Thurrott Daily: June 26

Posted on June 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Hardware, iOS, Microsoft Surface, Windows 10, Windows Phones, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: June 26

Tech tidbits from around the web.

6/26/2016 10:45:17 AM

Why is Microsoft letting users associate Windows 10 licenses with their Microsoft accounts?

One of the more interesting recent Windows 10 developments is news that Microsoft will now let customers associate a Windows 10 license—a product key, basically—with their Microsoft account. Previously, Microsoft associated Windows 10 licenses with machine IDs in the cloud, though the process was never transparent, and we had issues where customers would try to later activate Windows 10 on a clean install and fail. So I took this recent change as a sign that Microsoft was easing a known pain point. IDG, interestingly, offers a bit more info.

In a reference document, Microsoft said that there would be a limit to the number of times that users can re-activate a device using the same license, but didn’t say what the limit is. A representative for Microsoft didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

“Press time”? What is this, 1998? Sorry.

In addition, the Troubleshooter is supposed to help users who reinstall Windows 10 on their device get back to the right edition of Microsoft’s new operating system. If they previously had a digital license for Windows 10 Pro (for example, though upgrading from Windows 8.1 Pro) and then installed Windows 10 Home on the same system, the Activation Troubleshooter will walk them through getting back to the Pro version.

The tool is important, since Microsoft will no longer be offering free upgrades to Windows 10 after the end of July. Users who have taken Microsoft up on the free upgrade offer (whether intentionally or not) will be authorized to keep their computers running Windows 10 for a good long while. This tool will help them handle the at times convoluted process of staying on Microsoft’s good side.

Lots to explore here. I need to test this tool on multiple PCs, and will do so.

Kevin Gallo speaks about future of Windows Phone

In London for the Build tour, Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo was asked about Windows phone and he offered up no new information, though many will try to make more of his words. The Register reports.

“Can we get any update on what’s happening in Windows Phone land?” asked an attendee.

Gallo did his best to downplay Microsoft’s pullback. “Windows Phone is fully supported. We’re fully behind it. We’re not abandoning the phone,” he said. “There’s really no change in what our direction or strategy is with respect to releasing the Windows Phone software.”

Right. There is no change. Microsoft is “supporting” Windows phone. It is updating the OS, which is Windows 10. And it will release no new Lumia phones this year.

That said, he did admit to changes on the hardware side. “We’re really aligned to what we’ve done on the Windows desktop,” he said, “which is we’ll lead with some high end and category innovation like we’ve done with Surface, and OEMs will go and build the breadth of the catalog.”

Yes, Surface phone is still in the works. And Microsoft still wants its hardware partners to fill in the gaps.

At a later Windows developer user group event though, Gallo was more nuanced. The company will focus primarily on the Enterprise segment, he told attendees.

Again, no change in focus at all. Microsoft already announced that.

And, as The Register, usually prone to hyperbole but very realistic in this post, points out, the real problem is still apps. Windows 10 Mobile, Surface phone and the HP Elite x3 can’t fix that.

Behold, the Apple Pencil Holder. A Surface Pen Loop rip-off

So, this exists.

meet-holder

  • Safe and secure storage for Apple Pencil
  • Available in 3 full grain leather colors- Whiskey, Chestnut, and Galloper Black
  • Seamlessly integrates with any Oxford, Contega Thin, and the original Contega wooden case for iPad Pro Attaches with our special 3M clean-release adhesive

As you might expect given the audience, it’s just a high-end rip-off of something that someone else did first. In this case, Microsoft.

What a great idea. Ahem.

Bungie explains how it will support Destiny on “legacy consoles”

Bad news, Xbox 360 gamers: In what will be just one of many solar plexus shots to come as gamer makers consolidate around only the newest generation of video game consoles, Bungie says that it will only support “Destiny: Rise of Iron” on Xbox One and PS4.

Destiny: Rise of Iron will be available exclusively on current generation consoles – PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. From here on out, we’ll be referring to the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 as Legacy Consoles. If you’re using a Legacy Console to play Destiny, you’ll first need to upgrade your console.

Our goal is always to bring every player from this awesome community along for the ride as we continue the story of Destiny, but we will also continue to support players who elect not to upgrade their console hardware. To accompany the reveal of Rise of Iron, the Destiny Player Support team has published a suite of information to guide those players. Up to this point, player progression between current and Legacy Consoles in the same family has been shared by each account. This summer, that experience will fork onto two separate paths that will no longer share progression.

There’s even an infographic!

platforms_infographic

You can learn more here.

Untappd gets beer alerts

This idea is so excellent and obvious I’m surprised they didn’t think of this years ago. Via email:

Now there’s no excuse to miss out when your favorite brew is available nearby! We’ve added new features to Untappd that will keep you informed about your favorite beers (and Venues)!

From any beer page in the Untappd app, you can opt to receive a push notification anytime that beer is added to a Verified Venue’s tap list within 15 miles of your location.

untappd

Nice. Maybe I’ll use this to track my favorite Colorado beers, as they’re hard to find around here.

Nintendo 64 turns 20

It looks like Quake isn’t the only personal technology milestone to turn 20 this week: The Nintendo 64 is as well. Techcrunch takes a look:

On June 23, 1996 the Nintendo 64 made its debut — in Japan, that is. We wouldn’t see it on this side of the Pacific for another three months. But today is its proper birthday, and 20 years is a significant enough anniversary that we should probably just take a moment to remember just how awesome this console was — and is.

It still holds up today in a big way … Mario 64 proved that 3D games could be great [and] the rest of the N64’s lineup showed that 3D could be used in surprising and powerful ways.

Wave Race 64 brought phenomenal water physics that wouldn’t be surpassed for years. Mario Kart 64 brought depth and verticality to madcap racing (though I still prefer the original). Ocarina of Time had you exploring a world almost too huge and complex to comprehend.

And what can I say about GoldenEye 007?

Many cite Goldeneye 007 on Nintendo 64 as the first truly great console shooter. And I guess that’s true, though I was never an N64 owner (nor an SNES owner for that matter). But we rented an N64 that fall to see what Mario 64—and a slow-moving flying game who name now escapes me—was like, and to experience 3D on a console. It really was impressive for its day.

But it’s funny how much of what was impressive in its day—the Amiga, the N64, whatever—is easily replicated on any modern smart phone today. What a world we live in.

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