Category: Operating Systems

The effort has paid off for Candy Crush

Previous coverage

It is now simple to port iOS and Android apps to Windows 10

My Comments

Candy Crush Saga gameplay screen Android

Candy Crush Saga on Android

I have played the Android version of Candy Crush Saga and this has performed very smoothly on a variety of Android phone devices that I owned.

But Microsoft and King, the developer of this popular casual game, have worked together and used this game to approach the idea of porting an app from a mobile platform like iOS and Android to a regular-computing platform like Windows 10 along with the XBox One games console. The goal is to make an app or game take advantage of what the subequent platform has to offer without destroying the usage experience that the software is know for.

In the previous article, I cited the computing scene in the 1980s where there was a requirement for games developers to have a game on as many platforms as possible with the best examples being Atarisoft, Sierra and Broderbund. Atarisoft made a strong effort to port the legendary Atari games like PacMan, Asteroids and Centipede to a larger number of popular 1980s home computers while Sierra and Broderbund had games like the Kings Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry and Carmen Sandiego franchises on platforms like the IBM PC, Apple II and Macintosh platforms and Commodore’s legendary games machines of all time. It is also very similar to how Minecraft has been ported between Windows, Macintosh, the mobile platforms and XBox One yet is still very playable.

Candy Crush Saga gameplay on Windows 10

This same game as ported to Windows 10

After installing Windows 10 on my computer, I downloaded the Windows 10 port of Candy Crush Saga to assess how this port was to turn out, especially for mouse-based play. After playing a few rounds, the experience was very much similar to what it was like on the Android version. It had reminded me of the late 80s with Boulder Dash where I had played that game on the Commodore 64 and the Apple IIe where the game yielded the same “boulder-shifting” user experience with the same graphics, sound and gameplay on both those platforms.

But the game’s interface didn’t depend on whether you used a touchscreen or a mouse, Nor did it depend on whether you had the game in a window or in a full-screen mode. Candy Crush Saga was still as playable on the Windows 10 platform as it was on the Android platform.

Microsoft is on a winner with their Project Islandwood and Project Astoria software-development kits in that someone could get a casual game across the mobile platforms and Windows to the same expectations as the late ‘80s home-computing era. This is where each platform’s assets can be taken advantage of very easily yet the user experience is kept consistent.

If Microsoft, Google, Apple and others use their software-development knowhow properly, they could encourage app developers, especially games studios, to have apps and games that maintain a consistent high-quality user interface no matter the computing platform they run on.

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Windows 95–20 years old

Previous coverage

Special Report – Windows 95 now 15 years old and a major change to the PC computing platform

Video

“Start Me Up” video ad

To sum up

Windows 95 launch campaign billboard poster

Start It Up campaign billboard for Windows 95

Windows 95 was an operating system that led to a revolution as far as PC-based computing was concerned and was treated as such when it was launched. It actually revised how one thought of the Microsoft DOS / Windows computing platform towards something that was on a par with other computing platforms.

One of the key features that was highlighted was to have the Windows GUI front-end and MS-DOS integrated in to one package. Firstly, you didn’t have to buy Windows as a program nor did you have to type WINDOWS to pull up the graphical user interface. As well, there wasn’t the need to run various menu utilities to provide a user-friendly operating interface where programs are easy to find and run.

Instead, you used Start Menu to find programs and Windows Explorer to know your way around the computer’s file system. There was even the ability to give files and folders a meaningful file name rather than a very short name that wasn’t meaningful at first glance.

Another key feature was to do away with the need to run extra software to add functionality to a computer. Previously, if you were to run a CD-ROM, network abilities or any type of added functionality, you had to run certain memory-resident programs and this became very awkward for most people.

This led to an operating system that was “ready for the Internet and the network” out of the box, thus opening up the possibility for small organisations and households to set up easy-to-administer networks for sharing files and printers, and gaining access to the Internet.

Happy 20th Birthday, Windows 95! Start Me Up!

