Thurrott Daily: February 8

Posted on February 8, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile, Social, The Sams Report, Xbox 360, Xbox One with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: February 8

Taken with iPhone. No, really.

Greetings from snowy (again) New England. Here are some tidbits from around the web.

2/8/2016 1:12:55 PM

Sorry, but “Red Dead Redemption” is not available on Xbox One

Over the weekend, gaming and Microsoft-focused blogs were freaking out because an Xbox 360 game called “Red Dead Redemption” briefly showed up as being compatible on Xbox One. But as Gamespot reports, it was all just a mistake.

Over the weekend, Red Dead Redemption and some other Xbox 360 games became playable on Xbox One, despite not being announced as titles joining the backwards compatibility lineup. Now, Microsoft has explained that these games were made available publicly “due to an error” and have since been completely removed.

“Microsoft tests all Xbox 360 games with our [backwards compatibility] emulator to ensure a quality experience across a breadth of titles,” Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb said on Reddit. “Due to an error, some of the games currently in test were accidentally made available. We have since removed access to those games, and apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We will have more information on upcoming releases soon.”

Hryb apologized a second time on Twitter.

I assume we’ll see it eventually then.

Google may be releasing a Nexus VR viewer

As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Google Cardboard. I’m also a huge fan of Google’s Nexus devices, especially the current-generation Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, both of which are excellent. So what happens when you combine both? We may be about to find out, if the rumors are right. The Financial Times reports:

Google is developing a new virtual-reality headset for smartphones, and adding extra support for the technology to its Android operating system.

The new headset will be a successor to Cardboard. the cheap and cheerful mobile VR viewer that Google launched in 2014, and feature better sensors, lenses and a more solid plastic casing, said people familiar with its plans. The smartphone based device will be similar to the Gear VR, a collaboration between Samsung and Oculus that went on sale to consumers late last year.

Google is expected to release its rival headset, alongside new Android VR technology, this year. Like Cardboard and Gear VR, the new headset will use an existing smartphone, slotted into the device, for its display and most of its processing power.

I suppose Google I/O is the logical time for this.

Google is either the best thing that’s ever happened to books, or the worst

It just depends on whom you ask, I guess.

Fast Company is in love with Google:

Reif Larsen’s Entrances & Exits is one of the inaugural titles from Editions at Play, a joint e-books publishing venture between Google Creative Lab Sydney and the design-driven publishing house Visual Editions, which launched this week. With the mission of reimagining what an e-book can be, Editions at Play brings together the author, developers, and designers to work simultaneously on building a story from the ground up. They are the opposite of the usual physical-turned-digital-books; rather, they’re books that “cannot be printed.”

And then there’s this view, from The Wall Street Journal.

Google Stole the Work of Millions of Authors … In 2004 Google sent its moving vans to the libraries and carted off some 20 million books. It copied them all, including books in copyright and books not covered by copyright. It asked no authors or publishers for permission, and it offered no compensation for their use—although in compensation to the libraries Google gave them digital copies of the scanned books.

A court ruled that Google was protected by the doctrine of fair use when it copied the books—partly because it only made limited samples from copyright material available to the public, and partly because the court found that making the books available to an electronic search was “transformative.”

Google reported revenue of nearly $75 billion in 2015. Last year, an Authors Guild survey on writers’ annual incomes since 2009 showed a 67% decline for authors with 15 or more years of experience. Most respondents, if they were to live only on their writing income, would be below the poverty line. Google claims that it would be “prohibitive” to pay the authors for using their work.

Want better iPhone or Android battery life? Remove the Facebook app

This is rather astonishing, if true: The Facebook app for iOS is so inefficient that it kills at least 15 percent of your battery life just sitting there on the device. And it’s even worse on Android. The Guardian reports:

I discovered that uninstalling Facebook’s iOS app [on an iPhone] and switching to Safari can save up to 15% of iPhone battery life.

On average I had 15% more battery left by 10.30pm each day. I had also saved space, because at the point I had deleted the Facebook app it had consumed around 500MB in total combining the 111MB of the app itself and its cache on the iPhone.

To make sure that this wasn’t an isolated incident, I also recruited several other Facebook-using iPhone owners to conduct a similar test. They all found similar results, with increased battery life when using Facebook in Safari having uninstalled the main Facebook iOS app.

Well, that sort of casts doubt on Facebook’s plan to make multiple mobile apps. It’s almost like they have no idea what they’re doing.

Taken with an iPhone: Tim Cook’s terrible Super Bowl photo

You thought this year’s Super Bowl was terrible? Well, check out Apple CEO Tim Cook’s terrible iPhone-take photo from the Super Bowl.

Oh, Tim.

Anyone who thinks this is a good photo is a tool.

We have this blurry photo because Mr. Cook tweeted it. And as USA Today reports, he was then lampooned endlessly because it is a blurry, terrible picture.

A picture is worth a thousand words, or in the case of Apple CEO Tim Cook, a blurry picture.

Following the Denver Broncos’ win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 Sunday night, Cook tweeted out a photo of golden confetti raining down on the field at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco.

Twitter showed little mercy.

The tweets he got are priceless. And, sorry Tim, deserved.


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