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  • New (2017) Surface Pro’s narcolepsy, battery, Bluetooth bull

    Posted on June 22nd, 2017 at 18:37 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The new Surface Pros are out and, like roses and puddles follow rain, complaints have come pouring in.

    If you’re a Bluetooth connoisseur, you may be distressed to find that your early Surface Pro — advertised to come with Bluetooth 4.1 — may, in fact, only have Bluetooth 4.0. The complaint on the Microsoft Answers forum from PBPB2222288888 says:

    Just brought I surface Pro 16GB, 512GB mem,
    The description on the website states Bluetooth 4.1, however the box for the surface states 4.0 and the HCI number for the Bluetooth module 6.33536 which also indicates to me that it is version 4.0.
    I have looked at stores that also sell the Surface and some say 4.0 and others say 4.1. I have also spoke to a number of Microsoft agents and technical people and I have had conflicting answers.

    Looks like the best advice at this point is that, if you want Bluetooth 4.1 and kinda figure you should’ve gotten 4.1 as advertised, you should return your Surface Pro and get a new one. Apparently all of the latest Surface Pros have 4.1.

    Maybe they should call it Surface Pro 2017.4.1? (I just hate hardware without readily accessible version numbers.)

    Then there are complaints about the Surface Pro 2017 narcolepsy. Posting on Reddit, srkhannnn says:

    Just picked up the Surface Pro I5 Friday.

    At random intervals the screen goes black and the device seems to power off while I am actively using it (typing). Pressing the power button presents the black and white windows logo and a few seconds later a login screen with the desktop in the exact setup before the shutdown.

    Similar symptoms from Pro (mid 2017) owners are described in that Reddit thread, and from this thread on the Microsoft Answers forum. beccas05 says:

    For some reason my new Surface is shutting off randomly. I check the setting and a few other things but it’s still randomly turns off without warning. I’m losing some of my school work because of it. Is anyone else having this problem?

    The one stellar bull flinging that still has me laughing: Microsoft says you may need to replace the Surface Pro 2017’s battery at some point. The box, no less, says:

    Battery has limited recharge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced by an authorized service provider.

    Unless the MS authorized service provider has telekinetic powers, that seems unlikely — although it may well “eventually need to be replaced.” As PKCano said earlier this week:

    It would seem Microsoft has created a $1000.00 (minimum) disposable laptop

    Surface Pros have been plagued from the beginning — going all the way back — with bad hardware or, at the very least, bad firmware and drivers. I have no idea why anybody would pay real money for one. The fact that it’s a billion dollar business reminds me of PT Barnum’s admonition – but I guess there’s more than one born every minute.

    Triumph of hope over experience, I s’pose.

  • IFIXIT gives the new Surface Laptop 0/10 repairability score

    Posted on June 20th, 2017 at 08:58 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop starts at $999.00 in the Microsoft Store.
    That price will get you a 3.1GHz i5 Intel Sky Lake processor, 4GB RAM, a 128GB SSD and Win 10 S. The top-of-the-line Surface Laptop runs $2199.00 for a 4.0GHz i7 Sky Lake processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Win 10 S.

    IFIXIT recently tore down the new Surface Laptop with its Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard to determine its repairability. They gave it a score of 0/10. Yes, 0 (zero).

    Verdict: The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It’s a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it.

    It would seem Microsoft has created a $1000.00 (minimum) disposable laptop. Read the teardown notes on IFIXIT.com

  • Important information about Docs.com end of service

    Posted on June 10th, 2017 at 04:31 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Several weeks ago, docs.com had a search trawling issue which caused some concern.

    Microsoft have now announced their decision to shut docs.com, with six months’ notice that all content will be deleted.

    Microsoft’s Docs.com service to be discontinued

    Microsoft is retiring the Docs.com service on Friday, December 15, 2017 and we are hereby advising all users to move their existing Docs.com content to other file storage and sharing platforms as soon as possible, as Docs.com will no longer be available after this date.

