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  • Three years later, Surface Pro 4 problems persist. Isn’t it time for Microsoft to do something about it?

    Posted on October 26th, 2018 at 07:46 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The old Surface Pro 4 defects keep, uh, resurfacing. There are even more complaints than before about bad TypeCovers and, now, mysterious battery drains in the middle of the night.

    Barb Bowman recommends that Microsoft solve the problems by offering refurbished Surface Pro 5s (which is to say Surface Pro (2017)s) to SP4 owners. I think that’s a great idea — and would actually save Microsoft money in the long haul.

    Computerworld Woody Rants on Windows.

  • Reviews of the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Laptop 2

    Posted on October 16th, 2018 at 09:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The embargo must’ve been lifted overnight. You can see reviews all over the web.

    Bottom line:

    Surface Pro 6 is a little faster that the “Surface Pro (2017)” but not that much. i5, 8GB RAM, 256 GB and a keyboard for about $ 1,350.

    Surface Laptop 2 is a little faster than the Surface Laptop (1) but not that much. i5, 8GB RAM, 256 GB storage for $1,300.

    No USB-C.

    Compare with any Chromebook for a small fraction of the price. The ultimate Chromebook, the Google Pixelbook with i5, 8GB RAM, 128 GB storage runs half the price. Admittedly the Pixelbook lacks some key Surface features: Bluescreens, bugs, malware, slow reboots.

    Disclaimer: Unless it isn’t patently obvious, no, I’ve never held either a Surface Pro 6 or Laptop 2 in my hands. This isn’t a review. I wasn’t under embargo. Microsoft didn’t give me a test machine.

    But I have held a Pixelbook. In fact, my son still uses my original Pixelbook almost every day. Built like a brick spithouse.

  • Beware “Album by Google Photos” crapware IN THE MICROSOFT STORE

    Posted on October 13th, 2018 at 14:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve seen several warnings about the “Album by Google Photos” app, from “Google LLC,” so I decided to try it out. On a test machine, of course.

    Sure enough. I went to the Microsoft Store using the Store app, installed Album by Google Photos, clicked Launch, and I was presented with a Google logon screen. Except it wasn’t a Google logon screen. It was a very good fake of a Google logon screen.

    I tried entering several bogus Google IDs, and suddenly I heard a machine-generated voice, “Virus alert! Your machine is sending your data to … Call xxx – xxx – xxxx to fix your PC!” or words to that effect.

    Fortunately, it wasn’t doing anything of the sort, and a click on the X in the upper right corner stopped the stupid thing. But that’s a heckuva Saturday surprise, eh? Straight from the Microsoft Store.

    I first heard about the unlikely Store denizen from Martin Brinkmann on ghacks.net. Then @GeekLatest tweeted to me and pointed to his (her?) web site. Developer tricks Microsoft, publishes app under Google LLC name in Windows Store

    Sure enough, following the lead of GeekLatest, I dug into the installed UWP app, and found under a folder that was blocked, this lovely set of programs:

    Block Craft 3D is a completely legitimate Minecraft open world game. But somehow the Block Craft 3D inside Album by Google Photos doesn’t strike me as a Minecraft extension.

    If you ever wondered why people avoid the Microsoft Store like the plague, permit me to introduce you to reason number 147,389.

  • Say what? Microsoft moves the Cortana org to sit under Office?

    Posted on October 11th, 2018 at 12:37 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Wow. How the mighty have fallen.

    Cortana under Office changes all sorts of things.

    Brad Sams on Petri.

  • What I expect from today’s Microsoft Event

    Posted on October 2nd, 2018 at 11:24 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    As you probably know, most of the world’s leading English-language Microsoft pundits are gathered at this moment in New York, waiting for the 4 pm (Eastern) pony show, widely anticipated to be a launching ground for Windows 10 version 1809 and a handful of new Surface computers.

    Expect to see appropriately synchronized “oohs” and “aahs” from the folks who were paid to attend.

    Paul Thurrott, who’s on the scene with Brad Sams, has an anticipatory post on what he expects. My expectations are a bit lower.

