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Showing posts from May 7, 2017

Microsoft Windows Story Remix Looks To Revamp Story Telling

Microsoft showed off Windows Story Remix at Build 2017 and I have to say it looks like a real game changer for the sort of story telling which used to be the preserve of Apple and iMovie.
There are a number of features which stand out - all demonstrated in the video above - but what ties them all together is that they move the game on for amateur and even so more professional movie making.
Add to the new capabilities Microsoft added to Windows 10 in the recent Creators Update, plus further new tools it what is now being  called the Fall Creators Update, and you can see a strategy in Microsoft's product plan: get Apple.
New hardware with a strong focus on innovative design, new controls to improve OS reliability and security and new features to capture the interest of creative types; these are all things which bring Microsoft into direct competition with Apple in the latter's 'home' market.
Right now it's also interesting that Microsoft seems to be delivering produ…

Global Ransomware Attack Looks Like A Great Ad For iOS, Windows 10 S

Aside from the suffering and misery currently being caused to all affected by the Wcry ransomware, there is a second point of interest here: how this affects the positioning of operating systems in the public perception.
This makes a very good argument for Microsoft switching every new Windows PC to Windows 10 S by default, given the very strict controls over what can and can't run on the platform. If users choose to upgrade to Pro, they then do so with the understanding they are worsening security on their computers as a result.
Similarly, Apple can make a very strong argument for the security credentials of iOS. Whilst iOS is far from invulnerable from such an attack, the chance of it occurring are infinitesimally small.
Further evidence that Apple needs to make the switch from Mac OS to iOS sooner rather than later. At least current versions of Mac OS bar installs from outside of the Apple Store.
Every other platform out there is vulnerable to this sort of attack - barely a we…

NHS Cyber Attack - There Are No Excuses

NHS Trusts still using Windows XP have been victims of a ransomware attack which has closed clinics and impacted patients - and it was entirely avoidable.

Microsoft flagged its Windows XP lifecycle dates early. Mainstream support ended in 2009, with extended support finishing in April 2014. These dates were known well in advance and yet 7% of computers remain on the 'dead' OS today. Far too many of them, apparently, within the NHS.

When the 2014 end of support date rolled around the UK Government entered a one year agreement to provide extended support for NHS Trusts who hadn't migrated to Windows 7 (despite seven years notice of the need to do so). This was an emergency measure to allow them to complete the transformation of their fleet.

It appears too many Trusts decided that lifecycle management of their IT estate wasn't worth the expenditure and did nothing. A decision which is now coming back to haunt them.

It appears there are also other PCs affected at Trusts w…

Why Apple Had To Deliver iTunes As A Windows Store App

One of the two key apps I identified as being affected by the delivery of Windows 10 S will be coming to the Windows Store - validating Microsoft's decision to lock down its new Windows SKU for consumers and students.
Apple will be releasing iTunes for Windows Store because it can't afford to let a large proportion of Windows 10 buyers think that they have no path for connecting iOS devices to their new computers. If the sales of the iPhone were impacted by the inability to connect to Windows, Apple would find itself in a very bad position indeed.
You may think connecting your phone to a PC is something you would never do and so couldn't actually care less about putting iTunes on your computer anyway. After all who syncs their phone with their PC in the cloud age?
However, despite what some people will tell you, Apple has a less than perfect record with iOS updates, leading to locked or bricked devices, in varying numbers, after a new version of iOS is shipped. The soluti…

Windows 10 ARM Will Support x86 Apps, Runs Astonishingly Well

As part of Build 2017 Microsoft has released new information on the forthcoming Windows 10 ARM version, which is expected to start shipping on new devices later this year. Included is the above video, which contains plenty of unimportant (to an end user anyway) details around emulated processes and abstraction layers.
What it also does is give us our first real look at Windows running on a SnapDragon 835, and whilst these sorts of videos have to be taken with a grain of salt, the performance of Windows on the mobile chip looks to be exceptional.
Further good news comes in the ability to run Windows apps designed for Intel x86, without conversion or having to wait for a Windows Store app to be delivered. If you can install it in Windows today you'll be able to do exactly the same under Windows 10 ARM, with all the emulation handled by Windows. UWP apps installed from the store run natively on the ARM processor - with even more impressive performance - as long as the developer has …

