Windows 10 Creator’s Update New Features

The rollout begins 2017-04-17… Get ready!

Introduction
The latest version of Windows, the Creators Update, was released to the public on 2017-04-11. Officially, its Microsoft has listed it as Windows 10 Build 15063.138 KB4015583. While that link points to a cumulative update that provides fixes to updated time zone information and security updates to a number of core OS components including Hyper-V, Kernel Mode Drivers, IE, Edge, Windows OLE and Active Directory Federation Services, the larger update is a whole new version of Windows 10.

Microsoft has indicated that it’s going to be rolling the Creators Update out over the following months. However, it is possible to download it immediately. Neowin has a great article with instructions for getting it now, instead of waiting for it to manually show up in Windows Update. If you have to have the bits now, use the Neowin link to (eventually) get to the easy to follow instructions.

So, given that its available now, what does the Creator’s Update include? Well, you’ve come to the right place. The Creators Update contains the following Windows goodness…

Privacy Controls
The Windows 10 Creators Update contains enhanced privacy controls. On a new Windows 10 install or an upgraded PC, you’re going to be prompted to review the privacy configuration on your PC. What you’ll see is a bit of an explanation of what Microsoft is collecting and can determine if it’s something you want to share with them or not. While this is required for Windows as a Service – or WaaS – Microsoft is wise to clearly state what they’re collecting and why.

Security Updates
Along with all of the privacy stuff, you also get improved, general security features. Windows now contains an updated version of Defender, called the Defender Security Center. This new applet works much like the older Security Center/ Action Center did in previous versions of Windows, but it provides this information in a centralized dashboard view. You also get a new Refresh Windows Tool that’s now called Fresh Start. Thankfully, you should be able to perform a clean installation of Windows with it, without any and all bloatware that came with the OEM version of Windows that came on your OEM hardware.

Update Controls
You get better control over Windows Update in the Creators Update. While this still isn’t crystal clear, Windows 10 Professional and above users can now very easily pause updates in Settings. Windows 10 Home users are still held to Microsoft’s update schedule, so if you’re a consumer… you’re kinda outta luck here.

Deeper Cortana integration
Microsoft’s personal, digital assistant is a bit more personal and a bit more digital in the Creators Update. Cortana’s moved a bit closer to the center of what you’re doing and while you may not want all of your personal information shared with her, she’s still going to be a bit closer to it, here, than she was before.

Microsoft Edge Improvements
Not that a lot of people care, but Microsoft’s done its best to improve the browser that no one wants to use… Edge now has an eBook store and an eBook reader built into Edge. You also get a better way to manage browser tabs, too, as well as a bunch of other stuff (that, as I said, no one is really gonna care about…)

Gaming Improvements
Gamers rejoice! You’ll want to get the Creators update as soon as you can. This new version of Windows 1- brings a Game Mode feature to Windows that will help you optimize your PC for games, and provides Beam broadcasting integration

Windows Applet Updates
While not specifically tied to the Creators Update, applets that come with Windows like Mail, Calendar, Groove, Movies & TV, maps, Paint, etc. have and should continue to improve and be updated more regularly going forward. Yes, the Universal Windows Platform version of these things isn’t all that great, but it’s going to help get and keep them current.

Conclusion
I am not going to review the Creators Update. There’s really no need to. Every Windows 10 user is going to get it at some point, anyway. You aren’t going to be able to opt out or delay/ postpone it indefinitely. Period.

However, if you can, you might want to wait a bit before taking the dive and updating. There’s going to be some level of issue fall out related to this and the best thing you can do is to wait until an update to the update comes out, so that you don’t get hit with the “slings and arrows of outrageous” update bugs.

Let the early adopters take the hit and deal with the problems.

While most of the issues are likely worked out already – and Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Book, as well as other Signature PC users, are likely ok to update now – if you don’t want to chance it, you can wait until the update gets to your PC and then don’t restart for a bit, or if you can, defer the update to a later date.

However, there’s not too much to be concerned about here. The Creators Update has been tested internally (at Microsoft) tested in the Windows Insider Fast Right, Windows Insider Slow Ring and Windows Insider Release Candidate Ring. You’re pretty safe here.

Ultimately, this is your choice; but either one – go now or defer as long as you can – are good choices.

The Windows 10 Creators Update will begin rolling out starting on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. I will do my best to keep my ear to the ground and will let everyone know how things go.

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Windows 10 Creator Update Release Date Announced

The Windows 10 Creator’s Update will be released on 2017-04-11.

