Archive for Microsoft

Microsoft Announces Cortana Assistant For Windows 10, iOS, and Android

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 26, 2015 by itnerd

I have to admit that I didn’t see this one coming.

Microsoft has revealed a new Phone Companion app for Windows 10 today, designed to help users connect their PC to whatever smartphone they use — Windows Phone, Android, or iOS. On top of that, they also announced app will arrive for Android and iOS, having previously only been available for Windows devices. All of these platforms will get the same feature set as Windows Phone users.

So, why would Microsoft do this? Simple, the focus is on software and services. To make that work, they have to be on the devices that people use. Otherwise, they will become irrelevant. It’s a smart move on the part of Microsoft. Whether it will work or not remains to be seen.

Microsoft Outs Brand New Edge Browser

Posted in Products with tags on April 29, 2015 by itnerd

In case you didn’t hear the news, Internet Explorer is dead. Mostly. Coming soon is Microsoft Edge to replace IE as their browser. The Edge name refers to being on the edge of consuming and creating. Microsoft is calling Edge “a browser built for doing,” with a simple, no-frills design and access to tools for enhancing the browsing experience.

Key features include:

  • Built-in note taking capabilities which let users annotate, draw, and take notes right within the browser, and then share those website notes with friends.
  • “Blazing fast core technology” which we’ll find out whatever that means in the near future.
  • A distraction-free reading mode and a tab page for getting to frequently-used apps quickly.
  • Support for Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana

The Microsoft Edge browser will be built into Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10. Expect that later this year. If you can’t wait for that, here’s a video that shows the browser in action:

Windows 10 Coming To 190 Countries This Summer

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 18, 2015 by itnerd

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 will launch this summer. Though no specific date was announced. Here’s what was said by Windows chief Terry Myerson in a blog post:

We continue to make great development progress and shared today that Windows 10 will be available this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages. Windows has always been global with more than 1.5 billion users around the world and here in China hundreds of millions of PCs operate Windows today. That’s why it was particularly fun to show our latest global innovation, Windows Hello, on stage for the first time, and to feature a number of Windows 10 customizations for the China market, such as Cortana in Mandarin.

One other thing was revealed in the same blog post. Biometrics will be included in Windows 10:

One of the predominant goals of WinHEC is to showcase opportunities Windows 10 presents to hardware and device manufacturers. Windows Hello is one of the new innovations that I was excited to show onstage for the first time.

Windows Hello* will make Windows 10 more personal by providing instant access to your devices through biometric authentication – using your face, iris or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is significantly safer than traditional passwords. We’re working closely with our hardware partners to deliver Windows Hello-capable devices that will ship with Windows 10.

That’s an interesting development. Perhaps it will make computers more secure as that’s a huge issue the moment. Finally, there’s this:

For the first time, a new version of Windows for small footprint IoT devices will be available – for free – when Windows 10 launches. Windows 10 will offer versions of Windows for a diverse set of IoT devices, ranging from powerful devices like ATMs and ultrasound machines, to resource constrained devices like gateways. Through key partnerships with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Intel, Qualcomm and others, we will provide great options for commercial devices builders, hobbyists and students.

Clearly Microsoft wants to be all things to all users. Whether they actually can do that is an open question that will only be answered I suspect when Windows 10 actually ships.

Internet Explorer Is Dead…. Mostly

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 18, 2015 by itnerd

Microsoft has declared that Internet Explorer is no more. Sort of. So says Chris Capossela who is Microsoft’s marketing chief at Microsoft Convergence yesterday. The Verge has the details:

“We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10,” said Capossela. “We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we’ll also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is codenamed Project Spartan. We have to name the thing.”

You’ll notice in that statement Internet Explorer will continue to exist. That’s mostly for enterprise customers. But Project Spartan will be the main way users connect to the Internet and consume Internet content. I’m betting that the software giant will be looking to find ways to move those users over to Project Spartan too. We’ll see what the plan is when Windows 10 ships later this year.

Microsoft Rescues Lenovo Users From Lenovo Installed Adware

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on February 22, 2015 by itnerd

If you’re a user of a Lenovo computer and you are concerned about that evil adware that Lenovo themselves installed, don’t worry. Microsoft has your back.

You read that correctly. Microsoft is coming to the rescue of Lenovo users. In its latest update to Windows Defender, Microsoft has removed Superfish’s certificate entirely, which Microsoft believes will kill the program’s ability to run on Windows. That’s not a guarantee as the tech website Neowin will explain if you click here, but it’s better than nothing.

If you run Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, you have Windows Defender. Make sure you update it and use it to make your Lenovo system safer to make up for the fact that Lenovo made it horribly unsafe.

Microsoft Rolls Out Details Of Windows 10

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 21, 2015 by itnerd

This week has been a slow week in the tech space. However that changed today because Microsoft has announced details of Windows 10. Let me hit the highlights:

  • It’s going to be free. You read that correctly. Updates in the first year for Windows 7, 8.1 and even Windows Phone 8.1 users will be free. That’s sort of like what Apple has been doing for some time with OS X. And it helps them to get quick adoption of their OSes.
  • Windows Siri like assistant Cortana will be baked into the OS and it doesn’t matter if you’re on a desktop, tablet, or phone. And it’s been enhanced to be everywhere in everything that you do.
  • If you have a Windows 10 desktop and a Windows 10 tablet or phone, you’ll be able to unify the user experience across them. MS Office apps under Windows 10 will automatically sync your place so each time you zoom in on your calendar or flag an email or pick some photos to look at, those actions will be reflected on your other devices as well. OS X Yosemite users may not be impressed by this as they have had a flavor of this feature for months now.
  • Internet Explorer is dead. In its place is the Spartan browser. At least that is what it is codenamed. You can take notes by drawing onto the browser. You can rearrange web view to make them easier to read. And Cortana even works in the browser.
  • If you happen to have an Xbox One in your house, you’ll be able to stream games to a Windows 10 device. Not only that. There’s going to be an Xbox app. It will let you do things like interact with the Activity Feed, right from your desktop, laptop or tablet. It can list Xbox and Steam games alongside each other. Finally there is a game DVR feature that lets you capture and edit footage on your Windows 10 device in similar fashion to what can already be done on the Xbox One.
  • Microsoft is jumping into the virtual reality game with something called Hololens. They are Holographic Glasses that include a CPU, a GPU, and something Microsoft is calling a Holographic Processor. The latter is a big deal for Microsoft as they’re calling it “the next PC.” Cue the cynics. It will ship around the time Windows 10 hits the streets.
  • On top of showing off Windows 10 today, Microsoft showed off the Surface Hub. It’s a 84″ 4K TV that includes an all-in-one PC-come-display that is fully-loaded with sensors, WiFi, a mic, camera and Skype for Business. Clearly this is the net result of Microsoft’s purchase of Perspective Pixel a while back. It’s likely aimed at businesses, but it’s a safe bet that someone will buy it for their home to impress the neighbors.

There’s a lot here. So let me make life easy for you and link you to a blog entry on the Windows Blog.

PSA: Windows 7 Mainstream Support Ends Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 13, 2015 by itnerd

If you still run Windows 7 because Windows 8 is absolutely horrible then you might be interested in knowing that today is the end of free support for Windows 7. That means Microsoft will no longer offer free help and support if you have problems with your Windows 7 install from today onwards. Also, no new features will be added to Windows 7. So if you want support going forward from today, you’ll have to pay up or upgrade to a newer Microsoft OS. Windows 7 will now enter extended support, which means that security updates will keep coming and the final end of support for Windows 7 will be reached January 14, 2020.

 

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