Ed Bott's Weekly Wrap: OneDrive's apology, iOS and Chrome enterprise bugs, Live Writer returns

If you're a network admin using Google Chrome or managing iOS devices, last week was not a good one. Also in the news: Microsoft's apology for last month's OneDrive mess, complete with a modest make-good offer for loyal customers, and the return of Windows Live Writer as an open source project.

A sampling of news that hit my radar last week.

Microsoft apologizes for OneDrive mess

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It's becoming a familiar pattern in Redmond: Make a business decision. Communicate it badly. Get feedback from angry customers. Apologize and give back a little bit. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

This week it was the OneDrive team, apologizing for its poor communication about last month's decision to kill its "unlimited storage" option for consumers:

The changes in OneDrive storage were a "business decision," the company says, and today's note acknowledges that the announcement caused "frustration and disappointment" for customers. "We realize the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to apologize to the community."

"While we are not changing our plans," the announcement continues, it is taking another crack at clarifying the changes and making one new offer that will grandfather in some of the old limits for existing OneDrive users.

If you're a longtime OneDrive user, make sure you're signed in to your Microsoft account and then visit this site to prevent your storage from vanishing early in 2016.

My favorite cynical reaction came from former Microsoft engineer Eric Lawrence on Twitter:

"We hear you, you're not happy. We'll just put this hoop out there, you jump through it. Happy now?"

Oops, Apple's iOS upgrade breaks MDM software

Meanwhile, in Cupertino, Apple shipped iOS 9.2. Unfortunately, the update has broken most mobile device management software, ruining the weekend for an awful lot of network admins who were starting to believe this "Apple is taking over the enterprise" story.

After tracking down the bug, Microsoft deployed a workaround for its Intune device management software but still recommended steering clear of the upgrade for now:

Intune engineering has deployed a workaround that mitigates many of the MDM impacts caused by the latest iOS release. However, we still recommend your end users wait before upgrading their devices to iOS 9.2. We will need a fix, likely from Apple, to mitigate the following impacted areas:
  • Managed application installations are affected
  • Managed application status information will not be reported
  • Compliant/Non-Compliant application information for customers using app whitelist and blacklist policies will not be reported

And no, this isn't just an Apple-versus-Microsoft issue. It affects a variety of MDM platforms, as I heard from a half-dozen or so readers.

Oh, and Google too...

It wasn't just Apple making life miserable for network admins. Google pushed an automatic Chrome update back on December 2 that broke web browsing on networks using secure proxy servers with NTLM authentication. A Google engineer finally closed the bug report after 150 or so "Me too" posts like this one :

While it seems to be piling on, it shows this bit of bad code is crippling enterprises that require authentication for Internet access. What is worse is this often is associated with an ad on a web page and not the main content. Users don't care that the issue is with a bug in Chrome. They want access fixed and look to the proxy admins to correct a coding issue.

The issue was fixed on December 8 with the release of Chrome 47.0.2526.80.

Live Writer returns!

It's not all bad news. Last week saw the surprise debut of Open Live Writer, an open-source port of Windows Live Writer.

Back in the day, WLW (part of the Windows Live Essentials package) was a cult favorite among bloggers, an exceptionally useful and extensible blog post editor. And now it's back, thanks to Scott Hanselman and a long list of authors and contributors. This note from Scott is especially nice:

I know it felt like it took a long time to open source Open Live Writer. In fact, my buddy John Gallant found the first email where we started asking questions in April of 2013. There was a lot involved both legally and technically as we were breaking new ground for Microsoft. Consider this. We've successfully open sourced a previously completely proprietary piece of Windows software that shipped as part of Windows Live Essentials. This software was used by millions and contained code as old as a decade or more. Persistence pays off.

Good work.