Microsoft Archive

Microsoft is winning the techlash

The tech industry is feeling the pain of an unprecedented backlash over its business practices and broad impact on society, but original tech giant Microsoft has managed to stay mostly above the fray. It’s remarkably puzzling how nobody is really talking about Microsoft. The company is one of the largest companies in the world, incredibly powerful, and still has its tentacles all over the industry, and thus, all over society. They are just as (potentially) dangerous as any of the others.

Microsoft announces Visual Studio 2019 general availability

During a virtual launch event today, Microsoft announced that Visual Studio 2019 is now generally available. The new IDE contains a number of new features, such as making it easier to clone a Git repo, and there are improvements for template selection. There’s also a new feature called Live Share. Live Share lets you collaborate with other developers in real time. Announced at Build 2018 last year, it’s been in preview ever since. Since then, Microsoft has added support for languages like C++ and Python, and it’s started allowing guests to start debugging sessions. Live Share works with both Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio Code. This release includes Visual Studio for the Mac.

Microsoft proves the critics right: we’re heading toward a Chrome-only web

Last week, Microsoft made a major update to the Web version of its Skype client, bringing HD video calling, call recording, and other features already found on the other clients. And as if to prove a point, the update works only in Edge and Chrome. Firefox, Safari, and even Opera are locked out. In the past, the Skype team has pointed to codec issues as the reason for inconsistent browser support. But that shouldn’t be a concern these days, as both the H.264 and VP8 video codecs are supported in Edge, Chrome, and Firefox. Google Hangouts and Google Meet support plugin-free video calling in Firefox, for example, as have other online services. For a long time, Apple refused to support WebRTC—the underlying browser technology used for real-time voice and video chatting—in Safari. But even that feature gap doesn’t exist any more, and Safari should now support everything required. The trend is clear: Chrome is becoming the new Internet Explorer 6.

Microsoft unveils HoloLens 2: twice the field of view, eye tracking

As expected, Microsoft today launched HoloLens 2, the company’s second-generation augmented reality (AR) headset. The new hardware addresses what were probably the two biggest issues with the first-generation device: the narrow field of view, and the comfort when wearing the device. I’d love to experience AR and VR devices like these, but for now, I just can’t justify the investment. The killer app for home use seems to not have been invented yet, and I’d just end up with a fun gimmick that serves to entertain the odd guest a few times a year. I understand my own personal enjoyment is not exactly high on the list for the makes of these devices – they’re obviously more interested in professional use – but in order to build a sutainable, long-term business around AR and VR, they really ought to start thinking about reasons for ordinary consumers to start buying these.

The platform Microsoft forgot

When Microsoft revealed that it was finally putting its long-running, if disregarded, Windows Phone line out to pasture, it was less roar, more whimper. It was a valiant effort that introduced some original thinking to the smartphone space, but it ultimately was a noble failure. But it got me thinking about a platform with Microsoft’s fingerprints on it, that was a noble and influential attempt at producing a standard, but ultimately fell into obscurity, with the industry choosing a different path. Today’s Tedium is about the Windows Phone of the ’80s, MSX. The MSX was one of the first computers I used, since a friend of mine had one. I can’t remember what, exactly, we did with it, but I’m pretty sure it was games. The MSX was weirdly popular in The Netherlands, and they’re still relatively easy to come by here.

Microsoft Bing blocked in China as tensions, crackdown intensify

Microsoft’s Bing search engine has been blocked in China, rendering yet another Western internet service inaccessible to the world’s largest online population. The search engine, allowed to operate in China because it censors results, became inaccessible to many users Wednesday. The U.S. software giant confirmed Bing could no longer be accessed in China and that it was “engaged to determine next steps.” Any service or company still operational and accessible in China is compromised.

Satya Nadella teases Microsoft 365 subscription for consumers

Microsoft first unveiled its Microsoft 365 bundle of Windows 10 and Office for businesses and schools back in 2017. While a bundle of buying Office and Windows licenses makes sense for commercial customers, Microsoft is also looking to launch a similar bundle for consumers. Speaking to journalists at a media event earlier this week, attended by The Verge, CEO Satya Nadella gave some hints that Microsoft 365 will appear for consumers. I already have an Office 365 subscription, and the idea of adding Windows to that certainly seems appealing to me. It’s easy, straightforward, and doesn’t require any periodic large purchases either.

