Give us back our storage (OneDrive / Office 365)

This is a post in response to official blog post "OneDrive storage plans change in pursuit of productivity and collaboration" that should be titled "OneDrive going back in time couple of years" - link: https://blog.onedrive.com/onedrive_changes/

I wrote this as a comment on official OneDrive Uservoice forum, but due to 5000 character limit I had to split it, here are my thoughts in one piece, nothing else changed. Link to uservoice "
Give us back our storage" is here: https://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/10524099-give-us-back-our-storage

You can view my earlier OneDrive related post here: http://itflame.blogspot.hr/2014/11/please-improve-onedrive.html

My comment:

I've got a "word or two" to say about this as well. I became Office365 user just because of this. I payed a year of Home subscription, even though I used only one OneDrive, and had Office running on just 2 computers (and even that barely opening a file or two every once in a while, all of which I could have done with free office suites, nothing special). I've used nothing else from the package, basically paying a nice Home subscription for a year just to get the OneDrive storage. I've been looking at cloud storage for a while but the "unlimited" annoncement finally made me pull the trigger.

Than it took me 3 months to upload ~4-5TB of files. Those weren't BluRay rips or music, or whatever, I've uploaded home made videos recorded with my HD camcorder. Why it took me 3 months? Well, even though I had 100/100 optical connection at my disposal I couldn't upload more than 8Mbps in one browser, and I did not want to use desktop client as it too sucked a lot at a time. So I was juggling with 3-4 browser windows to get my peak speeds to around 30Mbps, but there was another thing holding it all back. Almost 50% of files had to be re-uploaded, as they'd just throw an error after 100% was reached (both a 1kb files and 1GB files alike). But ok, I've finally uploaded my precious videos after several months of everyday WORK (yes, work, as I had to babysit each and every file).

Than a time of a bit more peace came, and I even switched my Phone Camera uploads from Dropbox to OneDrive. That too had issues with failed uploads 50% of the time, but after a while Microsoft did something and I was finally reasonably satisfied with the service. That was roughly this summer. But there were still issues - Microsoft to this day did not start to support large files (ok, it's better now , but still not enough), they still don't support deduplication on neither server nor client side, they don't support the delta backups (differential backups), and many more such larger or smaller issues. Of the issues I follow only 4-5 were fixed in those 12 months, and dozens are still lingering. Just see the more or less complete list here on Uservoice post I made a while ago: https://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6682208-onedrive-general-suggestions-for-improvement

In the meantime I bought a tablet and got a free Personal for a year. I waited, and on November 1st my Home subscription expired, and I've extended it with this Personal. I had some issues going from Personal to Home so I left it for next weekend when I'll have more time, and besides - like I wrote above - I wasn't using other 4 seats anyway, so I was in no hurry. That "Home" was more of a thing that would allow me using Office apps on phone, tablet, old laptop and my primary desktop all at once. Not that I need that really, as read-only is fine on all but my desktop, and again - even on desktop I barely use office apps to do anything most of the time.

And today - I'm HAPPY! Happy that I did not upgrade to Home, as this blog news ( direct link: https://blog.onedrive.com/onedrive_changes/ ) just cut the usability of this service to zero for me.

The most important thing is - I was a very pro-Microsoft user. I like Microsoft products and ecosystem in general, and always advise people to go that route for their needs. Likewise I was recommending OneDrive / Office365 everywhere I went. and being in IT, my vote usually carried weight with friends and family, colleagues and such. But no more... if Microsoft does this downgrade, going back literally 2-3 years in time and offering service with these limits, and these shortcomings (see link above), not only that I won't recommend Office365 & OneDrive (obviously), but I'll simply HAVE to recommend competition (eg. Box still offers me 50GB free, and Dropbox is simply a better solution, Google Drive is readily accessible to everyone as well, and so on). But I'm sure it won't stop there. Microsoft was on the edge of getting me and and whole my family and many friends to go completely in their ecosystem direction.... yet now this turns the table completely. I can have all I really need with competitor's solutions. And I'm sure my company can have pretty much the same, thanks God we did not forgo our Office 2003/2007 licences for the Office365 "upgrade" (ahem?) in the Win10 upgrade scheme.

Altogether, I'm so disappointed with Microsoft's decision to go this route that I can't explain it enough. While I was hoping that one day all my files will be on OneDrive, and that it becomes a central piece of my data solution (only differential backups were lacking for that happen even earlier), now I have to go look for another company and another solution. In process, I'm glad that Dropbox is getting integration in Microsoft's own tools, it will make the transition easier, and I'm sure others will follow suite as well, specially once users start to leave OneDrive in droves. And instead of keeping my ~5TB files on a Home subscription, you'll get no more money from me. Luckily Windows 10 will keep having free upgrades (though I'm not so sure Microsoft won't go back on that decision like they just did with "unlimited" OneDrive), and I won't have to spend any money on their products. And sure as hell I'm giving up on ever again recommending Office 365 for business / enterprise use of any kind, as some day this could happen again, and again.. Keeping old Office 2003 / 2007 will do just fine for 99% of what people do with these files anyway... And in time free tools (both online and on premise) keep getting better, and I'd rather go to LibreOffice on PC, and King Office on Android, than pay for another year of MS subscriptions, specially not on a large scale business. LibreOffice already proved a good enough solution for ~100 computers in smaller offices, those that need more never needed more than old Office 2003 which will last forever, and many will be fine even with read-only access from "universal" apps.

I can't underline and flag this in any way, but Microsoft was on a sure way to switching it's monopoly from on-premise Office to cloud solutions like Office365+OneDrive, but this will set them back so much that in the long run they'll be overrun by competition.

