Microsoft Monday: Less Windows Data Collection, Scalebound Cancelled, Minecraft For Nintendo Switch – Forbes
“Microsoft Monday” takes a look back at the past week of news related to Microsoft. This week, “Microsoft Monday” includes details about Scalebound getting cancelled, the StaffHub app getting added to Office 365, two employees suing Microsoft over PTSD claims, the reduction of Windows 10 data collection, new features that will be included in the Windows 10 Creators Update, confirmation of the Game Mode in Creators Update and much more!
Xbox One Exclusive ‘Scalebound’ Gets Cancelled
Scalebound, a fantasy action video game exclusive to the Xbox One and developed by Platinum Games featuring a warrior and a dragon, has been unfortunately cancelled. Scalebound was originally announced back in 2014, which is when the trailer (above) was released. Microsoft Studios confirmed the cancellation in a statement to Kotaku:
After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for “Scalebound.” We’re working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games to our fans this year, including “Halo Wars 2,” “Crackdown 3,” “State of Decay 2,” “Sea of Thieves” and other great experiences.
The game was originally supposed to be released during the holiday season in 2016. It is unclear why the cancellation happened. However, rumor has it that the development process simply became overly complicated last year and that led to multiple delays. To prevent any confusion about a release, Microsoft recently shut down the website for Scalebound and also deleted the trailers.
StaffHub App Gets Added To Office 365
Microsoft is launching a new app for Office 365 called StaffHub. The StaffHub app allows users to view their schedules, swap shifts and ask for time off — which works very well for people that have to manage employee schedules. StaffHub also has a chat feature so that employees can communicate with each other in a central place.
Microsoft StaffHub originally launched in public preview back in September. Now StaffHub is available for Office 365 users with K1, E1, E3 or E5 plans. Users can manage schedules and employee data at the website staffhub.ms.
Outlook For iOS Receives New Useful Features
Microsoft has updated Outlook for iOS last week to add some handy features. For example, Microsoft added the ability to create and edit recurring events from the Calendar.
Microsoft also improved the way that smaller fonts are displayed so that emails are much more readable. And search has also been improved so that results are based on conversations instead of individual results. Plus the addition of Passbook file support has been added.
Microsoft Gets Sued By Two Online Safety Team Employees Claiming They Developed PTSD
Henry Soto and Greg Blauert, two employees that worked for the Online Safety Team at Microsoft, have filed a lawsuit against the company because they claimed to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to their job roles. According to The Next Web, the two of them had to review content involving child sexual abuse, murder and other disturbing content for several years in order to determine whether it needed to be taken down and required action by authorities. Essentially when Microsoft’s automated software detected potentially controversial content, it is reviewed by humans — which was their job.
In the court document, the plaintiffs allege that Microsoft was negligent in handling the Online Safety Team. “As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Microsoft’s failure to provide a safe work environment, Plaintiffs Mr. Soto and Mr. Blauert sustained severe and permanent injuries,” says the court document.
However, Microsoft told the BBC that it offered proper support. “Microsoft takes seriously its responsibility to remove and report imagery of child sexual exploitation and abuse being shared on its services, as well as the health and resiliency of the employees who do this important work,” said Microsoft in a statement.
The two employees acknowledged that their work led to the saving of lives in many cases, but it took a psychological toll on them. Hopefully, the employees and Microsoft find an amicable solution to this complex problem.
Microsoft To Reduce Collecting Usage Data Under “Basic” Setting
Last week, Microsoft said it will reduce the collection of diagnostic data from Windows 10 devices under the “Basic” setting, according to ComputerWorld.
“We’ve further reduced the data collected at the Basic level,” said Terry Myerson, the EVP of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, in a blog post. “This includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows. We use this data to help keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly when you let Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also includes basic error reporting back to Microsoft.”
There are currently four settings for data collection, of which users can control three: Basic, Enhanced and Full. The fourth data collection setting is called “Security,” which is a setting that appears under Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education. The Basic setting collects data that is “vital” to Windows operations. The Enhanced setting tracks how long features and apps are being used. And the Full setting tracks the memory state of devices when apps crash. Myerson said that the Enhanced option will be removed so users can choose between Basic and Full. The changes will be applied when the Windows 10 Creators Update is expected to be released in the spring.
Microsoft also released a new privacy dashboard (screenshot above) that lets you control your activity data logged in various Microsoft services. In the dashboard, you can clear your Bing and Cortana search/location history.
Why is Microsoft making these changes? The Redmond giant cited “user feedback” as the reasoning.
Microsoft May Release A Feature That Locks Your PCs When You Are No Longer In Front Of Your Device
Windows Hello is able to recognize when you are ready to start using the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book and other devices by detecting your face, fingerprint or iris. Now Microsoft is testing out a feature that would automatically lock your PC when it realizes that you are no longer in front of your device.
Apparently, the feature is being called Dynamic Lock according to Windows Central. Dynamic Lock appears in Build 15002 in Windows and it is reportedly being called Windows Goodbye internally.
Most likely, the Dynamic Lock feature will not lock your device immediately when you walk away. There will probably be some inactivity time factor involved before PCs are locked up to prevent any kind of user frustration.