Thurrott Daily: September 29

Posted on September 29, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile, Music + Videos, Xbox, Xbox One with 42 Comments

Thurrott Daily: September 29

Cheers, Atlanta. You will be missed.

After not sleeping a wink last night—I ended up getting some work done at 4:00 am—I flew home from Atlanta and promptly fell asleep. Please excuse the brevity. –Paul

Tech tidbits from around the web.

9/29/2016 5:10:54 PM

Watch the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered launch trailer

I feel like I’ve seen this before, but there’s so much Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered footage out there it’s hard keeping it all straight. Check out the launch trailer:

Watch the entire Gears of War 4 prologue

And speaking of awesome YouTube videos of upcoming Xbox One games, Microsoft has for some inexplicable reason posted the entire 20 minute Gears of War 4 prologue.

It’s going to be a busy Fall. If by busy I mean playing games.

“Which features does Microsoft still need to add to Windows 10 Mobile?”

Apps? I’m going to go with “apps.”

Microsoft exec sees the end of the QWERTY keyboard

In an interview with the UK’s Evening Standard, Microsoft’s Dave Coplin says it’s “bizarre” that that 21st-century workers still relied on typing technology invented in the 19th century.

“We have these amazing computers that we essentially use like we’re still Victorians. The Qwerty keyboard is a great example of an old design being brought forward to modern day. We’ve not really evolved. We still use this sub-optimal design.”

“We’re looking at technologies now like voice and gesture recognition, and facial tracking that may make the keyboard redundant.”

“We think that computers in the not-too-distant future will be able to understand all of those things and infer on my behalf my intent, meaning and objective that I’m trying to do.”

Sounds exciting. He types. From a 19th century QWERTY keyboard. That was made by Microsoft.

New Amazon Fire TV Stick offers cheapest way yet to get Alexa in your home

Amazon this week released a new version of the Fire TV Stick. Big deal, right? But this one is being promoted as the cheapest way to get Alexa in your home. The Wall Street Journal reports:

On Wednesday, Amazon introduced its second-gen Fire TV Stick, keeping the same $40 price, but including a voice-capable remote that lets owners talk to the artificially intelligent assistant.

By speaking to Alexa, you can not only find something to watch, but also purchase hundreds of items from Amazon’s online store, check the weather, get a news update or play a song on Spotify. Amazon says Alexa is currently able to understand 3,000 distinct commands.

The new Fire TV Stick is the cheapest way to get Alexa

I guess it does other video-y-type stuff too. I know. Who cares?

Blackberry will no longer build its own phones

A Blackberry press release notes that the firm will no longer build its own phones.

Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum, including our first major device software licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia. Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners.This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.

Some have misreported this as “Blackberry won’t be designing its own phones” anymore either, but I don’t read it that way, and that of course doesn’t make any sense. For whatever it’s worth, Apple doesn’t build its own phones either. No one does.


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  1. 1 | Reply
    mebby Alpha Member #219 - 3 months ago

    "Microsoft exec sees the end of the QWERTY keyboard" Geez, haven't we heard this before? 30 years ago I thought we would have decent voice, geature and eye-tracking control of PCs with screens the size of a bedroom wall.

  2. 1 | Reply
    dallasnorth40 Alpha Member #437 - 3 months ago

    "Sounds exciting. He types. From a 19th century QWERTY keyboard. That was made by Microsoft."

    Now, that was just plain funny!

  3. 0 | Reply
    CaymanDreamin Alpha Member #2293 - 3 months ago

    That nuke in modern warfare was one of my favorite jaw dropping moments playing a game.

  4. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 months ago

    First the audio jack, now the keyboard?  Are tech companies just going nuts these days???  Keyboards will never go away completely.  Even as good a voice is today, nobody wants to work in an environment where everyone is talking to their computer at the same time.  It would get confusing, noisy, irritating, just plain bad.  I don't see any less than a couple centuries of advancement before computing power can equal the raw ability of human understanding of speach.  Sure, it works today, but barely at that.

    The only improvement I'd like to see for the keyboard is a better adaption of the Dvorak or similar more productive models.

