Microsoft

Windows 10 Update: Mobile, Universal Apps and More!

Windows 10 has the potential to revolutionize the way that you use digital technologies. Instead of just working on a desktop or laptop, computer repair services share that it will work across all Microsoft devices—including tablets, smartphones and gaming systems. Windows 10 will also have universal apps that you can use on all your Windows-enabled devices and still look great on every screen size.

Features for Windows Smartphones

If you have a smartphone that came with Windows 8.1, you will have the ability to upgrade it to Windows 10. The phone will also come with a one-year subscription to Office 365. While presenting the new operating system, Microsoft representatives also showed off the company’s new line of low-cost smartphones and how they:

  • Provide reminders
  • Sync with other devices
  • Integrate with Cortana
  • Provide a reading view for articles

Computer Repair Experts on Project Spartan

In the next public preview of Windows 10, Springfield computer repair specialists at Rethink expect the company to release its new Web browser, Spartan. Having already showed off Spartan at a few events, Microsoft demonstrated its ability to make online articles more readable.

The Spartan browser is designed to adapt to the device on which it runs. It also allows users to mark Web pages with digital pens and share the markups with others. Eventually, Spartan will include extensions, but there’s no word about the extensions being native to Internet Explorer or any other browser. Spartan will be available to the public as early as the beginning of April 2015.

One of the most important features about the upcoming Windows 10 platform is familiarity. Regardless of the Windows-enabled device or hardware that you’re accessing, you will have the same interface and experience, making it simpler and more adaptive than ever before. Computer repair experts speculate that Windows 10 will be available in the second half of 2015. In the mean time, if you have any questions about upgrading your system or using Spartan, don’t hesitate to call the Springfield computer repair gurus at Rethink Associates.

Rocky roads at Microsoft continue...

Satya Nadella is in as CEO of Microsoft, and executives Tony Bates and Tami Reller are leaving. When Steve Ballmer announced that he would be leaving the company, there was a great deal of talk about where the company would be headed, and what that would mean for the management structure at Microsoft. The company had not been performing well by investor standards, nor making any strides in customer confidence. As the CEO search went on, the world watched and speculated about who would be at the wheel as Microsoft moved forward. That speculation was not just us looking in. The fever was even more pitched inside the company. With Ballmer gone, several key players in the company were on a list of potential candidates as CEO. Some were eager, others would just have been honored. Among those were Tony Bates and Tami Reller.

 

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Bates, a 14 year veteran at Cisco, had told Voice on the Web in 2001 that one of his big ambitions in life had always been to be the CEO of a corporation. He had three in mind, and Skype was on the list. He was hired on as Skype's CEO in 2010, and only 6 months later Skype was purchased by Microsoft in 2011, leaving his tenure as a CEO short. But he had accomplished a great deal at Skype. So when Ballmer left, their was definitely a great deal of anticipation and hope in Bates' mind. His aspirations not realized, he informed Nadella he will be leaving. Given his talent, aspirations and drive, odds are good we will see more Bates news soon, as he get picked up to be CEO of some company, and a big one.

 

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Reller however, has just been fighting the good fight for too long. Woody Leonhard over at InfoWorld puts it best: "Reller is in charge of marketing for all of Microsoft, but she's been at odds with Annointed Marketeer (and friend of Steve Ballmer) Mark Penn, who as EVP of advertising and strategy is supposed to be cooperating with her. Marketing and advertising turf wars aren't unusual anywhere, but they're particularly poisonous at Microsoft because "Scroogled" Penn is such a polarizing figure, and because both Reller and Penn sit in the inner circle (that "E" thing). It would've been interesting to sit in on the Marketing/Advertising meetings when the powers that be decided to run touchy-feely Super Bowl ads, instead of wallowing in recycled Scroogled dirt. Reller clearly won that round, but my guess is that she just tired of fighting the war."

What will follow here is going to be interesting to watch. As Microsoft shuffles around even more management in an attempt to keep thing running and find replacements. Industry speculation is that the departures are far from over. With the roller coaster of turmoil going on at Microsoft, there will be quite a few people predicting trouble. The fact of the matter is, Microsoft has been suffering and gasping for air since 2006. Apple's rise in market share and profitability had obvious and direct effect on Microsoft. $11 billion invested in Web Services including Bing search, and they still have nothing to show for it. To date, Microsoft maintains only 18% of search marketshare while Google maintains 67%. . Billions invested in Windows Phone, a platform that only commands 3% maketshare. PC sales continue to drop, Amazon Web services are spanking the pants off Azure, and venture capitalist investors have jumped ship due to a "decade of mismanagement". 

However, the key thing to remember here is that this is the time for change. A complete changing of the guard is in order. Microsoft has been headed in the wrong direction for too long. They have too many powerful products with serious potential to surrender. With a new CEO, New management, and new thinking, they have an opportunity to change directions, to shift gears. Let's hope that these changes, are for the better.. 

Microsoft Offers Tips to Help Users Transition Away from XP

With only two months reaming until the Windows XP support termination deadline, Microsoft is looking for help in getting users to upgrade.

With only two months reaming until the Windows XP support termination deadline, Microsoft is looking for help in getting users to upgrade.

Brandon LeBlanc of Microsoft wrote a Blog post that I missed a week ago, marking Microsoft's 60 day countdown to the end of Microsoft Windows XP. In his post, Brandon both marks the countdown and asks user for their help in getting their friends and family to convert before the switch. 

