On the verge of switching

On november 2011 I fell for Windows Phone. I bought a Nokia Lumia 800 running Windows Phone 7.5, and it was an amazing phone. Two years later in december 2013 I bought a Nokia Lumia 925, which was also an amazing device, running this time Windows Phone 8, and two years later I finally purchased my current device a Microsoft Lumia 950, running Windows 10 Mobile.

When I first came to Windows Phone I really liked it, it was clearly a new way to use your phone, I fell in love with the live tiles, the me tile, the deep social network integration within the OS. I was surely going to miss some apps, but I was OK with it. As the time passed, Microsoft fucked the whole OS, removing what make it great to turn it into an Android clone, but I was still OK with it. The release of Windows 10 Mobile and the UWP platform should have made the OS great, bringing more apps developpers, and making it the true third mobile platform.

But as you know this never happened.

Almost 2 years after the Lumia 950 release, there is still no new flagship device from Microsoft while we’ve seen great new phones from Apple, Samsung and Google. Windows 10 Mobile still lacks a lot a features and as is development seems to be halted, I don’t except anything new for now. I could continue to use my phone as it is, I now have all the app I need1, I’m able to use all the services I want2. But unfortunately, my phone is turning more and more into a brick each day. It became barely usable. My battery is draining faster than I use my phone3. When it reaches 18%, it can shutdown (just the same as if it reached 0%). The less battery I have the slower it become, taking ages to take a picture, or open an app. I cannot use Spotify anymore, the audio service doesn’t start. I even tried to reset the phone to factory settings, but nothing changed.

That is why I’m on the verge of switching. I don’t see Microsoft improving the mobile part of Windows 10 for now, and I can’t continue to use a phone that is barely working. Sure I’m going to miss some feature, like the photo library linked to OneDrive, so I don’t have to rely on the OneDrive app to upload pictures. I’m going to miss the live tiles, they bring so much life to the start screen, and give me some useful informations.

So, next week, on April 25th, Microsoft should release the Creators Update for Windows 10 Mobile, I know it won’t bring new features to the mobile part of the OS, but I hope it will fix some of my issues. If this is not the case, I’ll switch to iOS 4.


  1. Except Mario Run, Snapchat, a working version of 1Password, Citymapper, Twitch, Tweetbot, Trainline, Airbnb, etc… 

  2. I managed to use my CardDAV and CalDAV settings from Fastmail, by modifying the iCloud account configuration of Windows 10 Mobile. Yes you read it well, in order to use a custom [Cal|Card]DAV account, you still need to setup an iCloud account and change is settings, meaning that this is not supported by default by the OS. 

  3. If I use it normally, it last less than a day, If I don’t plug it by the end of the afternoon, I won’t be able to use it at night. 

  4. My wife just switched from Windows 10 Mobile to iOS, so I’m the only one left with a Windows device. Also, because it works well on the desktop part, I plan to buy a Surface Book, since I have apps I want to release on Windows desktop. It will not be my only contradiction. 

2016 to 2017

2016 was the year of changes, tomorrow will mark the 5 years of French Fry’s birth, what a great adventure. It was also the year I started teaching iOS development, something totally new for me. I liked it very much. It was also the year I started freelancing, doing iOS development for others, on my own. It was also the year I learned I was going to be an uncle, and best of it, it was also the year we learned we were going to have another kid, another boy! So, even if everybody died in 2016, a lot of stuff, a lot of good stuff also happened.

2017 will be the year when all the changes started last year, will be finalized, will be completed. I’ll still do some work for French Fry. I’ll continue teaching iOS development, I’ll continue freelancing (I even created an new company, I’ll talk about it another time), I’ll be an uncle, and I’ll be a father again in few weeks. I also have stuff I want to do this year, I want to learn Android development, I want to release new Apps with my new company, I want to buy a Nintendo Switch, I want to help my wife succeed in whatever she wants to do, I want to help my sons enjoy their lives as much as possible. Maybe buy a house and have our home. I can’t wait for this year to start.

Happy new year!

The Skype issue

When Microsoft announced that Skype will merge with the Messaging app on Windows 10 Mobile (and desktop) I had high hopes to see a great competitor to Apple's Facetime/Message, so we could have an easy way to make video calls and send messages between Windows devices without having to use the full Skype app.

This will not happen.

Earlier this year Microsoft announced that they will break the integration of Skype and the Messaging app, and bring a new UWP Skype app (which looks like the current desktop version, except for the Dark theme).

