Windows 10 Build 10122 Status Update

After this build, I KNOW I need to drink more…

windows-10-build-10122

That banging sound you hear in the background is me banging my head against my desk. I’ve been in quality for more than 25 years – the entire length of my career. During that time, I’ve spent a lot of time working through software related bugs and issues in various roles. I’ve also spent a great deal of time in the Microsoft ecosystem working with and testing their operating systems and productivity software. I really think I know that ecosystem pretty well; and I can truly say that I’m beside myself. Windows 10 – most of the time – really has me scratching my head…

What a mess.

I have Windows 10 Build 10122 installed on two machines, my Surface Pro 3 and my Dell Latitude 10 ST2. The experience is very different on both devices. I’m going to cover the biggest issues on each, but very quickly. Again, the longer I go on, the more this will turn into a rant, and I really don’t want to rant about this today. I’ve got better things to talk about that I want to get to; but this is something that really needs to get put out there. Regular feedback to the Windows 10 Insider Team isn’t going to be enough; and honestly, the way that system is setup and run, there’s no way for (feedback) reporters to know if it’s been seen, acknowledged or investigated.

Dell Latitude 10 ST2
I’ve talked about the experience of Windows 10 on low end tablets before. The experience leaves a GREAT deal to be desired. It’s getting better with newer builds, but it’s still not anywhere near ready for RTM.

Windows 10 Build 10122 has start and stop performance on the Latitude 10 ST2. What I mean is that there are times when you interact with the device and it works like you would expect it to – you touch a button the screen and the expected action connected to it executes. You can type or swipe, or do whatever it is you’re doing. However, that experience doesn’t last long, and the times between these “moments of normalcy” are few and far between.

Normally, the tablet is sluggish. You tap the screen and the touch screen registers the touch in real time, but the button or object you’ve touched or tapped doesn’t launch, or perform the expected action until much later (later can be as little as a few seconds, or as long as 5-10 minutes… I know. I’ve timed it, after thinking that the tablet had frozen, but had my attention diverted long enough to see the action execute minutes later).

There’s no rhyme or reason to these delays. I’ve looked for a pattern. Sometimes the device functions the way you expect, sometimes it just needs to “take a breath.” The device really appears to be processor or memory bound, though bringing up Task Manager doesn’t seem to show a heavy processor or memory load on the device. This really makes the device unreliable, if not unusable. I have no idea when the device will be “available.” There’s so much of the Windows Experience that happens in the background (Windows Updates, disk optimization/ SSD Trim, etc.) that the Intel Atom processor either has issues with, or the code needs to be refactored to effectively support, that you can’t use the device.

All of THAT mess aside, I think the biggest problem that I have with Windows 10 Build 10122 on my Latitude 10 ST2 is related to networking and internet connectivity. Windows has defaulted to Wi-Fi on since Windows 8 hit the scene and portable devices, be they tablets, ultrabooks or notebooks that have both an active Wi-Fi connection and an active Ethernet connection will automatically route internet and network traffic through the Ethernet connection. When that connection is broken, traffic will auto-switch to the Wi-Fi connection, and vice versa.

However, I have a huge problem with network connectivity on my Latitude 10 ST2. The device came with a docking station so I have access to both types of connections on this device. Initially, the device wants to be on Wi-Fi, and even when there’s an active Ethernet connection the device, the device starts up with Wi-Fi active. When it senses connectivity via Ethernet, it will make the internal switch, but Wi-Fi is the default… and all that is good.

However, for some reason, my Latitude ST2 often registers an active Wi-Fi connection but fails to realize that its connected to any kind of an active network. I can turn Wi-Fi on and off and while it sees active networks, and will reconnect to networks that are marked as “Connect Automatically,” apps and services that need an active network or internet connection to function (like Windows Update, Microsoft Edge/ Project Spartan, etc.) will tell me that I need an active network connection to use them. Putting the tablet in the dock or attaching a USB Ethernet adapter doesn’t work. Neither are recognized.

Sometimes rebooting solves the problem, but it often does not. Sometimes switching Wi-Fi networks back and forth between available networks with a strong signal will solve the problem, but often does not.

Unfortunately, Office 365 and much of what I would want to use a Windows PC for won’t function without an active network connection, so I’m stuck. I have no idea what the root cause is here; and I have no idea how to resolve the issue. With this networking issue and the stuttery performance I’ve also noted above, my Dell Latitude 10 ST2 is largely unusable with Windows 10 Insider Preview on it.

Surface Pro 3
Thankfully, I have not had a problem installing Windows 10 Build 10122 on my Surface Pro 3. Everything seems to have installed without a hitch and to be working fine. However, it’s not all sunshine and daisies.

I am having one heck of a time with both the Calendar and Mail apps. Neither of them work right. They often don’t sync with my Exchange account, and often force close out unexpectedly. Information on the Live Tiles of either app on the Start Menu often don’t update at all (and show just the application icon, regardless of tile size), or update very infrequently, even after the app opens, syncs and closes correctly (i.e. without force closing on its own).

Windows Update is often a hit or miss here, too, as with Build 10122, I’ve been sitting on 86% of a System Hardware (not firmware) Update for the past 5 days. The download won’t move past that point. Other updates may download, but won’t install as they are waiting on that hardware update to finish. I’ve also got a handful of updates that are saying they need a restart to finish installing. Can I tell you that I’ve restarted my Surface Pro 3 over and over again, and those updates won’t finish installing? It’s almost as though Windows doesn’t see those pending updates and completely bypasses them during restart (which MAY actually be the case…).
I’ve also got four separate, successful installation instances of a System Firmware Update – 5/14/2015 in my Update History. I’ve actually seen this update “successfully” installed on my SP3 at least nine (9) different times since 2015-05-14. It was successfully installed twice while I was writing this article on the morning of 2015-05-29. However, my SP3 never seems to go through any kind of firmware update process, and there’s no way to really know if it was actually installed, especially since it seems to be offered on a regular basis every day or two for download and installation.

