Microsoft's hit operating system is two decades old
Memory is such a funny thing. Reportedly, Windows 95 was made generally available on August 24, 1995, but I so clearly remember it only just squeaking in to the tail end of that year. I remember thinking that's typical Microsoft, and also typical of the then-idiotic fashion of naming your software after the year. That never really caught on outside Microsoft (various versions of the iLife and iWork suites excepted).
Microsoft appeals to Windows 7, Windows 8 users with Windows 10 changes
Microsoft recently unleashed Windows 10 onto the world, with the software giant deciding to make it a free upgrade for Windows 7 and later systems. Not only that, but Microsoft also brought back the Start Menu following user feedback, as well as included the Cortana virtual assistant on the desktop for the first time. Is the latest version of Microsoft's operating system enough to keep existing Windows users happy, while also being attractive enough to bring a new audience onboard? Find out what we think in our review.
Latest episode a bit like a quick summer read, so try listening at poolside
This week, the usual suspects -- MacNN Editor Charles Martin, Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele, and staff writer Malcolm Owen -- deliver a lighter, shorter, 47-minute summer episode that tries to accentuate the positive, and make lemonade out of lemons. Having spent last episode complaining about iTunes 12.2, the iOS Music app, and (as required by law) Microsoft's Windows 10, this episode focuses on the new Back to School promo from Apple, what can be done to make iTunes better, how to make an OS X home server, how Windows 10 is working out, and Microsoft's new iOS-to-Windows initiative. Show notes after the jump.
Works with Intel-based Windows versions only at present, ARM-based version coming
On Thursday, Microsoft released and open-sourced an early version of a previously-announced tool now called Windows Bridge, which allows iOS developers to easily convert iOS apps to be able to run natively on Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 10 Mobile. While calling the early version "clearly a work in progress," the company asked that the "interested and curious" help improve the program by beta testing and filing reports on it.
Content delivery networks feel strain of Windows 10 downloads
Windows 10 has been installed on over 14 million devices in the first 24 hours of its release, Microsoft claims, suggesting it to be a success. The blog post by Yusuf Mehdi, Windows marketing chief at Microsoft, advises that Microsoft still has "many more upgrades to go" in order to catch up with Windows 10 upgrade reservations, despite the high number of installations after just one day of availability.
Slow update downloads, unusual errors surface during Windows 10 release
Microsoft's distribution of Windows 10 to users may be causing issues for some Internet users, due to the sheer amount of bandwidth being used. While Microsoft has apparently put a lot of effort into making the release of the free upgrade as error-free as possible, problems are still surfacing despite attempts by the software giant to minimize issues, including extremely slow download speeds for a number of updaters.
Improves FaceTime compatibility with Boot Camp-based installs
In a seeming coincidence to being the day Microsoft has launched its latest version of Windows, on Wednesday Apple released a driver update for those running Windows 7 and Windows 8 on their 2015 series MacBook computers, including the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and the latest Retina MacBook. The update is a FaceTime Camera driver update that improves compatibility with Windows when using Boot Camp-based installations.
Update to Windows includes new Start menu, Cortana, Edge browser
Microsoft has finally made Windows 10 available to download for all users. The latest operating system from the software giant is out in 190 countries simultaneously, allowing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to start upgrading their systems to Windows 10, with Microsoft also commencing sales of full installations of the software via its own Microsoft Store as well as through Amazon and other traditional outlets.
Users report Windows 10 upgrade files starting to download to systems
Microsoft is allegedly preparing for tomorrow's launch of Windows 10, by preloading the operating system on computers that have been booked in for the upgrade. According to WinBeta, users that have already reserved their free upgrade from Windows 7 or later will start to see the files being preloaded ahead of a release after midnight tonight. The report also warns upgraders they can also expect to download a day one patch for Windows 10, weighing in at over 1GB in size.
Feature will allegedly allow Cortana voice commands to be always on in Parallels
Users of Windows 10 on OS X may be able to use Microsoft's digital assistant, if they are using Parallels' Desktop for Mac. A leaked product page for version 11 of the virtualization software allegedly suggests that Cortana's voice commands will continue to be usable by Mac users running the Microsoft operating system on their desktop, even if Windows 10 is not the foremost application at that time.
Operating loss of $2.1B caused through $7.5B Nokia acquisition, other charges
Microsoft endured an operating loss of $2.1 billion for the most recent quarter, the software giant has revealed in its last financial results before the launch of Windows 10. The heavy loss, which works out to be a loss per share of $0.40, is largely accounted for by the $7.5 billion impairment charge relating to its acquisition of Nokia, and a restructuring charges of $780 million and $160 million, though the rest of the financials appears to be more positive for the company.
