Category Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft has Acquired GitHub

Microsoft announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform where more than 28 million developers learn, share, and collaborate.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. Subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.

GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries. Developers will be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects – and will still be able to deploy their code to any operating system, any cloud and any device.

GitHub announced, in a blog post written by CEO and Co-Founder of GitHub, @defunkt, that Microsoft was acquiring GitHub. The post states that Microsoft and GitHub expect the agreement to close by the end of the year.

GitHub says that they will remain focused on the developer. They feel that Microsoft’s vision for the future closely matches their own. Nat Friedman, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Developer Services, will be taking on the role of GitHub’s CEO. GitHub says it has been searching for a new CEO for some time.

Microsoft’s Holiday Ad is Adorable!

Microsoft released an adorable ad called 3D Holiday. It shows a series of cute creatures that need some love, and who receive it from other creatures. The ad features Microsoft’s Paint 3D, and also features Remix 3D.

When we are inclusive and celebrate our differences we can make the world a better place. 3D Holiday tells the story of a young girl who goes on an imaginary adventure through space where she and “Gabe the Yeti” encounter various characters who need a little love and support, culminating in a celebration for all.

The Microsoft website shows all of the characters that were in the ad. There is an image of each one, the character’s name, and a description of the character’s personality. In addition to the video of the holiday ad, there are two videos that are intended to be Paint 3D tutorials that people can learn from.

People can use Paint 3D to create objects from scratch or to modify a creation from the Remix 3D catalog. You can search Remix 3D for items, characters, and more, and use them in your own creations. It is also possible to take Remix 3D items and change the colors and textures, to add stickers, or to turn a 2D picture into a 3D scene.

Microsoft Paint is Here to Stay!

Microsoft released a list of “features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.” The one that seems to be getting the most attention is a little program called Microsoft Paint, which Microsoft was intending to deprecate.

The “Removed” designation means that the product has been removed from the current release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. “Deprecated” means that the product is not in active development and might be removed in future releases.

I haven’t used Microsoft Paint in a really long time (mostly because I switched from PC to Mac several years ago). I was feeling nostalgic about Microsoft Paint after learning that it may be deprecated. Back in the 1990’s I was working on obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Education, and Microsoft Paint helped me achieve that goal.

At the time, the majority of elementary schools lacked computer labs. Some teachers were fortunate enough to have one computer in their classroom. During my experience as a student teacher, I created a lesson plan for the many Kindergarten classes I was working with. It focused on Microsoft Paint.

Each kid got a few seconds of class time to contribute to a collaborative, class-wide, piece of digital art. I gave each kindergartener the choice of adding a shape, drawing a line, or filling in a color on the artwork. The kids seemed to think this was the coolest thing ever, which is understandable.

I remember having to bring a bunch of 3.5” floppy disks to the classrooms so I could save the artwork each class had created and print it out for my professors to see. To my surprise, my professors thought that my Microsoft Paint lesson plan was innovative and exciting. Today, the same lesson plan would be considered uninspiring (and perhaps a bit lazy.)

Good news for those of you who, like me, feel nostalgic about MS Paint. Microsoft says: “MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free.”

Microsoft Premiers Xbox One X

Microsoft Corp. has unveiled the world’s most powerful console, Xbox One X (formerly code-named “Project Scorpio”), and its largest and most diverse games lineup in E3 history. Broadcast for the first time in 4K UHD on Mixer, Xbox showcased a record 42 games in its briefing, including 22 with console exclusivity from creators large and small. Coming to all Xbox One markets starting November 7, 2017, Xbox One X will retail for $499, 499 pounds, 499 euros, CA$599 and AU$649.1.

Xbox One X was designed to be the best console to create and play games on, putting the greatest graphic fidelity in the hands of the world’s bets game creators to create true 4K games. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer underscored that every game will play great across the Xbox One family, and Xbox One X also makes your existing library even better, with better textures, smoother frame rates, and faster load times.

Spencer announced that Xbox will expand Xbox One backward-compatibility library of nearly 400 popular Xbox 360 games to include original Xbox classics, starting with fan favorite Crimson Skies. Xbox also revealed that Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Minecraft, Resident Evil 7, Final Fantasy 15, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Rocket League, and dozens of other popular Xbox One games will receive free updates to take full advantage of the power of Xbox One X. A host of these titles will be enhanced to run in true 4K, and many will be available at Xbox One X launch.

With 40 percent more power than any other console, Xbox One X lets you experience immersive true 4K gaming when paired with a 4K display, such as Samsung’s flagship QLED TV. Xbox One X makes your existing library even better with better textures, smoother frame rates and faster load times, even on a 1080p TV.

