Windows 10 makes it out of the Terrible Twos ... hopefully skipping the Me! stage

Subject: General Tech | July 17, 2018 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, anniversary

It seems hard to believe but it is true, but Sunday July 29th marks the third year of Windows 10 being on the market.  The launch was unique, Microsoft decided to offer their new operating system for free to anyone running a valid copy of Windows 7 or 8.x; which you can still take advantage of if you so need.  The launch did not go perfectly and Microsoft's goal of having the device installed on 1 billion devices still has not been reached, though this year saw Win10 finally surpass Win7 in total market share.  The major updates have been somewhat problematic but it is safe to say that Windows 10 has improved somewhat since release; even enterprises are starting to consider adoption.

For more on the checkered past of Microsoft's latest OS, check out the Register.

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"Coming six years after the release of the beloved Windows 7, Windows 10 had a lot to live up to. Once the name got locked down – for a while it was referred to variously as "Windows 9", "Windows Next", "Threshold" and "Oh God, Make The Pain Stop" (at least as far this user was concerned.)"

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Source: The Register

NVIDIA, Oculus, Valve, AMD, and Microsoft Collaborate on VirtualLink VR Headset Standard

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2018 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: VR, VirtualLink, valve, usb 3.1, Type-C, Oculus, nvidia, microsoft, DisplayPort, amd

Today, NVIDIA, Oculus, Valve, AMD, and Microsoft, members of the VirtualLink consortium, have announced the VirtualLink standard, which aims to unify physically connecting Virtual Reality headsets to devices.

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Based upon the physical USB Type-C connector, VirtualLink will combine the bandwidth of DisplayPort 1.4 (32.1Gbit/s) with a USB 3.1 Data connection, and the ability to deliver up to 27W of power.

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VirualLink aims to simplify the setup of current VR Headsets

Given the current "Medusa-like" nature of VR headsets with multiple cables needing to feed video, audio, data, and power to the headset, simplifying to a single cable should provide a measurable benefit to the VR experience. In addition, having a single, unified connector could provide an easier method for third parties to provide wireless solutions, like the current TPCast device.

VirtualLink is an open standard, and the initial specifications can currently be found on the consortium website. 

Source: VirtualLink

Redmond phone home

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2018 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: Project Andromeda, surface phone, microsoft

If there is one thing you can count on from a Microsoft designed phone, it is confusion and today that has not changed one bit.  There are two conflicting stories, one from the second most Surface phone obsessed human on the planet and one from the head of the Microsoft Surface division.  At The Inquirer, we hear from Brad Sams who interprets comments from Paul Thurrott about Project Andromeda as signalling a delay in the release of the device as it goes back to the design stage.  Their sources feel Microsoft is still actively involved in the design of a phablet of some sort.

The head of Microsoft's Surface division Panos Panay on the other hand, stated there is no push to design a Surface phone, though new form factors are being currently designed.  This is not a direct contradiction, as a tablet optimized for use as a phone that does not bear the name Surface Phone could still be in the works, with no Lumia or Nokia branding.  He did confirm they are continuing work on the other Andromeda, the foldable, dual screen device which we have seen prototypes of. 

Either way, for the next year or so we can be sure we will not have to suffer the existance of a new Surface phone.

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"Microsoft's Surface head Panos Panay confirmed that the company is working on new form factors. When questioned about whether this would include a new Surface Phone, Panay stated that the Surface Phone was not one that they are thinking about at this time. "I wouldn't say that it includes a Surface Phone," Panos answered in the interview. "I think you have to think about where is that unmet need when you're thinking about your product road-map," he replied."

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Source: Slashdot

Podcast #506 - HTC VIVE Pro, Ryzen V1000, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2018 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: podcast, vive pro, V1000, team group, Surface Go, sennheiser, seasonic, SD 7.0, sapphire, ryzen, rx vega, microsoft, m3b, hyperx, htc, gsp 600, flexispot, biostar, 5x5, video

PC Perspective Podcast #506 - 07/12/18

Join us this week for discussion on HTC VIVE Pro, Ryzen V1000, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:17:23

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 0:58:15 Ryan: Mario Tennis Aces
    2. 1:00:20 Jeremy: Peak RGB, car underglow coming back next obviously
    3. 1:05:00 Allyn: Mobile Passport / Keep a spare capacitor for your HVAC (Turbo 200)
  4. Closing/outro
 
 
Source:

Cortana's feeling vulnerable; that's why she's always eavesdropping on you

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2018 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: security, windows 10, cortana, microsoft, spectre

If your Win10 machine did not go beep in the night, you might want to get on that reboot as there are numerous security patches waiting to install.  One of them is a long standing flaw which effects those who haven't disembowelled the Cortana search assistant on their computer.  For those that have managed to subdue Cortana, rest assured she is not listening to you at all times; those who haven't should be aware that she is always listening, even in her sleep.  As creepy as that already is, it has also been a way to take advantage of long standing security flaw in the assistant.   This, as well as a patch for a Spectre variant and a variety of other patches is waiting your installation. 

