Lumia power users will rejoice as Windows Phone Internal is here!

Although Microsoft killed Windows Phone platform due to its poor performance as compered to the juggernauts Android and iOS, Lumia enthusiasts will rejoice as Windows Phone Internal is here. The tool is made specifically for power users who would like to root, and gain access to the custom ROM of their handsets.

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The tool in question goes thru a series of automation required to unlock the bootloader of your phone. Once done, it will allows super user to do whatever they want to their phone, like creating full device backup or using the phone as mass storage.

For people who are mourning Windows Phone platform, rejoice Lumia will have a second breath.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Oh Julie! So long Julie and thanks for all the goodies and “The Ribbon”

She was Steven Sinofsky’s top lieutenant during Windows 7 and 8 era, Julie Larson Green is leaving Microsoft after 25 years of tenure at Redmond. She joined the company in 1993.

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Larson helped build many Microsoft products, including the Xbox, Surface but she is also known for bringing the Ribbon UX to the Office 2007, which she expended to the Windows 7 and the ill-fated Windows 8. She won a technical leadership award in 2013. In addition, she led the efforts to work on a new platform and the brand new “Metro Style”, which shipped as part of Windows 8, in 2012. “User interface is customer service for the computer.

Upon Steven Sinofsky’s departure in 2012, Larson was charged with overseeing all Windows software and hardware, including the then-upcoming Xbox One!

During her early years at Microsoft, Larson worked on various projects, starting with the C compiler, UX interfaces of IE 3 and 4 under the leadership of Thomas Reardon. Then she moved to Office Team, where she would enhance her passion for UX, including the flat user interface of Office XP, the “painting the pig with the lipstick” on Office 2003, and the implementation of the Ribbon UI in Office 2007.

When Microsoft reorganized the Windows Division after the debacle of  Vista back in 2007, Sinofsky ousted most of Jim Allchin’s team, and brought in Larson as his top lieutenant.

In later years, Larson took a break to recover from spinal cord surgery. While out, she spent time advising other firms. “It made me realize I was ready to take what I learned at Microsoft and apply it in other places,” she said in a statement.

Sinofsky, her former boss at Microsoft paid her a tribute in his tweet.

So long Julie and thanks for all the goodies and “The Ribbon”

Sofiane MEROUANI

On this day, 16 years ago, Microsoft debuted Windows XP

While the release of the upcoming update of Xbox One, known as the Xbox One X is looming closer, let’s have a trip down a memory lane with one of the flagship Microsoft’s operating systems : Windows XP.

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On this day, on October 25, 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP to the world. After 18 months of frenzied development. The project can be traced all the way back in early 1999, when Microsoft unveiled its next version of Windows targeted to consumer and built using the reliability  of NT Technology. Windows Neptune started. Slides were shown off, revealing several improvements over Windows 98, like the Welcome screen and task-based operations. Neptune also experimented with a new HTML and Win32-based user interface originally intended for Windows ME,called Activity Centers.  Windows Odyssey was, on the other hand, intended to be the successor of Windows 2000.

Only one alpha  build of Neptune was released to testers and that was in late 1999.

In early 2000, Microsoft decided to merge both engineering groups of Neptune and Odyssey into one cohesive team. And project Whistler started. Windows XP official name was revealed in February 2001, and  was a major advance from the MS-DOS based versions of Windows in security, stability and efficiency due to its use of Windows NT underpinnings. It introduced a new Fisher-price User Interface and the first operating system that bundled product key activation in an attempt to reduce copyright infringement. (after Microsoft experimented this method on Office 2000).

Upon its release, Windows XP saw three major service packs, with an end support slated for April 2014. Windows XP Service Pack 2 released in 2004 was considered a major security update to the OS, with the introduction of Security Center.

Despite its popularity, Windows XP is used in several countries in Africa and in Asia, mainly in China.

Sofiane MEROUANI

It’s alive. Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is here!

Microsoft finally let the tiger roars out of the gate. The much anticipated version of Windows 10 is now available. Dubbed the Fall Creators Update is the must install update for your current version of Windows 10, bringing the figure up to 1709 after six months of development.

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It’s an exciting release for many reasons. First, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update brings up one particular goody, it’s the Fluent Design language. The new UX for a the operating system. When Windows 10 hits the shelves in its initial release all the way back in mid 2015, I was complaining about the flat UX that the OS bore across the board. It reminded me the Watercolor UX that debuted during the development of Windows XP, 17 years ago. But now, the Fall Creators Update finally brings niceties to the OS with this fresh user interface, with some elements that quite reminiscent to the AERO look-and-fell from Windows Vista.

The Fluent Design won’t be visible across the board. That’s it to say, don’t expect to see its elements being integrated into the OS as you get your hands on the Fall Creator Update. That’s it the UX will be updated sporadically with the next releases. Redstone 4, will certainly bring lot of niceties of the Fluent Design when it will hit the shelves next year.

Here are the improvements coming to the table for the Fall Creator Update :

Windows Mixed Reality. Microsoft’s hardware partners are now selling the first generation Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which provide access to a new spatial interface for Windows itself as well as new virtual reality (VR) and 3D games, apps, and other experiences.

Remix: Photos, videos, and 3D effects. One of the most stunning Microsoft consumer demos ever is now available as a feature inside of the Windows 10 Photos app.

OneDrive Files On-Demand. One of the best features from Windows 8—OneDrive placeholders—is back and better forever as OneDrive Files On-Demand. This feature lets you navigate your entire OneDrive storage directly from File Explorer and access files and folders that are stored only in the cloud in a very seamless fashion.

