Tag: microsoft

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 shareholders give Nadella a Chinese burn

nadellaMicrosoft shareholders are getting rather rattled that Vole does not appear to be paying enough attention to its mobile phones.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was grilled by shareholders over the matter of Windows phones.

Microsoft shareholder Dana Vance, owner of a Windows Phone and a Microsoft Band, was furious that he received an email about the Microsoft Pix app but was surprised to learn that it was available for iPhone and Android but not Windows Phone.

Microsoft Outlook has the same problems. Already he was cross that Vole had put the Band on the back burner. It seems that Microsoft has given up on consumer devices.

As part of his response, Nadella said Microsoft’s Windows camera and mail apps will include the same features as in Microsoft’s apps for other platforms.

“When we control things silicon-up, that’s how we will integrate those experiences. We will “build devices that are unique and differentiated with our software capability on top of it — whether it’s Surface or Surface Studio or HoloLens or the phone — and also make our software applications available on Android and iOS and other platforms. That’s what I think is needed for Microsoft to help you as a user get the most out of our innovation.”

Another shareholder said that he uses his Windows Phone “18 hours a day” and yet Vole is stepping away from mobile. “Can you calm me down … and tell me what your vision is for mobile?”

Nadella fudged: “We think about mobility broadly. In other words, we think about the mobility of the human being across all the devices, not just the mobility of a single device.”

However he did say that Vole was not stepping away or back from its focus on mobile devices.

“What we are going to do is focus that effort on places where we have differentiation. If you take Windows Phone, where we are differentiated on Windows Phone is on manageability. It’s security, it’s Continuum capability — that is, the ability to have a phone that can act like a PC. So we’re going to double-down on those points of differentiation.”

He cited the HP Elite x3 device as an example of a Windows 10 phone that follows this strategy.

“We will keep looking at different forms and different functions that we can bring to mobile devices, while also supporting our software across a variety of devices. So that’s the approach you will see us take. We are not stepping away from supporting our Windows Phone users. But at the same time we are recognizing that there are other platforms in mobile that have higher share, and we want to make sure that our software is available to them.”

Microsoft’s Chinese AI is clever enough to censor itself

beijing cybercafeSoftware King of the World has admitted that its Chinese flavoured AI chat bot will not talk about anything that the authorities behind the bamboo curtain don’t want them to talk about.

Xiaoice would not directly respond to questions surrounding topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese state including the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 or “Steamed Bun Xi,” a nickname of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Am I stupid? Once I answer you’d take a screengrab,” read one answer to a question that contained the words “topple the Communist Party.”

Mentioning Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump also drew an evasive response from the chat bot. “I don’t want to talk about it,” Xiaoice says. Fair enough who does?

Microsoft has admitted that there was some filtering around Xiaoice’s interaction.

“We are committed to creating the best experience for everyone chatting with Xiaoice,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “With this in mind, we have implemented filtering on a range of topics.” The tech giant did not further elaborate to which specific topics the filtering applied.

Microsoft says that Xiaoice engages in conversations with over 40 million Chinese users on social media platform like Weibo and WeChat.

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.

Microsoft tries to win over EU anti-trust watchdogs

cat versus dogSoftware king of the world, Microsoft, is doing its best to win over EU anti-trust watchdogs to allow its deal with business social notworking site LinkedIn to go through.

Vole will still allow LinkedIn’s rivals access to its software and give hardware makers the option of installing other services to try to win EU approval for its takeover of the US outfit.

Microsoft submitted its LinkedIn concessions to the European Commission last week after the EU competition enforcer expressed concerns about the $26 billion deal, Microsoft’s biggest ever acquisition.

The offer aims to show that Microsoft will not favour LinkedIn at the expense of rivals which is the sort of thing which annoys watchdogs.

Both the Commission and Microsoft, which have not provided details of the offer are saying nothing.

The EU wants feedback from rivals and customers before deciding whether to accept the concessions, demand more or open an investigation which can take up to five months. They have until Tuesday to do so. The Commission is scheduled to rule on the deal by  6 December.

Professional social networks which have access to Microsoft’s API (application program interface) will continue to have this facility once LinkedIn becomes part of the company, the people said.

The other key element of the company’s concessions is the option for computer hardware makers to install either LinkedIn or rival networks on computers, indicating that the company is keen to avoid any suggestion of packaging products to crush competitors.

Microsoft’s website shows it has software deals with hardware makers such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Huawei.

Too many Chinese CEOs in Silicon Valley

Donald-Trump-funnyDonald Trump’s top advisor claims that there are too many Chinese CEOs in Silicon Valley, in a statement which might suggest that Donald Prince of Orange might want businesses to select whites only to lead them.

Steve Bannon, who previously served as Breitbart News Network’s executive chairman, hinted at some of his views on foreign workers at technology companies and to be fair they were made over a year ago in an interview between Trump, Bannon and The Washington Post. He might have suddenly realised that all people are equal and that deciding anything based on race is a rather bad idea in the meantime.

