Trying to be actively signed out is also a mess. You can use the teams app to join teams meetings others have setup and invited you too without teams access yourself. Though of course if you have an MS account teams can see it ends up trying to use it and then saying you don't get teams access via that account and trying to sign out and join the meeting with an account associated with it often just doesn't work. A colleague actually ended up requesting he got an o365 account with teams associated with his corp email because of this issue as he had occasional meetings with external people over teams. We have a corp o365 setup for our ops/admin team that engineering normally doesn't touch but because he had a teams invite sent to his corp email he got dragged into it.
If he would have graduated or otherwise no longer have access to his school account, he would never have been able to recover the drive. Of course he has his important files in cloud storage anyway but it’s very annoying nonetheless
I strictly use the local-only setup. I'm sort of OK if they still leave a relatively trivial backdoor to do this, but if they ever flat require an online account, I'm out, hard.
This is partially due to wanting to avoid the hassle and management of yet-another-forking-online-acct-IDGAF-about, but also because I have some machines controlling industrial processes (CNC machines, custom cutting machines, etc.) that I keep entirely off any network for security & safety reasons (yes, moving anything to/from those machines is all sneaker-net; simple, works, and my shop doesn't yet have the scale to justify that kind of networking/security/admin overhead).
I just hope that MS engineering is not stupid or powerless enough to allow MS marketing & MBAs to fully kill off the local account.
This entire attitude of exploiting customers by requiring spurious internet accounts & connections is making me start to think that the Internet is all a huge mistake. If that approach takes over, the world will literally be worse than before the Internet in every important way (and there are some solid arguments that it already is worse).
That's just.... Insane. This is going to be a disaster. I'm so sorry, Windows users.
Sounds like a huge pain to deal with. Why not switch to Linux and be done with it? Genuine question.
Plus, at the outset of another startup, we decided to go Open-Source everything, and tried to setup a real-time version of Linux and the CNC control software. All of it supposedly up and running with only a few dozen steps to setup in the people supposedly running it. Despite decades in networking and a bit of Linux experience, I quickly got swamped in the massive undocumented bugs in setup/config/complile, and brought in a guy who had a full-time Linux shop, and who I knew from working with him previously that he was very good. He thought 'it's a new version, but no problem'. A month later, we still had nothing running and the investor/partner pulled the plug. So the swamp of poorly-documented / undocumented / mis-documented hiccoughs literally killed that startup — death by 1000 cuts.
Sure, it is probably better now, 15 years later. But so is this environment, UNLESS they tie it to another online acct.
So, basically, I'm pretty much now in the business of slinging atoms instead of bits, and the overhead is no fun, and just not worth it (yet). Plus, the overhead of working around the MS carp turned out to be pretty small. Just disable the Wireless at the right time in the W11Pro install (I think it is worse in teh Home version).
I know valve have done great stuff but is it good enough yet to run everything on a AAA game on 4k ultra with hdr, gsync and 144hz?
At that, it still excels and is no mistake. The problem is all the people using it for money.
Someone said a long time ago that "The love of money is the root of all evil".
I'm not a follower of any particular religion, but that guy sure got it right on that point! Also, the only time he was recorded being violent was when he kicked the money-changers out of the temple.
How do we kick out the money-changers from the Internet?
Back to the roots of info transfer... it seems the tagging devices+apps tell us that we have achieved critical mass of node/relay density for an underground mesh network to work, if we can get enough people to run it . . .
If I could make one law get passed, I would outlaw algorithms on social media feeds (edit: and search engine results). Let them collect the data, let them target ads. I don't think those things are inherently harmful, or at least, no moreso than the old ads and surveillance.
But the seizing and algorithmic manipulation of the feeds, with the accompanying incentive that the whole thing fails if it doesn't turn a profit, is far more toxic than the gatekeeping of the old media emperors. The great promise of the internet in the 90s was that consumers of internet media would have complete control over our feeds, and get only the things we want and demand.
We have received the exact opposite, because people with money want to put their money to work, rather than work.
They are pushing more and more people into the perception of renting a experience rather then owning a device. Its great money for me to help people figure all this out though.