Well, anyway, rant is mostly over, thanks for nothing Microsoft, beta-testing your OneDrive was no fun, and I'm not exactly sad to leave... I'm just sad I spent so much time uploading all my files, and all for nothing... was supposed to be worth it if files stayed there "forever" but obviously - NOT.


Running Android apps on a PC

I've started to look into Android emulators on Windows, but it actually quickly expanded to - ways to run Android apps on x86 PC.

Even though I knew there were quite a few options, I never imagined I'd come up with a list this long! I knew about most of these from before, but seeing it all in one place really makes you wonder what's the status of all these projects.

So without further ado, here are the (current) contenders:
AMIDuOS - http://www.amiduos.com/
Android on Intel Platforms (android-ia) - https://01.org/android-ia
Android-x86 - http://www.android-x86.org/
Andy - http://www.andyroid.net/
ARChon Runtime for Chrome - http://archon-runtime.github.io/
BlueStacks - http://www.bluestacks.com/
Droid4X - http://www.droid4x.com/
Genymotion - https://www.genymotion.com/
Google Android SDK - http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html
Jar of Beans - discontinued ( http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1975675 )
Manymo - https://www.manymo.com/
Microsoft Visual Studio Emulator for Android - http://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/explore/msft-android-emulator-vs.aspx
Oracle VirtualBox - https://www.virtualbox.org/
quemu - http://www.qemu.org
WindowsAndroid - http://windowsandroid.en.uptodown.com/ (no official page?)
Windroid - ?
Windroy - http://www.windroye.com/
Xamarin Android Player - https://xamarin.com/android-player
YouWave - http://youwave.com/

Consider this a "live article". I will be adding information here as I stumble upon it, including, but not limited to:
- new emulators and projects
- updates to links and prices
- adding emulators for non-Windows platforms (OS X, Linux)
- adding short reviews
- adding and updating table(s) with features and specifications
- ... anything else of interest ;)

If you have any info to add, or you find a mistake please comment below!

Versions of this article:
v1 - 2015-02-21 - quick list of all applications and projects


Windows 10 - here is how Microsoft will earn the money!

Ok, I just have to vent this out.

All you unbelievers - yes, Microsoft will give you free Windows 10 !

And to all those seeking a date of Microsoft crumbling to dust because of this move - you wont find one! No, they won't lose all their income because of it!

Now once that's out, let's explain it bit by bit. Btw, to make clear first - I'm not Microsoft employee. I'm not an economic specialist. I don't own any stocks. I'm just using logic.

First of all, Microsoft said Windows will be free in first year for anyone using Windows 7 and Windows 8 (focusing on PCs here, you've never seen someone charging for phone updates, so there's nothing new there).

But there are some small letters to this deal...

Source: windows.microsoft.com

"Great news! We will offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year!*  And even better: once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time – for no additional charge. Sign up with your email today, and we will send you more information about Windows 10 and the upgrade offer in the coming months."
Notice the "qualified" part? Yeah, OK, so see the tiny script at the bottom of the page saying:
"*It is our intent that most of these devices will qualify, but some hardware/software requirements apply and feature availability may vary by device. Devices must be connected to the internet and have Windows Update enabled. ISP fees may apply. Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update required. Some editions are excluded: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise outside of this offer. We will be sharing more information and additional offer terms in coming months."
OK, now picture is a bit clearer:
  1. Those that already have Windows 7/8 device can upgrade to Windows 7 SP 1 and Windows 8.1 for free already, so they all qualify for free upgrade, anyone from Windows 7 RTM up to latest 8.1
  2. You have to upgrade in a first 365 days after Windows 10 is released, so let's say roughly by the end of 2016
  3. If you're Enterprise customer using Windows Enterprise through SA (Sofware Assurance) agreements or one of the Open Licence or similar schemes, which is the only way you can get Enterprise version anyway, you can continue using SA and will get Windows 10 upgrade rights as soon as it's out, as with any Windows version in the recent past, and usually you have a set date to get to latest version of newest software, so I'm guessing they'll also have to upgrade "soon" to be eligible for continued support
  4. If your hardware is too weak for Windows 10, like you don't have enough RAM or storage to fit the files on it, and so on - of course you can't upgrade. Or if you can't connect to Windows Update or Windows key/serial checking services, I'm sure you won't be able to upgrade.  But I also imagine that if you upgrade your hardware you'll get upgrade for free as well. Which is still fine since you now have more powerful device AND newer Windows.

There is more than this info available. Microsoft further clearly stated in several places ( like in this official blog ) that corporate / enterprise customers will still be able to schedule and manage their upgrades on their own pace. But MS still advises (and hopes) that they'll still allow Windows Update to do it on it's own. Besides they are already trialing the slow and fast circle in 10 TP and they are allowing enterprises to play it safe(er) by joining the slower 2nd circle. So if their marketing does the job well enough, enterprises will follow consumers to the quicker than average upgrade cycle to Windows 10 (compared to Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 .. I won't even mention Vista).

Anyway, using above data we see that MS still expects same steady revenue stream from SA subscriptions, as well as from OEM licencing. If you're not familiar with SA, it is already a "Windows as a PAYED subscription service" of sorts, meaning if SA expires you have to roll back to the original OEM Windows that PC came with. But most enterprises enter such agreements as a long-term partnership, and a company-wide one, so they're not likely to skip on it just before Windows 10 hits, not with all the hype and new features. So Microsoft has these pretty much secured already, they just have to provide them enough upgrades and features to make sure they'll renew once agreements expire, and I'm pretty sure that Windows 10 is on a good way to make that happen.

