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All posts tagged Windows 10

BUILD2018 Begins Today

BUILD2018 is upon us, what can we expect? BUILD is the annual Microsoft Developer Conference and whilst in past years, we have seen a lot of end-user oriented announcements in addition to the slew of  amazing APIs, SDKs, apps and improvements to existing Dev platforms, rumors expect BUILD2018 to be strongly developer oriented.

So what are expectations and predictions?

Anticipate a strong keynote by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. He will no doubt highlight and reinforce the progress in realizing his vision for Microsoft. So far, this journey has delivered major increases in stock price, high customer satisfaction in consumer and business verticals and made Nadella one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential in 2018.

In the wake of this success and the public debate following Facebook / Cambridge Analytica we can probably expect more in the keynote on developer responsibility for technology impact. No doubt we will also see presentations on social good thru technology and innovation, building on the success of Project Emma from BUILD2017:

WINDOWS 10: Whilst Microsoft has made it abundantly clear that cloud not desktop is the present and future focus, we are certainly going to hear about the outstanding Windows 10 Spring Creators Update that rolled out last week.

Expect to hear roll out metrics, major feature improvements and where we can expect Windows 10 to go from here. Expect to hear about Fluent Design, the new app UI. Which features of the OS have it, and which major apps are implementing it. Of course, it being BUILD2018 Developers should anticipate that Fluent Design, Universal Windows Apps & the Windows Store will all receive a strong developer focus. Microsoft is going to want you to build your apps with Fluent Design so be ready.

We can also expect to see Cortana mentioned, now not just on Windows 10 but fully cross-platform on mobile. I predict new devices, more app integrations (and integration tools), more services and a possible announcement of a changed UI / UX for Cortana coming soon. This is one more example of Microsoft continuing to build on their Windows on Mobile strategy.

OFFICE 2019: I predict a firm release date an even a demonstration of new version of Office at BUILD2018. If so, we can expect a focus on inking, more real-time collaboration and customization. In addition, the Microsoft Graph for Windows and Office will gain increased abilities. The star features will almost certainly be Slack killer, Microsoft Teams and improvements to the Office web apps.

Popular and growing services like IOT, BOTS, AI and Microsoft’s Cognitive Services should expect mention with improved SDKs and expanded abilities. Watch these demos because the Cognitive Services will blow your socks off.

Center stage will be Azure, Satya Nadella’s baby that effectively catapulted him into the CEO seat at Redmond. We anticipate continued expansion on services, partnerships and other improvements. This is where we expect to hear more about Containers and much on DevOps in Azure.

The big Azure question is, will we finally receive an Azure Serverless competitor for Google Firebase? Come on Microsoft, Azure Functions hasn’t gained the traction that Firebase has and there is a huge opening here with all the issues Firebase has cross-platform. BUILD2018 is a huge chance for Microsoft to onboard every last developer attending the conference or watching the livestream onto a robust, easy to integrate, serverless solution.

The other big money maker is Xbox.  What developer offerings will we see? Tough to speculate but expect a mention of the ongoing success of Xbox.

MIXED REALITY (XR): There is a chance we will hear something definitive about HOLOLENS 2, even if this is just a teaser. Expect more of a focus on OEM Windows 10 VR headsets and a presentation by Unity of what’s coming for Microsoft Mixed Reality.

Obviously, both Visual Studio and SQL will be getting a lot of attention in terms of new versions, new features and new integrations for all the platforms mentioned. Expect more improvements to cross-platform development on Xamarin.

I expect that we will get a hard launch date if not the launch of Visual Studio App Center, the replacement for HockeyApp which until now has been in Beta with several major features not implemented. BUILD2018 is the ideal opportunity to launch this to release and demo the full set of features here for “continuous everything – Build, test, deploy, engage, repeat …”

BUILD2018 - Visual Studio App Center 1

BUILD2018 - Visual Studio App Center 2

In short, this conference is going to deliver more excitement to the developers who work on these platforms. What’s missing from all this?