>>Of course he has his important files in cloud storage anyway
So MS's defective key system is pushing people to keep their files in the MS cloud? When a defect in one product pushes users towards are more profitable/addictive product, that isn't a defect. It sound like the plan to keep users hooked into the MS ecosystem is progressing nicely. Once upon a time it was Apple getting its hooks into users while at school. Now it is MS.
Does one still need an MS account to play minecraft?
they tried to simplify it by tying everything to yubi keys, but just this week some things stopped going to the yubikey and wanted me to auth on my phone like we used to instead.
That doesn't sound reassuring if the cloud storage is, itself, Microsoft connected ... or even using auth/login mechanisms that connect to the Microsoft account.
And then you get the people asking naively "why are you getting so mad at them"...
Teams is written using web technologies so you're getting the same experience as the app.
Besides, there is a very satisfactory feeling when something doesn't work for whatever reason, you do a quick search and see that apparently you must edit some awfully named HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE register or rename some <username>/AppData to .old (just had to do this yesterday, wild), and then, when the quick fix doesn't work, instead of trying to look for more fixes you just give up and start cussing until the VM is restored to a working backup.
Then they do absolutely crazy weird things!
I recently got a new laptop. My account is `adavis@<domain>.com`, my user name on my old laptop using that account is `adavis`.
What did Windows 11 do when I create my user on laptop. Oh it makes my user name `adavi`, yes it truncated my username.
After scouring the internet, trying a few different things to rename my account to no avail, nothing worked! Until I found a command to bring up an account management window that looked dated to the win 2k era ish (and can't be found via any settings window). It allowed me to create a local account with the name `adavis`. I then logged into it, deleted my `adavi` account then was able to associate my new local account with my Microsoft account.
Only "proper" solution is to /not/ sign into your MS account when seeting up the new machine for the first time. Create a local account with the name as you want it, and then only afterwards link it with your MS account (if you have to).
Only problem is, latest Win11 installer does not allow you to create a local account anymore at all. So you need to install Win10, do the work-around-dance, and then upgrade to Win11. I only relaized this after halway through my most recent format.
Every time when I ssh into one of my other boxen, I have to remember now to go 'SSH myname@ip' else windows helpfully defaults to 'mynam@IP'
In the "Let's connect you to a network" page, use these steps:
* Use the Shift + F10 keyboard shortcut to open Command Prompt.
* Type the following command to release the current network configuration and press Enter: oobe\bypassnro
Note: The command is a single phrase without spaces.
Note2: This will reboot the machine and restart the installer again (why?? because fu for not wanting a MS account that's why)
You can create a file ".ssh/config" in your user directory, just like under linux, and inside of it put "User myname", and ssh will use that as a default and you won't have to specify it with @ everytime.
Thankfully I only use it for some cross-platform testing and occasional gaming.
Not a Windows user, but that wording of the setting is making me irrationally angry
It really, really irks me.
"The New Goliaths: How Corporations Use Software to Dominate Industries, Kill Innovation, and Undermine Regulation" looks like a good book on the subject that I plan on reading.
It is not quite a requirement, I have my Windows 11 Pro running just fine with no Microsoft account. They do attempt really hard to make it look like it's required though. Even going as far as showing a fullscreen app after Windows update that only has options for registering or login, but luckily Alt+F4 closes that abomination.
Install flight simulator on a Win10 PC with local login only and launch -> sign into an xbox account -> after you enter your name and password, you get a dialog box where you have to agree to sign your Microsoft Account on that PC with two dark pattern options that lead to the same result.
I couldn't find any combination of group policy editor, registry, and services.msc around it. You can either close it and lose access to the game you just paid for, or proceed and then you get your account signed into email and a bunch of other crap you dont want and have to spend hours getting rid of all traces of that account in your system(but it's never 100% gone). Only way to bypass it is to buy the game through Steam.
Between MacOs Linux and Microsoft, Microsoft has the last respect for you as a user and nobody should use it if they don't have to.
I suppose they might make it mandatory unless you have some special version of Windows which is hard to buy (like LTSC). But make it too hard they risk that market. Anyway, now bypassing it involves opening a command prompt window, only the more technical users will do so, and that’s a small enough minority they probably aren’t missing much.
