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All posts tagged Cortana

Meetings Suck

Come on, admit most meetings suck. They aren’t particularly productive; most people amble to and from work meetings in a semi-stupor and we tend to spend way too much time in them.

When was the last meeting you got to amped up?
When was the last meeting you left feeling inspired or driven?
When was the last meeting you ran that was on subject and you nailed it?

ABC - Officing

Why Do Meetings Suck and Why Do We Suck At Meetings?

Most of us know how to schedule a meeting from Google Calendar or Outlook but usually that’s where we start to cock things up:

Stop using vague titles.
Where is the agenda?
Do all those people really need to come to this meeting? All the wrong people in all the wrong places.
Do you fear attachments? Don’t worry, link to the relevant documents in your company cloud.
Timing is everything. Not just when in the day but how long. Most meetings can get to done in 30 minutes. Some need an hour. Very few need more than this and those need a break in the middle.

The fact is we suck at meetings because running a productive meeting is a skill. A skill that requires continuous improvement. We dump people in the workplace and expect them to know how to run a meeting and deliver results.

Most people don’t really understand the point of a meeting or how to run one.

What’s the Point of It All?

Understanding this one thing about meetings.

Screengrab from the 1991 Castle Rock Entertainment movie, City Slickers via YouTube.

meetings suck - one thing

MEETINGS ARE TO TACKLE A PROBLEM WITH WHOEVER IS NEEDED TO GET TO THE SOLUTION.

Solution means decisions. Decisions mean action items. A meeting with no decisions is a waste of time. What did you solve?

The Warptest POV

You attacked the problem and engaged people in the meeting. You made sure everyone got to speak and was heard. Now write down every decision and treat it as an action item.

After the meeting, you share a summary where these action items are assigned to specific people with deadlines. Without this, meetings suck and will continue to suck.

All your calendar and appointment apps are great at setting meetings, but then the reminder just disappears without asking you to follow up. Certainly, none of them integrate an action driven follow-up.

Cortana - Windows 8

In an age of Siri, Cortana, Google Now why aren’t these Digital Assistants integrated with your meetings to record meetings? Why aren’t they asking you to follow up? Why isn’t text-to-speech built in, so you can run the meeting without the distraction of taking notes?

Microsoft has already enabled Cortana integration with Office 365. This is the start. At Build 2017 they announced the preview of Cortana Skills to solve this kind of problem. Alternatively, you can add their new Dictate service to your Office 365 to allow Word to convert what’s said in the meeting to text.

WHAT WE ALL REALLY WANT ARE READY-BAKED APPS THAT TAKE THE MEETING FROM INCEPTION, THRU SCHEDULING ALL THE WAY TO ACTION ITEMS.

Game on Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook.

Windows 10 Is Celebrating…

On August 2nd Windows 10 will roll out its anniversary upgrade. It’s big.

First, for all of you who fear the Windows Update, don’t. Do be prepared. From August 2nd until you get the Anniversary Upgrade check Windows Update to ensure it runs when it’s convenient for you.

Otherwise you can expect to see the “Don’t turn off your computer” screen as updates are applied, just when you are getting ready to leave work.

Windows 10 - Ned Stark

What Is This Anniversary Update Of Which You Speak?

Many of us remember Service Packs. Today Microsoft is deploying the major update to Windows 10 thru an Anniversary Update. This is 1 year from the official launch of Windows 10. The success of the Operating System is largely due to Microsoft building an incredible crowdsourced solution of invested consumers who chose to install Fast Ring or Slow Ring updates. (Fast having been through low level testing and Slow having been exposed to more in-depth testing before release to these Insiders.)

Those who chose Fast Ring were opting for early adoption of new features but possible instability with it. This is the next step after the end of the free upgrade to Windows 10 that Microsoft offered all year.

The Windows Insider program was for Windows 10 for Desktop / Tablets and Windows 10 Mobile. For those of you wary of installing the update here are three facts courtesy of Microsoft: –

  • Insiders have submitted over 8.6 million pieces of feedback.
  • Insiders spent over 443 million hours on Windows 10.
  • The Insider Program is now available in 30 languages.

The Warptest POV

I’m not going to get into all the details of what new features and fixes we are going to get. Reviewing an Operating System is lengthy, thirsty work. Once we all get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update I’ll deep dive the changes. Some of these changes were alluded to at BUILD2016.

The metrics above tell you one thing, this has been vigorously tested, reported on and had changes recommended not just by Microsoft employees but people just like you who work with Windows 10 every day in a variety of locales, jobs and languages.

We can expect big things from Cortana, the already awesome Edge browser is getting superpowers and if you have a Surface, from the pen and inking. Microsoft are not going to stop with this update though. Expect more greatness.

Windows 10 - Anniversary Ninja Catnniversary Update – Ninja Cat – courtesy of Windows Insider Program

If you take one thing away from this post, this is a big update in terms of size, install duration and impact. Don’t try to run this during prime work time or just before you leave the office.

You’ve been cautioned now get ready to be wowed.

LinkedIn and Microsoft, That’s Right.

LinkedIn just accepted a hefty $26.2 Billion from Microsoft for their acquisition. This has left techies, bloggers and astounded and scrambling to understand what just happened.

How much?!??

;

What Is LinkedIn?

All you have to do is jump over to LinkedIn’s About page:

LinkedIn - About Page

Nutshell, Microsoft just acquired “the world’s largest professional network with more than 433 million members in 200 countries.”

Start from the data, connections and analytics available. Now think about your connections. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the value of this kind of big data set. Do the math, how much Microsoft paid against the number of users…

What will Microsoft do with LinkedIn? We can expect UX refinements in iterations but not a sudden drastic change. Will LinkedIn end up with New Windows UI? Probably down the line.

LinkedIn is all about connections, networking and building relationships within the network. It’s about professional development for workers and sourcing for the employer. LinkedIn lets us build better profiles, in some ways replacing the conventional resume and references but more than that, it allows discovery. Discovery of potential job prospects and potential recruitment candidates.

Many people have faulted LinkedIn for their UI / UX choice but there are a few other big issues: –

  1. Discovery and ranking: how does LinkedIn actually improve your chances of discovery? There are different things you need to do to ensure a complete profile. In addition, you cannot neglect your profile nor fail to interact.
  2. Job suggestions: the algorithm behind this doesn’t learn from choices and often offers many false positives.
  3. Interaction: LinkedIn sends a slew of emails, and the more groups etc you participate in, the more email you have to wade thru.
  4. Groups: LinkedIn groups should be incredible but the groups are the successor to online forums and have not solved the problem of recurring discussions instead of a continued thread.