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Regular operating systems and their vulnerability to security threats

Article

Which Is More Vulnerable To Viruses And Hackers: Windows 10 or Mac OS X? | Gizmodo

My Comments

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – an example of a laptop based on a regular computing platform

During the 2000s, the personal computing scene focused on so-called “regular” personal computers i.e. desktop and laptop computers that ran a desktop-grade operating system. The main platforms were the Windows platform heralded by Microsoft and with hardware made by plenty of other manufacturers and the Macintosh platform that was made by Apple. Of course, there were a few personal computers that ran one of many open-source Linux distributions which were effectively UNIX.

There was the issue of security risks magnified due to an increased amount of personal and business computing time spent online through the Internet. In most cases, especially with the Windows platform, these risks were mitigated using a desktop or endpoint security program installed on the client computer. Although I have constantly seen the Apple Macintosh platform at risk of security exploits, that platform wasn’t at risk because there were fewer computer users using that platform.

Enter Windows Vista. This operating system had improved security features like operating as a regular user unless necessary but these were tacked on to the Windows XP codebase. This led to poor performance and computer users saw the value of switching to the Apple Macintosh platform for regular computing needs with some even using Apple’s iWork office tools as a way simply to dump Microsoft.

This led to the Apple Macintosh platform becoming more vulnerable due to its increased popularity and the use of “write once run anywhere” code like Java. Apple had to pull their finger out to improve the Macintosh platform’s security and, like Microsoft, engage in regular software updates and patches.

Improvements

Major upgrades for pennies’ worth or free

Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 – a free upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

Microsoft and Apple had even started to offer newer iterations of their operating systems to home users and small businesses at prices that would represent chump change or, later on, offer these iterations for free.

Apple started the ball rolling with Mac OS X for pennies’ worth starting with OS X Lion and for free starting with Mavericks. Subsequently Microsoft used Windows 8 to facilitate a software upgrade for pennies’ worth and used Windows 10 to instigate a free software upgrade program.

The major upgrades typically had security improvements like creation of app stores and newer secure codebases.

Blind updates for security patches

A way software developers keep their software going strong is to deliver updates and patches that rectify software bugs and allow the software to improve in performance. The delivery of these updates is being used to harden the software against known security exploits, often as soon as these holes are discovered.

Windows Update - one stop shop for software patches along with automatic delivery

Windows Update – one stop shop for software patches along with automatic delivery

This process typically involved users finding patches or newer code on the developer’s Website but Microsoft and Apple have put an end to this. Initially they set up a “one-stop-shop” program for downloading these updates including any peripheral-driver updates but have improved on this by providing for “blind updating”. This is where the operating system automatically downloads and installs these patches as soon as they become available.without you needing to do anything except, perhaps, reboot the computer when prompted.

Microsoft and Apple are even working on having these patches become effective once they are installed without you needing to reboot your computer. This is being achieved in the newer operating-system variants and with some newer patches.

The option for secure boot

Apple implemented in the Macintosh standard firmware a way to only let MacOS X boot on their Macintosh computers and this provided a sense of security because it can only allow these computers to run Apple-authorised code.

Microsoft and Intel are now implementing this through UEFI and Secure Boot which allows for authorisation of operating systems and pre-boot software that runs on a computing device. This has been considered controversial because it would wrest control of the computer from uses who may want to deploy Linux, especially a custom Linux distribution or wish to run with a dual-boot setup.

App stores and walled gardens

Windows 10's own app store

Windows 10’s own app store

Another weapon that Microsoft and Apple are deploying comes from the world of mobile computing where mobile operating systems implement an “app store” which is a one-stop software “shopping mall”.

Like a suburban shopping mall with its physical goods, these app stores have tight controls on who can sell their software there. Here, the software has to be provided by an identifiable developer and approved and audited by the operating system developer who runs that app store.

There is also a requirement for the software to be sandboxed and have access to certain parts of the operating system rather than having full run of your computer.

Another factor that is also considered important is that if an application “does the right thing” by its users and the operating-system vendor, it is typically highly recommended or featured such as being given an “editor’s choice” or put in the “spotlight”. This gives the program increased exposure which attracts more installations and more purchases. As well, there are user-review mechanisms where people can uprate or downrate the software.