Pick up where you left off. With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is finally getting serious about integrating your PC with your smartphone, and while some of these features will get better over time, the basics are there now.

My People. It’s nice to see Microsoft bring its people-centric user experiences to the desktop. And while My People isn’t for everyone, those who prefer this type of interaction will wonder how they ever used Windows without it.

Microsoft Edge improvements. As has been the case with each Windows 10 version, Microsoft Edge gets a major update this time around, adding big performance improvements, many more extensions, simple and consistent full-screen support, and many ink-based updates.

Gaming improvements. In the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 gets several gaming-related improvements, including an improved Game Bar with easier access to Game Mode, improved Mixer broadcast capabilities, improved Game settings, and GPU performance tracking capabilities.

Inking improvements. Windows Ink has improved all across Windows 10, with new inking capabilities in Microsoft Edge for ebooks and PDFs, an improved handwriting panel with overflow and correction support, more customizable palm rejection capabilities, pen scrolling, and a new Find My Pen feature.

Security and privacy improvements. Windows Defender now includes ransomware protection for the first time, with controlled access to protected folders. And with the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has once again tweaked the system’s privacy features to make them more transparent and easily managed.

That’s it. Windows 10 Fall Creator Update is a huge upgrade for any Windows User. Highly recommended.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

That’s all folks. Windows 10 Mobile is no more.

It’s over for Microsoft. They tried hard but they just admit they failed to get into the business of the smartphone, still dominated by Apple and Android.  And if you do own, a Windows Phone or a Windows 10 Mobile, I advice you to keep it as a relic of the past. Microsoft will no longer put lot of efforts on upgrading their mobile platform.

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Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft no longer use Windows Phone device, but instead, he switched to Android platform. Not providing the name of the device he owns, many readers speculate that Gates might use a Galaxy S8 Edge bundled with Microsoft apps, as the device is showcased in many Microsoft Stores.

Joe Belfiore, the strongman behind the platform admitted that Microsoft Windows Phone and Mobile are dead. They put the platform on “servicing mode”, providing only bug-fixes and security updates, and that’s all folks.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO wants the company to focus on the future and what the technology of tomorrow has to offer, like Virtual Reality.

The Lumia sale was a complete disaster in you compare it to the dominate iPhone and Android devices.

 

However, for the Microsoft fans, don’t be disappointed it.  Rejoice. Many official Microsoft apps are now ported to iOS and Android, namely Cortana and Edge web-browser.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

Lenovo unveils retro ThinkPad 25th Anniversary

It’s a remake of some sort for Lenovo

They did it again. It’s a do-over. A remake of some sort. Lenovo just unveiled The 25th Anniversary of its successful Think Pad laptop computer.

Even if every ThinkPad looks retro, this is a particularly retro version of the ThinkPad design based on the current ThinkPad T470 model.

The original ThinkPad, designed by Richard Sapper and engineered in Japan, was inspired by the traditional Japanese bento box, and Lenovo has taken some of these classic elements and fused them with modern hardware. The overall design is very similar to the retro-classic ThinkPad. It has the classic rubberized coating, a TrackPoint, ThinkPad keyboard with ThinkVantage blue enter button, the colorful ThinkPad logo, and lots of status LEDs.

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Even the laptop retains the classic retro look, under the hood, it’s all modern and high tech.Lenovo is using Intel’s 7th generation Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, an Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics chip. It also has all the modern ports you’d expect from a laptop in 2017: USB-C port (Thunderbolt 3), three regular USB ports, an SD card reader, HDMI port, and Ethernet connectivity. There’s even a fingerprint reader that lets you log into Windows 10 with Windows Hello.

And it is ain’t cheap though, the 25th Anniversary Editon is price-tagged $1,899.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Windows Phone was a complete failure

It is almost a tragic story for  Microsoft. As Apple unveiled its latest iteration of iPhone and the brand-new 10th anniversary edition dubbed iPhone X, Microsoft did actually shot its foot despite its multi-year head start in mobile business.

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Traced back in 2000, Microsoft embarrassed the notion of mobility with the introduction of the Windows Mobile for PDA and smartphones. But no one saw Apple coming from the ashes and ate it its market share slowly but surely when it unveiled iPhone in 2007.

It was a real threat. And it was too late.

It was too late for Microsoft for a simple reason. When Windows Phone 7 was revealed in 2010, three years after iPhone, the mobile ecosystem was dominated by Apple and Google. Despite the steady improvements of Windows Phone and the doomed acquisition of Nokia, consumers yawed and were bored by the lack of a rigid ecosystem from Microsoft. Windows Phone Store was a complete disaster. Flagship apps from iOS and Android were not even available on the Windows Phone Store.

Despite Microsoft’s vast resources, they simply couldn’t compete in a mobile oriented market that had quickly pegged them as irrelevant. Indeed, even as Windows Phone launched, many were quick to proclaim that the initiative was doomed from the start.

Another reason is that Microsoft was focused on Windows and Office products, which are simply the company cash-cows. While Apple focused on hardware and Google on the search engines and mobile ecosystem.

The Longhorn project that Microsoft embarked back in early 2000s, was amid the reasons that Microsoft missed the boat to get into the mobile business. By the time Longhorn was completed and renamed as Vista, iPhone in its first iteration hit the shelves. Microsoft needed to refocus on how to correct the Vista mistake. By the time Windows 7 and 8 hit the computer landscape, Apple and Google enjoyed their two house race, as Microsoft was seen from their rear view mirror.

If Microsoft engineers and executives had experienced that same type of urgency, the smartphone market today might very well look a lot different than it does today.

Sofiane MEROUANI