Tim Sweeney is positively steam-ed about Microsoft’s Windows Cloud operating system

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Yesterday, we reported on Windows Cloud — a new version of Microsoft’s Windows 10 that’s supposedly in the works. Windows Cloud would be limited to applications that are available through the Windows Store and is widely believed to be a play for the education market, where Chromebooks are currently popular.

Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic and lead developer on the Unreal Engine, has been a harsh critic of Microsoft and its Windows Store before. He wasted no time launching a blistering tirade against this new variant of the operating system, before Microsoft has even had a chance to launch the thing.

With all respect to Tim, I think he’s wrong on this for several reasons. First, the idea that the Windows Store is going to crush Steam is simply farcical. There is no way for Microsoft to simply disallow Steam or other applications from running in mainstream Windows without completely breaking Win32 compatibility in its own operating system. Smartphone manufacturers were able to introduce the concept of app stores and walled gardens early on. Fortune 500 companies, gamers, enthusiasts, and computer users in general would never accept an OS that refused to run Win32 applications.

The second reason the Windows Store is never going to crush Steam is that the Windows Store is, generally speaking, a wasteland where software goes to die. The mainstream games that have debuted on that platform have generally been poor deals compared with what’s available on other platforms (like Steam). There’s little sign Microsoft is going to change this anytime soon, and until it does, Steam’s near-monopoly on PC game distribution is safe.

Third, if Microsoft is positioning this as a play against Chrome OS, Windows Cloud isn’t going to debut on high-end systems that are gaming-capable in the first place. This is a play aimed at low-end ARM or x86 machines with minimum graphics and CPU performance. In that space, a locked-down system is a more secure system. That’s a feature, not a bug, if your goal is to build systems that won’t need constant IT service from trojans, malware, and bugs.

Like Sweeney, I value the openness and capability of the PC ecosystem — but I also recognize that there are environments and situations where that openness is a risk with substantial downside and little benefit. Specialized educational systems for low-end markets are not a beachhead aimed at destroying Steam. They’re a rear-guard action aimed at protecting Microsoft’s educational market share from an encroaching Google.

 

 

[Source:- Extremetech]

Tuning out: Norway is about to become the first country to ditch FM radio

Norway will become the first country in the world this week to start turning off its FM radio network as the country moves to a digital-only broadcasting system.

On January 11, the city of Bodø, in the northern county of Nordland, will be the first to have its signal shut off, with the rest of the nation’s signal being closed down by the end of the year. The country has been split into six regions for the turn-off.

Frequency Modulation was first invented in 1933 and more widely introduced in the 1950s. It is commonly broadcast between the radio frequencies 87.5 to 108.0 MHz.

“The fact that the FM network will be phased out does not mean radio silence in Norway,” Digital Radio Norway says on its website. Instead, the organisation claims there will be five times the amount of radio channels available.

The radio group says it would take “huge” investments to bring the existing FM standard to a higher quality and the last Norwegian channels were launched on FM in 2004 and 1993. Instead of FM, the country will be moving to DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting). The format, which is used in the UK alongside FM, was created by researchers in the 1980s.

“A lot of work has been done during the preparations to ensure a good replacement is in place,” Ole Jørgen Torvmark, the CEO of Digital Radio Norway said. “The DAB network has been thoroughly measured and adjusted, and a great deal of information has been made available to listeners”.

Despite the changes – it was approved by Norway’s parliament, which first floated the idea in 2011 – not everyone is in favour. According to Reuters, 66 per cent of the country opposes the switch-off, with only 17 per cent approving of the digital-only method.

Cars are said to be one of the biggest issues for those in the country. One critic of the plan said in 2016 that the move to digital-only was “embarrassing”. “Norwegian politicians have decided to make 15 million FM radios useless. It’s a bad idea,” Jan Thoresen, a digital expert, said in an opinion piece.

Norway is the first country to implement the digital switch but isn’t the only one considering it. Switzerland and Denmark are also considering a change and the UK has been having discussions about a digital radio policy for years.

The UK’s digital TV switchover finished in 2012 but radio has been slower. At one point, a digital radio switch had been planned for 2015. However, before the change happens at least 50 per cent of UK radio listening must come from digital radios and signal coverage has to be comparable to that of the FM network.

 
[Source:- Wired]

 

All you need to know about YubiKey for Windows Hello and Windows 10b

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The first companion device for Windows Hello is now out. Here is how to use YubiKey with WIndows Hello and what it can — and cannot — do.

Microsoft’s bio-authentication system Windows Hello is one of the most demanded features users want with new PCs. Currently, the most popular are fingerprint readers, facial recognition using IR cameras, or iris scanners (for phones).

