Paul Thurrott (http://www.thurrott.com) just reported that Microsoft has updated the shipping versions of Windows 10 again this month. It’s another Cumulative Update so you’ll need to reboot your machine after the update gets installed. With all the Bad Guy activity going on, it’s not really surprising to me. While it’s a pain in the rear to have to reboot so often, I take solace in the fact that Microsoft is ACTIVELY trying to keep the OS patched.
Mary Jo Foley at All About Microsoft reports that Microsoft will be releasing Service Pack 1 (oops — I meant Anniversary Update) on August 2nd just a few short days after the one year release date anniversary of Windows 10 and the end of the free upgrade offer.
Ms. Foley spoke with Terry Myerson (Windows and devices group executive vice president) last week and reports that there will be “…six major buckets of new features…”
Myerson, with whom I spoke last week about the coming update, said there are six major buckets of new features coming in the Anniversary Update. The six: More enterprise security features; Edge browser improvements, including extension support; Windows Ink for better pen use; new Cortana enhancements; and cross-device gaming support.
There will apparently be two new Enterprise features with this update.
The other major, brand-new enterprise security feature which will ship as part of the Anniversary Update is the Windows 10 Defender Advanced Threat Protection threat-intelligence and attack detection service. Sources had told me Microsoft was aiming to make this service available some time in the third calendar quarter of 2016. Extensive testing — by 300 enterprises and with 700,000 endpoints — resulted in the service being ready to roll with the Anniversary Update, Myerson said.
And one more fun promotion from Microsoft for students.
We’re recommending you remove the Quicktime Player from any machines you have it installed on.
It was a not so “quick” ride that has come to an end. Windows 8 & 10 haven’t played well with Quicktime anyway. In fact the plugin was deactivated with the last Quicktime update received this past January. Trend Micro recently discovered two major security flaws in the software. When they reported it to Apple they were told that there would be no more development of the product and the solution was to simply remove the product from your Windows machines. This came as a surprise because there had been no announcement about depreciating the software. As reported by The Register:
“We’re not aware of any active attacks against these vulnerabilities currently. But the only way to protect your Windows systems from potential attacks against these or other vulnerabilities in Apple QuickTime now is to uninstall it,” said Christopher Budd, global threat communications manager at Trend Micro, on Thursday.
“In this regard, QuickTime for Windows now joins Microsoft Windows XP and Oracle Java 6 as software that is no longer being updated to fix vulnerabilities, and subject to ever-increasing risk as more and more unpatched vulnerabilities are found affecting it.”
The flaws were reported to Apple on November 11, 2015, and acknowledged the same day by Cupertino. The following March, Apple told Trend Micro that “the product would be deprecated on Windows and the vendor would publish removal instructions for users.”
There’s a whole new world of video playing available these days from Flash (also a security headache) to the HTML5 standard. It’s time to upgrade from XP (also depreciated and unpatched) and make the leap to a newer system. Yes, there’s a learning curve but that’s true no matter what you buy.
I still maintain that OneNote is the best FREE tool you’re not using. Especially if you have a touch or pen device — but any device will do. There’s a OneNote App for that (really!). One of the arguments against switching over to OneNote was the lack of ability to move those files over easily. Well, here goes that argument.
Microsoft has released a tool that will import your Evernote files into OneNote from the Evernote Plus ($25/yr) and Evernote Premium ($50/yr). No word on the ability to import from the Basic (free) or Business ($120/yr/user) versions.
This is version 1 of the tool, so I’m sure there will be glitches and imperfections. I would also anticipate that, if successful, the tool will be upgraded to include all versions. In order to use this new tool, you’ll need Windows 7 or later. There currently is no Mac version of the converter tool.
Microsoft is celebrating International Women’s Day (March 8th) by celebrating the creators and inventors with their #MakeWhatsNext campaign.
A new video from Microsoft shows the lack of awareness girls today have about women inventors and reminds them to celebrate those women’s accomplishments and be encouraged to follow in their footsteps.