Today is the world is abuzz with the news that Microsoft will be releasing its much touted Windows 10 Creator’s Update on 2017-04-11. This update will work with all Windows 10 Anniversary Update compatible PC’s and is specifically intended for Microsoft’s larger, touch screen enabled, all in one PC, the Microsoft Surface Studio.

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for the Windows and devices group calls the Creator’s Update a “pretty major” one. He further states that its “[Microsoft’s] vision is to empower the creator in all of us.”

When I jumped back into the Surface, with the Surface Book, I also jumped back into the Windows 10 Insider program on the Slow Ring. This means that the code that I’m getting is still prerelease code – still a beta – but is much more stable than other betas in other rings in the program. I’m liking what I’m seeing; but so far, for me, the Creator’s Update isn’t as big as Microsoft is making it out to be. I haven’t seen anything THAT major…yet.

However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot going on. Here are seven of probably the biggest and most notable items in the Creator’s Update that you’ll notice, even if you DON’T pick up a Surface Studio – which, by the way, starts at $2999.99.

  • Paint 3D
    Paint has been around since Windows 3.x. Its seen a few updates in terms of UI/UX; but its functionality has remained pretty constant – provide some basic way for a user to create a bitmap. The app now supports creating graphics in 2D or 3D formats. If you have a 3D printer, you can print your 3D creation as well…
  • Photos & Maps
    If you’re so inclined, you can now take your Surface Pen – or other supported stylus – and mark up graphics or maps in their respective apps. It’s not ground breaking, but it can be fun.
  • Microsoft EDGE
    Despite Microsoft’s best efforts, users still do NOT prefer either IE or EDGE. Most Windows users are using Chrome before either MS browser. However, EDGE is now faster, more secure and easier on your battery, and that last, ESPECIALLY over Chrome, which is a known battery hog. Microsoft claims an hour more use while watching streaming video using EDGE vs. Chrome.

Updates to EDGE include the following:

  1. The ability to preview visual thumbnails of your open tabs by hovering over a given tab.
  2. The ability to set aside open tabs to reference later, bringing them back by selecting a “restore tabs” button.
  3. EDGE now offers a variety of extensions including a Pinterest Pin It Button, Amazon Assistant (surfacing deals), and a Translator extension that lets you translate Web pages in more than 50 languages. EDGE also has an MS Office extension, letting you view and edit files without having Office installed on your computer.
  4. Microsoft has created an eBook Store as part of the Windows Store, where users may buy eBooks and read them in EDGE. Microsoft isn’t sharing how many books will be available in the Windows Store at launch.
  • Security
    The Creator’s Update includes a new Windows Defender Security Center. With it, you can examine the overall security status of your system. By clicking on a Health Report , you can your computer’s most recent scan results. The details of this system are still coming together, so I would expect updates to this new component to be available in a Patch Tuesday deployment near you.
  • Gaming
    Windows 10 now has a dedicated Gaming section in Settings now, and includes a Game Mode that is turned on by default. Game Mode prioritizes system resources when your gaming to insure that you get the best gaming experience from your hardware. This includes optimizations to the new game streaming process that Microsoft acquired last August from Beam. I know my oldest boy will be thankful for this when he streams games from our Xbox One. You will also be able to play games via the Xbox app on either your Xbox One or Windows 10 PC in the near future.
  • Color Adjusted Night-Time Display
    A number of different folks have issues with blue-based light in the evening. Studies have shown that exposing yourself to too much blue light before you go to bed can create sleep related issues. In other words, computing before bed makes it hard to fall asleep.A new feature in the Creator’s Update allows you to alter the color pallet on your display automatically so that you get warmer colors in the evening. The warmer colors on your monitor are supposed to help you sleep (or not be kept awake too long after calling it quits for the night). All I’ve noticed so far is that it can make everything on your monitor appear a little yellowy. I have no idea if this is going to make a difference in the long run, though you can use this as well as a new feature to limit the amount of time your kids spend on the PC as well as on the Xbox One’s version of the Creator’s Update.
  • Augmented and Mixed Reality
    Put this more in the coming soon category, but the Creators Update will support the first Windows Mixed Reality-enabled headsets when they arrive later this year from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo, at a starting price of $299.Microsoft says that the headsets will have built in sensors, that will enable you to walk around a room without the need for any external markers or sensors. This will more easily mark your boundaries . Unfortunately, it’s not clear if this is also going to come to any consumer version of the HoloLens or not. However, these enhancements are eagerly anticipated by many; and should be fun to try when they’re available.