But both the Macintosh and Windows platforms require the ability to work with established software deployments that are typically installed via removable media or a download from the developer’s site. This is due to their legacy where people installed software from floppy disks or CDs or downloaded software from bulletin boards and download sites.

Windows 10 is providing a way to harden things further when it comes to this software in the form of Device Guard. This is a form of sandboxing which allows only certain programs to run on a computer but is made available to the Enterprise Edition only. It is because the process for setting up this whitelist would be considered very difficult for householders, small businesses and community organisations.

Steam - one of the most common games managers

Steam – one of the most common games managers

For games, major games studios are implementing their own app stores and games delivery systems in order to allow for cross-platform game and supporting-content delivery. Here, they want regular-computing gaming to have that same level of confidence associated with console or mobile gaming. This is although Apple and Microsoft deliver games through their app stores. The best example of this is Valve’s Steam online games shop but there are others like EA’s Origin.

Conclusion

What is happening is that for both the Windows and Macintosh computing platforms, they are being made more secure and malware-resistant and it is becoming a race between Apple and Microsoft to keep the regular computing environment as safe as a mobile computing environment.

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Windows 10 Start Menu–not your father’s old station wagon

Windows 10 Start Menu

Start Menu in Windows 10 – the pop-up look from Windows 7 with the tiles from Windows 8

Windows 7 and its predecessors had a traditional pop-up start menu with an option to see all the programs or the frequently-used programs on your computer. This was presented in a list rather than a cluster of icons or tiles.

But Windows 8 headed down a totally different path with a dashboard-style layout hat has all of the programs or a user-defined set of programs represented as tiles. This had thrown many computer users off the operating system and caused some unnecessary worry.

The Start Menu

Windows 10 brought back the pop-up Start Menu that looks like a combination of the traditional Start menu and Windows 8’s tile-based look. This includes the famed “Live Tiles” that are always updated with new content thus working like a dashboard.

In the early days of your experience with Windows 10, you can mess around getting that tile-based Start Menu area looking how you want. If you run Windows 10 on a touchscreen laptop or a computer with a touchscreen monitor, this menu style can work just as well for you.

Getting it right!

You can organise your tiles in to groups by dragging them in to the space between two groups to create a group or dragging them in to a group to have them part of that group. This can be done in both the traditional pop-up view and the Tablet Mode view mentioned later on at the end.

Then you can name each group by right-clicking or “dwelling” your finger on the group name then typing in the name you want to give it.

Browsing for that program

Windows 10 Start Menu - All Apps highlighted

Looking for that program – click All Apps on the Start Menu

This will be a situation for those of you who have held out with Windows 7 or its predecessors, where you will be wanting to know where all of your programs have gone even though they aren’t on the Start Menu or Taskbar.

Browsing for that particular program? Click on “All Apps” to see a list of all programs on your computer. Then, click on any of the letters to bring up a list of alphabetical letters. Subsequently, you just need to click on the first letter of the program’s title to be sent straight to a list of the programs beginning with that letter.

You then have two options to have your program readily accessible. One is to “pin” your program to the Taskbar so it is always accessible and this setup may remind you of the station-preset buttons on your car radio. On the other hand, you could “pin” your program to the Start Menu where it will appear as a tile which you shift around until it is in the right place for you.

Tablet Mode

Windows 10 Tablet Mode

How Windows 10 looks when you use Tablet Mode

The Tablet Mode gives you a view that is not dissimilar to how you have operated your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 computer. It is automatically selected if you detach a keyboard from your detachable-style “2-in-1” tablet or fold over a convertible notebook so the screen becomes a tablet. But you can manually select this mode on any Windows 10 computer.

