So it is April 11 – Creators Update

So it is April 11 – Creators Update

We kind of knew this date all throughout. However, today Microsoft officially have communicated that Windows 10’s latest update, the Creators Update will be releasing on April 11th.

You can read my post on what’s new in the Creators Update.

The release build will be 1703, where the first two digits represent the year, and last two the month. Though it is releasing in April, they first must have planned to release it in March but delayed it to April.

As CU is finished, the Windows development team should soon start working on Redstone 3. Remember, Creators Update was Redstone 2 and Anniversary Update was called Redstone 1.

I am more excited about Redstone 3 than 2 (CU). As much as Microsoft insists that CU is a big update, which it is, however, for the consumers there is very little meat/features to excite them about. My article “Should I Upgrade to Creators Update” explains why you are better off holding upgrading to CU on day 1 release, unless you are a tech enthusiast like me. Otherwise, there is nothing really exciting to look forward to in the Creators Update.

There are couple of neat features, small but good improvements which I have not mentioned in other posts, include:

  • PnP – Or Picture In Picture, if you use YouTube app in iOS or Android, you probably already know about this feature. It is an overlay of small video window that sits on the corner of the screen while you can explore the main section of the app. Similar feature is now in Windows 10 CU, so if you are Skyping or watching a movie, you can pop out the screen on the side and continue working.
  • Remote Lock – This feature is kind of interesting. It was formerly called Dynamic lock or Windows Goodbye. This is a live connection between your phone and your PC via Bluetooth (BT). As long as you’re in the proximity of the PC, your PC will be open/unlocked. When you walk away with your phone and the BT connection dies, your PC automatically locks.
  • Windows Defender Security Center Dashboard – This will show clear visibility to your PC health, security, and online protection.

That’s it for now folks.

Surface/iPad – Then (Part 1)

Surface/iPad – Then (Part 1)

 

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Image Source: PCAdvisor.co.uk

 

It is certainly one of the most interesting topics in the tech industry ever since the first iPad released in 2010, or the first flop line of Surface Pro and RT in 2012. People tend to enter in heated arguments over which device is better than the other. There is no definite answer to  this, and it all boils down to, what is your need? The best selling tablets, are indeed, Apple’s iPads. But is it the best productivity device out there? You decide for yourself.

In this two part series of articles, I will go down memory lane when the first iPad and the first Surface released. How they competed head to head over the years, what are their unique selling points and why is one device better than the other, in its own right. I’ll also give my own personal opinion, what I feel about the two devices.

 First Gen hardware

With a lot rumors, speculations, the next category defining piece of tech to be out of the gates of Cupertino, California. Apple finally unveiled on April 2010, the first iPad. At first, it looked like a big square iPod Touch + iPhone squashed together. But iPad was more than that.

1stgen-ipad-56a5334b5f9b58b7d0db72bbIt felt solid and premium, and very thin and light at that time. It did some tasks in a very efficient, natural way than the laptops or the smartphones did at that time. It was a true revolutionary device, which was best at, browsing the web, looking at the photos in a whole new way and watching videos on the 9.7 inch device was a treat. It handled mails decently, and listening music (iPod) was also fantastic. I distinctively remember, when my ex-boss in late 2010 had got the first iPad, and I had chance to play around with it for a while. At first, I could not the true essence of the device. All I could think of it as a big giant iPod. But in just couple of hours, it was evident that this piece of hardware in your hands does certain things really well, better than the laptop back in the day.

However, that was pretty much it. It was geared towards an entertainment device, an in-between category created by Steve Jobs, as he said, what was that one device, that was sitting in between a phone and a laptop. He even mocked the low cost, terrible Windows netbooks. A device that was better at doing things on the phone and on a laptop/desktop. That’s where iPad was born. No doubt, it did a few things better than a phone and a laptop, but, that was it. It remained a consumption device, for reading, watching, listening. iPad has pretty much remained the same throughout its various versions, until iPad Pro in 2016.

Microsoft, on the other hand had tremendous pressure from its shareholders, its fans, developers, and the whole tech industry. Microsoft had failed miserably creating a viable third platform with its Windows Phone 7 and 8 series. It was late to the party, by the time Microsoft arrived, people had already moved on with iPhones and Androids. This was a huge problem for Microsoft, and it became a chicken and egg scenario, what comes first?

