Thurrott Daily: August 15

Posted on August 15, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile, Windows 10, Windows Phones, Xbox with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: August 15

Tech tidbits from around the web.

8/15/2016 7:22:13 PM

An interesting follow-up from Alan Mendelevich

In the wake of last week’s incredible news about how Microsoft undermined has Windows 10 and the app he created, Alan Mendelvich has penned a follow-up in which he answers some questions and provides some more context. Seriously. Read it.

I stand by my statement that promising and then not upgrading all Windows Phone 8.1 devices to Windows 10 was a single biggest blow to every mobile developer who was sold on UWP.

Our goal [of 100,000 monthly average users] was very realistic given what we were promised as of July 2015 and we got robbed of a chance to fail on our own terms.

Anyway. Do read the post.

Minecraft for Windows 10 now works with the Oculus Rift VR headset

Microsoft has a big announcement about a free update to Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta which will enable gameplay using Oculus Rift devices.

We hope the VR experience in Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta will illuminate just how powerful, evocative, and utterly immersive VR can really be, whether you’re a new player or a Minecraft veteran. The Windows 10 DX11 performance has been optimized even further to augment the VR experience, and there are a ton of new options in addition to the VR features we added previously to the Gear VR Edition of Minecraft. Many VR-specific options are recorded separately, so you can customize your VR experience, and still have your traditional Minecraft experience exactly how you left it!

Lumia 950 and 950 XL get permanent price cuts

I’ve written before about Microsoft’s strategy of “draining the swamp” with its Lumia handsets ahead of the HP Elite x3 swamp. Well, now the sale prices are permanent, Neowin reports.

Earlier this month, Microsoft reduced the cost of its two Windows 10 Mobile flagships, referring to those discounts as limited-time offers. The Lumia 950’s price dropped by $150, while the Lumia 950 XL fell by $200.

But those savings are here to stay. Microsoft has amended its listings for both devices, deleting any indication that the price cuts are special offers, including the removal of the small print, leaving no hint that the discount will come to an end.

The Lumia 950 is now $399 unlocked and will remain at that price, while the Lumia 950 XL is $499.

So there you go. Should you buy one at these prices? Obviously, no: This is where they should have started at launch.

Windows 10 earns the respect of security experts

PC World has a nice report about Windows 10 winning over an important crowd: The hackers that are trying to break into it every day.

While hackers at this year’s Black Hat conference came armed with sophisticated exploitation techniques, there was tacit recognition that developing a successful technique is now much harder with Windows 10. Breaking into Windows through an OS vulnerability is harder than it was even a few years ago.

The breakers, which includes criminals, researchers, and hackers interested in seeing what they can do, are engaged in an elaborate dance with Microsoft. As soon as the breakers figure out a way to bypass Windows defenses, Microsoft closes the security hole. By implementing innovative security technology to make attacks harder, Microsoft forces breakers to dig deeper to get around them. Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever, thanks to those new features.

Worth reading.

Meet the man charged with reviving Nokia’s phone brand

And try not to laugh. CNET reports:

n May, Microsoft unloaded the phone business it purchased from Nokia on Foxconn’s FIH Mobile and on HMD Global, a Finland-based company founded that month and tasked with selling phones and tablets under the Nokia brand. Former Nokia executive Arto Nummela was chosen as HMD’s chief executive.

On Monday, another piece clicked into place. HMD tapped Pekka Rantala, former CEO of Angry Birds game maker Rovio, to revive the Nokia phone brand as its chief marketing officer.

n May, Microsoft unloaded the phone business it purchased from Nokia on Foxconn’s FIH Mobile and on HMD Global, a Finland-based company founded that month and tasked with selling phones and tablets under the Nokia brand. Former Nokia executive Arto Nummela was chosen as HMD’s chief executive.

On Monday, another piece clicked into place. HMD tapped Pekka Rantala, former CEO of Angry Birds game maker Rovio, to revive the Nokia phone brand as its chief marketing officer.

You’d have had better luck making Angry Birds popular again, methinks.

New York Times kills its Windows app

Windows Central notes the passing of another terrible app, in this case one that was released for Windows 8 and then never updated in any meaningful way.

The New York Times has ended support for its Windows 8 and Windows 10 desktop and tablet app.

Over the weekend, Windows PC users who opened the app got the following in-app message:

“The New York Times will no longer support the NYTimes app for Windows tablet and desktop. You can access a more complete version of The New York Times through your device’s browser at our website, nytimes.com. The NYTiimes website includes the same content as the app, plus interactive articles, expanded video features and richer article content.”

You can learn more on the publication’s Help site.

Microsoft Flow Beta is now available publicly on Android

After a brief private beta, Microsoft Flow is now available in public beta form on Android. MSPowerUser reports:

Last month, Microsoft started testing Flow app for Android with on invite-only basis. Now, this app is available in public beta and anyone can download it from Play Store. You can need to sign in with your work or school account to use the Microsoft Flow app and you can monitor your automated flow runs. Whether you want a general overview or detailed information, it’s easy to diagnose issues, synchronize data, and more.

New features in the public beta include:

  • Instantaneously respond to critical notifications or emails
  • Inform the whole team whenever a work item is updated
  • Capture, track, and follow-up with new sales leads
  • Get an overview of the data your flows are automatically collecting

You can download Flow Beta from the Google Play Store.

Neat 4K video flyby of Boston

And this one isn’t related to anything per se, but it’s really nice: A 4K video flyby of Boston.

 

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