The Warptest POV

Satya Nadella has a vision, a mission statement for Microsoft. To empower each person… to do more. Microsoft is about productivity and collaboration and they have gone full-bore into cross-platform and open source.

Microsoft BUILD 2016 was where we saw much of this vision come together and it is not hard to see how this will be applied to LinkedIn:

  1. Metro New Windows UI: LinkedIn will iterate to a flat UI like the rest of Microsoft. Not overnight.
  2. Office 365: this is a no-brainer. Business Insider shows Satya Nadella’s letter regarding the LinkedIn acquisition and he makes clear reference to tighter productivity integration. Will we see “build a Word resume from your LinkedIn profile and save to OneDrive”? This, in-app use of templates and more Office 365 goodness can be expected.
  3. Cortana: as Cortana continues to evolve, acquire an increased skillset and integrate with more apps, we can expect to see Cortana integrate with LinkedIn.
  4. Bots: Microsoft launched their Bot Framework and this may offer a better solution to job suggestions, discovery and excess emails.
  5. Bing: Microsoft has integrated Bing with several other external platforms including Siri & Facebook (in the past). Logical and somewhat obvious.
  6. Office Graph: Office Graph and Delve make intelligent discovery seamless within Office 365. This will amp up job and candidate discovery.

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This doesn’t even factor in Microsoft location or ad services.

So Microsoft has the biggest dataset of professional connections in the world, new companies, who is looking for work, who wants to source the best candidates and the trending discussions in groups of different high profile jobs. This is all actionable intelligence for the biggest company selling Enterprise and Consumer IT solutions.
 
Now bring AI, bots frameworks, analytics and search-discovery to bear along with the most powerful productivity suite in the world.
Get ready for a better LinkedIn. I know I am.

Cortana Is An Integral Part of Windows 10…

Cortana Mobile and Desktop plays a huge part in the strategy for Microsoft’s ecosystem. The intelligent personal assistant AI is part and parcel of Windows 10 Desktop and Mobile. In addition, there are versions available for Android and iOS.

cortana - android play store cortana - itunes app store

This makes Cortana the most wide-spread cross-platform AI app available today. When Windows Phone users heard this, there were many who feared that Microsoft were giving away the farm.

Jump Forward In Time

To BUILD 2016 and we are hearing about Cortana – BOT integration / Windows / Office integration. Shortly thereafter, Cortana (on Windows 10 desktop) started notifying users about missed calls in real time, with the user able to send a message back to the caller. That’s right: personal assistant, so it makes sense she should be handling your calls this way, no?

There is a catch. This feature is available to Windows Phone users who are logged into the same Microsoft account on their Windows 10 Phone as their desktop. Right now this feature is exclusively available to Windows 10 Mobile.

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The Warptest POV

As someone who spends a lot of time working on his laptop, and a Windows Phone user, I love this feature. Sending a potted or custom message from my Windows 10 laptop is a useful feature that allows me to respond rapidly and get right back to work. No switching devices.

Whilst Apple have gone the whole hog with making / answering calls from a Mac for the iPhone, I have no doubt that Cortana will receive upgrades and enhancements to this feature in the future.

Seeing Windows Phone exclusive features is a reassurance when many are wheeling out the tired old “Windows Phone is dead” rants. Since this feature is dependent on having the same Microsoft account on phone and laptop, it will be interesting to see if Cortana for iOS or Android ends up supporting this integration with Windows 10.

As predicted, Cortana is only going to become more versatile, more integral to our daily use of Windows 10 (and other apps). If you aren’t using her yet, you should be.

Here’s how you can learn everything Cortana can do for you. Get cracking.

Microsoft Productivity Solutions …

Microsoft Productivity Solutions are a crucial milestone for Satya Nadella’s reimagined company in 2016. The foundation for this was the plan to get Office everywhere, a move that began during the Ballmer days of Microsoft.

Since then Microsoft has flipped reality on its head by becoming the uncrowned king of cross-platform even bringing apps to iOS or Android in place of Windows Phone.

It’s no secret that the path to success is not walled communities or a locked-in, isolated ecosystem (you know I’m talking to you Tim Cook). Microsoft have already taken the next steps towards a productivity ecosystem that is open to conversation & interaction between their products and 3rd party services.

How Are Microsoft Enabling This?

What we are seeing is a 3-step plan to maximize productivity in workplaces that use Microsoft technologies like Office 365 and or Windows 10: –

  1. Office Connectors: currently over fifty popular 3rd party apps can connect and interact with Office 365.
  2. Cortana and Proactive Actions: at BUILD 2016, Microsoft announced that Developers could register to turn Cortana’s insights into triggers for specific responses.
  3. Flow and Power Apps: users with educational or work accounts can easily turn their data into apps and create automated workflows between apps and services.

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This week Microsoft announced the roadmap for an overhauled, revamped Sharepoint with a strong cross-platform mobile, cloud orientation. The really big news about this is that much of the 3-step plan above will end up integrated into the new Sharepoint.

The Warptest POV

All this is more of the game changing plan introduced by Satya Nadella. This is creating a cohesive, unified experience where there is increased ROI to choosing Office 365 and or Windows 10 (especially in the workplace).

The automated actions between 3rd party apps like Twitter, Slack and Cortana or Office 365 are a logical evolution. Microsoft realize that there are web applications and services out there that deliver solutions they don’t.

What’s more enabling this is an incredible force multiplier for Microsoft productivity solutions.

All this grants us greater efficiency, improved collaboration and again, increased productivity through: –

Microsoft Productivity Solutions - Force Multiplier

Nor should we forget that Office 365 has another super-powered aspect, Delve. Adding all this external data to the mix is not going to decrease content discovery if Delve is enabled by your Office Admin.

Whilst Proactive Actions for Cortana are a developer oriented solution the other aspects of this plan are not.

All this places Microsoft productivity solutions at the front of the race for users’ hearts, minds and data. There are a couple of questions: –

  1. Will real-time data be transient (by default) when used by Microsoft productivity solutions?
  2. Will all this new data flowing inwards impact on storage requirements?
  3. How will this affect pricing models for Office, Sharepoint or OneDrive?

If consumers choose this model then it could spell and end to tolerance for Apple’s walled garden model.

Are you ready to dive in and maximize your productivity?

