Too many Windows 10 Editions

Dear Microsoft,

Please reduce the number of Windows 10 Editions.  Please make the platform more consistent across the editions.  Today, you have Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Education, Windows 10 Pro Eduction, Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 IoT, Windows 10 S, Windows 10 Team, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations.  Then there are the N and KN variants for Europe and South Korea.

How about this?  Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Windows 10 IoT.  That is it.  4 editions are plenty. This covers home users, home super users, corporate users, and devices/embedded.

All of the editions have the following modes.  S mode locks Windows down (can only get apps from the Microsoft Store).  LTSB mode will stop updates, except security patches, disable UWP applications (if you must – I still think this is wrong).  Exclude multimedia, making it a separate Microsoft Store application(s) so N and KN can go away.

This will make your product more competitive, easier to support, and provide more value to users.  This will help IT folks talk to regular users about their needs and help them make choices.  This will help regular users when purchasing equipment.


Struggling to keep up

NuGet “Heck”

Oh NuGet, how I love and hate thee.

You make it easy to get packages (libraries) for a project inside of Visual Studio 2017.  You make it easy to update packages.  You help identify where multiple projects might be on different version for a given package.

You are also make it easy to break a project, causing code to no longer compile or work properly.

Those that have used NuGet in their projects know how much of a pain it can be.  NuGet dependency updates can break your code (and often do).  Removing a NuGet package doesn’t give a clue what is happening with respect to unused dependencies.

What do I need to help?

  • Rollback capabilities.  Stop making me backup the projects beforehand manually
  • Allow me to uninstall a package and optionally select any dependencies in the chain, rather than giving me an error and making me manual uninstall the dependent packages.
  • Review potential problems in the projects within a solution (inspection would be a good thing)
  • Always require release notes to be viewed easily, before I install (or upgrade) a package
  • While ReSharper (R#) can help remove unused NuGet packages, this should be something that Visual Studio has already built-in (and I really like R# but this seems like a basic service item)

I am sure there are other things that could help.  I cringe right now when I see there are NuGet updates.  And with enterprise projects, the trepidation increases.

Windows 10 S

Think of Windows 10 S as the S-Edition of Windows 10 Pro.  Meaning, it is Windows 10 Pro, but locked down.  So it is a specific secured configuration.  When in S mode, it will only run applications that come from the Microsoft Store or are preinstalled.  So it won’t run a lot of applications, including Visual Studio, most Adobe applications, Google Chrome, many printer driver applications (although many printers will work, potentially with limited functionality), etc., until they are available in the Microsoft Store.

Windows 10 S can be unlocked and become a regularly functioning Windows 10 Pro through the Windows Store.  If a fee is required ($49 for Windows Pro), it is managed and collected with the Windows Store (or Microsoft Store for Education, which allows Windows S to be unlocked to Windows 10 Pro Edition for Education customers).  A valid Windows 10 Pro product key also works.  Once you switch to Windows 10 Pro, you cannot switch back to Windows 10 S.

The S mode is available for Windows 10 Enterprise and will be available for Windows 10 Home in the future.  So why use this S mode?  It will be less expensive, perhaps to compete with Google OS devices.  It will be more secure.  It will be more strict in that applications can’t just throw in startup applications that run in the background.  These consume battery, decrease reliability, and consume resources (CPU, RAM, etc.).

While S mode doesn’t allow joining Windows Active Directory, it does support Windows Azure Directory joining.  BitLocker is available as long as the underlying Windows 10 OS supports it (such as Pro, Enterprise).

This edition might drive developers towards PWA (Progressive Web Apps) or UWP, although it is unlikely.  Windows 2016 Server doesn’t support UWP (for running or developing).  While still much better than Windows RT, Windows 10 S hasn’t really taken off.  Low cost educational devices are not yet available.  It is ahead of its time in being overly aggressive in not supporting key non-store applications (e.g. Google Chrome), and there isn’t any development strategy in place that is obvious (inside of Microsoft or with partners/vendors/enterprises).  Many printer drivers with add-on utility programs simply won’t work and cannot be installed.