Windows 10 Notification Menu buttons wiht Tablet Mode highlighted

How to select Tablet Mode manually

As I have said just before, this doesn’t just those of you who work with tablet computers or 2-in-1 devices. You can use it with a laptop or desktop computer and it doesn’t need a touchscreen to benefit from this function. Rather you would use your mouse or trackpad to navigate around the screen and a scroll-enabled mouse earns its keep by allowing you to scroll downwards. In the Notification Menu, you have a button labelled Tablet Mode which you can use to toggle between this mod and the regular Desktop Mode.

I would recommending having your screen in the Tablet mode if you are trying to sort out the Start Menu groups after an upgrade because you can use the whole of your screen’s real estate to do this.

Search Bar

There is an always-visible Search Bar on the Taskbar which you can fill in your search requests for local or Web-hosted resources. This works with Cortana which is the personal digital assistant in the same vein as Siri or Google Now.

Here, ordering a search is as simple as clicking or tapping on the search area and typing in what you are after.

Conclusion

Anyone who has worked with any of Windows’ incarnations will find the Windows 10 Start Menu as something that doesn’t daunt you but allows you to get more out of the operating system.

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Making it easier to safely remove that USB flash drive in Windows

Safely Remove Hardware icon in Notification area

Notification area space where hidden icons exist – click on Customize to determine how they will appear

You may want to be sure you are doing the right thing when it comes to properly and safely removing that USB flash drive, external hard disk or SD card but it may be hard to find the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the Notification bar at the bottom right of your screen.

What tends to happen if you haven’t been doing anything regarding removable storage is that icon becomes sidelined and available behind the up-arrow on the Taskbar. This is more so if other applications have claimed space on the Notification Bar and seldom-used icons exist behind that up-arrow.

Notification Area Icons customisation screen - when you click on Customize

Notification Area Icons customisation screen – when you click on Customize

There is a way to work around this problem by customising the Notification Bar icons to make sure that certain icons appear always.

To do this, click on the up-arrow at the left of the Notification Bar to pop up all of the icons. These will appear in a white square and you will also see the word “Customize”. Click “Customize” to see a list of the icons with each icon having its own drop-down box that determines how and when it will appear.

Options available for each icon in the Notification Area Icons customisation screen

Options available for each icon

The different modes are:

  • Show icon and Notifications. This will have the icon appear at all times and “pop up” any notification messages. Here, you may want to have the icon always visible and accessible especially if you instigate tasks from that icon.
  • Hide icon and Notifications: The icon won’t appear at all in the Notification Bar even if there is a relevant notification or it changes state. This may be useful where you find an icon always popping up messages
  • Only show notifications. The icon pops up when there is a relevant notification and will show that notification. In some cases, this icon may appear if it changes state. It may apply to “sentinel” icons that appear to crowd out the Notification Bar even though they seldom yield a notification or change state.
Preferred seting for Safely Remove Hardware And Eject Media icon

Preferred seting for Safely Remove Hardware And Eject Media icon

Here, having the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon set to “Show icon and Notifications” means that while there is a USB storage device connected to the computer or an SD card inserted in the computer, this icon will appear. This will make it easy for you to know what to click when you need to remove the USB hard disk USB memory key or memory card.

You may also find this of us with other Notification Bar icons where you are always instigating tasks from or needing to keep an eye on incase they change state like the Skype icon.

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Why do you need to safely remove or eject removeable media?

USB memory key

USB storage device

As you use a computer, you will have to get in to the habit of removing or ejecting external or removeable media safely and in a proper way rather than just unplugging the device or pulling out the card.

What is this about safely removing or ejecting removeable storage?

Mainframe and similar large computer setups required the operating system to logically mount a tape or disk pack after the system operator installed the medium in the appropriate drive. This procedure makes the files on the medium available to the operating system and computer programs

USB external hard disk

USB hard disks are more critical with this procedure

Then when the medium was finished with, the system operator had to logically unmount the disk or tape which forced all files to he written back to the medium and the operating system to deem the files on the medium to be unavailable. This procedure was also simplified when the tape and disk-pack drives used electromechanical readiness detection like sensing when a lid or door was closed or a tape was past the heads to let the host computer know that they had media on board and were ready to work with it. It would then require the operator to logically mount the medium and make it available to the system’s programs, typically by typing a special “mount” command.

