Thurrott Daily: September 29

Posted on September 29, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Xbox One, Hardware, Mobile, Music + Videos with 41 Comments

Thurrott Daily: September 29

Cheers, Atlanta. You will be missed.

After not sleeping a wink last night—I ended up getting some work done at 4:00 am—I flew home from Atlanta and promptly fell asleep. Please excuse the brevity. –Paul

Tech tidbits from around the web.

9/29/2016 5:10:54 PM

Watch the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered launch trailer

I feel like I’ve seen this before, but there’s so much Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered footage out there it’s hard keeping it all straight. Check out the launch trailer:

Watch the entire Gears of War 4 prologue

And speaking of awesome YouTube videos of upcoming Xbox One games, Microsoft has for some inexplicable reason posted the entire 20 minute Gears of War 4 prologue.

It’s going to be a busy Fall. If by busy I mean playing games.

“Which features does Microsoft still need to add to Windows 10 Mobile?”

Apps? I’m going to go with “apps.”

Microsoft exec sees the end of the QWERTY keyboard

In an interview with the UK’s Evening Standard, Microsoft’s Dave Coplin says it’s “bizarre” that that 21st-century workers still relied on typing technology invented in the 19th century.

“We have these amazing computers that we essentially use like we’re still Victorians. The Qwerty keyboard is a great example of an old design being brought forward to modern day. We’ve not really evolved. We still use this sub-optimal design.”

“We’re looking at technologies now like voice and gesture recognition, and facial tracking that may make the keyboard redundant.”

“We think that computers in the not-too-distant future will be able to understand all of those things and infer on my behalf my intent, meaning and objective that I’m trying to do.”

Sounds exciting. He types. From a 19th century QWERTY keyboard. That was made by Microsoft.

New Amazon Fire TV Stick offers cheapest way yet to get Alexa in your home

Amazon this week released a new version of the Fire TV Stick. Big deal, right? But this one is being promoted as the cheapest way to get Alexa in your home. The Wall Street Journal reports:

On Wednesday, Amazon introduced its second-gen Fire TV Stick, keeping the same $40 price, but including a voice-capable remote that lets owners talk to the artificially intelligent assistant.

By speaking to Alexa, you can not only find something to watch, but also purchase hundreds of items from Amazon’s online store, check the weather, get a news update or play a song on Spotify. Amazon says Alexa is currently able to understand 3,000 distinct commands.

The new Fire TV Stick is the cheapest way to get Alexa

I guess it does other video-y-type stuff too. I know. Who cares?

Blackberry will no longer build its own phones

A Blackberry press release notes that the firm will no longer build its own phones.

Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum, including our first major device software licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia. Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners.This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.

Some have misreported this as “Blackberry won’t be designing its own phones” anymore either, but I don’t read it that way, and that of course doesn’t make any sense. For whatever it’s worth, Apple doesn’t build its own phones either. No one does.


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Comments (41)

41 responses to “Thurrott Daily: September 29”

  1. 5539

    “Which features does Microsoft still need to add to Windows 10 Mobile?”

    Apps? I’m going to go with “apps.”

    OK, Which features does Microsoft still need to add to Windows 10 Mobile, that MS actually has some control over?

    • 5485

      Its not about the features.

      The correct question should be IMHO. 

      What problems people care about Windows Phone need to solve to set it apart?

  2. 5602

    Regarding gesture recognition -- wouldn't it be great if, when I swipe from the right hand side of the screen, a bunch of useless "charms" show up and interrupt what I was doing ? I think that would be fantastic.

  3. 5534

    People have been saying the QWERTY keyboard is dying since the mid-to-late70s. Many alternatives have been tried over the years, but none have caught on. I guess people like what works and is comfortable to use. No matter how old the technology is.

  4. 241

    "Microsoft exec sees the end of the QWERTY keyboard" Geez, haven't we heard this before? 30 years ago I thought we would have decent voice, geature and eye-tracking control of PCs with screens the size of a bedroom wall.

  5. 459

    "Sounds exciting. He types. From a 19th century QWERTY keyboard. That was made by Microsoft."

    Now, that was just plain funny!

  6. 5508

    Tell me again why the Dvorak keyboard didn't replace QWERTY?

    • 5625

      Because Dvorak was never better. Except that Dr. Dvorak said it was, according to his tests. (No conflict of interest there!)

