Archive for November 3, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

OneDrive Reduces Free Storage to 5 GB, Maximum to 1 TB

Microsoft (via @SwiftOnSecurity, comments):

Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average. Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users.

[…]

We’re no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers.

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Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.

Rosyna Keller:

The FAQ also makes it clear that Microsoft looks through the contents of a user’s OneDrive account. Not that anyone doubted that before.

OneDrive is now more expensive than iCloud for the smaller capacities. It’s probably not a good idea to count on unlimited anything sticking around. Will Amazon be next?

Update (2015-11-04): Brett Howse:

The paid 100 GB and 200 GB tiers are now gone, and have been replaced with a single 50 GB offering for $1.99 per month. So you get half the storage now for the same price. Previously the 100 GB plan was $2 per month and the 200 GB option was $4 per month. This seriously reduces the number of tiers, and you now go from free, to 50 GB, to 1 TB, with no other options anywhere else.

Update (2015-12-16): Joe Rossignol:

OneDrive users who sign up by January 31, 2016 will be able to keep their 15GB of free storage and 15GB camera roll bonus, even after Microsoft reduces its free storage tier to 5GB next year. OneDrive customers using more than 5GB of free storage will also receive a free Office 365 Personal subscription with 1TB storage for 12 months.

Chuck Forsberg, RIP

Crown Memorial Centers (via Jason Scott, comments):

In 1974, Chuck was recruited by Sidereal Corporation, a small startup computer communications company. When he started, Chuck did Sidereal’s engineering work on the dining room table of his houseboat. He was both the hardware and software engineer for Sidereal’s first project, the Micronet.

In the early 1980s, when Chuck was designing specialized word processing hardware at a company called CDI, he made computer programming history. In his free time he wrote a file transfer protocol software that would change his career, and propel him into an elite group of computer software pioneers.

Initially he released YModem, a program that improved on another programmer’s work called XModem. Chuck’s notoriety grew and a large timeshare company, needing an even better data communications program, contracted with Chuck to write an improved version.

The result was ZModem. ZModem was good, really good, and Chuck became more prominent in the industry. At the time, noted PC Magazine columnist John Dvorak said about Chuck’s work: “Here’s the simple fact. Zmodem is the state of the art protocol for microcomputers. … It’s fast and bullet-proof.”

Wikipedia:

The widely adopted ZMODEM used a sliding window protocol. Rather than wait for positive acknowledgment after each block is sent, it sent blocks in rapid succession and resent unacknowledged blocks later. By avoiding delays due to latency, the bandwidth usable for transmission more closely approached the bandwidth of the underlying link. ZMODEM could also resume interrupted transfers without retransmitting the already-received blocks.

Update (2015-11-03): Wolf Rentzsch:

Sadness, ZMODEM was a great protocol. Implementing it on Classic Mac OS lead me to create Red Shed Threads

Apple TV 4

Josh Centers:

However, hardcore gamers will likely be frustrated with the gaming experience. Developers might have some surprises up their sleeves, but the Siri Remote is too small and limited to provide much in the way of traditional gaming experiences. Bear in mind that Apple requires all apps to function with the Siri Remote, so developers will be limited in what they can do with more advanced controllers.

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Yes, because unfortunately, Apple didn’t implement a single-sign-on service. So you must individually set up each app that requires a login or a cable authentication.

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In fact, text input on the new Apple TV is a huge step backward, since the letters are arranged in a straight line instead of a grid. Entering passwords via the onscreen Apple TV keyboard is infuriating, since you have to scroll through every letter. It’s a big step down from the previous Apple TV interface, which presented the keyboard as a grid that was easier to navigate.

Unlike the Apple TV 3, it doesn’t support Bluetooth keyboards or typing via the iOS Remote app.

Yes, [the Flickr app is] still there, but the screensaver functionality is broken. Selecting Use as Screensaver in an album presents an error message: “Screensaver functionality is not available at this time. Flickr will be updated with screensaver support as soon as possible.”

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Yes, you can finally connect Bluetooth audio devices to the Apple TV, which should be a boon for those with Bluetooth hearing aids, or anyone who wants to listen to TV without bothering others in the room!

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Another drawback to Siri is that video keeps playing while it’s activated, although it mutes the audio so as to not interfere with voice recognition. I hope Apple updates the Apple TV to pause video while using Siri.

