Science

MICROSOFT SUNSETS WINDOWS 10’S FIRST FEATURE UPGRADE

Microsoft today will deliver the final security update for Windows 10's first feature upgrade, the version released in November 2015. Windows 10 1511 -- Microsoft labels its feature upgrades in a yymm format -- will receive its last security patches, then fall off Microsoft's support list. The company had announced 1511's retirement several times in the past, notably in a support lifecycle fact sheet on Microsoft's website. Today is also October's "Patch Tuesday," the month's release of security updates for Microsoft's products. The company…

Online

Microsoft confirms layoff reports, reorganization expected to impact thousands

After a week of reports, Microsoft has confirmed its restructuring plans. As we previously reported, the moves are expected to impact thousands at the company as it works to reorganize its sales team. Subsequent numbers have put the headcount at anywhere between “up to 3,000”  to closer to 5,000. CNBC, which reported the smaller figure, adds that around three-quarters of the cuts will occur outside the U.S. For its part, Microsoft is refusing to cite specific numbers just yet, only confirming that it…

Design

Microsoft wants to make iOS and Android even better

I recently talked about the reason that I'm "loyal" to Apple, insofar that I'm most comfortable using iOS and there are some features that I just don't want to give up (Control Center) by switching to another platform. The most troubling part of this is the fact that I still want to switch. I'm not completely immune to devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, or even the LG G6. My loyalty gets tested all the time. There's a saying that everything is…

Hardware

Microsoft Announces Windows Bounty Program

Microsoft announced a new Windows Bounty Program that will pay researchers up to $250,000 for finding and disclosing security vulnerabilities. The bug bounty program will task researchers with focusing on a few key areas: Hyper-V, Mitigation bypass, Windows Defender Application Guard, Microsoft Edge, and all features made available via the Windows Insider Program. Payouts depend on where a vulnerability is found and how severe it is. A minor vulnerability in Edge pays $500; a critical vulnerability in Hyper-V can pay…

Hardware

Microsoft Puts Built-In Fingerprint Sensor On Its ‘Modern Keyboard’ (Updated)

Passwords aren't the perfect authentication method. People often share them, forget them, or use simple passwords that are easy to guess. That's why many companies are pushing for biometric authentication by adding iris scanners, facial recognition features, and fingerprint sensors to their products. Microsoft joined their ranks with the new Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID, which features a "hidden" fingerprint scanner. That scanner is housed inside a key with a fingerprint icon. Microsoft published a video demonstrating its use in…

Online

MICROSOFT’S LATEST INSIDER UPDATE LETS YOU SHUT DOWN YOUR PC BY VOICE COMMAND

There are a ton of new features in this snowbound update from Redmond, which is Build 14986, so let’s dig right in. What’s new in the latest Fast Ring build Cortana is more capable than ever, with a feature update that’s sure to bother your coworkers. You can now shut off or reboot your system using only your voice, or other people’s systems, if you’re loud enough. Beyond that, voice control for music and third-party audio apps is better than…

Hardware

WOW! We got mystery PCs

In my previous column, I talked about some computers on my company’s network that weren’t getting patched because they weren’t getting rebooted. The good news is that I was able to negotiate an agreement with the business unit managers to reboot those computers once a month, on Sundays. The bad news is that I found some more computers that haven’t been getting patched. And they aren’t running antivirus software either. Our (Microsoft Windows) computer inventory tools, patching products and security…

Online

Microsoft lays off Israeli HoloLens team

For the past six years, Microsoft has maintained a 60-person HoloLens development team in Israel. Now it’s shuttering the unit and shifting HoloLens development to the US. It’s not clear what this means for HoloLens, or whether Microsoft is moving on to related technologies it plans to bundle with the base AR headset — or if the company has something altogether different in mind for its still-developing AR platform. Reports are vague on this point, only specifying that the US…

Technology

Microsoft’s reported ‘Spartan’ browser will be lighter, more flexible than Internet Explorer

Instead of revamping Internet Explorer for the launch of Windows 10, a new report claims Microsoft plans to start from scratch with a new browser, dubbed “Spartan.” Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet reported Monday that Spartan could ship alongside Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10, due sometime in the latter half of 2015. The purpose of Spartan is twofold, Foley reports: first, as a lightweight alternative to IE, but with the foundation for third-party extensions; and as a marketing “do-over”…

Technology

Wednesday night Microsoft confirmed what we all expected

Wednesday night Microsoft confirmed what we all expected—that it too, has a smartwatch that it wants you to wear 24/7, for work and for play, called the Microsoft Band. Looking as much like a hospital bracelet as anything else, the $200 Microsoft Band features a rectangular, 320 x106 TFT display that hovers over your wrist. Sensors—a continuous optical heart monitor, GPS, UV sensor, and more—track your activity while on the move and at rest, and send the data to what…

Technology

New Windows 10 Technical Preview build includes notifications, battery saver, data monitor

Windows 10 Technical Preview is a work in progress, and Microsoft began sending Build 9860 to enthusiasts and developers on Tuesday. The new code’s estimated 7,000 changes include a much-anticipated notifications function, as part of a new Action Center. Users who’ve already downloaded the Windows 10 Technical Preview may check for new preview builds as part of the “Update and Recovery” option. The download totals between 2GB and 2.74GB, depending on CPU architecture and language, Microsoft said. After installing, your PC…

Technology

Intel venture capital funds target Chinese startups in wearables, IoT

Long dominant in PCs, Intel is using its vast cash resources to chase hot new product categories, investing in up-and-coming Chinese companies that could help expand its presence in the mobile, wearable and Internet of Things markets. The chip maker is dishing out US$28 million to five small companies including EyeSmart, which develops iris-recognition hardware for wearables and mobile devices, Guangdong Appscom, which makes wearables, and LeWa Technology Shanghai, which makes a version of Android for Chinese smartphones. Intel relies…

Technology

Hands-on: Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 Docking Station is a capable, costly upgrade

By now, you should probably think of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 tablet as the Windows equivalent of a MacBook Air: an exquisitely constructed, premium tablet for those who aren’t worried about their next mortgage payment. The new Surface Pro Docking Station simply completes the experience. For thesuperlative Surface Pro 3 is already a tablet that is already almost a two-in-one notebook. When docked, the tablet provides enough horsepower to drive two other monitors, adding its own high-definition screen as a bonus. At…