The biggest issue I have with Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3, however, has to do with the lock screen, Sleep, and unlocking the console. Quite honestly, this whole process doesn’t work right, either. It’s getting to be very frustrating; and I often have to force the device to shut down by holding the power button down.

The device often doesn’t appear to wake from sleep. While I know its “on” (largely because the backlight on the keyboard turns on after either popping open the kickstand and tapping a key or two on the Type Cover or by pressing the power button, the screen doesn’t do…anything. If it does do something, the screen backlight will turn “on” but the screen will either appear black or a dark gray. The mouse cursor may or may not show up when the touch pad is used. Pressing CTRL-ALT-DELETE doesn’t change the display. It remains black or gray, with or without a mouse cursor, just staring at me.

It’s at that point that I have to press the power button to hard shut the device down and pray that it turns back on. I’m constantly mindful of my battery level and I’ve nearly always got enough power for the device to start. Unfortunately for me, I often have to run through the process to restart a Surface tablet when it won’t start or the battery won’t charge. It’s been updated to include instructions for the new Surface 3, so book mark that page and keep it around for future reference. If you have a Surface tablet, it’s a good resource to have, if you need it.

Windows 10 has a long way to go. My friend Paul Thurrott recently confirmed that Microsoft WILL RTM Windows 10 in July of 2015. So it’s coming whether we Windows Insiders feel it’s ready or not. Again, while I’ve been in quality for 25 years, and software for nearly 16 of those 25 years, I’m not used to having consistent, clearly corroborated feedback so (apparently) casually or cavalierly ignored.

Yes, I know that Microsoft is going to continue the Windows Insider program after it RTM’s Windows 10 near the end of July 2015. Yes, I know they’re going to continue development and will continue to release updates to the OS in a seemingly never ending cascade of “catch it, cuz I’m gonna throw it to you as soon as its ready” updates. I’m also completely familiar with strategic release vs. perceived risk of active defects. I sing THAT particular song every day at work for at least three IT SVP’s and two VP’s and no less than three business SVP’s and a large number of business VP’s. I assess risk all day long; but not ready is not ready. Shipping something that’s this broken often doesn’t provide strategic advantage. It circumvents it.

Are you using the Windows 10 Build 10122? Are you trying to install it on either an under powered/ budget PC or tablet? Are you trying to install it on any of Microsoft’s Surface Pro devices or on the Surface 3? Did you bump into the rollback-installation bug with Surface Pro 3? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the latest build(s) of Windows 10. Do you think Windows 10 will be ready to ship at the end of July 2015? Will it matter , considering that Microsoft is likely to continue its rapid release cycle and its Fast Ring/ Slow Ring release paradigm? Are you having a better go of things than I am? Why don’t you meet me in the discussion area below and give me your thoughts on the situation?

Related Posts:

Today is the Day

Yes! Merry Christmas in May to me!

YlaUR6JpbmU0lw9AXY3WpNPx-qTYoosBmOZZgwfeQwII didn’t know if this day would actually come or not. Today (2015-05-19) is the day that my Apple Watch gets delivered. Over the next few weeks or so, I will be taking a look at it, trying to make heads or tails of what it does and doesn’t do. I’ll be reviewing it, blogging about it, and in the end comparing it to the Fitbit Surge and Microsoft Band (part 2 of the review, can be seen here . I will eventually be comparing all three of these – the Apple Watch, Fitbit Surge and Microsoft Band to a couple of other smartwatches and against a set of criteria that we will begin mulling over in a blog post or two after the Apple Watch review is posted. With three smartwatch reviews in the series, we should be able to pull together some criteria that can be used to measure the best of all five.

So, stay tuned. I’ll have an unboxing up shortly; and likely an initial impressions blog post up shortly after that. I know it’s taken a while, but stick with me on this one, kids. Things are about to get very interesting in the wearables department over here…

Related Posts:

Anticipation… Its making me Wait

Y’all wanna pass me the Heinz Ketchup..?

watch

Every time I say I’m waiting for something, I hear Carly Simon in my head singing “that song;” and I see someone pouring Heinz Ketchup over a hamburger. Yes. Apparently, being a child of the ’70’s means I’m older than dirt…

Well, I have an update to my column, So…Like, I’m in Wait Mode; and I’d like to provide everyone an update. This is going to be a short one, and I’m going to hold myself to that, because if I don’t, I’m really going to go off on a specific vendor, and I really don’t want to torch the relationship I have with them. Up to now, it’s been pretty good.

Apple Watch

I ordered a 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch Sport with Black Sport Band 13 minutes into the open order cycle on 2015-04-10. I placed an order for a 38mm Silver Apple Watch Sport with Aluminum Case with Pink Sport Band on 2015-04-12, a full two days after orders opened. The 38mm Pink Sport arrived on 2015-05-11, or the day after Mother’s Day, here in the States. This morning, I was greeted with a wonderful surprise – my 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch Sport with Black Sport Band moved from “processing items” to “preparing for shipment” during the night. Charges for the device are pending on my credit card, and I anticipate having the Watch in my hands be week’s end.

apple watch

 Olio Model One

Olio sold out of both versions – black and silver – of all of their Model One’s. the device also seems to be doing very well. According to Olio,

“… we received the results of our latest round of water pressure testing. The Model One withstood the equivalent of 50M (164 feet) of water pressure, which is the high bar for traditional, non-dive watches, and something rarely, if ever seen in consumer electronics like smartphones. More impressively, when the microphone hole is sealed, and we air-pressure test the rest of the watch seals, we remain air-tight past 70M (230 feet), at which point standard watch pressure testing equipment can’t go higher. We’re purchasing specialty dive watch pressure testers to continue testing and optimizing those seals.