Desktop operating systems like MS-DOS did away with this to simplify the operating procedures for most people especially as they were used just by one user compared to the previous mainframe systems that were used by multiple concurrent users. It also allowed the use of low-cost disk and tape systems on these computers.

Here, these operating systems immediately wrote back all file changes to the disk when a file was created, modified or deleted. As well, if a program was after a file, it would perform a directory search to determine if the file was there on that disk and the operating system didn’t cache the removeable medium’s directory structure in to the host’s memory. In a lot of cases, the act of closing the disk drive’s door or inserting a 3.5” floppy disk cause the operating system to start reading the disk’s directory in to memory.

But the Apple Macintosh maintained a similar operating requirement to the larger computer systems where you had to logically remove a floppy disk or CD from the system typically by dragging the disk’s icon to the Trash before the computer ejected the disk. This was facilitated with these computers having floppy drives that implemented electromechanical load-eject mechanisms and no hardware “eject” button ever since the platform was created.

This was carried through with Zip drives and other similar removeable-media drives that used any form of electromechanical load-eject mechanisms. The presence of an eject button on these drives typically worked as a way of telling the operating system about an intent to remove the medium so it is logically unmounted and was also implemented with newer iterations of the MS-DOS / Windows operating system along with driver programs for earlier iterations of that operating system.

Similarly, those of you who have used the MiniDisc format, especially with an MD deck or a music system that has an integrated MD recorder, may notice this taking place when you are recording to these discs. What will happen with these decks is that a message will flash up on the unit’s display screen that it is writing all the changes to the disk when you press the eject button or power off the unit before the disk is available or the unit switches off. This makes sure that all of the recording and editing activity is properly committed to the disk and is intact.

Why was there a need to tell the operating system that you were intending to remove the medium

If removeable media is removed by surprise, there can be problems with the quality of the data that is written to the medium because the operating system and applications think that certain files on the medium are available to be worked with.

This can lead to corrupted files because all the changes to the file being worked on haven’t been written to the medium completely. There are also issues with the files being locked by programs that are writing back the necessary changes so that other programs can’t interfere with this process, and if a program hasn’t released these locks or committed all of the changes, the files may not be available for other programs to work with. In the worst cases, your computer can go in to a headspin if it is working with a file that exists one minute and doesn’t exist the next.

How do you safely remove USB removeable media?

Windows Explorer (File Explorer) eject option

Eject option in Windows Explorer

With a computer, you make sure that you have closed the files you are working on if you were using a program to work with them. Then you perform a safe-removal procedure that is dependent on your operating system.

Macintosh users simply drag the icon representing the removeable storage to the Trash icon at the bottom right of the Desktop screen. Then there will be a message to say that it is safe to remove the medium.

Windows users can do this in two ways. They can open Windows Explorer (File Explorer) or My Computer and right-click on the removeable storage which will be represented as its own drive letter. They then select the “Eject” option to begin safely removing the storage device.

Safely Remove Hardware icon in Notification area

Safely Remove Hardware icon in Notification area

The other method requires you to click on the Notification Area on the Taskbar and right-click on the “Safely Remove Hardware And Eject Media” icon. Here, you are presented with a list of USB storage devices that are connected to your computer. Click on the one you want to remove to begin safely removing it. In some cases, a physical device may represent two or more logical volumes (drive letters) because it has been partitioned as such. Here, you select the physical device’s name to safely remove that device.

Safely Remove Hardware devices list

Devices available to remove

USB-based removeable-media adaptors like floppy-disk drives, Zip drives and memory-card readers have the ability to safely remove a particular medium or the whole device. Here, you can click on the medium to remove the card or disk or click on the physical device name to remove the device before you unplug it.

Safely remove hardware devices list

Two logical devices in one physical device – the one that is written clearly is the one to remove

This is more important with those devices that handle multiple media types like some multi-slot memory-card readers or devices that have a combination of fixed and removeable storage options like some digital cameras and camcorders that have internal storage along with an SD or microSD card slot. In the latter situation, these devices would have fixed storage greyed out while the removeable storage is written in black.