    Martin Brinkmann has posted an article on ghacks.com:
    Microsoft to shut down docs.com on December 15, 2017

  • You Will No Longer Be Able to Use Skype on Older Windows Devices and TVs

    Posted on June 6th, 2017 at 02:55 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    “Next Generation Skype” will mean an end of support for Skype on Windows Phone, RT and TV from July 1.

    Skype (for mobiles) will now be available on:
    – Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary update or higher
    – iOS 8 or higher
    – Android OS 4.0.3 or higher (ARMv7 processor devices get full support; ARMv6 will not have video calling supported)
    Full system requirements are listed on support.skype.com

    Brad Sams, writing on thurrott.com, said:

    If you are using Skype on Windows Phone 8 or 8.1, Windows RT, the messaging app for Windows 10 Mobile, or on a TV, these apps will stop working on July 1, 2017. The company has started notifying users on these platforms that these applications will cease to function after this date.

    If you are using these apps, after July 1, 2017 you are left with few options. If you can access a web browser, you can use Skype on the web but as for native apps, you’ll need a new piece of hardware to be able to access the platform.

    And given how much Microsoft values monthly active users of its software, seeing as they are ending support for these platforms tells us that the user base is incredibly small on these platforms.

    Wired.com’s David Pierce‘s article “Skype Hopes Its Redesign Takes It Beyond Video Chat” discusses the “next generation”:

    Microsoft wants Skype to be a social network for the people you know. Skype calls it your “personal network” of family, friends, and colleagues. The app eschews a public side entirely—like Snapchat before stories, or Facebook before you could mark anything public. In use, Skype is now super-optimized for chat. A much cleaner interface displays your chats on the home screen and stores everything else off to the side. There’s a nifty-but-huge indicator for unread message that undulates like a soundwave. You can still make voice and video calls, but the redesign prioritizes texting.

    It is somewhat surprising to see that desktop version of Skype can still be used on Windows XP SP3 (using IE 8 or higher), Vista, and with IE 11 on Windows 7 SP1.

  • “Invoke” to challenge Amazon Echo, Google Home?

    Posted on May 8th, 2017 at 09:11 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve had a chance to play with Cortana on the new Harmon Kardon speaker.

    But “Invoke”? Gawd. Is that the best Microsoft marketing could come up with?

    I just asked my Google phone “What is invoke?” and the answer is… “the antiquated defense of insanity is rarely invoked today…”

  • Julie Larson-Green steps down as Chief Experience Officer

    Posted on May 2nd, 2017 at 06:37 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Todd Bishop at GeekWire reports that Julie Larson-Green is staying with Microsoft, but leaving her current job as Chief Experience Officer.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Surface Pro 4 customers complain about weird flicker – even post photos – but no response from Microsoft

    Posted on April 4th, 2017 at 13:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s starting to sound a lot like Surface Pro 3 batterygate, and the SP3’s second batterygate.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows.

  • A legitimate-looking lawsuit claiming damages for the Win10 coerced upgrade

    Posted on March 25th, 2017 at 13:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Many of you have posted here, and written to me privately, threatening to sue Microsoft for the pushy nature of the “Get Windows 10” campaign.

    It looks like one firm, the Chicago firm of Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin LLC, has taken up the challenge. As reported in The Register (yes, in the UK) yesterday, reports on a filing in Chicago US District Court on Thursday, claiming MS

    failed to exercise reasonable care in designing, formulating, and manufacturing the Windows 10 upgrade and placing it into the stream of commerce… As a result of its failure to exercise reasonable care, [the company] distributed an operating system that was liable to cause loss of data or damage to hardware.

    You can read the complaint here.

    The attorneys are seeking class action status.

    Based on reports on the Edelman Combs web site (which I haven’t independently confirmed), the firm has experience in the field. Edelman declares:

    Areas of Practice:
    25% Consumer Law
    75% Class Actions
    Deceptive Trade Practices

    You might want to take advantage of the firm’s “Contact Us” box on any of its web pages to see if you qualify for joining the class.