Windows 10 will be sold on USB drives in stores shortly after launch
Microsoft has reportedly completed its Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build of Windows 10, in preparation for the operating system's July 29 launch. The RTM launch is one of a few items surfacing as Microsoft gets closer to the launch, with the company also making it easier for customers to use and install Windows 10, by making it available on USB drives in stores shortly after the launch takes place.
Xbox brand removed from apps in preparation for Windows 10 launch
Microsoft is updating its desktop media apps in preparation for the Windows 10 launch at the end of this month, by removing the Xbox name among other alterations. Xbox Video is going to be rebranded to Movies & TV in Windows 10, with Microsoft's Xbox Music service receiving the new name Groove, with both services also going through a visual upgrade as part of the changes.
Windows 10 RTM build could arrive this week
Microsoft is allegedly close to finalizing software included in the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 10, one that it will be providing to manufacturers to install on their computers, notebooks, and tablets. Sources of The Verge claim the RTM build of Windows 10 will be ready sometime this week, ahead of the new operating system's final release to consumers that is scheduled to take place on July 29.
Windows 10 to be released to users in waves, following Windows Insiders
Prospective users of Windows 10 may have to wait before being able to use the next version of Microsoft's operating system, the software company has revealed. A blog post advises that it will be rolling out Windows 10 to Windows Insiders first on July 29, then reserved systems will be notified that they can upgrade in waves after the launch date, with subsequent waves increasing in size.
First QuickTime update in nearly three months focuses on security
In addition to an avalanche of updates ranging from major to security-patches-only, Apple has released QuickTime 7.7.7 for Windows, the first update to the multimedia technology since early April. The update fixes a clutch of security issues with the QT Media Foundation, which could allow a maliciously-crafted file to lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. The root cause of the issue, multiple memory corruption issues, were addressed through improved memory handling.
Blog post on Friday mistakenly said Windows Insiders would gain full Windows 10 free
Microsoft has been forced to clarify the free Windows 10 upgrade offer, after a blog post on Friday suggested that anyone within the Windows Insider program would get it as well. The software giant's original post has been corrected, removing text about the activation, while also explaining how users could still use a final build of Windows 10 without upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Upgrade reservation notices sent to Windows 7, 8, 8.1 users
Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 upgrade on July 29, the software giant has confirmed. It is also revealed that users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 will find they will have a slightly different process for the free upgrade this time around compared to the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, with Microsoft offering an upgrade prompt to "reserve" the upgrade download instead of forcing users to go through the Windows Store.
Microsoft virtual assistant app will head to iPhones, Android this year
Microsoft will be making Windows 10 more useful to smartphone owners, by making it easier to set up their desktop and mobile device to connect together and share files. The added mobile support is also supported by a second announcement that the Cortana virtual assistant will be available to download and use on other platforms than Windows Phone, with both iOS and Android set to receive access in the future.
Powerful replacement for Apple's Email
It used to be that free trumped everything, especially when that free was something built by Apple or Microsoft. When literally every Mac or Windows user has a particular type of software provided right there with their computer, it used to be that rivals simply died. Now we seem more open to persuasion, or at least to considering alternatives, and for some people Postbox 4 is going to be so ideal they'll wish they bought it two versions ago.
Gaming news summary for May 17, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista writes about some of the major stories in the wider world of gaming that have developed over the last few days. In today's edition, Blizzard brings back Diablo's "Cow Level" secret, Ubisoft gives up on previous-generation consoles, and Candy Crush Saga will be heading to Windows 10.
Microsoft clarifies stance on free Windows 10 upgrade qualification
Microsoft will not be providing the free Windows 10 upgrade to owners of pirated operating systems, the software giant has clarified. A blog post by operating systems vice president Terry Myerson doubles back from earlier comments suggesting users of pirated software would receive the update, with the affected users now being required to pay for a full Windows license before receiving Windows 10.
Excellent update to a superb but not flawless tool
Here's the thing. FileMaker Pro is a quietly spectacular app: it's for creating databases but for three decades now it has also created careers. There are people whose entire working lives have been devoted to creating databases in FileMaker Pro and they do it for lone freelancers, corner shop businesses and even corporations. Now a new FileMaker Pro 14 has been released for the app's 30th anniversary and, with one caveat, it is hugely recommended. Check our full review to see what we liked, and what we didn't.
Amazon adds Prime Stations to Echo wireless speaker
Amazon has updated the Echo portable wireless speaker to work with Prime Stations. An email sent to Prime subscribers owning the device advises that the Alexa digital assistant can be commanded to play a personalized ad-free station from Prime Music. The verbal command "Alexa, play the Bruno Mars Prime Station" will start streaming the relevant station through the speaker, with "Alexa, thumbs up/thumbs down" rating the track for further personalization, and "Alexa, what song is this?" to receive more track details.