Now, as for after the year #1, as well as XP upgrades - I'd say you'll have to go OEM route and get Windows on PC. And since Windows with Bing went fine across the globe I'd expect majority of devices to come with such free or low-cost Windows pre-installed. And if you're an enthusiast building your PC from components, well, I'm sure you'll still have to pay the "premium" though probably not at a 200$ for Windows Professional as currently. So that's another revenue stream for MS, but I doubt it will be a large one. OEMs will contribute some $$ through licencing and royalty agreements, but probably just enough to cover the handling of partnership relations, support, and so on.

So following all this everyone expected Microsoft to make Windows 10 a payed service or a subscription. But MS can't make an OS a subscription service. It can make upgrades a subscription, again, like SA (Software Assurance) for corporate customers, but not core OS. You need OS to run the device, so you can't effectively expire it or otherwise you're putting a subscription model to the device itself as well, which will not happen anytime soon. But I think MS is being smart here, and I'm pretty sure they are playing the "other subscriptions" card instead.

Which other subscriptions? Well, you see, if you give person a new PC/tablet/laptop with Windows and included 1 year of Office 365 with OneDrive with new device (that's what's happening through the "Windows with Bing" essentially) than they'll use it, it's free right? Than a year passes by, and you remind them it went by and ask them for a renewal of subscription for another 365 days. And if service was good it will be renewed (for ~99$ per household in case of Office 365 Home). And for household with 5 devices that's 20$ per device, or per user, depending how you look at it. Which is not a lot, you have to admit. It includes always-up-to-date Office, and 1 terabyte of online storage, and it's just 20$ per user/device! And you've already invested time to learn how to live with these services built into OS, you've got hundreds of photos and videos on OneDrive, documents made with Office tools, and so on. So you renew subscription, and therefore give Microsoft money. You got OS for free, but you're still being "hooked" and you're becoming paying customer. One of many. How many? We'll get to that bit in a minute.

Also, don't forget all the other services Microsoft offers, and which are being tied closely to Windows 10 through built-in apps and features. Here's a short sample list:

  • We've already mentioned Office 365 Home for $99,99 a year of using Office on 5 devices, and having 5 accounts with 1 TB of cloud storage per account for OneDrive (actually that's now "unlimited" but you have to be good and ask MS for more ;) )
  • Than we've got very good Xbox Music Pass which is $9,99 a month or $99,90 a year
  • And there is also Xbox Live Gold 1 year membership for $59,99 , not directly a PC service, but since MS is bringing Xbox devices and services closer and closer to PC/Windows crowd, I'd imagine eventually PC users will get some incentive to buy this one as well

Now, not everyone will pay for all of these, and some will ignore them all - that's a fact. But having a huge market for it is essential. And here we come to the final point.

Source: netmarketshare.com 

Currently Microsoft covers about 70% of OS market with versions of Windows that will be eligible for upgrade to Windows 10. But XP is in a sharp decline, losing 11% in 2014. And since it's gonna keep declining, we could say it's certain that +80% of all PC devices will be able to have Windows 10 installed in the "1st year" timeframe that MS had set, and probably more in the whole lifetime of Windows 10, something that no other single version of Windows could boast of. If Microsoft succeeds with this push they stand to have more than 1.5 billion PCs running Windows 10 eventually, plus adding to this number there could be around 200-300 million Windows powered smartphones running in that timeframe, and any number of other devices that may yet surface (pun intended).

So if they can get to 80% market share with Windows 10 in a first year, than they have potentially 1.5 billion people paying for their "other services" - now that's market share... Now remember those 20$ per device/user for Office 365 + OneDrive? Imagine that multiplied by a billion or so - each year! Now that's money. Add existing enterprise/ corporate clients. Add the earnings from apps sold in Windows App Store. And so on, and so on... The whole Microsoft ecosystem will suddenly blossom. And users will be glad because they'll all be up to date with their OS, Office, apps, services, using latest and greatest, etc.

Now let's finish the circle and go back to statements I made in first few lines of this blog post. You still think they are not true? You still think that Microsoft is dumb for "giving away" their prize horse for anyone to use for free? Or you maybe think they'd be better off selling Windows and / or subscriptions to Windows?

I can tell you that everyone will be glad to be able to install newer Windows for free some day. A lot of people will not hurry, but once 11 months pass many will turn to quick upgrades, same thing that happened with XP - it lived happily until support ended, and after that you could really see numbers falling rapidly each month. And remember once more - while you had to pay to upgrade XP (mostly by buying new PC), going to W10 will be - free.

What you later decide to buy as a subscription from Microsoft (storage, Office, music, games, apps, ...) ... well that's your and your decision only. But you'll spend few bucks each year I can bet. And that's more than nothing because there's a billion more customers out there thinking just like us... "hey, a buck isn't much"... but it will add up.

Note I've also largely skipped the obvious part here - apps. I guess it should be clear enough. If Apple has huge success with Apple App Store selling simple phone/tablet apps to 500 million iOS devices, imagine potential of 2 billion Windows devices that could be running Windows 10 (when combining PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox consoles, and even TVs and others). And it's not just a bunch of cheap apps, those can be full fledged games or applications with much larger price tags.

Anyway, this is just my opinion. But everything points that Microsoft is betting on scenario similar to this one. They've already made a huge breakthrough with Azure as huge service in corporate world, and if everything ends well, Microsoft and Windows will once more show it's huge strength in personal computing and consumer IT.

I'm looking forward to reading this blog again in 2 years or so, to see how much I've guessed right :)

P.S. Oh, and than there's Bing and Cortana, and how 2 billion of Cortana users could impact the Bing vs Google wars, but that's enough talk for one blog, if I get time I'll put those predictions in a new one these days :)


Please improve OneDrive!