Xbox One X also offers the ultimate 4K entertainment package with 4K Ultra HD for Blu-ray X and streamed content, HDR support for gaming and video, and Dolby Atmos support. Xbox One X will join the Xbox One family of devices and coexist alongside Xbox One and Xbox One S, and all Xbox One games and accessories are compatible.

Xbox One X Games Showcased at E3:

  • Anthem (Electronic Arts)
  • The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Ashen (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins (Ubisoft – World Premier)
  • Black Desert (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Code Vein (Bandi Namco Entertainment America Inc. – World Premier)
  • Crackdown 3 (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive)
  • Cuphead (Xbox One and Windows Exclusive)
  • The Darwin Project (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Deep Rock Galactic (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Dragon Ball Fighterz (Bandai Namco Entertainment American Inc. – World Premier)
  • Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premier)
  • The Last Night (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Square-Enix – World Premier)
  • Metro Exodus (Deep Silver – World Premier)
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War – (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • Minecraft (Unification, Better Together Update, Super Duper Graphics Pack)
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps – (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premier)
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Sea of Thieves (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive)
  • State of Decay 2 (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive)
  • Super Lucky’s Tale (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premier)
  • Tacoma (Console Launch Exclusive)

Microsoft Introduces To-Do

Microsoft has introduced a new, intelligent task management app that makes it easy to plan and manage your day. It is called Microsoft To-Do, and it is now available in Preview.

To-Do comes from the team behind the Wunderlist app, and delivers a smarter, more personal and intuitive way to help people stay organized and get the most out of every day. It is powered by Office 365 integration and an intelligent algorithm.

To-Do helps you to create a list for anything – for work, home projects or just groceries. You can keep track of deadlines by adding reminders, due dates and notes, and personalize it with colorful themes. You can access your lists anywhere with the To-Do apps for iPhone, Android phone, Windows 10 devices and the web.

Every morning, To-Do gives you a clean slate called My Day. You can put in whatever tasks that you want to accomplish that day. Tap a lightbulb icon to access Intelligent Suggestions. The app will show you to-dos from the day before, what’s due, or upcoming, and other helpful suggestions based on To-Do’s algorithm. You can add the ones you want to get done to My Day.

Samsung announces Galaxy Book powered by Windows 10

If you are looking for a portable workspace and require Windows then you have a growing number of options beyond the Surface. These include many easily portable laptops and tablets. Now Samsung is looking to give everyone another alternative.

The company is unveiling its latest offering at Mobile World Congress. The big event takes place annually in Barcelona, Spain.

“Samsung announced an expanded strategic partnership with Microsoft that will help professionals use digital technology to work anywhere, with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Book powered by Windows 10 and improvements to Samsung Flow”, announces Microsoft.

The Samsung Galaxy Book is a new premium 2-in-1 that is designed for the enterprise. It’s a 12 inch with full Microsoft Office desktop integration. It “enables you to easily use Windows Ink or markup and draw on websites in Microsoft Edge, and the S Pen is equipped with the tilt SDK for Windows Ink, providing artists with advanced shading and brushstrokes”.

“Samsung improved Samsung Flow with Microsoft on the Galaxy Book. Samsung Flow allows customers to sync their Galaxy smartphone with the Galaxy Book for convenient login and Wi-Fi connection through the smartphone’s mobile hotspot when a data connection is not available, and the Samsung Flow app will display notifications from your smartphone”.

Pricing and availability are not yet available.

Venturer EliteWin S 11KT Review

Venturer LogoLess than a year after launching their first foray into the market, the team at Venturer have given their 2-in-1 Windows notebooks a quick refresh and adding an “S” into the product name. Consequently, on review here is the EliteWin S 11KT, the big brother to the BravoWin S 10KR, and these new editions are priced at an additional GB£50 over the original models. Let’s take a look and see if the new ones are worth the extra cash.

(The picture makes the keyboard look bigger than it is – it’s the same size as the screen..)

As before, there’s not much between the BravoWin S and EliteWin S models other than the size of the screens, which are 10″ 1280×800 and 11.6″ 1366×768 respectively. Both are IPS screens and at 11.6″, it’s a big tablet. The good news is that the bigger screen of the EliteWin S brings the benefits of a larger keyboard, which was my main gripe about the BravoWin when I reviewed the previous model. This time round, the bigger keyboard suits me much better, so it’s a good first impression.