“The Model One so far has gone through over 300 distinct tests for everything from drop to impact; altitude to water pressure; extreme cold to sweltering heat; and Coca-Cola to dishwashing soap. To date, no Olio Model One front or rear crystal has broken during use. Not one. It is slated to go through many more tests in real world conditions before it reaches your wrists this summer. We are building our watches to handle whatever adventure you bring their way and we can’t wait to hear where you decide to take them.”

This is impressive. This guy isn’t going to get damaged from wearing it while exercising – be that working out or swimming – and will likely survive the standard snorkel or scuba dive – without getting damaged. However, an updated delivery date hasn’t come out of Olio yet. These are still expected sometime in “the summer of 2015.”

Pebble Time

Yeah, I have NO update at all on this guy. The original estimate for delivery of Pebble Time was “May 2015.” Pebble has just under two weeks left to make that delivery window, and there hasn’t been any kind of indication that the device will ship on time or even any kind of project update from them since 2015-05-09 (or the Friday before Mother’s Day, here in the States).

Update #17, sent out on 2015-05-04 indicated that mass production was scheduled to start that week (so, about two weeks ago, as of this writing). I am assuming everything is still on schedule. Pebble’s done this Kickstarter thing before, so they kinda know what they’re doing.

Henge Docks Horizontal Dock

Yeah… I’m not a happy camper about this one. Not happy at all.

Henge Docks announced the product in 2013. It was originally supposed to ship a year ago, but was pushed back. Henge Docks brought it to CES 2015 in the form of a prototype, and it was a HUGE success there. They opened up purchases of the dock, including its Early Adopter Program in mid-January 2015. They sold out almost instantly. Their scheduled delivery date for the Early Adopter edition, which for an extra charge, got you the dock before everyone else, plus special access to their beta firmwares and exclusive support community, was April 2015, with standard delivery for all other Horizontal Dock orders scheduled for June 2015.

They opened up the exclusive support area with an announcement they sent on 2015-03-06. You logged in, took a couple of surveys and were given the opportunity to submit bugs or suggestions. O 2015-04-10, Henge Docks announced that they were pushing back delivery of the dock due to a change in the power supply. They were upgrading the design to a 150 watt power supply from a 127 watt power supply. Between 2015-04-12 through 2015-04-26, the Henge Docks team were scheduled to travel to China to work with their manufacturing partner on assembly of the dock. Delivery of Early Adopter units had been pushed to EARLY May 2015.

I emailed Henge Docks on 2015-05-14 and received the following from their customer service department,

“At this time, we do not have a set, final ship date for the Early Adopter Horizontal Docks. As soon as we have additional information from our Product Development Team we will notify our Early Adopter Customers

“I understand the lack of information is frustrating, we are anxious to get this product out the door. If you prefer to opt out of the Early Adopter program, we understand.”

My response to them was a somewhat tepid, “thank you no. Don’t opt me out. I paid to get into that program. What I want and need is an updated delivery date for the RETAIL product I purchased.”

The organization hasn’t responded to my reply.

What’s bothering me the most here, is that there’s been no official update on this product since 2015-04-10. The organization has missed two (2) delivery dates. This was a RETAIL purchase. The dock wasn’t purchased via Kickstarter or IndieGo-Go. This was a retail purchase. The organization has taken my money and hasn’t delivered the product as of yet; and they’ve missed not only their initial shipment window, but their recast shipment window.

The Early Adopter program website so far is a ghost town. The docks haven’t been delivered; and its clear to me, given the lack of updates on the program, that there are additional engineering problems related to the 150 watt power supply. The units likely are getting too hot and there isn’t enough room for a bigger fan in the current case; or they ran onto some other engineering issue after respec-ing the bigger power supply. I’m guessing of course.

The big issue here is that Henge Docks took payment for my dock in January. They have my money. I don’t have my purchased product. The least they can do is update everyone that bought an Early Adopter unit on where we are with the whole process.

This is a big deal for me, as I want and need a true docking solution for my MacBook Pro, and have wanted one since purchasing my original MacBook Pro back in 2006. Thunderbolt docks aren’t really the way I wanted to go. I don’t want to plug and chug ANY cables in and out of my notebook computer.

I’ve purchased Henge Docks products in the past, and they’ve been totally awesome. However, I don’t like yanking my MBP in and out of a Vertical Dock. Too much torque and pressure are placed on the ports and on the device , especially when removing it from the dock, in my opinion.

That’s why I want the Horizontal Dock. Its docking mechanism is supposed to be much better on the device. I take my MacBook Pro with me everywhere I go, so it’s in and out of a dock – or would be – quite often. My other MBP’s were, as I had Vertical Docks for all of them.

I’m obviously going to keep an eye on this. If I have any additional information, I’ll post back. However, all I’m REALLY looking for here, outside of delivery of the actual product, is some kind of program update informing me when the product will ship and deliver.

In the meantime… would someone pass the ketchup..??

Related Posts:

Windows 10 is the Last Version of Windows

But before your computer gets its undies in a twist, you need to realize it’s not the end…

I’ve seen a lot of traffic over the past few days with a lot of click bait on the headline that Microsoft won’t produce another version of Windows after Windows 10.

windows10-logo

That’s a total load of crap.

First and foremost, Microsoft isn’t abandoning Windows. It isn’t going through the effort of creating Windows 10 for desktop, tablets and mobile devices (meaning phones) only to shelve it after its released. No. Microsoft is going to continue to develop Windows with eyes clearly on both the consumer and enterprise markets. Your operating system of choice isn’t getting ditched.

Instead, Microsoft is changing how it delivers Windows. Windows is becoming a SaaS, or software as a service, product. Now, you also do NOT need to get panicky. This OS as a service thing doesn’t come with any kind of subscription fee. However, that doesn’t mean that Windows as a Service (WaaS) is without its costs.

Windows 10 will be free for a year after its initial release for everyone that has a legitimate Windows XP/ 7/ 8/ 8.x license. Those that have pirated copies may get an upgrade, but will have to pay for activation to make their copy genuine.