Ok, for the last several days I’ve been “playing” with OneDrive ( https://onedrive.live.com/ ), and yesterday I went to post a suggestion to MS to this link here ( http://helps.ms/KLMgHC ) , as advised by OneDrive support on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/onedrive/status/529975792093388800 ). But since they accept only 1000 characters and after 15 minutes I wrote ~5000 (figures) I’ve decided to clean up a lot of dust from my old blog ( http://itflame.blogspot.com/ ), and add a new post. I’ll send link to this page to Microsoft through their support web form, and hopefully they’ll read. I’ll send it to their Twitter ( https://twitter.com/onedrive ) as well, just in case, and will post it to windows.uservoice.com suggestion box for Windows 10 ( https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions ), and anywhere else I figure it could reach the right people. But since I’m now on a blog and have unlimited space, let’s expand on those 5000 characters.

Before OneDrive

I’m and IT guy, and a geek, a tech enthusiast, and really love new stuff. I’m also living in a country where paychecks arrive sometimes, and sometimes not, and 80% of country lives from paycheck to paycheck. I’m a lucky one, I can afford few extras from time to time. So I’ve been looking at cloud storage for 2 years or maybe more, waiting for it to become good enough and cheap enough for both what I need and what I can afford. I have a HD video camera (Panasonic HDC-TM700) and a huge 3+ TB video collection from it. Add some pictures, music, personal documents, numbers continue to rise. To be straight, I have some 10TB storage space in total at my home, large part of it is backup of my video & pictures archive (so just duplicates really), and then a bunch of  downloadable stuff (like OS files, and Steam library and such), but this still ends up at 4.5-5TB of personal data. So I needed a huge cloud, and a cheap one. The day came last week when OneDrive published they are going for unlimited storage for Office 365 subscribers, including Home (personal) subscriptions ( http://blogs.office.com/2014/10/27/onedrive-now-unlimited-storage-office-365-subscribers/ ). I was looking for a good deal for a day or two, and finally bought a yearly subscription, and went ahead to test it.

Now I just have to upload, right?

Wrong! First of all, I have a lousy <1Mbps upload at home. Download speed is just fine, 20Mbps, but up is slow. I just got an offer for 100/20 link, but I figured I could use other ways around a problem for the time being, and decided to use my company’s resources since it has 2 links, each 100/100, and 90% of time 90% of bandwidth of both links stands there doing nothing. So I figured ok, I’ll limit it to like 50%, and since I’m in IT I can always see if total link is nearing limits so I can pause my uploads. And thus on Monday I went with 2TB external drive to my office…

Next step – how to upload. Correct answer should be using the OneDrive app, correct? Wrong! Well, not that I haven’t tried it, I did. First you have to copy all files to OneDrive folder, meaning I would have to do it in chunks because my PC in office does not have 2TB of free space in folder that Microsoft designated as “OneDrive folder”. Not to do it all for nothing, I took just one file as a test. But it took 2 minutes just to “prepare” this single 4GB video chunk, and only then started uploading! And even then – speed was dismal. I was waiting for 10 minutes to see 1%. Then I’ve canceled it. See, my first attempt was actually through web browser, and speed there was slow, but still faster than a built-in client. How is this possible! You have a dedicated app, built into OS itself, has access to whatever Microsoft allows it, and – simple web browser upload beat it. Yawn… Besides, app did not allow me to login to different MS account from one linked to that PC (see below), and did not have bandwidth management of any kind, so it actually had nothing to offer vs web. Speed – slow. Upload from one fixed location. No management. No dual / alternate account login. So I moved on quickly.

OK, like already mentioned, I’ve gone through the web first. It allows for a login to any account (mostly), and you could upload files from anywhere, even from external drive if you wanted to. There I’ve had several other issues. First was – if you’re connected to your Live / Microsoft account in Windows, which is a recommended setup by Microsoft (for Windows 8 and up), you get auto-logged in to Microsoft services on web. Fine. But my business PC uses one MS account, and I personally use a whole different account (one where I’ve subscribed to Office 365). Sure, you can log-off, and login? Right? Well, most of time. But whenever you close a window or open a new one, you’ll get your default account linked to PC username currently in use. Also, IE does not support folder uploads to OneDrive, so I went to Google Chrome which is the only browser at the moment that works with folder uploads. Logged in, drag & drop, and behold – uploads like crazy! Well, it created folders and transferred small files like crazy, but once was introduced to 4GB video chunks (camera auto-splits files at 3.99GB) it went to a stead 7-9Mbps. Not bad for mere mortals, but I have 100/100 link at my disposal, and this is not nearly the bandwidth expected. Test of the link confirmed – I have full 100Mbps upload available. Checking the PC HDD showed no slowdowns, so it’s not the reason. Oh, and to answer some questions forming in your heads – I did not upload directly from external USB, I’ve transferred 250GB of files to HDD just for this reason, wanted to make sure I’ll get best speed possible from my hardware / infrastructure. So I started playing with different browsers and such, and soon found out you get about 8Mbps x multiple browsers. To a limit it works with single browser in multiple windows, but Chrome peaked at some 18Mbps, so let’s say 2 x 8Mbps. Adding Firefox and IE in parallel got me to 25Mbps with bursts up to 30Mbps. Much better! But now I had 10+ browser windows/tabs opened in 3 different browsers, and my CPU and RAM were going through the roof, and I was still limited to <30Mbps. This setup lasted a full day, but after that I had another set of problems. Many folders timed out, or browsers got stuck, and so on, so I ended with a lot of half-uploaded folders, and folders with 0-byte files etc. I had to check them all manually, and then re-upload as needed. This took another chunk of my time. I ended up doing the following dance after that: drag & drop all folders through Chrome, then wait a few minutes for it to create all folders, and then cancel those folders that contain big MTS video files and let it move on with uploading rest of small files (as usual in AVCHD structure). Once Chrome creates all folders and finishes with smaller files, open few browser windows (you can use multiple browsers and multiple tabs), and then drag & drop just these large MTS files to where they belong. I keep one tab per folder, as this allows you to check each folder on its own, you get a few times better upload speeds than in just single tab/browser, and if one folder fails with uploads for any reason others continue to upload. A lot of manual management though, and you have to be near PC most of the time and check it at least 2x an hour so you don’t end up with stuck failed uploads waiting for you to click… well… “Retry” button.