The Warptest POV

While I would like to bet that Microsoft are going to announce new hardware or new versions of existing hardware under the Surface brand, I’m not feeling it. I hope but don’t expect an announcement about any Surface Mobile device. Even with all the rumors of Andromeda, a folding ARM tablet/ phone that can run full Windows 10, it’s hard to believe that Microsoft are ready to drop this bombshell this week. This was the Warptest POV on Microsoft and their future in mobility.

The big announcements will be certainly Azure and Visual Studio focused but expect Progressive Web Apps to be mentioned more than once in the context of UWP. We can certainly expect more announcements focusing on open sourcing of development related technologies.

If I had to sum up my predictions, it would be that Microsoft are going to demonstrate a strong investment in building an even better Developer Community. Everything about BUILD2018 is going to be about driving more developers to invest in creating apps for the Windows and Office Stores but also to continue to force the competition to innovate at the same pace as Microsoft has been doing over the last few years.

Above is my latest video where I speak about all this. What do you expect or predict to hear this week?

Microsoft Surface Has Meant One Thing Until Now.

When you heard Microsoft Surface, you thought of the killer Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book hybrid laptops, right?

Ever sat in a meeting with someone using one, walked past a store selling them? Likely they caught your eye because of the materials and design. The sleek lines, kickstand, detachable tablet – keyboard combo, spun magnesium body and the pen. It’s hard not to lust after the Surface laptops.

Whilst the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book were turning the world of laptop design on its head, Windows Phone and the Microsoft Band were making less of an impact.

Much has been written on the failure to seize market share by both these devices. Some written on this blog.

Windows Phone has evolved into Windows 10 Mobile and the Band 2 is no longer for sale by Microsoft. Both have been surrounded by rumors of successive devices: the Microsoft Surface (Panay) Phone and the Band 3. What is going on?

Microsoft Event 26th October

Wednesday in New York (tomorrow), Microsoft have invited us to see what’s next for Windows 10.

Microsoft Surface Event

Throw in the latest tweet from Microsoft’s VP of Devices, Panos Panay:

… and you can reasonably assume that in addition to what’s next for Windows 10 the Operating (eco)System, we are going to see new devices. Several weeks ago Winbuzzer reported that the FCC had approved a new Surface keyboard (and more) and most of the big tech blogs have been reporting that they expect to see an All-in-one desktop revealed tomorrow; probably called the Surface Studio.

The expectation is the Surface Studio will be built along the Surface design ethos in terms of materials, form and features. Full pen support, an adjustable desktop kickstand, the (previously mentioned) keyboard and almost certainly a matching mouse. Microsoft historically announces partnerships with software vendors to support new hardware so one can expect Adobe, AutoDesk or perhaps Unity3D to have something special for the Surface Studio. Microsoft themselves are expected to launch an improved Paint app.

It doesn’t take much research to find patents describing a modular, hinged computing device or a newer version of Continuum technology.

Microsoft Surface - All in one

Courtesy of US Patent & Trademark Office: Microsoft filings.

The Surface Studio aside, everyone has high hopes of hearing that Windows 10 Redstone 2 and 3 will incorporate features for connected IOT technology. The hot rumor is a Microsoft homehub feature in Windows 10 means a Cortana enabled home control device akin to Amazon’s Alexa.

Since no tech event would be complete without AR or VR, Hololens will be center stage with more apps and stronger Hologram integration with Windows 10.

Microsoft Surface - Hololens

The big question though is will the event address the future of wearable & mobile devices?

The Warptest POV

Most if not everyone believes that when Microsoft pulled the Band 2 from their stores that there will be no Band 3, even with rumors prior to this of a streamlined, waterproof sport wearable incorporating RFID and an EKG. The Band 2 was noted for its ability to measure VO2 without any unwieldy mask, but a sports wearable with an electrocardiogram seems something not to be given up on easily. I am not so easily convinced.