Microsoft also recently announced what SKU’s or Windows 10 related products they will be releasing. Like every other release of Windows, Microsoft made this more complicated than it needed to be. Specifically, they are

  1. Windows 10 Home
    This is the consumer-focused desktop edition. It offers a familiar and personal experience for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Windows 10 Home will include the following:
    – Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant; the new Microsoft Edge web browser;
    – Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices; Windows Hello face-recognition, iris and fingerprint login;
    – Universal Windows apps like Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music and Video.
    – Xbox Integration giving games and gamers access to the Xbox Live gaming community, enabling the capture and share of gameplay and giving Xbox One owners the ability to play their Xbox One games from any Windows 10 PC in their home.
  2. Windows 10 Mobile
    Win10 Mobile is designed to deliver the best user experience on smaller, mobile, touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets. Windows 10 Mobile will include:
    – Universal Windows apps that are included in Windows 10 Home,
    – The new touch-optimized version of Office.
    – Continuum for phone, so people can use their phone like a PC when connected to a larger screen.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
    The Pro version is a desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Windows 10 Pro builds upon both the familiar and innovative features of Windows 10 Home, it has many extra features to meet the diverse needs of small businesses, including:
    – Mobile device management supporting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
    – Windows Update for Business, which is the same as the consumer version of Windows Update, but with the ability to reject or postpone the installation of specific updates that may not be fully compatible with an SMB-based hardware installation.
  4. Windows 10 Enterprise
    Windows 10 Enterprise builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organizations. It provides advanced security capabilities, including:
    – Advanced security options to help protect against the ever-growing range of modern security threats targeted at devices, Advanced options for operating system deployment and comprehensive device and app management.
    – Windows Update for Business, which is the same as the consumer version of Windows Update, but with the ability to reject or postpone the installation of specific updates that may not be fully compatible with an enterprise-based hardware and software installation
    – Long Term Servicing Branch as a deployment option for their mission critical devices and environments.
    – Available to Volume Licensing customers only
  5. Windows 10 Education
    This is where things get a bit murky. Windows 10 for Education is really a version of Windows 10 Enterprise, but it has “paths” that will enable schools and students using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to upgrade to Windows 10 Education. I have no idea how it’s going to do that, what the cost will be, or who will have to pay the upgrade charges.
  6. Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise
    Simply put, this is nothing more than Windows 10 Mobile with enterprise related hooks for mobile device management and security policy enforcement.
  7. Windows 10 for IoT
    There will also be versions of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise for industry devices like ATMs, retail point of sale, handheld terminals and industrial robotics and Windows 10 IoT Core for small footprint, low cost devices like gateways.

There’s a lot here. From what I’ve heard and read, there is more than one Win10 IoT version out there, depending on the Thing you’re trying to install Windows 10 on.

So, what’s this whole Windows as a Service “service” thing supposed to be about..? Simply, Microsoft is taking a page from Apple’s playbook here and simply labeling the latest version of Windows as Windows 10 (much like Apple did with OS X…). Each new “version” or “edition” of Windows 10 will carry the Windows 10 label. What Microsoft hasn’t done however, is tell us how we’re going to be able to differentiate between one version and the next.

Microsoft needs to take an additional queue from Apple and give each major release some type of code name. Apple was using cats for years – Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, etc. Now, they’re using California state points of interest – Mavericks, Yosemite, etc. Microsoft needs to pick a theme and hop on here. This will allow people to know and relate to some kind of support tech or family member what flavor they have.

Following this model, like Apple does for OS X, some hardware won’t be able to support the newer versions of the OS, and will get left behind as far as versions of Windows are concerned. Depending on where and when Microsoft kills support for those orphaned versions of Windows 10, they may still need to support them. As such, users will need to call that version of Windows… something. Simply calling it Windows 10 or referring to some kind of version number or number range, isn’t going to cut it. They’re going to create a huge amount of confusion if they don’t slap some kind of label on a given major release of Windows 10.

What do you think? Did Microsoft create more versions of Windows 10 than it needed to? Should the Education version simply be part of the Enterprise version without being called out? Should the Pro and Home versions simply be one version, or will SMB’s need options that consumers and their home networks will never, ever need? Do mobile and desktop versions need to be grouped together in a single version of Windows 10, or is it ok to say that desktop and mobile are separate, and are likely to take on different lifecycles? (as it stands now, they won’t… Windows 10 is Windows 10 is Windows 10, if Microsoft’s vision works out.)

Give me your thoughts on all of this. I’d love to hear your feedback in the Discussion area below.

Related Posts:

Updating Windows 10 Mobile After it goes RTM

Microsoft says that it wants to push rapid updates to users; but there are issues…

Windows 10 mobile

I saw an interesting update on the Supersite for Windows this morning, and I answered a comment asking what the issues were on this in the US. I wanted to expound a bit more, so I thought I’d gather what I wrote and then start shooting my mouth off.

The original article deals with Microsoft taking control of OS related updates from the mobile carriers – in the States, that’s basically, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, but may also include a number of larger regional or budget carriers like US Cellular, Cricket and Boost Mobile – and making updates available roughly four to six (4 – 6) weeks after the updates go RTM. Based on a report from Ed Bott, Microsoft is serious about it. According to Terry Myerson,

“Here at Microsoft, we take our responsibility to keep Windows secure seriously. We follow up on all reported security issues, continuously probe our software with leading edge techniques, and proactively update supported devices with necessary updates to address issues. And today, we’re announcing this continuous update process applies to all Windows 10 devices, including phones.”

The only way that Windows as a Service (WaaS) REALLY works, is if Microsoft can release updates to users as they are ready.

The problem is that mobile broadband carriers in the US don’t allow just anything to ride their networks and don’t allow hardware manufacturers or OEM’s to release just any device update without that update going through a testing and certification process. Well, at least everyone but Apple; users of any cellular capable iDevice get iOS updates all the time…as soon as they’re released, in fact. I’ll deal with Apple in just a bit. However, every other device and device manufacturer/ OEM has to jump through a lot of hoops.

