Wayne Williams

Why latency is the big elephant in the room for the cloud [Q&A]

Cloud elephant

Yes, the cloud seems to be crushing it, but according to Ellen Rubin, CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data, as many as 50 percent of cloud customers have brought workloads back on-premise due to latency and performance issues in production applications for dispersed workforces. This makes it a pressing issue for dispersed teams, and threatens forward momentum.

I spoke with Ellen about the problem, how latency affects businesses, and what CIOs can do to address the challenge.

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Microsoft's leaked Windows Refresh tool lets you start anew in Windows 10

Windows relief

Yesterday, something went horribly wrong with my PC leaving me with no option but to use the Windows 10 Reset option to wipe all my programs and start over. It was the first time I’d had to use it, and things went smoothly enough, even if it took forever to get everything setup again afterwards.

The ability to Reset Windows 10 -- re-installing the OS while keeping, or removing your personal files -- is a great idea (although admittedly not as good as being able to install Windows over the top of itself as you could with XP), and now Microsoft is spinning it off into a standalone tool.

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How to find and play Facebook's secret soccer game


Facebook has a couple of secret games you can play in Messenger. There’s a basketball game or, if you fancy something more intellectually stimulating, you can challenge your friends to a nice game of chess.

Timed, no doubt, to coincide with the European Championships, Facebook has now snuck in a football game (or soccer, if you’re in the US) that you can play.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14366 and Mobile Build 14364 arrive on the Fast ring

Windows-10 key

With the planned release date for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update drawing ever nearer, Microsoft is hard at work squashing as many bugs as it can.

Naturally, this means new builds released to Windows Insiders won’t offer any significant new features, but they will contain important fixes, general improvements and welcome performance boosts.

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Microsoft's Xbox 'Project Scorpio' will be the most powerful games console ever


Continuing to steal Apple's WWDC thunder, Microsoft has been using its E3 press briefing to make some major announcements.

First up, the tech giant unveiled the Xbox One S, a slimmer, much improved Xbox One, but the real excitement is not that games console, but a future device.

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With watchOS 3, Apple finally gets Watch right


I’m an Apple Watch owner, but I’m not really an Apple Watch wearer. Like a lot of people, I’ve found Apple’s first wearable to be useful, but far from essential. I’ll wear it occasionally -- usually when I’m exercising -- but most of the time it just sits on the side, charging.

With watchOS 3, Apple has actually made me excited again for the Apple Watch. So what’s new?

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How to watch Apple's WWDC 2016 keynote live on any device including Windows, Linux and Android


Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off today, Monday 13 June, in San Francisco, with the big keynote speech scheduled for 10am PDT/1pm EST/6pm BST. As always it will be streamed live so you can tune in at home or (maybe) work.

As WWDC is for software developers, Apple doesn’t usually reveal major new hardware -- typically it’s just updated versions of existing products. We're expecting to see makeovers for iTunes and Apple Music, a massively improved Siri, and iOS 10 and macOS 12 (Apple is rumored to be dropping the X from the OS name). There are likely to be some interesting surprises too.

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IDC: Windows 10 is hurting -- not helping -- the PC market

Frustrated PC user

It’s not news that the PC market is in serious decline. We’ve been talking about the death of the PC here for more years than I care to remember, and the latest forecasts from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker don’t provide any relief either.

According to the analyst firm, worldwide PC shipments are forecast to decline by 7.3 percent year over year in 2016, with Windows 10 cited as one of the reasons behind the drop.

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Watch Lenovo reveal its latest tech innovations, including a Protect Tango smartphone, here -- LIVE


Lenovo has attracted a lot of criticism recently due to its occasional bundling of malware and flawed applications on its PCs, but the Chinese technology company does produce some very good products.

Today marks the start of Lenovo Tech World, the firm’s annual technology showcase, and among the products set to be launched will be the world’s first Project Tango-enabled smartphone, which Lenovo says "promises to make AR and VR as pervasive as your GPS".

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14361 for PC and Mobile now available in the Fast ring

Windows-10 key

It’s been a couple of weeks since we last had a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build released to the Fast ring, but today the wait is over as new Windows Insider chief Dona Sarkar has pushed the button to roll out Build 14361 for both PC and Mobile.

This new release includes new features, some improvements to existing features, and plenty of fixes. The release date for the big Windows 10 Anniversary Update is edging ever nearer, so the quest is on to fix as many problems as possible before then.

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Microsoft introduces Surface Membership Plans


The first Surface tablets struggled to find an audience -- to put it politely -- but with Surface Pro 3 (and then Surface Pro 4) Microsoft finally got things right.

The company wants its range of slates to be a viable alternative to iPads for businesses and so has quietly introduced a membership plan that will allow firms to get the latest Surface devices, upgrade when available, and pay for things monthly.

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Change.org petition seeks to have Microsoft investigated for 'malicious' Windows 10 upgrade practices

Win10 petition

If you’re unhappy with the way Microsoft is forcing Windows 10 onto people who really don’t want it (including plenty of people who don’t even know what it is), then you’re not alone.

A new Change.org petition is seeking supporters in order to have the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) investigate Microsoft for "malicious practices regarding Windows 10".

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Microsoft removes the X from the Windows 10 upgrade pop-up -- your choices are 'yes', or 'yes, now'


I worked in sales for some years and one of the first things you are taught is the art of the alternative close. That’s where the sales person offers someone a choice of two options, neither of which leads to "no". Here’s an example: "When is a good time to start your Windows 10 upgrade? At a preset date and time, or now?"

Microsoft’s increasingly aggressive tactics to get people to upgrade to Windows 10 are now legendary. The last trick the company pulled was to reverse the meaning of clicking the X on the nag screen. Instead of meaning, "go away and stop bothering me" it now means "yes, I want the upgrade". Or rather it did. For, according to The Register, Microsoft has now removed the X, leaving Windows 7 or 8.1 users with the choice of picking a date for an upgrade, or upgrading now. There’s no close button, no cancel option. Just reschedule or upgrade immediately.

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Still using Windows XP? Here's how to update it and gain all the features it's missing


Microsoft might have dropped support for Windows XP over two years ago, but the operating system remains hugely popular. According to the latest usage figures from NetMarketShare, it still has over 10 percent of the market.

There are numerous reasons why people might still opt to use the ancient OS, including the simplest of all -- because they like it, and it works for them -- but time has moved on considerably since XP first arrived in 2001, and the OS is missing a lot of features. Don’t worry though, you can bring XP up to date quickly and easily.

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How to fully disable Windows 10 live tiles

Viewing live tiles

Windows 10’s Start menu offers live tiles that update every few seconds or so to display information like the latest news headlines and weather, and also a changing slideshow of photos.

Live tiles are viewed by many as a bit odd, because unless you switch to tablet mode, you only ever see them when you open the Start menu, and the menu has to stay open so you can watch the tiles update. Fortunately, if have no need for such things, this feature is easily disabled.

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