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  • So… was Bryan Roper laid off at Microsoft?

    Posted on January 25th, 2017 at 15:44 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A discussion on the TWiT TV live taping today – broadcast tomorrow – made me go back and see if Bryan Roper was laid off, or if he jumped. Or even if he’s still working for Microsoft, for that matter.

    (I still say Bryan’s the best Microsoft presenter I’ve ever seen – certainly the most entertaining. JoeB’s right up there, too, but he’s been out of the limelight for the past 18 months, and Joe’s an engineer, not a pitchman. Actually, a little of both. Nevermind.)

    Anyway, looking back, I see that Roper’s original tweet said:

    As one of the Microsoft folks impacted by layoffs today, my heart, ears, and network go out to anyone else impacted

    Which, in retrospect, doesn’t exactly say “I got da boot.”

    There are reports everywhere that he was laid off – dozens of news items, from all around the world. But none of them quote The Man himself.

    Anybody know the whole story?


  • Bryan Roper just laid off

    Posted on January 23rd, 2017 at 16:44 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I can’t believe it. Microsoft’s very best presenter – and one of the best “you won’t beleeeeeeeeive this feature” guys (whether the feature’s worth a cluck or not) – was just laid off.



  • Have the Surface RT and Surface 2 been put out to pasture?

    Posted on January 9th, 2017 at 08:08 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you got suckered into buying a Windows RT machine from Microsoft, you’re basically up the ol’ creek, the next time you try to reset it.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

    UPDATE: Evan Forrest has published detailed instructions for installing Update 3 on an RT machine. https://surfacetip.com/install-windows-rt-8-1-update-3-2017/  Amazing! There are still lots of problems – and Microsoft should be thrashed for tossing its RT customers under the bus – but it’s a very worthwhile fix. Thanks, Evan!

  • New $3,000 + Surface Studio in the real world

    Posted on December 1st, 2016 at 12:42 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you’re thinking about buying one of the just-shipped $3,000+ Surface Studios, it’d be worth your while to see what “real” people are saying about it.

    I don’t own one. I can think of better ways to spend several thousand dollars – and Microsoft isn’t likely to send one to me for evaluation.

    Engadget’s hands-on “Mini” review is out, and their take is decidedly lukewarm:

    Innovative, but not for everyone…

    If you’re curious about the innards, iFixIt has detailed teardowns of the Surface Studio and its circuitous sidekick the Surface Dial.

    You can run into a Microsoft Store and take a look yourself, but before you do, you should see what new owners are saying.

    My first exposure to the Surface Studio came on this week’s live recording of Windows Weekly. Leo Laporte received his new Studio on Monday, and the way he’s working with it is telling. Some of the foibles got cut in the mix, but the machine has many good features – gorgeous screen, interesting peripheral – and several significant problems – it’s slow (with a mobile GPU) and the drive’s a hybrid. If you look at the way Leo uses it and compare it to the way you work, you might not be impressed. “It’s like a giant iPad.” Think hard about where you’d put your keyboard.

    Then I bumped into this comment on the Microsoft Answers forum. Poster Damon S says:

    Dissapointing performance and hard drive for $4100… I love the idea of the machine but do i now want to go find a way to replace the HD with an SSD and then spend a day reinstalling windows and all the other drivers needed and spend another $500 on a $4k plus computer is daunting.

    Photographer Scott Bourne on Photofocus says the reflections on the screen are so bad “it’s a simple deal breaker for me. As much as I like EVERYTHING else about this machine (okay well maybe not the price) I can’t see myself using one until / unless Microsoft offers one with a matte display.”

    The Surface Studio ships with a tech support phone number, which appears to be unique for Studio support – see Brad Sams post on Thurrott.com – although some wags posit that the number’s answered by Microsoft’s usual support center.

    Watch out for Acer- and Dell- manufactured Studio wannabes in the near future.

