Archive for March 2, 2023

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Outlook Syncing With Microsoft Cloud

Beatrix Willius:

According to the German computer magazine Heise Outlook is now using “Microsoft Synch Technology” without asking the user.

When you create a new account, there’s a checkbox to opt out, but the Heise article implies that existing accounts are automatically opted in and you have to delete and recreate them to opt out:

A reader pointed out to us that the previously established direct retrieval of an IMAP account with him now also takes detours via Azure. [Apple translation]

This seems really bad to do without consent, but perhaps the reader is mistaken or it’s a bad translation.

Yesterday, when I tried adding a Gmail account, the Sync with Microsoft Cloud option was present but pre-checked.

But today, when I did the same thing, the wizard did not offer me the option. It briefly showed some text saying that “for a better experience” it was going to sync with Microsoft, but before I could take a screenshot it switched to the next page. The configured Gmail account did not show any indication that Microsoft sync was in use.

I then tried adding an IMAP account, and the Sync with Microsoft Cloud option was not presented at all. I don’t understand why Outlook seems to be behaving inconsistently.


Syncing your account to the Microsoft Cloud means that a copy of your email, calendar, and contacts will be synchronized between your email provider and Microsoft data centers. Having your mailbox data in the Microsoft Cloud lets you use the new features of the Outlook client (Outlook for iOS, Outlook for Android,, or Outlook for Mac) with your non-Microsoft account, just like with your Microsoft accounts.


The ability to sync to the Microsoft Cloud is available to new Outlook for Mac users who are on build 16.15.18070902 and higher and have an active Microsoft 365 subscription.

Yeah, I don’t want that.


Tweetbot and Twitterrific Subscription Cliff

John Gruber (tweet, MacRumors, Hacker News):

Twitter’s kneecapping of third-party clients didn’t just mean that their future revenue was gone — it meant revenue they’d already collected from App Store subscriptions would need to go back to customers in the form of prorated refunds for the remaining months on each and every user’s annual subscriptions. Consider the gut punch of losing your job — you stop earning income. It’s brutal. Now imagine that the way it worked when you get fired or laid off is that you’re also suddenly on the hook to pay back the last, say, 6 months of your income. That’s where Tapbots and The Iconfactory are.


This week, both Tapbots and The Iconfactory released updates in the iOS App Store to Tweetbot and Twitterrific — not to restore any functionality, but to deal with the grim meathook reality of these paid-for subscriptions rendered useless by Phony Stark’s imperious shitheadedness. Both apps, upon launch, now simply display a single screen describing what has happened, and offer options to users with existing subscriptions.


Tweetbot offers users three choices. The first is an option to transfer your existing Tweetbot subscription to Ivory, Tapbots’s magnificent (and magnificently Tweetbot-like) new Mastodon client. […] Twitterrific offers two choices: the same do-nothing-and-get-a-prorated-refund-from-us option, and a clear “I Don’t Need a Refund” button with this heartfelt description[…]

Perhaps because I haven’t developed a subscription product, I’m really confused about what’s happening here. The idea that some customers would want a prorated refund since the apps no longer work makes sense. And most businesses aren’t prepared to deal with a large number of refunds, on top of no longer being able to sell their product. But I have questions about the details:


Update (2023-03-03): Bryan Jones:

Stripe will absolutely withdraw funds from your bank account to fill a refund or credit card dispute—I’ve had it happen. I’d expect Apple to do the same. (Unclear what happens if that withdrawal bounces due to lack of funds, though.)

Arrested Development Leaving Netflix Soon

Selome Hailu:

All episodes of “Arrested Development” are set to leave Netflix on March 15 — including Seasons 4 and 5, which Netflix produced itself.


Netflix co-produced Seasons 4 and 5 with 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment, and the licensing deal that allowed the streamer to host those seasons is now expiring.

Pete Volk:

The first three seasons of Arrested Development are also on Hulu, and there has been no indication they will be removed from that platform. Hulu adding the last two seasons to their platform once they’re removed from Netflix would sure make a lot of sense, but no announcement has been made.

Christina Warren:

[The] only way I’ll be able to be a completionist and get the 5th season and the season 4 remix is to pirate it off of sketchy sources? Like, just sell it to me, Netflix/Fox. Just sell me a box set.

This has been my biggest fear with streaming-only shows and it’s why I still buy stuff on Blu-ray and iTunes. Because I’ve never trusted these fuckers to let me be a digital hoarder.

They already removed the original cut of Season 4 when they made the remix version. Even for streaming shows that remain available, the music is often different.


Thought the same as I believed “Oh, they wouldn’t remove things that they’ve made” Well, was wrong there with HBO. Westworld and Raised by Wolves gone and I hadn’t started season 2 of Wolves yet, now I can’t.

Apple’s original shows and movies are not available for purchase on iTunes, and I can’t imagine them ever being on Blu-ray.


Update (2023-03-28): Christina Warren:

Netflix reupped the Arrested Development contract! There’s always money in the banana stand.

Update (2023-08-31): Dare Obasanjo:

Disney is joining Warner Bros in removing shows from streaming for the cost savings (tax write off + no residuals). Just like in the case of the Batgirl movie, the Spiderwick Chronicles has been completed but will never be aired.

Orwell and Dahl on Kindle

Annalee Newitz (in 2009):

Thousands of people last week discovered that Amazon had quietly removed electronic copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from their Kindle e-book readers. In the process, Amazon revealed how easy censorship will be in the Kindle age.

In this case, the mass e-book removals were motivated by copyright . A company called MobileReference, who did not own the copyrights to the books 1984 and Animal Farm, uploaded both books to the Kindle store and started selling them. When the rights owner heard about this, they contacted Amazon and asked that the e-books be removed. And Amazon decided to erase them not just from the store, but from all the Kindles where they’d been downloaded.


Apparently, until last week, Amazon claimed it wouldn’t take back purchased books[…]

John Timmer:

The company has since apologized to its users and promised that it will never happen again, but those steps aren’t enough for some. A lawsuit has been filed in Seattle that seeks class action status for Kindle owners and Orwell readers, alleging that Amazon has done everything from committing computer fraud to eating a high school student’s homework.

One of the plaintiffs, Justin Gawronski, has a compelling story about his experience with Amazon’s memory hole. Apparently, he was reading his copy of 1984 as a summer assignment for school, and had been using one of the Kindle’s selling points—the ability to attach notes to specific parts of the e-book text—to prepare for his return to school. Since he was actively reading the work when Amazon pulled the plug, he actually got to watch the work vanish from his screen. He’s left with a file of notes that are divorced from the text that they reference.

Carolyn Kellogg:

Amazon has agreed to pay $150,000 in a lawsuit filed by Justin Gawronski, who sued the online retailer after George Orwell’s novels ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ were deleted from his Kindle, along with his homework. The money, after going to the law firm representing the teen, will be donated to charity. Gawronski had already been compensated for the loss -- with a $30 gift certificate.

• • •

Ben Ellery and James Beal (via Josh Centers, Hacker News, 3, 4):

Owners of Roald Dahl ebooks are having their libraries automatically updated with the new censored versions containing hundreds of changes to language related to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race.


Yesterday Puffin, the children’s division of Penguin Random House, announced it would publish additional classic editions of the stories with the original texts.


It said the books will be available alongside the sanitised versions “offering readers the choice to decide how they experience Roald Dahl’s magical, marvellous stories.”

But it’s not really a choice if they push updates to the version that you already bought, also potentially breaking existing annotations.