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Microsoft releases 'Windows 10 Fall Creators Update' Build 16193 to the Fast ring

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It’s been another very busy day for Microsoft today. At Build, the software giant announced that the next big update of its new operating system will be called Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and now we have a new build of that for Windows Insiders.

Build 16193 introduces some of the new features that Terry Myerson announced on stage at Build, including the new Story Remix app and Power Throttling.

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Build 2017: Microsoft bringing mixed reality to all with new affordable headsets and motion controllers

HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition

Microsoft has been working on its vision of mixed reality for a while. It first showed off its HoloLens headset two years ago, and then debuted a developer edition last August, but sales weren’t great, not least because it came with a $3,000 price tag.

Microsoft said at the time that the best, and cheapest, HoloLens VR headsets would not be made by itself, but by third-party hardware developers, and today at Build it announced the first of these headsets, as well as Windows mixed reality motion controllers -- no markers required. If you’ve been excited to try Microsoft's implementation of augmented reality for yourself, the wait is nearly over.

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Watch Microsoft's Windows 10-focused Build keynote here, live

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Microsoft’s Build developer conference got under way yesterday, revealing interesting information, such as Windows 10 is now on 500 million active devices, and the software giant has developed a wearable for Parkinson’s disease suffers.

Today’s keynote will be exiting for anyone interested in Windows, as Terry Myerson, Microsoft EVP of the Windows and Devices Group, will be taking to the stage.

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Windows 10 now on 500 million active devices, but growth has slowed dramatically

Windows 10 numbers

During the Build developer conference keynote in 2015, Microsoft said that it expected over 1 billion Windows 10 devices to be in consumers hands within 2-3 years.

Two years have passed since then, and at this year’s Build conference Microsoft announced that Windows 10 is now on 500 million Windows 10 devices, active monthly. That’s an impressive number, even if it’s only half of the original projection.

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Watch Microsoft's Build 2017 keynote live, here

CONVERTED-SEA-skyline

Microsoft is kicking off its annual Build developer conference in Seattle today, starting with its opening keynote this morning (a second keynote is happening tomorrow).

As it’s a developer conference we’re not expecting to see any new hardware this year, but we will likely have more details on the newly announced Windows 10 S, Cortana skills, mixed reality, and more.

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Any browser coming to Windows 10 S will have to use the EdgeHTML rendering engine

Tired, Exasperated, Frustrated man at mac

Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s new education-focused operating system, has a lot of restrictions in place. The main one, of course, being that it only allows you to install apps from the Windows Store. If you want to install programs from outside its ecosystem, you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

Edge is the default browser in Windows 10 S, and Bing the default search engine, and unlike in Windows 10 itself, you can’t change these. That might be something of a deal breaker for any browser-makers interested in bringing their product to Windows 10 S, but that’s not the only issue they’ll face.

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Get 'Researching UX: Analytics' ebook ($30 value) FREE for a limited time

Researching UX

Good user experience (UX) design is based on evidence. Qualitative evidence, such as user testing and field research, can only get you so far, however. To get the full picture of how users are engaging with your website or app, you’ll need to use quantitative evidence in the form of analytics.

Researching UX: Analytics, from SitePoint, will show you, step by step, how you can use website and app analytics data to inform design choices and definitively improve user experience.

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Amazon introduces Echo Show -- now Alexa can show you things

Echo Show

It leaked last week, but now Amazon has officially announced its latest Echo family member. The Echo Show is different from Amazon's other Alexa-powered devices thanks to the inclusion of a 7-inch touchscreen.

This will allow Alexa to show you things, such as YouTube videos, music lyrics, photos, video from connected security cameras, weather forecasts, and to-do lists, but it will also let you make and receive video calls.

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Microsoft ends support for the original version of Windows 10

shock and surprise

Windows 10 has changed quite a lot since its original release in July 2015. Microsoft has rolled out three major updates to its new OS since then -- the November Update, the Anniversary Update, and most recently, the Creators Update. All three introduced new features and major changes, making it a much better and more rounded OS.

But the problem with having different versions of what is essentially the same operating system is that supporting multiple branches isn’t feasible.

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Microsoft fixes 'crazy bad' Windows vulnerability

Windows relief

Over the weekend, two of Google’s Project Zero security researchers announced that they had discovered a "crazy bad" Windows exploit, describing it as the "worst in recent memory."

Project Zero gives firms 90 days to fix such discoveries, but Microsoft swiftly jumped on this problem, and just two days later has come up with a fix.

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Google Project Zero security researchers discover 'crazy bad' Windows exploit

Shocked

Google’s Project Zero identifies bugs and security flaws in commonly used software, and gives firms 90 days to patch them before going public. This is an approach which doesn’t always go down well -- a case in point being when Google recently released details of a Windows bug after Microsoft failed to patch it in time.

Now two Project Zero security researchers claim to have found a new critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in Windows which they describe as the "worst in recent memory" and "crazy bad".

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Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Amazon Echo rival can play music, control your home, and make Skype calls

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Apple is rumored to be working on a Siri-powered alternative to Amazon Echo/Google Home, and Microsoft isn’t planning on being left out either.

Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered speaker, called Invoke, is set to launch in the Fall. A product page for it did prematurely appear on the web before being pulled, but now Microsoft has made the announcement official.

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How to lock down Windows 10 Home/Pro like Windows 10 S

Lock Windows 10 S

Microsoft this week introduced a new version of Windows 10 aimed primarily at users in education, and designed as an alternative to Google’s Chrome OS.

The main difference between Windows 10 S, and Windows 10 Home/Pro is it only runs apps from the Windows Store. You can’t install programs from elsewhere, and this includes Chrome. This mean users can only install Microsoft-verified software which, the software giant says, will result in better security and superior performance. You don’t need to buy or install Windows 10 S to get this feature though, you can simply lock down an existing version of Windows 10.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 Insider Build 16188 to the Fast ring, with lots of new features

Windows-10 key

While many users are still waiting to upgrade Windows 10 to the Creators Update, Microsoft is forging ahead with the next big update, codenamed Redstone 3.

We’re back to the regular weekly update schedule, and new features are beginning to appear in the preview builds. In Build 16184 we saw the introduction of the new My People app, and in the latest release, Build 16188, there are even more new features to try out.

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The Banana Phone is a phone with very limited appeal

Banana Phone talking

The Banana Phone is a device that was clearly conceived during an evening in which far too many alcoholic beverages were consumed.

It is, essentially, a phone shaped like a banana. So you can call friends and family members on what appears to be a piece of yellow fruit. It’s an amusing idea made real. But it’s also a device with a big problem.

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