Thurrott Daily: February 15

Posted on February 15, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Games, Windows 10, Xbox 360, Xbox One with 20 Comments

Thurrott Daily: February 15

How I solved the screen height issue with the HP Curved All In One PC.

Tech tidbits from around the web.

2/15/2017 4:25:28 PM

Microsoft president: ‘Digital Geneva Convention’ needed to deter nation-state hacking

So will Skype be considered a war crime or just a crime against humanity? Reuters reports:

Microsoft President Brad Smith on Tuesday pressed the world’s governments to form an international body to protect civilians from state-sponsored hacking, saying recent high-profile attacks showed a need for global norms to police government activity in cyberspace.

Countries need to develop and abide by global rules for cyber attacks similar to those established for armed conflict at the 1949 Geneva Convention that followed World War Two, Smith said. Technology companies, he added, need to preserve trust and stability online by pledging neutrality in cyber conflict.

“We need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to implement the norms needed to protect civilians on the internet in times of peace,” Smith said.

Smith outlined his proposal during keynote remarks at this week’s RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco, following a 2016 U.S. presidential election marred by the hacking and disclosure of Democratic Party emails that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded were carried out by Russia in order to help Republican Donald Trump win.

Microsoft’s Forza video games top $1 billion in sales

Or, as I call it, “how much Call of Duty makes in one month each year.” The Spokesman-Review explains.

Microsoft has minted its fifth billion-dollar video-game franchise. The “Forza” racing series in December topped $1 billion in lifetime sales since the first game’s release 12 years ago, Microsoft said Monday.

Microsoft-owned Turn 10 Studios released “Forza Horizon 3” last year, the ninth game in the series. The original “Forza Motorsport” was released in 2005 with the launch of the Xbox 360 console.

Microsoft’s billion-dollar club is led by “Halo,” the sci-fi shooter that has grossed more than $5 billion and been the flagship Xbox game since the release of the original game in 2001.

Microsoft’s “Age of Empires” franchise, primarily personal-computer games, also has sold more than $1 billion. And in 2014, Microsoft bought two franchises with more than $1 billion in sales: “Gears of War” and world-building game “Minecraft.”

Microsoft delays Patch Tuesday

This happened yesterday, but what the heck. It still hasn’t been resolved. And I believe this is unprecedented.

Our top priority is to provide the best possible experience for customers in maintaining and protecting their systems. This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.

After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan.

MSRC [Microsoft Security Research Center]

Microsoft unveils Spectator View for HoloLens

Want to make videos of yourself with holograms? Of course you do. Well, this will do it. You’ll need two HoloLens headsets and an expensive DSLR camera. So, it’s totally mainstream.

Since a HoloLens can only be worn by one person, how do you open the view so everyone can see what that person sees? To solve this problem, we developed Mixed Reality Capture (MRC) to aid in the visualization of holograms that the wearer is seeing from a first-person perspective.

Though MRC is easy to use, there are some constraints. Because MRC is built directly into the device it is subject to what’s available in the device, for example the specs of the photo/video camera, available processing resources to do capture, compositing, and more. It’s also a camera attached to the wearer’s head so it’s subject to the normally imperceptible head movements that can sometimes make the resulting video not as stable as some situations might require. If you have used MRC before, you may notice that sometimes even the slightest head movement by the wearer can make it hard for the audience to follow along.

Amazon Alexa now supports calendars

Someone pinged me about this on Twitter yesterday, so I retweeted it. And then all the blogs picked it up. Like this one. I’m sure the original source mentioned me. Cough.

Amazon has added support for calendars, letting Microsoft users sync their schedules, add events and get help from Alexa with their meetings.

With this addition, is now supported on all major platforms and by all major digital assistants. If you want to look at it another way, now all digital assistant can indirectly talk to each other by editing your calendar.

Users who want to use the new feature can simply add the calendar on their Alexa mobile app, in the Settings pane. You won’t need to update anything, as the support was added behind the scenes and is already live.

What’s 2017’s fastest Windows 10 web browser?

I hate to point to this FUD-spreading, Microsoft-hating blogger. But this is an interesting conversation. And I’ll give you enough info that you don’t need to read it.

Last year, Google Chrome was the speediest Windows 10 web browser by a mile. This year, it’s a different story.

Edge took the blue ribbon in both JetStream and WebXPRT. If performance were the only criteria, I’d give Edge the win. It’s not.

