Thurrott Daily: March 18

Posted on March 18, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Hardware, Mobile, Windows Phones, Music + Videos, Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: March 18

Crazy color sky yesterday after rain and a rainbow. (No filters were used or harmed.)

A few tech tidbits from around the web.

3/18/2016 3:36:49 PM

Lumia Icon may get the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade

In response to a tweet today, Microsoft’s Gabe Aul said that the software giant was “considering” getting the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade out to to the Lumia Icon. So hang tight, folks. You never know.

Tweeten add-in ships for Microsoft Edge

Hot off yesterday’s release of a version of Microsoft Edge that supports extensions, Tweeten releases their Edge extension. From the email announce:

Today, we are very excited to launch Tweeten for Microsoft Edge. With Tweeten for Edge, Windows 10 users can get a better TweetDeck experience on the browser. Tweeten is currently available to Windows Insiders who are running Windows 10 Build 14291 or newer, and it will be available to all users once Microsoft rolls out the next update for Windows 10 to its customers in June-July.

Tweeten is actually one of the first third-party Extensions for Microsoft Edge. We are planning to release more updates for the extension to improve the experience in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for those.

3/18/2016 10:46:17 AM

Microsoft: No 512 MB Windows phones will get Windows 10 Mobile upgrade

Microsoft confirmed via its Windows Insider account on Twitter, that no Windows phones with just 512 MB of RAM will be offered the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade, which just started shipping out to customers (sort of) this week.

We do not have plans to put W10M on devices with 512 MB

Of course, some users are still bummed about other old phones that ostensibly do meet the requirements, especially the Lumia 920 and 1020, both of which were (in their day) flagship. I think the issue in both cases is performance: Windows 10 Mobile just isn’t as efficient and those phones, especially the 1020, seem taxed enough as it is.

Thanks to WinBeta for the tip.

Action Center improvements coming to Windows 10

According to a sway that I was tipped off to by Neowin, Microsoft will be improving the Action Center in Windows 10 in future builds to make it more usable. The question—and, yes, they want your feedback—is exactly how this change is implemented.

According to the Feedback Hub, Microsoft has the following goals here:

  • Make incoming notifications subtly more present
  • Move the Action Center icon to the corner, shifting the clock by one spot, so it isn’t buried in a sea of other icons. Note: the show-desktop “sliver” does not move
  • Make the Action Center icon easier to click
  • Add color in a delightfully subtle and ephemeral way
  • Give you a sense of number of incoming notifications
  • Help determine when opening Action Center is relevant by giving a sense of which application just sent a notification
  • Create an alternative option for those that want a quieter solution than toast notifications while still having a visual cue that a new notification has arrived

This all sounds great. I’m glad they’re working on this and getting feedback to make sure it’s done right.

“It’s Time For Microsoft To Bring All The ‘Halo’ Games To PC”

Three things. 1, Someone is reading my Twitter feed. 2, It’s past time. And 3, duh and/or hello.

WSJ takes a look at the $79 Endless Mini PC

Back in January, I wrote about Endless PC and its goal of bringing low-cost computing to the rest of the world. This week, The Wall Street Journal got some hands-on time with one of their PCs and found, perhaps not surprisingly, that using low-end phone components for a PC results in less than stellar performance.

Computers are officially dirt cheap. Yep, this one costs $79.

One reason the Endless Mini is so cheap is that this grapefruit-sized PC is sold on its own. You supply the keyboard, mouse and display yourself. The computer, built with developing countries in mind, doesn’t just hook into newer, flat-panel screens via HDMI—it also connects to older tube TVs by way of a composite video cable.

Both versions run on a 1.5GHz ARM processor—the sort of CPU more often found in low-end phones than PCs. If this isn’t your first computer, you might be frustrated by the Endless Mini’s slow loading of apps and Web pages. In real-world use, online games like “Cut the Rope” were stuttery but playable, and YouTube buffered like it always does, but videos played fine. Only Facebook, with all its photos and videos, left me genuinely annoyed.

“Nokia Returns to Consumer Hardware With $60,000 Virtual-Reality Camera.”

Well, at least they got the price right. LOL.

Spotify strikes deal with music industry

Spotify has settled a long-running legal battle over licensing with music publishers and will pay roughly $20 million as part of the deal. The New York Times reports:

According to [multiple sources], Spotify will pay publishers between $16 million and $25 million in royalties that are already owed but unpaid — the exact amount, these people said, is still undetermined — as well as a $5 million penalty. In exchange, the publishers will refrain from filing copyright infringement claims against Spotify.

It emerged that Spotify — which has long trumpeted itself to the music industry as a law-abiding partner — had failed to properly obtain the mechanical licenses for large numbers of songs.

The lack of mechanical licenses looms as a major liability for streaming services, and the publishers’ association estimates that as much as 25 percent of the activity on these platforms is unlicensed. Several musicians filed class-action suits seeking as much as $200 million in damages for copyright infringement.

Fun fact. This “mechanical licensing” dates back to “the days of player-piano rolls,” which kind of puts Apple’s arguments against the All Writs Act in perspective. Which is this: Laws are laws, regardless of age. And many old laws—like, I don’t know, the U.S. Constitution—are still perfectly valid in this digital world we live in today.


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