Just when I assumed the era of goofy Microsoft business moves was over, they go and do it again. Yesterday Microsoft announced that they were doing away with their unlimited OneDrive storage option. According to Microsoft, some users had abused the “limit” by storing “entire moving collections and DVR recordings”.
Gotta give props to Microsoft – they did well with Windows 10 both in terms of the design and implementation of the OS and especially the unique rollout via Windows update. I’s obvious that Win10 is going to be a spectacular OS in the future. Why are my comments so forward looking? Because Windows 10, in its initial iteration, is pretty rough around the edges.
Both Kaspersky and Symantec released reports this week pointing out the increase in attacks by Wild Neutron (aka Jripbot, Morpho, or Butterfly). WN had gone mostly dormant (or undetected?) since 2013 after hitting Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft using zero-day Java exploits (seeded in the hacked forums of various websites) and the OSX/Pintsized Mac OS X or Windows Jiripbot backdoor.
Just when you think Microsoft won’t shoot themselves in the foot any longer – they do it again. Today they rolled out OneDrive, their replacement (or revamp) for their cloud storage product, SkyDrive, with a special offer for 100GB of free drive space while neglecting to mention that after a year the user must pay for an upgrade or lose their files to the cloud's nether-regions...
Get ready to spend mindless (but fun) hours exploring Microsoft’s new GIGAPIXEL interactive image of Seattle. Why would a picture of Seattle be so much fun? For one, the interactive hi-def image is a mind-boggling 20,000 megapixel super high-resolution 360-degree panorama of Seattle integrated with humorous, hidden Easter-egg shots of local artists. The result is a detailed panorama of Seattle that provides hours of “Where’s Waldo?” entertainment.
Microsoft is leading the charge in calling for governments around the world to use secret surveillance of Internet users only in accordance with specific, define legal processes. Microsoft, who counts amongst its allies AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yahoo, referred specifically to allegations against the United States that were revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
I can't say I don't appreciate the gesture but more to the point, I don't appreciate getting price-gouged to begin with. When Microsoft introduced the Windows RT Tablet, they must have felt like they could charge anything they like and people would come running. And to further poke its customers in the face, they introduced a killer keyboard cover (possibly the nicest tablet keyboard in the industry) for $125 more - in addition to the already costly Surface RT tablet. Now that demand has failed to manifest itself, Microsoft seems to have come to their senses. For a limited time, customers in the US and Canada can pick up a Surface RT tablet with a Touch or Type keyboard cover for no extra charge.
Microsoft’s IllumiRoom is a fascinating proof-of-concept home entertainment/video gaming system from Microsoft Research. It augments the area surrounding a television screen with projected visualizations to enhance the traditional living room entertainment experience providing the viewer an almost surreal 3D surround type effect. IllumiRoom uses a Kinect for Windows camera and a entertainment projector to capture the appearance and geometry of the room and adapt the projected visuals in real-time. As you can see in the video below, IllumiRoom can detect furniture and other objects in the room, then alter the appearance of the room, extend a game's field of view, and trigger apparent motion
With professional developers using hardcore design tool such as Visual Studio and web page designers shifting to CMS solutions such as Wordpress, the demand for Expression ha been ever-fading away. As such, Microsoft has announced that it is phasing out its Expression design tool suite. Expression Design and Expression Web are being dropped entirely while Expression Blend has been updated from version 4 to version 5 and will be rolled into the Visual Studio product line.
A new vulnerability has just gone public and allows hackers to track the mouse movements of Internet Explorer users. Potentially malicious advertisers could insert code into their ads which would allow them to track the cursor movements of any computer displaying their ad from within Internet Explorer. The vulnerability is reported to exist in versions 6 through 10 and can track mouse cursor movement anywhere on the screen (even if the browser window has been minimized). Spider.co reported the vulnerability to Microsoft in October 2012 but MS has not recognized the vulnerability as a high priority. Spider.co is also reporting that several web analytic companies are already using the vulnerability to track cursor movements.
One month after the Surface RT hit the market, Microsoft today announced pricing for the x86 version of their Surface tablet. In January, Surface with Windows 8 Pro will be available in two versions: a 64GB version for $899 and a 128GB version for $999 and of course, both will run all current Windows 7 applications. The price is a bit steep, but the functionality over the Windows RT version may justify the high cost.
In a move strikingly similar to Apple’s recent departure of Scott Forstall, Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows and Windows Live Division, is leaving Microsoft reportedly for “his failure to be a team player”. The “ousting” (the company says the departure was mutual but the abruptness of the announcement might suggests otherwise) comes after the release of Windows 8 and its failure to grab attention (and acceptance) from the market. It was widely known that Sinofsky and Balmer had been on the outs for some time.
Microsoft introduced a voice language translation service that is leaps and bounds beyond what we would have thought possible with natural language interfaces. In the demonstration video, you see the translation machine understanding English words and transcribing them to text as he speaks. Then they demo the words being translated into Mandarin Chinese (a remarkable feat given the differences, such as word ordering, between the two languages). But that’s not all. Next the machine translates the text into spoken Mandarin - using his own tones. The accuracy of the translater is obviously much better than other language processors on the market.
This seems to be the new corporate way of proclaiming that their devices are so popular that they can’t keep them in stock. We do not know how many pre-launch Surface RT units were available but we do know that Microsoft has run through all of their pre-launch supplies and are now directing customers to their temporary holiday “pop-up” stores located around the country.
In the “yawn, nobody really cares” segment of our news, Microsoft has confirmed that Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 is still in the works. It’s been nearly a year and half since Microsoft released a test build of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 and during that time, MS has refused to acknowledge when, or if, a final build would be released for their widely used Windows 7 platform. Many thought IE 10 would be released when the Windows 8 version was released (IE is built into Windows 8) but that turned out to not be the case. Now Microsoft has confirmed that a IE 10 preview will be released sometime in November.