As for mobile, whilst Windows 10 Mobile continues to release improved Insider updates and several new OEMs have launched Windows Phones, there will be no new Lumia phones. That said, no-one is under the illusion that the Panay / Surface Phone will arrive. The rumors surrounding the Surface Phone are many, including the expected 32 / 64 bit app support. Doing so means desktop apps will run on this phone.

Microsoft are the only company to have a Universal App Platform, a bridge to port IOS apps and Project Centennial for turning desktop apps into Universal Apps. This means that a Surface Phone (assuming the necessary spec and size) is a serious laptop alternative.

If Microsoft has managed to minimize the Continuum Dock and incorporate it into this phone, then connecting it to any screen will make it full blown Windows 10.

Are Microsoft prepared to cede the mobile and wearable markets to the competition without a fight? No but they need a killer strategy, winning devices and hardware to support this. Why won’t we hear about a Microsoft Surface Phone or Band 3 tomorrow? Simply because the chipsets necessary for these devices are not ready now but also because ultimately Microsoft are somewhat loyal to their dedicated Band 2 & Lumia consumers. There is a transition period which will allow for a better launch for these new devices, both running Windows 10.

The most important announcement that should be made tomorrow is that Microsoft Surface is the brand name for all Windows 10 hardware made by Microsoft.

It should all be designed and made to the same standards, with the same materials and with similar ethos and feature sets. So yes, a Microsoft Surface Phone should have a kickstand and a magnetized keyboard like the Surface Pro. A Band replacement should be spun magnesium cased too.

The creation of a Universal Hardware Platform to match the UWP will make for a stronger, more marketable brand. A brand that is part and parcel of the Windows 10 Operating (eco)System that consumers and enterprise can get behind. A brand that will allow Microsoft to deliver a mature, competitive product in the mobile arena.

Want my annual bit of advice Satya? This is what I want to see from the Microsoft Event tomorrow. How about you?

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.

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.

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?

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 Phone Is Still Fighting…

Still there are many people out there who don’t see any future for it. Robert Scoble has never made bones about his belief that the app parity Windows Phone experiences is a huge factor in the small market share Microsoft has been able to garner and last he hammered the nail in again.

The truth is Microsoft made 3 substantial mistakes in their mobile strategy: –

  • Steve Ballmer’s famous quote about iPhone was the definitive moment for Microsoft mobile strategy for several years, leaving them way behind.
    • Failure to build a competitive developer community for apps where Startups with limited funds would make Windows Phone apps a part of their roadmap and strategy.
    • Microsoft once they realized these two mistakes were slow to iterate past Windows Mobile, which was “Let’s put Windows on a small screen.”
    • Twitter friend @gaborfari was kind enough last night to give me input on one more very important reason

What did Microsoft do right?

  1. Windows Phone and Metro UI. The Windows Phone UI and Live Tiles were a glorious change in smartphone UI/UX which influenced the designs of others. (Put a phone with Android’s Material Design next to a Windows Phone and tell me the word homage doesn’t occur).
  2. Reducing hardware restrictions for OEMs. By doing so and making Windows 10 free for 7″ and smaller devices Microsoft made it affordable for OEMs to invest in Windows Phone handsets.
  3. Windows 10 as a mature ecosystem. Windows 8 had issues and fighting for desktop and handsets was too bigger fight combined with the fragmentation of Windows 8, RT and Phone. Windows 10 is effectively one OS that behaves / responds based on the device it’s on.
  4. Universal Apps. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again) This may be the Holy Grail for app developers, one app that works on mobile and desktop.

Windows Phone - Universal Apps - Holy Grail

  1. Windows Phone as an Android ROM. Microsoft provided Xiaomi with a Windows 10 ROM for their flagship Android Mi4 handset to broach the Chinese market. By all accounts the experiment worked well. (Theoretically one could have a dual ROM Android / Windows Phone device should one desire the geek cred).

Windows Phone - ROM on Xiaomi Mi4

  1. Windows Phone hits India. Microsoft offered a variety of affordable handsets worldwide but especially in India. The Indian smartphone market is predominantly Android but several OEMs in India now make Windows Phones in addition to the Lumia line.