For example, I use extensions a lot. On Chrome, my main browser on all platforms, I use over a dozen extensions every day. They allow me to search through a site using Google, invoke the ZenMate virtual private network (VPN), and save pages to Google Drive. Edge finally supports extensions, but instead of thousands, Edge supports a mere 22. That’s not good enough.

Opera, which has been slowly dropping in popularity for years, actually shows up quite well in my tests. For the first time in ages, Opera won two of the benchmarks, Kraken and Octane. It may be time to give Opera another look.

Firefox has been declining in both popularity and speed for some time now. I see no reason for this changing in this go-around.

Chrome, once unquestionably the fastest of the fast, has fallen behind both Edge and Opera. While its HTML5 support is still superb, Google needs to retune it for greater speed.

To me, it comes down to Chrome, Edge, or Opera


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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Thurrott Daily: February 15”

  1. 5496

    Edge is not as bad as you make it out to be. Not everyone cares about extensions.

    the only extension I need is adblock. And Edge has it.

    • 10139

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      Agreed, I also see no real use for extensions, as long as I have my ad blocker I am fine.

    • Wolf

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      Yeah, if he only uses "over a dozen", who cares if the browser has thousands available. The key ones, like LastPass and AdBlock Plus, do the job just fine.

    • Michael Sorrentino

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      Forget adblock, without LastPass ads would be the least of my concerns

    • 5530

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      lol hey look, it's the "not everyone cares about apps" guy!


    • Narg

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      Plus, extensions only slow a browser down and increase it's crash rate.  They are nice, but use as few as possible.

    • 2175

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      On my desktop PC, Edge has moments when it begins blurring and black outs (basically blacking out certain elements of the website). It used to have issues with Facebook too (haven't checked in a while). Whenever I was writing a post, the text would duplicate itself every time I pressed Enter. These are reasons why I don't yet use it as my go to browser. I wonder if anybody else has the same problems with Edge

      I also don't use many extensions on Chrome. But I do appreciate that Chrome has hundreds to choose from. Whether I personally use it is irrelevant. If the majority user base uses them, then it's a big advantage over Edge

    • 1377

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      You do realize your argument for Edge is the same as arguments for Windows Phone/Mobile a few years ago: how much do apps matter? Well, we can hope Edge lasts longer than Windows phones, but it may be an unwise bet.

      • 6014

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        I'd say the comparison isn't valid. Everyone uses apps. The only people I know that use Chrome (or any other) web browser extension are the nerds like us. Normals don't know about them and don't care.

        • 1377

          In reply to Daekar:

          Maybe. OTOH, Windows 10 is running on roughly 1 in 4 PCs (desktops, actually), but Edge on fewer than 1 in 20 (per Netmarketshare). I figure the only people using Edge are nerds like us. Real people use Chrome.

  2. 1294

    Microsoft’s Forza video games top $1 billion in sales

    Or, as I call it, “how much Call of Duty makes in one month each year.”

    Pennies compared to say War of Warcraft, but we are not comparing apples to oranges, 1 billion is pretty good for a racing franchise, which has a pretty niche and small market.


  3. 334

    "I hate Edge because no Google Site Search, ZenMate & Google Drive. Maybe I'll try Opera instead."

  4. Narg

    What I don't understand about the updates, is why don't they just move away from the "monthly" thing.  Push out updates when they are ready.  Any time.

  5. 8098

    I think the most remarkable thing here is that Microsoft delays the Patch day. As the author writes: unprecedented. Why is it hidden here between such small news?

  6. 289

    Are we going to see a flood of Edge extensions at some point?

    • 1377

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      There have been a few Edge extensions for over a year. The capability has existed for a while. That there are still so few Edge extensions would seem to mean 3rd party developers see little point to developing extensions for Edge. I won't speculate why, but it seems fairly clear the potential rewards/revenues from Edge extensions don't justify the development costs. If so, don't hold your breath waiting for a flood.

  7. 1283

    Height Fix:   Don't your kids own any Lego's?   fine adjustment, nice colours, perfect for height adjustments or adding a little air gap between things.


  8. 10808

    FYI, Alexa also works with Office 365 Exchange accounts, not just  I've successfully tied it to my calendar on my Office 365 Business Essentials plan.  I can add appointments and ask Alexa to tell me what's next on my calendar.