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I’m having a Bad Apple Day

You’d be surprised at how Apple’s integrated online services into its products…

I’m a T-Mobile USA customer living and working in Chicago, IL.  Earlier this week, Gigaom’s Kevin Fitchard reported on a seemingly nationwide, T-Mobile outage.  While no official statement has come out from the number four US-based carrier, both he and I seem to think that the brief service interruptions are due to the company’s network refarming and upgrades.  T-Mobile is in the process of moving its HSPA+ service from 1700mHz AWS to 1900mHz UMTS. Kevin put it very well, “…You can’t move that much hardware around without experiencing some problems…”

Kevin is right.

This morning I’m beside myself and I’ve got issues with my iPhone that can’t get resolved because I can’t get a 3G/4G signal through my T-Mobile Sonic 4G Mobile Hot Spot.  All I’ve got is EDGE (2G).

This is a problem for me, because I’m running iOS 6.0 Beta 2 on my iPhone 4S, and its misbehaving.  Specifically, regardless of whether or not you have songs stored on your iPhone, Music appears to want to play songs from iCloud.  Unfortunately, it seems to have issues playing any audio through iCloud.  Having a decent connection helps, but currently, in Beta 2, just because you’ve got a decent 3G/HSPA+/LTE signal, doesn’t mean the song will play.  It may… or it may not.  Currently, having the content on your iOS 6 powered iDevice just seems to confuse it.  It may not play the local content either.

I was able to determine that if you turn on Airplane mode (so all wireless radios  – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular – are turned off), local content can play without any issues…but who wants to go the whole time you’re listening to music with your cellular radio/phone turned off?

At times, I can coax the phone into playing content with the cell radio on by turning it on and off a few times and trying to play music. Today, that’s not working.  The recommended troubleshooting step to correct a misbehaving iDevice is to restore it from a backup and letting all of your content sync back over.

Did I mention that Apple requires an internet connection in order to make that happen..??  Yeah… iTunes requires an internet connection to repeatedly verify that the file you’re using to restore your iDevice with, is an actual, verifiable (literally…) Apple sanctioned and certified iDevice ROM. Verification of the image takes place EACH and EVERY time you restore your iDevice.

Which Cupertino-based Braniac thought THAT one up?

What happens when you don’t have internet access??  Well… THAT’S easy.  You don’t get to restore your iDevice, and it stays screwed up until you GET internet access.

That’s just awesome.

So without a reliable 3G/4G HSPA+ signal through my Sonic 4G Hotspot, I’m outta luck until I can get home LATE tonight. Unfortunately for me, I’ve got a lot of desk work today, and will be without my music unless and until I get a reliable cell/data service signal, which again… is just awesome.

However, I really think it’s amazing how tightly Apple has integrated its online services, specifically iCloud, into all of its products.  It’s also amazing how those products don’t function as designed when a critical piece of infrastructure malfunctions.

I’m kinda stuck until T-Mobile’s network and my 4G hotspot decide to behave, or I buckle and turn on Airplane mode and turn my iPhone into an iPod Touch.

I’m certain the programmatic issues will get resolved in future betas of iOS 6, but right now, it’s really stinking up the joint…

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iPad 3 Rumors & Thoughts – Part 2: iOS 6

With Steve Jobs gone and his legacy not completely publically known or understood, the iPad 3 is almost a complete unknown as well. Let’s take a look at some of the rumors and see what’s what.

I’ve been reading the authorized Steve Jobs biography, and quite honestly, I’ve been learning a great deal. Apple very much *IS* Steve Jobs, and vice-versa. It’s been an interesting read. Much of the design and thoughts for the iPad itself came before the iPhone. It was put on hold to address and release the need for the iPhone. However, the magic that is the iPhone will forever be beholden to the iPad. This was probably one of the most interesting revelations I’ve encountered in the book so far. But the iPad… that was Steve’s baby. He really wanted to do a tablet to counter the netbook surge and push, which is pretty much OVER at this point.

Apple has the tablet market pretty much sewn up. At this point, Android can try all it wants, but without the walled garden that Apple has cultivated and nurtured, it’s going to be hard for Google, any of their hardware partners, or ANYONE really, to catch up to them any time soon.

So, with all that, let’s take a quick gander at what is likely to come to iPad and iPhone fans alike with the next major release of iOS.