Since there was no enough audience or users for its platform, the developers completely ignored creating apps for the Windows Phone. Microsoft was in a fix, developers did not see any incentive making apps for them, and users didn’t want to buy their phones because, well, there were no apps. Microsoft once a company that was loved by developers for its Windows (desktop) platform were now shying away from developing anything on Mobile for them.

So unlike Apple’s efforts which worked for them back then, scaling up their matured iOS platform to iPad. Microsoft had to do the other way round, and the hard way. They took their clunky, bulky, humungous Windows OS and started engineering it to fit or, forcefully adjust itself into the new and modern world of touch first, light weight operating system. After the debacle they had with Windows Vista in 2006, they bounced back with Windows 7 which was well received, it was the OS that Vista should have been.

However, in the world of iOS and Android, Windows 7 was becoming irrelevant and it was mostly perceived as business only OS. Don’t get me wrong, there are billion machines out there running some variant of Windows by both home and business users. But it was a transitional period, where mobile and mobile OS was attracting popularity, Windows on the other hand was more of a appliance for home users, to be used for only certain, more complicated computing needs. Mobile devices were the go to device, from browsing the web, to checking Facebook, reading & writing emails, taking pictures, games et cetera, the simple and basics tasks most home users carry out.

In 2012, Steven Sinofsky (former head of Windows division) introduced their new operating system, Windows 8. A sad answer in an iOS and Android world.

 

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Image: Windows 8 in 2012

 

Remember, Windows has always been a mouse and keyboard oriented OS. Even with Windows 7, they tried to make it touch friendly but it was a far fetched wish. It was never designed for it, it was never meant for touch first world. All the million plus applications available for Windows 7 were designed for keyboard and mouse input, for precision mouse clicks, drags and drops, small icons.

Windows 8, tried to change all of that. It was a tale of two Operating Systems (OS) forced to marry and live together happily ever after. But neither the two OSes were happy, they could not perform their core duties properly, and neither were the audiences happy for the two to get together.

Microsoft brought in Metro concept of Windows Phone 7 & 8. The Live tiles user interface. It was a fantastic idea, but only on the paper. The user was forced to live in the new metro world as seen in the image above. The metro was designed for touch first world, there was a new app development model/framework that only ran and lived in the Metro side of the OS. The Live tiles, the fresh new fast and fluid metro interface, faster search, better and contained install/uninstall process of the new apps was all for the better. Except, it threw the user out of the metro UI the moment you clicked on a Win32 app (eg iTunes or Chrome browser) and brought back the old desktop (like Windows 7).

This was the biggest issue with the OS, and people absolutely hated this notion of going back and forth with the jarring UI. If the user wanted to go to start menu (like in Win7), it brings in the Start Screen (metro UI) hiding away the desktop and anything important running on it. So if you had to multitask between these two UI, the work was too much and a lot of moving between the UIs. Heck, they even removed the most loved, used feature, the Start menu button from the bottom left (Windows Orb). It was only brought in back with Windows 8.1 when users made a big fuss about it.

This was the history of Windows, bringing in touch element to Windows 8/8.1 to fight uphill battle with iOS and Android. At that point of time, there were no good hardware devices that could showcase the power of touch in Windows 8. There were no tablets, there were no touchscreen laptops, but, there was this Windows 8 that needed to go out there, and wanted the users to experience the new metro world.

The stage was set for Windows 8 along with a brand new Microsoft device, the Surface.

 

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Image source: forum.kodi.tv

 

Microsoft Surface was a stunning looking device made out of what they called VaporMg magnesium alloy giving it a semi-glossy look.

It featured a kickstand, a Surface Pen, an optional but important keyboard and came preinstalled with Windows 8. It was the first from Microsoft a 2-in-1 device, that, if used without a keyboard was a tablet, and if a keyboard is attached, converts into a laptop (so to say).

Surface was released in two flavors, there was the Surface Pro, which ran the full blown Windows 8 Pro, that could run modern/metro apps as well as the classic desktop applications. And then there was a confused, younger sibling, called the Surface RT (more confusingly, meant RunTime). The Surface RT, would look and feel like the normal Surface or Windows 8 in it, only to know that, it only ran modern/metro apps. So all those classic, yours truly Win32 apps that you came to love, would simply not execute on the Surface RT.