Now, we'll have to use Skype as we always did, by using it as another message app, along WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, and many others. It will become another third party app, having to compete on all levels, it will not be an easy task.

I really think Microsoft don't know what to do with Skype. It targets a lot of different users. Users that used it for work and video conf (and still use it that way), users that were forced to it after Microsoft closed MSN Messenger, and at last, user of Windows 10 devices that just had there Skype account created along their Microsoft Account. It seems to me impossible to have all these kinds of users using the same app. There is a need for a split.

First, Skype should stay Skype, a multi-platform messaging app, not specifically tied with a Microsoft account (but why not), that user can rely on to do chat, video call, all of what Skype already do. It will still compete with WhatsApp, Messenger, even Slack if they want to. Since the Skype team seems to do whatever they want, they can continue that way. They can continue adding more emoji before stabilizing their platform if they want, they took care of their own product. They can monetize it as they want. It sill stay the same as it was before the merge.

Second, Microsoft should start working on an integrated solution for Windows 10 devices. Yes, it will be another "Redmond, start your photocopier" situation again, but I think we need it. I'd really like to have an easy way to send messages (that are not SMS) to my contact that also have a Windows 10 device, so it will allow me to chat with them from my Desktop/Tablet computer, I'd really like to be able to switch from a call to a video call (or directly start a video call) without having my phone trying desperately to launch the "Skype" part of the Messaging app and crash right in the middle of it. It will also a lot more easier to explain everything to non tech users, everything is in the same app, installed on your phone by default, no need to add another app, it matches your phone address book, and not some weird mix of old Skype/Messenger contacts and address book contacts.

Finally, the most important part, these two apps needs to be totally separated and never merged! They have to different purpose, and targets two different sets of users.

The Windows 10 Mobile update problem.

Microsoft finally officially released Windows 10 Mobile. Great. It took them almost 4 months between the release of the Lumia 950 and its not so stable version of Windows 10 Mobile, and the official release last week. And they successfully screwed everything again.

After the big mess of the Windows Phone 7.5 to Windows Phone 8 update, Microsoft stated that all phone running Windows Phone 8 will be updated to Windows 10. (Not Windows 10 Mobile yet).

Guess what? It is a big mess again.

Not all the Windows Phone 8 devices will receive the update, only 15 Lumia will receive the update. If you have a Lumia in the x20 series, you can forget about it. Meaning no update for the Lumia 1020, Lumia 520, Lumia 920. It also means no update for Lumia Icon, and no update for my beloved Lumia 925. Which by the way runs fine with the Windows Insider Preview builds. I've only listed here Lumia devices, but it is the same for HTC devices or Blu devices. Microsoft please, stop making promise you can't keep.

Quick comparison, take the Lumia 925, it was released on June 2013, almost 3 years ago, it was released with Windows Phone 8 GDR 2, (Nice naming by the way), and it received these updates:

And nothing more, it was never updated to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2. A total of 3 updates.

Now, take the iPhone 4S, release on October 2011, 4.5 years ago, it was released with iOS 5. Here is the list of available updates:

The iPhone 4S received a total of 35 updates, only 14 if I exclude the x.x.x releases. During the 3 year life of the Lumia 925, the iPhone 4S received 11 major updates, and 3 new OS version. I won't bet on it getting iOS 10, but why not?

I really really like my Windows Phones, but Microsoft clearly needs to learn from Apple on this one. Not being able to support phones released less than 3 years ago, that are at least as powerful as phones released after, (Lumia 735 for example) which will received the update is a shame.

Microsoft is unable to update all Lumia, O.K., but it seems they also doesn't know how to easily push the update to customers. To update to Windows 10 Mobile, you have to download an app.. You cannot get the update right from the "update my phone" menu, you need to install the Upgrade Advisor app, that will check that the update is available for your Manufacturer/Carrier/etc... and it will also help free space on the device to successfully install the update.

I'd really like to know how many Windows Phone users, will discover they have to install an app to get an OS update. Maybe it will change over time, but right now, as I tested on my wife's Lumia 735, if you check for update nothing appears, you install the app, run it, and you get a message saying the update is available and you can install it. What. The. Fuck.

Not only Microsoft doesn't update all Lumia as promised, but they make the update as hard as possible to found.

I've followed the iPhone since the release, you might not like Apple, but the way they update the iPhone, is way better. Right now for Microsoft it even seems worse than Android.

Microsoft, good luck with Windows 10 Mobile.

