iPhone Batterygate is short term

I generally like Apple products. They are attractive and work well. One complaint that has always been present and kept me from the Mac OS as my primary platform is their dumbing things down too much. When a technical problem arose, they expected users to get help from, well, Apple. Or a reseller. Information on self-help was sparse. They didn’t realize how harmful it was to technical people to have such a closed system. These are the same people that could significantly promote their technology.

And now, they have done it again. They thought they were doing the right thing by providing maximum battery life at the cost of performance. They were thinking for us. They benefited with old phones getting pitched for faster new phones, made more amazing with a greater perceived delta in performance. They didn’t disclose the fact that we could replace batteries to preserve our phones a little longer and reduce “digital waste”.

Apple needs to understand that outside of their fan-base they need to be a lot more transparent.  They could have given us an option to adjust battery life vs performance (how amazing of an option would that have been?!).  They need to understand that we don’t want to have to change our phones every year (or even two) – that should be our individual decision based on our choices absent of manipulation or potential coercion.

In some ways this is similar to VW Dieselgate in that actions were taken to manipulate the system to their benefit and it wasn’t disclosed until an outside person made it known.  I have lived through this debacle thus naturally comes to mind.

While it may not have the same environmental impact, this will cause confidence issues and there will be greater scrutiny into their products.  Apple has spent many years to gain the trust of the typical buyer that wouldn’t purchase a Mac and aren’t apple loyalist.s  How this will impact?  Only time will tell.  My guess is that unlike the VW scandal, this shall pass despite the betrayal.  Phones cost a lot less than cars.  Apple still makes a good product that is consistent and easy to support.  The iPhone market hasn’t dropped.  Apple is taking action that helps us now.  While we are temporarily angry (it takes little effort to be indignant while a lot of effort to change our ecosystem) and they have lost long term trust for some, we are now better informed consumers understanding we can take our products to Apple ($29 to replace right now instead of the normal $80) or a 3rd party (accepting risk vs price) for a new battery.  Or we can try to replace ourselves if so bold or interested.  There is no current fix for most of the formerly beloved VW TDIs and likely no Apple employee jail time.

This is also an opportunity for all (including those hurt) to review the other options available (on the Android OS really) to see if Apple still measures up or if it is time to bail and rethink your platform.  Ultimately, the drama will cool off and we will return to our own cool-headed thinking and selection process that represents our best interests for the time being.

Joining Azure Active Directory (1703+)

The process of joining an Azure Active Directory (AAD), starting with Windows 10 build 1703, has changed.

Why Azure AD Domain Join?

There are a number of benefits of joining AAD so you are able to use your Azure AD / Office 365 login:

  1. Centralized login credentials, especially nice with multiple devices
  2. Eliminate Office 365 and Azure-based login prompts when accessing word-based resources (e.g. Single Sign-On or SSO).
  3. Enterprise-based roaming of user settings across joined devices without the need for a Microsoft Account (e.g. account.microsoft.com).
  4. Access to Windows Store for Business using the AAD account.
  5. Doesn’t require a Windows Domain Controller (Windows Active Directory, or WAD) for smaller businesses.

If you are an enterprise (or even a smaller business with local authentication services on Windows AD, you can connect AAD to WAD and automatically link devices via Group Policy to AAD.

This requires allowing devices to join the Azure Active Directory. This is done via the Azure AD Portal. Navigate to Azure Active Directory and Devices, and finally Device settings.

Notice that the setting Users may sync settings and app data across devices is missing. This is because Intune and AAD Premium are not being used.

Without this setting being enabled, on Windows 10, the following will be displayed (Sync is not available for your account. Contact your system administrator to resolve this.) to end users with respect to Syncing your settings (which is available when a Microsoft Account is used).

Azure AD Domain Join

Windows 10 devices can join AAD for centralized authentication and limited management (unless you have an Intune Subscription).

Click on Start and then Settings. Click on Accounts.

Click on Access work or school. Click on Connect.

Click on Join this device to Azure Active Directory link:

Ignore the fact that the title states Microsoft account, which could be confused with a Microsoft Account. This is the right place for using AAD logins.

Enter in your AAD login (email address) and click Next button:

Enter in the password for the account and click Sign in button (noting that your screen will look slightly different, depending on the branding done on the AAD side of things):

Confirm you are joining the right organization and click Join button:

If all goes well, you will receive a confirmation message and can click Done.

You are now connected to the domain AAD (so the account is technically AzureAD\youremail@domain.com using the previous examples).

It is recommended you restart your computer and login with the new login by clicking Other user on the login screen and entering the email address of your AAD login.

Windows 10 on ARM

Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 on the ARM platform.  It will start with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with devices initially being released by HP and Asus.  They will come loaded with Windows 10S, with a free upgrade (for a limited time after purchase) to Windows 10 Pro if desired.  Windows 10S supports built-in and Windows Store native 32-bit (x86) applications and UWP apps.

Due to the nature of the Snapdragon processor, it will support cellular connectivity and gigabit Wi-Fi.