However, users who can take advantage of Windows 10 S, such as those that can find their apps in the Windows Store or use a web browser (well, really only Edge) to access their information, can benefit from additional security, less startup applications (no Windows Services, no scheduled tasks, no applications in the startup folder, etc.) which will speed up the experience and reduce CPU/RAM drag, and increase potentially battery life (presuming you aren’t just watching videos all day).

How does this compare to the iPad?  One could draw a lot of parallels with a reduced operating system (iOS versus MacOS and Windows 10 S versions Windows 10 Pro).  But it really depends how you use your devices.  Many could use either device if all they need is email, browser, Skype, Netflix, and so forth.  The Apple Store has a lot more applications,  And higher quality.  The browser experience may be mixed with mobile Safari versus Edge.  Windows 10 S has a mouse.  Windows 10 S can be changed to Windows 10 Pro and “unlocked” for the full Windows experience.  Windows 10 S has a much better Microsoft Office application experience.

In the end, time will tell and choice is good.  Microsoft is ahead of the game with Windows 10 S.  With Progressive Web Apps on the horizon, the potential for improved Microsoft Store apps, and a locked down system that feels more agile, there is a lot of possibilities to benefit users.


For well over 8 years, I have avoided paying for cable TV.  There was a time I was paying over $100 for the privilege to have channels I never watched and increase my couch potato actions to make sure I was using what I paid to have.  Unfortunately, there is good content on several cable TV channels.  I have heard the argument that paying for channels you don’t need allows less popular channels to exist.  Shouldn’t supply and demand dictate?  And the excuse by cable companies that they cannot unbundle is just their way of making sure they maximize profits now without regard to the long term damage created towards their customers who are turned off by their tactics.

Enter Sling.  They have a streaming service that provides some al-la-cart choices, lower cost, and the ability to start/stop the service as needed in my life.  In the winter, I am more likely to catch a show or sport event.  In the summer, it is time to be outside and not watch TV.

While not perfect, it has really come a long way.  Their Windows 10 application (UWP-based) is actually decent.  The web browser works.  Their iOS (testing on iPhone and iPad) and TvOS (tested on Apple TV) apps work.  Their DVR service is handy.

If you are an aggressive TV watcher, then it might frustrate still, unless you would like to reduce your costs as much as possible.  For the casual watcher, it does a good job.  I have been able to watch the Olympics on NBCSN and Olympic Channel.  I had been watching the World Cup Alpine Ski racing up to the Olympics to get caught up with the various athletes and their disciplines (Downhill, Super-G, GS, Slalom, Combined).

This is a taste of the future – a centralized (single provider – not separate apps for each piece of content – that is a hassle!), lower cost, a-la-carte service that is accessible from multiple devices.

Net Neutrality, Early 2018

On 12/14/2017, the FCC changed the rules, effectively eliminating Net Neutrality, so consumers legally lost equal access to all content for a given price based on bandwidth speed and amount of data consumed. With Net Neutrality, we could use the data as we wished, accessing the services desired on the same equal field. Paying for more data or bandwidth allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to receive more funds to pay for increased infrastructure improvements while still keeping an equal playing field for all content providers (and ISPs for that matter).

In each market, the internet services providers are essentially a monopoly.  While I could use my mobile carrier’s data, realistically for my data needs, I really only have DSL (one provider) and Cable (one provider).  This constraint is similar for most and for many one or both providers are not especially favorable in the big picture.  Like telecommunication providers before them, they provide the connectivity (or phone back in the day) to the rest of the world and should be treated as a basic essential service.  In reality, Internet access is required to live life such as getting a job, pay bills, monitor credit, research information, do schooling, collaborating, book flights, and so forth.  In essence, Net Neutrality helps people in a manner that is already stacked against them with the ISP monopolies.

One major problem for me is that ISPs also provide content.  They have every incentive to provide poor service to other content providers and give premium access to their content.  They can now charge extra to access outside content so their services look more attractive.  This is a very big conflict of interest.

Fortunately, while untested legally at this point, states are coming to rescue where the FCC (and specifically Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission) has failed us individuals.  They are helping to represent their constituents.  There is overwhelming support by individuals to have Net Neutrality.  People should come before business on basic (essential) services.  Time will tell how this shakes up.  But it is a good idea to keep an eye on what is happening and keep the conversation going.