Thurrott Daily: February 4

Posted on February 4, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Mobile, Windows 10, Xbox with 16 Comments

Thurrott Daily: February 4

Another typical weekend at stately Thurrott manor.

Tech tidbits from around the web.

2/4/2017 11:12:47 AM

Windows 10 Insider Preview build 15025 is available in ISO format

Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc explains where to get ’em.

Hey #WindowsInsiders, the ISOs are now available for Build 15025

Raymond Chen looks at an interesting problem with the Surface power brick

Microsoft’s Raymond Chen uncovers a problem with Surface power supplies.

If you try to charge your phone and your Surface from the same power brick, keep a close eye on the charger: See if the charging light is blinking.

Here’s the deal. There’s an issue with some phones in the way they negotiate current with Surface power brick. The two get into a current negotiation fight.

The result of this issue is that the PC is constantly switching between battery and AC, and the phone doesn’t charge. Basically, everybody loses.

Mozilla kills Firefox OS

To be clear, Mozilla actually abandoned Firefox OS as a mobile device platform a year previous. This change means that it is giving up on the OS entirely. CNET explains.

Mozilla told employees Thursday that it is eliminating the team tasked with bringing Firefox to connected devices, according to people familiar with the situation. The cuts affect about 50 people. Ari Jaaksi, the senior vice president in charge of the effort, is among those who are leaving. Mozilla had about 1,000 employees at the end of 2016.

“We have shifted our internal approach to the internet-of-things opportunity,” Mozilla said in a statement, “to step back from a focus on launching and scaling commercial products to one focused on research and advanced development, dissolving our connected devices initiative and incorporating our internet-of-things explorations into an increased focus on emerging technologies.”

John Carmack rails against Oculus ruling

If you love John Carmack as I do—he is a peerless genius—that you will understand his rightful indignation over the recent court loss. Seriously, read it. He got screwed.

The Zenimax vs Oculus trial is over. I disagreed with their characterization, misdirection, and selective omissions. I never tried to hide or wipe any evidence, and all of my data is accounted for, contrary to some stories being spread.

Being sued sucks. For the most part, the process went as I expected.

The exception was the plaintiff’s expert that said Oculus’s implementations of the techniques at issue were “non-literally copied” from the source code I wrote while at Id Software.

This is just not true … I was genuinely interested in hearing how the paid expert would spin a web of code DNA between completely unrelated codebases.

“The iPhone 7 keeps stealing Android users”

If that were true, iPhone worldwide marketshare would have improved against Android. And it hasn’t.

EU clears final hurdle for ending mobile roaming charges

If you live in the EU, using your smartphone in other countries is about to get a lot less expensive. Reuters reports:

European lawmakers clinched a deal early on Wednesday to cap the wholesale charges mobile service operators pay each other to enable their customers to use their mobile phones in other European countries, paving the way for the abolition of roaming fees in June.

Under Wednesday’s agreement between lawmakers and the Council of EU member states, wholesale charges for data – which were the most controversial given the exponential use of mobile Internet – will be capped at 7.7 euros per gigabyte from June 2017, going down to 2.5 euros per gigabyte in 2022.

“Goodbye roaming,” tweeted Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, the EU lawmaker who negotiated for the setting of wholesale rates on behalf of the European parliament.

“Why a dual-processor Fusion Mac makes a lot of sense”

Because you think that everything Apple does makes sense.

Google Tops Apple as the World’s Most Valuable Brand

Fortune reports on a recent evaluation of the most valuable brands in the world. Apple is now number two.

Google is now the world’s most valuable brand, according to a new study, snagging the No.1 spot from Apple which has been the incumbent since 2011.

The annual ranking from Brand Finance says Google’s monetary value increased to $109.5 billion last year, representing a 24% increase overall. By contrast, Apple’s monetary value fell from $145.9 billion in the previous year to $107.1 billion, according to the study. The decrease allowed Google to snag the top spot by about $2.4 billion.

The news of its No.2 spot comes as “Apple has failed to maintain its technological advantage and has repeatedly disillusioned its advocates with tweaks when material changes were expected,” the study’s authors wrote, who further explained that the tech-giant has “over-exploited the goodwill” of its customers, namely because of its failure to generate significant revenues from products like the Apple Watch, and its inability to “demonstrate that genuinely innovative technologies desired by consumers are in the pipeline.”

“An ad blocker … may adversely affect the performance and content on Bloomberg.com.”

Bullshit. And to prove it, I’ll just keep using the ad blocker.

PlayStation 4 is getting external hard drive support, more in a coming update

The PlayStation Blog explains why PS4 is getting these Xbox One features belatedly.

Those of you selected for our beta program will get an early peek at some of the new features coming to PS4 with our next major system software update, version 4.50 (codenamed Sasuke).

External HDD Support. It’s easy to upgrade the HDD that came with your PS4, but if you’re still looking for more storage space on the console, we’ve got you covered. With this update, you have the option to store content to an external HDD. Just plug a USB 3.0 HDD into your PS4, and voilà, you now have more space on the console … This is compatible with HDDs up to 8TB in size.

Custom Wallpapers. This update adds the ability to set your favorite in-game screenshot as the background image for PS4’s home screen. Drop-shadows on text, and the option to dim the Function Area, will help keep the system icons and texts on the home screen clearly visible even if the background image you selected is super bright.

Quick Menu Refresh. As you may know, in the last system update we overhauled the PS4 Quick Menu feature (the menu that appears after a long press of the PS button on DualShock 4). This update brings additional improvements to make it even more accessible. Now the Quick Menu will cover even less of your gameplay screen, and you’ll be able to access handy Party features via Online Friends, like creating new parties, inviting friends, and joining parties, without transitioning to the separate Party app. The goal is to keep you in the game — and not stuck in menus.

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