo: The issue isn’t really software I am sure they are developing a software. The issue is server capacity right?
Mary Jo: Yeah and how much access do they have to the phones. Like with Windows Phone they can integrate it very deeply. On a IPhone, no.
Leo: Not so much. Google has had that problem. Google’s brought Google Voice to an IPhone but you’ve got to launch the Google app and do it all within the app. Now I don’t think they will have the same problem on Android. I think Android lets you go hog wild. Do whatever you want.
Paul: It is so awesome.
Leo: We don’t care have at it.
Mary Jo: It’s a double edge sword again because which way should you go. If you’re a Windows fan and a Windows Phone early adopter you’re like no I don’t want you to bring Cortana to other platforms. Microsoft is like well maybe that’s the way we get more people into our ecosystem. We hook them with Cortana and get them to use One Note.
Leo: Wait a minute why would an early adopter care?
Mary Jo: Oh they care! They are like in a full on attack mode about this. They don’t want to hear that Cortana.
Leo: Like this is ours, this is mine.
Mary Jo: Yeah this is ours.
Leo: Hmmm that’s interesting.
Mary Jo: It would be like if Apple said we’re going to put Seary on Windows phone.
Leo: Why would anybody care?
Mary Jo: I don’t know if Apple users would care or would be incensed by that.
Leo: It just doesn’t seem like that impacts you in a bad way. I guess if it hurt the quality of service or something.
Paul: But that’s not the same situation, if Apple announced that IPhone users would laugh. The reason it’s a problem on Windows Phone is because it isn’t everywhere. And Windows Phone is struggling and we need a differentiator and why would you undercut its best new features. It’s a different situation.
Leo: I understand. I really do. A little whoopsy China gave up something that Microsoft has been keeping for a while. We’ll talk about that in a second. Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley with Windows Weekly. First a nod, a tip of the hat to those great guys Tim and Don at ITPro TV. ITPro is all about making it easy for you to get the skills you need to upgrade to get a better job or to get the certifications. In many areas too, I mean look at the course library at itpro.tv/ww. You’ll see they’ve got classes in Comptia the A+ netplus security plus. They’ve got Casp, Strata. They are going to have Linux classes a little later on this month which is fabulous for Comptia. The Microsoft certs too MTIA MCSA, MCSE, actually they don’t have MCSE yet. I thought that MCSE was done, well anyway. They are going do some MCS server infrastructure stuff in the 3rd quarter. Cisco, these new security certs the SSCP and the CISSP. Adam Gordon is teaching those, those are awesome. Courses cover everything, network security, PC support, V lands, subnetting. They are live as well as downloadable. So this is beautiful. You can go watch the live show, the live stream. There’s a chat room just like ours. In fact Don and Tim freely admit they pretty much copied what we did at screensavers on TechTV and what we are doing today at TWIT. They said it’s great. I think it’s fabulous because they are covering a much more geeky subset of the information we cover. This is really designed to supplement. It’s comparable to the cost of a study guide, a lot cheaper than going to an IT school, and you get such great stuff. Direct interaction with a host via live chat. There’s webbased Q&A specific to study topics. In fact they break up all their videos into the actual questions. The pages, the chapters in the tests. So you know exactly what you’re studying for, you can drill down on the stuff that you really need help with. They also give you a virtual machine sandbox lab environment so you can play with the server, play with the clients. You don’t have to have any of this equipment they set it up all for you. You can do it online. It’s fast, easy and it’s great. You don’t have to worry about screwing up something. Oops you quit which I did immediately, you quit and start over. With your subscription you get the measure-up practice examines, that’s worth 79 bucks. If you’re an anual subscriber you can download episodes, video or audio Only on MP3’s so you can listen on the plane, listen wherever you are. Corporate accounts are also available for departments and companies. ITPro TV they take the pain out of learning. An easy, entertaining approach to online IT training. I love it. They’re great guys, they gave me this giant ITPro TV mug. ITPro TV loves TWIT. Well we love ITPro TV in fact we’ve arranged a special deal just for you if you want to take a look at ITPro TV you can go to the site right now. itpro.tv/ww They’ve got lots of video’s online you can see for free. Get an idea of what they are doing. Completely free preview. Now the subscription if you want to get it, normally it’s 57 dollars a month or subscribe for the full year get 2 months free it’s $570. But they’ve got a special offer for TWIT listeners, Windows Weekly listeners. Sign up now use the code WW30 and you’ll get 30% off. It’s not just for the first year or the first month, it’s forever. Effectively it’s going to cost you $40 a month. That’s less than the books. 400 bucks for an entire year. itpro.tv/ww use the offer code WW30 for 30% off. Take the pain out of learning at IT. I can tell you we’ve heard from lots of people who really love ITPro TV. A great solution. Windows Weekly on the air Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley talking about Windows. So What happened?
Paul: I think Calibre is going to be my wrestling name.
Leo: Mucho Calibre
Paul: Mau Calibre
Leo: I like it Macho Calibre.
Paul: I am disappointed that’s not the name.
Leo: It should be the name. You know what it could be the name. No one knows. Calibre it could be.
Paul: No I think you’re right because it’s so boringly obvious.
Leo: Calibre, it is the British spelling.
Mary Jo: Paul and P interest.
Paul: P interest. I have had the problem my whole life. You read something and it’s not pronounced the way you think it is.
Leo: Take it from me as somebody who was one of to do technology stuff on the radio back in 1990. I often pronounced words for the first time ever. People had been reading them for years. Giphe for one.
Paul: For so long that they get mad when they hear the real pronunciation.
Leo: So I decided I get to say because I am the first one to saying them out loud. So since you’re the first you can say Calibre. I like it. Paul Macho Calibre.
Paul: The world I envision in my head is such a more interesting place.
Leo: Interesting, how did this happen? China, so let’s give the back story on this. Microsoft has said for years oh by the way we have patents that give us both Linux and Android, right?
Paul: Right, and Android as problematic as it has been for Microsoft has also been kind of a gift. In the form of about 1 to 2 billion dollars a year in licensing fees. It’s Microsofts next billion dollar business. They did this with Lenox but that wasn’t super interesting. Lenox is by definition a limited audience it didn’t do very well in a desktop and you’re only going to sell so many servers. So it didn’t really have the impact. But Android is on a billion devices.
Leo: But all along they have never ever revealed the code or the patents they claim they own. They just said well we have them we’ll indemnify you.
Mary Jo: They show them to you if you’re about the license. If they are in negotiations with you I am sure they tell you hey we have this, this and this.
Leo: But before they do that they make you sign your life away, right?
Mary Jo: Yeah.
Leo: Total NDA.
Paul: Yeah and this has been going on for years. We’ve been, people like Mary Jo and I have been waiting for some even where this stuff will go public. We figured it would be like the Barnes and Noble trial that never happened. That’s as close as we got because Barnes and Noble was one of the companies that said no your licenses are baloney and they’re out of date and they’re trivial and we’re going to challenge you in court. They went all the way, I believe they were days away from the trial starting and then suddenly there was a little settlement that occurred. As part of that settlement Barnes and Noble licensed those patents and Microsoft invested 300 million dollars into the Nook business. Which I think we can all agree paid off in a huge fashion.
Leo: But that raises the question. Who blinked on that one, was it Barnes and Noble or was it Microsoft that blinked? Somebody blinked right, it was a game of chess.
Paul: My take on it is that, the Nook business which is the center of this was declining so rapidly and was a money pit for them and they basically didn’t have a choice.
Leo: Who they? Barnes and Noble?
Paul: Yeah. It wasn’t so much blinking as it was this thing is a money pit already and even if we win in court we will spend millions treading water. That’s not a good way to use our resources.
Leo: I am trying to think about how this conversation went. They go to Microsoft and said I’ll give you a buck for the licenses if you’ll give me 300 million dollars for a dying business.
Paul: You’ve seen the scene in the original Godfather where the guy goes to the Roman and he has to kiss the ring to get the box full of money. That’s how it went. It was just like that.
Leo: Do you think they paid more than 300 million dollars for the licenses?
Mary Jo: That’s the part we don’t know. Are they still paying, probably. They are paying for the patents.