Is Robert Scoble Right?

He is correct that Microsoft needs to entice more developers onto the platform and I was hoping he was going to offer some insight on how he would do that. He seems convinced that the “market has already picked its phones”. Master blogger and marketing ace Hillel Fuld provides some insights in the comments to the Facebook post on how he thinks Microsoft might succeed.

There are a few factors that make the mobile market consistently volatile; go back a few years and tell people to kiss Nokia and Blackberry goodbye and you’d probably be laughed all the way home.

The things Microsoft did right tie together. Assaulting the Indian and Chinese markets shows that CEO Satya Nadella continues to employ his insights on untapped foreign markets. These markets are ripe not just for consumer handset ownership but also for building robust developer communities. He’s in India evangelizing to startups right now.

Universal Apps is huge and many Startups and larger companies are waking up to the fact. The sheer number of devices running Windows 10 is to be ignored at one’s peril. I know of several Startups who have realized this and are making the leap. Having one app that will allow you increase your user base on desktop and mobile?

Why would anyone invest in a company that ignores that kind of potential?

But it’s not just Startups, drone maker Parrot have advertised through their French offices for someone to run a project to outsource a Windows 10 Universal App and there are new Universal Apps appearing in the store every day.

Windows Phone - Parrot Universal App

Image courtesy of the official US Parrot Site.

Turning a disadvantage into an advantage: go to the iPhone App Store or Google Play Store and oversaturation isn’t the word. Getting noticed is a colossal endeavor but the disadvantage of Windows Phone means a huge opportunity as more and more developers build their Universal Apps before the Windows Store becomes oversaturated too.

Windows 10 Phones have rolled out some game changing features including Continuum and Hello. Continuum means your primary productivity device is your phone and all you need is a monitor and your Continuum dock.

The Warptest POV

I’ve been a Windows Phone user since Windows Mobile’s earliest days. I won’t deny that or the level of personal investment / passion. My new Lumia 950XL is being shipped to me over the holidays. Do I believe Robert Scoble is right or wrong? He’s right about one thing, it’s up to Microsoft whether they succeed in bringing more developers onboard or not.

That said, don’t just ask Developers who are strongly invested in the status quo about if radical change can succeed. The first line of attack is the startups. Microsoft needs to demonstrate the ROI of Universal Apps to those sitting on the fence. In addition, building stronger community, offering help to app developers and hosting events like Hackathons worldwide focused on getting new apps onto Windows Phone.

For what it’s worth, I’d be working just as hard on those learning to develop. Tomorrows app developers are just waiting and have a lot less baggage or prejudice. Microsoft needs a strong, active presence on campuses working with students to show them the potential of Windows Phone and at the same don’t wait for people to walk into Windows Stores in the US / UK, get out there and put Windows Phones into consumers’ hands to try out. People need their perception of Windows Phone to be shaken and then have them pass on that experience to their friends and family.

Hillel Fuld is correct when he writes that solving battery issues, screen fragility and other problems is another big way that Microsoft can increase market share.

Meanwhile Microsoft isn’t satisfied with the new phone it has. Rumors of a “spiritual equivalent to Surface” phone were (sort of) addressed by Microsoft’s CMO in an interview with Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley. Earlier rumors spoke of a Surface Phone and many hoped this meant a high-end phone, the gorgeous spun magnesium case with kickstand but then the big rumors began flying. This was going to be an Intel powered phone capable of running 32 bit apps. Your desktop in your pocket. Still this is unconfirmed as is the end of Q2 2016 arrival. Meanwhile with CES 2016 kicking off tomorrow there are sure to be other Windows Phone handsets announced.

When you look at all these factors I’m confident Microsoft is going to do amazing things in mobile. When the Lumia 950XL arrives I’ll be sure to share my impressions.

I’ll end by paraphrasing Mark Twain, “Reports of Windows Phone’s demise are greatly exaggerated.”


