The Serpent

// Cursing the Internet since 1998

Chatty MS Games

Generally I feel progress is going in the right direction with most things, especially technology. But there are small examples I see daily where things just don’t seem quite ready for the world tech giants like Microsoft are waiting for. Just look at Netflix – a great platform for getting new media into your home, or where ever you are. But think about the small steps back, namely the first 1 – 2 minutes will always be VHS quality, and DVD’s could pause at an instant, unlike streaming.

But it’s Minesweeper that’s annoyed me today. All previous versions of Windows enjoy builtin games such as Solitare, Hearts and good old Minesweeper – perfect when your waiting for MS Word to recover itself from some godlike crash. Windows 8 now provides it as a free download within the Microsoft Store. After launching, I noticed I’m waiting around a lot. I suspected network activity, so fired up TCPView, only to find this:

A little chatty, don’t you think?

That’s no less than 36 connections to Microsoft and various Ad agencies, which explains why on my rather slow connection today, loading up a quick game while waiting for another task to complete is no longer an option. It’s reasonable to assume the mobile versions are similarly chatty, which really doesn’t provide a great user experience if you’re sitting in a bathroom stall with minimal signal, waiting for a game to log in or load an advert.

Since most of the traffic is HTTPS, I’m inclined to do a little man-in-the-middle to see exactly what information is being sent, stay tuned folks…