Paul: Think about one of the things that just happened. Barnes and Noble just signed an agreement with Samsung to make Nook brand of tablets. Now Samsung is the one taking on that responsibility. That licensing responsibility. Samsung is a company that could better afford that so in this case Barnes and Noble is removing it’s stuff one layer from the creation of the devices. It saves money in a number of ways and that’s one of them. It has to buy a set number of devices from Samsung, I don’t remember what the set number is. So Samsung is protected in some fashion too. We know Barnes and Noble wanted to get out of this business originally it was going to just spin it off. Not able to do that here’s another way they can separate the money losing bits of the business off a little bit by farming it out to Samsung.
Mary Jo: I don’t know if you saw this but Todd Bishop at Geekwire actually interviewed the Barnes and Noble folks about this. He asked them did you guys when you did this deal with Microsoft expect them to make a tablet that they could put Nook on and they wouldn’t comment. So maybe that was part of the deal too we don’t know.
Paul: That was clearly Microsoft’s intent. Why would Microsoft ever invest in an Android based device business? Well I guess they bought Nokia.
Mary Jo: Well that was the rumor. We called it the Wook.
Leo: The Wook.
Paul: If you could go back in time and say, Paul you’re going to say this sentence in 5 years it would sound ludicrous. But Microsoft just bought a company that makes Android devices.
Leo: Well that’s all ancient history and until now we don’t really know. We know kind of the titles of some of these patents things like Method and System for managing changes to a contact database. But Microsoft claims 300 patents, 73 of them are standard essential patents. They don’t show anybody but now we know what they are because the MOFO’s revealed it.
Paul: Right the mofcom.
Leo: One more bit of history remember when Microsoft bought Nokia that got regulatory approval in the U.S. They got regulatory approval in the E.U. but China held it up.
Paul: Who took the longest, who was it again?
Leo: China held them up. So what’s your take on this.
Paul: What actually it’s funny that you bring that up. It’s obvious why you bring that up but it’s funny that this is coming up in a way. Because what this is reminding me of is built into the statements that they made following China’s approval of this deal was this notion that Microsoft had agreed to some set of terms. Which were exactly it’s licensing terms already. That for all of the complaining and all of the delaying what Microsoft agreed to eventually do in China is it’s already established pattern of doing business. Like they didn’t get any kind of concession. It was almost like they wanted to just get this stuff for this. So they could get more information what is it that Microsoft has on Android. It’s almost like this was why it was delayed on this now was about this.
Mary Jo: You think. So the Chinese department of commerce took the list of patents, there were 2 to 300 patents that Microsoft says they own that Android that potentially infringes on. They published it as a Word document. Adding injury to insult.
Paul: That is hilarious.
Leo: This is MOFCom. The Ministry of Commerce the mofcom. I like to think of them as Mofo’s. So what did we learn from this patent list?
Mary Jo: So one interesting thing I learned looking through this, some of these patents Microsoft acquired as part of the Rockstar consortium.
Leo: They still are.
Mary Jo: Yeah they palled up with I think Apple on that.
Leo: The Nortel patents.
Mary Jo: YEah they bought the Nortel Patents. After they bought them as a group they doled different patents out to others in the Rockstar Consortium. Some of the ones that Microsoft got are among these patents that they are using against Android.
Leo: My Chinese is a little rusty so I am going to have to defer to you what this means. But there is some English in here.
Mary Jo: Some of these patents we expected Xfac file system. Everybody thought that’s got to be one of them. Things around exchange activesync also probably among those patents. Now we are seeing a much more detailed list of the ones.
Leo: There’s a lot of them.
Mary Jo: There is a lot of them. So that makes it more obvious now why when Microsoft walks into the room with an Android phone maker or a Chrome OS device maker and shows this list you’re probably going to just say okay let me just pay to license these instead of just fighting you on each separate patent.
Leo: That’s an awful lot of them. 200 patents.
Mary Jo: It is a lot of them. I think Hour Technica said more than 200 patent families so that’s not even total number of patents.
Leo: Are they all software patents, some of them are hardware patents.
Mary Jo: I believe some have to do with like camera.
Leo: There are things like reducing power usage on a wifi network, stuff like that. A lot of them are a system and method for finding the closest match of a data entry. That’s a software algorithm.
Paul: Serving the locally relevant advertisements. You understand that’s a patent for half of the businesses on the internet. Some of this stuff if very interesting.
Leo: Software patents suck.
Paul: They really do.
Mary Jo: Unless you’re the company that has them and then you’re like yay 2 billion dollar business woohoo.
Paul: It’s like a method for adding 2 numbers together and arriving at a sum.
Leo: Yeah you could patent that.
Paul: You probably could.
Leo: What’s interesting, I mean these are U.S patents but I guess because they are U.S. patents if you want to do business in the U.S. you’ve got to pay to play. How much does Microsoft make off of this do we know?
Mary Jo: Well the estimates are 1 to 2 billion. We don’t know for sure because they aren’t reported out.
Leo: People always said like 5 bucks a handset forever Android.
Paul: So the other thing is it impacts over 50% of Android devices sold. Don’t know the exact number but it’s over half.
Leo: Why not all of them? Why not every phone in history?
Paul: No Leo they’ll get there. It’s 2014 give them time.
Mary Jo: They’re working on it.
Paul: There is only so much you can do in a day.
Leo: I see give them time.
Mary Jo: The MotorolaX phone I don’t think they got them to license patents for, right?
Paul: That one right, and is there a lower number of patents that applies to that kind of device or where do these patents come in. Do they come in at that level, do they come in higher? The Google play level. I would imagine that it applies to both at that point.
Leo: Yeah but nobody wants to sue Google so everybody sues Google by proxy.
Paul: I would love to see that, I need to see that before I retire.
Leo: Oh you will.
Paul: I need Microsoft and Google to go at it in court.
Leo: I will be, remember it’s not just Microsoft for these Rockstar patents. It’s everybody but Google.
Paul: I am thinking I have a good 15 years in me Leo. I need this to happen.
Leo: I just want to live long enough.
Paul: Right and then all of Microsoft's patents will be invalidated and I will be on the front porch somewhere going I knew it.
Leo: Here’s a new acronym MLAS. You can just add anything to AS as a service. What is MLAS? Machine Language as a service.
Mary Jo: Machine Learning.
Mary Jo: Machine Learning as a service.
Leo: Oh we need more MLAS’s.
Mary Jo: We do. Microsoft announced this week Machine Learning as a service.
Leo: So this is and Azure product, what is this?
Mary Jo: Hosted on Microsoft Azure. So what machine learning is you can take historical data and make future predictions about behavior in trends. So they are taking all this learning that they’ve harnessed through things like Bing and Xbox Live and they’re kind of packaging this learning up into a service that people are going to be able to use themselves, to do predictive analytics against their own data. So you store your data on Azure. You use these tools they have and templates and you can take the machine learning capabilities and apply them against your data to make predictions about the future. This is for things like say fraudulent transactions which Microsoft store is using it for. You could take your data on bad transactions feed it in with this service and you can make very good guesses about future trends about fraudulent data and use that to kind of head them off at the pass.
Leo: Dvorak has always said if you want your credit card to be denied by 2 tanks of gas and a pair of Nike’s.
Paul: Buy the 2 tanks of gas and Nikes in upstate New York and then buy something online, that will do it.
Leo: The 2 tanks of gas is what happens is that people who steal a credit card the first thing they do is fill up their tank and their friends. Nobody buys 2 tanks of gas in a single gas station at a time. Then buy a pair of Nikes because who doesn’t want sneakers.
Paul: That actually happened to us by the way upstate in New York.
Leo: Another one that’s popular, it’s happened to me several times is making a tiny contribution to an overseas charity.
Paul: Was it the Paul Thurrott fund?
Leo: Like a buck to a miner English charity. Because these charities are so small they don’t do any checking. There’s a way to see is this an actual credit card or is this just some random digits. Then if it goes through then you can ramp up and buy some sneakers.
Paul: That’s how most of my sales for the book have gone actually.
Leo: Paul Thurrott has a small charity in the UK. OK MLAS.
Mary Jo: You’re going to get the preview of this next month sometime, July. Anybody can sign up for it. It is going to be paid. It’s going to be 50% of the cost because it’s already been heavily tested among 100 customers and partners.