Another new Windows Hello method is just starting to come to market: companion devices. In theory, wearables like smartwatches or your phone could be a yet another way to validate your authenticity. YubiKey’s new app for Windows 10 fits into this category. Today, I’ll review it and show you how it works.

YubiKey – What it is

YubiKeys by Yubico are small USB devices that you carry around with you to add two-factor authentication (aka ‘2FA’) to various apps and services. For instance, if you use LastPass to store all your passwords you need one master password to unlock them all. That’s a huge security vulnerability because if someone managed to get that password, they would get all the rest too in your safe. By using a YubiKey, the attacker would physically need your USB YubiKey in addition to your password to unlock your virtual safe.

Sure, 2FA is an extra step. Besides typing in your password, you need to insert the YubiKey, wait a second, and press on the touch-to-sign metal area on the key. It’s super easy to use, but still a little more work. Nonetheless, when it comes to security that type of protection is wanted — and needed — by many.

Other services that work with YubiKey included Google, Dashlane, KeePass, Dropbox, Evernote, WordPress, GitHub, and other things like disk encryption.

There are three main types of YubiKeys on sale right now:

  • YubiKey 4 (USB)
  • YubiKey 4 Nano (USB)
  • YubiKey NEO (USB and NFC)

They range in price from $40 for the regular USB versions to $50 for the USB and NFC variant. With NFC users can also use the YubiKey NEO for Android mobile phones and presumably any other system with NFC.

At CES 2017 Yubico announced YubiKey 4C, which is a USB Type-C device to keep up with modern PCs and computers. That version goes on sale in February 2017 for $50 as well.

YubiKey for Windows Hello

Recently, Yubico released a new app called YubiKey for Windows Hello in the Windows Store. The free app lets you link your YubiKey to your PC (not Microsoft Account) as a companion security device.

While not bio-authentication e.g. fingerprint or face recognition adding a YubiKey to your PC lets you unlock and log into the computer just by inserting the physical device into the PC.

So, why bother? Most PCs today including laptops and desktops do not have a built-in Windows Hello system. By using YubiKey, you can cheaply add this to your PC while also using it with your other apps and services listed above.

Once inserted into the PC the system is unlocked all the time. Removing the key lets it lock again. A YubiKey is small enough to be carried around on a key chain making it easy to use with your home PC or laptop.

Setting up

Setting up YubiKey is very easy once you have the physical device in your possession.

  1. Download and run YubiKey for Windows Hello from the Store
  2. Select Register
  3. After inserting the YubiKey into a USB Port select Continue
  4. Optionally name the YubiKey (good if you have multiple keys) and choose Continue
  5. Follow the prompts to authenticate your key with Windows Hello
  6. When done choose Finish
  7. That’s it. The whole process takes about 30 seconds.

    Setting up on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise

    For those with a Windows 10 Home license, the above steps are all that is required to get YubiKey working with Windows Hello. If, however, you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise editions, you will need to edit the Local Security Policy to allow companion devices.

    If you are unsure which version of Windows 10 you have only go to Settings > System > About and under Edition it should read as Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, or Windows 10 for Enterprise.

    If you are on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can modify the system to allow companion devices for Windows Hello. Here is how according to Yubico:

    1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor. To do this, press [Windows key + R], and then type gpedit.msc.
    2. In the Local Group Policy Editor, from the top level Local Computer Policy, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Secondary Authentication Factor.
    3. In the right pane, click the link to Edit policy setting. (You can also double-click the setting to Allow companion device for secondary authentication.) The default state is Not configured.

[Source:- Windowscentral]

Everything you need to know about the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update was released August 2, 2016 worldwide for everyone to try out Windows 10 in all its glory. Our definitive review of Windows 10 Anniversary Update showcased many things that non-Windows Insiders were seeing for the first time and there are a number of new Windows 10 features, tweaks, and more functionality.

Since last year, Windows 10 has made substantial strides in the number of tweaks, improvements, and fixes in Windows 10 through user feedback from the Windows Insider program. It’s been a long road to get Windows 10 to this point, but there is a long way to go before Windows 10 can be considered a finished product.

First unveiled in September 2014 and entered public beta testing in October 2014, Windows 10 was released on July 29th, 2015. Windows 10 is the successor of Windows 8.1, offering a return of a more classic version of the Start Menu. In addition, Windows 10 brings a number of features and improvements to pen and touch, as well as mouse and keyboard on the PC and Microsoft Surface devices.

Just a year ago, Windows 10 was touted as more than just the next Windows. Windows 10 was a new Microsoft experience, dubbed “Windows as a Service.” Windows Insiders could experience all the new features of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update much sooner than the general public, and be able to provide Microsoft with feedback on bugs, including what needed to be improved and what needed to be fixed.

