In exactly 365 days Microsoft will stop offering support for its still widely used but venerable operating system. XP has certainly had a good run. Microsoft will have supported the OS for 12 years, which shows how incredibly popular it was (its success also perhaps speaks volumes about how much better than its successors it was perceived to be, I’m looking at you in particular Vista).
But now Microsoft is dropping extended support for XP, so what does that actually mean for consumers and businesses who are still using the OS?
A fortnight ago I asked a simple question -- Is it time for Microsoft to make big changes to Windows 8? BetaNews readers weighed in on the topic and as I'd hoped it made for some fascinating and insightful reading.
Although plenty of people support Windows 8 and the Modern UI, a lot of readers feel that yes, Microsoft should seriously consider making changes to its divisive OS and accept that the "one size fits all" model isn’t working.
As someone who switched from Hotmail to Gmail in 2004 and then never looked back, moving to Outlook.com has been quite a weird experience (setting it up was fun in its own right). Some people hate Gmail’s interface, but if you’re used to it, using anything else seems odd.
That said, I’ve adapted to Outlook.com pretty quickly. It feels a bit like going back in time, using an interface similar to the ones I used in the past, but it doesn’t feel dated -- quite the opposite actually -- and I’ve grown to really like it in the short period of time I’ve been using it as my email service.
On Tuesday, Vonage introduced free video calling into its mobile app for iPhone and Android, rounding out a suite which already offers features like free app-to-app calls, texts, photo and location sharing, as well as international calling.
I chatted to Nick Lazzaro, Vonage’s SVP Product Development, Information Technology and Managing Director Mobile Services, about the new addition, the company’s plans for the future, and what he thinks is next for the mobile industry.
Backupify is introducing an enhanced set of backup and recovery features designed to support its core offering for enterprise-level organizations on Google Apps. The "Spring Release for Google Apps" includes tools built to offer more efficient ways for administrators and end-users to manage their backups within larger organizations.
The update, which builds on the Winter Release launched last December, adds the following advanced data recovery and admin controls:
Although it sounds like a slightly late April Fool’s joke, Amazon has today announced it will be giving customers who have purchased vinyl records from Amazon dating back to 1998, free copies in MP3 format.
It forms part of the AutoRip service which automatically adds MP3s of past and present CD purchases to the shopper’s Cloud Player libraries.
If neither Papa Sangre nor The Nightjar mean anything to you, you’re missing out on some real iOS gaming greatness. Both are audio-only adventures for iOS from British developer Somethin’ Else. You don’t need any major gaming prowess to play them -- just a good pair of headphones and the ability to listen (which a lot of women will say rules out most men then).
The two very immersive games follow a similar style. You use the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad’s screen to walk forward, and swipe to turn left or right, listening for sound clues to ensure you’re headed in the correct direction -- towards something to collect or an exit, or away from some form of nasty scurrying around in the darkness.
The BBC News app for iOS is pretty good but it’s always been rather buggy. The BBC debuted version 2.0 of the app late last night, and as well as bug fixes and improved response times, there have been a few other welcome changes.
Among the tweaks, the app now lets users copy story links to the clipboard, Twitter and Facebook integration has been improved, so it’s easier to share stories of interest, and pulling down on the screen refreshes the content.
If I was casting a film about Steve Jobs’s life, a comic actor probably wouldn’t be my first choice for the title role. But clearly I know nothing about such things. Because first we had Two and a Half Men’s Ashton Kutcher playing the Machiavellian Apple co-founder in Jobs, and now we have the boyish Justin Long as the titular iSteve in Funny or Die’s forthcoming full length feature film.
The teaser trailer for iSteve, which was released just now, doesn’t give much away, as it mostly consists of lines from the movie, but we do get a very brief look at Justin Long in the role at the very end.
Google really embraces 1 April and some of its fools are excellent. This year’s highlight, for me, is a new Treasure Hunting mode in Google Maps (I’m currently using Bing for all my mapping needs, but I had to switch back to Google just to try this).
According to the search giant, "Treasure Maps is our Beta Maps technology and has certain system requirements. Your system may not be able to display at higher resolutions than paper print. Take care when unfolding the map to avoid ripping it".
Windows Blue, the next Windows release, leaked onto the internet at the weekend. It has some interesting new features and tweaks, but because it’s such an early and buggy build it wouldn’t be advisable to replace your existing OS with it. You could of course dual boot from it, but it’s just as easy to run it in a virtual environment where any crashes or issues won’t lead to you having to reboot your PC.
For this guide I’ll use Oracle VM VirtualBox because it’s a great free program and setting up Windows Blue is incredibly straightforward with it.
So a very early build of the next version of Windows has leaked online. Codenamed Windows Blue it includes features such as additional Snap Views and changes to the Charms. There’s nothing to get too excited about here, not yet at least.
But I’ve been wondering lately, if it isn’t time for Microsoft to change course and steer away a little from the direction it set with Windows 8. There’s no sign of that happening in the Windows Blue leak, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more fundamental changes added to the new version as development progresses.
Millions of people around the world use Foursquare to check into places they visit. The company has taken a year’s worth of these check-ins at two of the planet’s largest cities -- New York and Tokyo -- and plotted them on a map.
The result is a video that runs from 4AM right round the clock and up to 2AM, showing the cities pulsing as they come to life and then die back down again.
I’m a big fan of Google Reader. I don’t just access it every day, I access it, probably on average, every couple of hours or so (and still do, despite my switch to Microsoft). I have hundreds of feeds in there, and thousands of stories starred. So really I should be gutted that Google has decided to kill it off. But I’m not.
I was at first though. I even signed the petition to get Google to change its mind, even though I knew it was futile. But then I took a step back and realized that what initially seemed like devastating news for a Reader fan such as myself, was actually a blessing in disguise.
Kinvey, a Backend as a Service (BaaS) company that helps developers set up and operate scalable cloud backends for mobile, tablet and web apps, is branching out with a new Enterprise Edition.
According to the firm, the new platform integrates with various enterprise backend systems including Oracle, Salesforce CRM, LDAP and Active Directory, and will allow developers to easily create their own enterprise-grade mobile applications.