I had one more idea, but it failed miserably. Sure, it’s not supported by Microsoft, so can’t blame them for it. But first off I thought maybe MS has FTP as an option. No. Box has it ( https://support.box.com/hc/communities/public/questions/200261028-Does-Box-support-FTP-or-WebDAV- ), OneDrive not. +1 for competitor. Then I saw people speaking about WebDAV and mapping network drives, Box officially supports it, MS acts as it does not exist. +1 for competitor again. But it actually kind of worked. There are tutorials on the web how to do it, even on MSDN ( http://blogs.msdn.com/b/robert_mcmurray/archive/2014/09/30/using-the-webdav-redirector-with-onedrive-part-1-standard-security.aspx ) ! But don’t bother. It’s slow, and unreliable. Some files get uploaded but then suddenly disappear (?!). Some stay. Some are just 0-byte files. And browsing through folders is really slow, ranges about 5-10 seconds per click. There are some bonuses, like you can actually right click folder and check Properties in File Explorer to see if all your files are in it and if size is same as your original copy. But that’s it mostly, everything else is just easier and safer through web. Since it is unsupported “backdoor” of sorts, you can’t bother Microsoft with it, so I gave up. Cute thing, if done properly it would revolutionize OneDrive for at least some techy people, but this way it’s best you take Microsoft’s word for it and act as if it’s not there.

Other people’s experiences

Since I’m like that, nosy and all, I was looking what other people said. I’ve found a bunch of people with same problems, and no solutions. And these include people like Paul Thurrot from http://winsupersite.com/ ( http://winsupersite.com/onedrive/so-whats-it-pushing-all-your-data-onedrive  &  http://winsupersite.com/onedrive/onedrive-data-dump-part-2-photos ) and Lowell Heddings ( https://twitter.com/howtogeek/status/527282081421070336 ) from How-to Geek ( http://www.howtogeek.com/author/thegeek/ ). They wonder the same thing. People commenting to their posts, tweets and article wonder the same. And web is full of comments like these.

My message to support

OK, so to get back to a 5000+ character message I wrote to OneDrive support… here it is, with some more details and some emotional questions. Since it failed to be sent through the 1000 character limit here it is in its whole:

Why are uploads so slow on personal OneDrive? I've been uploading 250GB for 3 full days now, and still unfinished - on a 100/100 optical fiber! There are no restrictions from ISP. So facts: 250GB data, mostly MTS files (home videos) up to 3.99GB in size; 100/100 optics, tested, works great on other services; Speedtest.net and similar bandwidth tests show 95+ up/down; on OneDrive client (built-in, Win 10) - very slow; on web it's faster than client, but still around 8Mbps for a single session; with several browsers and multiple windows / sessions I get to around 25Mbps through web, but that's in 3 browsers and in about 10 windows!! Thing is... I have close to 3TB of these videos, with current speed it will take me 40-45 days (if I'm lucky), and with a lot of manual work (web isn't very reliable for 4GB files, so sometimes I have to retry, or do it again manually, have to check each folder after upload if it really uploaded, etc. etc.). This is all direct opposite of what I’ve expected. I though I'll just drag my files to OneDrive folder, and with 100/100 link I'll be done in 4-5 days... Obviously not. I know it's hard to give everyone 100% speed, but why just 10% of speed that I we achieve? I've counted on let's say 60-70% of top achievable speed, but this is really around 8-9% at the moment if I look at the average speed during last few days. Please fix it! Please make client way faster, please allow us 100% speed, even if only for a few days (initial upload of files). Oh right, this is on Office 365 Home subscription, so 1TB currently, going for unlimited. But what's with unlimited if I need to spend 40-45 days to upload my data :-( Also, support isn't helpful, they just keep redirecting me and others to "maximize your speeds" link ( like this: https://twitter.com/onedrive/status/529639159942873090 ) as if we're dumb and haven't tried all of it already ( support link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/onedrive/upload-download-speed ). Also, you can read comments a little, almost everyone have these upload speeds (if their ISP is at or over 10Mbps), everyone get to about 50-70 gigabytes of data in one day, which means a lot of time for data that we’ve accumulated with our digital pictures and videos. Please please please! Listen to customers, improve speeds! New OneDrive improved speeds by your words and blogs ( https://blog.onedrive.com/onedrive-now-supports-10-gb-files/ ), but is still far away from what can be done! How can web upload to OneDrive be faster than dedicated client, makes no sense! Also, we'd all love to be able to access OneDrive through normal tools (like FTP client perhaps?), tools that are proven to work, that can push tens of megabits per second without issues, tools that know how to resume uploads, tools that won't duplicate your files, tools that can upload from any disk/folder and not just from one folder. OneDrive tries all of these things - but fails all. Speeds are slow in both client and web. Client will resume uploads, but web won't, but since client is so much slower than web it's useless, I'll rather upload few files twice (due to connection errors on web etc.) than wait for all uploads forever to finish through client. Client only uploads from its own folder, web can upload from any but in that case connection errors will slow you down, you have to juggle with several windows opened, can't restart PC (or all uploads will fail), etc. So you have 2 major ways to upload from PC, and one has few perks, other has other few perks, but neither is really good, and both are far from perfect. This is all weird since I haven't had such issues with much older tools and from much smaller companies than Microsoft. I can't get my head around the fact that the largest software company in the word is doing this so badly, with software so half-baked, lacking features, and so on. I'm not saying that OneDrive as a service is BAD, it's fine for an average user, and it’s all easily fixable. Just make a better Windows client. Web is currently great as a quick way to upload some files or access them remotely, it shouldn’t be a tool for 50GB uploads, and it's not Microsoft's fault if it’s not perfect experience (timeouts happen, browsers break, etc.). But Windows OS client has to be solid as a rock. Not a rock, a mountain. It has to have bandwidth management (especially if built in OS as it is), allowing other services to use the network, but if idle using 100% of capacity to sync. It has to allow for manual settings, so we can limit bandwidth in app (look at any FTP client or P2P client). It has to be error resilient even if you point it to a 2TB folder. While at that, it has to allow us to upload from any and all folders. Just as you add files to Library in Windows, you should be able to add any folder to "OneDrive Library", which will trigger a sync. It has to allow us to pick a per file/folder settings if we want files to sync one way or two ways, if we want files to stay on OneDrive even if they are deleted (perhaps by mistake) on PC or not. I know we can currently pick folders as "online only" or "available offline", step in right direction, but it can be done even better with more granularity. Easy way to just right click any folder and say "sync to OneDrive" is one small but important feature people will hail to. And there are many more. See what your competitors do, copy it all, see what people say about OneDrive on uservoice.com inside Windows 10 TP opinion box ( https://windows.uservoice.com/search?filter=merged&query=onedrive ), there are awesome things suggested. Etc. etc. But first and most important - make it usable. If it is slow service and unreliable, and we can't even get your first sync easily to the cloud... than no one will use it. You know, the first experience and how much it matters? Once you make that happen, add the features, make it strong. Thanks!