I know it is a pipe dream but I wish they could be forced to sell this to the general public.
I have looked into buying LTSC. Apparently you need a business (I own a “shelf” company which has never done anything, but legally it counts), and a Microsoft volume license agreement. I looked into the later. Supposedly there is this trick where you order all these useless-but-cheap Identity Manager CALs to cheaply meet the minimum order requirement for a volume license. But I got a bit stuck working out what to order (or even if it was still available through resellers in my country). I lost interest at that point.
Is there a “US Government Edition”? Is it different from the Chinese one?
How does G differ from LTSC?
This info is publicly available so more detailed info should be easy to find.
Telemetry is a bit of a non-issue for many national security applications-they run on special air-gapped networks with zero direct access to the public Internet, Windows can try to phone home to Microsoft all day long, it’ll never get through.
And disabling telemetry doesn’t require LTSC or Enterprise G. All Enterprise, Education and Server editions support “Diagnostic data off” telemetry level. Even if that’s not the default, most enterprises who want that will build their own install images with that setting configured.
Sounds more likely to me that they'll just abandon those market segments.
During the pandemic, a key security component of our remote work architecture was to use Azure AD Conditional Access to restrict users to login in M365 apps from AD joined laptops + some Inutne compliance rules.
A weird situation was that, for a new laptop, we could not login using a domain account, as it was not joined in our domain. We also could not create a local account to join it. Not sure how IT solved that.
They can either remove that policy from their azure AD, or remove the machine from the azure ad.
Or update their policies to allow for azureAD joined machines.
The main problem is that randomly, Teams invite end in some "an unkown error occurred" and when this happens there's no recourse. It never happened with Zoom, Jit.si, Goto Meeting, Google Meet or whatever else I've used.
The absolutely worst of all is WebEx, fortunately it's rapidly disappearing.
Multi-accounts are really painful with most chat clients I have encountered. It sometimes makes me miss e-mail where the inside/outside distinction doesn’t exist.
Desktop Teams allows you to join multiple calls at once, and switch between them is easy.
Web browser teams disconnects you from one meeting to join another. The only solution is to open multiple browser profiles, each for different call, and then manage the 'mute tab' manually. Additionally, web browser edition has something to detect if tab is active, and will downscale / delay video stream if tab is not active. This is extremely annoying when you have meeting active on one monitor, and want to double check what is being discussed on another.
Saying all this, web browser teams at least works. Desktop one stops working because as the whole discussion here points out, accounts get mixed up. I can't join team meetings anonymously because desktop edition thinks I have an account, but when I try to login it tells me my account doesn't have Teams enabled.
Better solution: don't use M$ product, if you can. Despite the efforts and resources Microsoft spends in improving its products, languages, tools, they are just an enterprise company: very expensive buggy products.
 All the backroom deals for Windows/Office licenses for state-use certainly helped in this regard, https://www.zdnet.com/article/linux-not-windows-why-munich-i...
Enterprise IT is conservative and full of strange politics that make it really dangerous for an admin team or it department to stick their head out and do something independent other then follow the "mythical industry best practice" and MS is extremely good at manipulating what gets considered "industry best practice" to their advantage and then give just enough discount on the more visible parts of the costs to look cheaper.
And it's a open secret that individual employee productivity don't matter all that much in the kind of back end work where a PC was ever a feasible tool, as what really counts for profitability is the non-pc using frontline staff's productivity, who is far more likely to be issued either no computers or mobile phones or tablet then wintel laptops.
They now are giving teams (slack knockoff) a free dialing number so it now can be used for phone conferencing without non-organizational people.
Onedrive gives you 1Tb of syncable storage per user, and 1TB per user pool for shared office resources.
I spent years as a google apps advocate, but seriously for the money, no one touchs what MS is offering right now.
Google had MS hands down 10 years ago, and let google apps die on the vine. It is a damn shame too, because they were the only ones that have anything comparable.
On paper microsoft absolutely has the best offering. The ms365 suite has everything anyone could ever need. But, in practice it feels more like a downgrade than an upgrade. Teams does everything, and all of it just as poorly. Office does everything, but the web version and collaboration features are so far behind google they are not comparable. Sharepoint and onedrive seem superior to google drive, but in practice there are many papercuts and people struggle to understand where to put documents and how to properly share them.