Going to Microsoft BUILD 2016 Is A Dream…

Instead I watched BUILD 2016 on my laptop on livestream via Microsoft Channel 9. BUILD is the developer conference if you work in the Microsoft ecosystem and is a conference that sells out usually within hours of registration opening. (Other livestream panels can be seen via the CH9 link from the conference).

After 3 days following social media it appears that Microsoft managed to cram a colossal amount of news into a 3-day conference.

The event began today and kicked off with a keynote speech from CEO, Satya Nadella, with him handing over the reins at different stages to variety of Microsoft personnel to present on their niche(s).

BUILD 2016 - Keynote Day 1 - Satya Nadella

The first keynote lasted 3 hours and some of the tech blogs predictions were accurate but as usual Microsoft were able to surprise developers and general viewers alike.

BUILD 2016 Keynote Highlights

The keynote began with Satya Nadella leading with his philosophy regarding the challenges facing technological advancement, social impact and the ramifications for developers. He added that the benefit of a conference for developers is that they come ready inspired.

After reiterating Microsoft’s fundamental philosophy of mobile first, cloud first and highlighting the mission statement. He cited both Azure and Office365 as mainstays of this, mentioning the recently announced Office Connectors and add-ons and the ever increasing value of rich semantic data that delivering Microsoft Graph would grant developers.

The first focus was on personal computing and Windows 10:

Windows 10 was described again as a comprehensive ecosystem of devices ranging from IOT all the way thru to Hololens. Satya Nadella then made first mention of a new emerging platform:

BUILD 2016 - Conversations as a Platform

Digesting Everything Announced at BUILD 2016

After spending some time digesting all the news from the BUILD 2016 keynote it was tough to wrap one’s head around all the news and how it fit together. The word that kept percolating through was evolution. Some of these evolutions have been ongoing until today but others are radical departures from the Microsoft of yesterday:

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  • EVOLUTION of Devices: Windows 10 is on over 270 million devices ranging from IOT, phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and the 84″ Surface Hub.
    • Terry Myerson discussed this and that OEMs are now producing more than 500 new Windows 10 devices. He announced the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, ETA in Summer 2016. The Anniversary Update will include radical improvements including Edge browser support for Windows Hello (biometric authentication) for web sites / apps that choose to support this.
    • Myerson handed over to the Microsoft king of presentations, Bryan Roper who demonstrated Hello in Edge and the all new, advanced Inking platform in Windows.
  • EVOLUTION of Mobility:
    • In March 27th 2014 Satya Nadella gave his mobile first, cloud first press conference. This was a pivotal moment for Microsoft where Nadella described the mobility of users and their data across devices. This has defined every step of the overall evolution of Microsoft since.
  • EVOLUTION of Personal Computing: HoloLens was front and center at BUILD 2016. The amazing untethered, holographic computer was introduced by Alex Kipman with the announcements that:
    • The Developer version of HoloLens was shipping as that day.
    • The HoloLens app competition had chosen Galaxy Explorer and it was both going live in the app store and is open-sourced on GitHub.
    • NASA will be letting visitors to Kennedy Space Center explore Mars using HoloLens with the JPL app, Destination: Mars. The app will have holographic tour guides, including
      & immortalizing Astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
    • Alex Kipman introduced a demonstration from Case Western Medical School of how they use HoloLens to teach medical students anatomy, physiology and more from an immersive perspective.
  • EVOLUTION of Man Machine Interface (MMI): the keynote mentioned evolving beyond the keyboard and mouse as our primary interface with Windows 10 devices.
    • This includes the Windows Anniversary update advanced inking platform. Bryan Roper demonstrated just how this would work with deeper integration, click the pen to access the Inking workspace, a virtual ruler, writing words like “tomorrow” when penned in sticky notes trigger Cortana reminders, ink on maps adhering to coordinates even when maps change from 2D to 3D, and a demo from Kevin Gallo of how to easily use 2 lines of XAML to integrate inking into your app.
    • Cortana: the personal assistant is now available on Windows 10, Windows Mobile, iOS and Android. In addition, Cortana will be receiving new features as part of the Anniversary Update including lock screen support.
  • EVOLUTION of the Desktop App: businesses using older Windows with custom software expressed reluctance to upgrade to Windows 10. This was out of fear that this crucial software would stop working:
    • Microsoft announced a solution for this, Project Centennial. This is a tool to convert existing 32-Bit, COM & .NET software into Universal apps, ready for the Windows Store. In addition to pure functional conversion, this provided store, Live Tile support and access to UWP APIs for these apps.
    • This was demoed at different stages with SAGE and Witcher the PC game.
    • In addition to pure functional conversion, this provided store and live tile support for these apps.
  • EVOLUTION of the Gaming Console: Xbox One is no longer a standalone console for game play. Fulfilling the mobile first, cloud first philosophy the Xbox is connected to Windows 10 devices:
    • Xbox developers will be able to set their Xbox to developer mode and test apps on the actual Xbox.
    • The demo and focus was oriented towards building apps for Xbox, not just games.
    • In an incredibly logical move, the store will become unified for Xbox and Windows.
    • The desktop app converter will also support win32 games.
    • The Xbox Anniversary Update will finally bring Cortana (as a personal gaming assistant) to Xbox.
    • DirectX 12 was demonstrated, displaying incredible performance and rendering improvements in games.
    • UWP apps are coming to Xbox from NASCAR, HULU, DailyMotion and Nickleodeon.
  • EVOLUTION of App Development:
    • Throughout the keynote the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) was mentioned multiple times, citing a 60% growth in app developers.
    • Terry Myerson announced new and pending universal apps for Twitter, Uber, Disney, Starbucks, Facebook, Instagram, FB Messenger and more.
    • In addition, Myerson announced that Facebook Audience Network SDK for advertising would be coming for UWP.
    • In addition to consumer apps, the massive adoption of Windows 10 in the business sector means the growth of business apps. This led into the onscreen demo by Boeing of their virtual flight-bag for pilots.
    • Kevin Gallo presented the improved, richer and more immersive design of UWP and GPU effects for apps.
    • Gallo also announced the release of Visual Studio update 2 & a preview of the Anniversary Update.
    • Rumors were confirmed of Ubuntu Linux’s BASH shell coming to Windows 10. Developers can run their BASH scripts from within Windows.
    • Xamarin developers were ecstatic to here that Xamarin would be integrated into Visual Studio and free. The runtime will also be open-sourced.
    • UWP and Xamarin mean cross-platform apps and full emulation in VS. iOS apps will be supported by a remote designer.
    • Microsoft announced releasing Microsoft Graph, allowing app developers to integrate super-powered actionable intelligence from the Microsoft cloud.
  • EVOLUTION of Productivity: Office 365 has garnered incredible adoption as the cross-device, cross-platform productivity suite:
    • Office has 1.2 billion users, 60 million Office 365 commercial customers and there have been 340 million downloads of Office Mobile Apps.
    • Office Connectors will allow seamless integration between Outlook and Trello, Slack, MailChimp, Asana, GitHub, Stack Overflow, Aha, Zendesk, Salesforce, Twitter and UserVoice (for example).
    • Starbucks announced during the event that they are integrating with Outlook to allow email distribution of their gift cards to one or many recipients.
    • Greater Cortana integration with Office, interfacing with Outlook. Developers were able from that time to access the preview of pro-active actions for Cortana. This is akin to IFTTT for Cortana, is an app connector.
  • EVOLUTION of Conversations as a Platform: Satya Nadella introduced this concept early in the keynote and after a brief semi-humorous mention of the issues Microsoft had encountered with Tay AI he went on to explain the enrichment of interaction / interface with our devices through Cortana and that the future was thru conversation. Not just human to human but also human to Cortana and human to Bot.
    • The example demoed first was bringing Cortana and or Bots into conversations in Skype.
    • Skype will be a fully cross-platform, smarter and more entertaining experience.
    • Cortana will be always present in Skype able to detect contextual data and react e.g. a conference invite accepted > Cortana offers to block off the dates in the calendar > detects the event location and offers to book a hotel > detects and offers to contact local contacts to inform them the user will be at the event on those dates > Hotel Bot interacts with Skype user to make the booking …
    • This intelligent interaction will be available for chat and real-time video.
    • Developers can receive access to the Skype Bot SDK.
    • Consumers will see Skype bots in Windows 10, iOS and Android
    • Skype for HoloLens was demoed also.
    • The Cortana Intelligence Suite, a new runtime would be available to developers from this point. This provides big data analytics and actionable intelligence on business data, combining this with machine learning and Azure cloud.
    • To facilitate developers integrating Bots seamlessly in their apps, the Microsoft Bot Framework was released. This is an open-source Bot Builder SDK, available on GitHub. Developers can code using either C# or Node.js to create intelligent Bots that can interact within Office 365, Skype, Slack or other applications.
    • Developers were granted a sneak peek of some of the new Bot features & controls including tools for natural language rules (suggested synonyms, shared dictionaries across Bot, machine learning and deep learning). Bot implementation is implemented in a highly intuitive UI.
    • To facilitate some of the “heavy lifting” involved, Microsoft introduced Cognitive Services. These APIs provide an extensive toolbox for developers who wish to integrate vision, speech, search, language and knowledge into their apps.