Cutting the long story short, the result of forcing Windows 8 down peoples throat, putting out Surface RT which many people bought thinking like there was nothing wrong with it, and the first gen of Surface device which was at that time not understood well by the people, specially the consumers. The result was, a whooping $900m (aprox) write-off. There were so many Surface devices that was dusted on the shelves, in warehouses.

The biggest culprit for this loss in my opinion was, one, the Windows 8, two, Microsoft did not explain/advertise it well what really was Surface RT.

Throughout 2010 to 2013 and partly 2014, iPad did really well, so much so that, in 2012, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) said in an interview that “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are not going to be pleasing to the user.” He meant, you cannot put a tablet and a laptop together, and of course, it came from someone who were selling their Macbooks and iPads in millions.

This was a brief history on the two companies, two products. I will continue writing on the topic in my next article, “Surface/iPad – Now (Part 2)“.

In part 2, I will essentially be discussing where the two products stand today, and the two companies. I will be discussing how Surface product line has shaped up, and what made Apple to change it’s strategy and make something closer to a toaster and a refrigerator, I mean, the iPad Pro.

Till then, have a great day.

You can reach me on:

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irfaan.wahid

Feature Focus – Paint 3D

Feature Focus – Paint 3D

Paint3d


Image source: thesun.co.uk

As part of the Windows 10 Creators Update, there is a new app, Paint 3D. Paint 3D is not a replacement for one of the oldest apps bundled with Windows, but it is an addition to it. Or put simply, Paint app on steroids. Small caveat though, Paint 3D only works with Windows 10, and Creators Update, to be more precise.

Paint (not Paint 3D) has been part of Windows since Windows 1.0, that goes way back to 1985. Ever since, it has been part and supported by most Windows versions overtime.

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Paint in Windows 7

It is a very basic, simple application for as the name suggests, Painting or drawing. It can handle cropping, adding colors, adding text to a photo, resizing image, open and save as JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP and et cetera. There’s a lot written about the Paint app and I would not extensively explain here what it does and does not.

 

Paint 3D

Just late last week, one of my colleagues asked me (as people take me as Mr. Know-it-all IT stuff),  do I know of an app that can kick start a kid’s drawing skills, like in 3D, 3D modelling. The first app I could think of, was of course the Paint 3D app, free of cost, right in Windows. It is what triggered me to write this post.

Paint-3D-I am not at all an artist, and I totally suck in drawings. But the people who are good in drawing stuff, Paint 3D might be a starter.

But having used the app, not extensively though, it is a simple app, that can convert your 2D models or image into 3D magically!

You can create objects, which has got 3D effect (like rotate, see from every side), add colors to it, there’s improved brushes for adding splashy and vibrant colors.

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The best part, Windows 10 is very good with stylus/pen or pencil (in case of Apple :-). The computers, tablets supporting stylus inputs, can leverage Paint 3D’s new ways of drawings, adding textures, rotating in a natural & intuitive ways that was not possible before.

The new Paint app, also supports stickers. Stickers are a cosmetic tool that acts as a layer on to your 3D surface. These are predefined details, such as adding an eyeballs to your image, instead of drawing the whole thing a fresh, you can simply drag it to your screen and it blends in with whatever you have drawn. This also goes for texts. You can write “IrfaanWahid.Tech” and stick it to your drawing, it then automatically adopts to the 3D environment and starts acting like one.

Microsoft has also build a new community website for 3D artists showcasing their work, and sharing it with others. The Remix3D.com is a place where you can upload your 3D models, so others can either contribute to your work or simply download and reuse it in their own work. I believe, in near future, Microsoft themselves and also other artists will sell 3D models on this site. So there is going to be the Free models, and others that you can buy. It is a great initiative by MS, and it will give a lot of popularity to 3D subject, which otherwise is considered for highly skilled individuals. It is also a great platform for the beginners, to have basic understandings of 3D modelling before going level up for Pro software, 3D animations and stuff.

