Project Cortana: Day 1

I have seen a lot of people switching to Linux or other services to get away from all the data collections. It makes a lot of sense as no one would want their data to be sold without their consent.

But I am going to do something different. My aim is to integrate with Microsoft apps as much as possible and review the experience. So here is what I have done so far:

* Use Cortana in desktop and mobile (Android)
* Use Microsoft launcher in mobile
* Outlook as primary email provider (I was already using them as my default provider)
* Use Microsoft To-Do and calendar to keep track of things
* Use OneDrive to store all my files (I am moving them from Google Drive)
* Use the default Mail app on the Windows 10
* Use Onenote (I was using Evernote before)
* Use Edge on desktop and Mobile
* Use Skype instead of Hangouts

It's day one but I think I have already found it quite useful. For example:

* Adding reminder is much easier. I get them on both desktop and mobile which is nice.
* Mail app has been really useful. Especially the focused inbox really helps to get rid of the clutters. Also, I can immediately add a mail to the calendar (like Inbox by Google) which is really helpful.
* One of the features of edge that I have found really useful is that you can send web pages from mobile to desktop in one tap. That is extremely useful.

So far I am loving it.

Also, I tried to make sure that I am not sharing my data with third-party apps as I have turned off "relevant ads" feature.

  • 14
    "Use Skype" I think I'm gonna be sick 🤢

    Also, the edge send to mobile thing, Firefox sync ;)
  • 8
    @Dacexi I have used firefox sync before. But this feature is different, once you tap the button, it instantly open the page in the desktop. I find it useful.

    And yeah *sigh* Skype. I know it's fucking rubbish but I haven't tried it in a while. Let's see if they have made any improvement.
  • 6
    @tahnik It's even easier with a Windows Phone (getting phone notifications on desktop most notably). Google Play got me an early access on Skype Lite and it's quite decent. You should try it if you can get it. I've heard a lot of people bashing Skype on Android. On the other hand, the UWP version on W10 rocks!
  • 6
    @Qaldim I can get notifications on desktop from mobile using Cortana. It's very useful. What's more useful is that I can reply to messenger or WhatsApp messages directly from desktop. This feature has absolutely won my heart.
  • 5
    At first I thought this was a copy-paste of some positive review yours then rant about....

    Wow... But it sounds sorta like Google....

    ToDo == Google Keep
  • 3
    @tahnik I haven't tried doing that with Viber. I used to do it with SMS, but now the Messaging app has been depreciated to read only and I don't want to make Skype the default SMS app on my phone. 😅
  • 8
    @AlexDeLarge I understand your concern. Here is what I understand:

    * Unless you are sharing your data with third parties for relevant ads, your data stays with Microsoft (Mostly). I know about PRISM, but I have been using outlook, google services for very long and it will be very very difficult for me to move from those services without losing some very important contacts.

    * You can turn off a lot of data collection methods from settings now. For example, voice inputs, keystrokes etc.

    * Your data is obviously managed and organized by some sort of machine code. Not someone who is sitting in front of the computer and judging you every day.

    I do agree that a lot of options should be turned off by default. But in a way, if you think about it, general users probably don't have enough knowledge to understand and toggle these features. If they see that another OS (i.e. macOS) is doing a better job to simplify their life, they will just simply move to that OS, without realizing that they toggle those feature to make their life easier. Of course, Apple is mining similar types of data to give their users better experiences.
  • 4
    @billgates yeah, but google doesn't have a desktop OS 😋
  • 4
    @tahnik did you try Chrome OS? 😂
  • 7
    @billgates I refuse to call that a desktop OS for now 🤣
  • 9
    @Condor when was the last time you used Windows 10?
  • 6
    @Condor Addons have already been part of Edge since the Anniversary Update (about a year or so)...
    @tahnik This rant will spur some controversy! 😆
  • 6
    @Condor I only use 2 addons on Firefox: uBlock and Privacy Badger. Ever since uBlock got released on Edge, I switched. Edge is lighter and faster compared to Firefox on my system. I can't wait to see the new FF and how it will perform!
  • 4
    @Condor I'm currently using both daily on my desktop and laptop computers. FF has overall a bit slower response. Edge sometimes lags and requires to recover webpages.
  • 4
    Everything you mentioned is perfectly doable using GApps on Android
  • 4
    @shaji You can do it on Android but not on desktop
  • 3
    @tahnik @Lahsen2016 Yeah you can turn off loads of tracking shit.