Suggestion box aggregated

Not to be lazy, and to help OneDrive team, I even took some time after writing everything above, and went through different forums and comments which I’ve read looking for different solutions, and gathered them all in one place for an ultimate wish list. Not to keep you waiting any further (after 16k characters, right ;) ), here it is!

Edit (2014-11-08): Added links to onedrive.uservoice.com where I could find them. Added few more good suggestions to my list below.

Ultimate OneDrive Wish List

-          Make dedicated onedrive.uservoice.com forum so people can add more suggestions! (Edit 2014-11-07: found! http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive )

-          Add FTP support

-          Add WebDAV / “Map network drive” support (official), and make it so it supports all characters supported by Windows file system, as currently some characters, even ones like comma or hash get replaced

-          Make a web upload sturdier, allowing for “auto-retry” on a failed upload

-          Allow OneDrive to be completely disabled and uninstalled even on Windows 8.1 / Windows 10

-          Remove high differences in subscriptions between countries, no country has 100% tax to justify the doubling of prices (10 EUR vs 8 GBP vs 8 USD vs …)

-          Remove clauses regarding forbidden content for private folders (not shared), or at least make it more exact, people shouldn’t be banned for having a nude photo of their newborn child, or their own nude from vacation! This is still a problem, even though this article is from 2012. This is – private – data! http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2012/07/19/is-microsoft-spying-on-skydrive-users/

-          Add deduplication to OneDrive clients, so files don’t get uploaded twice, should work even if 3rd party uploaded the file before (e.g. freeware app, or copy-left picture, movies from public domain, etc.)

-          Differential sync / upload, goes with deduplication hand in hand, so again, doesn't matter if the file was uploaded by us or 3rd party, if upload can be smaller using deduplication + differential sync, than do it ( http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6369855-enable-differential-sync-only-sync-parts-of-the )

-          Remove the artificial limitation on web uploads (for me personally around 8 Mbps per session, as above)

-          Add bandwidth management in all apps – should allow for manual setup of upload/download speeds, daily & monthly data caps, exclusion of metered networks, or exclusion of manually selected network, schedulers for time of day/week, etc. (partial: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6379913-option-to-limit-sync-speed )

-          Upload from any folder, without moving files. Add right click + upload to OneDrive. Add right click + sync with OneDrive (permanent sync). Add option to OneDrive in My Computer on Windows to be managed as a Library (simply adding more folders that we want to sync, even from another partition / drive) (link: https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions/suggestions/6565105-tag-folders-for-inclusion-in-onedrive-syncing ; DECLINED link, post comments to reopen!: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6332340-allow-any-folder-to-be-synced )

-          Notify us when file changes, show list of recently changed files (new, deleted or modified), similar to request below, should work together (link: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6677605-provide-rss-notification-on-changes-made-to-onedri & http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6329227-allow-users-to-subscribe-to-notifications-on-a-sha )

-          Give us a history feed of sorts, so we can see recent changes (files added, deleted, modified, when, by whom, etc.), without going from file to file, sort of a revision tool to easily check what’s going on (more or less same as above, so I'll put in same link, even though notifications and a feed is not the same, though they work hand in hand: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6677605-provide-rss-notification-on-changes-made-to-onedri )
-          Add screenshots to cloud (make OneDrive a screenshot tool, like Dropbox) (link, in progress: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6376759-onedrive-capture-tool-and-quick-share-features )

-          Allow granular sharing control and management, adding some users as read only, some as read/write, some with delete ability, and some with modify but not delete, etc. (link: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6677590-ntfs-like-permissions-on-shares-full-control-mod )

-          Show files that others shared with us (like advanced shortcuts/bookmarks, similar to the shared view on the web; link: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6328728-add-shared-shared-with-me-view-to-the-modern ), allow us to copy them to our own storage pool for easy access and sync to PC (skipping the need for manual download & re-upload, saving time and bandwidth; link:  http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6536198-make-shared-by-others-better )

-          Support for logoff and login as person that is not logged to that PC with “connected account”, so either using local account connected to Live account but using another Microsoft account to access OneDrive, or using OneDrive with “ordinary” local account (not the connected one) (link: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6409926-allow-local-accounts-full-use-of-desktop-and-moder )

-          Improve the “properties” feature on web so it can show more details for folders, like file properties in an OS (number of files and subfolders in a folder, total size, etc.). Maybe even get the same info if you select multiple files/folders and want to get their total size/numbers.