What microsoft seems to lack is caring about user experience as they slather feature layer after feature layer on top of their products. What google seems to lack is incentive to actually meaningfully improve their product, because I couldn‘t tell you a single meaningful feature they added to g suite over the last five years.
That's the problem of selling something to the supervisor and not the actual user. MS has had that corporate world as a cash cow for three decades now. They don't care about the end user they just care that their product looks better in the slide that compares it to the best alternative.
You're right, for the money MS gives the user a lot of fairly crappy products (other than the office desktop suite). Google was positioned to own this, and they let is drop. It shows what it means to be a product driven company (MS) vs. whatever Google does nowadays (milk search ads?).
There are teams of people in MS whose only job is to think about how to package something for sale. If Google had a single person doing that they would have beat Slack before it got huge, and could have owned office collaboration software as it all moved to the web.
And I've never found any documentation as to whether shared OneDrive folders count against the owner's quota, all of the users with permissions quota, or the sharepoint quota.
But the basics each user gets their own quota of 1 to 5tb,then there is also a shared quota (share point, Ms group storage, powershell online environment, dataverse, etc... ) of 1 to 25tb + (x size per user) the size per user depends on a multitude of factors.
I did not mean to imply that users limits are connected to the shared pool, it is in addition to the user quotas.
Fuck teams, though. I will leave this company before migrating Slack into teams. Actively recommending that product is nothing short of professional negligence.
It's just too good to ignore.
For all it's terrible bugs and login issues, is there even alterative with similar functionality that would be as "user friendly" (as in: non-tech people would know how to use it as well as they use Microsoft garbage?).
I literally can't think of any alternatives that comes close in functionality OR has the same ease of use for non tech people and wouldn't waste even more time.
We recently discussed this "shadow work": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34612697
Mac is not an alternative functionality to: Teams, Outlook, MS Office, etc? It doesn't solve the MS crappy auth system, it doesn't give (large) businesses the same functionality that MS is giving them.
You can also use any of various other products that compete with them (Google Apps, iWork, Zoom, etc).
Just because MS makes a specific package that businesses like doesn't mean that they can't use something else if MS is becoming more of a problem than they're worth.
ReactOS isn't stable enough even in a VM right now – but the progress is nice, and I hope it will be a viable alternative for embedded applications (like ATMs or factory automation stuff). Maybe consumer use one day, too?
I leave my personal Windows 10 desktop running for about a month at a time so I don't have to reopen 5 different windows and arrange them across three screens for uni work every evening. It works fine.
Mind you, if it was a Mac I'd not even have to reopen or arrange them after restarting the machine - they'd still be there. Although my work Mac loves to randomise which display gets which windows and desktop background... And randomly pan all bluetooth audio to the left ear once a week. I guess all OS's have their issues.
My Win10 Home desktop downloads updates when I'm not looking - and sometimes when I'm actually using the thing - and then reboots all on its own. I have no control over this; there have been occasions when the reboot has happened while I was working.
It happens roughly once a week.
Outlook, Teams, Chrome, COMRAD (radiology RIS), Spotify and InteleViewer (DICOM viewer). Without restarts Spotify stops working, the software loses track of what day it is (it assumes the day prior) and things get slow or unresponsive.
Maybe it’s the software and not the OS. I run all those except COMRAD on a Mac ok though.
Mac and multi display and window location is a special hell. My father is a heavy Photohop user and palette organisation is a daily battle with multi screen. When screens wake up windows and palettes reorganise if the system detects one screen and not two briefly. It’s a big drain on productivity.
Awkward… no, I haven’t dug into it at all. I now will.
You more or less need to be a dev-ish person to prove IT is at fault. The lusers have to live with the unplug the computer and reboot workarounds.
If my org doesn’t give me a supported way to do absolutely necessary thing X, then I’ll find my own way to do it.
Maybe they all need nonstandard software? God forbid, maybe they need administration permissions, but the org doesn’t want to give it to them, so they end up calling in every other day to get something unlocked (I know that’d be true for me).