    I'm just wondering if that actually does anything or that those checkboxes just get a 'checked' value in some database.
  • 3
    You should use Next Lock Screen too, it's a Lock Screen made by M$, I've been using it myself for a while and it's pretty good.
  • 3
    @RealKC You forgot to mention the Arrow Launcher. MS has some cool apps on Android.
  • 2
    @dontbeevil Microsoft Launcher is different from Next Lock Screen, just like Picturesque Lock Screen. :)
  • 1
    @tahnik web.whatsapp.com..?
  • 2
    @Condor If windows mail refers to the inbuilt client - I have zoho running via custom mail server settings without any problem
  • 1
    @linuxxx that actually does set the values in the registry iirc, the other problem is that other values do not get affected if you don't use some tool like "shutup10"
  • 3
    @JoshBent So do the registry values actually change anything of the data collection? Next to that, what's this shutup10 thingy? :)
  • 1
    @linuxxx yes, they indeed stop some of the home-calls, but as said many of them remain and aren't in the GUI and have to be deactivated specifically in random odd places and the "shutup10" basically makes it as easy as clicking two buttons to deactivate all sorts of spying, blocking all the microsoft ads/spy urls etc.
  • 2
    @dontbeevil well personally I still don't trust edge to be on the same steps as chrome, nor do I trust firefox ever again until they prove to have fixed their shit, it was horribly laggy back then, which made me change to chrome (sounds ironic, but chrome actually was better by a lot)
  • 3
    @JoshBent Never mind me, I thought the shutup10 was a hint towards me to fucking shut up xD
  • 2
    @Condor Thunderbird is great software too (used it for a long time before the integrated win10 client myself), never had any problems with the win10 mail client myself, but it seems you're having some rare case.
  • 3
    @linuxxx not yet, no 😆
  • 3
    @JoshBent That'll come, don't worry :P
  • 1
    People always learn the hard way about shiny walled gardens.
  • 2
    @linuxxx these tools are automatically turning off these spying features and some more. I have a good experience with DWS Lite, Windows10 Debloat and debloat.windows powershell scripts. All these utilities are on GitHub and they work well for me and other 6 Windows 10 installations I am in touch with.
  • 6
    I really like and admire you project and determination, @tahnik! Especially as it's apparently still in fashion to hate all things that has anything to do with Microsoft...

    Also, I like how @Condor shows this by explaining the typical steps of explaining these problems;

    1. Microsoft and their products are the worst in any category:
    "Get out of the Microshit ecosystem while you still can 😷🤢
    I mean, Windows Mail of all things? Can't even add my custom mail server on that broken piece of crap 😓"

    2. I'm doing something very non-standard and expect any software to handle it (easily) because my very customisable, nerdy software for the same area of IT does (in a user unfriendly way):
    "I'm running my own Postfix/Dovecot server with some nonstandard configurations (particularly SMTP which runs on port 25 even though it enforces STARTTLS for authentication there). So Windows Mail assumes that I either run on 587 or don't use TLS and I didn't find any advanced configuration panels where I could change this.
    Thunderbird works like a charm though 😊"
  • 6
    3. Actually my setup is locked in by other things and it's all my fault, but I can't really change my setup so it's still a problem with Microsoft and their products:
    "The thing is, while I could change the configurations on the server to abide by the standards, I am very reluctant to do so. It's a production server and since there's no live mirrors of it (I'm too poor to rent another server 😣) there's no room for failure. If that server gets fucked, I may become unable to receive mail there. So I treat it like this black box that I spent weeks on to configure as it is now.. Far from ideal but at least it works to some extent now 😅"

    4. I haven't tried the software since failing a few years ago, so it's still broken and whatever I use is infinitely better!
    "- Also, Microsoft Edge of all browsers? Say, when will they finally add add-on support?
    - Addons have already been part of Edge since the Anniversary Update (about a year or so)...
    - well I haven't been using Edge for a long time, so that may very well be true. Even so, Firefox all the way here.. Best add-on support out there 😁"
  • 4
    @Flygger I hope he understands now 😁
  • 4
    @Flygger You, sir, deserve a medal! 😃
  • 0
    @tahnik *waiting for day2*
  • 0
    @dontbeevil me too but I'm not documenting it 🤣

    Also I'm curious what is the experience with Windows mail and default stuff since I'm a office 365 user
  • 0
    I use outlook client included and not Windows mail even for my personal mail
  • 1
  • 1
    @Qaldim you’re definitely not on FF Quantum if FF is slower
  • 0
    @jeeper All these are before the release of FF Quantum. Now FF is slightly lighter and Faster than Edge, so there's no big advantage for me switching since I am fully into the MS ecosystem.
  • 1
    @Qaldim I mean...I guess
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