Thurrott Daily: May 22

Posted on May 22, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Xbox with 0

Thurrott Daily: May 22

Only Amiga made it possible.

Tech tidbits from around the web.

5/22/2016 5:51:54 PM

Now, Windows 10 Mobile devices can use screens as big as 9-inches

Now this is interesting. As you may recall, Windows 10 Mobile devices had been restricted to devices with smaller screens of 7.99-inches or less, meaning that anything with an 8-inch screen or bigger needed to use Big Windows 10 (Home or Pro). Well, that just changed, as Mary Jo Foley points out.

Microsoft quietly changed the specifications for devices running its Windows 10 Mobile operating system by upping the allowable maximum screen size to under nine inches. It’s not clear from Microsoft’s MSDN page when the company made this change.

I saw that MSDN page referenced a few times recently, mostly because Microsoft also raised the minimum RAM figures to 1 GB for phones and 2 GB for PCs/tablets. But sure enough, Windows 10 Mobile can now be used on devices with screens of “less than 9-inches,” which me might take as “8.99 inches,” or 1 diagonal inch bigger than before.

“How Microsoft’s deceptive new Windows 10 pop-up tricks you into upgrading”

Um. Duh? It’s … deceptive.

From Bedrooms to Billions: The Amiga Years

Among the Kickstarters I’ve backed is a coming book called “Commodore: The Amiga Years.” It’s written by Brian Bagnall as a sequel to his previous book, the excellent “On the Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore”, and should actually be out pretty soon. But what I didn’t know, somehow, was that there is a separate but obviously related video called Bedrooms to Billions: The Amiga Yearsthat recently became available. And it is mostly awesome.

Bedrooms to Billions: The Amiga Years costs $15. You get a 2.5 hour documentary plus several short bonus videos, and if you care at all about Commodore, the Amiga, or the history of the PC industry, it’s a must-have. Every time I go down the Amiga rabbit hole—via the books and videos mentioned here, from my semi-regular purchases of new versions of Amiga Forever, or by revisiting incredible Amiga publications of the past, especially INFO but also the more mainstream Amiga World—I’m reminded of why I do what I do, and why I often back technologies that are superior over those that are just popular. (This often backfires, obviously.) The Amiga mattered, and whether you realize it or not, it impacted the PC and video game industries in ways that still resonate today.

Anyway, this is my way of saying that you need to watch this video. It’s way too UK-focused, and it peters out in the final hour or so and stops covering hardware releases after the A500 and the barely-mentioned A2000 in order to focus for way too long on the “demo” craze that was particularly big in the UK and other parts of Europe (but was mostly just annoying to us in the US even in the late 1980’s). Hopefully Brian Bagnall’s new book will cover the Amiga hardware and OS releases in more detail (or at all; to this video, the A3000, A600 and A1200 never even happened, and I’d like to know more).

Thanks to Leon Zandman for the tip. $15 well-spent, even with the quibbles.

“Apple wants you to spend longer in its stores. Why would you do that?”

I can tell you why Apple customers are doing it today: Because they need service. Spend some time in an Apple Store and you’ll see the same thing every time: Kids who can’t afford anything but are browsing, and adults waiting in line to get their devices fixed.

Half-Life 3 Episode 3 was announced 10 years ago

And you thought the “Duke Nukem” sequel was long in coming. Polygon notes the dubious anniversary.

[It’s been a] decade since the infamous finale to the Half-Life trilogy was first announced.

That happened May 24, 2006. Valve and Newell were, for a time, very happy to discuss plans for Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Ten years ago, Valve was even happy to give the game a launch window — “by Christmas 2007.” Perhaps not coincidentally, 2008 is when Valve boss Gabe Newell starts clamming up about it.

One of the biggest indicators that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 isn’t happening, aside from the fact the thing isn’t, you know, out, is that the developer who wrote all of the games preceding it retired in January. Marc Laidlaw called it a career after 18 years with Valve, beginning with 1998’s Half-Life.

Sigh. The Half-Life 2 games—the original, plus Episode 1 and 2—remain some of the best single player first person shooter games in video game history. Shame on Gabe Newell for not finish it up.


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