There are couple of options out there for a hardware device that supports Touch+Pen input. I use Surface Pro 4, and it comes with a superb pen support, with a 1,024 touch levels. This is a premium device with a premium price tag. There are many other offerings from Lenovo, Dell, HP that supports pen input that you can check it out if you are interested in this kind of device.

If your child is into drawing and 3D stuff, I did recommend when Windows 10 Creators Update releases (April 11 they say), go check it out, it maybe worth it. However, this does not limit to children alone, adults like me who have a itch of drawing in 3D, this is also for you, so watch for this app when it comes.

That’s it for now folks, hope you liked my first Feature Focus. Let me know what you think about it. Also, enjoy the video below elaborating on Paint 3D app.

Till then, have a great day.

You can reach me on:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irfaan-wahid-18962915

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irfaan.wahid

Twitter: @irfaanwahid

Backup Strategy

Backup Strategy

 

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Image source: pinnacledelivery

The year was 2004, I had just finished my last semester in the college and transferred the only documents required for the submission to my thumb-drive. Right after the transfer, my desktop machine just gave me the famous BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) and rebooted. What happened next was a total disaster. Apparently, my computer’s hard disk for some reason that I cannot recall, had crashed, miserably!

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One can rightfully assume, what must I have gone through, with all my year long work, project files, assignments etc, just vanished. The lesson I learned the hard way that day, was, always have a backup!

There are various types of backup options, and I will not be discussing each one of them. And the backup strategy that fits for me, may not work for you. I will outline what has worked best for me for past several years, including in between another total PC disaster. You may pick up items that suits your needs from this article, and apply your own strategy that you are comfortable with.

World before Cloud

After my sad little story, I started backing up all my files and folders to the secondary partitions. This wasn’t the best option either. But, I had to have some form of backup where if at least Windows collapses, I can fresh install the OS and recover my data from the secondary partition.

My primary backup tool, since Windows XP days has been the built in Backup/Restore software. It did a pretty decent job till I moved to Windows Vista in 2006. Vista had improved Backup and Restore utility significantly and it did what I was looking for back in the day. From Vista to Windows 7, I continued using the built in software for all my important work.

 

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My daily backup would include, all my data sitting under the Library of the account I am logged in with. This would include, Documents & Settings, Pictures, Videos, Desktop, Favorites (for IE). I knew, most of my important data is sitting in one of the folders mentioned here. This, however varies from person to person. Some people like to store most of their data in a folder created in C drive. For example, C:\mydata. I personally do not like this practice because Windows by default, looks into directories or libraries for files and folders. You have to be really specific to let Windows know, during backup specially that my data sits on C drive, or elsewhere. Not a big issue, but, just not what I do.

I used to backup on my WD 20GB external hard disk back in the day. However, now, I am using still a WD, My Passport with 2TB of storage.

In this, goes my all important files, folders. I am still using the built in software for backup, but for Windows 10 Pro. The tool is still incredible. After the initial backup which can take several hours depending on the amount of data you have, the next incremental backups take between 30-40min, again, depending on the data you are backing up. I normally don’t backup Music & Videos in the same backup as my Important files. I want the size of my files backup to be as small as it can be. Throwing Videos and Music in it, can take the backup size into TBs.

My advise, always have an offline backup saved onto an external hard disk for your critical files and folders. I used to take daily backups through Windows Backup/Restore tool, but with Cloud advancements, my approach to take backups changed, and it changed for the better.

Cloud Backups

cloud-backup-2There are several good and affordable cloud backup solutions available. And that is a topic of discussion on its own. Different cloud providers, their advantages and disadvantages, sync client and performance, pricing. I’ll be writing about it in my follow up article to Backup Strategy.

 

I will discuss how I make sure my data is safe and stored in multiple locations.

On Premise/Offline backup: As already discussed above, my first point of backup is done locally, using Windows tool, with an external hard disk. The backup is schedule to run every Saturday. This takes care of the changes of files take took place during the week. So in the event, my computer decides to crash, and I am offline. I can always count on the backup done on my external WD drive.

Cloud Sync: My primary cloud provider is Microsoft OneDrive (formerly Skydrive). I have about 1.5TB storage on my OneDrive. The free tier only provides 5GB of storage, which I bet is not enough for many users. I am also a Office 365 subscriber, which not only gives me additional 1TB, but also latest version of Microsoft Office (Word/Excel etc), Skype free minutes. There are three options available for Home users in O365.