BUILD 2016 - The Bots are coming - Luthor

Image: with thanks to the “Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice” trailer.

The Warptest POV

Anyone following BUILD 2016 who has anything to do with development probably felt like a kid in a candy store. Whilst the points noted above were many of the evolutions available for developers to preview or use, this was not everything.

Two things were clear:

  1. BUILD 2016 is no iteration; this is a quantum leap in personal computing.
  2. Microsoft are doing everything to encourage developers, consumers and business into upgrading all their devices to Windows 10.

The rewards for doing so are the slew of tools SDKs and evolutions into new areas of computing. Users in every niche are only going to benefit from being on Windows 10 devices. The only sticking point is tertiary hardware and peripherals whose drivers aren’t supported in Windows 10. Time will make this a redundant issue as hardware is replaced.

The major news to take away from BUILD 2016 (and the ramifications for all users and competitors) are:

  • Conversations as a Platform: intelligent Bots and more.
  • Universal Windows Platform: one can assume that most if not all of these apps will implicitly be on Windows Mobile.
  • Deep Cortana integration: Cortana is only going to get smarter and more useful.
  • BASH on Windows 10: the world has not flipped on its head; this is really happening.
  • App Development has opened up in a big way, with incredible services available for developers to create rich, intelligent apps.

This is an incredible time to be a developer working in the Microsoft ecosystem. Apps are evolving from isolated into apps that can interact, share data and react to events and data from other apps.

Satya Nadella closed his BUILD 2016 keynote by introducing sight-impaired software engineer, Saqib Shaikh who had with his phone and smart-glasses created an app that uses advanced image processing and other features to let him see the world around him. The app interprets facial expressions and real life events occurring around him.

One thing is clear, Microsoft have not completed their quantum leap. Whilst there was not a major focus on Windows Mobile, one doesn’t have to think hard to realize that Microsoft is working on a major step forward. This is not just in design or hardware spec but, I suspect in a new hybrid device. This device will probably build on all these evolutions, Continuum and other services to take Windows Mobile in bold new directions.

You don’t have to be a developer to be thrilled and excited by the huge potential of everything announced at BUILD 2016. Are you ready to change how you interact with your devices and apps?

Windows 10 Has Landed With A Huge Bang…

… As of 1 day after its 29th July launch a whopping 14 MILLION downloads had been clocked.

That’s correct, several days ago: 14 MILLION. That resounding silence, it’s nobody saying the PC era is dead anymore.

What Do You Need To Know About Windows 10?

  1. Yes, you can upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 as long as you have a legit license and your existing OS is up-to-date.
  2. The Get Windows 10 App in your System Tray should do all the heavy lifting for you (but yes, I recommend a backup of all your vital data, photos what-have-you, just in case).
    1. This will run Windows 10 as a downloadable update and will offer to preserve all your apps and files: recommended.
    2. Some people have had problems with the update failing. Of all the people I know who have done the upgrade, this only happened to a handful and each case was resolved. Most important note down the error code and if your web search doesn’t provide the answer, then get in touch.
    3. Some people have not received the update yet. This is a phased roll-out and the people who were Windows Insiders got the first crack at it.
  3. The actual upgrade was relatively fast, involving a few restarts on the way, some post-install preparation and the final step was a resync of OneDrive.