Maybe it’s the problem solving skills of the IT team when it comes to mac, so people keep coming back with the same issues (good ones are Outlook/Teams being permanently broken, or VPN not connecting).
On the whole, I’d steer away from any explanation that would require all 500 mac users to be idiots.
MS makes it very easy to secure and admin at massive scale. You can roll out policies and updates to hundreds of thousands of machines with like 1-2 admins, and the other 8 IT people manage 200 Linux and Mac machines.
And everything just works out of the box with like... 3 lines of PowerShell.
You can replicate some of it with Ansible, sticky tape and a few spare weeks, but it's not the same at all.
I'm actually Linux admin, grew up with open source and spent my career serving pages and automating myself out of a job. I dislike Microsoft as much as the next guy, but for enterprise use they are _next fucking level_.
This, at least, is a thing I have never even had to consider as a remote possibility on Linux.
It's not an argument not should it be used as such.
It’s not an argument nor should it be used as such.
Apple is really bad too, but there not as bad in the dark patterns market at least in the OS. But they are way strict with their walled garden approach to everything so I wont support them either.
Linux can be buggy at times, but I feel much safer using this OS then I do Windows or MacOS because Microsoft and Apple don't really seem to care to much about the ramifications of their end-user hostile decisions.
This is also related to trying to control the circulation of replacement parts by attempting to force independent repair centers to regulate how parts are distributed. Apple takes more of a "You don't know what you are doing, so we have to guide you in the right direction" approach that doesn't sit too well with me. Apple can be wrong, a lot, about how their decisions effects people's freedom to decide how to implement there own security and ways of retiring devices. Apple should be in the business of making hardware and making it usable. Not being a parent, deciding how people are going to use and secure their devices. Maybe leaving that to an impartial organization that works with apple. Too many conflicts of interest for me.
Which is like, wow, half a mil a month, but... also alarmingly little!~
Apparently the backward compatibility monster is not the size it used to be?
Now I understand why Win11's designers used Macs... wow the moat got small
you can try to find as many edge cases,
but at the end of the day I just log into the account that's inside domain and everything:
email, teams, network accesses, auth thru web apps goes thru that domain account
Because I tried to do that recently with O365 and I literally couldn't move my subscription without killing the old one and creating a new one.
Every other software service I use somehow managed to make it easy: fill in the new billing details. Done.
But not Microsoft. Billing and fulfilment details are on different pages, there's no obvious way to get from one to the other, and if you want to change country you can't.
Even having physical copies of The Economist follow me, with the same subscription, was easier.
I just want to point out that this entire described scenario, by a company with decades and decades of security products being shoehorned into "just good enough" cloud infrastructure....
Sure the security folks will say hardened infrastructure with fine grained least privilege is doable ... if you're at greenfield ... maybe. But the issue with lots of IT orgs is that they are MESSY, and fine grained least privilege is fragile. Messy + fragile = not good things.
I agree with least privilege as an aspiration, but security is a top-down authoritarian entity in organizations, and fundamentally they don't care if their policies disrupt your daily work process. IMO this is because most security orgs don't provide solutions.
Specifically, by solution I do not mean "picked an enterprise security product bam we have a solution", I mean you have a security architecture and then have the people with bandwidth to help boots on ground devs get the job done quickly so security isn't a blocker).
If you use firefox, you can use each other the container types to host different login accounts, it makes it easier than switching between private windows and doesn't require you to enable extensions on your private tabs
It is indeed a giant mess.
If you go to live.com and click on the hamburger icon at the top, then under 'Apps' click on the "To-Do" app, you will be asked to enter the password for your work account, even though you are on live.com, not on office.com, and you are currently logged in with your personal account.
The only way to get past this is to click "use another account" then log in again with your personal account (even though you are already logged in!!).
This bug has been present for months now.
They’re actively enabling phishing because they choose to rollback standards support.
The many standards around identity management makes the web more complex. Most of us have many identities and we end up with a multidimensional web of tokens and cookies.
I think at some point something will have to give. This seems like a space where some more provider consolidation or collaboration would help.
Security is so important to get right, yet too easy to get wrong.
Doing the same thing with MS accounts has been an utter nightmare by comparison.