  1. Office 365 Home: This is what I am using, and it costs $99.9 per year. Which is a fantastic offer. It includes 2 of my most important elements, 1TB OneDrive storage and MS Office, for up to 5 licenses. Meaning you can install Office on 5 different computers. Its got other important benefits, check out this link for more info on this tier and the one below.
  2. Office 365 Personal: This has got all the benefits as Point 1, except that MS Office can only be installed on 1 PC or a Mac. This tier costs $70.
  3. Office 365 Home & Student: This is mostly geared towards Students, who need latest Microsoft Office. Bare in mind, this tier only has MS Office, and does not include OneDrive storage, or the other perks found in other tiers. This is also allowed for 1 PC or a Mac. This is a one time purchase and costs $150.

For cost benefit, tier 1 is what I would recommend.

I have configured OneDriveSyncOneDrive client on all my machines. The configuration includes, again, all my important documents and settings. All my files and folders, are automatically synced to OneDrive on the cloud. This also means, every time I change a file, it is automatically pushed to the cloud, and pushed back to all my other PCs connected to OneDrive. This gives me assurance, if I have left a document mid way on Machine A, when I get back home and log into Machine B, I will get my same document back where I left off in Machine A. This is huge for me on a number of reasons.

I work on a lot of reports, coding, blogging. All these documents/files are saved on one machine and synced to the cloud. And when I am home, all my files are back to me where I left them, how I left them, and I continue working on those files.

Secondly, since, my data is not tied to my local hard disk or computer. All my primary and important files are up in the OneDrive cloud. So if an incident like 2004 happens again, I don’t have to worry. I simply either, bring the same PC back online, or if I am getting a new PC, I install OneDrive client, and all my files and folders are synced to my new computer, seamless, automatically. This has been tried and tested, several number of times. This works, it just works!

Some users may say, the performance of OneDrive sync is not all that good. I would agree with you if we were in 2014 or 2015. But everything after 2016, has significantly improved. My files sync real fast. They download real quick.

This is on the PC side. If you own iOS or Android device, there is an app for OneDrive too. Just like the PC side, I also rely heavily on OneDrive app for the phones. My daily driver is an iPhone 7 Plus, and all my 5,000 plus photos & videos are uploaded automatically to OneDrive. This feature is so important to me that I cannot insist enough. We all like taking photos & videos for those precious moments in our lives. And we cannot miss a chance to lose them.

On the Photos & Videos front, I have taken one extra step. Not only my Photos & Videos from my iPhone backed up to OneDrive, but they are also pushed to even a superior service for Photo management, this is called Google Photos.

Google Photos handles Photos and Videos like no other. OneDrive does a pretty decent job too, but Google Photos does this job in a far better way, than OneDrive could imagine. I will write about Google Photos later, and how it manages this task so well.

To sum it all up, my recommendations are:

  1. Offline Backup: Ensure you have either daily/weekly backups of your crucial data. The Windows 7, 8 or 10 built in Backup/Restore app is good enough. No need to go purchase some Pro backup app. Make sure, the backups are done on an external hard disk.
  2. Mix it up with the Cloud: My personal preference is OneDrive, but there are other options too. Including Dropbox, Google Drive. Whichever you are comfortable with, go with it. All are solid services by their respective vendors. Syncing files up to the minute is the way to go, in this cloud enabled world, with multiple devices that we carry every day.
  3. Photos & Videos: Again, this is my personal preference, uploading your photos to OneDrive & Google Photos. Having duplicate copies of not only your files and folders, but photos & videos is important.

This is it for now. Let me know what you guys think about this article, and how I can improve my area of topics, next topic, whatever. Leave your comment in the comment sections.

I presume, my next article will focus on Windows 10 Creators Update and its key features.

Till then, have a great day.

You can reach me on:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irfaan-wahid-18962915

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irfaan.wahid

Twitter: @irfaanwahid

Should I upgrade to Creators Update?

Should I upgrade to Creators Update?