Setup aside, let’s get to the meaty stuff: –

  • Login is still by default using your Microsoft account, giving you access to all those brilliant Microsoft services.
    • If you have hardware that supports the feature then you can login using Windows Hello: biometric authentication based on fingerprint or facial recognition.
  • Welcome back the Windows Start Menu: you asked for it back and Microsoft obliged.
    • The Metro, sorry New Windows UI Desktop is gone and the Windows Apps and Live Tiles are inside the Start Menu which is fully customizable.
    • TIP: Once in the Start Menu to find an app just type its name to filter the apps.
    • For those used to the right-click options in the Windows 8.1 Start Menu, those are still available.
    • Old features like the Control Panel are being replaced by Settings in the Start Menu (right click Start Menu to get to the old Control Panel).
  • As promised Cortana is an integral part of Windows 10, in the taskbar, adjacent to the Start Menu.
    • Cortana is not available for all regions but if you want the AI Personal Assistant then simply change your region to US or UK and in settings enable Cortana (in addition you can enable “Hey Cortana” so simply talking to your PC without clicking gets a response).
    • Cortana integrates with search, applications and information in your email, calendar and more. It’s worth asking Cortana for “Cortana Windows 10 commands”.
  • Edge is the new browser for Windows 10 that is changing the rules of the game:
    • Edge is rocket fast. I informally benchmarked all the web apps I use, the blog and several notoriously slow loading sites and Edge blew me away.
    • Yes, you can still use Internet Explorer if you need to. The site you are looking at in Edge, go to the right, top toolbar and hit the button. From the dropdown menu select “Open in Internet Explorer”.
    • Edge allows you to markup webpages and save to your One Note.
    • Logically Edge has strong sharing integration allowing the user to hit Share and choose from all social apps installed.
  • Privacy: there has been a lot of hysteria about Microsoft creating a privacy nightmare with Windows 10:
    • I’m calling BS on 99% of the FUD being spread about this. The usual trolls are doing their best to create panic in the streets. Ignore it.
    • The specific focus has mainly been on a feature called WiFi Sense; allegedly this is set by default to share you WiFi password with your friends, contacts, Skype and Facebook friends. WRONG. WiFi Sense has been on Windows Phone 8.1 for a while and actually allows these contacts and friends to access your WiFi but they do not get your password.
    • If you want to change the WiFi Sense settings then go to Start Menu > Settings > WiFi > Advanced Options > Now choose which settings you want.
    • Settings > Privacy and make sure you review your privacy settings. Again. Questions? Just get in touch if you need help.
  • Jump Lists: these have been around awhile. Jump Lists allow you to see the things you have done in the past per app and access the same files easily.
    • In Windows 10 Jump Lists are per app in both Start Menu sidebar and the task bar. Also, Windows File Explorer opens by default to display Quick Access which in the main pane has a Jump List of its own.
    • Task Bar Jump Lists are NOT drag and drop between apps. This is a change from Windows 8.x and I hope this is a feature that will return.
    • Deleting Jump Lists: if you don’t want to see this level of history in File Explorer then right-click Quick Access > select Options and hit the Clear button. The other Jump Lists can be cleared from Settings > Personalization > Start > and toggle the Show recently opened items setting to off then back to on. Jump List history > gone.

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The Warptest POV

Clearly there are more major features worthy of discussing but this was a summary of the big ones that people have consulted with Warptest about since the launch.

Overall sentiment from users I have spoken to, is that they are impressed with Windows 10 and understand the degree of improvement(s) made in the OS.

Is everything done? No, for example the Phone Companion App does in fact connect to Windows Phone, Android and iOS but, the app appears to a first generation version with more work needed to make this the killer app it should be. Telling a user to use your phone sync app then having them click to open File Explorer is not a ready for Prime Time UX. I’m looking forward to seeing iteration 2 here.

Overall I’m incredibly impressed with Windows 10, the UI and UX have undergone major evolution from Windows 8.1. I’m one of those people who liked Windows 8.1 and I’ll miss the Charms bar.

The true measure of Windows 10 success is definitely the adoption rates and download numbers but also, the lack of any meaningful attacks on Windows 10 indicate that other than FUD, it’s damn hard to find what to attack so far.

Whilst I have already addressed the question, “Should I upgrade to Windows 10?” the nutshell answer is…

At the end of the day, if you aren’t risk adverse, have made a backup of your data and are ready to experience what’s shaping up to be Microsoft’s greatest OS then go ahead and hit that button.

Think Next 2015 Has Been and Gone…

Now riddle me this Batman, when and where can you see cutting edge tech from Startups and Microsoft alike, see Hillel Fuld (CMO of Zula, Tech blogger, Startup mentor and all around nice guy) demonstrate drone flying, hear an assortment of amazing speakers connect technological innovation and the real world, try the Xbox One, network with people from every level of hitech and get a snazzy new T-shirt?

Thanks to Hillel for the demonstration and his permission to share this video.

That’s right, it was Think Next 2015. Microsoft Israel R&D, Research and Ventures along with their Accelerator were all present and delivered the goods, lock, stock and barrel.

Think Next 2015

The event was relocated from Tel Aviv port to the new Tel Aviv Sport Arena this year:

 

 

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It was an action packed event with Demo Fest, the show, tell and network for Microsoft Accelerator’s Startups, select Microsoft Research projects and the latest in Microsoft tech on display including :

  • Windows 10 on laptops, tablets and phones.
  • Cortana – Windows Phone 8’s amazing personal assistant, already seen on preview versions of Windows 10 for desktop / laptop and expected on Android also.
  • Office 2016 – in preview now but once again the Office team refine and improve the best productivity suite in the world with a greater focus on touch.
  • Skype Translator – a real time, multilingual translator for Skype video chats. In open preview now
  • Microsoft Band – Microsoft’s incredible smartwatch. The only watch on the market with full cross platform support as well as Cortana integration and sport / health apps.
  • Handpose – a Microsoft Research project that detects, analyzes and renders a person’s hand movements

Microsoft were smart in interspersing these stands amongst the Startups on display, as well as a stand for BIzspark and a place to show staff your requisite selfie with one of the Microsoft Spaceship Crew so you could get your own free Think Next 2015 T-Shirt.

Think Next 2015 - selfie - spaceship

I spent as much time as I could chatting to Startups and the Microsoft stands too. The energy level and enthusiasm was incredible.

The second part of the event, everyone was invited to take seats in the stadium with the basketball court converted into a dazzling multimedia presentation area for the speakers.

You can find the full and impressive list of speakers here and see from the embedded tweets on display just how much the attendees enjoyed hearing the speeches.

 

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IMHO the best was keynote speaker, Scott Guthrie (Microsoft VP for almost everything) who spoke about big data, Internet of Things and how all companies are data companies citing the example of a Japanese dairy farm using a (relatively) simple IoT solution and Microsoft Azure to process step data from Cows on the farm to monitor and exploit accurate fertility cycles. In short, farmers using data to know when their cows are in heat.

