Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | April 4, 2014 - 03:42 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: BUILD 2014, microsoft, .net
.NET has been very popular since its initial release. I saw it used frequently in applications, particularly when a simple form-like interface is required. It was easy to develop and accessible from several languages, such as C++, C#, and VB.NET. Enterprise application developers were particularly interested in it, especially with its managed security.
The framework drove an open source movement to write their own version, Mono, spearheaded by Novell. Some time later, the company Xamarin was created from the original Mono development team and maintains the project to this day. In fact, Miguel de Icaza was at Build 2014 discussing the initiative. He seems content with Microsoft's new Roslyn compiler and the working relationship between the two companies as a whole.
WinJS is released under the very permissive Apache 2.0 license. Other code, such as Windows Phone Toolkit, are released under other licenses, such as the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL). Pay attention to any given project's license. It would not be wise to assume. Still, it sounds like a good step.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | April 2, 2014 - 09:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: BUILD 2014, microsoft, windows, start menu
Microsoft had numerous announcements during their Build 2014 opening keynote, which makes sense as they needed to fill the three hours that they assigned for it. In this post, I will focus on the upcoming changes to the Windows desktop experience. Two, albeit related, features were highlighted: the ability to run Modern Apps in a desktop window, and the corresponding return of the Start Menu.
I must say, the way that they grafted Start Screen tiles on the Start Menu is pretty slick. The Start Menu, since Windows Vista, has felt awkward with its split between recently used applications and common shortcuts in a breakout on the right with an expanded "All Programs" submenu handle on the bottom. It is functional, and it works perfectly fine, but something just felt weird about it. This looks a lot cleaner, in my opinion, especially since its width is variable according to how many applications are pinned.
Of course, my major complaint with Windows 8.x has nothing to do with the interface. There has not been any discussion around sideloading applications to get around Windows Store certification requirements. This is a major concern for browser vendors and should be one for many others, from hobbyists who might want to share their creations with one or two friends or family members, rather than everyone in an entire Windows Store region, or citizens of countries whose governments might pressure Microsoft to ban encryption or security applications.
That said, there is a session tomorrow called "Deploying and Managing Enterprise Apps", discussing changes app sideloading in Windows 8.1. Enterprise users are already allowed sideloading certificates from Microsoft. Maybe it will be expanded? I am not holding my breath.
Keep an eye out, because there should be a lot of news over the next couple of days.
Subject: General Tech | April 2, 2014 - 06:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, Build Conference, win 8.1
What was once called a Service Pack and is now referred to as 'Update 1' will be arriving soon for those few who currently run Windows 8.1. The feature with the biggest potential to gain this OS market share is Enterprise mode with legacy support for IE11; allowing large corporations to chose Win 8.1 without having to redesign legacy applications and global intranets from scratch. It's ability to run on 1GB of memory is also attractive to large industries who have no desire to upgrade the hardware on custom DOM machines nor legacy task specific servers. The Inquirer also mentioned an intriguing feature referred to as a Start Menu and enhanced support for arcane peripherals such the keyboard and mouse.
"MICROSOFT PREVIEWED the long awaited return of the Start Menu in Windows 8.1 during a surprise announcement on Wednesday, alongside a major update for the software."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Windows Phone 8.1 launches with Cortana personal assistant @ The Inquirer
- USB Reversable Cable Images Emerge @ Slashdot
- Single chip photon source brings quantum comms closer @ The Register
- What Role Do SSD Components Play - Learning To Run With Flash @ The SSD Review
- BlackBerry sucker-punches TV star Ryan Seacrest in patent brawl @ The Register
- NVIDIA GTC 2014 Recap: Pascal, TITAN Z, Deep-learning & More @ Techgage
Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2014 - 12:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rtf, microsoft, outlook, word, fud
Users of Microsoft Word 2003 to the current version on PC or the 2011 version for Mac, which means any version of Outlook or other Microsoft application in which Word is the default text editor may want to avoid RTF attachments for the next while. There is an exploit in the wild which could allow a nefariously modified RTF file to give an attacker access to the machine which it was opened on at the same level as the user. This does mean that those who follow the advice of most Windows admins and do not log in to an administrator level account for day to day work need not worry overly but those who ignore the advice may find themselves compromised. As The Register points out, just previewing the attachment in Outlook is enough to trigger a possible infection.