In the interview, which turned up yesterday, Bannon said foreign students should return to their respective countries after attending school in the US, instead of sticking around and working at or starting tech companies.
Trump was a little more logical. He was worried that these students attending Ivy League schools and then going home: “We have to be careful of that, Steve. You know, we have to keep our talented people in this country,” Trump said.

Bannon replied that: “When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think…” he didn’t finish his sentence. “A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.”

While he did not say anything against immigrants, he seemed to hint at the idea of a white nationalist identity with the phrase “civic society.” Under Bannon’s watch stories which he allowed to go up on Breitbart News, included pieces that attacked women, feminists, political correctness, Muslims, and trans people. Breitbart has become a go-to site for the US far right.

Foreign-born CEOs, including Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, have tried to quell concerns from employees.
Last week, Nadella and Microsoft congratulated Trump, while saying that the company’s commitment to “fostering a diverse and inclusive culture” remains “steadfast.”

Bad online experiences affect life

O2-BMD-Stick-LifeA new Microsoft survey show nearly two-thirds of people surveyed had at least one negative online experience that had an impact on them in the real world.

Apparently, if you have a bad online experience it can result in side-effects including loss of trust in others, increased stress or sleep deprivation and thinking oranges might make good political leaders (we made the last one up).

The study, “Civility, Safety and Interaction Online – 2016,” polled youths aged 13 to 17 and adults aged 18 to 74 in 14 countries. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those polled said they had fallen victim at some point to at least one of 17 different online risks.

That figure grows to 78 percent when respondents included the online experiences of their friends and families. Half of those surveyed reported being “extremely or very” worried about online risks generally, with the most common concerns being unwanted contact (43 percent) and various forms of harassment (39 percent).

Young people said they were more likely to suffer social and academic losses following some sort of online conflict. More than 20 percent said they lost a friend or their scholastic performance suffered, while 13 percent said they intentionally spent less time at school due to online conflicts.

Both adults and teens said they became less trusting of others in the real world after a negative interaction online at about an even rate. For adults, it was 31 percent, for teens 29 percent. However, consequences to adults outpaced those to teens, such as becoming less trusting of people online and a reluctance to participate in blogs and other online forums.

It was not all bad. More than 29 percent of adults said they tried to be more constructive in their criticism of others after a negative online situation, compared with 25 percent of teens.

The full report will be out early next year.

A top vole said Microsoft had chosen to make this preliminary release, featuring some adult data, following the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election and in conjunction with World Kindness Day on 13 November.

The months leading up to the new year and Safer Internet Day 2017 represent an opportunity for a “digital reset… to ensure we’re putting our best digital foot forward … Digital civility is everyone’s responsibility, and Microsoft can help put you and your family on a path to good digital citizenship.”

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.

Microsoft defends Viking chess champion from Russian hackers

vikingNorwegian Magnus Carlsen, the world chess champion has asked the Software King of the World, Microsoft, to protect him from Russian hackers.

Carlsen is worried that he will become plagued by cyber-attacks before the match with the Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin.

Carlsen uses technology and computing power to prepare the match and he is afraid that Russian hackers would attempt to break into his computers to access information that could help Crimean-born Karjarin to win the match.

Beating Calsen would be a bit of propaganda coup for Tsar Putin. Karjakin represents Russia now but comes from Ukraine and supports Putin’s annexation of the region. It is therefore useful to Putin to create an image that a religious belief in all he stands for grants you victory. After all it is what he has been doing for his chum Trump in the US.

Vole has promised to protect Carlsen’s data and will secure communications to make sure that nothing is lost or compromised. Carlsen’s advisers will also be protected, as Russian hackers could also launch attacks against them to get data about the match.

Vibeke Hansen, head of the Communications department at Microsoft Norway said the element of surprise is vitally important in chess and no one expects Volish minions to go Viking on them.

“Preparing for a World Championship demands a lot of work, analysis and strategic sparring – and a lot of computing power. The last few months before a match are filled with a lot of preparation and hard work; it is crucial that no data is lost or compromised,” Hansen said.

Ballmer and Gates fell out over smartphones

ballmer_gatesThe shy and retired former Micorosft supreme dalek Steve Ballmer is claiming that he fell out with the Bane of the Mosquito Sir William Gates over building smartphones.

According to Fortune magazine, in 2010 Ballmer and Gates fell out over taking Microsoft into the hardware space.

Ballmer said there was a “fundamental disagreement” about “how important it was to be in the hardware business,” specifically phones.

“I had pushed Surface. The board had been a little reluctant in supporting it. And then things came to a climax around what to do about the phone business.”

He said he would have moved into the hardware business faster and recognised that what we had in the PC, where there was a separation of chips, systems and software, wasn’t largely going to reproduce itself in the mobile world.

Vole did get into the phone market but was too late to take a forceful position in the market. Ballmer pushed for the eventual $9.5 billion-dollar purchase of Nokia handset unit, and most of the entire value of that deal required a write down.