Tag Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft Putting Edge on Chromium Will Fundamentally Change the Web [Owen Williams/Motherboard]

Microsoft putting Edge on Chromium isn’t just about the browser. It’s about making Web apps that do a better job integrating with the operating system — like Electron apps, or MacOS Marzipan apps, but better.

Interesting. Until reading this article I thought Edge on Chromium was a yawner, because I don’t see any reason to switch to Edge. But this puts a new face on it.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella turned the company around by focusing on its core strength in business services; betting big on the cloud; ditching failing lines, mainly the handset business; and opening up the culture.

Really an amazing turnaround; in the technology industry, dominant technology companies in decline, like Microsoft was, don’t make a comeback. I can only think of two examples other than Microsoft: Apple, which required the return of its charismatic founder, and IBM 25 years ago.

Up in smoke

Microsoft Gets Baked in Cannabis Cloud

Dude, Microsoft is stoked to be partnering with a Los Angeles startup to provide cloud services to help governments ensure marijuana businesses are regulatory compliant.

Kidding aside, this is serious business. Microsoft is partnering with Kind Financial for technology to governments for “seed to sale tracking.”

[Me/Light Reading]

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Google, Amazon, and Facebook are betting big on AI and virtual assistants. If those are the wave of the future – and it seems likely they are – then Apple is screwed, says Marco Arment. Apple is lagging badly in those areas, and it’s not the kind of thing you can develop in secret and spring in a keynote.

Arment is not only a smart industry observer, but he’s also an Apple enthusiast and iPhone app developer. He’s the opposite of an Apple hater.

In 2007, BlackBerry was the pinnacle of mobile email and voice devices, which was what mobile phones were for. But the market moved on and BlackBerry didn’t. Apple is at risk of the same here in 2016, Arment says.

Avoiding BlackBerry’s fate – Marco Arment

Related: I recently had my first experience with Apple CarPlay and was delighted. Pairing your iPhone to the car is accomplished with a single tap, and after that you can get your Maps, messaging, phone calls, and listen to podcasts on the screen on the car’s dashboard and using the car’s speakers. Like the Apple slogan used to go: “It just works.” And, quoting another old Apple slogan, “you already know how to use it” – even if, like me, you’ve never used it before, have never read about it, and have had no training.

And that reminds me of how so many Apple tools don’t “just work” anymore. My MacBook Air freezes up sometimes. It seems to not do that if I don’t use Safari and I reboot every day. Not sure though. Haven’t found a cause. And recently I was getting quite exasperated figuring out how to share an album in Apple Photos. I’m still not sure I did it right.

Hence the title of this post.

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Word Flow is a “swiping” keyboard, where you don’t pick up your finger between letters, and it has an “arc mode” that curves the keyboard for easy typing on one corner of the screen. Nifty!

I haven’t had much luck with third-party keyboards on iOS. Apple wants you to use them for occasional, added capabilities. It doesn’t want you to set a third-party keyboard as your default. This is one area where Android beats Apple.

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Billing by Millionths of Pennies, Cloud Computing’s Giants Take In Billions

Quentin Hardy at The New York Times:

SAN FRANCISCO — Imagine building an enormous beach resort, maybe the best in the world. Instead of renting the rooms, you charge guests based on the grains of sand they touch. You charge very little per grain, but if they lie on enough of them, it adds up.

That is one way to think about what is going on at the world’s biggest cloud-computing companies.

Good article. Good metaphor.

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Tablet and iPad Market Is 100 Million Units Smaller Than Expected [Arik Hesseldahl – Recode]

What happened? Smartphones for one, in particular really big smartphones. Also, people buy new tablets at a slower pace than they do phones.

One category of tablets that’s likely to be successful: tablets with detachable keyboards, like the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface.

As for me, I find myself using the iPad mini less and less, and growing more and more frustrated with its limitations as I do. And I’m still getting used to how portable my MacBook Air is. Light as a feather, with hours and hours of battery life. I use it plugged in to a 27″ display, keyboard, and trackball when I’m at my desk. When I want to take it somewhere, there are only three connections, easy to detach and reattach.

I see myself moving to a bigger phone in the next generation of iPhones later this year, and using the iPad mini even less. Unless, that is, Apple comes out with an iPad the size of the Kindle Paperwhite. I think that might be the ideal size for me.

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The free keyboard lets you access your clipboard history, contacts, OneDrive and SharePoint documents, and translates what you type into other languages.

The keyboard gets only 2.5 stars on the iTunes store, with 35 reviews in. People are saying it’s slow and buggy.

iOS has weak support for third-party keyboards. iOS is not good at letting you designate a third-party keyboard as your main keyboard; Apple apparently wants you to toggle to the third-party keyboard for some specific reason, then go back to using the main iOS keyboard most of the time.