Windows 10 Mobile really needs work

I've just spent my first week with the last Microsoft flagship smartphone, the Lumia 950, which runs Windows 10 Mobile, and there is already stuff I think are not acceptable for a retail OS.

First, I'm a Windows Phone owner since the release of the Lumia 800 back in 2011 (fr), which was running Windows Phone 7.5, at the time the OS was good but was already behind iOS, and I think it never caught up. Even with the Windows Phone 8 "reboot" it was still behind.

Microsoft still cannot release a mobile operating system to all its devices in time. They already messed up with Windows Phone 8 (fr), and they continue now. When Apple releases a new phone, say an iPhone 6S running iOS 9, they give us the release date of the phone and the OS, and all compatible phones gets the update the day of the release. Microsoft announced the Lumia 950 on October 6, without giving us any release date, the phone was release on November 20 (27 in France), and we don't know yet when Windows 10 Mobile will be available on "old" phones.

I know Microsoft is planning to update the OS as often as possible instead of releasing big updates every few years, so stability should really improve over time, and we should have new features more regularly, but for me, at this time, Windows 10 Mobile needs works.

Here is a quick list of issues I had during this first week:

They will be more, the more I use it the more I found, losing features and stability on a phone that cost 599€ is not acceptable.

I'm still a fan of the Microsoft mobile operating system, and I think for regular users some of my problems won't be noticeable, but I really expect more, so I'm really looking forward for new Windows 10 Mobile updates.

Microsoft OneDrive bad move

Last week Microsoft made a drastic change to OneDrive, one change I don't understand.

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.

So some users clearly over abuse the service. Seeing these behaviors Microsoft decided to backtrack on the unlimited storage and limit every paid users to 1TB. A drastic restriction, even if users will be able to keep their extra storage for 12 months. The problem is, if you used it legitimately and had 2TB of data, you're screwed. You will still be able to buy additional space, 50GB per 50GB, but nothing more.

Microsoft also decided to reduce free storage from 15GB to 5GB, nice move. This was one of the reason I moved from Dropbox to OneDrive. But what's fun, is Microsoft itself tells us that average users use 5.3GB of data, so in 12 months lots of free users will receive a really surprising email, and will have to pay to keep their data. Again, nice move. I'm really excited to explain to my Mom why she now have to pay, for something that was working well for her. The best part is I'm sure she will have been willing to pay once she reached its 15GB limit.

This kind of move means a lot. First, how can we still trust Microsoft as a cloud storage company? Second, this will hurt the Mobile First, Cloud First mantra of the new Microsoft.

We are more and more connected and we want to access to our data from everywhere in the world, how can we still trust Microsoft to help us reach that goal? Maybe new offers will appear later, maybe they will increase the free limit again later, but with what we know now, in 12 month lots of users won't be able to keep there data in OneDrive. It is clear to me that the idea behind this move is to make new users pay earlier, and convert existing users to paid plans, in this case you provide at least enough options to cover you user needs. The 100GB and 200GB plans would have done the work (maybe with the addition of a 500GB option), not a 50GB plan at the price of the 100GB one. Running a cloud storage service cost a lot, and it is sure that users with 75TB paying just 10€ per month won't be profitable. But most users used it the way it was meant to be, storing pictures, music (thanks to the Music Locker service), and trusted Microsoft to keep their data. I agree we don't talk about business grade availability of data, but I think most user thought of it as a reliable service and most of them (who are not all tech savvy) will just lose data and be angry at Microsoft.

They will be angry, because we forced them into the Mobile First, Cloud First idea. Microsoft wan't everybody to use Windows 10, (from a Surface, a Lumia or whatever device you prefer), on which OneDrive is the default cloud storage client installed, when you set up these devices, you use (or create) your Microsoft account and activate the OneDrive picture and video backup so easily you forget about it. Now imagine you're like me, I own a Lumia 925, I take a reasonable amount of pictures (a bit more since the birth of my son), it has 16GB of storage (with a good amount taken by the OS), and every 4 to 6 months I have to remove pictures from the phone internal storage, because I reached the limit, meaning every 4 to 6 months I have to remove around 9GB of pictures from my phone, and why do I do it without asking myself any questions? Because I know they are all backed up on OneDrive. I already use more than the current free tier storage (also because I store my music on it), so I'm not the perfect exemple, but I'm a good exemple of how easy it is to rely on these services. My wife also have a Lumia, with the free 15GB, in less than a year, taking far less picture than me, she almost used her free storage, next year she will have to pay not only to keep new pictures on OneDrive (which is normal since it goes over its free tier) but also to keep pictures she thought were stored forever for free. I think she will not be alone in this case, and I also think lots of these user won't be happy when they find out.