Universal Windows 10 apps, Task View, Microsoft Edge, and Windows Hello support for some websites and apps, are just some of the new features now available in the Windows 10.

 

[Source: Winbeta]

Microsoft is about to change Skype radically

Microsoft is about to change Skype radically

Microsoft has announced that it will soon release the preview version of the Skype Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app to Windows Insiders.

Testers running Windows 10 PCs and tablets will be able to check out the new messaging app in the “coming weeks”, Redmond says, so there’s not long to wait now. The app won’t immediately be usable on Windows 10 Mobile, but will follow for devices running that OS shortly.

So what can you expect from the new Skype app? Microsoft says it has learned a lot of lessons from the feedback given following the release of the consumer preview of Skype Integration in Windows 10 last autumn – which has seen a number of complaints.

One of the primary moans being the usability with larger screens on bigger tablets and hybrids, and desktop monitors, and of course that’s a big part of what the Skype UWP app will tackle.

Redmond promises a more streamlined interface all round, and a simplified look and feel for the app, with unnecessary menus and duplicated functions being stripped out.

There has been a good deal of spring cleaning, basically, and the global menus are now in a new single settings menu, with contextual menus promised down the line.

Skype UWP snap

Initial features

In the initial incarnation of this preview app, you’ll be able to sign in with your Microsoft account, link a Skype ID, and then see your list of Skype contacts with the ability to initiate a chat, make one-to-one calls, send photos, and take part in existing group chats.

Emoticons and emoji will be available, and users will also be able to see what the other person is typing in chats.

So functionality will be fairly basic for this first release, although naturally enough, more features will arrive in subsequent versions.

Microsoft says that the next couple of releases will introduce the ability to create groups and use group messaging, voice and video calling. You’ll also be able to share your screen, as well as files and video messages.

Another priority is making sure the app performs well and is responsive.

As for the broader future of Skype, if you want to stick with the existing Skype app on Windows 10 you most certainly can for the foreseeable, but eventually everything will be integrated into the UWP app.

But not before, Microsoft promises, the Skype UWP app becomes a high-quality and lightweight application with all features on-board.

 

[Source:- Techrader]

Learn more about Excel and Power BI from the Data Insights Summit, streaming online March 22-23

Microsoft Data Insights Summit – Redmond’s staple event for everything business data-related, is fast approaching, and the company has taken to the Office blog to talk about the event and how you can attend it at not cost – virtually.

The summit will feature the latest info about Power BI and Excel – two of Microsoft’s mainstays for business data – wrapped in 12 online sessions that will be open to not just business analysts, but anyone interested in the topic. Some highlights include an opening key note from  Microsoft CVP in Business Application, James Phillips, and a session with famed statistician Nate Silver, author of “The Signal and the Noise”. Here’s the full schedule and what you will get to know:

Tuesday, March 22

8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Keynote: Your path to modern BI, delivered by James Phillips
10 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Whirlwind tour of Power BI
11 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Shape external data with unprecedented ease and power in Excel
1 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. From hindsight to foresight—machine learning with Excel and Power BI
2 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. Monitor your business using Power BI
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Executive panel led by James Phillips

Wednesday, March 23

8 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. Storytelling with infographics
9 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Excel and Power BI—better together
10:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Enabling deeper business decisions using Cube formulas and Power Pivot
11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Create impactful reports with Power BI Desktop
1:30 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. Data modeling with Power BI Desktop
3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Keynote: Nate Silver, author of “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don’t”

The live stream of the keynotes and select sections will be available for free viewing at PowerBI.com.

 

 

[Source:- Winbeta]

Apple updates iCloud with new features to restore lost data

If you’ve ever accidentally deleted a document you saved to iCloud, Apple has a new way for you to restore your data. This new method can be used to restore lost iCloud files, Contacts, or data from Calendar and Reminders.

You’ll find the new restore features when you log into your iCloud.com account and go into Settings. At the bottom of the Setting page, there’s a new Advanced section, with links to Restore Files, Restore Contacts, or Restore Calendars or Reminders.

When you delete a file from iCloud Drive, you have 30 days from the day of deletion to recover it via the Restore Files feature. After 30 days, the file is permanently delete and cannot be recovered. When you restore a file, it reappears in your iCloud Drive.

When using Restore Contacts, you can select which backup archive you want to restore. A restoration will replace the contacts on all of your devices–all your Macs, iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. Before the restore, a backup of your current contacts is made, so you can revert back to it if needed.