WP_20150505_035

Guthrie’s speech was inspired and an amusing way of touting Azure which continues to take big bites out of the cloud market. He also gave a practical demo of how easy and quick it is to deploy an Azure solution on stage.

The Warptest POV

As I wrote in my post about Think Next 2014,

“Microsoft began the Accelerator and Microsoft Ventures to invest in, mentor, nurture and assist Startups with great ideas but as Locard’s Principle states you don’t just leave something behind, you also take something with you. In this case, it appears that the Startup mentality has become a greater part of Microsoft itself.”

Microsoft continues to build something incredibly special with the Israeli Startup community and combines the incredible networking opportunity of Think Next 2015 with a stunning display of Microsoft tech we can have now or very soon.

If Microsoft Israel is not perceived as a flagship site, producing integral parts of these innovations it should be and Think Next has my recommendation if you are in hi-tech and want the opportunity to meet startups, VC’s and many others participating in Israeli hi-tech’s success. I’ve already asked Cortana to add a reminder to register early for Think Next 2016, how about you?

Microsoft BUILD 2015 Is In Its Second Day…

… and as I read my Twitterfeed and watched clips I was fully expecting to hear big news but Microsoft managed to astound, impress and leave me with big questions.

 

As you read the comments and the sheer scope of innovation being launched it occurs that Microsoft is a company reborn with newly defined priorities and strategies.

A Few Days Later, What Do We Know?

Prior to the Microsoft BUILD I heard the rumors being touted by expert Windows blogger, Paul Thurrott that Windows Phone were biting the bullet and announcing support for Android Apps. If possible I had a stronger negative reaction to this news than Thurrott.

What I did not consider is where this slotted into a greater picture or ecosystem. This was my subsequent view of things:

Microsoft BUILD 2015 - Aspects image

The highlights and by no means all of the news from Microsoft BUILD was delivered in a succession of presentations. It seemed at one point that every sentence was a new release or innovation to a product.

The image above shows the main focus points, here are their highlights: –

WINDOWS 10:

  • Windows 10 for PCs will launch this summer with Windows Phone, Hololens and Surface Hub to follow.
  • Windows 10’s Project Spartan browser was officially named as Edge. Windows Insider participants can now download the latest release of Windows 10 and get Edge, a more Spartan take on the browser but one with the ability to (after small tweaks) use Chrome extensions, write onto webpages, have better touch control and use built-in Cortana. Edge will be exclusively Windows based, there are no plans to bring this to iOS, Mac, Android or Linux unlike Office or Cortana.
  • Cortana is evolving and integrating into apps, the example given of an event requiring travel will take you to Uber to book your trip.
  • Windows Spotlight will be a built in interactive, intelligent lock screen that will interact with the user.
  • Windows Continuum for Windows Phone: the promise of Tablets / Windows Phone as a PC has arrived by connecting the phone via HDMI to a larger screen.
  • Windows 10 UI / UX is giving users some familiar comfort with the return of the Aero Glass UI and overlapping and rescalable windows.
  • Xbox streaming of games to Windows 10 means that when you absolutely have to play the new version of HALO, you can during your coffee break at work from your laptop.
  • The Windows Store will be the central source for Windows Universal Apps and the big news is the implementation of carrier billing to make it easier to make store purchases.

Paul Thurrott got the news of Android Apps coming to Windows Phone mostly correct, in fact:

  • Developers can take their existing Android or iOS code and create apps for Windows 10 as Universal Apps. The truth is we should have known this was coming and there are a slew of challenges involved in getting this right.
  • It seems these apps will be available through the Windows Store and as Universal Apps will run on all Windows 10 devices.
  • There will be a version of Visual Studio called CODE that is already available for free download and several screenshots from BUILD show it running on Linux.
  • Microsoft also managed to wow the audience when delivering this news by running an iOS app on Windows 10 seamlessly.
  • There is so much more to this and Visual Studio support for Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, and not just using Xamarin. This deserves a post all to itself.
  • TFS yes that’s right, we’re getting Team Foundation 2015 with all it’s ALM, Testing and Build-y goodness and it appears to support much of the cross-platform innovations mentioned at Microsoft BUILD.

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With thanks to Microsoft News Center / Blogs for the assorted images

OFFICE:

  • Until now Office Graph and Delve have been limited to Microsoft information silos like Sharepoint and Exchange however, it appears the Microsoft want to truly leverage the power of smart content discovery to a greater variety of silos.
  • Office is getting into the wider app integration business with Outlook working with a variety of apps; in fact, Office will allow all sorts of apps to sit atop Office and work in concert with the existing Office apps. Again Uber was one such app mentioned.
  • Office itself will be delivering a stronger touch-oriented UX with Office 2016 for web, mobile (tablet / phone) and desktop.

AZURE:

  • Azure will be providing a variety of improved services including Azure SQL Data Warehouse (dare I call it DWHaS?), Azure Data Lake (a big data repo) and SQL Elastic DB (one Azure for all your databases).
  • All this followed the announcement just prior to BUILD of new micro-services.

HOLOLENS:

  • Hololens deservedly was the jewel in the crown of Microsoft BUILD with more demonstration of the holographic marvel.
  • Attendees were able to see an onstage demo of a holographic medical anatomy study app and a virtual pet dog.
  • Hololen also demonstrated that with minor changes Universal Apps could be turned into Hololens apps too.

The Warptest POV

It seems that Microsoft decided to take a shock and awe approach and as the title of this post says, Microsoft BUILD should have been called ReBUILD. There were some criticisms that this was an overly Developer oriented conference, which in turn received its own share of flak but let’s be honest; Microsoft BUILD is a conference for Developers about Dev related innovations.

The first line of offense in successfully selling Windows 10 and the other products has to be to the people who will choose this ecosystem to develop apps in.

The big target here (see the slideshow above) is to get Windows 10 on 1 billion devices: from IoT thru mobile to desktop and with free upgrades for Windows 7 and 8 devices it doesn’t seem such a tall order.

Whilst Hololens is a game changer, we have yet to hear a release date or more importantly a pricepoint.

Windows 10 is nearing the stage of a mature beta product and the Insider community have been invaluable to Microsoft in insights into how to make Windows 10 even better than it is. The slew of features demonstrated were impressive and my favorites are Cortana on Windows 10 and also Continuum.

Assuming that Windows Phone will deliver a high-end phone with serious (even ARM Processor?) spec then this can become a serious productivity device both on the go or connected to a flatscreen and Microsoft’s universal folding keyboard but as of this morning it has been confirmed by WindowsCentral that Continuum will require new hardware. This almost guarantees new Lumia devices will be coming down the pike but which will arrive first, the feature in the OS or the hardware onboard phones supporting dual screen use?

