Thurrott Daily: January 18

Thurrott Daily: January 18

Good morning. Here are a few tidbits from around the web.

1/18/2016 10:16:48 AM

“What the PC Industry Could Learn From the NRA”

With a headline like that, this one is bound to be controversial. Fortunately, it’s penned by Rob Enderle, who I respect. And he makes a good point:

The overall problem with the PC industry is the continued perception that it is dying out, even though the biggest contributor to that perception — tablets — is itself on life support. In a case like this, an effective industry association can make a difference by addressing a large threat to the industry as a whole — whether that threat be a competing industry, regulation, or a false perception.

One of the ways an NRA-like effort could be particularly effective would be to counter government antiprivacy trends, which are hurting the technology segment and U.S. technology products — PCs in particular — both overseas and domestically.

It turns out people don’t like to buy products they think are spying on them, and the U.S. government has been particularly effective in scaring off buyers of U.S. technology products as a result of largely illegal spying efforts, and an inability to keep them secret.

Rob also makes a nice point about Apple, which has historically grown its Mac business while the PC market has shrunk. He suggests that has little to do with the quality of the products.

The firm with the largest advertising budget, Apple, is showing the strongest growth. The two strongest overall, Lenovo and Apple, both have product lines that extend to smartphones, suggesting there may be a synergy between the two product classes that most don’t seem to get.


Lumia 650 will be Microsoft’s “last Lumia,” report states

Windows Central’s Daniel Rubino is really going out on a limb on this one, since a Surface-branded phone is in fact not a certainty. (Yes, they’re working on one. That doesn’t mean it will happen, or will be named Surface something.) But he claimedover the weekend that the coming low-end/mid-range Lumia 650 will be the last phone Microsoft brands as a Lumia.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Monday, February 1 Microsoft will reveal details about the device, including pricing and availability, through their official blog. The news is somewhat expected as the phone is not exactly worthy of a press event and Microsoft is likely going to keep their presence at Mobile World Congress low-key.

We have heard multiple times that the Lumia 650 is the last Lumia. Instead, Microsoft will be focusing on the flagship ‘Panos phone’, which is expected to be part of the Surface line later this fall.

That “Panos phone” bit is a nice hedge on Daniel’s part. Noting again that the “Surface phone” may in fact not happen, by which I mean it may not use the Surface branding and/or simply be canceled, calling it “Panos phone” is just a cute way of describing one or more phones developed directly under Panos Panay, who now runs Lumia. (The Lumia 950, 950 XL, 550, and 650 were all developed previous to Panay’s promotion.)

That said, I do sort of believe that the Lumia brand is beyond repair, much like that of Zune, because it is associated with failure and thus needs to be dropped.

“The best way to run Windows 10 on a Mac is …”

…. is not described in that article, for some reason. So, “great headline.” And no link for you!

But as is usually the case, I got this one. And after evaluating Boot Camp and Parallels Desktop, I came to my own conclusion: Parallels Desktop is the best way to run Windows 10 on a Mac.

John Romero makes a new level for the original Doom

How awesome is this? Doom co-creator (and level-making genius) John Romero has just posted a new level for the original game. And it works with the free, shareware-based version if you don’t have Doom sitting around for reason. (It is a DOS game, but there are Windows front-ends/versions.)

Mr. Romero shares the news via Facebook:

It’s been 21 years since I made a DOOM level. Here’s my version of E1M8 using DOOM1.WAD. I limited myself to only the shareware assets.

No word on why Romero decided to revisit his biggest accomplishment now, but whatever. That’s just good stuff.

And for you few Doom-unaware, the E1M8 refers to “Episode 1, Mission 8.” The shareware version of Doom encompasses the first episode, called Knee Deep in the Dead, which has 10 missions, or levels, one of which is a secret level.

A Doom WAD file (where WAD stands for “Where’s All the Data?”) is part of the rich history of DOOM: When Id Software’s John Carmack and John Romero saw that enthusiasts were customizing and adding on to their earlier games, they decided to support that activity explicitly in Doom by putting all of the in-game resources—levels, graphics, and other game data—in its own file. That way, level makers and others could more easily add-on to, or swap out, the original stuff and build on the game. This decision was a key contributor to Doom’s success. Well, that and the fact that the game is awesome.

You can and should read about the history of Doom and Id Software by checking out Masters of Doom—in paper, Kindle, or Audible—formats. It’s a great book, and I believe I’ve read it through at least three times now.


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