    • 5592

      Because in indepenent tests it really didn't make that much difference.

      • 5508

        And no one could find QWERTY on a Dvorak keyboad.

      • 5504

        For a Dvorak keyboard not to be faster for English text than QWERTY, the laws of physics would have to be broken. T=D/V. Reduce D and T becomes smaller. Of course, how much faster might be an issue.

        • 5566

          Only if the determining factor is how long it takes to move your finger.  Deciding what to type probably is what takes the time.  Navy studies showed Dvorak didn't improve throughput by trained operators.

          • 5504

            Generally in a speed test what to type is a given, so there's really no decision involvled. Obviously the amount of thinking one must do to type a particular document is going to vary, but it's really is orthogonal to the fundamental efficiency of the keyboard. The interpretation of the Navy studies varies, with some claiming it proves Dvorak was faster while others claim the opposite. The Navy study was really about the economic value of experienced users switching keyboards, not which keyboard was inherently faster. QWERTY is the dominant standard, that's why it's still used.

  7. 3216

    The DVORAK keyboard rules!!!  Long live DVORAK...  <snigger>

  8. 5530

    Eh? The Call Of Duty 4 remaster just looks like overdone color treatment everywhere. I dunno, something about it looks off.

  9. 3272

    "Apple doesn't build its own phones either. No one does"

    Microsoft builds their own phones...oh wait. ?

  10. 214

    The death of QWERTY has been predicted many times. One purported QWERTY-slayer was the ill-fated "Dvorak" keyboard layout which purportedly allowed "faster" typing. However, since trained QWERTY typists could already type faster than most people can think (my mom certified at 140 WPM back in the 1930s!) the benfits were illusory.

    I do expect to see the technologies alluded to by Mr. Coplin proliferate - but as expansions to the human I/O vocabulary - not as replacements for a tool that will remain usable and useful as long as humans have fingers and the ability to signify a selection by pointing...

    • 186

      On what typewriter did your mom verify that speed back in the 30s?

      • 1753

        I certified at 80wpm at college, on a manual Imperial typewriter, as part of my business studies course, back in the late 80s.

    • 5294

      I was hoping someone would really make a decent touchscreen keyboard with a different layout, but that hasn't happened. I use Dvorak on my Windows tablet.

  11. 5625

    I still wonder how they envision this in an office environment. Aside from annoying my coworkers, there are many reasons I don't want to use voice commands and gestures to input text and commands.

  12. 5496

    “Which features does Microsoft still need to add to Windows 10 Mobile?”

    you too with this. Microsoft doesn't make the apps. And you know that.

  13. 5496

    the qwerty keyboard will never dir. People will still be using it in 1000 years.

  14. 442

    First the audio jack, now the keyboard?  Are tech companies just going nuts these days???  Keyboards will never go away completely.  Even as good a voice is today, nobody wants to work in an environment where everyone is talking to their computer at the same time.  It would get confusing, noisy, irritating, just plain bad.  I don't see any less than a couple centuries of advancement before computing power can equal the raw ability of human understanding of speach.  Sure, it works today, but barely at that.

    The only improvement I'd like to see for the keyboard is a better adaption of the Dvorak or similar more productive models.

    With all this "let's remove old stuff to make us look modern" bull hocky going on, I guess we'll need to get rid of musical instruments altogether next?  Or, how about forks and spoons, you know how old and "out of date" those things are...  Gawd, I just want to slap the next tech leader that even tries to go down that stupid path.

    • 186

      Easy.. easy... did some take away our desert today?

    • 442

      ...besides, how else could we have fun at typos.... :/   

      I like the new comment system, but gotta learn now there is no "edit" ability on comments.

  15. 1753

    What does Windows Mobile need? Apps, yes, you are correct, apps. But I would go further, it needs, reliable, bug free apps.

    I love my Lumia 950, but I still switched to a Nexus 5x for every day, because the FitBit app keeps losing contact with my Charge HR and says that the phone needs to reboot (about once a day). Alternatively, you can deinstall and re-install the app, it has the same result, so it isn't that W10M loses contact with the device (which is the error that FitBit gives), but it is an app problem.