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Image source: winaero.com

As we know, Windows 10 Creators Update (CU) is few weeks away from releasing worldwide. The big question, should you upgrade to Windows 10 CU on day 1?

I have been testing latest Windows 10 builds, since I am part of Windows Insiders. Okay, just a little background on what is Windows Insiders. With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft created a testing program, called Windows Insiders (WI). WI headed by Dona Sarkar, is an option in Windows 10 that if opt in, Microsoft will start pushing Windows builds which are unfinished and still in development to the users so they can start testing Windows and provide feedback to Microsoft on what is working and what is not.

There are three Insider rings:

  1. Fast: This is for those daring users who want to be at the cutting edge. They get the new features at its early stages, which are buggy & unstable. They are more prone to system crashing.
  2. Slow: When a Windows Build releases on this ring, it somewhat assures you that the build is stable, won’t crash as often as the Fast ring. However, the build in this ring does not guarantee stability either. When a Build is done with the Fast ring, it is then pushed to the Slow ring.
  3. Release Preview: This is slightly different and a latest entrant in the WI program. This ring is for those who would want to stay in the current branch but test new app features, drive updates, other cumulative updates before they are released to general public.

That was a little background on Windows Insiders. The last build 15063 which I installed and tested seems quite stable and it maybe the build which gets released to the public in April. However, my personal advise for the Normal user and by normal I mean, who don’t care much about the operating system itself, and just wants to get their work done and call it a day.

For Home/Normal users, there is no rush to upgrade to Windows 10 CU right away. There are plenty of goodies in the new OS, but none of them are like “I want it today” kind of features. Read my post “Stalking Windows 10” for some quick info on the upcoming features.

One killer and my personal favorite platform update is the inclusion of Windows Mixed Reality. For this feature to work, you of course need the Mixed/Virtual Reality headsets, you need content and apps to take advantage of the MR/VR platform. Which as it stand, there are no good contents or headsets choice available.

The bigger reason to defer your upgrade plans over some weekend is, how stable will the OS be when it releases? Granted, and as I said above, the build 15063 is quite stable and I haven’t experienced big issues with it, but so was my experience with Windows 10 Anniversary Update (1607), but I think we all know how bad the experience was.

Windows 10 AU did bring in plethora of issues for the early adopters, including myself. I still can’t forget how my production machine (Lenovo G50) kept freezing time to time, or not shutting down until it was forced to. There was a codec that was removed which broke webcam drivers that crashed the OS, and a number of other issues. The same experience I had with my Surface Pro 4, which at times just refuses to shutdown upon clicking on the power down button.

As for myself, I will be upgrading to CU as soon as my Windows Update prompts me to. And I know a lot of other tech enthusiasts too will do so. But for the rest of people, including my wife, it is best to defer the updates whenever Windows prompts you to. Let the power users test the system, thrash out bugs, let Microsoft provide early patches and fixes to the system. And then you can go for it. I did suggest, defer the upgrade for at least 8 weeks. By then we shall all know how the roll out has been and if there are known issues still by then.

Oh one important point, before you plan to upgrade, make sure you backup all your important data, and that sets the stage for my next article.

Till then, have a great day.

You can reach me on:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irfaan-wahid-18962915

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irfaan.wahid

Twitter: @irfaanwahid

Windows Ultimate (Desktop/Phones)

Windows Ultimate (Desktop/Phones)

Image Source: Arc Technica

Hello guys, hope you guys had a great week and looking forward an awesome weekend, I am definitely.

Without much further ado, let’s get into today’s topic. But first:

What is ARM?

Advanced RISC Machine, is a low powered, low cost, low heat set of Computer Processing Unit (CPU) compared to the usual, power horse Intel Chipsets. ARM chips are suitable for portable kind of devices, such as much loved iOS devices (iPhones, iPads), Android phones and tablets, the first-gen Surface RT by Microsoft devices.

Since the Reduced Instruction Set Computing architecture is different than what we find in desktops, laptops, servers, running Win32 applications, such as iTunes, Photoshop, Word, Excel, Chrome etc, these applications do not run on ARM chipset.

Now let’s go a little back in time and talk about Windows Phone. In 2007 when Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone, Microsoft took it very lightly, like seriously lightly and never saw what was coming ahead of them, until Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that iPhones will not sell, nobody will buy a phone priced $600-700. He later however said, he should’ve moved into the hardware/phone business faster, as the competition was far ahead.