Leo: This is business intelligence too, right?
Mary Jo: It is pretty much. Code name Passough which we’ve heard about in the past. Passough is a town in Germany or Bavaria. There you have it.
Mary Jo: Probably not how you pronounce that.
Leo: I am sure it’s pronounces some other way, like Calibre.
Paul: Macho Calibre.
Leo: Microsoft is getting big on customer cloud services. It’s a big business for them.
Mary Jo: It is a really big business.
Leo: I think that really is the platform of the future. We know that with the Cloud. It’s Amazon, Google and Microsoft that are competing. Apple was kind of standing at the door looking in saying can I get in there.
Paul: Hey guys.
Leo: Can I borrow a cup of azure.
Mary Jo: We think they’re using Azure for IPhone.
Leo: I think they are. Consumer doesn’t care.
Mary Jo: No but it’s kind of cool, anyway.
Leo: I keep hearing that, who told me that it’s absolutely the case. I can’t remember. But he said we’ve talked to people we know.
Paul: About Azure on Apple phone?
Paul: Oh no this has been seen in traffic reports on cloud and such.
Mary Jo: No one has admitted it publicly from Apple or Microsoft. I can’t even get Microsoft to say it privately.
Leo: They’re probably have a pretty good deal with Apple never to ever, ever say.
Paul: When you sign up for Azure you get to test it first to see what your bill is going to look like. I would give anything to see what their bill looked like.
Leo: It said 3,000 charges in a second. Yikes. So there’s Enterprise, there’s Enterprise Cloud which is clearly the future. Even the consumers of like Icloud are moving to the Cloud. One Drive is a good example.
Paul: If anything more quickly I would say.
Leo: Businesses might have a natural reluctance to put everything off on the Cloud.
Paul: Businesses are reluctant to do anything.
Mary Jo: The way Microsoft is trying to get around that problem is they are trying to hook them on the consumer services. Which makes a lot of sense. Get them to use One Drive, get people to use Outlook.com at home. Get them to try One Note service at home. Then they are hoping when they go to work they say hey you know what guys that One Drive thing is kind of great. How about One Drive for Business can we get that in here? So it’s the whole bring your own device trend that they’re backing. It’s an interesting way to look at why are they putting so much effort at Microsoft into these free Cloud services. It’s because they are trying to get to the Enterprise which is where they still make most of their money. Very good logic.
Paul: The next line is an article I wrote that is sort of on this topic. But the thing that strikes me about it is and I sort of threw this in at the end of the article is I wish Microsoft would consolidate their services a little bit. They have a One Drive service that’s for consumers and a One Drive obviously for businesses but they’re not based on the same technology. There’s no clear connection. There’s really no connection besides the branding between the 2 nor is there any technical connection that you could make as a user of those services. One of the problems with using Google Drive, Dropbox or One Drive or whatever consumers is that those things aren’t managed and can’t be managed by your business. So if you’re using those things kind of on the outside they want to bring you in house and use their own stuff. There’s no real way to kind of make that happen. There are no consumers out there, obviously there are 2 or 3 who listen to this podcast, but there aren’t too many consumers out in the real world using a stand alone One Drive for business that could easily be managed by an actual business. I wish they would figure that out because that’s kind of a problem.
Mary Jo: I think someday. I think they are moving this way because we already know things like Outlook.com are in the same group now as Exchange and Sharepoint. So I think the plan it at some point that Outlook.com and Outlook are one thing. I don’t know how they get there but.
Paul: That’s another excellent example, not related at all.
Mary Jo: Right, right now they are not the same thing, not even remotely the same thing.
Paul: Right because when you say Outlook Web app or Outlook web access which is what we used to say it could be easily be confused with Outlook.com.
Leo: Which I often do.
Paul: Likewise when Microsoft comes with an O app for Android like they just did in preview form or for IOS you might assume that works for Outlook.com and it does not. You might assume it works with Outlook like it does with your exchange on prem work email, it does not. It only works with Office 365. It’s part of the problem with moving so quickly. Some things get lost in the transition.
Leo: Anything more to say about that. No let’s move on shall we?
Mary Jo: Yeah let’s move on.
Paul: I know we’re pressed.
Leo: No, no I’m looking down the rundown seeing what I can slash. No.
Paul: Right, we are going to skip this entire Surface thing.
Leo: This whole thing on Surface, forget that. Who cares. Office is the Bellwether for Microsoft's Rapid release montra.
Paul: Well because there are other parts of Microsoft that have adopted this rapid release thing including some before Office really. But they don’t have as wide of an impact on the wider businesses as Office does. Windows Phone for example or Xbox Music obviously. They’re on rapid release and their kind of interesting in their own right. But Office impacts everything across the board. There’s a lot that goes into this good and bad. Mary Jo had written an article, I guess we don’t have it in here about a Windows update for Office 2013 that broke only those installs of Office that occurred through Office 365 using the Click to Run technology. That’s not a typical road block with Cloud service because it kind of happened on traditional non prem software. But it only impacted the one that you get with your subscription and that’s kind of a weird deal. But again these are the kinds of things that are going to happen when you’re moving, moving, moving. Microsoft has set up a pretty stringent schedule for Office 365. How they’re going to upgrade it over time, when businesses can hold back on updates and when they have to put them out into the real world. They service and update Office 2013 as if it were a service even though it’s not which I think is kind of special. There are more Office apps out in the world than anything. If you look on IOS or Android the Office apps, there are apps for everything. It’s crazy. Not just Office as we know it like Word, Excel and Powerpoint for the Ipad but all of these apps. It seems like basically everything is serviced by an app through the group that does Office. So it’s interesting good and bad and mostly good. They’ve proven that you can take this traditional Software thing that Microsoft had that was its biggest business that you think it may be conservative with. Kind of leave it over there on the side while it investigates these other new businesses. But they really have just kind of thrown it into the mix and I think that’s kind of an interesting story on its own.
Leo: Rapid release is what you get when you live in the Cloud because you don’t host the applications so we’re all just going to have to get used to that.
Mary Jo: Some kicking and screaming.
Paul: I’m giving a presentation tonight and my photo for what you just described is one of those 1950 pictures where everyone is hiding under the desk. One of the duck and cover pictures.
Leo: Duck and cover, yeah.
Paul: Kicking and screaming is accurate description.
Mary Jo: Yeah well what makes it more complicated is the reason businesses especially big businesses want time to test is lately Microsoft has been rolling out a lot of patches that have been breaking things. So if you’re in the Cloud and they just roll you an update and it breaks something at your company you’re kind of out of luck.
Paul: By the way these are businesses that will site a Windows NT4.0 Service Pack as their reason for never updating anything because they still remember 15 years ago whenever that was. Something went wrong and it was really bad and we don’t trust updates.
Leo: Well 15 years now and we’re passed OS 5.
Paul: A lot of those guys are going to need to retire before Windows fixes that.
Mary Jo: Even more recent this has happened. Look at service pack one.
Leo: Hotfix has often broke stuff.
Mary Jo: Hotfix 2013 yeah.
Leo: That was an unusual.
Paul: That’s because Sharepoint had to be pulled.
Mary Jo: Yeah it had to be pulled.
Leo: It seems like a very different thing when you’re updating a complex system that’s in place versus doing it in the Cloud.
Paul: The problem is all people hear is update and we don’t want updates.
Mary Jo: Some people have hybrid Cloud and OnPrem setups. So for them they are worried if they have something come into the cloud and they are doing a hybrid setup where they are using software OnPrem connecting to a Cloud service what’s that going to do. So I think some of this is justified. We just got to have things work better and Microsofts working on this. They’re experimenting right now with giving people a new kind of way to dogfood some of these updates before they actually implement across the company. So that’s a really good thing. We’ve talked about that on the show before.
Paul: That’s actually one of the great things about Microsoft right now because they really do listen. I think a lot of people need to hear this abstractly rapid release. We are going to update, update, update, people get freaked out by that. The reality is that’s how the consumer stuff is going to go. On the business side they are doing what Mary Jo is describing. They’re giving these guys a way to roll it out in a limited fashion to certain small users groups. They can make sure it works. You know, they’re trying to meet them in the middle.
Leo: See, to me this is one of the appealing features of cloud based software, that the updates happen, they happen cleanly, easily, constantly. They’re rapid, they can be constant.