Moments ago I got a tweet from Hillel Fuld which indeed made me laugh. I’m comparing my thoughts on the subject to his and if you read this I recommend you read his post from 2012 on the subject (see embedded tweet for link) and follow him on Twitter and elsewhere for a stream of insightful content:

The Windows 10 Devices Presentation From New York…

… delivered on so many levels but ultimately Microsoft showed a unified direction, a collective energy unmatched by any other event so far this year and incredible devices running Windows 10.

Many people were concerned that without Joe Belfiore onstage we couldn’t expect the best, however what we got was clearly the best and brightest that Redmond has to offer, their A-Team; Terry Myerson bounded on stage to introduce the event and talk about Hololens followed by Lindsey Maltese of the Microsoft Band team, talking about the Band 2, then we got to see the incredible Panos Panay bring his incredible energy to the stage about Surface and Lumia devices with Bryan Roper dazzling us with Lumia and Continuum.

The livestream event ran for a whopping 95 minutes and every bit of this time was maximized to deliver the new Windows 10 Devices across the spectrum. Devices that across the board are best of breed.

If you find the last statement hard to believe then I suggest you watch the presentation for yourself right here.

The Unified Message

It became rapidly apparent that besides the very genuine enthusiasm and passion the presenters brought onstage, the central theme or message behind the livestream event was that all the Windows 10 Devices were designed without compromise to ensure maximum productivity.

Whatever you want to do with the device in front of you Microsoft intends to ensure you can be your most productive whilst using that device; with Windows 10 as the enabler. In addition, each presenter made strong mention of the ever increasing number of partners working with Microsoft on Windows 10, Universal Apps and new Windows 10 Devices.

Terry Myerson kicked of the event by letting us have some adoption stats for Windows 10: –

Windows 10 Devices - stats

Devices, Devices, Devices…

HOLOLENS.. a glimpse of the future of mixed reality, immersive gaming. If you’re not excited by this you must be catatonic


LUMIA 950 & 950 XL and the LUMIA 550

SURFACE PRO4.. with a new pen with built-in eraser and interchangeable tips and tight app integration.

SURFACE BOOK.. Microsoft’s first laptop, designed to be the ultimate lightweight, super-powered productivity device.

Amazing accessories which are backwards compatible with the SURFACE PRO3

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Screencaps of Windows 10 Devices Livestream courtesy of my Lumia 810

The way we work and interact with our personal computers is evolving. The first phase was touch, then we moved to personal assistants aboard like Cortana & Siri, form factors have changes with hybrid devices, tablets and others but the Windows 10 Devices Event showed an ecosystem of devices with a shared platform, portability based on the user and incredibly engineered and designed user experiences from mixed reality gaming on Hololens, a wearable that guides and interacts with our exercise, environment and other devices in the Band 2, incredible new phones in the Lumia 950 and 950XL which have achieved the Holy Grail of a true pocket PC thru Windows 10 and Continuum, biometric recognition for login and purchase in Windows Hello and to quote Panos Panay true “lapability” with the next evolutions of the laptop in the Surface Pro4 and the stunning new Surface Book.

Each of these are best of breed devices whose impact will undoubtedly change the way we work and play, change ease of use and our productivity.

All of this made possible by Windows 10 but the secret sauce Microsoft displayed at this event isn’t just winning hardware and incredible designs that beat the pants off the competition, it’s the passion and enthusiasm, the unified vision displayed by the Windows 10 Devices team. If Panos Panay is the King of Presentations, then Bryan Roper is the Crown Prince.

The Warptest POV

As we’ve mentioned in the past, the secret sauce that pulls Windows 10 Devices and OS integration tightly together are Universal Apps but the combination of amazing devices that combine the last word in productivity, portability and some very clever accessories with the presenters had seasoned tech reporters and bloggers giving standing ovations. When was the last time Microsoft got a standing ovation?

It should be clear that the direction and vision that Satya Nadella chose is coming to fruition and after seeing the Lumia 950 and 950XL in action I feel sorry for the trolls and naysayers. This is a winning vision.

