Category: Software

Windows 7 is a chocolate teapot, Microsoft warns

Nestle-chocolate-teapot-1Software giant Microsoft has warned the world that its Windows 7 software is the chocolate teapot of software and is advising people to upgrade to Windows 10.

Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 back in January 2015 and stopped OEMs from selling PCs with Windows 7 and 8.1 near the end of 2016.

A spokesVole said that Windows 7 will approach its end of extended support in less than three years, and warned enterprise customers and other users to upgrade to Windows 10.

While January 14, 2020 might seem a long way away it does take organisations rather a long time to do a roll out. But Vole warned that Windows 7 really was not an option anymore and not fit for the purpose for most corporates.

In a new blog post, the company says that continued usage of Windows 7 increases maintenance and operating costs for businesses. Similarly, time is needlessly wasted on combating malware attacks that could have been avoided by upgrading to Windows 10. Microsoft also says that many hardware manufacturers do not provide drivers for Windows 7 any longer, and many developers and companies refrain from releasing programs on the outdated operating system.

Markus Nitschke, Head of Windows at Microsoft Germany said that the Operating system did not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments.

Companies should take early steps to avoid future risks or costs, he said.

Microsoft further pointed out that its obsolete operating system is based on “long-outdated security architectures”. It also cautioned that companies and businesses who still use it are more susceptible to cyber-attacks.

Windows 10 to lock when you move away

8746-dSoftware king of the world Microsoft has a wizard wheeze to hack off users.

Vole has thought that it would be much more secure if every time a user steps away from their machine, Windows 10 senses this and goes into lock down automatically.

The feature is labelled as Dynamic Lock and has started appearing in recent test builds of Windows 10. Vole has dubbed the software “Windows Goodbye” internally which might be a prediction more than a label.

Vole uses special Windows Hello cameras to let Windows 10 users log into a PC with just their face and big corporates want employees to use the winkey+L combination to lock machines when they’re idle.

The new feature will make it an automatic process and it is not clear how Microsoft detect inactivity, but it’s possible the company could use Windows Hello-compatible machines or detect idle activity and lock the machine accordingly.

Windows can already be configured to do this after a set time period, but Vole is streamlining this feature into a simple setting for anyone to enable. Microsoft is planning to deliver Dynamic Lock as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update, expected to arrive in April.

It might work in a corporate world although logging on and off each time you go to the loo is going get annoying quick. Supervisors often must get up for a moment to help their employees, logging on and off each time they do that is going to force them to lob their PC through the window.  But home users are up and about all the time.

To be fair all this will be redundant when the computer starts to recognise who you are and switches back on automatically. That tech is already there with Windows Hello.

Red Hat doing well

Red Hat Agent CarterOpen saucy Red Hat’s third quarter results were rather good.

Its third quarter total revenue of $615 million, up 18 per cent year-over-year. Its third quarter total subscription revenue was $543 million, up 19 per cent year-over-year or 18 per cent in constant currency.

Jim Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat said that enterprise and service provider customers were adopting a hybrid cloud strategy for developing, deploying and managing the life-cycle of their critical applications.

“Red Hat is uniquely positioned to address this need. In aggregate, customers utilizing our cloud-enabling technologies either on-premise or in the public cloud are spending more with Red Hat than customers that have not yet embraced our cloud-enabling technologies.

Total revenue for the quarter was $615 million, up 18 per cent in U.S. dollars year-over-year, or 17 per cent measured in constant currency.

GAAP operating income for the quarter was $81 million, up 17 per cent year-over-year. After adjusting for non-cash share-based compensation expense, amortisation of intangible assets, and transaction costs related to business combinations, non-GAAP operating income for the third quarter was $143 million, up 16 per cent year-over-year. For the third quarter, GAAP operating margin was 13.1 per cent and non-GAAP operating margin was 23.3 per cent.

GAAP net income for the quarter was $68 million compared with $47 million in the same quarter last year.
The outfit is predicting that will make $2.397 billion to $2.405 billion in US dollars and its GAAP operating margin is expected to be approximately 13.5 per cent and non-

GAAP operating margin is expected to be approximately 23 per cent.
For the fourth quarter revenue is expected to be $614 million to $622 million.

Zuckerberg thinks he is Ironman with his own Jarvis

336D11AA00000578-3567659-Since_he_assumed_the_role_of_Tony_Stark_in_Marvel_s_Iron_Man_in_-a-187_1462060958040Mark Zuckerberg seems to be projecting an alter-ego of Iron man after showing off his home-based AI digital assistant, which he has called Jarvis.

Last January, Zuckerberg announced that he planned to build an AI system to run his home using Facebook tools, in the latest of the personal-growth challenges he gives himself each year.