Paul: Right. I think we are in the same boat in the sense that there is a certain amount of glee. “Oh Chrome needs an update, great!” you know.
Leo: Both Chrome and Firefox have stopped letting you know that there are updates. They don’t even tell you anymore. Because they figure, well, why rock the boat?
Mary: Right. Like Internet Explorer now with the silent updates too, right.
Leo: Yeah. All of them do it. Yeah.
Paul: You don’t want to be the guy who wakes up in the morning and you have a hundred and twenty one emails because everyone that you support now cant access the internet because there was an update to whatever it was. And what the heck happened and now I have to go back to W sauce and maybe roll back an update, however you do it. It, you know, you don’t want to be that guy. And that’s the problem.
Leo: I guess you’re right. And that makes sense. I’m sympathetic. But I’ll tell you what, I like it when it comes to things like, say, Squarespace.com. One of the beauties of, what are you laughing at?
Paul: No, it’s, you’re good at that.
Paul: Well its tough giving up control and letting go.
Leo: Yeah, if you’re an IT guy, and it’s true, because, you know, Sys admins go “oh no, I want to know everything.” But, more often than not… they screw it up.
Paul: They’re like the guys with whips making sure the pyramids go up on schedule.
Leo: Yeah, yeah. “Move!” I think he was called Calibre. Surface Pro 3 preorders have begun shipping. What was the date, June 25th? They’re supposed to arrive?
Mary: June 20th.
Leo: The 20th. So day after tomorrow. Friday. Awesome.
Mary: Are you getting one?
Leo: No, I was thinking of it and I don’t know. I don’t know if Alex got one. I cant justify getting another computer. I have so many. I really want to try it. I hope somebody here will get it and I can try theirs. We’ll get one for review.
Paul: I think I'm going to go to the Boston event on Friday morning.
Leo: Like at the store, the Boston Microsoft store?
Paul: Yeah. I was told that there would be several people waiting in line to buy one.
Leo: More than one?
Paul: That’s what they said.
Leo: They used the word several?
Leo: Holy cow.
Paul: Yeah. I would have sugar coated that one a little different. I’m not a marketer but… I think I would have used a slightly- you know.
Leo: There will be several people lined up to buy one.
Paul: I would have said there will be customers lined up to buy the product.
Leo: Wow. Several of them. Now, weren’t they going to do power management update before they-
Mary: Yeah. They don’t have it yet.
Paul: There's still time Leo.
Leo: Because you guys have them. You’ve got the pre-release ones that they gave you at the, at Build. So what does that mean? Does your power management suck?
Mary: We’re having issues with when you power it up, sometimes you can’t start the device up that easily or the date and time are wrong. I just had that again last night I think.
Leo: That’s frustrating.
Paul: The good news is, you know, it’s like anything else. You freak out the first time, you’re scared. The second time you’re like, after a while you’re like, I get it. You know, you get used to it.
Leo: Computer users have a marvelous ability to just get used to slight, you know, paper cuts.
Paul: Indignation, you know.
Paul: I was going to call itself flagellation.
Leo: Death by 1000 cuts. Yep.
Mary: Yeah. But they’re going to fix that and they also have developed a fix, supposedly for the start button. People brushing against the start button when they’re drawing.
Paul: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Leo: What happens? It turns it off?
Paul: It goes to start.
Mary: If you- right. It brings you to home right. So if you lean on it, like if you’re drawing, especially- yeah. There was a post on Penny Arcade about this where he, because hes an artist, had this issue. So Microsoft had him come and they watched him draw.
Leo: “So show us how, how do you draw? Show us how you draw.”
Paul: I’m of mixed emotions on this Penny Arcade stuff because you know…
Leo: He loved his Surface Pro 3. He loved it.
Paul: Yeah, he likes the device, he has good feedback. I mean it’s no doubt about it. There are probably 170 people on this earth that have his needs and I don’t know that focusing on that is necessarily the smartest thing. But you know, going after the creative market is smart, I mean, whatever. But I hope they spend as much time looking at, you know, business users who want to write notes on OneNote and they just seem to be spending a lot of time with this guy and I think it’s a little weird but…
Leo: They’re so happy that Pat Boris is endorsing them that they just can’t sleep.
Paul: Yeah, right. You can tell that’s part of it.
Mary: Also, the pen is such a big part of the experience on the Surface Pro 3, I mean it comes with a pen bundled in with it when you buy it, right. So they want to make sure it’s good with the pen.
Leo: Right. And its got pressure levels…
Paul: And they changed the pen, which was controversial.
Leo: Is that how they solved it?
Paul: Oh, no, no, no. I mean they changed it between two and three so, the problem is, if you read his post, I mean. Microsoft is promising these kinds of fixes for the pen, because it’s also a pressure sensitivity thing. It’s not a problem, it’s just that, as it turns out, people don’t press on the screen as hard as you might think, and they can’t access all of those levels, and yada, yada, yada. But I hope software can fix this. You know, I mean at some point you reach the point where if there isn’t a problem it’s just a problem and you’re not necessarily going to fix it with a software update you know. I don’t know, so this is a new thing. Its 256 levels of pressure versus 1024 in the old one. No one actually uses it like that anyway so you have a limited selection of pressure points that you can apply.
Mary: yeah. The fixes kind of involved- it’s about- if the pen is in contact with the screen for a certain amount of time the home button gets disabled and…
Leo: All touch devices have some sort of serious input rejection, that’s not, that’s not bad to deal with.
Mary: They just said they don’t know how they’re going to roll it out right. They’re not quite sure how to do it.
Paul: This isn’t related to pen but I notice this across devices and I mean, this is maddening. In fact on my iPhone I actually think there’s part of the screen that just doesn’t work because you sit there and you’re like “hello, hello”.
Leo: Yeah. Unresponsiveness is an issue on touch devices, yeah.
Paul: Its very strange. Very strange.
Leo: It’s not right, you should bring it back and get it fixed.
Leo: So, again, power management firmware not out yet, but some day.
Mary: Hopefully someday very soon.
Leo: Are they shipping?
Mary: Yeah, I've talked to people who said that its marked now as they shipped it. They don’t have it yet but they shipped it.
Leo: Maybe they’ll plug it in and there will be an update.
Mary: Yeah, it could be.
Paul: I cannot imagine why they waited. You know, they have a bunch of people using these things, wouldn’t you want to test it. It could come later, its…
Mary: I think this is a glitch they better fix sooner rather than later. Because people are going to flip out if they can’t start their Surface after they charge it up.
Leo: That would be a big one. That’s potentially one of the side effects-
Paul: There's a trick, you can make it work, but how would you know that?
Mary: No, you wouldn’t know that.
Leo: They need a little piece of paper on the box that says “you may notice you can’t turn your Surface on, don’t worry.” What is the trick, so anybody who is getting a Surface will know.
Paul: You turn it off, so it would be off. You hold down the volume button, you turn it on. You let go of the volume button. Oh no, no. that’s for getting into the firmware.
Mary: No, you know what I did? I took the keyboard off and I just held the power button down and I clicked it a few times and it turned it on. But then my date and time was wrong.
Paul: So, yeah, that will happen. So actually what you have to do is hold down the volume up and the power. And I think its twelve seconds, or fifteen seconds. And it will always come back.
Leo: Do you guys hear yourself?
Mary: No, and this is why. They have to fix this, it can’t be not fixed.
Paul: This is insane, this is what I'm saying. You have to hold it in kind of a contorted fashion…
Leo: “I took off the keyboard, and then, oh wait a minute, now.”
Paul: I find that if you’re in a fetal position already it’s easier to hit those two buttons. But then that’s my natural position so…
Leo: I can now understand why you’re saying they should have really of fixed this before today.
Paul: I mean, seriously. Is it not amazing that we’re not crazy people?
Mary: I think we are actually, I don’t know, id argue we might be but…
Leo: You might be masochists.
Mary: But this cannot be something that is not fixed. Because when everyday people get the device and this happens, it’s time…
Leo: They’ll send it back. They’ll say “I can’t turn it on, it’s broken.”
Paul: Imagine if a software fix doesn’t fix this. Right, imagine that.
Mary: It’s going to fix it. It’s going to fix it Paul.
