When consumers think back to the 90's, there are two companies synonymous with personal computing -- Microsoft and AOL. People bought Windows computers and connected to the web with the AOL ISP. Hell, I begged my dad for my first computer when I learned I could talk to girls in AOL chat rooms. In hindsight, I was probably talking to old men pretending to be girls, but I digress.
Both Microsoft and AOL are still quite successful -- the former much more than the latter -- and today, they announce a decade-long extension and expansion to existing agreements. Microsoft is handing over the keys to a large portion of its advertising business, while AOL search will begin using Bing.
Let the countdown begin. One month from today, July 29th, Microsoft releases Windows 10. Three weeks ago we asked what you like about the operating system. Many of you are testers, and keeping with the spirit of the "beta" in our site's name, we just had to inquire.
Microsoft hasn't made this transition easy enough, even before the code's release. For starters, there is, or was, or may still be, or may never stop being, confusion over who is eligible for the free upgrade. Microsoft kind of, sort of, clarified who gets and who doesn't -- and those of you who are Windows Insiders, and remain so, can continue on the forever free track, albeit running betas. Based on our poll posted last week, 10 percent of you without valid licenses will stay with the Windows Insider program to keep the free software coming. More than half of you plan to stick with the testing track.
The Fourth of July is almost here. You know what that means, right? USA Independence Day! Yes, on this day, Americans will barbeque delicious meats and watch fireworks to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and subsequent defeat of the tyrannical British empire. Of course, our former oppressors are now one of our greatest allies.
Microsoft is one of the most famed American companies, and one of its founders, Bill Gates, is a great example of how anyone can become a success within America's borders. Today, Microsoft announces that it is celebrating the people that earned the USA its freedoms -- our veterans -- by sponsoring a 60 day, 3,400 mile relay race called the "Old Glory Relay". What great news so close to July 4th!
It can't have escaped your attention that we are now on the home straight for the release of Windows 10. With just a month to go, there are a few loose ends to tie up with the operating system itself, but there are also areas of the Windows ecosystem that are receiving attention ahead of the launch. One such component is Family Safety, Microsoft's parental control system.
Now renamed to Microsoft Family, the settings can be used to monitor and restrict what younger computer users are able to do on a computer. As well as the change of name, Microsoft Family is now part of Microsoft Account and there has been a bit of a redesign to make it easier to get around.
The Quran, sometimes written Koran, is the holy text of the Islamic religion. It literally translates to "the recitation". Most religions have such books to guide their beliefs and provide some foundation for how to proceed in life.
You can read many such works online, and Microsoft is aiding in this with Islam 360, a searchable Quran app. The software giant has talked it up, though it isn't particularly new. Instead Microsoft wants to alert those who aren't aware of its existence and tout the features it brings along.
While we await news of the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft has revealed another model to the Surface Pro 3 lineup. The latest addition is a Core i7 model, bringing the total number of Surface Pro 3s featuring this version of Intel's processor to three.
In all there are now six Surface Pro 3 models to choose from, and the new Core i7 model makes it cheaper to jump into the higher end of the range. While the new model features the same processor and same 8GB of RAM as the very top of the Surface Pro 3 range, storage has been dropped to 128GB to help keep the price down.
Since debuting Chromecast has continued to gain wider support, with new services being added regularly. Now Microsoft, which has a history of supporting Android with apps and updates, is getting in a bit deeper.
The company has added support for Chromecast in it's latest update. Version 3.2 of the app allows customers to "cast" photos and videos right from their phone or tablet and display them on the big screen.
A total of 73 percent of IT professionals will deploy Windows 10 within the first two years, a new report by Spiceworks shows.
The report, called Windows 10: Will it Soar? found that 96 percent of IT decision-makers are interested in Windows 10, and 60 percent of IT departments have tested or are actively testing the new operating system. The survey also found that 40 percent of companies plan to begin rolling out Windows 10 within the first year and an additional 33 percent expect to begin deploying Windows 10 within two years.
Office 365 debuted with the last release of the software, bringing the service to what Microsoft has always likely wanted -- a subscription. It's a decent deal with five licenses and the ability to move them to new computers.
Now the software giant is rolling out one-click app access in its Office 365 store. The company is trying to make things as simple as possible, by adding the store and deployment without admin support. No configuration or admin support? That sounds like an IT nightmare, but hopefully Microsoft is vetting everything before it goes live.
When it comes to geeky stuff, space exploration is definitely on the top of the list. I am sure many of you dreamed of becoming astronauts as kids; representing your country by working for NASA. Of course, life is unpredictable and we rarely realize our dreams; only a small percentage of humans get to become astronauts with NASA.
Do you know what else is super-geeky and awesome? Virtual reality. Microsoft's implementation with HoloLens takes this to an entirely different level -- beyond just strapping a screen to the user's face. Microsoft has truly captured the imaginations of many. NASA has certainly taken notice, as today it announces a partnership with the Windows-making company to bring HoloLens to space, with a new project called Sidekick.
I owe Sony a lot of credit. It wasn't the original Xbox and the young Xbox Live service that gave me my first taste in console online gaming. It was my beloved PS2 that connected me to the early adopters skating around Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, and wannabe commandos practicing flanks together in the original SOCOM.
With an add-on Ethernet adapter and LAN cable strung halfway around my house, the PS2 allowed me to engage in an activity that gamers on most modern consoles take for granted. Getting online with PS2 games was part test of patience and part geekdom experiment. PlayStation Network wouldn't launch for another four years or so, and one console later -- on the PS2, you were truly on your own when it came to navigating online gaming.
After a few weeks in preview, Microsoft Office is now available for Android smartphones. Despite Microsoft's mobile-first, cloud-first philosophy, it has actually taken some time to bring the world's most popular office suite to Android phones -- it joins the tablet version of the suite that was released last year.
Just like the tablet editions, the phone versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint won't cost you a penny, allowing for the viewing and editing of a range of files when on the move. There is a cloud focus with support for not only OneDrive, but also Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box, and Microsoft says it has made changes based on the feedback received during the preview period.
Microsoft's Xbox One gaming console does much more than just play games, there are many entertainment options. It aims to be the hub of the consumer's living room, with all sorts of choices and even HDMI pass-thru. Now music streaming service TuneIn is adding one more option to the mix.
TuneIn bills itself as "the world's largest collection of radio stations". This is more than just music, though. It's also stations that deliver news, sports, talk radio and podcasts. It's enough to cover just about any eclectic taste.
The path to a free copy of Windows 10 should be very straightforward, but Microsoft has made it more confusing than necessary by making several contradictory statements.
In a nutshell (as it stands at the moment), if you have a valid installation of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 then you can upgrade to the new OS for free, provided you do so before July 29 2016. If you don’t upgrade in that time frame you’ll need to purchase a license. This will set you back $119 for the Home edition or $199 for the Pro version. If you’re a Windows Insider you can continue getting free beta builds, license free. Still confused? We’ve put together a simple flowchart to help you work out if you’re eligible for the free upgrade or not.
Windows Update has long been pushed as the way to make sure that Windows is fully patched and secure as possible. It is recommended that it be left in Automatic mode so updates are downloaded as they are released. Samsung, however, has different ideas.
The company has been found disabling Windows Update on a number of the computers it sells, channeling people to use its own SW Update tool instead. Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker noted the activity when he found a program called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe on his computer. The culprit was Samsung's crapware.