Thurrott Daily: March 16

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Hardware, Windows, Windows Phones, Xbox with 0

Thurrott Daily: March 16

Thanks to @MBabiuk77 for the inspiration. 🙂

Some tech tidbits from around the web.

3/16/2016 9:24:18 AM

Is the Windows kernel slower than Linux?

A now-deleted post on Pastebin—you can still find it here—ostensibly written by a Windows kernel contributor claims that the Linux kernel performs better and provides “more innovation.” But … I’m not buying this. Far too much of the criticism here has nothing to do with the kernel. But … Here are a few choice comments.

Windows is indeed slower than other operating systems in many scenarios, and the gap is worsening. The cause of the problem is social. There’s almost none of the improvement for its own sake, for the sake of glory, that you see in the Linux world.

We can and do improve performance for specific scenarios that people with the ability to allocate resources believe impact business goals, but this work is Sisyphean. There’s no formal or informal program of systemic performance improvement. We started caring about security because pre-SP3 Windows XP was an existential threat to the business. Our low performance is not an existential threat to the business.

Incremental improvements just annoy people and are, at best, neutral for your career. If you’re unlucky and you tell your lead about how you improved performance of some other component on the system, he’ll just ask you whether you can accelerate your bug glide.

[New] developers also have a tendency to make improvements to the system by implementing brand-new features instead of improving old ones. Look at recent Microsoft releases: we don’t fix old features, but accrete new ones. New features help much more at review time than improvements to old ones.

Microsoft and app design

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been fascinated by the app design series that pop-up with each major Windows platform change. Here’s a new one.

This blog is the first in a multi-part series on app design for developers. We’ll introduce you to the tricks of the design trade so you can create more attractive and more successful UWP apps.

There is a well-known gap in the software industry between developers and designers, coders, and creatives that you don’t really see in other areas of the field. To improve the flow between development and QA teams, developers long ago rolled up their sleeves and came up with automated unit testing frameworks and continuous integration platforms. To better understand and improve project management, developers taught themselves how to analyze business requirements and adopted agile methodologies (lots and lots of them!).

Stephen Elop ends up at Telstra

And you thought the Redmond-to-Finland commute was bad. Former Nokia CEO (and Microsoft executive) Stephen Elop has wound up at the Australia-based wireless carrier Telstra for some reason.

Accomplished global technology executive Stephen Elop will join Telstra in the newly created role of Group Executive Technology, Innovation and Strategy.

Mr Elop, 52, will have responsibility for leading Telstra’s strategy to become a world class technology company. He will report directly to Chief Executive Officer Andrew Penn and be based jointly in the United States and Australia.

I still miss this guy.

Google Inbox gets Smart Reply

Google announced this week that Smart Reply is available now on Inbox on the web. (Inbox is Google’s nuevo email client, a sort of UX alternative for Gmail.)

Just like in the Inbox mobile app, Smart Reply saves you precious time by suggesting up to three responses based on the emails you get. Selecting an option starts a reply, ready for you to either edit or send.

10% of all your replies on mobile already use Smart Reply, so we’re excited to bring this same convenience to the web. It’s particularly helpful when you’re jamming through lots of emails on your laptop.

Sony is open to cross-network play

Earlier this week, Microsoft said it would be opening up its Xbox platform to rival networks. Sony, amazingly, says it’s open to this idea.

Sony’s response, issued to GameSpot, suggests the market-leading platform holder remains open-minded about cross-console play but stopped short of discussing a deal with Xbox Live.

“PlayStation has been supporting cross-platform play between PC on several software titles starting with Final Fantasy 11 on PS2 and PC back in 2002,” reads the statement from the corporation.

“We would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross platform play.”

Sony’s response was to a direct question about whether it would be interested in working with Microsoft.


Sony PlayStation VR to launch in October at $400

And speaking of Sony, it’s about the 1100th company to announce a VR solution, but since this one is on the PS4, it’s interesting and a contender. Reuters reports:

Sony Corp announced on Tuesday that its virtual reality headset for PlayStation will launch globally in October for $399, a move that undercuts its biggest competitor by hundreds of dollars.

The headset, a visor-style frame with a 5.7 inch (14.5 centimeters) screen, includes 360 degree head tracking, a 100 degree field of vision and latency of 18 milliseconds between the time a user’s head moves and the time they see the correct image.

At $399,the package is notably less than the $599 price announced Monday by Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus Rift. Oculus will also sell bundles that include an Oculus Ready PC and a Rift for preorder in February starting at $1,499.

Image above.

Another reversible microUSB cable to consider

Yesterday, I mentioned a reversible microUSB cable solution. But Mike B. provided this alternative via email that might be of interest as well:

BlitzWolf 2.1A reversible micro USB cable double sided USB a male to double sided micro B 3.3ft/1m for android

Leading double sided USB plug and micro plug, the cable allows you to plug it in like an Apple cable, no need to recognize up side and down side.No damage or weakening after over 5,000 times swing test, it supports 5V/9V/12V fast charging at up to 2.1A current, compatible with Qualcomm QC3.0, Qualcomm QC2.0, MTK Pump Express Plus and other fast charging technology.

The best part? This cable is only $7 at


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