The level of confidence was clearly indicated in the way that almost every benchmark comparison of Windows 10 Devices was to an equivalent Apple device. This was done without snark or hostility, simply a comparison of performance, ours versus theirs. Well except for one comment about Apple’s pencil not having an eraser but hey, it was funny.

I decided that the POV section is best served by embedding some of my real time comments from Twitter / Facebook as I watched the event.

I just watched the Microsoft livestream for new #Windows10devices and I have never had delivery so exceed…

Posted by Warptest on Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Companies who are not buying into Universal Apps for #Windows10 are clearly lacking vision and are basically missing the…

Posted by Jonathan Ross on Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Many if not all these devices will be available towards the end of October. If you have the chance then go hands on for yourself and I bet you’ll understand why the standing ovation and again as Panos Panay said,

Microsoft brought the Thunder…

Microsoft Went On Stage At IFA…

… Last Friday and when I should have been elbow-deep in weekend ironing I was sitting watching the livestream, taking notes in a new Moleskine notebook and live-tweeting some observations.

The presentation was given by Nick Parker, Corporate VP of OEM and Bryan Roper, Executive Demo Lead.

Bryan Roper - Microsoft IFA
Nick Parker - Microsoft IFA

The presentation was well put together, snappy and interesting, and I came away with several insights.

Things you learn from a Microsoft Presentation:

Nick and Bryan wasted no time letting us know the current stats for Windows 10 adoption. The most significant, 75 million devices running Windows 10 in the first month since release.

Then they got to work talking about some of the things that make Windows 10 so great: –

Windows 10 speaking points - Microsoft IFA

They paid a lot of attention to incredible features like Windows Hello, especially when demonstrating it and the hardware supporting it on a slew of amazing devices. My particular favorites were the Acer Cloudbook (a crowd pleaser for the educational crowd, Windows 10 and a Chromebook killer), Toshiba concept, ultrathin laptop and Toshiba IOT (Internet of Things) ED Logger (running Windows10 IOT, I want this yesterday).

Toshiba IOT - Microsoft IFA

Toshiba ED Logger IOT Windows 10 device.

Whilst I was learning a lot about the incredible creativity and designs coming from Microsoft’s OEM Partners, I learnt a few other things too: –

  1. Microsoft, Google and Apple must have an outstanding school for teaching onstage presentation skills. Nick and Bryan gave incredible presentations (even if it seemed that IFA had them on the clock).
  2. Other than Acer with their Jade Primo Windows 10 Phone (yes, with Continuum on display they labelled it a Pocket PC), no OEM focus on Windows10 Phone. Possibly, until Microsoft announces the official launch date the OEMs are keeping quiet.
  3. Oh Bryan, you were doing so well but then you did the speech marks with your fingers. Don’t go all Doctor Evil on us.
  4. If I wasn’t already fascinated by gaming, the new Xbox streaming to Windows10 would certainly be enticing me.
  5. Apparently according to Nick and Bryan, Asus is pronounced Ay-Seuss NOT Ah-Sus. I’m a little traumatized by that factoid.

The Warptest POV

All in all the Microsoft presentation at IFA 2015 was a polished, exciting display of a wide range of devices for all pocket and use case. With Microsoft expected to make announcements in October, about a Surface Pro 4, new Lumia flagship Windows10 Phones and Band2 I didn’t have high expectations of hearing a lot on OEM phones.

That said I’m confident that the number of OEMs building Windows10 Phones will increase from Windows Phone 8.1

Bryan nailed it with one sentence, “The best device that you have is the one you have with you“.

One thing is certain Microsoft knows how to work well with their OEM Partners and us consumers are going to win big time from these partnerships.

Back to my ironing…

IncrediBuild Launched Their Latest Version Just After Windows 10.

Many of us take for granted that when Microsoft launches a new OS that there are Developer tools like Visual Studio and TFS (Team Foundation Server) that need updating to support it.