For that reason I never use MS online apps on my private devices and whenever I need to sign in online, I always use the private mode or a dedicated Firefox container.
It looks like generations of implementations (and likely generations of product management and development teams) layering on top of each other, "replacing" the "old" systems only to do the half of it, and integrating with acquired products.
Seen from outside, it just doesn't look like there exists a single team that understands the authentication and permission system end-to-end.
Microsoft has been dealing with online identity almost since the consumer web exists. MSN launched in 1995, Outlook was the poster child of webmail, ActiveDirectory is the behemoth of enterprise user management.
I don’t see Hanlon’s razor relevant when it’s on one of their core competency. They at least committed to throw part of their users under the bus to pursue their goals.
I think some people are mixing up Hanlon's razor with "if it is bad, the malice part can't be on purpose".
In my case, my personal and professional Microsoft addresses are the same (same email, different accounts) which means that in many cases I end up in impossible situations when the login screen doesn’t correctly guess if I want to sign in personal or with my “work” account. I also do client work for organisations where I need to sign into their O365 and honestly the only way to manage all that is to keep a dedicated browser “per account”.
Teams is a different story, I avoid account switching because exactly like you describe, sometimes I need to uninstall it in order to sign out.
It's the only way I can keep my personal, work, and alma mater email separate and not falling into login loops.
Now, 4 years later I still get to choose wether I want to login in their tenant or mine everytime.
Microsoft solution? Change my email on the personal account.
Basically when we login we need to use the "personal account" but sometimes it will not ask what account to use and automatically choose the wrong one, and once it gets stuck in this state i didn't find a way to fix it.
Arguably, if you're one of the 85% of SMBs in O365/M365 instead of Google Workspaces, or if your "Login with..." personal account is Microsoft instead of Google or Apple, you should be using Edge.
I agree. It is surprising that we don't see similar issues more often. It is *so* confusing to both users and the developers, to the point where it's too easy to make some naive mistakes. And it is one of most critical parts of the systems!
- Use different browser profile for each account
- 2nd and subsequent account - use Teams in the browser - in the respective browser profile (teams.office.com).
Teams in the browser is not substantially different than the desktop app.
Apple is not really any better. God help you if you accidentally lock your Apple ID, you will be subject to a month-long wait before it can be fixed. Why that long? No idea. Nobody at Apple has any idea why it couldn't just be 2 days, and they will frankly admit to you that it makes no sense, then spout some meaningless 'because of GDPR regulations' nonsense that has absolutely nothing to do with GDPR regulation.
Even worse, Microsoft is now trying to force online accounts onto Windows machines.
Google already does it with Android. Which means for some reason if you lose access to your email, you are locked out of not only your online accounts but your local devices also.
We really need to separate authentication from services and devices. With strong safe guards around that account and an actually support system.
That's the kind of results Google should be surfacing, but it lost the game, it is so useless now for precision searching.
Indeed and when I try it, it does surface it when I search for Does Nvidia Shield require an Android account?  For comparison, ChatGPT also gets it right. 
What GP is getting at is that Google Search breaks down often when you're looking for a very specific result, but one that is uncommon enough. Instead, you're often diverted to a "related" query result without them telling you.
An improbable search is almost impossible to do on Google. They will replace it with unrelated but similar results. Even when you specify a strong condition, it will just ignore it and return the exact opposite. It's no better than LLM hallucination.
There are pairs of words that are very similar, but semantically different. Like "latitude" and "longitude" or "first name" and "last name". Google's model can't make fine distinctions between related (like latitude and longitude) and semantically equivalent (like last_name and family_name). You search for a semantic match, it will give you a related result that is exactly not matching your search.
If I’m all-in on the Google/Android ecosystem, this is a positive! It works even better!
The alternative is that the people behind the Nvidia Shield are intentionally user hostile / acting with malice, in cooperation with Google?
The idea that the account requirement is positive or negative is a hugely subjective one. The fact is it’s needed. Whether it’s positive or negative is largely irrelevant. The fact should be surfaced.
You can buy a good mini-pc for a couple hundred bucks and its much more powerful and flexible. You can run windows or linux etc and hook up any keyboard, controller, remote, and do whatever you like.