Siri Matures
I’ve been using my iPhone 4S for a couple of months, and I really like Siri; though at times, I think she thinks I have a speech impediment. I keep on asking her, “what’s my day like;” and she keeps telling me that she doesn’t understand, “what’s my daylight.” Awesome. Love that. I’ve also noticed that Siri on EDGE isn’t as accurate as Siri on 3G/4G (HSPA+); but that’s another matter entirely.

With the next MAJOR release of iOS, meaning iOS 6, we’re going to see a major bump in Siri’s maturity level. You’re going to be able to ask her to do a lot more and she’s going to be more integrated in how the device works. While she won’t be a complete consumer AI, she’s going to be the closest thing that John Q. Public will likely see for a while

Siri’s biggest problem, however, is not what she can’t do, or even that she may not listen very well. It’s that people don’t really know all of what she can and cannot do. My biggest problem with Siri is that I really don’t know what she’s capable of; and depending on what kind of cellular coverage you may have, if your inside or outside the Wi-Fi zone or perhaps having a bad hair day, Siri’s success in understanding what you want/need/mean when you speak may vary.

Apple needs to improve her listening skills and needs to insure that the local device does as much of the heavy lifting as it can. Voice recognition shouldn’t depend on your network connection speed. For example, when I ask Siri to call so and so, Siri seems to do a lot of thinking on my end. I know I have 1600+ contacts, but the response back from her should be almost instantaneous if I have so and so in my Contact List.

Support for Siri over LTE is also pretty much a no-brainer, given the inclusion of the mobile technology at a hardware level.

Improved Google Maps and Navigation Integration
There are two issues here – an improved Google Maps (just called Maps in iOS, but it’s the same thing) and integration with a navigation app. Its separate for a couple of reasons.

  • Google Maps for iOS is a mapping only app. There have been improvements made to Maps over the past few full revisions of iOS, but it’s not done anything more than provide map information and directions from A to B since its introduction.
  • Google has kept turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps for its own Android OS.

In the next major version of iOS, Apple needs to give you support for the following use case:

  • 1. User – Siri, where’s the nearest ?
  • 2. Siri – I have found the following near your location.
  • 3. Siri – Would you like to navigate/go to any of them.
  • 4. User – Yes
  • 5. Siri – Which ?
  • 6. User –
  • 7. Siri – Would you like to walk or drive there from your current location? (if walking is a reasonable option)
  • 8. User –
  • 9. Siri – Which navigation application would you like to use? You have the following navigation applications installed.

or,

  • You don’t have any navigation applications installed. Would you like to search for and purchase one from the App Store?

or,

  • You don’t have any navigation applications installed. Would you like to me to generate directions with Maps?
  • 10. User – Makes appropriate choice
  • 11. Siri – Provides directions or launches purchased navigation app, passing the appropriate origin and destination variables to the app.

This will require modification on the part of the navigation app so it can accept these variables from Siri, but that should be doable, especially if Apple provides the appropriate API’s. Apple also needs to grow Siri so that she can control hardware iPhone components (volume, screen brightness, Bluetooth radio (Siri, turn on Bluetooth and pair/connect with/to.)

At the end of the day, though, you can see that Apple needs to do something with the current version of Maps, because it’s just not cutting it. Maps is nice, but giving me directions and not turn by turn navigation is not what users want. Apple doesn’t control the version of Maps in iOS, and while they can augment it some with Siri, and perhaps provide an API so other navigation apps can fit in, there are rumors that a recent acquisition may be a more likely result than an API for other navigation apps or than expecting Google to bring its Navigation to the party.

Come back next time, and I’ll dive into when and how the iPad 3 will be released.

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Make all your photos the best they can be with Photoshop CS5

With the holidays here and gone, it’s likely that most everyone has more digital pictures than they know what to do with. Once you’ve gone through all of them, you’ve likely found the ones that you’ll keep, the ones you’ll delete, and the ones you want to tweak. This is why I really like tools like Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5. It’s the premier photo editing tool for PC, and it’s a must have, if you can afford it.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended delivers all the state-of-the-art editing, composition, and graphic design capabilities of Photoshop CS5.  It also adds breakthrough tools for 3D design and motion editing. Now, it can also be used with creativity-boosting, mobile apps. Working with your pictures away from your computer with CS5 just got easier.

