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All posts tagged Edge

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.

The Blogosphere Is Rejoicing Over IE 8 9 10 End of Life…

Microsoft announced this week that IE 8 9 10 would no longer receive support.

This leaves Windows 7 and 8.x users with the option of upgrading to IE 11 or making the leap to Windows 10.

Whilst many Web Professionals, Developers, Designers and Testers in my feed are doing the Happy Dance over the fact they can follow Microsoft’s lead and end support for these versions of IE, there are inherent problems.

IE 8 9 10 Happy Dance

With thanks to the BBC and the 9th Doctor for this “Happy Dance”

Now For The Bad News…

For those of you who are the IE hateful, there may be some aspects of this announcement you haven’t considered.

Whilst blogs like the Verge, Ars Techica and others are touting this news as Microsoft .. killing Internet Explorer. The fact is end of life means Microsoft will actually no longer support these versions.

IE 8 9 10 will no longer receive patches, hot fixes or security updates and whilst Microsoft might remind users to upgrade their browsers, it won’t force it on them. As such, how many people out there are going to be left with unsecured browsers? Not so happy now huh?

Microsoft has faced this problem before with end of life for IE6. Moving users out of their comfort zone is no small challenge. Even if Windows Update is set to automatic updates, the user is almost certainly going to have to opt-in to updating their browser to IE11. Moving users from IE 8 9 10 to Chrome or Firefox? Even more of a challenge.

So Microsoft will be looking for creative ways to entice users with IE 8 9 10 to upgrade and reduce the footprint of masses of unsecured browsers in homes and the workplace. The workplace is somewhat easier, it requires influencing IT Professionals, Ops and CIO’s to take their business back to secure, patched browser use.

The home users are going to be a bigger problem. Telling users they get a more secure browser is too abstract, everyday consumers need a tangible incentive. Many may also not have Windows Update setup to push automatic updates or just see it as an annoyance.

The Warptest POV

I make no bones about the fact that if your PC can handle the move to Windows 10 then upgrading the OS is the way to go. If that’s not for you then you should be running Windows Update right now and updating IE 8 9 10 to IE 11.

If you have been cheering the so-called demise of these browsers then I have a challenge for you. Now you know the browsers aren’t going anywhere, just the support for them, what are YOU going to do to resolve this problem? Each of us know a bunch of people who won’t be updating their browsers, why not do it for them after convincing them that IE 11 is still in their comfort zone, even if Chrome and Firefox aren’t. The UX isn’t a drastic change and the UI is still clearly 100% Internet Explorer. They may just be too anxious to run the update themselves.

There, you just made the internet a safer place and reduced the number of unprotected versions of IE 8 9 10 running out there. Doesn’t that feel good?

Now as for Microsoft, if I can run a crowdsource project like this off the cuff, what are you going to do? Especially for non-techy consumers to make the update to IE 11 or Windows 10, then they need to feel a tangible incentive. This is going to need to serious evangelism, no? Game on Redmond.

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.

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?