There are two parts to this issue: Control of the (enterprise) network and control of support. The second one is easy to understand. The first one is a PITA.

Control of Support
Many users don’t know much of anything about their smartphone past how to make and take calls, send and receive text messages, and change a status update on Facebook (or other social network). Most carriers like these types of users, because they generally accept what they are given, even if they don’t like it (which leads to the first thing, but I’ll get to that in a minute).

Because most users aren’t very tech savvy, they don’t know how to trouble shoot issues when they bump into problems, so they call their mobile carrier for support. The mobile carrier knows that support is a big issue, and don’t want to HAVE to support each and every problem that can arise, especially with exotic or little/unknown 3rd party software. So, they offer crapware that may have much the same functionality that most users are looking for and do their best to push users that way. They pay their support people to troubleshoot the crapware, and to try to get users to use it instead of a similar, and likely much more popular app that does the same thing. They can’t pay their people to know everything about every chat client, social network, photo enhancer, etc. it costs too much money to train and support them.

Control of the (Enterprise) Network
(Most) Mobile carriers don’t allow just ANY smartphone on their network. Unknown or rogue mobile devices can eat up bandwidth; and as much as they want to charge you for the bandwidth you use, mobile carriers certify devices and updates because if it rides on their network, users are going to demand support, so… they limit what can actually get on the network… or they at least try to.

Historically, this is why mobile carriers take so long to test individual devices before they actually offer them for sale; or take so long to test and certify updates before they actually go out to users of devices that use the mobile network.

Think of this the same way you think of your work computer. Your office’s IT department doesn’t let you install everything from any and every download site on the internet. Many sites are blocked to protect the network from viruses and other malware. It’s the same thing here.

All you do is use the network. You don’t own it, so the mobile carrier doesn’t allow you to do any and everything you want…. just like the office. The purpose is public communication. Your use effects the public, and the carrier has an obligation to insure that its available to all that pay to use it.

Now, all of this is SOMEWHAT based on older information. I really ran into this face first when I was a Verizon customer, living in Nashville, TN back in 2003/ 2004. I had two separate talks with a VzW store manager and a Tier 2 install technician (I had a car kit installed for my then, state of the art new, Samsung i700). The install tech who put the car kit in my Honda CRV laughed at me when I asked him why the store staff wouldn’t talk to me. I have to admit, it was kinda funny. However, he explained that I gave them fits because I knew more than they did, and had issues they couldn’t support (smartphones were new back then…). I later confirmed this with the store manager, who apologized, but didn’t offer any helpful suggestions, either.

However, the general principals here are the same now as they were then. Control… at least until you pay me (me, being the mobile carrier). Apple cut a lot of deals to get the iPhone on AT&T (and eventually VzW and T-Mo). Part of that was specifically that Apple has control of OS updates. It worked, and continues to work because Apple sells a BOAT load of iPhones. Mobile carriers make a lot of money via mobile accounts, upgrades, and other add-on related iDevice purchases.

…and volume. Let’s not forget the amount of sales volume they get. The carriers tolerate it because they make a lot of money based on iDevice sales volume.

Microsoft has a huge issue here. They simply don’t – and won’t – have the device sales volume to help them convince mobile carriers not to relinquish they’re control of their networks so Microsoft can deliver both software and firmware updates as needed. I have no idea what incentive Microsoft thinks it’s going to come up with to convince the carriers to allow this to happen. However, you would have to think that it may involve a bit of that ol’ happy cabbage… We’ll have to wait and see what and how MS does to make this happen.

What do you think about all of this? Will Microsoft be able to release updates to Windows 10 Mobile device owners as they want to; or will the US mobile carriers put a halt to it? Would these OS and firmware updates attract you to a Windows 10 Mobile device over, say, an Android device or iDevice?

I’d really like to hear from you on this, so why don’t you join me in the discussion area, below, and give me your thoughts on it all.

Related Posts:

Where’s Apple’s Media Server??

Am I missing something, or has the whole world gone out to lunch..?

media_server

Ok… if you haven’t guessed by now, I am a tweener.

I sit firmly in between both the Apple and Microsoft eco systems with my feet firmly planted in the middle of the pool. I’ve got a boat load of Apple gear (with a “What I Use” column pending…) – an iPad, iPhone, MacBook Pro and of course, an Apple Watch (and no, if you’re at all curious if my Watch shows that its shipping early, it isn’t, doggone it).

On the Microsoft side, I’ve got a Surface Pro 3, a Dell Latitude 10 ST2, and of course a Microsoft Band (part 2 of its review can be seen here). I also run a Windows 7 VM via Parallels Desktop on my MacBook Pro to enable me to write Windows-based software reviews. Much of my early writing career was also spent as a Windows Mobile/ Pocket PC Microsoft MVP nominee and in covering Microsoft on both WUGNET – The Windows User’s Group Network and in the Computing Pro Forum over at AOL/CompuServe.

So, yeah… firmly planted in both camps.

When it comes to digital media, though, I am wholly and totally a Mac. The iPod, iPhone and iPad have made it too easy to take your media where ever you want, and since I’ve been firmly planted in the Mac camp since I made the total switch in 2010 or so it makes sense for me to really have all of my digital content in iTunes instead of anywhere else. I’m not much of an Android person any longer, having moved back to an iPhone with the iPhone 4S from a Nexus One; and because Microsoft is just now getting its act back together again when it comes to a digital media store and ecosystem, again, being on the Apple side of this fence just seems to make perfect sense.

So, here’s the big issue I have with all of this. I hate streaming stuff over the internet.

