Thurrott Daily: May 16

Posted on May 16, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Mobile, Music + Videos, Xbox with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: May 16

The life of a Microsoft reviewer.

Tech tidbits from around the web.

5/16/2016 1:31:34 PM

Reminder: Costume Quest 2 for Xbox One is now free via Games with Gold

It’s May 16, so Xbox One owners will want to check this month’s Games with Gold offering to see whether they should grab the next free game to become available: Costume Quest 2.

Trick, treat and pick a fight with villianous dental soldiers in Costume Quest 2, the sweet sequel to Double Fine’s hit original, Costume Quest, that turned fans of all ages into candy obsessed crusaders. This inspired RPG adventure includes a range of new features and gameplay improvements to double the amount of mischievous fun. Explore spooky time-traversing landscapes, don adorable new costumes that transform into powerful Hallo-warriors, and collect even Creepier Treat Cards to wield in combat against a legion of hygiene obsessed baddies. Only heroic siblings Wren and Reynold can save Halloween forever!

Microsoft is shutting down Project Spark

And speaking of games, Microsoft is shutting down Project Spark, its Xbox and PC games creation tool.

Starting 5/13/16, “Project Spark” will no longer be available for download on the Xbox Marketplace or Windows Store. For existing users of “Project Spark,” online services will be unavailable after 8/12/16. Without services, players will no longer be able to download user-generated content or upload their own creations. If you want to access user-generated content offline, you will need to download this content prior to 8/12/16. Be sure to download your favorite community creations and your own uploads if they are not saved locally. We’re also aware that after transitioning “Project Spark” to be a free incubation engine last fall, that some players might still have purchased the game at retail, and have outlined steps about obtaining a credit for those players below.

This was an extremely difficult decision for our team that we do not take lightly. When “Project Spark” transitioned away from active development last fall, many of our team members moved to other projects within Microsoft Studios. While this means there have been no layoffs at Microsoft, it also means it’s simply no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping “Project Spark” up and running with meaningful updates and bug fixes, so we have come to this hard decision.

Not sure what to make of this one. It never seemed to generate much buzz, but I don’t really know why Microsoft killed it.

Microsoft Band not working properly with Windows 10 Mobile

Apparently, a number of Windows 10 Mobile users are getting frustrated that Microsoft broke Band compatibility back in November 2015 and still hasn’t fixed it. Here’s a thread on Reddit about this topic.

The band 2 is still not fully compatible with Windows 10 Mobile.

I am using 10.0.10586.318 on a 950XL dual sim.

I still cannot rely on sending a text from my band. “make sure bluetooth is on and your phone is close by” and “sorry, I couldn’t reach your phone”. It happens virtually 100% of the time when I try to send a text from the band.

The band has never worked correctly with Windows 10. Why isn’t microsoft acknowledging this?

I had the same problem on my 1520 and my old band 2. I’ve now swapped my band 2 out for a new one due to strap tearing, so I am certain it is windows 10 as I’ve now had this problem on two pairs of device combinations (1520+ band 2(a); 950XL + band 2(b).

The expected lifetime of these devices is only about 1-2 years, so having a major feature of the band not work for 7 months is a huge loss. How much longer do we wait before going to various consumer protection agencies and filing complaints of false advertising? Can we please have an explanation why this is taking so long to fix?

Fair question.

Would you trust Microsoft with your digital memories?

A new job listing at Microsoft suggests that the software is moving into “digital memories.” Anyone stung by OneDrive’s steady retreat will understandably not get too excited about this, but…

Evoke is a new studio within Microsoft creating a portfolio of experiences that will forever change the way people create, recall, relive, and retell their digital memories. Our team has a strong heritage of innovation and storytelling on platforms that includes Windows, Kinect, and HoloLens. We are applying that expertise to change the future of digital memories and prove that nothing is impossible.

Our team [will] create a cloud service from the ground up [that will] complement our Evoke client applications.This new service will run revolutionary computer vision and machine learning algorithms over billions of digital assets to create a new realm of possibilities, and transform how people tell their stories and preserve their memories through photos and videos. The collection and subsequent high scale analysis of digital assets enables us to derive information that enables a much richer, more personalized digital memory experience for our users.

This sounds very familiar: Microsoft showed off a photo search thing at PDC a few years back and that got everyone very excited for some reason. But as Mary Jo points out, “Evoke Studio” is run Kudo Tsunoda, the mastermind behind Kinect. So don’t get too excited by this one either.

Google may have inadvertently (pre) announced a new service called Spaces

And it looks like an Office 365 Groups competitor.

Create a space, instantly. Comic books, tiny homes, Paris trip, study group? Just one tap to make a Space about any topic.

Invite friends in a snap. Get the right people in each Space with a quick link via messaging, email, or whatever.

Share all the things. With Google Search and YouTube built in, you can find, share, and view stuff without ever switching apps.

Conversations stay on topic. See the content everyone is talking about without missing a beat.

Search your spaces. Quickly find anything in your Spaces, including images, by using keywords to search. Yes, it’s magic.

Here’s the official blog post.

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