All of this allows for significant battery life and brings the mobile device world into the traditional computing (e.g. laptop) world.  In short, it gives consumers more choice with another device dimension.  Through emulation, it can run native x86 Windows applications as well as natively run Windows UWP applications.  It appears there is no x64 emulator.  For the most part, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Specific top x86 applications are being tested (such as Google Chrome, Adobe Products, Microsoft Office, etc.  Hopefully (hint, hint Microsoft!), Visual Studio 2017 will be included in the mix to allow .NET Core and UWP apps to be developed.  While many, if not most, developers will still favor Intel-based processors for maximum device coverage (they could, for example, run Windows 10S in a Virtual Machine), there is a segment of the market that could benefit from a long battery life, less expensive device.  This includes students who can be influenced to make a career in the development industry.

Exciting times!

The New Firefox (Quantum)

In November, Firefox Quantum (Version 57) was released.  It is a big deal (at least to me now, and those that have always liked Firefox).  It is fast.  It is beautiful.  It is on a wide range of platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux).  And it has brought me back (at least for now) to Firefox after 6 years of being on Google Chrome (I was a Firefox devotee for many years before Chrome).  Yes, I still like Chrome (for the most part) because it is still the most used (right now) but it has become stale and bloated.  Yes, I like Edge (for the most part) because it is also fast but it is only on Windows 10 and with limited add-ons.

It feels fast when I launch the application for the first time.  It feels fast when I use it.  It has nice built-in themes (Default, Dark, and Light).  Firefox once again defaults to Google’s search engine (instead of Yahoo!).  It has a new browsing engine that takes advantage of multiple cores in modern devices.  It has moved to a unified address and search bar (sometimes I like the separate bars when searching for something it believes is a domain name), drops legacy extension support, implements stronger security (better sandbox, for example), and more touch device friendly.

I am still testing Firefox with all my websites and using as a debugging tool.  Right now, it is doing great (for the most part) and it is my default.  It will be interesting to see what the others do in response.  In the meantime, it is great to see a standalone initiative (the non-profit Mozilla Foundation) releasing such a quality product.

OneDrive for Business 101-ish

I have been a long time Dropbox user.  I also have been a long time Office 365 Business User.  OneDrive was always subpar to Dropbox, but I kept an eye on it because I would like to eliminate the redundant expense for 1TB storage.  With the introduction of Files On-Demand with Windows 10 1709, OneDrive for Business and Personal are now much stronger contenders.  Dropbox Plus doesn’t have this feature via Smart Sync.  At double the cost, you have to upgrade to Dropbox Professional to get this service.  This means that if you synchronize a subset of folders/files (Selective Sync) to your local machine, you have to use a browser to determine if a folder or file in the cloud exists and set it up to sync.  A lot of extra steps.

Dropbox still has a simpler experience in general.  Managing the OneDrive client is confusing especially if you have multiple OneDrive accounts and have folders shared and synchronized (which creates landing folder separate locations).  It is made additionally confusing, but powerful, if you synchronize SharePoint Online files locally.

If you like simple, stick with with Dropbox or other favorite file sync software.  Dropbox also offers long term file retention option (at an extra cost) in case you delete a folder or file and don’t check often.  If you have Office 365 (and all of its services) and are wiling to spend time to  learn its configuration, OneDrive is very useful.

Configuration OneDrive for Business

If you have OneDrive for Personal Setup

To add an Office 365 account (which accesses OneDrive for Business) or right-click on OneDrive in your Windows tray (typically on the lower right corner).  Select Settings.  Click Add an account button.  Enter in the credentials for your Office 365.

If you don’t have OneDrive for Personal Setup

OneDrive for Personal doesn’t need to be setup.  Open the OneDrive application (click Start and start typing OneDrive).  When it prompts for an account, enter in the Office 365 credentials.

Once OneDrive for Business is setup

A new OneDrive icon will appear in your Windows tray (it is currently a blue cloud icon).  Hovering with the mouse on the cloud icon will indicate which account is associated with the specific tray icon.  You can configure settings for each of the accounts by right-clicking on the cloud icon and selecting Settings.  This includes setting up Files On-Demand (currently not enabled by default with Windows 10 1709), Selective Sync, etc.

Accessing OneDrive files

This is where it gets a little weird until it becomes ingrained.  There are essentially three folders when using OneDrive for Personal, OneDrive for Business, synchronizing shared folders in OneDrive for Business (done by going to http://onedrive.live.com, selecting Shared with me, opening a desired folder, clicking Sync button) and synchronizing folders in SharePoint Online (opening the desired folder and clicking the Sync button).  Assume your Office 365 directory is called RecursiveGeek.  Your Windows profile will have the following folders:

  • OneDrive
  • OneDrive – RecursiveGeek Directory
  • RecursiveGeek Directory

The first folder is for OneDrive for Personal (folders and files setup to sync and, if enabled, Files On-Demand).  The second folder is your OneDrive for Business synchronized folders (folders and files setup to sync and, if enabled, Files On-Demand).  The third folder is your Sync folders from shared content (by other OneDrive for Business users) and SharePoint Online.


OneDrive for Business is really useful and has come a long way.  It would be nice if they cleaned up the UI with the OneDrive client in the Windows tray (single icon, single application that is managed in a single interface).  Files On-Demand is awesome, allowing you to conveniently and seamlessly access files in the cloud when not on the local drive to save space.  Dropbox Plus is no longer a compelling reason for me to use them and thus I will be dropping them once it is time to renew.