Thurrott Daily: March 7

Posted on March 7, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile, Windows Phones with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: March 7

A few tidbits from around the web.

3/7/2016 3:28:58 PM

Groove Music is not working with Sonos

I received an email from someone experiencing difficulties using Microsoft’s Groove music service with Sonos. I hadn’t seen this issue before but, sure enough, testing it now, I get an “Unable to browse music” error message.

Here’s an email from Sonos about the issue.

There does seem to be an issue with the streaming at Microsoft’s end. We’re investigating this at the moment and communicating with Microsoft to get it sorted. Sonos is really just the vehicle for the music stream; just like a CD player will skip with a scratched CD, Sonos will skip with a faulty stream.

We are involving Microsoft in this and I can see an update yesterday where Microsoft has replicated the issue and located the server which produces the fault, and will consult with the OneDrive team to investigate.

3/7/2016 11:49:53 AM

Instagram (Beta) appears as a UWP app, but only on Phone

Instagram was re-released as a beta app on Windows phones today, and it’s a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app, albeit one that is not (for now?) available on Windows 10 for PCs.

Instagram is a simple way to capture and share the world’s moments. Transform your everyday photos and videos into works of art and share them with your family and friends.

See the world through somebody else’s eyes by following not only the people you know, but inspirational Instagrammers, photographers, athletes, celebrities and fashion icons. Every time you open Instagram, you’ll see new photos and videos from your closest friends, plus breathtaking moments shared by creative people across the globe.

3/7/2016 11:25:01 AM

Supreme Court declines to hear Apple appeal in e-book case

So that means the facts of the case stand: Apple initiated a cabal with book publishers. This cabal colluded to purposefully break the law and in doing so harm a competitor (Amazon) and, worse, consumers. And they did so by artificially raising the average price of new e-books from $9.99 to $14.99. (Oh, and Apple also settled a similar case in the EU, where it likewise hurt competition and consumers.)

As a result, Apple will now pay $450 million in damages, most of which will go to consumers who overpaid for e-books. Reuters explains.

The accord calls for Apple to pay $400 million to e-book consumers, $20 million to the states, and $30 million in legal fees.

Before signing the Apple settlement, the states and consumers recovered a total of $166 million in separate accords with the publishers.

The terrible impact of this case is that most new e-books from the top publishers remain at the higher price tier. There are no winners here.

Mac suffers from first-reported ransomware attacks

Apple has always benefited from a presumption of security when in fact I find it pretty clear the company has no real expertise in this area. But as their devices get more successful, this is what happens. And let’s face it, if you’re a hacker, you can’t find a better nexus of “has money to spend” and “isn’t particularly technical” than the typical Apple user. CNET (re)reports:

Sorry, Mac fans. Now you’re no better off than regular old PC users. Security researchers have discovered what they believe to be the first-ever ransomware attack targeted at Apple users that actually made it out “into the wild,” meaning it’s a genuine threat. And in bad news for downloading fiends, it’s being spread through torrenting software.

“This is the first one in the wild that is definitely functional, encrypts your files and seeks a ransom,” Palo Alto Threat Intelligence Director Ryan Olson told Reuters on Sunday.

Amazon to bring back device encryption

I’ve watched this story unfold recently with some fascination, because Amazon has basically fell into a situation in which they are getting free publicity because of the in-progress Apple iPhone “decryption” legal debate. And it goes like this: Amazon last year decided to remove encryption capabilities from its consumer-focused Kindle Fire tablets because, seriously, who gives a flying f#$k about encryption on these toys anyway? But with the Apple thing happening, Amazon found itself in the news, with reports suggesting that the firm had somehow made this move to appease the U.S. government.

That’s hilarious and untrue, but in the time it took you to read that paragraph, Amazon reversed course and announced it would bring back decryption, recapturing the news cycle. Here’s how Reuters explains it.

Amazon.com said it plans to restore an encryption feature on its Fire tablets after customers and privacy advocates criticized the company for quietly removing the security option when it released its latest operating system.

“We will return the option for full-disk encryption with a Fire OS update coming this spring,” company spokeswoman Robin Handaly told Reuters via email on Saturday.

Put another way, Amazon figured out a way to make its toy tablets even slower. And that, folks, is progress.

Email pioneer Ray Tomlinson is dead at 74

This one is sad: Ray Tomlinson, who implemented the first email system in 1971, died over the weekend at the age of 74. PC Magazinereports:

Tomlinson laid the groundwork for multi-computer, multi-user communication. The first electronic message was sent on the ARPANET system—a precursor to the Internet, created for the U.S. government.

Tomlinson is best known for affixing the @ symbol to email addresses; he also helped develop the “From,” “Subject,” and date fields found in modern email messages. Tomlinson chose the @ symbol to separate the username and host service because it “seemed to make sense,” the programmer wrote in an undated Raytheon article. “I used the @ sign to indicate that the user was ‘at’ some other host rather than being local.”

 

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