"Microsoft has warned its Word software is vulnerable to a newly discovered dangerous bug – which is being exploited right now in "limited, targeted attacks" in the wild. There is no patch available at this time."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hey, Glasshole: That cool app? It has turned you into a SPY DRONE @ The Register
- Remote ATM Attack Uses SMS To Dispense Cash @ Slashdot
- Brain structure inspires FinFET @ Nanotechweb
- Ubuntu 14.04: Intel's Haswell Linux Driver Comes Up Short Of Windows @ Phoronix
- How to Manage Btrfs Storage Pools, Subvolumes And Snapshots on Linux (part 1) @ Linux.com
- Intel desktop Haswell Refresh processors to be available in April @ DigiTimes
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | March 16, 2014 - 03:27 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows, mozilla, microsoft, Metro
If you use the Firefox browser on a PC, you are probably using its "Desktop" application. They also had a version for "Modern" Windows 8.x that could be used from the Start Screen. You probably did not use it because fewer than 1000 people per day did. This is more than four orders of magnitude smaller than the number of users for Desktop's pre-release builds.
Yup, less than one-thousandth.
Jonathan Nightingale, VP of Firefox, stated that Mozilla would not be willing to release the product without committing to its future development and support. There was not enough interest to take on that burden and it was not forecast to have a big uptake in adoption, either.
From what we can see, it's pretty flat.
Paul Thurrott of WinSupersite does not blame Mozilla for killing "Metro" Firefox. He acknowledges that they gave it a shot and did not see enough pre-release interest to warrant a product. He places some of the blame on Microsoft for the limitations it places on browsers (especially on Windows RT). In my opinion, this is just a symptom of the larger problem of Windows post-7. Hopefully, Microsoft can correct these problems and do so in a way that benefits their users (and society as a whole).
Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2014 - 03:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, office, office 365, tablet
The newest member of Microsoft's cloudy version of the world's most common productivity software is called Office 365 Personal and it will provide a single license which can be used on a PC or Mac and one tablet. The subscription will cost less than the current Office 365 Home Premium which allowed up to five devices access but only offered a version of Office dubbed Office Mobile for tablets and phones. This will not be the watered down version of Office that ships with WinRT on Surface and while The Register was provided some hints on what the new software will look like we won't be seeing any demos until closer to the launch which will take place this Spring.
"Microsoft will soon debut a new formulation of its Office 365 subscription service aimed at individual consumers, the company said on Thursday, and in the process it hinted that new, touch-centric Office apps may be coming soon."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google starts encrypting search data to protect users from NSA snooping @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft gives away Windows Phone 8 licences in India – report @ The Register
- HTC One 2 release date, specs, rumours and price @ The Inquirer
- VLC Player beta arrives for Windows 8 @ The Inquirer
- The real story behind Twin Galaxies @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | March 5, 2014 - 08:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: qualcomm, nvidia, microsoft, Intel, gdc 14, GDC, DirectX 12, amd
The announcement of DirectX 12 has been given a date and time via a blog post on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) blogs. On March 20th at 10:00am (I assume PDT), a few days into the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, the upcoming specification should be detailed for attendees. Apparently, four GPU manufacturers will also be involved with the announcement: AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm.
As we reported last week, DirectX 12 is expected to target increased hardware control and decreased CPU overhead for added performance in "cutting-edge 3D graphics" applications. Really, this is the best time for it. Graphics processors are mostly settled into highly-efficient co-processors of parallel data, with some specialized logic for geometry and video tasks. A new specification can relax the needs of video drivers and thus keep the GPU (or GPUs, in Mantle's case) loaded and utilized.