Comments suggest regular updates instead of milestone Windows releases in future
Windows 10 will be the "last" version of the operating system, a Microsoft developer evangelist has claimed. Speaking at the Ignite conference earlier this week, Jerry Nixon told attendees "Right now we're releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we're all still working on Windows 10," suggesting Microsoft will be taking an alternative path to upgrading the operating system.
Microsoft ends upgrades of Windows Media Center for next operating system
Windows Media Center will not form part of the upcoming release of Windows 10. Microsoft has no intentions of bringing the software over into its latest operating system, meaning that users who have it running on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will no longer be able to access it if they decide to accept the company's offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10.
Free version of Windows development suite heads to other platforms
Microsoft is bringing its Visual Studio suite to more platforms, the company announced at its Build conference keynote today. Visual Studio Code is a lightweight version of the long-standing code editing suite, with the new cross-platform version being made available in preview not only for Windows, but also OS X and Linux systems, and as a free download to developers.
App previews for Music, Video available to download in Windows 10 Technical Preview
Microsoft has released preview versions of two universal apps that will ship along with Windows 10, providing access to the user's media. The new Music and Video apps are available to download from the Windows Store beta within the Windows 10 Technical Preview, with Microsoft notably dropping the Xbox branding from the front of both app names.
Partition stitching addition widens reach of Windows 10 phone preview
Microsoft is making the technical preview of Windows 10 for smartphones available to more devices, the software giant has advised. Initially available to a small number of Lumia smartphones, the technical preview will be installable on a wider array of hardware, with over 30 Lumia devices on a preliminary list set to receive the software in the next preview release.
Microsoft dodges questions about free versions to pirates, Parallels users
Microsoft has made a passing attempt to clarify some of its policy on free upgrades to Windows 10. In an interview, senior director of product marketing at Microsoft Aaron Woodman detailed what the company has decided about the offering -- and an alarming amount of decisions seem to have not been made yet about licensing the OS.
Microsoft to provide PCs in China running pirated Windows with free upgrade
Microsoft may end up allowing more people to use a free version of Windows 10 than previously thought. One report claims Microsoft is going to be trying to make it easier for Android users to switch to a Windows mobile device by transforming their existing smartphone, and some pirates may also end up being able to upgrade their existing Windows installation to the new release.
Microsoft partners with Chinese companies to help spread Windows upgrade
Microsoft will be releasing Windows 10 to the public in the coming months, the software maker has confirmed. Exiting its current Windows Insider technical preview program sometime this summer, the latest iteration of the operating system will be shipping in 190 countries around the world in 111 languages, with Microsoft also announcing a greater push into China.
Fingerprint scanning, face and iris recognition coming to Windows 10
Windows 10 will be including more alternative log-in systems when it launches, with Microsoft embracing biometric security on computers. The software giant also advises that the team behind Windows 10 have made changes to the way it compresses system files and how the operating system handles recovery functions, helping reduce the software's footprint on the device's storage.
Option to download from networked PCs, other systems found in leaked Windows 10 build
Microsoft may be using a peer-to-peer file distribution system for system updates in Windows 10, a report claims. A leaked build of Windows 10 is said to include an option to "get updates from more than one place," suggesting Microsoft may be shifting away from its existing direct-from-server system to a more modern system that is closer to BitTorrent and other similar file-sharing services.
Initial 2010 Stuxnet patch left Windows PCs vulnerable for five years
Microsoft has finally fixed an issue with Windows that allowed it to be vulnerable to the Stuxnet worm, by issuing another patch. An initial fix released in August 2010 to fix the USB exploit is claimed by security researchers not to have completely solved the problem, subsequently keeping all Windows PCs susceptible to the attack over the last five years, though a patch released today as part of "Patch Tuesday" is claimed to solve it once and for all.
Some claim that installation was without user permission
BitTorrent client µtorrent is plaguing its users by installing a virtual currency miner alongside its latest revision. While the company denies tricking users into installation, the torrent client does come bundled with "Epic Scale," a Windows application that is used to mine Litecoin. Some users claim to have discovered it only after noticing significant processor load following installation of the client.
Chrome, Firefox for OS X safe; no ETA on Android, Windows patches
In an advisory published on Thursday, Microsoft has admitted that all versions of its OS and browser are susceptible to the FREAK bug. Additionally, all BlackBerry devices are also vulnerable. The flaw allowing the attack exists in approximately 36 percent of websites that use HTTPS, and miscreants are able to intercept and modify data passing between a vulnerable browser and a susceptible site. Neither BlackBarry devices nor Windows devices were intially pegged as susceptible, due to a flaw in the coding of the test site.