Leo: Maybe, okay, let’s be honest. You guys got pre-release hardware, maybe in the pre-production hardware was a problem, it’s not a problem now. It’s just you.
Mary: It seems, its power cable connected. Right. Haven’t they said that too.
Paul: Absolutely. I mean, and the power connection has always been one of Surface’s most widely touted features and its weakest link. Actually literally, weakest link. And you know, they’ve improved it in 2 and Pro 2. They’ve improved it I guess especially on two. And they improved it again you know with 3. And it’s a lot better but you know, I had that night in the hotel in Ft. Collins where plugged it in, went to bed, woke up and it wasn’t charged.
Leo: You know, I am going to go out on a limb here. Because honestly there is no way that they could be shipping a product like this. You guys got early-
Leo: I swear to God, no company in its right mind, certainly not Microsoft. You guys got bad batch production models. This has never been a widespread problem.
Paul: Okay, that’s interesting.
Leo: Isn’t that possible?
Paul: It is possible but i-
Leo: It has to be.
Paul: It is possible. Yes. It is possible. I actually don’t think that’s what happened.
Mary: It is. With my- no, it is possible, because when I got the first generations RT, I bought one of the first ones you could buy. I bought it on the very night it went on sale. And I had a problem with my power. And I had to send it back to Microsoft and they said “you got some early machine that-“
Leo: Well, and you guys got it months before it was even being sold. You got the very first production.
Mary: And this one, I actually didn’t because I was banned from getting review units at that point. But yeah. We won’t bring that up again.
Leo: Banned by Microsoft? Or by ZD net?
Mary: By Microsoft. And so I ended up buying one on the first day because I could never get a review unit.
Leo: Oh, for the RT?
Mary: Yeah for the RT.
Leo: But this Surface Pro 3 that you both got was-
Mary: Yeah, these are early review units.
Leo: Very early review units.
Mary: We get them a month ahead of, you know whenever everybody else is getting them.
Paul: You know, I hear you. But you know, we know and have heard that there are boxes of Surface Minis sitting in a warehouse somewhere. I believe that these were likewise sitting there ready to- I don’t, I would be surprised if the first batch went out to people who were just like this.
Leo: That’s a nightmare.
Mary: I’m confident that this is, a software fix is going to fix this. They, I know it is. I’m confident. I am confident because-
Paul: Shes adamant. Shes like “a software fix IS going to fix this. I will not listen to anything else.”
Mary: No, I am just not entertaining the idea that this is not going to fix it.
Paul: Okay. I usually go right for the worst case scenario thing. You know.
Mary: You do. you kind of do.
Paul: I do, yeah.
Mary: But yeah. I’m saying, you know, just like what happens now more and more, when you buy a Windows 8 device, you get the device, you turn it on, and it says “you need a whole bunch of updates, here, here are the updates. Apply them, okay, now you’re all set.” That’s going to be this.
Paul: I hope you’re right. I mean, I honestly hope you’re right. By the way, for what its worth, I like this device a lot, its fine. And, look, I'm technical enough that dealing with this is no problem, and whatever. Although I do think that was a scary moment, I will say. The first moment it was, that was a little… but it works, its fine, and yeah.
Mary: Let’s not stress over this.
Leo: You guys sound like you’re whistling past the graveyard.
Mary: No, it’s going to be fixed guys. It’s going to be fixed.
Paul: You know what, when it turns on MUWAH.
Mary: Be so happy.
Leo: It’s so worth it. Once you get the thing started and the date fixed you won’t believe- so the rule is to not ever turn it off then.
Paul: Actually you might be able to fix it by turning off hibernation, I've never tried that.
Mary: You’re right. Its connected standby related somehow…
Leo: Oh, that thing sucks. I hate hibernation. Yeah. We talked about that last week. Hibernation has never worked.
Paul: I’m not going to touch- I want to see Microsoft’s fix before…
Leo: Is it on by default? Of course it is.
Paul: No, its got this new advanced power management thats never happened before on a x86 chip so…
Leo: And now we know why.
Mary: But it is doing well saving my battery, I have to say. Because Its doing, the connected standby is definitely letting me get longer battery life when I'm not using the Surface all the time. You know, shut it off, turn it on a day later and there’s actually still battery, yay. That sounds small but its big.
Leo: Well its much like Spain who’s 8 minutes away from being eliminated from the World Cup because of losing 2-0 to Chile. Its either Chile or Chicago, I'm not sure what CHI is. But much like them, Microsoft is down to the last few minutes that they can update this thing.
Mary: No, they are pretty much. They’re down to the last few minutes.
Leo: This is it. The clock is ticking, Microsoft could be eliminated from the world cup.
Paul: Oh well. Microsoft could be eliminated-
Leo: And Microsoft Surface Pro 2 prices are dropping so if you wanted to get a Surface that has good power management it’s not too late.
Paul: Id still wait though, because prices-
Leo: Will drop farther? You think they’ll come even lower?
Mary: Oh yeah.
Paul: Oh they will definitely. Yeah. Go ahead, sorry.
Mary: So, they’ve dropped the price of the Surface Pro 2 between 100 and 200 dollars depending on which models you buy. And the reason they’re doing this, I've seen a lot of people say “oh it’s a fire sale.” No, they said at the launch of the Surface Pro 3, they’re not going to make any more Surface Pro 2s. this is their new flagship so they’re just depleting their inventory basically. And they’re going to keep dropping the price until they finally get rid of them. They’re not making more, if you want a Surface Pro 2, it’s at, you know, it’s also Core I5 base, just like the Surface Pro 3 is that’s shipping this week. If you want that model has lower battery life, it has other limitations. But has the old power cord, etc. doesn’t have the new pen. But if you’re happy enough with that device, you’re able to get it cheaper now and the prices probably will go even lower.
Paul: Id still wait just a little bit because the mainstream models, those two lower end ones, are only 100 bucks cheaper.
Paul: I mean, honestly, and one of them maps almost exactly to the specs on the Surface Pro 3. Its 100 dollar difference, I mean, I would just get the 3. Or wait, because the prices are going to come down. I mean, obviously there is a limited supply of these devices so when they’re gone, they’re gone. But I mean, I think the chances are good you’re going to see at least 100 bucks more. At some point. And maybe even again. So. They’ll end up on eBay. Or however these things work. But the prices will come down again. So id wait at least one more price drop.
Leo: What, you mentioned the mini.
Leo: Are we going to be going to a landfill in New Mexico in about 20 years and …
Mary: No, no.
Paul: No, they’ll release that sucker and we’ll have like, copyright 2013 Microsoft on the SO but…
Mary: Nah. Or they’ll use the parts, right. Maybe they’ll just say you know what, we’re going to rebuild the device and use the parts. They almost did, supposedly, unveil the mini. The ARM base Surface Mini but at the last minute decided it wasn’t differentiated enough plus it didn’t have Office Gemini so they said no.
Paul: Plus we’re literally days away.
Leo: Are they going to give up on RT?
Mary: No. there’s still going to be more ARM devices. More Surface ARM devices. Panos Panay said. They have not given up.
Leo: Oh good.
Mary: Yep, yep. The operating system will be different. It won’t be Windows RT. It will be this new version, probably threshold they’re building. Will run on both phones and low end PCs and tablets.
Leo: Xbox 1. The time has come. For use to talk Paul. And for Mary Jo to wander out.
Mary: Ill go get a coffee now.
Paul: I was told on Twitter the other that that I talked video games almost endlessly on this podcast.
Leo: That’s not true.
Paul: I was a little confused by that.
Leo: It was Mary Jo Foley who tweeted that by the way.
Mary: It was. It was my alter ego.
Paul: So with that in mind I’d like to spend about 2 and half hours on this topic. No, Microsoft releases monthly system updates for the xbox 1. Which are desperately needed because the system kind of shipped in a half-finished state from a software perspective. The nicer thing they’re doing now is that they’re also providing early access to those updates to a select group of testers. A group of people who have signed up to possibly be part of the program and then got in somehow. I’m actually on that program, I don’t even remember how it happened. But, and then every month they talk about the stuff that’s coming, you know, for the next update and I think the people who are on the early access can get it early. So for July, they’re adding a snap view for the achievements which is actually sort of a neat thing. So you’re playing a game and on the snap view you’ve got a list of achievements for that game. You can list them in the order that’s important to you and you can see your progress. It will say something like, the example that’s in the picture that I can see is, you know, you get the zombie killer achievement in whatever zombie game. For killing 100 zombies. You can see how many you’ve killed and how close you are to getting that achievement. For people who care about achievements. That’s actually kind of a big deal.