But, to me, the most interesting part of this announcement is the nod to Qualcomm. Microsoft values DirectX as leverage over other x86 and ARM-based operating systems. With Qualcomm, clearly Microsoft believes that either Windows RT or Windows Phone will benefit from the API's next version. While it will probably make PC gamers nervous, mobile platforms will benefit most from reducing CPU overhead, especially if it can be spread out over multiple cores.
Honestly, that is fine by me. As long as Microsoft returns to treating the PC as a first-class citizen, I do not mind them helping mobile, too. We will definitely keep you up to date as we know more.
Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2014 - 03:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, surroundweb
Microsoft is working on a new way to display the web to you, projecting it onto your walls. They make use of Kinect to map your walls so that they can pick where to beam your content. According to what Microsoft told The Inquirer, they can manage to project sites at 30 frames per second with up to 25 screens and up to a 1440x720 resolution. They make a nod to security concerns, it seems that the information about what your room contains will not be sent back to the website you are viewing.
"Called Surroundweb, the software is peddled by Microsoft as an "immersive room experience". However, as far as we can see, it's simply a means of projecting different parts of a web page on different surfaces around a room."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft adds nag screens as Windows XP End of Life looms Chris Merriman @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft integrates Skype with Outlook.com @ The Inquirer
- How to Use htaccess to Run Multiple Drupal 7 Websites on Your Cheapo Hosting Account @ Linux.com
- Radeon Gallium3D Performance Gets Close To Catalyst On Ubuntu 14.04 @ Phoronix
- In spinning rust we TRUST: HGST slips out screamingly fast ... HDD @ The Register
- New Attack Hijacks DNS Traffic From 300,000 Routers @ Slashdot
- Exclusive interview with Tobias Brinkman from OCZ @ Kitguru
- Antec USA & EU Joint Giveaway @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | March 2, 2014 - 10:34 PM | Scott Michaud
According to Kara Swisher at Re/code, two of Microsoft's Executive Vice Presidents are leaving the company. Tony Bates, EVP of Business Development and Evangelism, and Tami Reller, EVP of Marketing, are expected to have their departure announced to the public on Tuesday. Tony Bates joined the company during the Skype acquisition in 2011, while Tami Reller has been with Microsoft since it acquired Great Plains Software in 2001. While Bates is expected to depart immediately, Reller is expected to remain for a while and "help with the transition".
Video Credit: Dilbert Youtube Channel
Seeing the Microsoft reorganization, it should be quite obvious how expensive they can become. They are struggling to find a path for their products that their customers actually want to go down. At the same time, people seem to be flying in every direction. I just wonder if these are the final movements.
Subject: General Tech | March 1, 2014 - 02:16 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: microsoft, Windows Store, appstore
Microsoft introduced its own application download repository with Windows 8 along with an SDK for developers to put together touch friendly applications around the formerly-Metro-No-Longer-Modern-Whatever-It-Is-Called-This-Month user interface. Dubbed the Windows Store, it would be the source of applications for Windows RT, Windows Phone, and Windows x86/64 alike.
Since the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview in February 2012, users have been able to use the Windows Store application to search for and download both free and paid-for apps. The Windows Store is a curated marketplace with applications that must be certified for compatibility by Microsoft who takes a percentage of sale price (30% or less depending on number of downloads).
At the end of last year, Microsoft had approximately 142,000 apps listed in the Store. Further, the company is seeing as many as 4 million application downloads per day from the Store. The 4 million downloads per day number was uncovered by Alex Wilhelm at TechCrunch, and is a 134.6% increase over the downloads/day number from October 2013. The breakdown of application type is pre-dominately free with paid applications acconting for less than half of the daily downloads (which makes sense).
At the current download rate, Microsoft could push as many as 1.46 billion app downloads a year. All things considered, the Windows Store is still dwarfed in downloads, number of apps, and popularity by the iOS, Google, and Mac app stores, but it is showing a surprising amount of growth lately. Hopefully this rise in popularity will beget more popularity from the cycle of developers getting interested in the Store and users getting new applications. (Ideally, as the Windows Store userbase grows, developers will have increased incentive to program new, or port existing, apps
to Metro which should further bring in new users and so on).
Have you used the Windows Store to find new Start Screen apps?