I have prepared a PDF reference sheet about the procedure needed to safely remove your removeable media from your Windows computer. Download and print this and keep it by your computer if you or others need to know how to do this properly.

Android users would go to the Storage menu and select the “Unmount SD Card” option for the SD card or “Unmount Mass Storage” for storage devices connected to their mobile devices via USB “On The Go” connectivity.

Safe to remove notification

It is safe to remove

For other devices like A/V devices that write to an SD card or USB memory key, you would have to go to the device’s menu and select the “Unmount”, “Remove” or, more likely, “Eject” option. This process would be analogous to ejecting a tape, CD or MiniDisc so you can work with another medium.

Of course, powering off the equipment properly such as selecting a logical shutdown option would prepare any media or removeable devices attached to the equipment for safe removal.

Conclusion

Once you know how to properly and safely remove media or detach USB storage devices from your computer or similar device, you can avoid situations which can place your computer’s reliability or the data on that medium at risk.

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Apple have fixed the iPhone message bug once and for all

Article

Apple releases iOS 8.4 with new Music app, fix for crashing bug | ARSTechnica

My Comments

Apple have just rolled out version 8.4 of the iOS mobile operating system and the main headline feature that this came with is the Apple Music streaming-music service which came about due to their takeover of Beats by Dr. Dre.

But this version of iOS also fixes a bug that placed iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches at risk of crashing if a specially-formed message came in via iMessage or other message services. This was due to problems associated with handling standard ASCII and Unicode character combinations. To get their iOS devices back to life after a crash, they had to do things like ask correspondents to send pictures.

Any iOS user can update their devices either over the air by visiting the Settings screen then selecting “General” before clicking on “Software Update”. Or they could use the USB charge/data cable to plug the iDevice in to a regular computer equipped with iTunes and use that software to deliver the update to the device.

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Simplified hand-switching for pointing devices

What is the problem?

Work needs to be done to make it easier for left-handed and right-handed users to use the same computer

Work needs to be done to make it easier for left-handed and right-handed users to use the same computer

A feature that I notice is sorely missing from Windows is the ability to switch between left-handed and right-hand use of the mouse without having to go to the Control Panel and select the Mouse option there.

It would be OK for a person who has a normal hand to “switch” the computer to work to their hand using this method, but would be difficult in some circumstances.

One of these circumstances would be where a computer is shared amongst multiple users with one of the users being left-handed and others being right-handed. Examples of these include workplace, school or public-access computers or computers shared amongst members of a household including houseguests such as the common “his ‘n’ hers” setup.

Windows mouse control panel

Mouse Control Panel dialog – Windows 7

Another circumstance is where a user has to switch between left-handed and right-handed operation as part of a physiotherapy requirement for their hands or simply to keep their hands supple. It is something that is becoming common with older people who want to stay active with their hands.

But having to head to the Control Panel or similar preference settings in your operating system each time you have to do this can bewilder people who don’t have much confidence with technology.

There are ways that Apple, Microsoft and the open-source community could facilitate this.

What are the possible solutions?

Hot-key selection

One would be to use something like a hot-key combination or a simultaneous-mouse-button combination to switch between the operating modes. This could be an option that one could enable in the preferences settings for the pointing devices.

Having this feature would earn its keep with shared computers, workplace computers and public-access computers because users only need to press a certain key combination or operate the mouse buttons in a certain way to “switch hands”. It would also earn its keep with users who find navigating dialog boxes very bewildering and intimidating.

Maurice Tejado wrote an “add-on” utility for Windows (available through CNET Download.com) that allows you to “switch hands” using a hot-key routine.

Set preferences on a pointing-device basis

Another way that could work even better would be to set the operating mode for different pointing devices. Here, you could have two mice connected with one sitting on the left hand side of the keyboard and one on the right hand side. Or you could resolve to use your laptop’s integrated trackpad as a “left-hand” device and a Bluetooth mouse as a “right-hand” device or vice versa. Here, you could set one device to be left-handed while another device is right-handed.