A dive into the world of MS-DOS viruses

But sometimes life using DOS was not so great, sometimes you would be using DOS and all of a sudden things like this would happen. This sample also plays a small tune on the PC speaker while it’s printing, so this could be really embarrassing in a office environment. Those bootsector viruses were incredibly resilient – your computer would be just fine, until you put in an older floppy that apparently still had a virus on it. Good times.

Microsoft announces switch to Chromium for Edge

It's official.

For the past few years, Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world's largest supporters of OSS projects. Today we're announcing that we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.

As part of this, we intend to become a significant contributor to the Chromium project, in a way that can make not just Microsoft Edge - but other browsers as well - better on both PCs and other devices. The new Edge

Microsoft also has plans to bring Edge to other platforms, such as macOS. In addition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the new Edge will not be a UWP application - it will be a Win32 application that will also be available to Windows 7 and 8 users.

Visual Studio 2019 preview released

Today, in the Microsoft Connect(); 2018 keynote, Scott Guthrie announced the availability of Visual Studio 2019 Preview 1. This is the first preview of the next major version of Visual Studio. In this Preview, we've focused on a few key areas, such as making it faster to open and work with projects stored in git repositories, improving IntelliSense with Artificial Intelligence (AI) (a feature we call Visual Studio IntelliCode), and making it easier to collaborate with your teammates by integrating Live Share. With each preview, we'll be adding capabilities, improving performance, and refining the user experience, and we absolutely want your feedback.

It seems like we have a lot of developer-oriented news today. As I've repeatedly said, I'm not a programmer in any way, shape, or form, so I tend to stick to just shutting up entirely (and there was much rejoicing). Luckily, knowledgeable folk usually step up in the comments.

Announcing open source of WPF, Windows Forms, and WinUI

At Build 2018, I outlined our approach to helping you be more productive when developing apps, including the introduction of .NET Core 3.0. We also started decoupling many parts of the Windows development platform, so you can adopt technologies incrementally. Today at Microsoft Connect(); 2018 Conference we shared the next steps - specifically to support innovations in UI:

  1. .NET Core 3.0 Preview 1 adds support for building client apps using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and XAML Islands.
  2. WPF, Windows Forms, and Windows UI XAML Library (WinUI) are now open source, so you can create experiences with the freedom you want.

Surface ‘Centaurus’ is another dual-screen Microsoft PC

Microsoft is working closely with Intel on a new dual-screen Surface device powered by Windows Core OS that's similar to Intel's Copper Harbor prototype that was revealed earlier this year. Codenamed "Centaurus", this device is akin to Microsoft's canceled Courier project, which saw the company conceptualize the idea of a digital journal in 2010. Centaurus marks the second dual-screen device we believe Microsoft is currently working on internally, the first of which is codenamed "Andromeda."

Next year could be the year of dual-screen or even bendable screen devices. Microsoft has been exploring this for years now.

Microsoft joins Open Invention Network

I'm pleased to announce that Microsoft is joining the Open Invention Network ("OIN"), a community dedicated to protecting Linux and other open source software programs from patent risk.

We know Microsoft’s decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents. For others who have followed our evolution, we hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs.

Chalk this one up to the "good news, no ifs and buts about it" section.

Microsoft is embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows

The Android app mirroring will be part of Microsoft's new Your Phone app for Windows 10. This app debuts this week as part of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, but the app mirroring part won't likely appear until next year. Microsoft briefly demonstrated how it will work, though; you'll be able to simply mirror your phone screen straight onto Windows 10 through the Your Phone app, which will have a list of your Android apps. You can tap to access them and have them appear in the remote session of your phone.

We've seen a variety of ways of bringing Android apps to Windows in recent years, including Bluestacks and even Dell's Mobile Connect software. This app mirroring is certainly easier to do with Android, as it's less restricted than iOS. Still, Microsoft's welcoming embrace of Android in Windows 10 with this app mirroring is just the latest in a number of steps the company has taken recently to really help align Android as the mobile equivalent of Windows.