    With all this "let's remove old stuff to make us look modern" bull hocky going on, I guess we'll need to get rid of musical instruments altogether next?  Or, how about forks and spoons, you know how old and "out of date" those things are...  Gawd, I just want to slap the next tech leader that even tries to go down that stupid path.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 months ago

      ...besides, how else could we have fun at typos.... :/   

      I like the new comment system, but gotta learn now there is no "edit" ability on comments.

    2. 0 | Reply
      Delmont Alpha Member #167 - 3 months ago

      Easy.. easy... did some take away our desert today?

  5. 0 | Reply
    wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 3 months ago

    What does Windows Mobile need? Apps, yes, you are correct, apps. But I would go further, it needs, reliable, bug free apps.

    I love my Lumia 950, but I still switched to a Nexus 5x for every day, because the FitBit app keeps losing contact with my Charge HR and says that the phone needs to reboot (about once a day). Alternatively, you can deinstall and re-install the app, it has the same result, so it isn't that W10M loses contact with the device (which is the error that FitBit gives), but it is an app problem.

    Secondly, my family uses WhatsApp and on Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile, it seems to use a random number generator to decide whether it should inform the user that a message has arrived. Sometimes it will go for days without acknowledging that new messages have arrived (no sounds, no messages in the message center / on the lock screen), yet if you open the app, you'll see that there are 20 messages or so waiting. Then it will work reliably for a day or so, then it stops notifying again.

    With those two issues and those (alongside Audible and Podcasts) being the apps I use most, I regretably switched. On the other hand, the Nexus isn't perfect either. It keeps forgetting which audio application is playing. If I was listening to Audible, pause it, then look at an email, when I get in the car the car connects and says it is playing Audible, but the phone is still paused. Hitting the play button in the car doesn't do anything either. The same happens with cabled headphones (pressing the play pause button on the headphones) and Bluetooth headphones...

  6. 0 | Reply
    gsmith-plm Alpha Member #1599 - 3 months ago

    The DVORAK keyboard rules!!!  Long live DVORAK...  <snigger>

  7. 0 | Reply
    chrisrut Alpha Member #193 - 3 months ago

    The death of QWERTY has been predicted many times. One purported QWERTY-slayer was the ill-fated "Dvorak" keyboard layout which purportedly allowed "faster" typing. However, since trained QWERTY typists could already type faster than most people can think (my mom certified at 140 WPM back in the 1930s!) the benfits were illusory.

    I do expect to see the technologies alluded to by Mr. Coplin proliferate - but as expansions to the human I/O vocabulary - not as replacements for a tool that will remain usable and useful as long as humans have fingers and the ability to signify a selection by pointing...

    1. 0 | Reply
      Delmont Alpha Member #167 - 3 months ago

      On what typewriter did your mom verify that speed back in the 30s?

    2. 0 | Reply
      wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 3 months ago

      I certified at 80wpm at college, on a manual Imperial typewriter, as part of my business studies course, back in the late 80s.

    3. 0 | Reply
      darkgrayknight Alpha Member #2285 - 3 months ago

      I was hoping someone would really make a decent touchscreen keyboard with a different layout, but that hasn't happened. I use Dvorak on my Windows tablet.

  8. 0 | Reply
    Awhispersecho Alpha Member #1649 - 3 months ago

    "Apple doesn't build its own phones either. No one does"

    Microsoft builds their own phones...oh wait. 😉

  9. 0 | Reply
    TraderGary Alpha Member #1255 - 3 months ago

    Paul, I tried to attach a photo of the Atlanta meetup in my comment but couldn't get it to work. Is the photo attachment working yet? The photo is in the public area of my Microsoft OneDrive. Here is the link if anyone wants to see.

    It was really great to get to meet you, brad, and Mary Jo.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 3 months ago

      It needs to be a direct link.  Like this:


    2. 0 | Reply
      TraderGary Alpha Member #1255 - 3 months ago

      I see now. OK, thanks. That's Paul in the lower right. In the lower left, just in front of the guy with the orange shirt and "Ireland" on his shirt is Brad. And the just to the right of Brad is Mary Jo.

    3. 0 | Reply
      lwetzel Alpha Member #113 - 3 months ago

      Have tried several times can't get a photo on.