Windows 10 - TFS - Visual Studio 2105 - IncrediBuild

These allow all the software and apps we use to be updated in line with the OS, to add new features and to change the look and feel to match that of the Operating System, and of course to create incredible new applications that leverage all the power behind Windows 10.

Microsoft isn’t alone in these endeavors and works hand in hand with many partners and 3rd Party Solution Providers. IncrediBuild is one of these and they didn’t waste a moment, while others are scrambling to go to market with their solutions for Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015, IncrediBuild are already out of the gate with their offering.

So, what is IncrediBuild?

To quote their product overview,

A simple and speedy way to accelerate builds, compilations, and development processes 30x faster or more.

Windows 10 - IncrediBuild - Visual Studio 2015 - Product

After reading this, I caught up with their Marketing Manager, Avi Hein (disclosure: Avi is a friend) and in addition to the official press release (embedded in this post as a PDF) I decided to ask him some questions all about IncrediBuild 7 for Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015:

Adobe AcrobatPDF of Press Release: IncrediBuild 7 For Visual Studio 2015 and Windows 10

  1. How long did IncrediBuild’s team work on this release? 

IncrediBuild has been around since 2002 and we are continually working to update and support the latest operating systems and versions of Visual Studio.

The last version before IncrediBuild 7.0 was released in March, so we have been dedicating ourselves exclusively to 7 for the past 6 months. But we are always working on continuous improvement.

Since the first alpha of Visual Studio 2015 and Windows 10, we have been working to ensure compatibility. We have a very strong relationship with the development team at Microsoft and have been constantly working. In addition, we were Visual Studio 2015 Sim-Ship partners, so we were in constant communication to ensure early support for Visual Studio.

Incidentally, we also have some great things planned for the future as well.

 2. Who is it intended for, large companies, startups or a single developer?

The great thing about IncrediBuild is there is a solution for any size dev team.

A single developer can use our “FreeDev” version on his or her local machine and will gain performance improvements at no cost. 

Startups, medium companies, and even large enterprises can also benefit from IncrediBuild. The more cores added to IncrediBuild’s coordinator, either on the local network or via cloud integration with public clouds like Azure and AWS, the more speed improvements. We have customers who have a small dev team using it as well as hundreds of users in large enterprises who are running it in their whole company. 

One of the advantages of IncrediBuild is ease of use and installation. Just install and run. There is no need for professional services or to change your code or your software toolchain. Continue using the same tools, but faster.                                              

3. What is the added value in a nutshell for me as a developer to having IncrediBuild?

We spend too much time waiting, and not enough time building and testing software.

As an example, one of our customers, GeoTeric, a UK-based geological software company, wanted to add automated tests. However, because their builds were taking over two hours (without tests) they did not want to add automated unit tests. However, after implementing IncrediBuild, they implemented Agile development practices such as automated testing and continuous integration and even with 2,000-3,000 automated tests (where before all tests were manual) build time decreased from 2 hours to 11 minutes.

Recently, we surveyed hundreds of developers. The results were astounding. Running multiple builds daily, the survey revealed that developers spend a minimum of two hours a day waiting for their software to build. I want to hear from your readers. How long do your builds take? 

4. How does this integrate with TFS?

IncrediBuild integrates easily with TFS. We integrate out-of-the-box with Team Foundation Server

Essentially, the Microsoft® TFS-IncrediBuild integration transforms each build agent into a 500-core machine.

Here is an old white paper that explains our TFS integration: 

5. Does it matter if I work Agile or Waterfall?

IncrediBuild accelerates any process and builds. So you can benefit regardless of what development methodologies. If you are a waterfall team with manual tests, but your builds and compilations take a long time, you will see a significant improvement.

Of course, if you are an Agile team doing Extreme Programming, doing continuous integration, running automated testing, those processes take a long time and so 

6. Is there a trial version, for how long is it good and can I have the link to sign up for it?

IncrediBuild offers a FreeDev version, which is free for life on up to 8 cores, on your local machine. For the full power of IncrediBuild, of course, the price depends on the number of cores you want to use to help you speed up your development.

