Tech Tuesday: Windows 10 Sign Up


Got my Windows 10 notification today!

Down in the right corner, the windows logo brings a popup notification with three options, one of which to give your email address when the software is available, July 29th.

From their website:

You’re already an expert

Windows 10 is so familiar and easy to use, you’ll feel like an expert. The Start Menu is back in an expanded form, plus we’ll bring over your pinned apps and favorites so they’re ready and waiting for you.

It starts up and resumes fast, has more built-in security to help keep you safe, and is designed to work with software and hardware you already have.

This combines the strengths of Windows 8 with Windows 7.Windows Insider

The web that works the way you do

Windows 10 comes with Microsoft Edge, an all-new browser that’s built to give you a better web experience. Write or type notes directly on webpages and share them with others, read online articles free of distraction, and save your favorite reads for later access. And with Cortana2 enabled, you get instant access to key actions—like making reservations or reading reviews—without leaving the page you’re on.

Meet Cortana, your truly personal digital assistant

Cortana2 works across your day and your devices to help you get things done. By learning more over time, Cortana becomes more personal and useful to you. Cortana’s also best at reminders, delivering them at the right time and place so you forget less and can do more.

Tech Tuesday: Microsoft Band


MSBand_Group_Bike_Mapping_RGB

With this new wearable device, Microsoft has entered the fitness technology era. Classic design, new sensors, new displays and connected to everything you need. Microsoft’s Band has even received great reviews from technology sites and gurus. From the Microsoft website:

Microsoft Band, the first device powered by Microsoft Health, helps you achieve your wellness goals by tracking your heart rate, steps, calorie burn, and sleep quality. It also helps you be more productive with email previews and calendar alerts – right on your wrist.

Accessible anywhere.

Get the most out of Microsoft Band with the Microsoft Health app and a full-featured web dashboard. Via your phone, the app lets you track progress toward fitness goals with easy-to-understand charts. And the web dashboard provides insights, unique to you, in your favorite browser. The more you use your Microsoft Band, the more valuable these insights will become.

Email previews and calendar alerts appear right on your wrist so you know what you have to do and where you have to be even on the go. And with help from Cortana, your productivity will soar. Incoming calls, texts, social updates, weather, finance, and more – see them all on your wrist, discreetly and without needing to pull out your phone.

Cortana at your service.

If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana can reply to text messages, take notes, or set reminders with your voice. She’ll give you traffic notifications and keep you on top of sports, stocks, weather, and more. She is ready to help whenever you need it.

  • Achieve your wellness goals by tracking your heart rate, steps, calorie burn and sleep quality
  • Maximize your fitness with Guided Workouts, automatic activity counting, run and bike mapping
  • See email previews, calendar alerts, incoming calls, texts, and more at a glance
  • Works with Windows Phone, Android(TM) and iPhone

Tech Tuesday: Project Spartan


Microsoft had to do something, because Internet Explorer became synonymous with old, broken, buggy and slow. They pushed out Netscape way back when, the uber-browser in the 90s, now they themselves got pushed out with newer, younger, prettier, popular browsers like chrome, firefox and a myriad of others like dolphin, opera, sail to name but a few. They became that person everyone wants to avoid but can’t help running into.

So glad they wised up and had been working on something new.  Their hype is slow, I had a difficult time finding out details about ‘Project Spartan’, which sounds like something naughty, btw. All I could find is references to the one, same article, that states ‘Spartan is something new and exciting!”.

We all know new software is going to be buggy, difficult to use and full of frustration.

Welcome to the  new Microsoft.

 

Microsoft has all the poop on Project Spartan:

Powered by a new rendering engine, Spartan is designed for interoperability with the modern web. We’ve deliberately moved away from the versioned document modes historically used in Internet Explorer, and now use the same markup as other modern browsers. Spartan’s new rendering engine is designed to work with the way the web is written today.

Like Windows 10 itself Spartan will remain up-to-date: as a service, both providing new platform capabilities, security and performance improvements, and ensuring web developers a consistent platform across Windows 10 devices. Spartan and the new rendering engine are truly evergreen.

Spartan provides compatibility with the millions of existing enterprise web sites designed for Internet Explorer. To achieve this, Spartan loads the IE11 engine for legacy enterprise web sites when needed, while using the new rendering engine for modern web sites. This approach provides both a strong compatibility guarantee for legacy enterprise web sites and a forward looking interoperable web standards promise.

Click the link to read all about it: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2015/01/22/project-spartan-and-the-windows-10-january-preview-build.aspx

Tech Tuesday: Microsoft Phone’s Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day


Microsoft tried so hard to enter, take over the smartphone market and beat Apple to try and become the number one handset seller in the world. Well, the world handed their bottom line back to them on a silver platter. Microsoft worked from the inside to crash Nokia, all to take control of the handset the Norwegian company was famous. The first thing the software giant did was to bury Symbian and all other software Nokia was using, next they filled the famous hardware with Microsoft’s buggy and unpopular hardware that didn’t run anything nor did it accept other apps.

