Microsoft Servers forgetting developers?

I do development using a Hyper-V guest with Server 2016 (and 2012R2).  These Virtual Machines (VMs) are hosted on Windows 10 Professional.  This is a requirement for SharePoint development.  This is desirable for web-based development to work in a similar environment that will host these applications (even if hosted in Azure).  Windows 10 is too far removed.

So when Microsoft released Server 2016 without UWP or Microsoft Store support, that was  bit of a surprise.  That meant no Edge browser support, so we cannot test our applications against their premiere browser.  We cannot develop and test UWP applications.  So we don’t support them.

Microsoft Windows Server 1709 is Server 2016 on Build 1709 but without an GUI.  So that isn’t very useful for running Visual Studio.  That means our developers (myself included) are using Server 2016 Build 1607 because we need a GUI for our development tools.  This means we can’t take advantage of 1709 features available in Windows 10.  This includes OneDrive Files On-Demand.  Why is this feature so OS-specific anyway?  It should be a product feature that we can install anywhere.  This makes no sense.

At the end of the day, Microsoft is making it hard to support OneDrive and Edge browser.  And UWP applications.  Okay, I am better about not supporting UWP applications if Progressive Web Apps (PWA) becomes a first class development platform in Visual Studio.  But think of all of the developers who program in C# and don’t want to learn JavaScript, HTML5, etc.  They are desktop developers, not web developers.

So they have created a set of really inconsistent platforms (read: fractured) and confusion with developers on how best to support various platforms.  Or not support them because it is too hard for us.  Developers help make the platform because the ecosystem cannot survive without them.

I will take a look at moving to Windows 10 Pro VMs as a development platform.  Maybe that is the way to go, with the exception of SharePoint development (unless such can be done with the upcoming SharePoint 2019).  In years past, it was too painful to do DevOps on a desktop OS while support a server OS.  That is why we developed on server OSes.  Time will tell.

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.

iPhone X cross out?

The iPhone X has a lot of nice features.  It feels good in the hand.  It has a nice edge-to-edge screen. It is stylish and unique (especially with the notch).

What is problematic about it is numerous.

It has the notch (unique but looks silly, especially until apps catch up, unless you make the screen smaller.  This gives the perception to users that the screen has lost real estate.

It doesn’t have a thumbprint reader, not even on the back.  This is a big deal for daily use.  I am constantly unlocking the phone.  Having to position the screen just right is annoying.  Facial recognition is a good idea, especially if an additional authentication factor could be used (thumbprint and facial recognition for those very security conscious folks).  But it has a hassle factor too.  Now if they had been able to incorporate an under the screen thumbprint reader and been the first mobile phone to market with this feature, that would have earned Apple big innovation points.

It is expensive.  Way too expensive.  The iPhone 8 and 8+ are much less and there are solid Android competitors that are also much less.  Do we really need OLED for a lot more cost?

Siri is terrible.  Granted, this isn’t specific to the iPhone X, but users don’t necessarily know that.  None of the digital assistants are great but Siri is the worst of the mainstream bunch.

The iPhone is still a good device.  It is my favorite for providing support since it is the same for everyone.  The carriers don’t control iOS and the update process.

The iPhone 8 and 8+ are just more realistic devices in the Apple ecosystem in terms of daily features and acquisition cost.

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.