I was reading a comment by a poster on another tech site, and they made a comment about phone design that got me thinking. The gist was that phones are kind of like pistols... their entire design is an exercise in extreme compromise in order to achieve portability. Pistols are total crap compared to rifles even if they use the same cartridge, but we put up with them because they're convenient. Same thing with phones... we tolerate the small screen because we have to for portability, not because it's some grand virtue of enlightened design.
They went to discuss folding screen technology, comparing and contrasting the Galaxy Fold with Surface Duo. Fine, we can have that discussion. But that's still a compromise... even with the folding screen and all its associated engineering issues, that's still a pretty little screen. So what if you wanted to stop making that screen-size compromise while maintaining portability? What would that look like?
I'm thinking it would look like AR glasses. Stop, stop, don't hit the back button, hear me out. We know from Hololens and other AR technologies that you can achieve fairly decent-sized virtual displays when the projector is close to your eyes but the utility of such a thing has so far been limited because frankly, the UI is terrible for anything with significant bandwidth. Hand/finger tracking is great, but it's not good enough, and I don't believe that it will be for years, if ever. Why do we never see demos of HMD products where the user has a bluetooth mouse and keyboard? Seriously.
Think about it. We heard endless complaints about the mailslot in the original version of Hololens, but step back and think... even if you are using two 24" monitors side by side for productivity, doesn't that look like a mailslot to you? What if you had a pair of smart glasses that could do no more than overlay two 1080p screens as if they were 24" displays viewed from normal distance? That's not immersive, but that's not really the idea. Now add some hand/finger tracking for phone-like interactions (let' say this device runs Android) when out and about (perhaps you use a Swype keyboard in the air, on an arbitrary surface, or on the palm of your other hand if you don't like voice for composition - I don't, personally). And then when you need to be productive, you pullout a keyboard and bluetooth mouse, or bluetooth keyboard with built-in trackpad if you're a real sucker for punishment.
I'm not talking about a transformative computing experience here, simply a way to get around the main compromise of the smartphone. Thoughts? What problems do you see?
I just logged in at work this morning and when I opened Edgium Dev build 78.0.276.2 I was greeted by a tab (in addition to my usual ones) which asked if I wanted to reconfigure the New Tab page... it defaulted to an Office 365 page for my company with the company logo, my recently used documents, and a link that took me to my Delve page! Very cool, and way more useful than the horrible news feed (I turn those off in every browser from every company...) that used to be the default. I assume that this would not have happened if I had not been signed into my corporate identity in the browser, but what's interesting to me is that it happened despite the fact that my organization has sync turned off.
I tried to get this kind of thing to pop up in Chrome and IE, the main browsers most people use here, but was unsuccessful, so I'm thinking it's an Edgium thing.
Has anybody seen this yet?
Several weeks back I enabled the flag for this mode and the option appeared under "More Tools" in the ellipsis menu. When I tried to do this on my work PC (the only place I need it) I was told that it wouldn't be able to work since the application was installed in a restricted user mode rather than installed in administrator mode. I got a chance to grab one of the IT folks when they were nearby setting up a workstation, and when I brought him over and was going to show him the problem, I found that this option no longer appeared in the same place. I made sure the flag was enabled but I still can't find it. Did they move/remove the IE integration on a recent Dev channel release?
The folks over at Linus Tech Tips (or one of the associated channels, can’t remember which) did a bit on dark mode recently, and they mentioned an extension for Chrome and Firefox called “Dark Reader” which dynamically darkens up webpages as you browse to them. I’m a Firefox user for personal stuff, so I loaded it up and it works great on all the sites I routinely browse, including Thurrott.com. Because Firefox for Android can use the desktop extensions, it works on my Galaxy S7 too, very nice. You can turn it off per site and change a few other visual parameters to your own liking. If you’re interested, it’s in the regular Firefox add-on store.
EDIT: Thought I'd add a correction, I prefer the native Outlook.com dark mode after fiddling around a bit, so I disabled it for that site. However, I added it to the installation of Vivaldi I use to access SharePoint and our enterprise systems at work, and it is fantastic. Not a hiccup, and it looks wonderful.
I started using Vivaldi at work a few weeks ago and I have been surprised at how well it works recently when I realized that company websites/tools that previously only worked in IE actually work in Vivaldi even though they don't work at all in Chrome. Has anybody had a similar experience?