Bizarrely, Siri does not work with Apple Music, and Apple says it won’t until early 2016. It also cannot search the App Store.

Jason Snell:

Whenever I try to make a purchase on a new Apple device, I am forced to verify that it’s legit, usually by entering in the security code from the back of my credit card. I expected to need to do that on the Apple TV. But being forced to switch to my Mac, click into my account settings, click on my billing address, and re-enter the code there? That seems… a bit out of the way.

But I did it! And then I turned back around to the Apple TV, only to discover it was once again asking me to input my Apple ID and password.

[…]

Unfortunately, Apple’s hardware and packaging are being let down by its software and services. The unboxing experience doesn’t end when the device is pulled out of the box—it ends when it’s set up and running smoothly. There’s a lot more work that needs to be done.

It’s curious that there are no plans to make the Remote app work. iCloud Photo Library is not supported at all.

Wil Shipley:

I literally can’t enter my Netflix password into the new Apple TV because I set it to 60 characters of garbage. No “show my typing” option.

David Gewirtz (via John Gruber):

It’s very difficult to tell top from bottom on the remote. It’s almost entirely symmetrical, and the only difference is the top is less shiny, the surface you’re supposed to use as a touch surface. In the dark, I expect people will be pushing the wrong buttons and talking into the wrong end.

John Gruber:

It’s also pretty frustrating that you can only log into one Game Center account at a time. That seems downright wrong for a shared family device.

I’m still waiting for a software update to fix streaming on our Apple TV 2 and 3.

See also: Nick Heer’s review roundup.

Update (2015-11-04): Dan Moren:

As such, that decentralized approach is also a weakness. Apple’s tipped its hat to that problem with the addition of universal search, one of the very best features of the Apple TV, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Because it means that a lot of the apps end up reinventing the wheel, creating the same features over and over again.

Take, for example, the watchlist. Almost every video streaming app on the Apple TV has some form of this, and while implementation details differ, the premise is the same: a place where you can add videos you want to watch at some point. That’s great…but on a device that’s focused on video consumption it’s also hugely inefficient.

Update (2015-11-05): Joe Rosensteel:

The device feels very unfinished. Surprising, given the amount of time between the last model and this one. Rumors are that the team working on it stopped and it sat there while Apple tried to work with outside parties. Then they gave up and had to resume. Apple picked when to ship this device though, just like every other thing they make.

Dan Moren:

Why Apple decided to forego support for iCloud Keychain on the Apple TV is a mystery, but let me tell you: it sure would be helpful after the fifth attempt to enter the right Hulu password. Given that all of my passwords are already stored in iCloud, why make me do the hard work of entering them all over again? This is the exact purpose for which that system was designed.

Clark Goble (blog):

Text entry is if anything worse than everyone was reporting. […] That said entering all you cable channels is done from your laptop or iPad. No typing via the Apple TV. A lot of the reviews weren’t clear on this making it seem like they were typing all their passwords via the Apple TV text entry screen. I’m glad they were wrong. Honestly it now works vastly superior to the old Apple TV.

Update (2015-11-10): Two more good posts from Joe Rosensteel.

Update (2015-11-16): See also the Accidental Tech Podcast.

Update (2015-11-24): Joe Rosensteel:

That is the Bezos graph of comparison charts.

Update (2015-12-03): Clark Goble:

Usually Apple’s pretty solid on hardware. Arguably of late far better on hardware than software. Yet the remote is horrible. Seriously I don’t know a single person who likes it. Every time I pick it up off the couch I accidentally hit the trackpad and do something I don’t want to. In the dark I can’t tell what end is up.

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The other disappointment is that Siri search seems to work great with the iTunes Store but doesn’t seem to find my movies that I have in iTunes on my iMac. That’s pretty disappointing. Honestly Siri seemed a great idea for the Apple TV but in practice I never use it simply because of its limitations.

Update (2015-12-04): Clark Goble:

So I absolutely love my Apple TV. There are those small caveats that perhaps I focused a tad too much on. But this is the device I’ve really wanted for years. Once more apps become available I imagine this will do everything I can imagine wanting it to do.

Update (2016-02-19): John, Craig & Eddy Solve the Mystery of the Apple TV Remote.