Zuckerberg says he has always enjoyed sitting down and build something that does exactly what you want it to do. Over the last year, Zuckerberg has spent between 100 and 150 hours on his home project.

Though it’s named for Tony Stark’s futuristic Jarvis AI in the Iron Man movies, it’s more akin to a homemade, highly personal version of something like Amazon’s Alexa service, letting him and his wife Priscilla Chan use a custom iPhone app or a Facebook Messenger bot to turn lights on and off, play music based on personal tastes, open the front gate for friends, make toast, and even wake up their one-year-old daughter Max with Mandarin lessons.

Zuckerberg wrote that he’d set out to build a system allowing him to control everything in the house, including music, lights, and temperature, with his voice. He also wanted Jarvis to let his friends in the house just by looking at their faces when they arrive and to alert him to anything important going on in Max’s room.

He hoped to design the system to ‘visualize data in VR to help me build better services and lead my organizations [at Facebook] more efficiently.’

He claims he has done all of that other than the bit about VR. And it works. It is not perfect. It sometimes needs a little coddling. Zuckerberg began by demoing the Messenger bot he’d built as a front end for the system. Using his smartphone, he typed simple commands to turn the lights off and on, and sure enough, they went off and then on.

On the other hand, he also built the system to respond to voice commands, via a custom app he’d created, and there, the results were decidedly more inconsistent. He had to tell the system four times to turn the lights off before it got dark.”

He is a bit of a way away from strapping on the suit and saving the world. To be fair though Zuckerburg is really just proving that he still has the ability to program despite being the head of a huge business.

 

Microsoft creates Home Hub

1953-kitchenmaid-blue-kitchen-the-television-kitchen-cropped.0Software king of the world Microsoft has looked at the success of Amazon’s Echo and Google Home and decided “I want some of that.”

However, it is looking like Vole’s competitor to Amazon’s smart speaker Echo and Google Home is software and will be centred around the home PC.

Home Hub is a software update for Windows 10 that will make the Windows PC a bit more like a smart speaker.

Microsoft’s smart digital assistant Cortana can already answer your queries, even if the PC’s screen is locked. The Home Hub would add a special app with features such as calendar appointments, sticky notes and shopping lists.

A Home Hub-enabled PC might have a Welcome Screen, a full-screen app that displays all these, like a virtual fridge door.

Cortana would get more powerful on Home Hub and could  control smart home devices, such as lights and locks.

It will turn any Windows 10 device into the centre of a smart home and third-party manufacturers will be able to build devices that work with Home Hub.

It is expected that Microsoft will release the Home Hub next year. The advantage will be that most people still have a PC somewhere in their house.

Microsoft gives its most successful program to Android and iOS

ANDROIDSoftware giant Microsoft has shared its most successful program to Android and iOS users.

Since the 90s there has been one program which has seen heavy use by Windows customers –  Solitaire.  It has been responsible for much wasted time and has historically been viewed as bad for business.  However moves to take it out of Windows have always been in vain and it seems it will be part of the Windows furniture for future decades.

But fewer are sitting in front of large desktop computers at home and Vole has not done so well at getting into the mobile market, so it has now sent its Solitaire Collection to Android and iOS stores.

Paul Jensen, Studio Manager of Microsoft Casual Games said Microsoft Solitaire was one of the most-played games of all time on Windows for more than 25 years.

“Microsoft Solitaire Collection, has reached more than 119 million unique players in the last four years alone. Now, those on iPhone, iPad and Android devices can play the popular card game for free.”

You can download Microsoft Solitaire Collection from the App Store, Google Play, and Windows Store and be run over while playing.

Open source champion mulls return to Microsoft

voleAfter a decade of being the Open Saucy champion of the world, Munich  is now considering going back to Vole’s loving arms.

For ages the City of Munich has been the poster child for Linux and open office, but now the authority is considering proposals to make Windows 10 and Microsoft Office available across the council.

Starting in 2004, the council moved about 15,000 staff from using Windows and Office to LiMux—a custom version of the Ubuntu desktop OS—and other open-source software. At the time, Munich was one of the largest organizations to reject Windows. It was so serious that the shy and retiring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer flew to Munich to have a quiet word with the mayor.

Now a report commissioned by current mayor Dieter Reiter has outlined a project to make Windows 10 and Microsoft Office available to all departments, and give staff the choice about whether to use Windows or LiMux.

If Windows subsequently became a popular choice, the report says “it could be investigated whether it makes economic sense to continue using Linux as a client operating system”.

This is all part of wider €18.9 million architecture and client’ project. Munich city council take on two new “Windows experts”, who would help develop a “powerful” new Windows client for use by staff.

The council has previously said that the bulk of users had not taken issue with the move to LiMux and free software. However, in correspondence with the council, there is support from various departments for replacing LiMux and LibreOffice with Windows and Office.

