Monday, April 11, 2016

What's New In Windows 10 Anniversary Update Coming This Summer?

This summer, most likely in July, Microsoft will be releasing its Windows 10’s "Anniversary Update” (Redstone 1) for free to all Windows 10 customers. This is how Windows will be updated now and in the future and as long as you took advantage of Microsoft's free upgrade to Windows 10 you will continue to receive free upgrades for as long as you own your device. By the way, Microsoft's 'free upgrade' is scheduled to expire this August and they have not announced as yet whether or not they are going to continue it. 

Last week, as a member of the Windows Insider program (aka guinea pigs), I downloaded and installed Redstone 1 Build 14316 which is the latest Preview edition of the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update. I figured it would be relatively safe as the new OS must be getting quite close to its Release to Manufacturers (RTM) deadline.  So far, that's proven to be true as Redstone 1 has been absolutely perfect and stable with no issues at all for me on either my desktop or touch-enabled laptop computers.

Opinions and experiences will vary of course on what are the most exciting new features of Windows 10, but for me so far, I think the improvements to its default browser, Microsoft Edge, rank near the top of my list. I was particularly interested in this as early this year I decided to make Microsoft Edge my default browser replacing Google Chrome. I believe that Edge, with its speed, simplicity, user friendly interface and tools is the browser of the future even though I still love Chrome!

Microsoft Edge Finally Supports Browser Extensions
Microsoft Edge was originally supposed to launch with browser extensions when Windows 10 was released, but that never happened disappointing many users, including me, who depended on extensions like the password manager Last Pass long available in Chrome. Microsoft has developed a tool that helps developers quickly convert Chrome extensions to Edge extensions so it seems that Edge will soon have a full slate of extensions.  A few, like Pinterest, OneNote and Microsoft Translator are available now in the preview Build 14316.
Edge - "first and only" browser to include native support for biometric authentication.
Windows Hello is Microsoft's new biometric security system built into Windows 10. According to Microsoft, they plan to incorporate Windows Hello into the Edge browser to bring biometric authentication with enterprise-grade security.  I'm not too excited about this feature for Edge even though I'm a big fan of the fingerprint sensor sign-in on my Apple iPhone.

Cortana will be a whole lot smarter
In addition to Edge, another huge update to the new Windows 10 are improvements to Cortana, its voice controlled assistant that operates much like Apple's Siri and Google Now. I didn't use Cortana much when I first installed Windows 10 but I find myself using it more and more to do frequent tasks like a Google search, make an appointment or simply asking each morning "hey Cortana, what's the weather going to be like today" - it really makes things easy except Paulette keeps asking who I'm talking to! 

In this update, Cortana comes to the Windows 10 lock screen, so you can use Cortana to ask a question or issue a command at any time.  For instance, you could simply walk by your computer while its signed off and simply say "hey Cortana, play my Bob Dylan songs" or "hey Cortana, do I have any lunches or appointments scheduled for this week?". Furthermore, Cortana will be able to understand natural conversations and automatically include additional information into the conversation.  It's all kind of scary - but true and coming to a computer near you.

Before and After views of the new Windows 10 Start Screen
No review of Windows 10 would ever be complete without at least a reference to its Start screen. This time around, Microsoft is updating the design to feature a navigation pane with a hamburger button in the top-left corner.  The the user profile button has been relocated to the bottom above the Power and Settings buttons. Also, Live Tiles are getting a little smarter with a new feature Microsoft calls "Chaseable Live Tiles" that allows you to click a story, picture, or content in the preview and open the app on that content, instead of just opening the app.

If you happen to be into Emojis then you may like these
There are many, many more new features included in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update including improvements to the Task Bar, Action Center, Themes, Windows Ink, Notifications, a new universal Windows app version of Skype, Windows Update and more. But for now I've just tried to highlight a few of what I consider to be the most significant features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Trump's Idea To Force Apple To Build In USA Is Plain Stupid

First of all, Donald Trump doesn't just imagine himself as President of the United States, but rather as King of America.  He is not, nor will he ever be either. Trump is nothing more than a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully.

Trump's main campaign tool seems to be a magic wand that he can wave just to make impossible things happen.  Let's take his pledge "to get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries." 

As with most of Trump's 'Make America Great Again' ( that America is no longer great can we in Canada now ascend to the lofty post of #1 that Trump has abandoned for the USA?  Thank you - accepted) pledges, there are so many flaws one hardly knows where to begin. But, lets put aside the supreme difficulties of trade, economics and treaties and keep it simple - stupidly simple for Bozo the Trump:  Apple's iPhone is not a device made exclusively for U.S. customers.

Foxconn factory in China
Apple manufactures its iPhones to the entire world including its biggest potential customers in China, India, Europe and Africa.  Apple is not just an American company.  It has shareholders from all over the world.  Apple outsources because it maximizes profit but that is not the only reason.

Currently, Apple only manufactures its Mac Pro in the US (specifically in Austin, Texas). Apple claims it's responsible for creating and supporting 1.9 million US jobs, as of the end of 2015. It also claims that "thirty-one of the 50 states provide parts, materials, or equipment to make Apple products."  Oh, and the cost of that Mac Pro made in Austin, TX?  It starts at a hefty $2,999!! How'd you like to pay that for the next new iPhone?

Finally, for Trump the King, there is no U.S. law that can force an American company to make its products in America. Any attempt at passing such a law would be vigorously opposed by virtually every U.S. company, Constitutional scholars, and likely, even most Republicans in Congress. But, maybe Donald could just wave his magic wand.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Ferguson, MO Hires Miami Veteran As New Chief Of Police

Delrish Moss
It took almost 2 years, but the embattled city of Ferguson, MO has hired a veteran Miami police officer with two decades of experience dealing with the media and community leaders to take over as police chief in Ferguson, hoping to help the St Louis suburb heal as it rebounds after the fatal 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown.

Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss was announced as chief Thursday, putting a black man in charge of a mostly white department that serves a town where African-Americans make up two-thirds of the residents.  Saying it's about time is an understatement.

On August 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by white officer Darren Wilson during a street confrontation.  The shooting prompted months of unrest that often grew violent and helped spark the national Black Lives Matter movement.

A St Louis County grand jury and the US Department of Justice declined to indict Wilson, who resigned in November 2014. But the Justice Department issued a critical report of Ferguson in March 2015, citing racial bias in policing and a municipal court system that made money at poor and minority residents’ expense.

Big changes coming to Ferguson, MO
Ferguson’s city manager, municipal judge and police chief Tom Jackson all resigned within days of the report. The Ferguson city council just two weeks ago agreed to a settlement with the justice department that calls for major reforms in the city’s criminal justice system.

Moss, 51, grew up in Miami’s inner-city Overtown neighborhood and as a teenager lived through rioting after white police officers fatally beat a black motorcyclist in 1980.

He joined Miami police in 1984, steadily rising through the ranks. He worked for a time in the homicide unit before taking over media and community relations 20 years ago. The job entails handling the city’s media and working with community leaders, particularly in high-crime areas such as the Liberty City neighborhood, according to the department.

Moss was among 54 candidates for the top police job in Ferguson.  Other finalists for the job were Frank McCall Jr, chief of nearby Berkeley, Missouri; Mark Becker, a former FBI agent who recently resigned as police chief in East Chicago, Indiana; and Brenda Jones, who was fired as police chief in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in 2013 but won a lawsuit alleging race and gender discrimination.

Moss is expected to begin work as Chief of Police in Ferguson in early May.