Saturday, 24 June 2017

Microsoft Stream Quick Post

This short piece is aimed at school Office 365 Admins.

I was planning to blog about Microsoft Stream this weekend in any case but a discovery made this morning made me decide to put something out more quickly...

I had played with Stream before and enabled it for a few users on our system, but it went live this week properly. Having logged back in and broadly liked what I found I filed it under "look at weekend." One thing that did concern me is that by default it is intended for user-level publishing and sharing and commenting.

Just now logged in as a test account I realised Stream was enabled for ALL USERS on our systems. It is entirely possible this is my mistake from when I was trialling it, but I think not, I think it has been simply launched and enabled for all. I don't suggest trying to go into Azure Active Directory to disable it, simply making two small changes to render it safe while you may be planning to roll it out with appropriate levels of access.

  • Log in as an admin level user at
  • Click on your avatar in the top right and choose Admin Settings
  • There you can make two important changes from the default.

You can set up a limited number of admin accounts for Stream. You can prevent users from leaving comments on videos. You can list the people that can make new channels and upload video.

If like me, you plan to use Stream as a much-improved version of 365 Video, then you will want to have only the people you want as channel publishers listed there.

To be clear, I'm surprised at what happened, not blaming anyone - I think Stream looks brilliant and I'm looking forward to properly trying it as we get ready to move a lot of channels across very soon (I hope we'll have all our video in Stream for the new school year) - but the risk of the system being left unmanaged and users discovering it, making channels and publishing any video they like seems to me to be way too high risk.

As I'll blog later - Microsoft seem to be putting social interaction front and centre of their educational offer (I find some elements of Teams for Education troubling), which strongly differentiates them from Google, where content and permissions underpin everything and limiting the ability of students to comment around work is baked in and easy to do. Nothing wrong with looking for students to interact as a group around learning - but I'd prefer the default position to be off not on so that it is only when it is desired and will be managed that it takes place.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Postscript on Flippy Chromebooks

As a quick follow up to my post on the x360 and Acer Spin Chromebooks:

  • Contrary to what I said in the article I ended up using the Acer in preference to the HP day to day because
    • I encountered a glitch with the HP X360 which annoyed me greatly - see below
    • The extra "muscle" of the Acer really counted when I used for video conferencing and wanted to keep quite a few other tabs open. On the HP it was OK, on the Acer it was seamless.
    • Although I prefer the camera in the wrist rest, when I started using them to take photos I found I wanted to take them portrait not landscape, and in that case the Acer camera position is just as good as the HP one.
    • My son thought the Acer looked cooler. I prefer the HP but he has generally got better taste!
  • I understand that the higher memory or the Acer is only for the demo model and the final version on sale will have the same as the HP....
  • I did not get on well with either in flipped mode. In particular on the HP in Google Docs, for some reason I used a pinch to zoom to see a document better and that messed up my ability to click with the trackpad into a location to edit, I had to use the stylus or my finger. After a couple of times this drove me to distraction. As a test I did the same thing on the Acer and didn't have the same glitch. Don't think that proves anything about either device, but it does underline that some areas around the use of Keep, the touchscreen and the stylus are not as polished as I'd expect them to be.