The city’s human resources department (POR) hates LiMux, saying that since 2006 when the POR started using LiMux and OpenOffice, later switching to LibreOffice, that “the efficiency and productivity of the POR-supported workplaces has decreased noticeably” – referencing crashes, display and printing errors.

“Even 10 years after the start of the LiMuX migration, the users and users of the POR are dissatisfied. LiMux and LibreOffice are “far behind the current technical possibilities of established standard solutions”.

HR says Munich “is still dependent on Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc., since many requirements can only be met by the products of these manufacturers”. Aspects of these proprietary systems are incompatible with LiMux, according to POR, citing the council’s SAP security system, and errors in how PDFs are displayed by the open-source viewing software. Another department describes the use of Windows as being “mandatory in many areas of the city of Munich, whereas Limux clients are not”.

Even if the council were to accept the report’s suggestion that Windows be made available across the council and LiMux eventually dropped, no change would be made immediately. Under architecture and client project, the consultant’s report recommends that LiMux continues to be improved, as both LiMux and Windows continue to be used side-by-side at Munich for at least the next couple of years.

Samsung to release its own artifical intelligence helper

mybrainhurtsSamsung is to launch an artificial intelligence digital assistant service for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone.

It had been expected. Samsung recently bought Viv Labs, a firm run by a co-creator of Apple Siri voice assistant. Samsung plans to integrate the outfit’s AI platform, called Viv, into the Galaxy smartphones and expand voice-assistant services to home appliances and wearable technology devices.

Samsung wants its Galaxy S8 to help revive smartphone momentum after scrapping the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7. Investors and analysts say the Galaxy S8 must be a strong device for Samsung to win back customers and revive earnings momentum.

Samsung did not comment on what types of services would be offered through the AI assistant that will be launched on the Galaxy S8, which is expected to go on sale early next year. It said the AI assistant would allow customers to easily use third-party services.

Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong said that developers can attach and upload services to Samsung’s AI.

“Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease,” he said.

Google is widely considered to be the leader in AI, but Amazon, Microsoft and Apple have offerings which are include voice-powered digital assistants.

Microsoft launches messaging system

138176Software king of the world, Microsoft has launched its own messaging system for businesses.

Dubbed Microsoft Teams the product will be in direct competition with fast-growing startup Slack and Facebook’s Workplace product.

It will all be part of Vole’s cloudy Office 365 services which has more than 85 million monthly active commercial users.

Slack has sign ups from CBS, BuzzFeed, universities and the US government, had 4 million daily active users in October so if Microsoft can use its Office base effectively then Teams might clean the outfit’s clock.

Slack took out a full-page ad in the New York Times on Wednesday, addressing the entry of Microsoft Teams saying that it was “genuinely excited to have some competition.” Clearly it did not consider Facebook’s effort as competition.

Microsoft said a preview of Teams will be available to Office 365 commercial customers with enterprise or business plans.

Canadian coppers start spying on journalists

mountiemaintainThe Canadian press is rather miffed that one of its number is being spied upon by Montreal’s coppers.

Patrick Lagacé’s iPhone was tracked by Montreal police even though many people believe that the Apple’s flagship phone is safe.

La Presse reported Monday at least 24 surveillance warrants were issued for this year at the request of the police special investigations unit. That section looks into crime within the police force.

Lagacé’s doings were tracked using the GPS chip in his iPhone. The warrants used to obtain the identities of everyone he spoke to or exchanged text messages with during that time.

Tom Henheffer, executive director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression said that the new powers that the police have to spy on Canadians were absolutely horrifying.

“They’re basically limitless, there’s very little oversight, and when that happens the system will be ripe for abuse, and this is just an example of how it’s abused. What’s even more worrying about it is the fact that this is a justice of the peace who actually authorised this.”

Lagacé thinks he was put under police surveillance as part of an ‘attempt to intimidate’. It’s part of a “culture shift” among law enforcement and judges that began with the passing of Bill C-51 under the previous Conservative government, he said. ​

The idea is to scare the hacks into turning over their secret sauce recipes.  Apparently it is getting worse. In September, the Sûreté du Québec seized Journal de Montréal reporter Michael Nguyen’s computer because they believed he illegally obtained information cited in a story he wrote.

Meanwhile the Mounties are trying to get a reporter from Vice News to hand over background materials used for stories on a suspected terrorist and spied on two hacks for more than a week without any authorisation.

The government has promised to change “problematic” parts of bill C-51 in the 2015 election, but have not done anything yet.

Lagacé said police told him they obtained the court-authorised warrants because they believed the target of one of their investigations was feeding him information. However, the story was not broken by Lagacé but one of his rivals.  This makes him think that the investigation was a thinly veiled attempt to learn the identity of his sources within the police department.