Leo: Yeah I like that.
Paul: Yeah. The rest of the updates that are coming in July are not necessarily a huge deal. They’re supporting game bundles, which I think, they talked about in D3. This is a way for developers to sell packages of one or more games. Of a game plus a bunch of contents. You know, downloadable content. In a single package for a lower price. You know, that sort of thing. It sounds like a fairly obvious feature that somehow didn’t, you know, occur to anybody last year. But now they’re adding it. They’re adding more voice control languages and some other things. But here’s one that, actually I'm going to enjoy this, they’re adding a like feature to the game DVR. So you can look at clips and you can like them. Like you can on, you know, facebook.
Leo: Oh, that’s nice, I like that.
Paul: Yeah. Nothing major, but you know, just a bunch of …
Leo: Tell ya, we talked about this last week, the last of the June update, adding that external storage was a big one.
Leo: Very happy about that. I’m just downloading games like crazy.
Paul: Don’t forget if you are an xbox 1 user you can get those xbox, what are they called? Games for gold?
Leo: Yes, and I got the two, there was a Halo game and a…
Paul: Yes and as of the 16th it was like Max something…
Leo: Yeah, Max and his brother. His brother get- yeah. Yeah its dumb. It’s a good kid game and its kind of a scroller. You know, it’s fun.
Leo: And by the way, there is an excellent FIFA Cup, I think it’s called Brazil Now or something like that. Cap that you can snap to the side while you watch the World Cup games and it gives you real time scores. It has polling, its- what they promised a year ago when they first announced the Xbox 1. And I love it.
Paul: Right. its smart for soccer because it’s so boring.
Leo: It gives you something to do. you can tweet, you can vote, you can poll. You don’t really have to pay attention to the game. We are minutes away from the last year’s, I'm sorry, the last World Cup’s champion, Spain, being eliminated in their second game.
Paul: I didn’t understand why that was important. I see.
Leo: Well they won it last time. And of course some of the…. Had their revenge in the first game, and now it looks like Chile is going to kick their butts with their beautiful Adidas sneakers.
Paul: Sometimes literally, it is soccer.
Leo: It is soccer. After all. PS 4 outsold Xbox 1 yet again. I think we can pretty much stop reporting that statics its…
Paul: Yeah. It’s like kicking them when they’re down Leo.
Leo: Next time they win why don’t we announce it? How about that? And I'm sure you got a lot of emails, as I did, we were talking last time about, people are very literal. It’s a literal net.
Paul: People are very angry about this topic.
Leo: We were talking about the fact that the Kinect consumes 10% of the CPU cycles when its attached.
Paul: By the way, you must have missed my press conference, I had to issue a public apology.
Leo: You, my friend, are so wrong!
Paul: I get a lot of corrections in the form of, I say something when all the information is not available, and then someone clarifies it, and then they, someone else writes back and says “you’re a jackass because you didn’t know about this.”
Paul: This is not a big deal but… you know. In the form of public apology Microsoft. Because of all of the misinformation out in the world, which, by the way, was thanks to Microsoft. Microsoft actually published an interview with someone from the Xbox team explaining how that 10% performance improvement works. And the way it works is that using a new version of the XDK, which is the Xbox development kit, you can write new games, or update existing games, to not support part of the Kinect’s functionality. Its not all of the Kinect, its like the skeletal tracking part of Kinect. You can turn that off, if you do, you’ll get a 10% performance increase, only in that game. Not in the whole console, you can’t just unplug the Kinect from the console to get 10% performance improvement.
Leo: And presumably games that don’t use Kinect have already turned that off.
Paul: Well, yeah that’s a good- actually I'm not sure about that because- I could be wrong about this, apparently I'm wrong about everything, but I believe that to make a game for Xbox 1 you have to support certain Kinect features, and in that case it would just be on all the time so… it wouldn’t surprise me to see some games updated to remove this functionality if they don’t need it. It’s not really clear.
Leo: Kind of a requirement that they include this. It’s probably a simple update.
Paul: Yeah. Is that enough, or do people need to throw rocks at me or something?
Leo: I think you need to get on your knees and beg forgiveness.
Leo: You have been a naughty boy.
Paul: I am really, really, really sorry. Because this was a big deal to some people.
Mary: You sound sincere.
Paul: A big deal.
Leo: Oh Lord. Yeah, I got the email too.
Paul: 10%. 10%.
Leo: So Microsoft did kind of a dumb thing. They’ve done it before.
Paul: Well, I'm not clear this was Microsoft but go on.
Leo: this is the paid, paying bloggers to write about IE thing.
Paul: This kind of thing comes up a lot with Microsoft doesn’t it. But its not always, its not Microsoft is it? Isn’t it like a marketing company.
Mary: It was.
Leo: So what happened Mary Jo?
Mary: Yeah, Advocate Marketing Company, called Social of course, they started recruiting bloggers to write positive things about Internet Explorer and they offered to pay them. By check. They unfortunately approached the wrong person. Michael Arrington.
Leo: Oh no! no! oh they are so stupid. Oh my God are they stupid.
Mary: So he, of course, posted the note that they sent him, and all hell broke loose basically after that. So I went to Microsoft and I said “wow, were you guys paying these guys to do this?” and they said “you know what, this isn’t the way we do things and we’ve terminated that program immediately and we’re not…”
Leo: This same thing happened once before though. Recently.
Paul: Yes it has. Yep. So I actually was approached for something like this for a different Microsoft product. I think I told Mary Jo about it at the time.
Mary: You did. Was it social media or no?
Paul: Whats that? Oh, I’ll have to look, I don’t remember. I don’t know. It was not Microsoft. They were representing Microsoft. I blew them off at first. They kept bugging me about it. And so finally I was like “okay, explain to me what is it that I have to do?” and it was social media stuff, it was posting stuff on twitter, facebook or whatever. And they were going to pay me. And so I wrote back and I said “okay, here’s the deal. I actually really like this Microsoft product, it’s something I write about regularly, I wouldn’t say that I promote it. I’m not like a, work for Microsoft, but I’m comfortable saying that it’s a good product because I use it and I like it. I cannot ethically be paid by a marketer to do this kind of stuff so this isn’t going to work out.” And I think, I want to say the amount that they were going to pay me was like maybe 3500 bucks, I’ll have to look it up, but she wrote back and she said “Paul, so sorry about that, we can fix this. They’ve agreed to pay 5000 dollars.”
Mary: Oh jeez. Wow.
Paul: I was like, “guys, clearly you did not listen to anything I just wrote. I cannot ethically do this.”
Leo: Holy cow.
Paul: I cannot ethically do this. So I got something like this up, I cannot remember...
Leo: This would have wowed Mike Arrington,
it says “We love your aesthetic and your blogging style, and we think you would
be the perfect partner to spread the word on the new Internet Explorer browsing
“Compensation for this post is available, and there will also be ample opportunities for fun prizes and rewards throughout the duration of the program.”
Paul: I would like fun prizes, I have to admit!
Leo: That would be fun, why didn't they write
This happens to me – I get emails all the time from all kinds of people.
Paul: I don't know that I've ever seen one like that, before this.
Leo: I have to blame Microsoft a little bit, because surely they hired this company!
Mary Jo: They must have hired this company. The thing I tried to point out when I wrote about this is, you can have sponsored posts, there's nothing illegal about having sponsored posts on sites, but you should mark them when they're sponsored! What they were basically doing was getting these folks to write things about IE and not mark them as sponsored.
Leo: They say you can't say that we are paying you?!
Mary Jo: No, it didn't say that, but I went back and looked at a couple of things where people had done them and used the hashtag, it's not really clear that they were sponsored.
Leo: That's highly unethical.
Paul: Xbox one was part of this last year, I think that's what it was, the video bloggers at the time were not allowed to say that they were being paid, which is actually illegal.