I really hope Microsoft will at least return to the 15GB free plan.

First run

First run

4,79 km, 31:20 min

I don't buy game anymore

There is a lot of games I want to play, lot of game systems I want to own, and not enough time to do that. Every week or two I go to my local video game shop, I stay there 30 minutes (sometimes more) looking at new games or used games unable to make a choice. I know I won't be able to play it more than 3 or 4 hours (may be more, if it's a game I really wanted) and I find that is not enough to justify buying it full price, and I also starts to think the same for used games, which kind of bother me. Am I starting to dislike video games?

I remember at the time of the Gamecube, I was buying a new game every week or two, and sometimes more, I played some of them to the end, and only played a few hours the others, and I had a lot less money by then. Now if I buy a game or two in 6 months it is really a thing, I even tried to keep 50€ per month for my video game related purchases without being able to spend it. I always find myself looking at all the games on the shelf without making a decision. And that's the same online.

Right now the only way I buy video games is thanks to My Retro Game Box which sends me every month a selection of retro games for a fixed price.

My Retro Game Box May 2015

So maybe this is what I need now in order to buy games. Maybe I need to subscribe somewhere to a service that will send me new games every month without having to choose. Whichever games I will receive, I will play it a little, but I won't be responsible for choosing it, so if I only play it 2 hours this won't really matter, I will just enjoy it and go to the next one in a month.

Just for information, the last game I have finished is The Legend of Zelda: A link between worlds and it was almost 2 years ago. I've played several games since then, not for long and now I'm playing at Mario Kart 8, and I really wonder which one will be the next.

Moving to OneDrive for my pictures storage

There is around 30GB of pictures on my computer right now. Unfortunately they are only available locally on my Mac. I also, like everyone, take a lot of pictures with my phone, pictures which are automatically uploaded to my OneDrive account. My phone have around 16GB of space, and most of it is for pictures (I have already emptied it two times).

So I was really in need of a unified solution to store and view my pictures.

But for this to work I have some constraints:

I thought about using my NAS for that, but local sync was not as good as cloud services, and it is impossible to see them on my Windows Phone.

I also have a Dropbox account with 9GB available, but is it really two small.

Then I thought about my almost unused OneDrive account. It already has 15GB of storage for free, plus 15GB because I activated the auto upload of my Camera Roll, and also 10 more GB because of early adoption when they migrated SkyDrive to OneDrive. I also applied to Microsoft Bing Rewards Giveaway, and I now have 140GB available. And best of all it already has all my Camera Roll pictures!

So once I will have uploaded all my existing pictures, I will still have 100GB available, enough to store the next decades of pictures (may be less, if I continue to take hundreds of pictures of my kid every day :)). I also have access to them from everywhere with any browser and from my phone.

The last part was the backup, right now it is still not the perfect solution. First they are "backed up" on OneDrive, second I have a local copy on my Mac which is itself backed up with Time Machine, third, my OneDrive pictures folder is Sync to my NAS. Leaving me with at least 4 copies of all my pictures.

Windows RT Will Not Be Upgraded to Windows 10

I really hope this is false.

Microsoft already did this mistake when going from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8. Even if it was more because of a technical issue (moving from Windows CE to Windows NT), it was really disappointing for the Windows Phone enthusiasts.

Now it is rumoured they are going to do the same mistake for Windows 10. They did not revealed anything yet for Windows RT, except this laconic answer:

We are working on an update for Surface, which will have some of the functionality of Windows 10. More information to come.

I truly think there is something to do with Windows RT. The OS is a perfect fit for anybody that don't want to have to struggle with a full OS, managing a file system, app installation, etc... I really think that if your main usage of a computer is, browsing of your pictures, writing emails or surfing the web, this kind of device are what you need. I mean for most of the computer user, tablets like these (iPad, Surface, etc...) are what they need.

The device itself cannot be compared to anything else, if you have ever had a Surface 2 in your hand, it is really thin and lightweight, with a big enough screen to do whatever you need. And sorry, Surface Pro 3 is a great device, but it is really too big to be used fully as a tablet.

Also any body who bought an RT device will be really disappointed by Microsoft. And again they are going to lose more users on this one. Even if they don't want to make to much change (like removing the desktop, which I think could really help RT devices, but that's another subject), they already have an ARM version of Windows 10 for Phone, so they could bring it to Surface.