Microsoft, as part of its longstanding efforts to encourage girls to build technology skills and learn about careers in technology, is also offering free resources for girls to learn to code and meet female role models at DigiGirlz events happening around the globe, and is also offering free online coding tutorials to make strides in closing the considerable gender gap in computer science education and the tech industry at large. In addition, Microsoft is announcing a new patent program focused on inviting select young female inventors to receive support from the company’s patent law resources to help them file for a U.S. patent.
These efforts are part of Microsoft’s broad commitment to computer science education, with programs and resources offered through Microsoft Philanthropies YouthSpark initiative to increase access for all youth to learn computer science, empowering them to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.
Microsoft Garage recently released a fun new iPhone App — Fetch!
It’s Joey and Fletcher Approved — it correctly identified their breeds even though I purposely took *terrible* pictures of them. Their faces were mostly covered as they slept. I haven’t had the nerve to find out if I belong in their “pack.” 🙂
Man’s best friend has inspired a new app – Fetch! Using your iPhone camera or photo library, it can identify and classify dogs by breeds and tell you what kind of human personality fits best with specific breeds. And just for fun, the app will even take an informed guess on what kind of dog you or your friends might be.
“There was an interest in creating a framework that would allow you to take a domain – in our case, dogs – and recognize numerous classes, such as breeds. We were interested in enabling an app to allow you to make object recognition extraordinary, fun and surprising,” says Mitch Goldberg, a development director at Microsoft Research whose Cambridge, U.K based team built the experience. His team works at the intersection of user experience, machine learning, computer vision and more recently, intelligent cloud services. He’s also had two German shepherd dogs, though now he has a cat. “We wanted to bring artificial intelligence to the canine world. We wanted to show that object recognition is something anyone could understand and interact with.”
Fetch! is designed for repeat use, and after giving it a couple tries, it’s easy to see how addictive it can be. You start with your dog, or your friends’ dogs. If the dog’s breed is unknown, the app will show a percentage of the closest breed. Tapping the percentage rosette leads to the top five breeds that could be in the dog. Clicking on the arrow in the corner leads you to more information on the breed.
“If you want to take photos of dogs, it will tell you what dog breed it is, if it’s one of our supported breeds,” Goldberg says. “If I choose to take a photograph of a flower, it’ll say, ‘No dogs found! Hmmm… This looks more like…flower?’ But if you take a picture of a person, it’ll kick into its hidden fun mode. And in a playful way, it’ll communicate to you not only what type of dog it thinks you are, but also why. It’s fun to see if the app knows it’s not a dog. A lot of the time, it’ll tell you what that image is. When there’s not a dog, you still want to use it.”
No two pictures yield the same result. You could resemble a Doberman Pinscher in one photo (sunglasses, no makeup) or a Pekingese (no glasses, makeup) in another. If you photograph an inanimate object, it might tell you, “No dogs found!” and make an informed guess at what it is.
If you like what you see, you can share the image on your social networks and through email.
Paul Thurrott does an outstanding job laying out the case of why the Windows 10 Upgrade should always be free.
I think that Microsoft will do the right thing. And today, I’d like to make the case that this is the only correct outcome. It is in fact, “the only outcome.”
That Microsoft gets that the world has moved on is obvious: They’ve evolved Windows into an always-updated modern monstrosity, and Windows 10 is now updated as if it were a simpler mobile OS or a cloud service. Yes, there are some fits and stops along the way, but this first year is all about making that transition.
Given this, it doesn’t make sense to return the Windows 10 upgrade to the paid model from the past. That is, once you’ve paid for Windows—by getting it with a new PC, usually—you’re entitled to free upgrades for the life of that device, just as you are (basically) on Android and iOS. The passage of 12 months of time doesn’t change that at all: If a customer still using (the still supported) Windows 7 in August 2016, or January 2017, or whatever, wants to upgrade to Windows 10, it is still in Microsoft’s best interests that that happen. And it should be as frictionless as possible. It should be free.
I agree. It’s the most logical decision. We’re moving to a subscription based, always on and in the cloud economy. Apple has already somewhat embraced this — it’s the model we’re all using for our smartphones already.
A New York Times article published on 1/31/16 highlights a new data center project from one of Microsoft’s Research groups called NExT (New Experiences and Technologies) that is solving a big data center problem (heat) with the cool ocean waters.