Using Restore Contacts or Reminders is a little more involved. Sharing information is not in any of your archives, so you need to restore sharing privileges manually. Scheduled events get canceled and then recreated, so invitations are resent–youll need to let folks know what’s up with all the event notifications they are being sent. And like with Restore Contacts, a restore replaces the contacts and reminders on all your devices, and an archive of your pre-restore data is made in case you need it.

 

[Source:- Macworld]

El Capitan FAQ: Everything you need to know about OS X 10.11

This fall, Apple will release OS X El Capitan, which is version 10.11 of the Mac operating system. In this FAQ, we’ll answer some of the more general questions about El Capitan to help you decide about installing it on your Mac.

Why is it called El Capitan?

Apple now names OS X after California locations, and the El Capitan name has more meaning than what it seems on the surface. The El Capitan “location” is a 3000-foot monolith of granite found within Yosemite National Park.

As Apple puts it, OS X El Capitan is about “refining the experience and improving performance” of OS X. If you consider that OS X 10.11 is mostly designed to tweak, fix, and add minor features to OS X Yosemite (version 10.10), then the name of OS X 10.11 makes sense.

When will be available?

Apple says that El Capitan will be available on September 30.

What’s the price and how to I get it?

El Capitan is free. It’s available in the Mac App Store.

Will it run on my computer?

El Capitan will work these Macs running OS X Snow Leopard or later:

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

The general minimum requirements call for 2GB of memory, 8GB of available storage, and an Internet connection for some features.

What are the new features?

For what’s considered a fine-tune release, El Capitan has a number of new features that make it worth the upgrade. The changes to OS X itself aren’t a lot: Split View, a revamped Mission Control, Spotlight improvements, better support for Chinese and Japanese text, general performance tweaks, and Metal, Apple’s new graphics core technology. Oh, and there’s also the thing where your cursor gets bigger when you shake your mouse so you can spot it.

The major changes are in the apps that come with El Capitan. Safari, Mail, Notes, Maps, and Photos all have new versions.

Read next: Top 10 secret features in Mac OS X El Capitan

New features in the apps? OK. How about them? Start with Safari.

The two main new features in Safari 9 are Pinned Sites, which allow you to “pin” your most frequently visited websites to the tab bar; and tab muting, where you can find the tab playing audio and mute that specific tab. Get more details about the new features in Safari 9.

Sounds nice. What’s new with Mail?

Mail 9 has been revised so that it works better in full-screen mode. There’s also better integration with the Calendar and Contacts app. And you know how iOS Mail has those gestures to handle your emails? Mail 9.0 for Mac has them, too. Get more details about the new features in Mail 9.

Okey dokey. What about Notes?

Notes 4 is a different app from the previous version—it does a lot more. You can now create checklists, and notes can have embedded audio and video. The new Attachments Browser lets you easily spot the photos, video, sketches, map locations and more within your notes. All the data can be access between your Mac and iOS devices. Get more details about the new features in Notes 4.

Good, good. What’s up with Maps?

Maps 2 finally gets public transit information, but this feature won’t be available in many cities when El Capitan is released. This is probably more of a feature you’ll use with iOS, but it’ll be a limited one at the start. Get more details about the new features in Maps.

Next app: Photos. Tell me about it.

Photos hasn’t been out for very long, so the version in El Capitan is version 1.1. It has support for third-party image editing extensions, so you can do more with your photos while in Photos. You can also edit image data and better album sorting options.

What about performance enhancements in the system. What is this “Metal” thing?

You can never have too much speed, huh? Apple says that apps launch 40 percent faster than before, and switching apps is quicker. The company also says that the first mail message in Mail 9 will appear faster, and opening a PDF will have a 4x improvement.

As for Metal, it’s Apple’s name for its graphics core technology. Metal actually made its debut with iOS 8 last year, and now it’s on the Mac. Apple says Metal is 50 percent better at system-level graphics rendering, and that it dramatically improves draw call performance.

In plain English: Metal will improve graphics performance, so your apps and games will look awesome.

Ah, cool. Are there any new security features?

There are. The new System Integrity Protection works against malware by locking down more parts of the core system. Unfortunately, this could break some legitimate software utilities that you use. Get more details about El Capitan’s new security features.

Finally, what about Siri? Is it on the Mac? Can I sit in front of my computer and tell it what to do, like “Find the nearest pizza joint” and it’ll show me the results, and then I can call that place and order a sausage and anchovy pizza? Or, can I, like, sit in front of my Mac, and ask “What does the fox say?” and Siri will reply by saying “Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!” and I’ll slap my knee and heartily laugh?

Siri’s not on the Mac, and it won’t happen with El Capitan. You’ll have to order your pizza the old fashioned way. Chacha-chacha-chacha-chow!

 

[Source:- Macworld]