I know that may come as a shock to many people, but hear me out first, before you color me beyond crazy and write me off…

Yes. I have Netflix. Yes. I have Hulu. Yes, I’ve used Pandora and iTunes Radio and the like (but honestly, I don’t use those last two a lot, due to mobile bandwidth caps. That’s a whole other story on streaming, so please… pleASE, PLEASE… don’t get me started on that!). But when I – or anyone for that matter stream content over the internet – there’s a GREAT deal of space between me and whatever server I’m trying to get content from; and WAY too much can happen between there and here to block, impede or otherwise slow down the receipt of streamed content to my TV set, or receiving device f choice. If at all possible, I’d really much prefer to stream content across my home network. Its totally self contained and much more reliable. If I have problems with the streaming, I know those issues are within my control to resolve…, which gets me back to my opening question – Where (the hell) is Apple’s Media Server?

See, when first introduced back in January of 2001, iTunes synchronized content from your local hard drive to its portable music player, the iPod. When Apple introduced Time Capsule back in January of 2008, I thought, from an iTunes perspective, that I had died and gone to heaven. Here’s why:

  1. Time Capsule has more storage than my Mac
    My 15″ Late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina has a 512GB SSD. I just upgraded my Time Capsule to 6TB of space. That’s 12 times more space than my current Mac.
  2. All my Apple Stuff sits on my Home Network
    That would include my family’s Macs (there are currently 5), my AppleTV, my iPhones, iPads, iPods, my (soon to arrive… hear that, Apple..? SOON TO ARRIVE..!!) Apple Watch and of course, my Time Capsule. With 12x more space than my Mac, it has ALL of my iTunes content backed up on it. All of it. However, as far as my Mac and any of my iDevices are concerned, my Time Capsule may as well be a boat anchor. None of them can see it, or the three plus terabytes of content stored there.

And I’d like to expound a bit on that…

While I can definitely browse my home network and find stuff there on any of the computers in the house, my AppleTV and none of my other iDevices can see any of that content. iOS doesn’t include a file browser. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a cool NAS product like Time Capsule, with the ability to have a large, upgradable hard drive on your home network, without having the ability to stream content locally.

That’s the idea behind a media center or media server computer on your home network. That server allows you to stream content across a home network, bypassing all of the inherent latency and other bandwidth issues and downloading problems that many often bump into when trying to watch content on HBO Go (or other cable network premium channel iOS app) or Netflix or Hulu over the internet.

There are likely third party products out there that can do this, and that’s all fine and good; but what I don’t understand is why Apple doesn’t have a way to set this up as part of the out of box setup process for Time Capsule. This is totally a huge hole in the product.

I know that Time Capsule was initially released as a companion to Apple’s Time Machine. The two can work seamlessly together; and Time Machine will default to it if it finds a Time Capsule on your home network (it will also create one via the Airport Express base station that’s part of its make up). However, not everyone uses Time Capsule that way; and more importantly, I don’t. I have a dedicated 2TB LaCie drive that’s connected to my Mac via Firewire 800. It does a great job connected to a port on my Thunderbolt Monitor that would otherwise go unused.

However, let’s get back to Apple, Time Capsule and what you can do with what you (may already) have.

You can always copy all of your music to your Time Capsule and then ALT/Option Right-Click iTunes, iPhoto or Photos and open an alternate library location, and that’s cool, but that doesn’t really hack it. All this does it put your iTunes library on a home network location. If you do that with a MacBook or MacBook Pro, you can’t use iTunes to listen to or anything on your Mac when you’re out and about (unless you have a local library that you update with the (new) content you want to watch or listen to before you go). In this case, you’re maintaining multiple iTunes libraries, and who wants to do that??

You can install something like Plex, which according to TWiT does a really good job; and it does have a NAS component, for Netgear, QNAP, unRAID, Drobo and the like; but it doesn’t support Time Capsule. That’s the solution that I, and I think so many other Apple fans want.

I’ve written a note to Tim Cook, asking where something like this that would naturally and automatically hook into a Time Capsule might be; but that was a couple weeks ago, and I haven’t heard anything from Mr. Cook regarding an answer. This isn’t the first time I’ve asked this question of Tim Cook, and it probably won’t be the last; but I have a feeling, that no matter how many times I ask it, I’m going to end up with the same answer – silence.

UPDATE: While writing this column, a new article came out on Neowin. Apparently, Microsoft has killed Windows Media Center in Windows 10. It won’t be part of the end game for Microsoft either. I hate to say it, but I have a feeling that I’m not going to see anything like that come out of the Apple camp at all…ever. It just seems as though the whole idea of streaming content across your home network, FROM your home network, is a dead issue, which is totally sad (and totally crazy…)

The last thing I’m going to say on this subject – hear me and hear me well. Until the day when ISP’s are true Title Two utilities, AND until the average speed across the entire nation is well above 50-75Mpbs down (with that being the totally suckiest speed, ever), things like Netflix and Hulu and other streaming services aren’t going to take hold and be the must have services they want to be. Last mile issues aside, issues with general traffic and bandwidth I think will always be a concern until full Title Two as well as super speeds are common place in the United States.

What do you think of all of this? Will Apple create their own media server? Is Time Capsule the best way to go for holding and serving up a local copy? Why don’t you join me in the Discussion Area below, and tell me what you think?

Related Posts:

Windows 10 on a Low-End Windows Tablet

There aren’t enough pain relievers for crap like this…

c04511601

I have a 32bit Dell Latitude ST2 Windows Pro tablet. It came to me as a review unit while I was writing at InformationWeek’s BYTE. I’d point you to that URL, but unfortunately, UBM has finally retired it (along with most of the writing and editing staff. Boy do they like to do “strategic shifts” over there…) Originally, the device ran Windows 8.0. It got upgraded to Windows 8.1 and then Windows 8.1 Update before finally moving to Windows 10 in October of last year when the Windows 10 Technical Preview began.

As you may recall, I put Windows 10 on it, and its performance with the new OS in ALL builds so far has been… well… yeah. To be blunt, it’s been painful… at best.

So, while I was having issues with my Surface Pro 3, I was also having issues getting Windows 10 Build 10041 on my Dell Latitude 10 ST2. That was a particularly bad couple of weeks or so. In order to resolve the bricked state that the Dell was in, I had to contact Dell Support and was fortunate enough to have them send me a Recovery USB Stick. It put the tablet back to Windows 8, which, again, is what the tablet originally shipped with; but at least it was working again, and I could do SOMETHING with it.