Microsoft woke up late in 2010 with their first attempt in phones, Windows Phone 7, and later in 2012, to Windows Phone 8. People did not care much in both their attempts in 2010 and 2012. Windows Phone fans and a lot of tech enthusiasts loved the fresh take on User Interface, which I am also personally in love with till date. The fast and fluid Live Tiles approach was really innovating. Instead of small count number on how many emails you got in the Mail app, the Mail app in Windows Phone would show you who the email is from and the first one or two lines of the matter itself. You can then choose to ignore the email or dive right into it.

Cut to the chase, people were already sold to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms, and it seemed, till date that people are not interested in any third platform. Microsoft’s own phone platform isn’t dead yet, with the current Windows 10 Mobile the development is still active but it is not at the forefront at the moment. One major failure to Windows Phone 7, 8, 8.1 or now 10 is the app gap.WP7-green

App developers have simply ignored developing anything for Microsoft Phone/Mobile whatever you want to call it. They say, you have got an app for that.. sadly this statement does not apply to Windows Phone/Mobile, and that’s what made this humongous ship to sink.

Microsoft’s third coming, oh wait, fourth coming… is something really interesting and I am intrigued by this in a big way, and the actual point of this article for today is based on.

Windows on ARM

In December 2016, Microsoft tossed a bomb towards us that Windows 10 will run on ARM chips. This is huge. Imagine, a full blown Windows 10 with all the modern apps (UWP apps, save for another day/article) plus the classic Win32 apps (Chrome, iTunes, yours trully some ERP and plethora of apps) running on your tower desktop, your laptop, or, wait for it, on your phone.

If you check the above video, full Windows 10 is running on Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (or ARM) that powers most of the mobile devices today.

How is this possible? Well, Microsoft has managed to emulate Win32 apps to run on ARM. So there is going to be a layer or a framework where Windows 10 will sit on, and that layer then translates the old school instructions to the new modern ARM chipset.

Granted, the first version may not be perfect, it could be buggy and slow, whatever the case, this thing will improve overtime and it’s going to be really great.

This is my take, and a lot of tech pundits share this idea, in the near future, this magical device that every Windows Mobile fan have been waiting for, called Surface Phone. Mind you, there is no official comment, news from Microsoft on this. But endless speculations and mockups designs like one below, have been rumoring around the web.

screen_shot_2013-12-24_at_10.25.35_amSo, one day, if Surface Phone (SP) ever happens, it would’ve crazy specs, super fast speeds, 16GB of RAM, 128GB storage, super camera, facial recognition et cetera.

 

 

This one, will be our go-to device. I mean, it is going to be THE All-In-One device. When you hold this device, it is the phone. You can do all the normal calls, text messaging, browsing the web with LTE support. When you need to do some real productive work, you can connect the phone to the dock and there you have a full blown Windows 10 operating system on your larger screen via Continuum support, you run modern apps as well as classic desktop (Win32) apps side by side on your screen, just as if this of your regular desktop/laptop computer. All your files and folders are saved on your phone or synced to OneDrive.

continuum

The operating system will be smart enough that it would detect and adapt to different screen sizes, which Microsoft is already working on it with “Composable Shell” or CShell. As Windows Central reported, “Microsoft is building an “adaptive shell” into Windows 10 that’ll work across PCs and tablets, phones, HoloLens, and even Xbox“.

I strongly feel, Microsoft is working towards this and hence, has hold onto what we have been speculating a device from the Surface family, a Surface Phone. They do not want to release a device with a Surface logo onto it where it does not differentiate itself from others. It needs to have something unique, different that it can offer. Surface brand has always been about premium, and something unique. This is true with Surface Pro lineups, Surface Book and recently and critically acclaimed, the Surface Studio. They all offer a unique take on modern PCs.

The same would go for a Surface Phone, if it ever does happen. When Windows 10 will be fully ported to ARM, which is expected to be ready by end of this year, should we then start hearing some news on the Phone side.

This is going to be a true Windows Ultimate device, a Windows device that can do it all. All you need to carry is a small phone like device into your pocket and that would be it.