Leo: That's exactly right, Paul, I remember that story. It's good for you and me and Mary Jo, the companies and the reporters and the press who kind of remain bloody minded and independent and don't take money...
Paul: No, no, Leo! I love money! I'm totally happy to accept money, but obviously it depends on – this is just unethical, this is contrary to everything that I stand for. I am supposed to be independent...
Mary Jo: You've got to disclose this if you take it!
Leo: And people can know not to read you anymore!
Mary Jo: Or you can decide “Hey, I don't care that they did those sponsored posts.”
Leo: I'm going for the gold!
Paul: We do sponsored things at work, and I've done projects for Toshiba. The reason I don't – Toshiba doesn't pay me – the reason I agreed to do those particular projects is I actually really care about this topic. I say no to a lot of stuff because I'm just bored by it or don't really feel strongly about it, but this whole notion of the relevance of PC's and this whole mobile world is actually something I love to talk about that stuff. That's kind of a different thing, it's sponsored in a sense, but it's sponsored because I'm independent and present it that way.
Leo: We have ads, we have sponsors, we clearly label them as sponsors and so forth.
Paul: Even that stuff is interesting, when you think about Audible especially, but also Square Space, which is a service I use and love and wish I could use on my actual main stream website, that's kind of like a win-win, I love that we can have advertisers like those because I actually use that stuff and like it.
Leo: We try to do that.
Paul: I use Audible every single day on my phone, it's nice when it works like that! If it was laundry soap, that would be a little weird!
Leo: Well I'm kind of torn, because I like to accept advertisers who are not technical, “Naturebox.com/twit”, but then – because that's not a conflict of interest because we don't cover that topic, but on the other hand, I do like to have sponsors for products that we use all the time, because those are legitimate endorsements, those are things we like. Like say Citrix ShareFile which is a fabulous product for people who want to share files online, don't want to attach emails, ShareFile is...
Paul: It helps when it's good stuff, right?! It helps when this stuff is actually high quality and useful.
Leo: We actually turn down a lot advertisers, every day I say no to somebody, I just make it part of my ritual. We only accept advertisers for products that we like, and we have a rule that I have to try it, if I've never tried it before I have to take it home and use it, I have to make sure that I can – you know why? The real reason, besides the ethical reason, when I tell people to buy something, they blame me if it sucks!
Paul: There's nothing more stressful than recommending a $2k laptop or whatever, only to have someone come back and say “you said that blah blah blah...”
Leo: Yes! They don't blame the manufacture, the company, they blame you!
Paul: I take that seriously as well! It's kind of a different topic in a way, but people were bouncing out Surface Pro 2 reviews after having the device for 3 days, are you kidding me?! Does anyone not ever come back to you and call you on this? You have to really care about that, I don't understand how you couldn't!
Leo: I'm with you! Let's talk about ShareFile as long as you are here! And then we'll talk about the back of the book, Paul & Mary Jo, stuff you like, tips, beer, you know, none of which they are paid for... fools! Just stuff they like... fools! You see what I'm saying? They just keep giving it away!
ShareFile is a really big solution to a problem in business, in almost every case when you send an email, it almost always seems like you want to attach something, invoice, presentation, images, attachments are part of doing business, and yet you are always hearing me and everybody, security experts, saying “Don't email attachments, and don't open attachments when you get them in an email, it's how viruses get spread.” I should also point out, attachments are not secure, it's like sending a post card, everybody can read it along the way. And of course, now days with the file sizes, those emails often get bounced back so it's like you never even sent it! ShareFile solves all of that. ShareFile allows you to share files across the internet. Citrix ShareFile is such a great program, of course it's from Citrix, these guys know business, you've heard of and probably used Citrix in your business. Instead of sending an email, you're going to send a secure link. SSAE 16 audited data centers and AES 256-bit encryption, your stuff is private, so much so that it's compatible, it's HIPPA compliant, it follows regulations in the financial services industry and others, this really IS a great solution. I want you to try it free, visit sharefile.com and sign up for Citrix ShareFile. When you do, do me a favor and do Paul and Mary Jo a favor, you're going to see some fine print right at the top of the screen, where it says “Podcast listeners click here”. Click that link, not the three other “try it free” buttons, but the little tiny one with the green microphone. The reason is, you can type in the offer code “Windows” and then they will know you heard it on windows weekly. You should also pick your industry, because they will customize it for a huge number of industries they support automatically. I use it to share photos, I use Citrix ShareFile all the time because I have and it's great and convenient. Try it today, free for 30 days, sharefile.com use the offer code WINDOWS. Citrix ShareFile, enhance your work flow, send files of almost any size, easily and securely with Citrix ShareFile.
Now Paul Thurrott will kick things off with the back of the book.
Paul: So I skipped the tip this week because I have so many software tips, it seems to be a trend recently, not sure why it's happening. Actually I have a very important one that's not on the list because it just happened. Microsoft just released Skype 4.3 for Linux, so... you know... you've got that.
Leo: They're catching up, pretty soon they will be right where we are!
Paul: I don't know why it constructed the
link this way, but Microsoft also launched something called the IE developers
channel, which will be familiar sounding if you're used to the chrome channels,
I think they have 4 channels like Stable, Beta, Developer and one other. This
is basically a second install of IE that you can put on Window's 8, I think it's 8.1 or Window's 7 with service pack 1, it's the desktop
version of the browser only, but it runs alongside the existing IE version
which is kind of a neat feature. It's also a full feature browser so it's not
like a stripped down developer version that only has the new stuff.
It gives developers a chance to try out what is coming in the future IE updater
version, today. It's kind of a neat idea, so if you're a web developer you
should check that out, there's some neat stuff in there like Game Pad iep support, better web GL performance, a lot of neat game
Facebook Beta for Windows 8.0 and 8.1 was updated this week, major UI changes, it's flatter than ever, which I didn't think was possible on a window's phone, but I guess it is, this is a hard thing to explain, if you use facebook app on android or IOS, you know that there are – depending on the view, there is a tool bar at the top and a tool bar at the bottom and one of those as your check in, post something, photos, and the other one has the site parts, timeline, notifications, messages, etc. on Window's phone, the normal version of this app, those two tool bars are right next to each other at the top for some reason. So they've made it kind of like android, where one is at the top and one is at the bottom. The weird thing is, they are reversed. If you are used to Android or IOS, the things that were on the top are on the bottom, and the things that are on the bottom are on the top – I don't know why. There are other improvements in the app that are worthwhile, for example, if you are commenting on a photo, the way it worked before is the comment screen would come up full screen and now it comes up about ¾ of the screen so you can still see the photo while you are doing the comment, which is what most people want, and some other things like that. Facebook beta can run alongside normal facebook, you can fully integrate into the phone using that Window's 8.1 social extensibility framework, when you do a share from any other app, you can share or share to facebook beta so you can mix and match, you can run both side by side, it works fine. I haven't done a lot on facebook this week but since they came out it seems to be running pretty good.
Skype for iPhone was updated this week as well, the guys at Skype are trying to make their mobile apps all look kind of the same and the way they are looking the same, oddly enough, is that it looks like a Window's phone app, so I think we might have talked about this last week but it came out soon after if we did. The new version for Skype for iPhone looks like Skype for Window's phone, so I guess it's more consistent with the Skype mobile apps.
This one is kind of interesting, you might remember that some couple of months ago, I've been disenchanted with the whole Amazon Kindle stuff because they are not updating their app on Window's or Window's phone at all, they're not releasing other apps on Window's or Window's phone at all, including the Amazon music app – I'm kind of bothered by that stuff, so I recommended the Barnes & Noble Nook app, then the next day they announced they were canceling it! They also never came up with their...
Leo: Those are good times!