After I had Windows 8 on it, I could have gone through the entire upgrade path again from Windows 8 to 8.1 and then to 8.1 Update; but with the prospect of installing well over 200 individual updates, I passed. Instead, I tried putting Build 10041 on it. I was able to get the build on the device, after booting from a USB stick that had the ISO burned to it. I then updated it to Build 10049, but that update failed and auto rolled back. That, unfortunately bricked the tablet again.

I restored the tablet back to Windows 8 and put Windows 10 Build 10041 back on and left it there. Please note that I was able to install Windows 10 Build 10041 from a USB stick with NO issues.

Queue the other evening when Build 10061 was offered as an upgrade. The Dell tablet downloaded the update and attempted to install it. Initially, the installed failed without upgrading to Build 10061 and tried to roll back to Build 10041. This, again, NEARLY bricked the tablet. The tablet would NOT connect to the internet after that and had a great deal of problems even booting up. So… back to Windows 8 via the Dell stick again.

I wanted to get to Windows 10 Build 10061. So, I built a bootable USB stick with the 32bit version of official Build 10041 ISO and booted the tablet with that USB stick. I ran into several ,very strange, new issues with that install :

1.Touch screen is disabled

The touch screen is totally disabled when booting from the USB stick (created with Rufus 2.1.649). In order to complete the install, you must connect an external keyboard and mouse to the docking station that is available for this Windows 8.x Pro tablet. The tablet seems to have frozen once you get to the initial setup screen (choose keyboard, language, etc.) due to the touch screen not being recognized.

2.The onboard USB 2.x port Works Intermittently

This may be appearance only, due to the touch screen issue above, but there are times when trying to boot from the on-tablet USB port that the tablet simply does not boot from the USB stick and goes right into Windows 8.x

3.Many Drivers Missing, Device Not Functional

I found that with both Builds 10041 and 10061, Windows 10 would install clean from an ISO, but many of the drivers for the device were missing. Wi-Fi does not work, as the drivers for the built in wireless card did not install. There were roughly 10-12 “Unknown” devices in Device Manager. The tablet is unable to connect to the internet via wireless OR the LAN port in the docking station, as drivers for both did not install. The Wi-Fi card is obviously, one of the unknown devices. The LAN port on the docking station is identified, but drivers for the device didn’t install with the build and are not found when you try to install them manually.

The only way I was able to get ANY connectivity was through a USB Ethernet dongle that the tablet was able to recognize and install drivers for, but ONLY via one of the USB ports on the docking station (and not the one on the tablet, as it didn’t work). Unfortunately, drivers for the unknown devices would not install, even when attempting to download and install one via Device Manager. None of them were identified or found.

Upgrading to Build 10061 via a wired connection through the USB Ethernet dongle did NOT fix the problem. The touch screen was still disabled. All devices that were unknown were still unknown.

This wasn’t an issue in previous builds, nor in initially joining the Insider’s program with earlier builds.

I was able to get Build 10061 on the tablet, however. Instead of going through the update and upgrade process, however (as that proved not to work…AGAIN), I wiped the tablet and restored it back to Windows 8.x. I copied the ISO for Build 10041 to the tablet’s Downloads directory. From there, I mounted the ISO and ran setup.exe. The build installed and ALL of the device’s drivers installed as well, meaning that the touch screen works, the on-device USB port works, etc.; AND there were no unrecognized devices in Device Manager.

After that worked, I did the same thing with the ISO for Build 10061. It also installed over Build 10041 without issue and ALL of the devices on the tablet are recognized and seem to be working appropriately. After this, however, I have come to one very clear conclusion:

Windows 10 on older, less powerful devices seems to be a huge problem. My Dell tablet has an Intel Atom Z2760 processor running at 1.80Ghz. It’s a bit underpowered, and Windows 10 seems to have a huge problem performing well on it.

Given that Microsoft is realistically targeting July 2015 for the RTM of Windows 10, there are many who believe – me included – that July is an unrealistic release time frame. Windows 10 isn’t ready for prime time at this point and July, even for Desktop, seems unrealistic and overly aggressive.

Are you running Windows 10 on a budget tablet? There are a number of them out there. My Dell is one. Microcenter makes a couple – the TW700 Series and the TW800 Series. HP offers the Stream 7.

All of these are running low-end Intel processors. While they may have dual or quad cores, they don’t really have a lot of punch. They also don’t have a lot of RAM. The Winbooks are a bit better as they are running Baytrail processors as opposed to Atoms in the Dell and HP, but in the end, I suspect that ALL tablets that are running Windows 8.x and eventually the DESKTOP version of Windows 10 (because that’s their upgrade path…) will have performance issues.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as the WinBooks, the Dell and the HP are all GREAT offerings for a cheap way to get into a Windows tablet, but if their performance is so horrible, they may end up being used as Frisbee’s more than actual computing devices. Why don’t you meet me in the discussion area below and tell me what you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as I kinda feel as though I’m eating my own dog food on this one.

Related Posts:

Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Build 10061 to Fast Ring Insiders

If you in the Fast Ring, you’ve got a new build to install…

Windows 10 Insiders have a new build to play with. If, they’re on the Fast Ring, that is. Build 10061 was released to Windows Insiders on 2015-04-22, but late in the day. This release comes a full three weeks after the release of Build 10049 to the Fast Ring. While builds 10051, 10056 and even 10061 leaked to the general public, neither build 10051 nor 10056 were official releases to either the Fast or Slow Insider’s Rings.

Windows_10_Build_10061_Wide

As this is a Fast Ring only build – at least for now – Microsoft isn’t releasing ISO’s for this build (files that can be used to burn DVD’s with). That only happens when a build is released to Slow Ring Insiders. Unfortunately, this is where the problems come in.