-          Option for auto-retry of failed web uploads, so it can be used in an un-attended mode, plus an upload resume ( partial: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6650116-upload-resumption-in-web-interface )

-          Allow us to lock folders “read only” on the web and in the client, thus protecting the online copy from accidental modifications, deleting, attacks of malware or crypto lockers etc. (partial, similar to: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6601662-mark-files-as-can-not-be-deleted )

-          Add versioning of all online files, at least in limited ways ( http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6327142-enable-file-versioning-history-for-all-types-of-fi )

-          Improve handling of multimedia online. For example, mp4v, mp4 and m4v aren’t handled the same online even though they are essentially same container and file type. Also, when user uploads large videos, make a background recoding to a stream friendly formats, and for example recode 1080/60p M2TS video to lower bitrate mp4 in 1080p/720p/480p. Allow us automatic and manual choice of streaming of these lower bandwidth videos. Allow us to share these original videos, but give everyone a choice if they’ll download original file or recoded one. Make those recoded videos available for streaming through OneDrive app. Make them available for streaming in video players, like Modern Video app in Win 8/10, show them in Windows Media Player library for streaming directly from cloud, etc. Do similar for pictures and audio formats, integrate them in audio / video players and picture galleries. Ok, pictures are already supported very well, but can be improved with better management, better meta tag support, etc. (this is like 10+ requests in one, for details search http://onedrive.uservoice.com/ )

-          Add clear “online” and “offline” icons to files and folders, otherwise how should we know if these are set to always online/offline without clicking each and every one and checking properties ( http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6399236-icons-overlay-and-other-visual-help-needed )

-          Remove limits of number of files syncing, makes sense with unlimited data service ( http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6392647-remove-the-limit-20-000-of-files-that-can-be-sto )

-          Remove limits to folder and file name size/length/depth, should be equal to Windows NTFS capabilities so we can mirror our file/folder trees and organization to cloud undisturbed ( http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6325774-enable-long-file-paths-aka-file-name-too-long-p?page=2&per_page=20 )

-          Allow us local data encryption of selected files/folders, before these leave our device. Also, allow transparent decryption if used through this same client from cloud (or just ask for password before opening those files). Do NOT make this the same password as it is for our Microsoft/live account with which we login to OneDrive. (links: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6423983-encrypt-from-local-device-files-to-onedrive-would & http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6423969-onedrive-bitlocker-encript-feature-secure-share )

-          Make OneDrive default viewer for files that can be opened with online tools (Office Online and such), if there is no other app installed on the PC. When being opened warn that it will upload file to web so it can be opened there. This can also be just read only access (open, view, print) if person is not Office 365 subscriber or similar. ( https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions/suggestions/6542406-open-office-files-with-onedrive-if-office-is-not-i )

-          Make a sync filter by whitelisting/blacklisting extensions (for example, allow all jpegs, disallow all dlls and exe files, partial suggestion link: https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions/suggestions/6576168-onedrive-extend-sync-options )

-          When syncing don’t get sidetracked by files that have sync errors, continue without them and warn user that OneDrive needs attention (maybe this had been implemented, I haven’t had these issues so far) (not exact, but here anyway: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6571001-make-upload-reliable )

-          Show better status of OneDrive in both web and apps, but specially Windows app. It should show current sync status, if it’s currently uploading it should say how much is uploaded, how much is left, how far it went, which files are being uploaded at the moment, which files are waiting for sync etc. If it is not uploading it should state if it’s 100% synced, or if it is offline, or if it has sync issues and so on.

-          “Smart sync” or “LAN sync” should be a part of all apps, even smartphone/tablet apps, on all platforms. It should function like a small P2P network, so if multiple devices in same network are sharing same files/folders these should sync in LAN and not through web. Upload/download once in a network, and not once for each device. Dropbox has something like this, and some P2P sync tools as well. It should also allow limited OneDrive functions without cloud, for example if home server has 2TB of files “always offline”, and client PCs are setup as “online-only”, if this location has no Internet access (technical reasons and such), OneDrive apps on server and PCs should talk to each other’s and if one of “online-only devices” requests a file from Cloud and it is available on another PC or home server, it should be able to get it from there. It will increase speeds, and will allow more users to use the services without overloading Microsoft’s infrastructure. (partial: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6327930-syncing-over-lan )

-          If device opens an “online only” file, it should be cached locally. There should be a user configurable amount of such cache. So maybe I’ll put all files as “online only” but will allow for 200GB cache, and files I use the most often or use them recently will be available for me. Smart checking if cached version is the latest one is to be assumed if device is connected to Internet. ( this is a partial: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6475534-offline-access-on-android )

-          Ability to detach / block certain device through web interface in case of theft or if it is lost. Also, add ability to delete all OneDrive files from that device remotely (remote wipe) (link #1: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6421416-remote-wipe ; #2: https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions/suggestions/6602868-initiate-remote-wipe-erase-if-laptop-tablet )

-          (added 2011-11-08) Remove file size limit ( http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6421614-allow-files-of-any-size-to-be-synced )

-          (added 2011-11-08) URL "fetch" ability, so we can enter URL of an online file in the upload box (in apps and on web), and file would be downloaded directly to OneDrive, instead of downloading to PC and than uploading to OneDrive (like this: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6642190-let-onedrive-fetch-files-for-me , and this: http://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/6484366-give-a-feature-to-import-data-from-other-cloud-sto )

I’ve probably skipped some, but like I’ve wrote before – check forums, and uservoice.com. (EDIT: I'll be adding updates to the above list, either new suggestions that I find or think of, or if status of above suggestion changes.)