This function is supported by some desktop Linux distributions but isn’t supported on Windows or Mac OS X. But there is a third-party free utility that can support this in the form of EitherMouse which supports multiple pointing devices in use at the same time with different settings.  This can cater also for users who are slow with trackballs and trackpads but quick with mice.

How can this be done better?

Having to use add-on programs to achieve this goal can become awkward, especially when it comes to computer performance and stability and operating systems could go better by baking this kind of functionality in to their pointing-device code.

As well, some computer users and IT departments don’t have confidence in the use of add-on programs because of the fact that these programs can be poorly written or can contain questionable code that can jeopardise computer stability and security. This is more so with those of us who had passed through the “bulletin-board” / “download-site” / “CD-ROM” era of computing where there was a lot of poor-quality software for download.

Rather, operating system developers could write this functionality in to a subsequent version of their products to answer these needs more effectively and especially cater towards older users who are still using today’s technology.

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Hey everyone! Windows 10 will be released at the end of July

Articles

Windows 10 launches on July 29th, here’s how to get in line | Engadget

Windows 10 Is Coming July 29th | Gizmodo

It’s Official: Windows 10 Is Out On July 29, Microsoft Confirms | Lifehacker

Préparez-vous : Windows 10 sera disponible le 29 juillet | 01Net.fr (French language | Langue française)

Windows 10: Release-Termin steht fest | Netzwelt.de (German language / Deutsche sprache)

From the horse’s mouth

Microsoft WIndows

Blog Post

Product Page

Video

SoundCloud Cortana reply

My Comments

Good news everyone! Windows 10 will be released on the 29 July 2015 for those who are using a regular (desktop, laptop or large tablet) computer.

The Windows icon you will see at the bottom right of the screen

The Windows icon you will see at the bottom right of the screen

There will be a free upgrade path for existing users who are running Windows 7 or 8.1 on their regular computers or tablets and this will be available for a year after the initial launch of this operating system. Windows has made it easy for us to reserve a downloadable upgrade copy of this operating system.

Windows 10 Free Upgrade screen

This is where you will reserve your copy of Windows 10

It will mainly apply to those of you who have stuck with the version of Windows that came with your computer but also will apply to users who have climbed up the version ladder by installing subsequent versions of Windows on the same computer. Similarly, you won’t miss out if you just bought that shiny new laptop or WIndows tablet for yourself or your small business, something you would have done in Australia due to the new tax breaks.

Windows 10 reservation email screen

Fill in your email here to be notified when Windows 10 is available

It is infact similar to what Apple has been doing with their Macintosh platform by offering the major upgrades for free since they released MacOS X Mavericks and will become a way for platform vendors to keep the user base working with the latest and most secure code for their operating systems.

Here, you will see a Windows icon on the right-hand side of your Taskbar which you click on and fill in your email details to reserve your copy of the operating system. Once you have reserved that copy, you can use the slideshow that is part of that app to “bone up” on what Windows 10 has to offer for your computing experience.

Windows 10 Reservation Complete screen

It’s done!

On the day that Windows 10 is finally released, you will then have to go to that icon to download your copy of the operating system as a package suitable for your computer.

The new installs will end up costing US$110 for Home editions and US$150 for Pro editions which will mainly apply to upgrading boxes that are running Vista or older operating systems, or are setting up a new system from scratch.

Drawcards

The feature drawcard for Windows 10 users will be the new Start Menu which has tiles for the applications but operates like the Windows 7 Start Menu. It will be more about bringing the Windows 7 and WIndows 8 experiences together including benefiting from the Live Tiles “dashboard” experience.

Windows 10 will come with the Edge browser as the Microsoft-supplied option. This will run as a Universal app with all the secure sandboxing that these apps will have to have. It will also have a “reading view” which makes it easier to read Web pages like a book. Edge will also have the ability to allow you to add comments to a Web page and share these comments, useful if you are sharing that page with friends or colleagues.