LeBlanc's post, while asking users for their help, outlines the detailed roadmap for what users' options are to stay protected after April 8th: Upgrade or Buy a New PC. that's it. Upgrade, or Buy a New PC.  

Microsoft's approach to the transition is forced, and I personally don't believe they are being entirely fair with users. I feel that it is obvious if a user is still using a pc old enough it still has XP on it that they are not ready for nor do they like change. One would think that Microsoft would be forward thinking enough to help make the process less painful for users by making upgrading much cheaper. Currently, the cost for users to upgrade from XP to Windows 8 is $199 when bought straight from Microsoft, though Amazon still sells the upgrade to 8 Pro for only $95 (Grab it while it's hot). But I think that offering a limited run sale of $50 for XP users would be a more customer focused plan. Knowing how drastic the difference of experience is for users switching from XP to 8 will be, these kinds of concessions on Microsoft's part are just common sense in my book. But, I digress..

And it is only fair, after examining Microsoft's need to be more flexible and fair, it is extremely important for users to understand that WinXP is 12 years old. 12 years old. We have seen entire industry markets introduced and others revolutionized since WinXP launched. We have seen 2 Presidencies since it's launch. Facebook hadn't even been thought of, MySpace hadn't even launched, we mapped the Human Gemone, the world's first phone with a colored display was launched, 9/11 was just a day, not an anniversary of a tragedy, Switzerland joined the UN, Katrina hit New Orleans, the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression hit, the Space Shuttle program ended.. I could go on. You are using a relic. A piece of equipment from a by gone era. It is time to change. 

Microsoft's Titan..falls

Titanfall only at 792p?

Titanfall only at 792p?

With every Console comes a major 1st party title that is labeled a "System Seller". The game that because it is developed by the console manufacturer, it takes full advantage of the system's hardware and capabilities to showcase the pure power and features of the system. It enables the console manufacturer to show off all of the power and prowess of their hardware, and how versatile it is. The Super Nintendo had the amazing Super Mario World, the Gamecube had Luigi's Mansion, Nintendo 64 the world renowned Super Mario 64, Dreamcast had Virtua Fighter 3, the Xbox had Halo, Xbox 360 had Project Gotham Racing 3. 

When the Microsoft marketing machine started pumping up the Xbox One release, the showcase title was Titanfall. A promising title filled with action, adventure, chaos, mechs, explosions, online multiplayer gameplay in a game that, according to the Devloper's founder, Vince Zampella, brings  "scale, verticality, and story" to first-person shooter multiplayer gaming". All of this, while running at 60 frames-per-second in full 1080p glory, to showcase the power and prowess of the Xbox One hardware. This was the game so massive that an engineer for the developer stated in an interview with Eurogamer that the game would not be possible on the PS4, because it wasn't powerful enough.  And that is where the game hits a major snag. You see.. As time went on, and both systems launched, we learned that the PS4 is actually much more powerful than the XBO, and every cross-platform title has highlighted this.

Next came the news this week that the title would only be able to run at 720p. This set the community ablaze with speculation and questions. Now that the game is set to begin an open Beta, it has been confirmed that the title will only run at 60fps at 792p. Turns out, the XBO hardware isn't powerful enough to handle the game either. Even with the recent development that XBO could get a 53 Mhz increase from disabling the Kinect camera, the XBO still cannot run Titanfall at 1080p. Some have been quick to point out that the game is still unfinished, in BETA, and that there is time to run optimization to enable improved performance. Even pointing out the Assassin's Creed 4 situation on PS4, a game that was originally only able to run at 900p on the PS4 until an optimization patch, which enabled the game to run at 1080p on the PS4. It is important to realize however, that the increase there was only from 900 to 1080p, already running at 60fps. In Titanfall's case however, the game is only capable of squeezing out 792p at 60fps right now. Ramping up to 1080p from only 792p seems a far stretch, if not impossible. This presents quite a challenge for the developer. And for Microsoft, after blasting the game on ever marketing channel they could find over the last 4 months, even 2 (TWO) pre-movie commercials to promote the XBO before a movie we went to a couple months ago, this is a serious blow. After all the hype, promotion and talk, even with disabling hardware features to eek out additional power from the XBO, Microsoft cannot deliver on it's promises with Titanfall. While it's important to remember that, again, the game is not finished, things do not bode well. 

All of this is pretty damning for the XBO. We consistently seem to see the flagship system falling behind in sales and delivery on promises. Add to that recent speculation tha Titanfall is coming to the PS4 soon. And what keeps the XBO from meeting it's own expectations and promises for Titanfall? Grant Brunner over at ExtremeTech puts it perfectly:

"So, why can’t Titanfall reach 1080p? It all comes down to frame rate. Twitch games, like competitive first-person shooters, require smooth frame rates for precise aiming and maneuvering. If the game dips to 20fps during a frantic moment, that could easily turn the tide in a battle. For a game like this, the priorities are obviously on visual polish and frame rate, so resolution takes a back seat.

Maybe if this were an Xbox One exclusive, the development team could have built and optimized the engine for 1080p rendering at 60fps like Forza Motorsport 5. However, this game has to run on the Xbox 360 and PC as well, so other considerations had to be made. It’s certainly not impossible to make games run at 1080p on the Xbox One, but it seems as if it’s more trouble than it’s worth for a game like Titanfall."