There’s a lot going on in Redmond these days…
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had my head down at work; but I’ve also been hot and heavy with a review of the Fitbit Surge that’s still yet to be completed. When it comes to wearables, this new computing category really has many people curious and thinking about how and what it can and should be.
Over and above THAT, which has been more than enough in and of itself, I’ve been beginning some evaluations of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac as well as dealing with some very serious issues with OneNote 2013 and Windows 10 … and yeah. I’ve been a little busy.
However, there have been a few new developments over at Microsoft, other than the ones I’ve mentioned, and I wanted to not only acknowledge them but comment on them just a bit as well. While this may not be ALL that’s hit the news wire lately, it is what has stuck in my head as I’ve got it buried under a bunch of stuff at the office as well as under a ton of research, screen shots and support thread posts.
Here they are in no particular order…
Internet Explorer is Dead
Yes. The victor of the Browser Wars of the late 1990’s has followed Netscape and one or two other browsers in death. The Internet Explorer brand will die with IE 11, as Microsoft has finally decided that their latest browser, current code named, Project Spartan, will be released with a different branding and label.
While everyone is busy clamoring on the fact that IE is gone and that Project Spartan – whatever Microsoft ends up officially calling it – will be taking its place, what many are glossing over is that IE is still around, and likely will be for a while. IE is going to be relegated to the enterprise version of Windows, and will be used there for corporate and enterprise application compatibility purposes. With IE still in use at work, it’s likely that despite the fact that it won’t be officially updated any longer, it’s still likely to be patched for enterprise uses as part of Microsoft’s monthly, often security based, Patch Tuesday. So, it’s gone, but still likely to show up on many browser share analytic reports, as the peoples will surf while they’re at work. (yes… you can still haz internets.)
One of the things that I saw, but lost and had to recreate on my own, was a complete release history of IE from its initial 1.0 release in 1995 to its current, main release in 2013.
IE 1.0 – 1995-08-16 and released as part of Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95
IE 1.5 – 1996-01-15 (or there abouts) and included compatibility for WinNT 3.5.1
IE 2.0 – 1995-11-22 and included backwards compatibility support for Windows 3.1
IE 3.0 – 1996-08-13 and Included partial CSS support. Introduced ActiveX
IE 4.0 – 1997-09-15 (or there abouts) and was the first version to support Active Desktop and full OS integration
IE 5.0 – 1999-03-18 and was included with Windows 98SE and Office 2000
IE 5.5 – 2000-07-15 (or there abouts) bundled with Windows ME
IE 6.0 – 2001-08-27 released for Windows XP
IE 7.0 – 2006-10-18 first release to support tabbed browsing
IE 8.0 – 2009-03-19 Last version supported on Windows XP
IE 9.0 – 2011-04-12 Last version supported in Windows Vista
IE 10.0 – 2012-01-26 Only version supported in Windows 8.x
IE 11.0 – 2013-10-17 the LAST version
The tell-tale sign of its huge – and still very current problem – is the five (5) year span in the release cycle between IE 6 and IE 7. A great many corporate web portals and apps were developed for IE 6 during this time, and due to compatibility issues, many of them are still running on that platform today (five full versions later…)
Microsoft to Give Windows 10 to Pirates
This was an interesting development early this week, and is a great example of journalism that didn’t go quite far enough.
Early during the work week of 2015-03-16 to 2015-03-20, Terry Meyerson, EVP for Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, was quoted saying a few very interesting things. One of them was severely misquoted and created not only a huge stir within the tech circles I follow, but a rather large piece of link bait as well.
First and foremost, Meyerson stated that Microsoft would ship Windows 10 sometime this Summer (meaning 2015-06-21 to 2015-09-23). Which is a huge statement to make, seeing as the software isn’t even feature complete yet in the builds delivered to Windows Insiders. Build 10041 is a perfect example of this. Microsoft still has a long way to go in not only delivering a new operating system that’s feature and function complete, but is stable and ready for both the enterprise and the consumer world. We’ll see how things go…
Secondly, Meyerson was quoted saying that Microsoft would give pirated copies of Windows an upgrade to Windows 10. The statement is accurate, albeit a bit misleading, hence the link bait… What the world heard was that Microsoft as going legitimize every copy of Windows out there, certified Microsoft Genuine, or not with a Windows 10 license.
That’s not the case.
Let me say again – That’s not the case.
While Microsoft WILL allow every single copy of Windows on the internet that it said had an upgrade path to Windows 10 – including Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Update – to upgrade to Windows, it did NOT promise to legitimize non-Genuine copies of Windows. So, a pirated copy of Windows 7 WILL get upgraded to Windows 10 for free… but if it started out as a pirated copy, and was identified as non-Genuine, then it will remain that way until the owner of that pirated copy buys a legitimate license.
Microsoft Gives Passwords the Finger
I’ve heard a number of IT security professionals say that one of the biggest security problems in IT is – passwords. They’re lost, forgotten, stolen, easily hacked and in general… a giant pain the rear.
Microsoft has proposed a way of getting around the whole password issue with Windows Hello. According to Joe Belfiore,
“Windows Hello introduces system support for biometric authentication – using your face, iris, or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is much safer than traditional passwords. You– uniquely you– plus your device are the keys to your Windows experience, apps, data and even websites and services – not a random assortment of letters and numbers that are easily forgotten, hacked, or written down and pinned to a bulletin board. Modern sensors recognize your unique personal characteristics to sign-you-in on a supporting Windows 10 device.”
Windows Hello will satisfy stringent security requirements for government, defense, financial, healthcare, pharmaceutical and other security conscious organizations. The system WILL be able to distinguish between you and someone else and will only allow you to access YOUR authorized resources, though it will require specific hardware and software (like fingerprint readers, illuminated IR sensors and other biometric components) in order to work its magic.
In conjunction with a new and relaunched Microsoft Passport, you’ll be able to authenticate your identity and verify that you have the device in your possession. If the device also contains Windows Hello compatible hardware, then it can use your biometrics to log you in. Combining these two new pieces of technology, Microsoft will leave the password behind and will allow you to gain access to sensitive and confidential files and resources without any risk of them being inappropriately or illegally accessed. It finally gets around the weakest link in the computer security chain – the password.
While I’ve been writing this article, I’ve also been dealing with a huge Windows 10 and Microsoft Surface Pro issue. It’s the biggest reason why I haven’t posted anything in the past week or so. I am back… I think… and I hope to have something up on the experience in the next couple of days. Please stay tuned for the recounting of THAT train wreck, as its almost certainly going to point out that running a beta version of ANY operating system on your computers – whether they be daily drivers or other, less mission critical boxes – is a risk for any and everyone.
Let me just stress this here (and I will in the article I’m prepping, too) – You shouldn’t do it unless you are willing to accept the consequences and deal with the fall out. It isn’t always easy to recover from some of these situations. Sometimes, even the experts need help…
BUT, in the meantime, let me know what you think of these Microsoft developments. I’d love to hear from you and learn what you think of them.