Windows 10 will also have the Cortana personal assistant which is now able to work with your iOS or Android smartphone and work across your computing environment whether you use your smartphone or laptop. You can enter your requests to her by typing them in or speaking like you could with Siri or Google Now on the mobile platforms.

Another key feature is Continuum which provides an adaptable user experience for your Windows 10 tablet or convertible / detachable computer. This allows for a full-screen Windows-8-style experience if you are working the device just by touch or the desktop experience with the Start menu if you are mousing around. The user experiences can be automatically determined by what mode you are operating your computer in as in whether you flip the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro’s keyboard over, unclip the HP x2’s keyboard or pair a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to your Dell Venue Pro tablet; or you can determine what you really want to work in, especially if you operate a touchscreen laptop or touchscreen monitor.

Conclusion

What this upcoming operating system has offered is the best of Windows 7 and 8.1 plus a lot more and if you have walked along the versions of Windows, you may be able to get the hang of it easily. Those of you who have stayed with Windows 7 or a previous Windows version may find that there is a minimal learning curve if you are primarily operating Windows 10 in the “Desktop” mode with the Start menu.

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Microsoft answers the reality with your computing environment using Windows 10

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How Microsoft Is Bringing Windows 10 Features, Including Cortana, To Android And iOS | Lifehacker

Microsoft furthers Android, iOS integration push in Win10 | ITNews

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Windows 10 and your smartphone platform work together-1

They now can work together

Manufacturers and platform vendors live in a dream world where customers will have their phone, computer and tablet all on the same or related platforms.

But the reality is that most people will have a personal computing environment based on two or three different operating systems. Typically this is an iPhone or Android smartphone working alongside a regular computer running Windows or MacOS X and, most likely, an iPad or an Android or Windows tablet.

It leads to problems associated with data interchange between the various devices and may require you to use cloud services or folders on a NAS, along with software import / export abilities to exchange the data. Even keeping your phone book or contact list in sync amongst devices of the various platforms can be very difficult.

But Microsoft has taken off from where they have built developer tools to allow you to quickly have apps ready-to-deploy for iOS, Android and Windows. They have taken this further by providing iOS, Android and Windows 10 apps that interlink and share data between your computer, tablet and smartphone. It may go against the dream held by Apple and their fanbois that once you have an iPhone, you progressively move towards an all-Apple computing environment with your regular computer being a Macintosh.

The first of these is the Phone Companion. This determines the corresponding apps you need to download from the iTunes App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android) to interlink your phone with our Windows 10 computer on an application level.

These apps make use of Microsoft’s Windows OneDrive as a transfer point between your smartphone and your Windows 10 computer. For example, one of the apps provides a “hook” for your phone platform’s camera app to transfer photos to OneDrive so they show up on your computer.

There is also the XBox Music app which allows you to store your music on OneDrive and stream it to your iOS or Android smartphone while notes you create with OneNote on either your computer or smartphone show up on the other device. Microsoft is even making sure that if you modify a document on its Office mobile applications, the changes are reflected on your Office desktop applications.

Both the main smartphone platforms have their own integrated voice-driven personal assistant software in the form of Siri for iOS and Google Now for Android. But Microsoft has written a gateway app for each of these platforms so you can use Cortana as your voice-driven personal assistant. They are pushing the idea that, with Windows 10, Cortana will work across your smartphone and your regular computer in a platform-agnostic manner instead of just working with your smartphone or tablet..

A situation that can arise with any interoperability solution is that the solution can be engineered to be the hub of your computing life and not work tightly with the other platforms. For example, you may not be able to link your iOS or Android contacts function tightly with Windows nor would you be able to exchange photos between your device’s native photo storage and your computer’s photo collection smoothly. This can be of concern for, say, iOS users who make the Camera Roll serve as their handheld “brag-book” even though they have a PC or Mac having its own photo store or a cloud service like Dropbox being a photo exchange.

It is a step in the right direction to ensure data interoperability across the different mobile and desktop platforms when sharing data between devices along with satisfying the multiple-platform computing reality that affects most people.

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