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Microsoft conducted a 2 hour and 15 minute press conference this morning but did pack in a lot of announcements. First Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for all Windows 7 and 8.1 for the first year after release. Windows 10 also gets Cortana, the voice-activated digital assistant. Universal apps were highlighted including photos, maps and Outlook that are the same from phones to desktops. Microsoft demonstrated a touch-first version of Office for phones and tablets. We also got a look at Project Spartan, a new lightweight browser with shared note-taking, improved reading experience and built-in Cortana of its own. Skype is now integrated into messenger on Windows Phone. New release of Windows 10 goes to Insiders next week and comes to phones in February.
But that’s not all: an Xbox App is coming in Windows 10 that integrates gaming across platforms including phones and the Xbox One. Along with messaging and an activity feed similar to the Xbox’s the app enables cross-platform gameplay between an Xbox One and PC was demonstrated using Fable Legends. Players will also be able to stream Xbox One game to any windows 10 PC or tablet later this year. DirectX 12 was shown with the expected improvements including cutting power consumption in half. Oh and those universal apps will also be able to run on Xbox One if developers want.
Microsoft also showed off an 84-inch 4K display called Microsoft Surface Hub that’s essentially a huge version of Microsoft OneNote meant for collaborative meetings. It’s multitouch and multipen and includes Skype for Business. It can automatically share meeting notes to all participants.
And the company finished with Windows Holographic, a technology developed in partnership with NASA’s JPL. Every Windows 10 install will have a Holographic API allowing software and hardware makers to use the augmented reality functions. Microsoft is making HoloLens, which is wireless and has seethrough HD lenses, spatial sounds and a Holographic Processing Unit or HPU that tracks eye and head motion. HoloStudio is software meant to let users create objects with holograms and then 3D print them.
Bloomberg reports Samsung will stop using Qualcomm chips in the next version of the Galaxy S smartphone. Bloomberg’s sources said Samsung tested the Snapdragon 810 overheated during testing. Samsung will use its own chips instead. Samsung is Qualcomm’s second largest customer making up 12% of its sales. The Snapdragon 810 is expected to be used in Xiaomi’s Mi Note Pro and LG’s G Flex2.
Remember FreedomPop? The MVNO that offers free data plans as a gateway to their other other low-priced plans. It has previously run on the Sprint network. Last year, FreedomPop began selling a wi-fi only phone. Today, Gigaom reports that FreedomPop has announced its own Wi-fi network of 10 million hotspots. For $5 a month, users can purchase an unlimited voice, sms and wi-fi data plan. The Wi-fi network actually owned and run by many different ISPs and hotspot aggregators (though not Boingo) and can be found in places like Starbucks, Panera Bread, Walmart and Home Depot, with more deals in the works. An Android app ties all the services together into one interface. It doesn’t use Hotspot 2.0 yet but it will as more services migrate to the instant login technology.
9 to 5 Google reports that third party WhatsApp users are reporting that they’re being banned from the service for 24 hours. Most of those reporting the bug are using third-party WhatsApp clients on Android, such as WhatsAppPlus. WhatsApp has posted an article on the site suggesting that users uninstall the third-party client and reinstall the official one, saying “WhatsApp Plus contains source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe and that your private information is potentially being passed to 3rd parties without your knowledge or authorization.”
But hey you don’t even need an app, because Whats APP also launched a Web version of the service you can use on your desktop. Just go to web.whatsapp.com in Chrome, scan the QR code inside of WhatsApp to connect. And leave your phone on. And make sure it’s Android because they don’t support iOS for this service yet due to “platform limitations.”
The Verge reports Christopher Poole, AKA moot, is stepping down as administrator of 4Chan. moot founded 4Chan in 2003 when he was 15 years old. He called himself “an uncomfortably large single point of failure” and indicated he might return to the site as Admin emeritus or just another anonymous. He also wants to write about his experiences running the site. He’ll answer questions during a live stream on Friday.
Ars Technica reports that US District Court Judge Dolly Gee found that the Dish Anywhere service does not infringe copyrights of broadcasters. DishAnywhere allows users to watch their home programming outside the home on tablets and phones. Fox sued claiming this was an unauthorized retransmission. Judge Gee, ruled that Dish customers have a “fair use” right to watch television as they see fit, because they legitimately obtained the programming.
The Verge reports Twitter has launched Digits, a way to log into Web services without a password. Sort of. It’s separate from Twitter’s own app. Users associate a password with an account. Then in the future when logging in the user merely enters the phone number and a one-time code texted to that number. Twitter hopes other apps will adopt Digits. If they do once you authneticate at one site you’re authenticated at all sites that use Digits for the duration of that browsing session.
News From You:
lythander pointed out a Slashdot snippet from Foundation for Economic Education that claims the US Department of Justice wants to be able to get a nonspecific warrant to search a computer if its location is hidden using something like Tor or a VPN. The requested change would have to be made to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Another proposed change would allow the same non-specific warrant if a computer has been damaged by a botnet that is spread among at least five jurisdictions.
anotherjmartin submitted the Sploid article about a hydrophic metal that causes water to bounce off it. Researchers at the University of Rochester etched a nanostructure with femtosecond laser pulses on platinum causing the water to bounce and eventually roll right off. Because it is etched into the material it doesn’t wear off like chemical waterproofing can. Possible applications range from deicing airplane surfaces to non-stick pans to efficient water collections systems.
Discussion Section Links:
Pick of the Day: Moments via Jamie in Beautiful BC
Hey Tom & Jenny,
My pick this week is an app for iOS called Moment from Kevin Holesh. One of the biggest downsides to smartphones these days is that everyone is constantly staring at their devices and not socializing. This is especially true for families. Moment allows you to track your phone usage throughout the day invisibly in the background and lets you track other members of your family as well. You can set dedicated phone free family time, and a very loud audible alarm will go off if you go on your phone. It will also help you manage your smartphone addiction by setting daily limits for yourself and encouraging you to put your phone down once you reach your limit for that day.
Good for the phone addicts out there that want to be able to have screen-free time at home. Free in the iOS App Store with In-App Purchases.
Jamie in Beautiful BC
Tomorrow’s guest: Shannon Morse