What do you guys think about Windows Ultimate? Do let me know in the comments section.

That’s all for now folks, catch you all later.

You can reach me on:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irfaan-wahid-18962915

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irfaan.wahid

Twitter: @irfaanwahid

 

 

Stalking Windows 10

Stalking Windows 10

Hello everyone, my name is Irfaan Wahid and this is my first article on LinkedIn.

I shall be writing weekly articles focusing on technology, and closely following, in my opinion the four tech giants, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Google. This does not mean I will not write about other tech biggies, but I also believe these companies are driving the tech industry forward.

I will be introducing myself in other/follow up posts. For now, let’s dive right into today’s headline.

Some of us may already know Microsoft’s soon to be released Windows 10 Creators Update, expected to release early April has got nice new features, which I am going to be highlighting in just a bit. This is a third major update since Microsoft released Windows 10 in July 29 2015.

First major update was back in 2015 November dubbed November Update (or codename Threshold 2), second update was in August last year called Anniversary Update (Codename Redstone 1). We now approach third and first update of 2017, known as Creators Update (Codename Redstone 2).

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Windows 10 Creators Update, why is this an important update?

Few highlights:

  1. 3D and Mixed Reality – With this new update, Microsoft has baked in what was previously known as Windows Holographic platform (Hololens??) into Windows 10 CU (Creators Update). What this means, Windows will now support virtual, augmented reality and holographic computing right out of the box. Currently the only true augmented reality headset is offered by Microsoft known as Hololens, with a whooping price tag of $3,000 targeted at developers. I was fortunate enough to test this headset at the Microsoft event in Nairobi, and trust me, it was amazing! Windows 10 CU is also replacing one of the most loved app, Paint with Paint 3D. Paint 3D is nothing but Paint on steroids. It incorporates elements to create a 3D painting/images and publish it to web (Remix3D.com/or print it with 3D printers. Developers with CU can start leveraging these new technology and use it in their own apps and with the upcoming Windows 10 CU certified headsets by third party OEMs such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo. Headsets offered by these partners will be priced @ $299 going up.
  2. Games – Microsoft has been pushing gaming to its Windows 10 platform, and with CU, it even brings in more features. One nice feature for hardcore gamers is broadcasting your play via Beam service (which also Microsoft owns).
  3. Sharing and Caring – Well, with CU you can now easily connect and share with people you care about the most. Although one of the most loved MyPeople feature has been stripped out of this update for Redstone 3, which allowed your favorite contacts to be pinned on your taskbar where you could easily chat, share files among others. We hope this feature makes a come back in RS3.

There are tons of new features and improvements throughout the operating system. Some subtle but important updates include:

  • E-book support, you can now read E-Pubs and PDF right in Microsoft Edge in a nice reading view.
  • Tabs aside, You can put aside Edge tabs when the list grows big, to clean up the clutter and bring them back when you need them.
  • A new section in Windows Store, we already have Music, Games and Movies & Tv, the new addition is, “Books”. Well, not a very cool feature, but heck, it’s good to have it finally in Windows. This will be no different to Amazon’s Kindle store and I wonder why would people jump with Books store offered by Microsoft. We will have to wait and watch this space.

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  • Mails, Photos, Maps, Cameras have all good improvements here and there.
  • UI improvements, Start menu/start screen now supports folders. You can now combine multiple app tiles in a folder, just like the walking dead platform Windows 10 Mobile. Windows 10 with CU now supports this too.

 

There are many more things to write about for Windows 10 Creators Update, which I will be in follow up articles.

I am a Windows Insider, which means I get to test latest and greatest features ahead of time than what I call the “Normal” users. The current build of Windows 10 Insider sits on 15055, which also means we now get very few builds from now on. This is normal as we approach the RTM or Release To Manufacturing of Windows 10 Creators Update, we are now few weeks away from getting the final build of CU.

From what I have been reading and talking to a few techy friends, Microsoft is targeting April 11th as the General Availability (GA) of Creators Update.

I am super excited for Creators Update and will be writing a review on it very soon.

That’s it folks for now, I will be writing more articles on various other products, tech companies and discussing trends, tips and tricks.

-Irfaan Wahid