Good news for the end…

Well, since I’ve been writing this one and off for a whole day, I got an early present in meantime. My OneDrive now shows 10TB. Thank you Microsoft! This is a very nice service and worth every penny in my opinion, but we just want it to be awesome as it deserves. Most of this just needs some smart programming. Some of it will even make OneDrive cheaper for Microsoft to support as it will lessen load on its infrastructure. Only small part of it needs serious investments. So pick the “cheap” suggestions first, I won’t mind. Just keep improving this service :)


Do you have comments? Other suggestions? I made a mistake and something can already be done or was already fixed? Anything at all to add? Please comment below! Or contact me… just google me, you’ll find me ;) And thanks for reading this monster post! :)

EDIT 2015-11-04:
Microsoft just made me give up from OneDrive. For more information please see official blog post here: https://blog.onedrive.com/onedrive_changes/
Here is my new blog post on this subject: http://itflame.blogspot.hr/2015/11/give-us-back-our-storage-onedrive.html
And people's (and mine) reactions on official Uservoice forum are here, currently top rated and hottest post ever on OneDrive Uservoice forums:


Perfect portable PC

Here I am, blooging again, after an article on Tom's Daily made old dreams come back ;)

Let's neglect the above article, as you can read it (and my comment) later :P ;)

What's my "dream" portable? Here is the short list:
- has to be easily portable (dooh!)
- has to be usefull (dooh! ^2)

Ok, now for the long list, as above doesn't give too much info.. I'll mostly list same things here that I had have listed several years ago, just with updated components. Meaning it has to:
- be powerfull enough to run any modern OS;Vista excluded for now - Win XP, Linux, OS X, any of them
- for that it has to have x86 CPU, and the more powerfull the better (Intel Atom or VIA Isaiah would be nice)
- ofcourse this same CPU has to be low-powered 'cos there isn't space for huge batteries or cooling systems, hence Atom/Isaiah preference
- further on it has to have at least 2GB of DDR2 RAM (800MHz preferably)
- big storage is a must, and we're talking at LEAST 40GB disk at a very minimum, but the bigger the better, anything over this value that can be cost-effective and power-effective at the same time (SSD is out cos of price, flash cards 'cos of storage space)
- usual suspects for I/O have to be included meaning several USB 2.0 ports (4 would be perfect, 2 for optional mouse/keyboard, one for external drive, and one free for "other"), Gigabit Ethernet, DVI (integrated video of any sort as long as it can run video and OS just fine) and audio out
- wireless I/O should be well supported by Bluetooth, WiFi and even IR if there is space
- speakers of any sort except mono, and an integrated microphone ofcourse
- and on top of all the hardware - touch screen with as much pixels per inch, and as much inches without getting too big to stick in the large pocket or a briefcase/backpack/purse/whatever-you-use-to.carry-stuff-around
- battery which can endure at least 2 consecutive full-length movies, meaning 3h of full-throttle usage

Now above listed things are bare minimum, but on top of that, I'd like to see some cheapo and not-so-cheapo additions. "Cheap" part would be these:
- add a nice "higher" quality camera (don't give me 0.3 Mpix camera, if my 2-year-old-back-than-50$ cell phone had better!); should be at least 2.0 Mpix
- FM radio would be real nice, as even cheapest MP3 players have it, so it can't be expensive or complicated to implement - and please not through proprietary headphones (like in some cells), I want to use any speaker or headphones for listening!
- soft carry-bag, to protect from scratches and not adding much weight/size to the package

And a several "advanced options", even if not all models would have all of these:
- bundeled external DVD writer, or at least as a VALUE-added option (value means that it should be cheaper than me going to the store and buying burner plus an external case!)
- those multitouch functions from iPhone sound just nice (pinching, zooming, rotating and stuff like that)
- projected keyboard - to save space, but add functionality at the same time
- intergrated space for SIM-card and mobile phone functionality, including 3G+ connectivity would be great option, unless you can bundle a cheap phone with it :)

Now, if you can make all of the above, minus advanced stuff, for let's say 500$? I think it can be done, although I don't have a source for all the prices here are my "best guesses":
- 49€ Atom CPU + board (80$)
- 40$ for 80GB 2.5" HDD
- 45$ for 2x 1GB SODIMM DDR2
- 200$ for LCD and chasis (I threw this number from nowhere to say the truth, but I think it's more than enough)
- 5$ for integrated speakers, 5$ for FM, 5$ for bag (I gave more than enough space here ;P )
- 20$ for Bluetooth/IR
- 25$ for power adapter
- 40$ battery
-- rough total

So - going under 500$ is attainable for this device, and you have enough space to earn some money if you sell it for 499$.
For extra 100-150$ I think you could have all the "advanced" stuff in it as well, together with a more powerfull battery to endure all of that.

To tell the truth, it is still pricey in my book, but when I see phones selling for the same price, this would indeed be CHEAP. As nothing can measure with using your favourite desktop apps on the move, and not having to lugg around a laptop..

Am I living in a fantasy world? Please, do comment..

As for a remainder of my thoughts about this device, please check back later today or tomorrow, as I intend to illustrate a week of life using such portable PC, and what could you do with it, that you usualy do in other ways right now ;)