Microsoft has its own Android application launcher, e-mail client (Outlook on both Android and iOS is actually quite good), browser (Edge is available on Android), Cortana, this application mirroring, and other things.

At this point, one has to wonder why Microsoft simply doesn't just release an Android phone altogether. Imagine a Surface phone, with a similar industrial design, but running Android with Microsoft's applications on top. I have no idea if such a product would be popular with consumers, and I personally would still really actually want Windows Phone to come back from the dead and magically become successful, but I'd definitely be intrigued by such a Microsoft Android phone.

Re-open-sourcing MS-DOS 1.25 and 2.0

In March 2014, Microsoft released the source code to MS-DOS 1.25 and 2.0 via the Computer History Museum. The announcement also contains a brief history of how MS-DOS came to be for those new to the subject, and ends with many links to related articles and resources for those interested in learning more.

Today, we're re-open-sourcing MS-DOS on GitHub. Why? Because it's much easier to find, read, and refer to MS-DOS source files if they're in a GitHub repo than in the original downloadable compressed archive file.

Good move.

Microsoft puts its mobile Office apps for Windows 10 on hold

Microsoft first started work on its touch-friendly Office apps for Windows 8.1 more than five years ago. Designed for tablets or laptops with touchscreens, the apps are lightweight and speedy versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft has updated them regularly for Windows 10, but now that the company has halted work on Windows 10 Mobile, it's also halting work on these Office apps.

The apps aren’t fully dead yet, but Microsoft is no longer developing new features for them. "We are currently prioritizing development for the iOS and Android versions of our apps; and on Windows, we are prioritizing Win32 and web versions of our apps," explains a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

Typical Microsoft. They develop this entirely new way of writing and building applications, they want everyone to switch to it, but then fail at the dogfooding stage because the Office team is incapable of moving beyond its slow and bloated existing codebase. They got farther than ever before this time - the UWP Office apps are quite full-featured and much faster and more pleasant to use than their traditional counterparts - but still never even got in sight of the finish line.

Microsoft Search will search across Office, Windows, more

Microsoft is unveiling an ambitious effort to overhaul its search experience in Office, Windows, Bing and more today. Dubbed Microsoft Search, the new search experience will first start appearing on Bing and Office.com today. Bing isn't going away, but Microsoft Search is the new name for a combination of Bing and the search results you might expect to find in Windows applications. It's designed to combine traditional search results with commands, app features, and personalized results. Search is being moved to a central area in Office apps, allowing Excel users to find commands and features in results alongside documents and other search results.

I've never been a fan of combining web and local search results on my operating system's search tool - the two are clearly separated in my mind and I regard them as two entirely different and distinct entities. I'm sure I'm revealing my age here, and that younger generations don't perceive this distinction at all, but I'm just hoping I can turn this off.

FrontPage 98: elegant and exquisite

How about a throwback to 1997?

I've used and tinkered with every HTML Editor out there and I can say without qualification or pause that Microsoft FrontPage 98 is the easiest and most powerful suite of Web Design and Management tools available today -- and the fact that it's presently only in a beta state must make the competition shiver -- for the bar of excellence has not just gently risen with the debut of FrontPage 98.

That bar of excellence has been crushed through to the uppermost level by FrontPage 98 and few website HTML programs have the means or inspiration to meet that new watermark of exquisite elegance in creating websites.

Microsoft FrontPage 98 proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Web Creation and Site Manipulation can, finally and without excuse or caveat, be friendly while providing hardcore functionality in the same brilliant stroke.

Those were the days.

Microsoft will require suppliers to offer paid parental leave

In a move that could prompt more companies to offer paid parental leave, Microsoft is announcing today that it will require all of its U.S.-based suppliers and vendors with more than 50 employees to offer such benefits.

Having your health and healthcare benefits tied to your employer is an incredibly stupid system - it keeps unhappy people tied to your company because they're too dependent to leave, and it raises healthcare costs for everybody else. No wonder the US healthcare system is a complete and utter disaster.