During any beta cycle, most experienced testers will want to do a clean install when a new build is released. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible with Build 10061, at least right now, for a few reasons.

  1. Official ISO’s Haven’t Been Released
    The Windows Update process doesn’t download or use an ISO file. It uses an ESD file, and that file – effectively a compressed or encrypted ISO – can’t be directly burned to a DVD. The file also self destructs after Windows Update installs the new build, so you can’t burn a DVD with an ESD. Microsoft’s current policy since the beginning of Technical Preview 2 at the beginning of February 2015 is to release official ISO’s only when a build makes it to Slow Ring Insiders.
  2. The ESD File for Windows 10 Build 10061 is Encrypted
    That’s a bit of a misnomer. ALL ESD files are encrypted. However, the ESD file for Build 10061 uses a new RSA encryption key that current ESD decryption tools used to make ISO’s with, can’t unlock. This means that UNNOFFICIAL ISO’s that were created by end users with ESD’s from Builds 10041, 10049 and the leaked builds of 10051 and 10056 can’t be created from the ESD in Build 10061.

However, I’m certain that the RSA key that’s being used by the ESD in Build 10061 will be cracked in short order and the ESD conversion tool that’s being used by most to create ISO’s will be updated. Its just a matter of time.

With Build 2015 also just around the corner, its likely that Build 10061 will be obsolete by 2015-04-29. I would expect that Microsoft will release a new build of Windows 10 along with ISO’s as part of the Build key note address. While this is generally expected, however, we’ll all need to wait and see.

In the mean time, here’s a run down of new features and fixed and known issues with the latest build of Windows 10, Build 10061:

New Features
New Mail and Calendar Apps
The tiles in the Start Menu/ Screen should be fixed with this release. The actual apps have better performance and bring the familiar three-pane UI to all of these apps. There’s also a way to quickly move between Mail and Calendar. The Mail app has customizable Swipe Gestures. These allow you to swipe left or right to take actions like, delete, flag, move a message or mark it as read/ unread. Mail takes its queues from Word, allowing you to easily insert tables, add pictures and use bullets or color with your text. Both apps support Office 365, Exchange, Outlook.com, Gmail, IMAP and POP accounts.

Start, Taskbar, and Action Center Improvements
Build 10061 introduces a new black system theme across the Start Menu, Taskbar and Action Center. Both the Start Menu and the Task bar now have transparency. You can now resize the Start Menu. All three elements can be themed via Autocolor, which pulls the primary color from your desktop background and applies it to these system components.
You can also adjust the color and transparency settings for these system components through Personalization. The power button has also been moved to the bottom left from the top right of the Start menu to make it more accessible.

Continuum Improvements
Also known as Tablet Mode, improvements in Continuum include an optimized Taskbar for tablets. When you enter Tablet Mode, the Start button, Cortana, and the Task View buttons to all grow in size and space out to be more touchable. Items in the Notification area are also more touchable thanks to optimized spacing. Pinned and running apps are removed by default to reduce clutter. Start and Task Views remain available for launching apps and switching between them. If you really must see apps on the Taskbar, an option exists in Tablet Mode Settings that will allow you to turn them back on. Additional settings allow you to boot directly into Tablet Mode, and this is the default setting for devices under 10 inches in size.

Task View Improvements
There are a number of improvements to Task View. The window icons, close buttons and thumbnails have all been refined. You will also see these elements in ALT-Tab and Snap Assist. Task view also gets a new icon on the Taskbar.

Virtual Desktop improvements
You can now create an unlimited number of virtual desktops. A new overflow experience lets you access any one of them once you hit the limit on your display.

Issues
The following are fixed and known issues for Build 10061. Care should be taken to read through the known issues section to insure that you know what you’re getting when you install the build, in case you bump into any of them while using the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Fixed Issues

  • We have fixed the issue where Indexing of new email in Outlook was not working.
  • We have fixed the issue with Hyper-V preventing you from enabling it.
  • Visual Studio will no longer crash when creating a new Universal app project.
  • We fixed a few issues in Project Spartan. You can now double-click on the titlebar to maximize. We have also made some tweaks to the alignment of the Favorites Bar so that the text and icons no longer appear partially below the bottom of the Favorites Bar.

Known Issues

  • Win32 (desktop) apps won’t launch from the Start menu. You must use search to find and launch these apps and pin them to your taskbar in order to save yourself from having to search for them each time you want to run them.
  • Windows Store Beta (grey tile) and Project Spartan get unpinned after upgrading to Build 10061.
  • Typed characters in the new Mail and Calendar apps , version 17.4008.42281.0, included in Build 10061 appear twice. Fixes for this issue are already deployed to Windows Store Beta and updated apps will download automatically.
  • Cortana will highlight things it will be able to help users with, but some of these features are not yet implemented and Microsoft is working to deliver them soon.
  • During logi in/out, your mouse cursor may appear on a black screen. Microsoft is working to resolve this and an update will be deployed via Windows Update when ready.
  • Downloading music in the Xbox Music and Music Preview apps is currently broken. Microsoft is working to resolve this and an update will be deployed via Windows Update when ready.
  • Audio may stop playing through an active app if it is minimized.
  • Selected text in the Project Spartan address bar does not highlight. Microsoft is working to resolve this and an update will be deployed via Windows Update when ready.
  • Magnifier does not work when you put it into docked mode. Microsoft is working to resolve this and an update will be deployed via Windows Update when ready.

Did you install Build 10061? What has been your experience so far? Is this something that you can use for your daily driver? Do you think that with the improvements made in Build 10061 that Microsoft will make the rumored July release date? Is Windows 10 ready for a larger, wider audience? Why don’t you join me in the Discussion area below and let us know how Windows 10 is performing for you?

Related Posts:

Stay in touch with Soft32

Soft32.com is a software free download website that provides:

121.218 programs and games that were downloaded 237.780.356 times by 402.775 members in our Soft32.com Community!

Get the latest software updates directly to your inbox

Find us on Facebook