More flexible, yes, but are you really getting more powerful than an A15 for that price, especially when running a general purpose OS?
That last point is really hurting why media PCs disappeared: you’re paying considerably more - a whole number multiple - for an experience which isn’t designed for a TV, and in return you get the fun of playing sysadmin when you’re trying to relax. Most people are not going to pay a significant premium so they can deal with drivers and trying to figure out why their HDR isn’t working. Device lifetime theoretically could counter that out but I’m skeptical that hardware won’t be what sets the timing for that in either case, and the dollars per year metric isn’t favorable there.
There are certainly better push-button solutions on the market, but arguing in the AppleTV's favor for performance is probably a phyrric victory at-best. If you want an AppleTV, get an AppleTV - if you want a streaming box for your ripped Blu-Rays and legally-dumped retrogames, you can build it yourself for roughly the same price.
The cheapest one Google knows about is an AliExpress no-name brand at $159 and that’s because it includes no storage or RAM, and uses a 3750H which benchmarks at less than half the speed. Once you add memory, it’s over $200. It does match the Apple TV on 4K@60 HDR support so I’d assume it must have hardware support.
Amazon has a couple of off-brand Intel devices, also around $200 for around half the Apple device’s performance.
Again, if you really want a PC you certainly can make it work but the reason it’s unpopular is that you’re paying a lot more – this is starting at 150% for hardware which is unlikely to last as long – and you then have to support a full PC, buy remotes, etc. If you enjoy that as a hobby, sure, but it’s hardly surprising that most people buy something which just works out of the box.
Judging by the threads on those proprietary embedded devices, I think my setup passes the "just works when you want it to" test even better than those appliance things, which market an illusion of stability but are doing the same mutable update dance behind the scenes (with the added complication of corporate whims).
As someone who started using desktop Linux and supported it professionally before the turn of the century, yes, I’m aware and you’ll note that I never claimed otherwise. The reason I mentioned general purpose operating systems is that they’re not optimized for non-keyboard/mouse UI and you’re more likely to get in a situation which requires more work to sort out via the CLI.
The other concern I raised was drivers. Support for hardware video decoding, colorspaces & depth, high-quality sound, etc. is certainly technically possible but also something which not-uncommonly ends with angry rants. If you are passionate about open source and eager to take on that responsibility, great, but it’s not a popular choice.
My Kodi box boots straight into Kodi. I have a mini wireless keyboard on it (Rii X8?), but the alphanumeric functionality isn't particularly used and it could just as easily be a video game controller or even an IR remote.
There is no "situation which requires more work to sort out via the CLI", beyond when I deliberately choose to make changes to the system. If I ever did want to pop out of Kodi and run a general desktop + browser - say for sports streams - then the additional input hassle would be due to doing something I couldn't do with an appliance anyway. You can't really characterize this as a drawback.
And sure if some driver functionality doesn't exist, then obviously you can't use it - you set your expectations to what is available and how much you want to tinker. And the real answer to "angry rants" is to use an operating system with reliable change control, so that if you start tinkering with something, it cannot end up in a broken state when you want to use it to relax.
Also I find it a bit disingenuous when people argue for the "less expensive" options that put you at the mercy of streaming companies. My amd64+Kodi+zfs+VPN setup certainly isn't the cheapest, but neither is a corporate puck with several monthly fees for streaming services. If one wanted to be entertained for the least money possible, I suspect that would just consist of using your current laptop/computer running a general purpose OS to play dodgy streaming sites. But most people seemingly want something more than that (which ties back in to my first paragraph).
So I gave in, switched to Plex, paid for a Plexpass lifetime account, and bought embedded devices that could stream content off my server.
I have way less flexibility now that I’m on an AppleTV 4K. I also continue to get occasional headaches (e.g. recently the remote control randomly stops being able to control the volume), but the size of the headache is limited to pulling out a different remote control / turning all the things off and on again. Mental effort not required.
I have a laptop that goes into the 4x2 HDMI splitter, and I occasionally whip that out if there’s a real desperate need. But it’s the absolute last resort. It’s just easier to use the ATV.
It’s not that I lack the ability to produce a better PC based solution today, it’s that I lack the interest, and the $200 ATV is good enough that I’d rather throw money at the problem than time.