If you’ve ever had a really tricky shape or area you wanted to select, but had trouble getting it just right, you’re going to like what you see in Photoshop CS5 Extended.  Now you can get better-than-ever results when selecting these tricky image elements, such as hair. You can also eliminate background color around selection edges and automatically vary selection edges and perfect masks using PS’s new refinement tools. You can also create photo-realistic, high dynamic range (HDR) images quickly and with unprecedented accuracy. You’ll get stunning results thanks PS’s automatic ghost removal; and have greater control of  tone mapping and adjustments.

Photoshop CS5 Extended is perhaps the most advanced image editing tool available on the internet today. With it, you can do almost anything that you can imagine with your digital photos. Its tools are state of the art and top of the line, which provide not only its strength, but its weaknesses as well. As much as EVERYONE will want to use it, the tools are often not the easiest to learn and use.  Many of its features require a great deal of skill and a steep learning curve to master. However, once you do master them, you’re going to find that this is THE tool to have, provided you can afford to purchase it in the first place.

read full review | download Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5

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Samsung Galaxy Note – the link between Smartphone and Tablet

Galaxy Note has been released internationally since autumn, by skipping the US market. Only now at the Consumer Electronics Show 2012, Samsung decided to announce its product for the AT&T carrier in US. It is the third 4G smartphone announced to be available soon in the States after Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II.

Based on consumer research, Samsung decided to create a brand new type of smartphone that brings diverse mobile utilities while maintaining the smartphone portability. With its 5.3 inches HD AMOLED display (1280 x 800), the Note looks to be a hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet. Many of you will say that this is nothing else but a mini tablet. But this is not necessarily true. The Note comes also with an Stylus-Pen that widens the functionality of this device.

The S Pen is combined with the full touch screen to create a best-in-class mobile input experience. It is the most advanced pen input technology featuring an array of functions including pressure sensitivity, preciseness, speed and more. With the S Pen, you can easily sketch drawings or write notes with increased accuracy and ease. Also, the S Pen functionality is deeply integrated into the GALAXY Note’s native applications to provide a richer interactive experience.

The device runs Android 2.3.6. on a 1.4GHz Dual Core Processor with support for 4G LTE, EDGE/GPRS networks. Its huge 5.3 inch multitouch display is capable of 1080p Full HD video playback, adding support for an Advanced smart pen. The 16GB Internal memory plus microSD slot for up to 32GB makes the Galaxy Note a hyper gadget for the business class and for the ones that have big pockets…to stuff it in.

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AT&T-Mo – I Love you, but I’m not IN Love with You

AT&T has finally admitted defeat in its proposed $39B USD takeover of GSM rival, T-Mobile USA. So… NOW what?

I saw the news a few weeks ago and part of me was both relieved and sad.  AT&T has given up on consummating its proposed $39B USD takeover of GSM rival, T-Mobile USA. So the big question left for us Monday Morning Quarter backs is simple – Now what?

In their announcement, AT&T chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, indicates that the transaction was about spectrum and capacity – meaning that AT&T can’t meet the needs of its customers without the ability to add additional capacity to their network.  They need wireless spectrum to satisfy the needs of their LTE rollout while still keeping their EDGE, UMTS and HPSA/HPSA+ networks functioning. Now that they’ve dropped the transaction they owe Deutsche Telekom a great deal of money and, interestingly enough, wireless spectrum.  In a press released late in the afternoon on December 19th, Stephenson states,

“To reflect the break-up considerations due Deutsche Telekom, AT&T will recognize a pretax accounting charge of $4 billion in the 4th quarter of 2011.  Additionally, AT&T will enter a mutually beneficial roaming agreement with Deutsche Telekom.”

What I’m most interested in is the “mutually beneficial roaming agreement.”  There’s no additional information on this at this time. I can find no details on the agreement or what this means to either AT&T or T-Mobile USA.  If it means that T-Mo users will have access to AT&T’s 3G network and vice-versa, that…would be awesome. That could enable 3G speeds on all unlocked iPhones on T-Mo.  It could provide AT&T customers with additional stability (meaning less dropped calls) …but without the details on the roaming agreement, this is really speculation at best.

It’s also been reported that T-Mobile has been refarming some of their spectrum and networks in Utah, Nevada, and Northern California to use the 1900mHz band for 3G.  Even in these areas, it’s not wide spread, and in small pockets.  However, unlocked iPhones (as well as other unlocked phones that make use of the 1900mHz band) in those areas are getting 3G speeds, on T-Mobile.  One can only hope that they do more of this, and perhaps arrange the AT&T roaming agreement to enable this, in larger areas.

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