  • Win10 usage nudges upward slightly, but IE and Edge keep tumbling

    Posted on December 1st, 2016 at 07:45 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    The stats are in, and they ain’t pretty.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • So what’s Joe Belfiore up to?

    Posted on November 30th, 2016 at 13:34 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just a bit of idle speculation….

    I finished re-reading Paul Thurrott’s article about the future of the Windows Insider Program. It’s a good article, vetted by Microsoft, that shows how the Insider Program grew and will continue to grow. (Although, notably, neither he nor Microsoft address my six key problems with the Insider Program.)

    The story is so well-liked inside Microsoft that Gabe Aul, Dona Sarkar and Frank X. Shaw have all tweeted their approval.

    Anyway, that article has me wondering if Joe Belfiore is on tap to head up a re-designed Insider Program – or perhaps to lead a group inside Microsoft, reporting to Terry Myerson, that encompasses the Insider Program.

    Joe took a one-year leave of absence in Oct. 2015, but he’s been back on campus since early September. So far, there hasn’t been  a word about what he’s up to.

    As one of the most admired and genuinely liked people in the company, his next assignment should speak volumes about Microsoft’s intentions for Windows.

    FURTHER RUMINATIONS: So Microsoft Security Essentials now has a preview. What if Microsoft combined all of its Insider Programs – Windows (which is actually two different Insider Programs, one that does “previews”), Office, Visual Studio, Xbox (renamed Nov. 7), Skype (established Nov. 9), and who-knows-what-all. JoeB in charge. The products span all of Microsoft, but the Insider functions are quite similar. Sounds like a winner to me.

    UPDATE: JoeB’s trip to the dark side. Brad Sams at Thurrott.com has just unveiled what Joe will be up to:

    Joe will be running the consumer-focused Windows Shell and will be reporting to Terry Myerson; his objective will be to find new ways to make money with Windows 10 as the traditional licensing model of the OS goes away, especially in the lower-priced segment.

    And that speaks volumes about Microsoft’s intentions for Windows.

  • If you use OneDrive for Business, you should know about new troubleshooting program from Microsoft.

    Posted on November 21st, 2016 at 15:31 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft quietly announced a new troubleshooting tool for those of you with OneDrive for Business.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Is Microsoft crushing the antivirus industry?

    Posted on November 12th, 2016 at 05:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Eugene Kaspersky – founder of Kaspersky Lab – thinks so.

    Microsoft’s long walked a tightrope in the antivirus and threat monitoring arena. With the introduction of Windows Defender (formerly GIANT AntiSpyware) in 2005, Microsoft entered the business, jumping into a ring with several billion-dollar competitors.

    Now Kaspersky (who, according to Bloomberg, was “educated at a KGB-sponsored cryptography institute, then worked for Russian military intelligence”) is making distinctly antitrust rumblings. Iain Thomson at The Reg has a good overview.

    Will the stink stick? Russian courts may prove sympathetic. American courts, likely not so much. The opponents have enormous war chests. Could be interesting.

    UPDATE: Peter Bright has a detailed analysis, including a detailed step-through, on Ars Technica. One of his conclusions, which is spot-on, goes like this:

    Regardless of how regulators respond, one thing is clear: they won’t move fast enough to change anything any time soon, because they never do.

    Bogdan Popa at Softpedia notes that Russia’s already launched an antitrust investigation, quoting the Deputy Head of the antitrust department as saying:

    Since Microsoft itself develops antivirus software – Windows Defender that switches on automatically if third-party software fails to adapt to Windows 10 in due time, such actions lead to unreasonable advantages for Microsoft on the software market. Our task is to ensure equal conditions for all participants on this market.

    UPDATE: Paul Thurrott has a balanced essay on the topic on Thurrott.com (Thurrott Premium paywall).

    So what say you, Microsoft? Will you work with Kaspersky and your other software partners to ensure that Windows users are both protected and respected? Or will you ignore this complaint and continue down a road that I and many others worry is too unilateral and too patronizing for many of your customers?