You can check out information on Cortana's bad habits over at The Inquirer.

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"Lane Thames, a senior security researcher at Tripwire, spoke out about the long-standing flaw with Cortana, that meant the AI helper was always listening for commands, even when a PC is locked."

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Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft Tetchy Net, no more Win7 support for you

Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2018 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: Windows 7, technet, microsoft

Today Microsoft announced the end of forum support for a wide variety of products, from Zune to Windows 7, as well as IE10 and a variety of office products.  The official end of life of these products was some time ago, but users could still access the technical support forums and occasionally get an answer from a Microsoft representative or forum VIP.  This is coming to an end as at least some of the forums are being locked, which will prevent users from helping users.  On the plus side, this also means that those threads will not receive posts from users who only want to vent and bury any previous answers that they may or may not have tried. 

Slashdot commenters are somewhat agitated by this move, as you would expect.

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"Microsoft has announced that starting next month it will no longer be participating in the technical support forums for Windows 7, 8.1, 8.1 RT and numerous other products. On the software front, the company says that it will also no longer provide support for Microsoft Security Essentials, Internet Explorer 10, Office 2010 and 2013 as of July."

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Source: Slashdot

Podcast #502 - Computex coverage and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2018 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: xTend, xps, video, Vega, Threadripper, Snapdragon 850, seasonic, scmd, ROG, qualcomm, podcast, Optane, nvidia, microsoft, logitech, Killer Wireless, Isaac, InWin, Intel, i7-8086k, git, fortnite, EPYC, dell, crystal, corsair, CaseKing, asus, aorus, amd, 7nm

PC Perspective Podcast #502 - 06/07/18

Join us this week for discussion on Computex and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:45:27

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 1:00:40 ASUS all the things
  3. Picks of the Week:
  4. Closing/outro
 
Source:

Git outta here! Microsoft just bought the largest open source repository hosting service?

Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2018 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: open source, purchase, microsoft, github

It is true, barring any legal challenges to the purchase, Microsoft will soon own GitHub, everyone's favourite source for open source software projects.  This might not come as a complete surprise to those who remember Microsoft working with GitHub to create the Git Virtual File System to scale up the versioning and other features Git offers to be able to handle Enterprise sized storage, including the Windows development.  Microsoft's in house solution, CodePlex was shut down recently with all code moving to Git, perhaps not a great sign.  There is also the fact that Microsoft has tended in the past to scale support directly with the cost of a license, which is less than encouraging for those who strictly contribute to the open source community on Git. 

We shall see what the coming months bring; Ars Technica offers insight into how the leadership at GitHub will change if this deal goes through.

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"Microsoft has reached an agreement to buy GitHub, the source repository and collaboration platform, in a deal worth $7.5 billion. The all-stock deal is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval in the US and EU."

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Source: Ars Technica

Rumor: Microsoft May Be Acquiring GitHub

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2018 - 07:46 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, github

Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft has decided to acquire GitHub for an unknown amount. Some people are reporting that the deal was worth $2 billion USD, although they might have misread the Bloomberg post, which was talking about a $2 billion USD valuation during a round of private investments back in 2015. That said, the price seems right for what GitHub is, so it wouldn’t surprise me if that was what Microsoft paid.

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And, of course, now people are also promoting alternatives. Personally, I use BitBucket and GitLab for work, but my personal projects are still on GitHub. While the new ownership doesn’t seem too bad to me, at least in the short term, I don’t say that with 100% confidence. In fact, just last year, Microsoft shut down CodePlex, which is like GitHub although it launched back in 2006. Bloomberg also reports that GitHub has been bleeding money in recent years, citing three quarters of 2016, so maybe it wouldn’t have lasted much longer to begin with.

There’s also some irony in Microsoft buying a company whose namesake, git, was created by Linus Torvalds.

Source: Bloomberg

.NET Core 2.1 Released

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2018 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, .net

Oh hey… Visual Studio wants to update again.

Microsoft and the .NET Foundation has just released .NET Core 2.1. This one is a long-term support (LTS) release, although they are expecting to stuff some extra features in the next couple months before the metaphorical train leaves the station. So, basically, expect a nice, stable version of .NET Core by the end of summer that will be good until around 2021.

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The headlining feature of this version is Span<T>. This struct allows C# to view into an existing buffer without copies, but also with type- and memory-safety. If you’re interfacing with a native DLL, you will no longer need to use the unsafe keyword if you operate on the Span. I’m guessing this will be useful for enterprise applications, although that might just be my personal experience clouding my world-view.

For a little extra background, .NET comes in two flavors: .NET Core and .NET Standard. They are kept up to date in parallel, but .NET Core is a multi-platform subset that ignores a lot of stuff like WPF / Windows Forms, etc. That way you can develop cross-platform applications to a specific standard, while Windows-centric developers can do their own thing with windows and buttons and stuff.

It’s available in Visual Studio 2017 (15.7) so click on that yellow flag.