    Secondly, my family uses WhatsApp and on Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile, it seems to use a random number generator to decide whether it should inform the user that a message has arrived. Sometimes it will go for days without acknowledging that new messages have arrived (no sounds, no messages in the message center / on the lock screen), yet if you open the app, you'll see that there are 20 messages or so waiting. Then it will work reliably for a day or so, then it stops notifying again.

    With those two issues and those (alongside Audible and Podcasts) being the apps I use most, I regretably switched. On the other hand, the Nexus isn't perfect either. It keeps forgetting which audio application is playing. If I was listening to Audible, pause it, then look at an email, when I get in the car the car connects and says it is playing Audible, but the phone is still paused. Hitting the play button in the car doesn't do anything either. The same happens with cabled headphones (pressing the play pause button on the headphones) and Bluetooth headphones...

  16. 5485

    There are too many Julio Vernes at MS. I've seen many videos from MS about the MS Vision of the future. From tactile to voice control, to transperent screens, to hiper thin devices, glasses etc etc etc. I have little doupt that something between those lines may be the future of human machine interaction. But that is not I would like to ear from MS at the moment.

    Take for instance Kinect. They got rid of it because it works but it does not just work. There is bug, big difference between one and the other. For business, a device or software that works, its fine. They have IT departments and consultants at hand to cope when it does not work. Outside business, in peoiple if it does not just work ...

    No Kinect had many flaws, but one thing that MS brags about the voice recognition. One of the problems of Kinect in my view regarding voice, was down to its design. The mics simply did not have enough range to be positioned in the center of the living room and capture sound with enough detail. Its behavious was somewhat erratic. What does MS do? Totally abandons it.


    - Why did not MS integrated a Mic on the Controller than? At least in this second version, XBOX One S? 

    - The integration of XBOX One with the TV, in particular with setopboxes is flawed. They superimpose their own TV Guide, that is difficult to mantain up to date, to no much gain at all. Yet the true value of such integration is one that the user does not need to the environment, switch devices, move from a live TV program to a game or whatever. Why not focus than on sorting that out instead of fully controlling the TV experience, getting into "wars" with broadcaster and their strategy for the setopboxes and services. For instance, why not offer a remote control, with standard interface of a setopbox and be able to detect when the user is in TV mode or regular mode. They have all the info to do it. Why not focus on solving the problem before thinking about making a business out of it, locking users out of the setopbox UI.

    - UI just one HDMI in? Why not two or three? Allowing users to connect other devices to extend the default system functionality. Say a miracast or chrome cast dongle, an external BR player and so on? Why do we need Logitech if we have the marvell of XBOX One to do such things.

    MS has this notion of one ring to rule them all, including businesses that are not theirs. The company believes that totally in this. Take the Metro UI, its everywhere. The question I ask than. Does this Dalek vision of tech actually solves the problem that was inteded to solve? Making tech life simpler, more eficient .... I think we have proofs that it does not!



  17. 4828

    That nuke in modern warfare was one of my favorite jaw dropping moments playing a game.

  18. 5508

    "G Suite" is a terrible name. Google should have renamed Google Apps to Suite G.

  19. 5606

    > ?.. doesn’t build its own phones either. No one does.

    Samsung, LG, HUAWEI, ...?

  20. 1534

    Paul, I tried to attach a photo of the Atlanta meetup in my comment but couldn't get it to work. Is the photo attachment working yet? The photo is in the public area of my Microsoft OneDrive. Here is the link if anyone wants to see.

    It was really great to get to meet you, brad, and Mary Jo.

    • 124

      Have tried several times can't get a photo on.

    • 5234

      It needs to be a direct link.  Like this:


      • 1534

        I see now. OK, thanks. That's Paul in the lower right. In the lower left, just in front of the guy with the orange shirt and "Ireland" on his shirt is Brad. And the just to the right of Brad is Mary Jo.

  21. 5534

    This wasn't covered here, but I see there was a cumulative update for Windows 10 today (KB3194496). I just got a popup notice that a restart has been scheduled to complete the update.

    • 442

      Lots of folks having trouble getting this update to install.  MS knows about the issues and is working on it...

      • 5534

        Interesting. I installed in on three devices (desktop, tablet, and phone) with no issues.

  22. 1775

    >...end of the QWERTY keyboard
    Yeah, i don't see that happening any time soon. There've been similiar predictions in the past, and it's still here. I'm not saying voice/gesture input is bad, they just aren't the best in all situations.