Download and keep YouTube videos with this simple app
The newly-updated Airy - YouTube Downloader for Mac does what almost every word in its title says. It downloads YouTube videos, it runs on a Mac. Run this, grab a YouTube video, and save it to your Mac to watch later. It's so simple, you'll be surprised YouTube itself doesn't come with this functionality.
Trademark suggests Microsoft considering more subscription services
Microsoft may be considering a future change to a subscription-based version of Windows, according to reports. A trademark filing for "Windows 365," mirroring the Office 365 branding, strongly suggests the software giant is looking to possibly charging a regular fee to consumers for the operating system or some specific functionality, rather than using the current one-time payment system used for major version upgrades.
Latest Windows Insider preview build of Windows 10 available to download
Microsoft has made the latest version of its Windows 10 Technical Preview available to download by the participants of the Windows Insider program. The update introduces some of major features shown off during this week's Windows 10 event, with the Spartan browser and the Xbox One game streaming expected to arrive in Insider builds closer to launch.
Full upgrade to Windows 10 not available for Windows RT devices
Owners of the Microsoft Surface will not receive the full upgrade to Windows 10, but will still benefit from some updates, a report claims. While Microsoft will be making the next version of its operating system available to systems running Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, including the Surface Pro range, the Windows RT-based Surface will be missing out.
Windows 10 device intended to simplify conferencing, communications
Microsoft's Surface ecosystem didn't get left behind in today's Windows 10 event. Unveiled at the media event was the Microsoft Surface Hub, which is either a 55- or 84-inch 4K display, utilizing a custom Windows 10 version, featuring touch and stylus input with voice and gesture controls.
Seven-year project integrated into Windows 10, release not imminent
Microsoft pulled the veil off of a project that it claims has been running for years -- Microsoft Hologram. The project, consisting of a new Hololens headset, aims to integrate Microsoft Windows in both a virtual reality and augmented reality system. Additionally, the company announced that every Windows 10 device will support the system in some way, with the API on every device. As expected, details are scant.
Xbox One will stream gameplay to Windows 10 devices
Microsoft's gaming ambitions will involve a new app for Windows 10, among other items, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has revealed. The Xbox app will be available on every PC and tablet running Windows 10, providing not only the usual social features already offered to Xbox One users, but also the Game DVR video creation and sharing function.
HP Pro Slate 12, 8 include ultrasound-based Duet Pen stylus input
HP added a large number of tablets to its arsenal, running on Android and Windows. The main launches from the collection are two Android tablets, with the Pro Slate 12 and the Pro Slate 8 both equipped with the Duet Pen, an accessory using Qualcomm's ultrasound technology that lets the user write anywhere nearby and have the text appearing on the tablet automatically.
Xiaomi launches compact Mi Box mini media streamer in China
Xiaomi has introduced a new compact media streamer in China. The Mi Box mini is a power adapter-sized device containing a quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 processor from MediaTek, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a HDMI 1.4a output capable of showing 3D video at 1080p. While it offers DTS 2.0 and Dolby Digital Plus audio processing and has a Bluetooth remote control, it does not include any options to increase the storage or connect over Ethernet or USB. Shipping from January 27, the Mi Box mini is priced at 199 RMB ($32).
Security patches for Windows 7 will continue until January 2020
Microsoft is ending its "mainstream support" for Windows 7 today. The January 13 end date for the support, across all versions of Windows 7, means that from tomorrow onwards Microsoft will not be offering free support for issues with the operating system, though the company will be offering chargeable "extended support" until January 14, 2020.
Google reveals Windows flaw despite Microsoft request to wait
Microsoft is asking for the online security community to better coordinate on the disclosure of vulnerabilities in code, after a publication of a flaw in Windows 8.1 by Google. The search company released details about the vulnerability in the operating system yesterday as part of Project Zero, two days before Microsoft was to offer up a fix in its well-known Patch Tuesday schedule.
Exceptional algorithms improve nearly any picture with little assistance
Unless you are a supremely-gifted photographer with a bucketful of top camera gear, you may often find yourself wishing a shot you had taken could be sharper, clearer, or otherwise "better," and are always looking for an app that can deliver this magic to your pictures consistently. Honest to gosh, we think we've found it -- or at least, pretty darn close. The program is called Perfectly Clear by Athentech, it's available as a mobile app or a plug-in for Photoshop or Lightroom, and -- we kid you not -- it's like Windex for most photos.
China-manufactured device echoes Apple design clues, brings Bay Trail
Knockoffs of popular products aren't uncommon in overseas markets, but its not often that a knockoff has altered functionality in a way that looks good, at least on paper. Chinese company Onda has released the V919 3G Air -- a clear iPad Air design clone, but one that runs both Android and full Windows 8.1 on a single device rather than iOS -- an ability that was promised at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show by many Android or Windows tablet manufacturers, but which never materialized.