Rumours Of New iPad Designs Damaging Sales Today

Rumours of a completely new iPad design are starting to surface (no pun intended!) again. The bezel free, 10.5" screen iPad Pro is allegedly incoming in June, presumably with the expectation of a launch at WWDC.
Doesn't seem to be a very credible rumour, given the same sources called the last iPad introduction badly wrong. However I can't help but wonder if the continued larger than market average iPad sales decline is being driven by the continued rumours of a new, all-singing, all-dancing iPad design.
The bezel-less iPad rumours are suspect because of the way a tablet is used. The bezel is an important feature allowing the tablet to be held. Make the tablet bezels too small and the chances of dropping the device or unintended screen interaction are greatly increased. However the promise of a slate which is all screen seems to be one the market is keen to wait for.
As a result iPad sales last quarter fell twice as fast as the rest of the market combined.
So it's loo…

Windows 10 HIts Half A Billion Users

Microsoft ticked off another milestone for Windows 10 at Build yesterday, announcing that the platform was now in use across 500 million devices. That's up significantly since this time last year, when Windows 10 was installed on 300 million devices.
Confirming the level of growth, Windows 10 is now in use on more than 26% of computers, according to NetMarketShare - its best figures to date.
Microsoft has significantly missed its target of one billion installs though and the currently popular reason for this not happening is the failure of Windows 10 Mobile. I don't buy that. Firstly, even at its highest peak of sales (right before the launch of Windows 10) the idea of smartphones adding more than a handful of devices to the Windows 10 pool would have been ridiculous.
And, secondly, it seems highly unlikely Microsoft would have taken Windows smartphone sales into account in its initial predictions when the company was planning on killing the (effectively) platform within a fe…

Surface Laptop, Ports And The Microsoft - Apple Media Relationship

Something very interesting happened when Microsoft released the Surface Laptop last week, it managed to almost completely avoid criticism of a design choice for which Apple has recently received a major pounding.
The Surface Laptop has just one standard USB port. Yet in the wide coverage the product has received there has been little comment on this decision. Compare this to recent Apple launches of the MacBook and MacBook Pro, where USB port number and configuration has been a major issue.
Yes, Microsoft does include the laptop standard Mini DisplayPort video out port, but in all respects the Laptop is no more portable than the Surface tablet from which it grew.
Why has the media given Microsoft a pass on this - especially when it so recently lashed out at Apple for the same thing? It's a complete reversal of the historical position, where Microsoft has been torn apart for things Apple has been given a free pass on.
Microsoft has been a roll recently, products which have been we…

Windows 10 S Is Microsoft Taking On The Future

Windows 10 S is a bold move by a Microsoft that recognises the threats iOS and Chrome OS present to its Windows monopoly. This isn't the first time Microsoft has attempted to move Windows into a position to compete with new paradigm operating systems - that was Windows RT - but this is the first time that it can actually pull it off.
When RT launched alongside the original Surface and Windows 8 it slammed straight into controversies left right and centre. Windows 8 was an OS designed to work in both desktop and tablet modes in order to be ready for a new post-PC generation which was expected to focus around tablets, in the wake of the intial success of the iPad. Very few people understood or liked it. RT had the same split personality, with the added restriction of only being able to run apps which had been re-compiled for ARM processors.
Windows 10 S is different. Everybody loves Windows 10 - 400 million users can't be wrong. The new platform's success has gone hand in h…

Is The Surface Pro Getting A Speed Bump This Month

Panos Panay has ruffled some feathers this week following an interview with CNET in which his comments are being presented as killing off the expected Surface Pro 5. The interview, primarily focused on the new Surface Laptop, contains questions on the Surface Pro 4 leading to the question "Does this mean there's a fifth-generation Surface Pro on the way soon?"
Unsurprisingly Panay sidesteps the question with something of a non-answer. Exactly the response I'd expect from any other industry executive. Was the interviewer (or indeed the internet) expecting Panay to respond "Why yes, as matter of fact we have a new Surface Pro 5 just a few months away from release... hey why did everyone stop buying Surface Pro 4?" 
Saying that, I'm not expecting a major revision of the Surface Pro anytime soon. It remains a close to perfect hybrid package. However my guess is that at the end of this month Microsoft will bring the SP4 up to the same specifications as the …

The Future Of Transport Is Public, Not Autonomous Or Flying

Billionaires in California would have you believe that the answer to global traffic congestion lies in self-driving cars and ways to keep us in them for longer. They are even pushing  for flying cars. 
They are wrong, and the billions of dollars being sunk into development promise only a future of extended traffic crisis and the misery that goes with it.
Moving large numbers of people from their place of residence to their place of work or place of recreation is best handled by a mass transit system that places the needs of the traveler over that of the profit maker. A properly integrated and properly maintained system of buses, trains, trams and ferries offer many more fundamental benefits than a system which prioritises individual private car usage. Every City that hasn't understood this lesson has seen traffic problems grow over the last two decades.
The key to making a public transport system work is to ensure that it is properly resourced and maintained. This can only be ach…