The news of Universal apps including recompiled iOS and Android apps is clearly a game changer but given the complexity and ramifications deserves its own post. I have mixed feelings about this one.

Azure are gearing up for a major throwdown with Amazon AWS, up until now the fight has been over price but now it’s also over services.

IMHO Spartan is a much better name than EDGE but the browser speaks for itself and the features make for a new way of using the web.

There seems from all reports to be a general desire by Microsoft to put Windows 8 and Metro UI New Windows UI behind it. I was hard pressed to find reference to Live Tiles and other Windows 8 related terminology which IMHO does a huge disservice to everything good about Windows 8 that was the foundation for Windows 10.

All in all, Microsoft BUILD is a testament to the hard work and investment in change at the company. As a consumer who has already gone hands-on with Windows 10 and plans to do so with Windows 10 Phone I’m excited to know the release dates and plan accordingly. How about you?

 

 

The Windows10 Briefing Is Over…

… if you watched it and weren’t impressed by the incredible display of passion and innovation and then you probably don’t have one uncynical bone in your body.

Windows10 by all definitions appears to be outrageously good and Microsoft have clearly been working tooth and nail to deliver what promises to be an incredible User Experience. Much of this they credit to the vast number of participants in the Windows Insider Program.

What Do We Know?

After an all-star cast from Microsoft presented various aspects of what Windows10 is going to be all about; here’s what we know: –

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  1. FREE in the first year: Microsoft will make it free, yes FREE to upgrade Windows 8.1 in the first year of Windows10 release. Note to all those misunderstanding this: after a year you aren’t going to get charged, stop being so daft. There’s more though: this free upgrade extends to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 7. Yes you read that right, if you have Windows 7 you can upgrade for FREE!!! Now I assume you will want to run a compatibility check to ensure your hardware can handle Windows10 but the implication is most of the hardware will be supported.
  2. UNIVERSAL Apps: Microsoft never does anything without one eye on their developer community and this is no exception. The big example cited is Office for Windows10. The new Office will work cross-device and have strong touch-orientation.
    1. Continuum is a colossally important feature. It’s all about responsive OS and behavior of devices based on context and use: docked hybrid devices act and display like a laptop, undocked Continuum allows them to behave like a tablet.
  3. CORTANA on the PC: Joe Belfiore and Cortana gave an amazing, humorous but informative presentation of just how Cortana will be implemented on the Desktop.
  4. SPARTAN: Microsoft reimagines the browser. This is not an attempt to kill Internet Explorer, instead this is a new browser to respond to the evolution of the web. Spartan is intended as a browser that maximizes productivity through richer interaction with web content.
  5. XBOX and Windows10: Xbox will have an app in Windows10 on every device. The app won’t only allow for social networking but will have some killer features:
    1. Game DVR for recording the previous 30 seconds, trimming and sharing epic moments from within the game.
    2. Direct-X 12 which will make drastic performance and resource improvements, and better power consumption for mobile gaming.
    3. Cross-platform game play between Xbox and Windows10 of games available on both platforms.
    4. Streamed play of Xbox only games from on Windows10 devices.
  6. Devices: this is where things get radically innovative: –
    1. The SURFACE HUB: Microsoft delivers the ultimate in work productivity and collaboration devices. This is a wall-mounted 84″, touch tablet with stylus, sensors, wifi and more: –
      1. Taking remote meetings and collaborating split screen will be just awesome.
      2. Wired or wireless connection for projected presentations.
      3. Whiteboard just by picking up the stylus and OneNote for the Hub appears.
    2. HOLOLENS and Windows HOLOGRAPHIC: Microsoft unveils a taste of future computing based on holograms. Instead of immersive virtual experience, the technology will exist and interact with our real worlds as holograms: –
      1. HOLOLENS is the wearable visor computer that allows the wearer to create, view and interact with Windows10 and through holographic versions of existing apps and by creating 3D holograms with an incredible Holographic Studio.
      2. Microsoft has created a whole new processing unit, the HPU to support what can only be described as the most incredible and covert (until now) of Redmond’s innovations.

    You can see an amazing video on Microsoft’s Hololens Page

    1. 2015 will be the year of undisclosed Windows 10 flagship phones.
    2. OEM devices. So far Windows 8 has encouraged some interesting devices from the OEMs. With geometrically greater levels of awesomeness from Windows10 we can expect even greater devices from the OEMs.

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The Warptest POV

Microsoft pulled out the big guns with the team that pitched Windows10 including CEO Satya Nadella, Joe Belfiore and Terry Myerson but the star of the briefing has to be Alex Kipman whose raw passion and drive and obvious high level of technical know-how shone through in his presentation of Microsoft’s Hololens and Holographic technology. When watching him I felt I was watching a Steve Jobs era Apple presentation.

Windows10 - Alex Kipman

The partnership with the Jet propulsion Lab and the demonstration of holographic interaction with the Mars Rover drove home how far Microsoft have pushed the boundaries of innovation taking this kind of wearable in a completely different direction from Google Glass. As one of the scientists noted in the short clip “they have made science-fiction into science fact”. In fact the announcement of a NASA App today led me to make this comment on Facebook:

 

Clearly Microsoft have brought their A game to Windows10 and adhered to the new reimagining of the company as the mobile first, cloud first, productivity company.

The free upgrade offering not just from Windows 8x or Windows Phone 8x but also Windows 7 is a huge change for the consumer and Microsoft. Whilst many of the more conservative Windows users will want to stay with Windows 7, the UX of Windows10 should make this a hard to resist proposition.

Cortana and Spartan are game changers for desktop and tablet devices and with Continuum the UX will at last truly tailor itself in a contextual and use case manner.

The demonstration of Xbox and the Xbox app left me impressed with Direct-X 12, the game demo and the Unity announcement make me think seriously about if and when I’m going to get back into gaming.

One has to wonder just how much of this innovation began under Steve Ballmer and has now come to fruition. Clearly, Hololens has been a long-term project in the making.

In a nutshell, as a Windows Insider with free access to the preview versions I’m only more excited to see these new features in action and test them for myself.

I’m giving Windows10 a strong Warptest recommendation. If you haven’t signed on as a Windows Insider you should do it now and see for yourself as well.