As a hybrid, the EliteWin S comes in two pieces, namely the screen and the keyboard, which come together by slotting the screen into a hinge on the keyboard. The overall dimensions are roughly 30 cm by 19 cm (at the hinge) by 2.7 cm when closed up with a bit of an air gap between the keyboard and screen, though it tapers towards the front. The tablet itself is 11 mm thick. The screen can be positioned both facing into the keyboard or turned round for alternative viewing positions.

Opening the EliteWin as a notebook, the hinge rotates downwards to raise the rear of the keyboard up for a slight slope. Two rubber pieces on the hinge protect the desk surface and while the keys on the keyboard are quite small, they do travel nicely. There’s a small button-less touchpad at the front too where double tapping on the left and right side of the touchpad simulates the mouse buttons. It takes a little getting used to without any feedback.

The styling is much improved with the this iteration. Corners are rounded off and there’s a certain Surface-esque trapezoidal shape to the tablet section. Additionally, the flat surfaces are covered in a soft-touch exterior which is surprising in the first instance, but is much grippier than the usual metal or plastic. Coloured in gunmetal grey, the tablet looks much better, though the underside of the keyboard could do with a bit more styling and a matching finish.

Looking over the ports, there’s a microphone hole, HDMI mini, micro SD slot, DC power in, micro USB port, 3.5mm earphone, power on/off button, USB 2 port and Windows button. The EliteWin S can be charged both via the micro USB and the DC power in, with a PSU supplied in the box. On the back of the tablet, there’s volume up / down controls and camera. There are still no USB ports on the keyboard.

In terms of build quality, it appears to have improved. The keyboard and keyboard hinge seem quite sturdy, as before. The tablet itself is plastic although with the soft touch cover and gunmetal colour, it gives a good impression of being metal. It’s pretty sturdy too though it will flex if you force it. Though it’s not the best small keyboard I’ve ever used, it’s certainly very usable and I typed much of this article using the keyboard.

As before, the 11.6″ 1366×768 IPS screen is perfectly acceptable though it does continue to suffer a little from backlight bleeding around some of the edges. It’s most noticeable when the notebook is booting and the screen is black. It’s not something I’d worry about in day-to-day use, though. In terms of touch, I found the screen responsive and at times, I ended up using the touchscreen more than the touchpad.

Specwise, the processor is an Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core clocked at 1.3 GHz (boosts to 1.8 GHz) with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB (28 GB reported) of storage. A 64 GB microSD card is included in the box as there’s only around 16 GB of space free on the C: drive. Windows 10 Home is installed, though it’s only the 32bit version despite the 64-bit processor. There’s 11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth too.

Performance is perfectly adequate for what you might call undemanding tasks – surfing the web, watching YouTube, playing Cut The Rope – and you can have a few apps open before switching apps slows it down. Obviously this depends on the apps you are using and the EliteWin S is no Surface Pro 4, so adjust expectations accordingly. Regardless, I found it very usable. Battery life is rated at 8 hours and I got over six hours one day without completely exhausting the battery. However, it is possible to burn through the battery much quicker if you are streaming video.

The 2 MP cameras are a bit disappointing (tablet cameras usually are) but in an improvement over the BravoWin, all the cameras actually worked with the standard Camera app. Cortana interaction is much improved too and she was able to hear me clearly, also unlike the previous BravoWin.

Although I’m comfortable with Windows 10 as a PC operating system, I still struggle with it as a tablet OS. The tablet mode does help and the EliteWin S did detect the removal of the keyboard and pushed tablet mode for my approval, which was handy. The duality of Windows 10 is hardly the fault of the EliteWin, but it does make supporting the 2-in-1 nature of the device that little bit harder.

As I come to the end of the review, readers might be thinking that this review is very similar to the review I did before…and you’d be right because there’s very little difference between the generations. Cosmetically, the EliteWin S is much improved over the previous generation, so while S might stand for Speed with Apple, S equates to Style with Venturer. So….

Question 1: is it worth an extra GB£50 for the newer model? Probably. The S model looks better, seems to be a bit more robust, has a soft touch finish and it comes with a 64GB microSD card.

Question 2: Is the EliteWin S the best buy at GB£249? Harder to answer. There are definitely some competitors out there, even in the 2-in-1 space, and if you aren’t concerned about a detachable keyboard, there are a couple of options at the price point.

In terms of personal peeves, there’s not much to complain about. It’s a bit chunky, the rear of the keyboard could be styled better and an extra USB port would be handy.

The EliteWin S 11KT is available from Amazon for GB£249 and the BravoWin S 10KR is at IdealWorld for GB£189.

Thanks to Venturer for the loan of the EliteWin S and there’s an unboxing video below.