Today’s data centers, which power everything from streaming video to social networking and email, contain thousands of computer servers generating lots of heat. When there is too much heat, the servers crash.
Putting the gear under cold ocean water could fix the problem. It may also answer the exponentially growing energy demands of the computing world because Microsoft is considering pairing the system either with a turbine or a tidal energy system to generate electricity.
The effort, code-named Project Natick, might lead to strands of giant steel tubes linked by fiber optic cables placed on the seafloor. Another possibility would suspend containers shaped like jelly beans beneath the surface to capture the ocean current with turbines that generate electricity.
The experiment was a success — so much so that they extended the time and even ran some commercial data processing projects from the Azure cloud service.
The first prototype, affectionately named Leona Philpot — a character in Microsoft’s Halo video game series — has been returned, partly covered with barnacles, to the company’s corporate campus here.
It is a large white steel tube, covered with heat exchangers, with its ends sealed by metal plates and large bolts. Inside is a single data center computing rack that was bathed in pressurized nitrogen to efficiently remove heat from computing chips while the system was tested on the ocean floor.
This type of experiment leads to many other exciting options — better server hardware (can’t send a tech in the middle of the night to fix them under the sea), greener power (tidal wave generation, enhanced hardware power efficiency), etc.
It’s entirely possible that in the near future when you’re using the “cloud” you might actually be “under the sea.”
Microsoft is in what appears to be a huge rush to get everyone to upgrade to Windows 10. They’ve even put a date on when they will quit giving it away for free: July 29, 2016.
Why is that and what’s the rush you ask?
There are a few good reasons to get everyone on the same playing field. It’s easier to issue patches and updates if you don’t have to create and test four (or more) different versions of whatever exploit the bad guys found. You wouldn’t have to worry about anything that was over 10 years old and still using software that has been full of security and performance holes for the last eight. That old, slow hardware that diminishes the customer experience can be retired. These are the reasons that come from the top of my head. There are more and (likely) better reasons than these few.
So how will Windows make money off of this? They’re giving it away for free.
One billion devices. (It’s necessary to do that line with your best Dr. Evil voice impersonation.) Microsoft has set a goal of getting Windows 10 on one billion devices. The fastest route to that goal is giving it away for free. They have a sunset date of July 29, 2016 but it seems logical for them to continue past that date as they haven’t quite reached one quarter of their goal (200,000 at last report). One billion devices delivers enough customers for developers to come back to the Windows Store and start designing those Apps we’ve all become so familiar with. The Windows Store really is pathetic compared to Apple’s iTunes and Android’s Google Play stores. Apple already is on over a billion devices and reported $31 billion dollars in sales per year. In Apps and “services”. That’s not a fair comparison you say? Microsoft is an operating system on a computer, not a phone. True — until now. Microsoft is building Windows 10 as a “universal platform” that works on all your devices from desktop to tablet to phone. It’s designed the App Development kit to enable developers to take advantage of all those different screen sizes in one set of code so that the experience is consistent across all those different devices.
Microsoft is taking a page from the Apple and Google model.
Apple gives away its OS. So does Google (Chrome OS). Apple makes its money from a 30% cut of the pie for every sale in it’s app store. Google primarily sells advertisements (and by extension your tracked data). Microsoft giving away Windows 10 to encourage you to engage in their own subscription model. Office 365 is the current “flagship” with what Microsoft hopes is the Microsoft Store nipping at its heels IF they can get the developers on board. Microsoft has been dabbling with the advertising (like in the free email client Outlook.com), but so far has stayed away from it on most other things. I hope they continue to do so. I will gladly pay for a subscription if it means I can stay “commercial free.”
It ends up being a numbers game.
One billion devices provides incentive for developers to create; users to buy and Microsoft to make money. They take a “hit” on revenue up front, but in the long game they come out ahead as we buy Apps and Office365 and whatever other subscription based product they come up with. It makes sense to me to just continue to offer Windows 10 for free as an upgrade with a small fee for the OS on new devices that would be part of the purchase price (like it is now). Only time will tell what strategy Microsoft will use but it looks like they’re on a path that can keep them relevant and solvent. Even when they’re “giving it away.”