 

 

Microsoft Office 365 Your Way…

…If Redmond aren’t using this slogan then they should be. Over the past months Microsoft Office has delivered some radical changes and improvements in applications, add-ons and the underlying business model.

The shift from search to intelligent discovery in Office 365 was achieved with Project OSLO, now Office Delve built with the Office Graph.

Office 365 - Delve intelligent discovery

Image thanks to Office blogs

You Won’t Believe What Office Did Next…

Over the last week we were bombarded with news from Office but before this the biggest news recently was that Office 365 Subscribers get unlimited, yes UNLIMITED storage on OneDrive from first release 2015. The ramifications of this are huge especially with OneDrive now differentiating between personal and business files.

Office 365 - unlimited One Drive storage

Image thanks to Office blogs

It’s a Rollercoaster…

First Microsoft announced at TechEd the availability of Office 365 APIs (for mail, files, contacts and calendar) and Mobile SDKs for Android and iOS. Combined with the ability of Developers to deploy their Office apps to the Office App launcher we were now arriving at Your Office 365 Your Way.

Office 365 - App Launcher

Image thanks to Office blogs

This week Microsoft announced a strategic agreement with Dropbox to allow full Office integration across phones, tablets and web. Windows Phone users were doing the happy dance at the announcement that this would finally involve a Dropbox app for Windows Phone, something noticeably MIA.

Office 365 - Dropbox integration

Then Microsoft announced a new version of Outlook for Mac available to Office 365 subscribers…

Today just when we thought it couldn’t get any better Microsoft decided to knock our figurative socks off by announcing that Office for Mobile on iOS and Android will be free, yes absolutely, utterly, totally FREE.

Office 365 - Office for Mobile is FREE

The question is what could the Microsoft Office 365 team do to top this next?

The Warptest POV

Returning readers know that a recurring theme about Microsoft is the ecosystem philosophy. Warptest believes that underneath all the good decisions at Microsoft is a business and technology idea that nothing stands alone and everything belongs to a greater ecosystem. How is this expressed here?

Office 365 - How it ties together - ecosystem

Will Delve work with Dropbox too? That would be incredible but the whole picture represents Office 365 as a comprehensive, customizable collaboration and productivity solution.

The end game is clearly Office Everywhere and all your documents connected thru Microsoft technologies.

We are hearing that the Windows 10 version of Office will be much more touch oriented but if I were asked what Microsoft could do to deliver a KO punch to their competition my answer would be…

Cortana fully integrated into all your Office tools and storage. Not just search, discovery or retrieval of documents on demand and certainly not as a glorified Clippy but leveraging all the power of Cortana’s predictive and speech recognition abilities to take Office beyond touch.

Offcie 365 - Next Cortana for Office?

I guess we will have to wait and see. One thing is for sure, my hat is off to the Office team who demonstrate the definitions of “productivity” and “game-changer”.

 

Windows 9 Is Coming…

… with it no shortage of rumors about Windows “Threshold” (the alleged codename for Windows 9).

The latest rumor is that a Developer Preview will be released on September 30th. The blogosphere is already running wild with leaked images and rumors of what’s in, what’s out and pricetags.

Windows 9 Is Coming - Meme

Rumors And Expectations…

The other main rumors (some from frequent and reliable online leakers) seem to revolve around the following: –

  • Cortana will be integrated into Windows 9: the incredible AI personal assistant winning hearts and minds on Windows Phone 8.1 will become a part of desktop, laptop and tablet users’ experience. If you are about to make a Clippy joke I suggest you find the nearest person you know with Windows Phone 8.1, try Cortana and then go and weep in the corner at not owning a phone with this on yourself.

  • The return of the Start Menu / Start Button: as mentioned in previous Warptest posts, Microsoft has over the last two years become more responsive to consumer input and this should make a lot of users very, very happy.
Leaked Windows 9 Desktop

Leaked Windows 9 Screen Capture – courtesy of Softpedia

  • Metro New Windows UI / Desktop / Apps are the chocolate to Classic Desktop’s peanuts: get ready for Windows 9 to hybridize the two desktops for a winning User Experience.
  • Goodbye Mr. Bond Windows RT: rumors of the demise of Windows RT in favor of Windows Phone ROM for smaller tablets. Possibly the end to the fragmentation of Windows with this and the already released Universal Apps for Windows.
  • Stronger Cloud integration: this is a pretty safe bet as Windows 8 already brought us Cloud integration with a slew of features. Now it’s time to see if Windows 9 evolves into a cloud-centric OS and whether this will include Desktop anywhere thru the Cloud based on user login.

The Warptest POV

The rumors and expectations are exciting but it’s time for Microsoft to make good on past mistakes, big mistakes that need to be rectified.

  1. Testing and compliance: since Windows XP we’ve been plagued with bugs, problems and frustrations which eventually turned out in many cases to be 3rd Party testing failures. Microsoft and Windows 9 need to ensure that all hardware, drivers and major 3rd Party software work properly. From a consumer point of view this means backwards compatibility too. No more WiFi, sound or graphics card drivers that sort of work. This means that Microsoft needs to work better with the software and hardware industry to define and enforce standards of testing, transparency for results and compliance.
  2. OEM Bloatware: consumers are sick of getting new computers that works slower than expected because the OEM took a working OS and added applications and services that most users don’t want but need a computer tech to disable or remove. As above, Microsoft time to put your foot down with the OEMs.
  3. OEM Images: when a consumer buys a new PC they should get Windows 9 updated to the last major upgrade of the OS. There should be no PCs being sold with Windows 8 still, this is pure laziness and poor procedure on the part of OEMs in not updating the image of the OS they mass install.
  4. Marketing: Windows 9 needs to regain lost ground and needs to understand that offensive marketing against the competition isn’t going to cut it. A new understanding of consumer and business needs from the Operating System, a coherent pricing/sales strategy and a positive story for Windows 9 are needed. Windows 9 has to fight an uphill battle unhindered by the occasionally curious Marketing efforts here.

I have high expectations of Windows 9 and have already provisioned a Virtual Machine to test the Preview when released on September 30th. Whether this will be the full version or not waits to be seen but this may be the culmination of Steve Ballmer’s One Microsoft legacy combined with Satya Nadella’s vision for Microsoftif Microsoft creates a coherent release strategy that produces a stable, well-tested OS that supports existing hardware and drivers, reins in the OEMs and delivers a solid marketing message.

Windows should not inherit the every odd number curse from the Star Trek Movies but that means a lot of learning from the past and as much work in and out of Development to get this right.

I for one am excited to take Windows 9 for a test run, how about you?