From bgr.com:

According to The Information, Microsoft this week will show off “a single code base inside the software that will allow an app to run well on phones, tablets and PCs, as opposed to being optimized for one screen size.” This is a big deal because while Windows Phone doesn’t have a strong app developer base, the desktop version of Windows absolutely does. So in theory, anyone who makes software and applications for Windows should soon be able to make Windows Phone apps with ease.

The Information also writes that Microsoft is planning on unveiling a new product this week in the form of “a phone-laptop hybrid” that’s designed to appeal to enterprise users but that likely won’t be available for a while.

Microsoft did themselves a disservice by doing a hostile takeover of Nokia and Nokia, in turn, was shortsighted by not listening to users that the software needed improvement for their awesome handsets. Microsoft’s MO of hostile takeovers to add to their arsenal of companies was in poor taste, that even I could see coming when Elop was hired as the CEO.

Now Microsoft is feeling the fruits of their labors. Poor sales, poor adoption by users, unpopular apps and software that is incompatible with any other phone on the market.

 

Tech Tuesday: The Nokia 215 $29 Phone


Nokia-215-hero1

Long have I been a fan of Nokia’s cell phones, since my first Nokia, the 151, then years later, the 9500 and 7380 (I’m still waiting for the Nokia Morph, guys). Not a true Nokia, however, since it doesn’t have the Symbian ecosystem, however, I’m willing to overlook this due to the sheer functionality of this emerging market phone.

Microsoft has unveiled a budget, Internet-connected phone under the Nokia brand, which will cost $29, as it steps up its efforts to capture the rapidly-growing emerging market consumer.

The Nokia 215’s Internet connection – albeit 2G – sets it apart from Microsoft’s other low-end devices, giving users access to Facebook, Twitter, a weather app and a web browser.

Connect in new ways

Calling and texting are important, but what if you could do more? The Nokia 215 has Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Bing Search, MSN Weather and the Opera Mini Browser. Want to connect with a Bluetooth headset or speaker? No problem. The Nokia 215 supports Bluetooth audio.

Read specifications here.

You won’t find this in the Americas, however, the Nokia 215 will be released in “select markets” in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe in the first quarter of this year.

 

Tech Tuesday: Win 10 Snagged 10 Million People


 

From engadget.com:

according to Microsoft, its Windows Insider Program hit one million registrants over the weekend, giving a lot of potential users access to the latest build of its next-gen operating system. Joining the Windows Insider Program doesn’t necessarily translate to an installed preview, but it is the only way to get access to Windows 10 currently. While it’s not clear how many of those millions have installed the OS, Microsoft says it has received over 200,000 pieces of feedback through Windows’ native feedback application.

Microsoft has reason to believe that most of that feedback is from extensive use, not just folks dipping their toe in the OS: its stats indicate that less than half of all installs are running on virtual machines, meaning most of its users installed Windows 10 natively.

To whet your whistle, here is some of the review from cnet.com:

Fresh start

Boot up a PC running the Windows 10 Technical Preview, and you’ll be dropped off at the oh so familiar desktop. A taskbar with familiar looking icons sits on the bottom, and the recycle bin sits in the upper left corner. A build number sitting on the right side of your desktop is the only indication that this isn’t Windows 8 all over again.

And then you press the Start button, and are greeted by the return of the Start menu. It’s a proper Start menu too, with your apps all stacked in that endless column of nested folders we’ve all been scrolling since Windows 95. And sitting alongside that column are Windows 8’s lovely Live Tiles, with news-bites and social updates spinning ad infinitum.

Old is new again

With Windows 10, the familiar and the new are mashed together in a form that’s only a little different, but suddenly more useful than ever before. You can have your Start menu, with familiar apps and services that you can pin to a list. And I can have my Live Tiles in a form that actually makes sense: informative nuggets of information feeding me calendar information, the status of my inbox, and social network updates, called up unobtrusively with the press of the Windows key. Press those Live Tile shortcuts, and the “Modern” apps open as classic windowed apps. You can drag them around, snap them to half of your display, or minimize and maximize them at will.

Click above links to read more.

Tech Tuesday: Windows 9….10


From the Verge Live Coverage

“We’re delivering one application platform.” You’ll get rid of XP, dammit!

“One store, one way for applications to be discovered, purchased, and updated across all of these devices.” To cut pirating.

“Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform, ever.” SO it’ll crash across all devices at the same rate?

“One of the most important customers for Windows is the enterprise.” I thought it was people?

“I have a Windows desktop, down here I have a taskbar. When I click the Start icon I get the Start Menu.” And here’s a toaster, here’s coffee.

“We’re looking to find the balance, so that all the Windows 7 users get a familiar experience on the devices they already have.”

There’s a me tile on the Start Menu, pinned apps and options to shutdown and restart.

Kind of what I showed you last week.

“The tiles and icons that are shown are a blend of classic apps and new universal apps.” Because we’re too lazy to code something productive.

“As users start using these apps they should just feel familiar and work in a way you’d expect with a mouse and keyboard.” hmmm…

There’s multiple desktops at the bottom of the interface, and when you launch task view it shows all the apps that are currently open. (wasn’t that Windows 7?)

There’s a new “Snap Assist” UI at the side where you can grab apps from multiple desktops.

“You can now paste in directories into command prompt with Ctrl+V. FINALLY.” We dont need no stinking users!