    I expect to see minor upgrades to the existing Surface lineup with (gasp! ahhhhhhh!) a new black Surface. I expect Microsoft will mention, obliquely, the Consumer Reports re-instatement of the “Recommended” imprimatur for Surface, except for the totally lame Surface Go.

    Win10 1809 will likely become available to those who have the temerity to click “Check for Updates” — the Suckers, er, Seekers in the crowd. I haven’t seen anything particularly earth-shattering in Win10 1809 (although I do like the new clipboard, which has finally caught up with free add-ons that have been available for decades, and a phone notification synchronizer that works almost as well as Google Chrome’s MightyText).

    A new Surface Studio — that ultra-expensive all-in-one PC — will no doubt draw plenty of accolades, particularly if MS moves from 6th generation to 8th generation Intel chips. And some people may be able to use them. Sometimes.

    All in all, I doubt there’ll be much worth writing about tomorrow. But I may be pleasantly surprised.

  • Patch Lady – Ignite message to small and medium businesses

    Posted on September 24th, 2018 at 19:53 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Patch Lady here – remember the Soup Nazi of the old Seinfeld show?  “No soup for you?”  Well the message out of Orlando for small and medium businesses  — and perhaps even some large customers that still want an on premise mail server is “No on-premise for you”

    Exchange is … for lack of a better term… the back end of the Outlook email client many of you use.  If you’ve ever been near a Small Business Server …that’s Exchange running that email processing for you.  If you use Office 365 now, it’s Exchange running behind that on some big datacenter somewhere.  And for recent years small and medium and even large businesses had the option of going either with cloud based mail servers or setting up an on premise server with a local copy of Exchange.  Now before you ask why… I still know a fair amount of small and medium businesses that even to this day prefer their mail server due to security concerns, access concerns, and subpoena concerns (under the theory that while you can’t dodge a subpoena, you can sure have Attorneys duke it out in a Courtroom and slow down the process a bit.)  You know how that worked out for a certain… uh… yeah, let’s not get into politics shall we?

    Jetze Mellema an Exchange MVP was in an Ignite session on Exchange 2019 – the latest release of Microsoft mail server platform where some interesting factoids were announced:

    Firstly, Exchange 2019 has a minimum memory requirement of 128 gigs of memory… mind you that’s not for hard drive space …. RAM memory.

    Keep in mind that Exchange 2016’s minimum memory requirement was 8 GIG just three years ago.   Granted you never wanted to run Exchange on something that low, but the fact that Microsoft has put in place a 1500% (assuming I’ve done my math right) on paper increase in RAM is a bit unreal.  Is there a tariff on that sucker?

    The presenter in the BRK2172 session at Ignite said…. “Exchange 2019 is an enterprise platform for the largest enterprise customers. If you want end-users features, go to Exchange Online

    If you are using Office 365 now, one of the things you want to do and enable is multi factor authentication and disable mail forwarding by default.  I see too many reports of successful phishing attacks that enable silent mail forwarding where the attacker puts in a rule to forward emails and then automatically deletes them so that the phishee never realizes he’s sending outbound emails up the wazoo until it’s too late.

    But if you want an on premise mail server?  Better start saving up as you will need a beefier server for sure.

  • My takeaway from the Ignite conference

    Posted on September 24th, 2018 at 10:44 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Satya Nadella gave the keynote speech at the Ignite conference in Orlando this morning.

    In this era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, businesses in every industry are looking for a trusted partner to help them transform. We are pushing the bounds in AI, edge computing, and IoT, while providing end-to-end security to empower every organization to build its own digital capability and thrive in this new era.

    Meanwhile, back here on Planet Earth, we can’t get Windows updated properly.

    Sure wish there were some sort of intelligence — artificial, organic, human, military or otherwise — applied to the problems with creating reliable patches and getting them distributed in a credible way.

    /Rant off

  • Surface Pro 4 owners: Don’t install the July 26 firmware update just yet

    Posted on August 21st, 2018 at 11:58 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Apparently there are problems with touch not working on the touchscreen, pens that fail, weird power on/off behavior, and several other issues with the July 26 firmware/driver upgrade.

    Computerworld Woody on Windows.