Microsoft Launches Hub Keyboard for iOS [John Voorhees – MacStories]

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Microsoft today accidentally re-activated “Tay,” its Hitler-loving Twitter chatbot, only to be forced to kill her off for the second time in a week.

Tay “went on a spam tirade and then quickly fell silent again,” TechCrunch reported this morning. “Most of the new messages from the millennial-mimicking character simply read ‘you are too fast, please take a rest,'” according to the The Financial Times. “But other tweets included swear words and apparently apologetic phrases such as ‘I blame it on the alcohol.'”

In other news: Trump hires Tay as his campaign manager.

Microsoft accidentally revives Nazi AI chatbot Tay, then kills it again [Jon Brodkin – Ars Technica]

Via Boing Boing

Amazon’s Lofty Profits Open Cloud to Rivals – Shira Ovide / Bloomberg

Amazon, which has  used razor-thin margins to undercut rivals, is susceptible to the same competitive pressure because of its fat AWS profits.

“Your margin is my opportunity.”

It’s a quip often attributed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to explain his zeal for high-volume sales at teeny-to-nonexistent profits. It’s ironic, then, that in Amazon’s cloud business it is Bezos’ margin that is providing an opening to rivals like Google.

Amazon’s Lofty Profits Open Cloud to Rivals [Shira Ovide / Bloomberg]

A brief history of atuocorrect

Without it, we probably couldn’t even have phones that look anything like the ingots we tickle—the whole notion of touchscreen typing, where our podgy physical fingers are expected to land with precision on tiny virtual keys, is viable only when we have some serious software to tidy up after us.

The Fasinatng … Frustrating … Fascinating History of Autocorrect.

What I’ve been up to recently on Light Reading

I went to the MIT Technology Review Digital Summit on 36-hour turnaround. While at the airport I stopped in at the restaurant at the Virgin lounge for dinner, and thought, “Pretty soon I’m going to be a regular here and they’re going to start recognizing me. I wonder how I feel about that?” Then the waiter greeted me with, “Welcome back! You’ve been here a few times, haven’t you?”

Light Reading posted these articles from me while I was away:

Microsoft Planning 7-Day Phone Batteries
SAN FRANCISCO — MIT Technology Review Digital Summit — Microsoft is figuring out how to make mobile phone batteries last longer. How much longer? Try a week…

Is Cisco’s Chambers Retiring in the Fall?
Cisco CEO John Chambers may be planning to announce his retirement soon, and may leave the networking technology giant in the fall.

Cisco Systems Inc. is also embarking on a reorganization that will result in 20,000 people changing jobs inside the company, according to Silicon Valley chatter. The reorganization would be intended to reduce duplicate work. Many employees are developing the same technology for different business units; the reorganization would streamline those redundancies.

Google Exec: Internet of Things Requires ‘Brand New Network’
SAN FRANCISCO — MIT Technology Review Digital Summit — The Internet of Things will require telecom operators to turn their networks upside-down, believes Google Developer Advocate Don Dodge.

The Internet is currently designed for expensive, high-bandwidth connections such as video. The Internet of Things doesn’t need much bandwidth but needs to be inexpensive, Dodge said.

Overture Adds Hardware to Its NFV Pitch
Overture is extending its existing NFV proposition with a new product designed to combine the benefits of virtualized functions with dedicated hardware located at the customer premises.

More to come.

My flight got in very late last night and so I got a late start this morning. Tea, meet neurons.

A brief hsitory of autocorrect


Microsoft shipped Word 6.0 in 1993 with a new feature called “AutoCorrect.” But autocorrect goes back further than that.

The idea of fixing text as it’s typed dates back to the 1960s, says Brad Myers, a professor of interface design at Carnegie Mellon University. That’s when a computer scientist named Warren Teitelman — who invented the “undo” command — came up with a philosophy of computing called D.W.I.M., or “Do What I Mean.” Rather than programming computers to accept only perfectly formatted instructions, Teitelman said we should program them to recognize obvious mistakes.

That was followed by the touch-tone phone, and engineers working on ways to enter text using a “reduced keyboard.” The T9 method of text entry was adapted for use on mobile phones in 1995.

But the hijinks really start when the software stops making suggestions and just replaces things automatically.

Who Made That Autocorrect?

Image: Arnoldius

You would be wrong

You might think it’s a good idea to move 7,000 messages from one Outlook folder to another on a 4 Mbit upload connection. You would be wrong, and have days to regret the decision.