Thurrott Daily: May 30

Posted on May 30, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Office, Office 365, Windows 10, Xbox with 0

Thurrott Daily: May 30

Rattle N Hum (ceiling), NYC

Tech tidbits from around the web.

5/30/2016 4:31:19 PM

It’s day off here in the U.S.—Memorial Day—but I’m keeping an eye on the web while I rebuild my NUC yet again. —Paul

Microsoft answers OneNote complaints on Reddit

Thanks to Chad S. for the tip. A OneNote user wrote an open rant/complaint about the Microsoft app. And he got a reply.

Which is this:

A key reason behind the request to open .one files on all platforms, the challenges using Office Lens, and the desire to use other cloud storage services is because our sync engine isn’t fast/reliable enough for you. We agree that sync isn’t as good as it needs to be for many of our users. Improving this part of the experience is a top priority for us. We have made some improvements in the past few months, but we still have much more to do to bring sync up to par. Improving sync performance will continue to be a top priority until it is no longer an issue for our users.

Speaking of Office Lens, we recently added it to the OneNote app on Windows 10 and it’s also available as a standalone app on Windows Phone, iOS, and Android.

It’s definitely confusing to have two different versions of OneNote on Windows 10, and you’ll see improvements here in the future to address that confusion. The OneNote app on Windows 10 allows us to iterate quickly and deliver new features much faster than we can in OneNote 2016, so much of the new value we deliver will show up here first.

We have a lot of exciting new features planned for OneNote, including two you specifically requested: rulers and ink to math. We also work very closely with our colleagues across the company (including Windows and Surface) to explore ways to pleasantly surprise our users with new capabilities not possible anywhere else. It’s great to hear that you value the integration we did on the Surface. Expect more cool innovation on Microsoft hardware in the future.

Displaying native PDFs inside of OneNote is more challenging than you might think, but it’s something we want to bring to OneNote and we are actively looking into how we can do that for you. We are also looking at ways to make it easier for our users to share their notes with friends, family, coworkers, and classmates – whether via PDF or other avenues. We also pride ourselves on allowing you to access your notes wherever you are (including on HoloLens!). While we don’t currently have plans for a dedicated Linux app, we are investing heavily in OneNote Online to make that a world-class web experience for users on Linux and other platforms.

Two things spring to mind here. First, I don’t have any big issues with OneNote, and while I routinely test other solutions, especially Evernote, I keep coming back to OneNote. It works.

Two, I sort of enjoy that Microsoft responds to this kind of thing. Imagine someone at Apple doing this, or anyone from Apple routinely blogging. It never happens. Google does it. Microsoft does. Apple doesn’t. (Still, have you have to wonder about people. The problem with Microsoft responding to this is that every nut on the Internet will expect a personal response to their insanity.)

ASUS Avalon: DIY PCs for idiots?

As you may recall, I’m going to build a gaming PC this year. But it looks like ASUS is trying to make such a project easier than ever, basically by combining a motherboard with the case. So … it’s like the Intel NUC. Just bigger. PC World reports.

At Computex 2016, Asus ROG showed off its Avalon concept PC, a computer that tightly integrates all aspects of the PC for a redefined design, but still supports the platform’s DIY strengths. The end result is a creation largely devoid of wires and something that looks more like a premium stereo system than a traditional computer.

Oh, and “Unlike the purely aspirational concepts often see in the tech industry, this prototype is a working system built on existing technologies that are viable to put into mass production,” Asus says.

The main thrust ties the motherboard more closely to the case itself, rather than having them exist as two fully individual elements—though Asus says “That’s not to say that boards have to be inexorably tied to specific cases, just that closer collaboration creates interesting opportunities.”

Looks interesting. I’m still going to go the full DIY route. But this looks approachable.

Is Xbox One game streaming coming to Windows 10 Mobile?

And if so, why?

A friend of a friend—that is, a friend of someone on Reddit, so you know it’s real—claims that the Xbox One game streaming feature is coming to Windows 10 Mobile soon. (It’s only available on Windows 10 for PCs today.

I got a screenshot in a message from a friend, and I clicked on the games name on accident. It took me to a somewhat store-page like thing, but I noticed it said “play from console” instead of the usual “play on console” link. So I tapped it, and tapped the screen again, to get the streaming bar at the top of the page.. After about 5 seconds of sitting at this screen, I got this message.. That’s cool, wasn’t expecting anything, but I might want to try connecting the app to my Xbox. Once that was done, I repeated the same process and got this message instead.. Now streaming is enabled on my Xbox, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume we’re getting streaming to mobile soon, but it’s not enabled yet.

Use Echo in a browser

Using the Alexa Skill Testing Tool online, you can now in effect see what it’s like to use Amazon’s curiously popular Echo. Amazonexplains: is a new online community tool for developers that simulates the look and feel of an Amazon Echo. With 3D JavaScript animations and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration, gives users the ability to experience a realistic interaction with Alexa capabilities and skills. lives in your browser, so anyone, anywhere can access it and test their Alexa skills. You no longer need an Alexa-enabled device to test your skills. Developers worldwide can use to experience Alexa. Its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand what an Echo is and what it does without having to explain Alexa’s unique UX.

Try for yourself.

Note that you have to sign in with your Amazon account.

Does Microsoft Care About Customers?

Sadly, this is a valid question given the issues with forced Windows 10 upgrades and crapware-infested PCs. That said, this guy’s argument is deeply flawed, since Microsoft does not have a monopoly.

In a competitive industry, this would not happen. Instead, a company seeking to increase its revenues would offer consumers a product that delivered superior value than did rivals’.

In that way, a customer could rationally choose the company that offered the best value for the money.

But what if that company has what amounts to a monopoly?

The operating system market for PCs is not competitive — and anyone who has a PC or laptop has only two choices — Windows or Mac OS (and a tiny proportion who use Linux).

It also has Chrome OS. But whatever. The “we’re tired of the forced Windows 10 upgrade” thing has been done to death. Welcome to the party.