Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter team up on open source Data Transfer Project to ease your data moving woes
Four giants of the technology world have joined forces in an attempt to make it easier for people to move data between services. The collaboration between Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter takes the form of the open source Data Transfer Project, the aim of which is to make it possible to "transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it".
The four companies joining announced the data portability platform which currently makes use of public APIs to offer support for photos, mail, contacts, calendars and tasks from the founders as well as other companies who are encouraged to get involved.
Microsoft is a major proponent of both Linux and open source these days. This is a shock to many old-school computer users, but for those following the "new Microsoft" under Satya Nadella's leadership, it really isn't surprising. Hell, the company now owns GitHub! The CEO keeps an open mind and is very focused on the cloud and services. While Windows still matters to the company, it is far from the main focus.
The Windows-maker releases plenty of software for Linux, such as the very popular Skype. For many, PowerShell Core has proven to be a useful tool, and today, Microsoft makes it available as a Snap. If you aren't familiar, a Snap is essentially a packaged version of a program that can be easily installed on many Linux distributions. Many see it as the future of Linux, as it has the potential to reduce fragmentation.
It has been heralded as the last version of Windows you will ever need. This is great news for internal IT. Rather than large abrupt OS version updates such as the cumbrous leap between Windows 7 and 8, the Windows-as-a-Service delivery of Windows 10 will allow for regular incremental improvements and updates. The expectation is to eliminate the arduous elongated process of OS migrations that require significant planning, training and working hours. For those who need any further incentive, there is also the impending end-of-life deadline in January 2020 for Windows 7. Of course, to get to Windows 10, you have to endure one final big upgrade.
Fortunately, Microsoft has taken great strides to simplify the Windows 10 migration process. New deployment methodologies that utilize images, task sequences and provisioning packages make the deployment process far more agile today. That does not mean there aren’t challenges in the process however. The hurdles instead lie in the standardization of the user workspace. It is the details of ensuring that all those configuration settings, applications, printers and security protectants are delivered to ensure a secure productive work environment.
It’s very easy to install Windows apps from the Microsoft Store. You just need to go to the app’s page there, click the 'Get the app' button, and wait.
But what if you want to download a copy of the app for installing later, or on multiple systems? Well it turns out there is a way to do this.
Phisherfolk love to try to trick people into thinking they are a major brand in order to get them to reveal passwords or personal data.
New research from Vade Secure reveals that in the second quarter of this year Microsoft has supplanted Facebook as the most spoofed brand. The social network drops two places to third, behind perennial phishing favorite PayPal.
Microsoft has announced that Skype 7.0 (also known as Skype classic) is to be killed off, forcing all users to move on to the "modern" Skype 8.0.
The company says that from September 1, only the new version of Skype will work, and this is something that is likely to upset users who were unhappy at the redesign that was introduced nearly a year ago. To soften the blow, Microsoft has updated Skype 8 with a range of new features, and says that other new options -- including the ability to record Skype calls -- are on their way too.
If you were getting your hopes up about the possibility of a Surface Phone appearing, we have some bad news. Speaking with Wired, Chief Product Officer at Microsoft Panos Panay said that the company is not working on that form factor.
In the course of the interview, Panay said that Microsoft is working on various new form factors for future devices. Asked whether this included the fabled Surface Phone, he dashed the hopes of many -- although news has leaked out recently about a future "pocketable" Surface device.
Microsoft has announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with retail giant Walmart to help "make shopping faster and easier for millions of customers around the world".
The five-year deal between the two companies will see Walmart making use of Microsoft's cloud technology solutions such as Microsoft 365 and Azure. The retailer already uses some Microsoft services, but with the new partnership this expands into cloud tools that use machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Windows Essentials (also called Windows Live Essentials) was a suite of desktop applications that included various Microsoft programs, like Messenger, Mail, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, Writer, and OneDrive.
The last version of the suite was released in 2012, with the final update in 2014, and reached end of support on January 10, 2017. Microsoft removed the pack from its site last year, and while it is officially no longer available for download, you can still get it -- if you know how. And the good news is tools like Movie Maker work fine on Windows 10.
Timeline is an excellent addition to Windows 10, introduced as part of the April 2018 Update. It remembers what documents and web pages you’ve been working on recently, allowing you to quickly pick up where you left off.
As good as it is, however, it has one major flaw and that’s it only remembers web pages you’ve opened in Microsoft Edge. If you don’t use that browser -- and let’s be honest, that’s most people -- then Timeline’s usefulness is greatly reduced. Thankfully, there’s a way to get it to remember pages you’ve visited in Chrome or Firefox.
Microsoft president Brad Smith has called on government to regulate facial recognition technology, citing concerns that it is open to abuse. While he acknowledges that technology company have a role to play, he that it is down to elected representatives to put rules in place.
Using a terrible analogy ("All tools can be used for good or ill. Even a broom can be used to sweep the floor or hit someone over the head.") Smith points out that while facial recognition technology is undeniably useful, there is also potential for it to be "misused and abused by private companies and public authorities alike". He wants government to do something about it.
It’s no secret that Microsoft wants you to use its Edge browser in Windows 10. It’s tried a lot of ways to persuade users to switch from Chrome, Firefox or other browsers, including advertising Edge in Windows and even recently made a change to a Redstone 5 Insider preview so that links clicked in Windows Mail opened directly in the browser.
Windows 10 users will be aware that Edge is already the default browser for certain links and actions. If you run a web search using the Cortana search box, for example, the results -- provided by Bing -- will open in Edge. But a handy program can redirect these links to whatever browser you have set up as the default.
Microsoft has launched a free version of Teams, the company's collaborative chat tool. Teams has pitted itself against the likes of Slack since it first appeared, but the arrival of a free edition makes it a viable alternative.
As this is a free product, it should come as no surprise that there are limitations. However, the free edition of Microsoft Team can still be used by up to 300 people -- the same as the Essentials and Premium versions -- which should be enough to cater for most small to medium sized businesses.
Microsoft recently released the Surface Connect to USB-C Adapter -- a dongle that adds USB-C to any Microsoft computer with a Surface connect port. The accessory was universally panned for being bulky, ugly, and overpriced. Thankfully, the newest Surface Go tablet has an integrated USB-C port -- the aforementioned dongle is not needed.
Microsoft doesn't want to leave the recently unveiled Surface Go out of the dongle party, apparently, as it is releasing two adapters for the tablet. One dongle merely converts the USB-C port into a USB-A port. The other adapter converts the USB-C port into a USB-A port and adds an Ethernet port. Strangely, Microsoft did not mention these products when announcing the Surface Go, but they are available for pre-order now. And yes, they will work with any USB-C Windows device; not just Surface devices.
The software giant is doing a reset of the Skip Ahead ring starting from this build. It's focusing now on stabilizing Redstone 5 ahead of its launch in the Fall, and so Skip Ahead insiders will be automatically switched to the Fast ring for now.