Paul: Yeah, we had a good one day run! The app is still there, if you have a Window's tablet you can still use the Nook app, subscribe to magazines, it's fine, but I don't think they are ever going to update it again, and of course I don't think the Window's phone version is ever going to happen. So we're in kind of a weird limbo because we think Microsoft is coming out with a reader app that's going to be compatible with every other app but we don't know, so here we are. I read a lot of books on Kindle but I have to use non Window devices because the Kindle software on Window's and Window's phone is so awful! This week, Kobo books, which is – they're not based in the US, I'm not sure where they are from if they are Japanese or Canadian or one of those other crazy countries, not the United States... They released a Window's Phone App, they already had a Window's 8 app, because of the phone I looked into them and they actually have an app on everything, they're on iPhone, Android, Mac, PC desktop, they're on Blackberry 10 which is kind of crazy! They have a reasonable sized store, they have magazines, they don't work on the phone version which is too bad because they DO work on the iPhone version, which I find to be a little irritating, but they promise to update fairly regularly, they have done so on the Window's side, it's a nice looking app, it performs well, it's about on par with the Kindle today, it obviously needs to go further. If you look at the iPhone version, which I did, there's a lot more in that app than we see on the Window's phone side. But I'm not ready to abandon Kindle and run off to Kobo, but I'm going to look at it – I bought a couple of books, a couple of magazines, I'm going to try it on the tablets, on the phone and we'll see how that goes. It's free, they have a lot of free books as well, something to take a look at if you are a reader.
Mary Jo: It looks like Toronto is where they are based.
Leo: Toronto Canada?!
Paul: That's still part of Canada, right?!
Mary Jo: As far as I've heard, it's still part of Canada!
Leo: The new Facebook app, I always got the feeling on Window's phone that Facebook was really a wrapper for the website.
Paul: It's always been behind, the first version was designed for Microsoft by an outside company, it had kind of a metro look and feel, it was neat. At some point, Facebook demanded that all their mobile apps have this consistent look, kind of like Skype, so they switched it. Microsoft still develops it... I like it, the new one – have you used it Mary Jo? It seems fine.
Mary Jo: No, I have not.
Leo: I'll try it tonight. Do I have to go into the store and look for the beta? It's not an update?
Paul: Yes, look for the beta. And like I said, you can run it side by side, so it doesn't blow anything away or you don't have to replace anything.
Leo: Well here's some good news, Mary Jo Foley can tell us how we can have an Azure pack!
Paul: It sounds like a medical condition!
Mary Jo: It kind of does! Window's Azure Pack “WAP”...
Leo: Wow, that's a much better name!
Mary Jo: Although now it's probably just called Azure Pack since they don't call it “Window's Azure” anymore. So Azure pack is a collection of services that Microsoft makes available to partners and very big enterprise customers, that comes from Azure and they ploy in their own data centers to make them run more like Azure actually runs. So you know that way that Microsoft now has user voice and they're letting people have input in what they want to see on xBox, Window's, Window's phone... they're actually doing this now on some of these enterprise products. So if you do a search for Azure Pack and Feedback, you'll find a site where Microsoft is soliciting user feedback for what they want to see in Azure Pack. There's about two dozen features listed so far, #1 feature requested so far is role based access control, you can go in there and you can see “How would you to like Microsoft to prioritize the next set of features that they add to Azure Pack?” You can vote on the ones that are there, just like User Voice, you can add your own ideas about what you would like to see and why, so if you are an Azure Pack user, or somebody who is thinking about trying it out, you might want to go check this site out and see what might be in the next set of updates, based on user demand.
Mary Jo: How do you like THAT enterprise pick?!
Leo: Azure Pack!
Paul: Better than an impact at Azure!
Leo: That sounds painful! And our code name pick of the week?
Mary Jo: Code name pick of the week for once, is not a place name, or a color, it's Catapult. This is a very interesting thing, a lot of times people think Microsoft research projects take forever to ever end up in implemented products or services at Microsoft. This is an example of one that ISN'T taking forever. The people at Microsoft research were working around how you could take field programmable gate arrays, which are chips that you can program – FPGA – they took these, they built a hardware/software fabric to run on top of them, and said “You know what, this is crazy but let us try running some of Bing on this to see how this goes.” So they deployed this with 1600 Microsoft servers in their data center to try running Bing, and it turned out that it runs Bing faster and more efficiently so they could technically have half the number of servers running the same work load, so very energy efficient as well. It turned out so well that they are going to actually let them do this and it's going to roll out next year in Microsoft's data centers. So Catapult is the name of the hardware/software fabric that they came up with in trying to solve the problem about how to make servers run better. Microsoft is very worried about the end of Moore's law, what are we going to do when that happens, how are we going to continue to get real performance out of hardware, we can't just keep adding servers and servers and servers and expect our performance is going to automatically double and triple, because it's not. So this is the start of this and it's very interesting. There's a research paper you can go download it, check it out if you are really interested in this, at some point, maybe users can deploy this in their own data centers as well.
Leo: You know, Mary Jo, this is my Friday. Maybe you didn't know that, Thursday and Friday... because I have to work the weekends for my radio show, I have Thursday and Friday off, so Wednesday is my Friday. And the sun is over the yard arm where you live, maybe there is a beer I can find that would help me ease my way into the weekend.
Paul: Oh, I'm sure there is!
Mary Jo: Yes! I have something – Colorado Vixnu. So if you heard that name, you might think “Wow, a cold beer from Colorado”. This beer is from Brazil. The brewery's name is Colorado, of course, because of the World Cup, Paul's favorite sporting event, I had to pick a world cup beer... It also, because Paul loves double IPA's because they are so hoppy and awesome, I picked it because of that as well. Actually Paul, if you ever got to try this, and believe it or not, this beer was on tap at the Rattle & Hum for the World Cup, it's not as hoppy as one might expect, it's very very malty, even though it's a double IPA. So it's a balanced beer, they sell it in bottles, it's actually on tap at some places around, even the US, or if you are in Brazil.
Leo: There IS a Calibre beer...
Mary Jo: Is there really?!
Leo: Just so you know! Chat room, Thank you!
Mary Jo: Where is it from?
Leo: Queensland Australia. Calibre... they probably don't pronounce it that way.
Mary Jo: Good to know, for when we go there sometime.
Leo: Let's all go now!
Mary Jo: So yeah, if you ever get to try this beer, the Colorado Vixnu, it's very nice, very good IPA.
Leo: But it's ironic because it's from Brazil! I was about to say “Oh good, I love Colorado, all the great beers come from Colorado!” And then I realized wait a minute, it's Brazil! So this is what they are drinking in the World Cup right now. You know who's not drinking? Spain! Eliminated!
Mary Jo: Maybe they are drinking!
Leo: Maybe that's ALL they are doing right now! So that's kind of a shocker because they won it last time.
Paul: I have no opinion about that, but I have to say that I am slightly overjoyed that Miami didn't win another MBA championship!
Leo: You're a Spur's fan!
Paul: I'm a fan of good team basketball, so the Spur's are interesting along that line.
Leo: How about the King's, you like them?
Paul: That one, I didn't have any...
Leo: If it's not the Bruins, you don't care...
Paul: I wouldn't say... yeah I would, yeah! That's a fine way to say it!
Leo: Mary Jo Foley is at allaboutmicrosoft.com the zeedy net blog where she writes all about Microsoft, pretty much 24/7, she has no life, but boy, thanks to her we've got great updates on all the Microsoft news. Paul Thurrott is at the super site for Window's winsupersite.com where he's available to write articles about Internet Explorer, or anything, for a price...
Paul! That's right, anything you would like to sponsor!
Leo: Just kidding! I can't believe they went to Michael Arrington, of all the people!
Mary Jo: It couldn't have been worse, really!
Leo: Kara Swisher would have been worse,
she's really scary!
We do this show, normally, we are a little delayed because of the Amazon announcement... We do this show 11am pacific, 2 pm eastern, 1800 UTC on Wednesday's. If you watch live, I appreciate it, because I love seeing you here, we take your feedback and all that stuff, but if you can't watch live, on demand audio and video is always available after the fact at TwiT.tv/ww or wherever finer podcast are aggregated, including the xBox music place thing. Don't forget Paul's new book... is it just a re-write of the old book?
Paul: Yeah, it's just a re-write! I will write part of it tonight while I'm doing something else, it's so easy!
Leo: It's so easy! He can now write books in his sleep. The Window's Phone 8.1 field guide. You'll find it at windowsphonebook.com you can download the first edition... help Paul write it! Then he'll publish it in Calibre!
Paul: We could all lose money on it together... it would be fun! I like to spread the lack of wealth!
Leo: I blame Amazon!
Paul: When I write a book, every expense is spared!
Leo: I like it! We'll see you next time on Window's Weekly!