I was reminded of this by the Clipboard feature in SwiftKey, which is possibly one of my favorite enhancements to Android. I seem to remember hearing that Cloud Clipboard was coming soon, but haven't heard Brad talk about it lately. Are we getting it in 1809? Has anybody see how it integrates with SwiftKey yet?
I continually see Samsung lumped with other handset makers in that they are derelict of their duty to release OS/security updates. Well... I don't have any definite numbers, but I have a Galaxy S7 on Verizon which just received an OTA update bring it up to the October 1 Security Patch. It appears that Samsung does go beyond the 2 year mark if this is consistent behavior, because the S7 was released back in March of 2016 according to Wikipedia. It will be interesting to see when I stop getting patches.
What is the oldest Samsung device people have gotten updates on?
Today, I learned that if you have a SharePoint library open on one monitor and Outlook 2016 open on the other, you can drag an attachment file from the email directly over the SharePoint window to upload to the library without saving the file separately first. How much time have I wasted!?
The more I read about 5G – supposedly the next coming of internet-connection-Jesus – the more I’m like, “Do they really expect the UX for this not to suck? Terribly?” I just saw an article discussing the millimeter-wave spectrum that makes this stuff work, and the beam gets blocked if a person walks between the transmitter and the device. Seriously.
In order to get around this problem, they are having to form and track countless beams and look at the reflections of the beams off of every object in the environment to try to maintain a connection outside of controlled conditions… and one of the supposed benefits of this is that it’s going to save electricity! What in the heck do they think is going to power all that tracking and processing, unicorn giggles?
4G is bad enough, dropping out if you walk into the wrong part of a building. 5G is going to require in incomprehensible amount of very densely-packed infrastructure all over the place to even work, let alone have a good experience.
How is it that people think this scheme is going to work out?
I've been checking periodically to see if I can access my uploaded mp3 library from Play Music via YouTube Music, but so far no luck. Does anybody else have this functionality yet?
My motherboard crapped out on me recently and I had to get a new processor, RAM, and motherboard. I just finished putting it all together with my old SSD, HDD, GPU, etc, and I accidentally missed entering the BIOS on first ooot. To my utter shock, Windows did a bit of thinking, decided it needed to configure some devices for a minute, and then it booted up flawlessly. Everything is working beautifully. I didn't have to do a thing.
They might not have gotten everything right with Windows 10, but some of this stuff is just magical.
As I age, I seem to become a bigger and bigger cheapskate. My latest money-saving exploit was to buy a refurbished laptop (my first laptop, believe it or not...) from Newegg when an insurmountable business need finally arose. I was absolutely staggered to see the prices. I was able to get a 5th-gen Core i5 with 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, 4 USB 3.0 ports, dual-band wifi, touchscreen, etc, all in an ultrabook format... for $200. I was completely gobsmacked. It even came with WIndows 10 Pro on it. The entire experience has been superlative.
I don't think I'll ever advise anyone to buy a new laptop again. This machine isn't a world-beater since it has integrated Intel graphics, but my God... it's got to be better than what most consumers have, and for a lot lot lot less. If I didn't play games, this machine would be everything I could possibly need. And it dual-boots Ubuntu without a hitch (this post typed from 17.10).
Have these kind of machines always been available at this price? I just... good gravy, I still can't get over what I was able to buy for so little. If this is pretty normal across the board, it would certainly explain why the PC market has slowed down... there is absolutely no reason to replace this 4+ year old machine.
With the new Microsoft ambitious to "be where [their] customers are," it's been really comforting to see that I can jump from iOS to Mac to Android to PC and have a pretty positive experience on all three.
I realized the other week when I messed up my PC (overwrote the MBR... oops) and I used Linux Mint for work while I waited for an opportunity to fix things... the Linux experience is about the only place MS was lacking. I was able to do what I needed via the web client, but even though it was temporary I felt the lack of a OneDrive sync client keenly, and the web apps are no replacement for the real apps when you need to get down in the weeds.
What do you think they're missing? Is this all a moot point because they should be converting pretty much everything to a PWA from here on out?
I got an email notifying me that some tablets that were formerly $150 are now $69 at the Microsoft Store website.
They're low spec'd, but I got one anyway - I don't have a laptop and I'm going to need something bigger than my phone for a conference coming up.
Should be good enough for daily tasks, especially if you keep it clean.