There’s got to be a better way to do this. Actually, I know there’s a better way to do this, because Minecraft already does it in Java Edition.

How to try out snapshots in Minecraft Java Edition:

  • Change the version in the launcher.

How to go back to the stable version:

  • Change the version in the launcher.

How to try out betas in Minecraft Windows 10 Edition:

  • Log in as someone who Microsoft knows is an adult, because Xbox Insider only allows 18 and up.
  • Sign up for Xbox Insider
  • Sign up for the Minecraft beta in Xbox Insider
  • Download updates on your Microsoft Store apps and hope it installs the beta.

How to go back to the stable version:

  • Leave the beta in Xbox Insider
  • Download updates on your Microsoft Store apps and hope it goes back to the other version.
  • Back up your saved games, which are buried deep in a hidden folder with cryptic names. Seriously, they’re in $homedir\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState\games\com.mojang\
  • Uninstall Minecraft from every account on the computer, which will also erase all of your saved worlds, which is why you needed to back them up first. (oops.)
  • Reinstall Minecraft
  • Restore your saved games

There’s a known issue where leaving the beta doesn’t always work — especially if there are multiple accounts on the computer that have Minecraft installed. The only reliable fix so far is to uninstall every copy of Minecraft (Bedrock edition) on the computer, in every user’s account.

I’m just glad I found out that uninstalling the app deletes all your worlds before having to uninstall it on the kid’s login!

Oop Store

The Microsoft Store for Windows really feels a lot more fragile to me than either the standard run-an-installer paradigm or the Linux style package manager. I haven’t dug into its inner workings, but it seems like something that came out of the mobile and console ecosystems…and hasn’t been completely adapted to running on a general computer.

For example: Applications are only accessible for the user who installed them, like on Android. But sometimes it downloads the app all over again, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not even clear how much is stored system-wide vs. per-user.

As near as I can tell, the Microsoft Store will only download the application if it’s newer than a version that’s already on the computer. So if the beta is newer than the stable release, and the beta still exists somewhere on the computer (like in another user’s account), it’ll just use that one instead of re-downloading it.


But regardless of how it handles multiple installations on the same computer, it’s inexcusable that there is literally no way to reinstall a broken copy of the game and keep your potentially years of progress on a world without first digging into a hidden folder, then through seven levels of folders with generic or cryptic names just to find your saved games and manually copying your saved games before you uninstall and reinstall the game.

It shouldn’t delete your games (at least not without asking).

And it should keep them somewhere you can find more easily.

Opera Software has just released the first preview of Opera 9.5, code-named Kestrel.* It’s still a long way off from a beta, but the weekly previews should satisfy both web developers and fans of the Opera web browser.

In addition to Opera’s own page, Cybernet News has posted a run-down of new features. Improved compatibility with existing websites is, as always, at the top of the list. There are reportedly improvements in support for rich-text forms. Coupled with Opera’s outreach to libraries like FCKEditor, we should see more of these forms working in Opera soon.

Synchronizing bookmarks and cookies is nice, but what I really want is something that will not only keep multiple installations of Opera in sync, but will also keep that list in sync with Firefox and Safari.

The full-history search is going to be really nice once I’ve done some new surfing. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to bring up a page but couldn’t remember the name of the site, or needed to find a particular page on a site that gives every single page the same title. It doesn’t seem to be able to find anything from before I upgraded (yeah, I’m living dangerously, upgrading to an alpha), so it must index sites as you visit them, rather than converting the existing cache.

As a web developer, I’m most interested in the improvements to the rendering engine. David Storey posted a summary of new CSS features a few days back, and the changelog has a detailed—and fascinatingly long!—list of all the new and updated capabilities. I’m thrilled to finally have text-shadow in more than just WebKit, but was really hoping for border-radius and box-shadow support. (I’ve been having fun with the Safari 3 betas.) I should be more excited by the improved CSS selectors** support, but until Firefox or Safari implements the rest of them, we’ll still be stuck with the more broadly-supported subset. (Fortunately it looks like, as Konqueror switches from KHTML to WebKit, they’ll be merging KHTML’s capabilities into WebKit. That will give us full support in 2 of 4 major browser engines.)

Opera Mini - The free Web browser for nearly any phoneOpera is also gearing up a new version of Opera Mini, the free browser for cell phones, having just released a beta of version 4. I keep meaning to check and see what data plan I need to be able to use it, because the built-in browser on my RAZR V3T is…extremely limited. There was a brief period last year in which T-Mobile let everyone use networked applications, and even Opera Mini 2 was leaps and bounds ahead of the Motorola browser.

Between Opera Mini and Safari on the iPhone, the mobile web seems to be really opening up in a way that people were scoffing at just a year ago.

*The name Kestrel always makes me think of Queen of Wands these days, which is better than always making me think of the Hawk & Dove villain.

**Current CSS Selectors support out of 43 selectors:
IE6: 10 + 1 partial
IE7: 13 + 4
Opera 9.23: 25 + 3
Safari 3 beta: 25 + 9
Firefox 2: 26 + 10
Firefox 3 alpha: 32 + 4
Konqueror 3.57: 43
Opera 9.5 alpha: 43