You can learn more or download IncrediBuild at

We also just released a Linux and Android version, which accelerates Linux development as well.

Right now, that is free. If you are running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, or Ubuntu, you can learn more or get it here:

 7. So clearly you all have been using Windows 10, why should everyone be upgrading? Tell me for developers but also for the everyday user too? 

Many companies are beginning to upgrade to Visual Studio 2015 and Windows 10, especially companies that haven’t migrated from Windows XP or Windows 7. Therefore, it is important to be supporting anyone who is using the latest operating systems and Windows 10, from the first days.   

8. You mention an increased focus on gaming in the press release, what are the best games I should be playing right now? 

Visual Studio 2015 included some very nice gaming compilations. We also worked very closely with NVIDIA and are included in their AndroidWorks suite of tools for Android developers.

What many people do not know is that the world’s most popular games are developed with “IncrediBuild Inside.” We, personally, of course, love Halo & Age of Empires.

Also, there are some great games coming out of Indy studios. Check out Star Citizen ( if you like space battles, 

9. How much coffee did it take to launch IncrediBuild’s latest release?

While we love coffee here at IncrediBuild, one of the benefits is that we shorten your coffee break. Since our builds are so fast, there were a lot fewer coffee breaks.

Yes, that is the one downside for developers – faster builds and so shorter coffee breaks. (See for a great video that shows how much IncrediBuild shortens your coffee break)

 10. Who do I contact to buy this now?

You can download IncrediBuild at

If you want to buy IncrediBuild contact our sales team at or buy online

Thanks, Avi.

The Warptest POV

If you are a Developer working with Visual Studio 2015 and Windows 10, whether you work in Enterprise, Startup or alone, this is something you should be seriously looking at. IncrediBuild are offering a way to turbo-boost your lifecycle / development mojo.

I’m going to be recommending to all the Windows 10 Developers I know to take a look at IncrediBuild 7 for themselves. If you know someone this could help then pay it forward.

Time to work faster and smarter. Oh and by the way, if you haven’t already upgraded to Windows 10 and want to, see this link.

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.

The Countdown to Windows 10 Launch is on…

Windows 10 is due to launch on July 29th. Yes in only a week. Microsoft is promising international launch parties in several countries and up to 20% discounts on assorted hardware in Microsoft Stores, along with some incredible in store give aways.

Speaking of swag and gifting, yesterday the Windows Blog and all around, good guy Gabe Aul shared sets of background / lock screen images for Windows Insiders of the famous Ninja Cat.

Ninja Cat?!?? Too Much Mojo.

Microsoft did something amazing with the invention of Ninja Cat riding a flame-spitting unicorn. The image became a much-sought after sticker and now Microsoft continued in this vein with Ninja Cat on two other worthy steeds: T-Rex and Battling Narwhal.

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These images are downloadable in every conceivable size and resolution for each device size. So of course I had to print one onto a t-shirt.

Whilst I was able to print Ninja Cat to an iron-on decal sheet, there was simply too much awesome, too much mojo and the decal wouldn’t transfer.

I guess I’ll have to experiment a bit more.

The Warptest POV

Not to miss the point, this was a cool gift on the part of Microsoft for all the Windows Insiders who participated in using and testing Windows 10 during its pre-release phase.

Microsoft seems to really grasp the concept of engagement and of course, fun. The Ninja Cat set of images was also released with each graphic element separate so us Insiders can create our own custom scenes. I recommend searching online for them, there is already a Ninja Cat – T-Rex – Jurassic World mashup image paying homage to the famous Chris Pratt – Raptors meme.

As I’ve already written, Windows 10 is going to put the WIN back in Windows and if you were wondering whether to upgrade.. Wonder no more, I will excitedly be upgrading the first chance I get.

The answers to many of your questions are here.

My hat is off to everyone who participated in making Windows 10. Counting down to the 29th, see you then.