> dont see the benefit of these android based TV devices or Apple TV anymore.
My point was simply that an Apple TV is significantly cheaper ($100-120 vs. the $200+ PCs people mentioned) and it has roughly a factor of two better performance. Now, it’s inarguably less flexible but most of that flexibility doesn’t help with things many people want to do, which was the original point: people buy these because “spend less, everything you actually use just works” is actually a pretty good sales pitch.
Setting that all up on PC is much more of a chore.
If all you want is netflix and youtube then of course a 50$ chrome stick is fine.
Having to use a mouse and keyboard is a pain point for me when I use my desktop on my TV from the couch. For the mouse I use the trackpad on a ps5 controller, so the mouse isn't so bad.
Possibly you could:
* Not require passwords for everyday operation of your computer
* Boot into some sort of launcher designed for televisions
* Have a fairly narrow set of apps and services that work well with your setup. For example I don't know how you'd use Netflix or Disney plus with a remote on Linux.
Admittedly I only have local media and YouTube (via a Kodi Plugin)and don't use any streaming services so Kodi fulfils my needs perfectly.
We also have an old laptop attached to the TV. We set that up in the lockdowns so we could use a webcam on the TV and a wired microphone on the coffee table to "get together" with friends and family, still use it occasionally for Dungeons & Dragons with friends who live too far away to visit often. The Apple TV doesn't support webcams, but wins at everything else, hands down. Even for desktop-y stuff, streaming my Macbook or my girlfriend's iPad to the Apple TV is less hassle.
Desktop ergonomics just don't work on the couch, at least for us, even with a nice-ish wireless keyboard with touchpad. Having a touchpad remote with just four buttons that have very predictable functions and a simple mobile-ish UI is nice, even to me, and I'm a desktop power user otherwise. Desktop OSes are for work, school or uni, most people aren't inclined, encouraged and/or enabled to explore and play in those, so they don't get them the way desktop power users do and tend to expect everyone else to, or the way people get mobile UX.
If you want something nearly everyone can pick up quickly, even older children and some seniors, make it touch-based, responsive, give it proper apps and the same core animations mobile phones have and you're 80% there.
That’s about it though.
Nvidia Shield was great, but they upgraded the user interface and shat ads all over it.
This is not true if it is a Google Workspace (or whatever they are calling it now) account. Learned this the hard way when getting YouTubeTV. To be fair, it was just a couple of hours of frustration and annoyance but still, for whatever reason, the workspace accounts that you pay for are second class citizens.
I can't downgrade it to a personal account without deleting the account and recreating it, but there's not even a guarantee that will work. Deleting the account will also mess up family photo albums and other items. Photo storage is full but I'm also unable to pay for storage without adding a subscription to the account. It's so risky to try and fix it that I just had to migrate to a new google account, re-purchase all my android apps, and just ignore that account forever.
I have seen this on HackerNews multiple times. I bought a Google Pixel this past week and set it up. I have not logged into a Google Account. Maybe if you give the phone internet access during setup, it doesn't give you the local account option. But I can attest that Google has not (yet?) closed the "offline account" loophole.
How was this missed when designing the security and authentication systems?? This is basic foundational stuff!
Product A adds a sign in. Product B from another team adds another sign in. Product C,D,E do the same. Each team has some special magic sauce that makes their system work better with their product, but worse with all others.
Now the corporate infighting starts, as management squeezes all these sign-in systems together, and everyone looses if any other but their system wins. So some compromise is created, based more on political prowess than technical requirements. The result is an API from hell, taking fragments from everyone, even if they conflict. Everyone pushes and pulls their existing systems until it fits in the compromise, trying to minimizing damage. Weird cracks appear everywhere.
we've all seen the organizational charts meme:
Remember how each organization builds a solution based on their organogram. Look at microsoft in the meme. Look at the sign in mess. Understand.
I predict strange, probably exploitable and surely unsolvable problems in the MS sign-in system for at least the next decade, just like their programming practices of the '90s had entirely predictable security consequences for a decade when the internet appeared.
Typical for Microsoft, reportedly: https://bonkersworld.net/organizational-charts