So in an effort to give Microsoft a fair shot, I thought I’d try going all in on their own native platform services - in so far as that’s possible, I mean I’m not going to move away from Gmail! So I signed up for an Xbox Music 30 day trial, with the expectation that it would at least be fairly comparable to other streaming services. Wow - boy was I ever wrong!
Its like they basically took the Zune, and made it an app. I mean sure you can technically stream music through it, but its like every time I try stream something new, I can feel the app saying groaning cause it has to go to the store…
After trying it for a few days I eventually got sick of it. Its pretty clear that if you stick with it, you can eventually create a useful music library using Xbox Music Pass, but its an unnecessary task when there are other services out their that already make this easy…
I’m going to try Beats Music service, since their app looks pretty nice on WP8, and at least they seem to understand that what music lovers what is to listen to great music, not to reorganize their box of mix tapes…
I think this is really proving to be the biggest problem with Windows Phone for me, Cortana is really good, but having to be in the US Region breaks the Marketplace, and vice versa. I get that this is pre-release, but can you image Google shipping Now in a way that fundamentally breaks Play, or Siri breaking the App Store…
Hopefully once WP8.1 goes RTM everything will work properly, but in the mean time it’s really frustrating.
Also, while I’ve been able to get used to using MetroMail in place of Gmail, I haven’t been able to find a good Hangouts replacement-which is a really problem since about ⅓ of my close mates around hard-core Google/Android users.
…and it’s official. For the next 30 days my HTC One will be in a draws, replaced by a Windows Phone! A Lumia 625 to be exact, and after just 36 hours of tinkering I am at the point where I can post this. I’m not sure whether that was fast if not, it’s a long time since I’ve moved mobile platforms, but overall while not exactly a seamless experience it was certainly less uncomfortable than a root canal.
Admittedly, I did want to run Windows Phone 8.1, which required a developer unlock, and it took a while to figure out how to use both the local (Ireland) store while still having access to Cortana (it’s not good - basically you have to reboot each time you want to switch between regions, and you need to switch from U.S. to Irish to buy apps)
The latter might not be a problem if your still using hotmail, but if you’re using Google services, you’ll find yourself needing to shell out a few quid to get a proper Gmail app and if you’re using Play Music, a player app - but once that’s all done you’re set. If you happen to have a Lumia however, you’re in luck because you’ll have a free €25 gift card available from the Windows Store.
I’ve been following the quickening saga of #JoCoGleeGate (http://www.jonathancoulton.com/2013/01/18/baby-got-back-and-glee/) over the past couple of weeks with great interest. As a JoCo fanboy since the Thing a Week days, I couldn’t help myself, even if the closest I’ve made it to en episode of Glee, was recognising it as my cue to go play Skyrim while the wife occupies the living room.
It’s been very interesting, and even spurred my to actually read the Wikipedia entries for Parody and Derivative Works, in order to better understand some of the finer points and perhaps gain an insight into why the folks a Glee would try something like this. It pretty clear at this point that Glee’s cover of Baby Got Back is a flagrant plagiarism of JoCo’s 2005 arrangement of the ‘rap classic’. In fact, it appears according to JoCo’s latest blog posts that Fox have admitted as much to Jonathan’s ‘people’ - so what could be the rationale?
I mean lets be honest, I don’t think Jonathan is a huge Glee fan, so its unlikely that he would have been overjoyed to see one of his original works being butchered for prime time, but given that this was a cover to begin with his rights are indeed limited. That said, Fox could so easily have given him a credit and come away from this whole ordeal without much incident…
Unless of course, that’s what Fox wanted… after all no publicity is bad publicity, and I very much doubt that the mid-season return of Glee would have warranted much mention with Wired, @PaulAndStorm and indeed a host of other internet savvy websites and blogs - not to mention the tumult of twitter commentary… Perhaps Fox’s social marketing people are not a dumb as we all assumed.
For any of the Computer Security or US Law buffs, there is a really nice blog post over on @ErrataBob’s security blog. Goes into some great detail about exactly where the gaps are in the current US legislation and how exactly that applies to everyday internet technologies.
Its a little scary to think that these laws are so broad that they could apply to just about everyone, but its even scarier to think that the impact of that is that almost none of them would hold up in court for the purpose of prosecuting real criminals.
I’m off to bury my router and don my tinfoil hat until all this blows over.
After months and months of tireless work, the guys on XDA who’ve been working on the getting S-OFF (disabling the hardware security measures) on the HTC One X, have had to throw in the towel. The development thread for the S-OFF exploit has been closed, and many XDA users are trying to take the fight back to HTC. The months old petition thread has been resurrected as users attempt to seek a diplomatic solution - and I would encourage all HTC owners and enthusiasts to head over the pop your name down:
A mere 36 hours after initially reporting the cleartext password storage issue to TunnelBear and I received this message from CorpBear (a.k.a Ryan) on the TunnelBear team:
I just wanted to follow-up on this. The TunnelBear team takes these issues very seriously.
We’ve posted an updated test build of TunnelBear for PC. Among other things, we are now encrypting the locally stored password. Note: This is also the latest Windows 8 build, which we believe has squashed most of the remaining Windows 8 bugs.
We’ll be testing it for 24-48 hours in beta before rolling it out broadly. We’d really welcome your feedback.
Obviously I downloaded the build and tested it out, and not surprisingly my password is no longer stored in clear text in the settings.dat file. I didn’t press for details on how its encrypted, but I’m no longer hesitant about using TunnelBear or recommending it for use by others.
Well done and a hearty congratulations to the TunnelBear team - I’ve never been as impressed by a company for taking and responding to user feedback. I look forward to seeing what else these guys get up to in the future, but for now I am one happy bear.