Windows 10 is the Last Version of Windows

But before your computer gets its undies in a twist, you need to realize it’s not the end…

I’ve seen a lot of traffic over the past few days with a lot of click bait on the headline that Microsoft won’t produce another version of Windows after Windows 10.

windows10-logo

That’s a total load of crap.

First and foremost, Microsoft isn’t abandoning Windows. It isn’t going through the effort of creating Windows 10 for desktop, tablets and mobile devices (meaning phones) only to shelve it after its released. No. Microsoft is going to continue to develop Windows with eyes clearly on both the consumer and enterprise markets. Your operating system of choice isn’t getting ditched.

Instead, Microsoft is changing how it delivers Windows. Windows is becoming a SaaS, or software as a service, product. Now, you also do NOT need to get panicky. This OS as a service thing doesn’t come with any kind of subscription fee. However, that doesn’t mean that Windows as a Service (WaaS) is without its costs.

Windows 10 will be free for a year after its initial release for everyone that has a legitimate Windows XP/ 7/ 8/ 8.x license. Those that have pirated copies may get an upgrade, but will have to pay for activation to make their copy genuine.

Microsoft also recently announced what SKU’s or Windows 10 related products they will be releasing. Like every other release of Windows, Microsoft made this more complicated than it needed to be. Specifically, they are

  1. Windows 10 Home
    This is the consumer-focused desktop edition. It offers a familiar and personal experience for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Windows 10 Home will include the following:
    – Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant; the new Microsoft Edge web browser;
    – Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices; Windows Hello face-recognition, iris and fingerprint login;
    – Universal Windows apps like Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music and Video.
    – Xbox Integration giving games and gamers access to the Xbox Live gaming community, enabling the capture and share of gameplay and giving Xbox One owners the ability to play their Xbox One games from any Windows 10 PC in their home.
  2. Windows 10 Mobile
    Win10 Mobile is designed to deliver the best user experience on smaller, mobile, touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets. Windows 10 Mobile will include:
    – Universal Windows apps that are included in Windows 10 Home,
    – The new touch-optimized version of Office.
    – Continuum for phone, so people can use their phone like a PC when connected to a larger screen.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
    The Pro version is a desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Windows 10 Pro builds upon both the familiar and innovative features of Windows 10 Home, it has many extra features to meet the diverse needs of small businesses, including:
    – Mobile device management supporting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
    – Windows Update for Business, which is the same as the consumer version of Windows Update, but with the ability to reject or postpone the installation of specific updates that may not be fully compatible with an SMB-based hardware installation.
  4. Windows 10 Enterprise
    Windows 10 Enterprise builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organizations. It provides advanced security capabilities, including:
    – Advanced security options to help protect against the ever-growing range of modern security threats targeted at devices, Advanced options for operating system deployment and comprehensive device and app management.
    – Windows Update for Business, which is the same as the consumer version of Windows Update, but with the ability to reject or postpone the installation of specific updates that may not be fully compatible with an enterprise-based hardware and software installation
    – Long Term Servicing Branch as a deployment option for their mission critical devices and environments.
    – Available to Volume Licensing customers only
  5. Windows 10 Education
    This is where things get a bit murky. Windows 10 for Education is really a version of Windows 10 Enterprise, but it has “paths” that will enable schools and students using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to upgrade to Windows 10 Education. I have no idea how it’s going to do that, what the cost will be, or who will have to pay the upgrade charges.
  6. Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise
    Simply put, this is nothing more than Windows 10 Mobile with enterprise related hooks for mobile device management and security policy enforcement.
  7. Windows 10 for IoT
    There will also be versions of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise for industry devices like ATMs, retail point of sale, handheld terminals and industrial robotics and Windows 10 IoT Core for small footprint, low cost devices like gateways.

There’s a lot here. From what I’ve heard and read, there is more than one Win10 IoT version out there, depending on the Thing you’re trying to install Windows 10 on.

So, what’s this whole Windows as a Service “service” thing supposed to be about..? Simply, Microsoft is taking a page from Apple’s playbook here and simply labeling the latest version of Windows as Windows 10 (much like Apple did with OS X…). Each new “version” or “edition” of Windows 10 will carry the Windows 10 label. What Microsoft hasn’t done however, is tell us how we’re going to be able to differentiate between one version and the next.

Microsoft needs to take an additional queue from Apple and give each major release some type of code name. Apple was using cats for years – Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, etc. Now, they’re using California state points of interest – Mavericks, Yosemite, etc. Microsoft needs to pick a theme and hop on here. This will allow people to know and relate to some kind of support tech or family member what flavor they have.

Following this model, like Apple does for OS X, some hardware won’t be able to support the newer versions of the OS, and will get left behind as far as versions of Windows are concerned. Depending on where and when Microsoft kills support for those orphaned versions of Windows 10, they may still need to support them. As such, users will need to call that version of Windows… something. Simply calling it Windows 10 or referring to some kind of version number or number range, isn’t going to cut it. They’re going to create a huge amount of confusion if they don’t slap some kind of label on a given major release of Windows 10.

What do you think? Did Microsoft create more versions of Windows 10 than it needed to? Should the Education version simply be part of the Enterprise version without being called out? Should the Pro and Home versions simply be one version, or will SMB’s need options that consumers and their home networks will never, ever need? Do mobile and desktop versions need to be grouped together in a single version of Windows 10, or is it ok to say that desktop and mobile are separate, and are likely to take on different lifecycles? (as it stands now, they won’t… Windows 10 is Windows 10 is Windows 10, if Microsoft’s vision works out.)

Give me your thoughts on all of this. I’d love to hear your feedback in the Discussion area below.

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The Next Item Up for Bids

Eddy Cue Apple SVP is offering a one hour lunch AND a 13″ MacBook Air and it’ll likely only cost you a couple hundred grand…

1367204020_bid2

Following Tim Cook’s lead, Apple SVP Eddy Cue has decided to offer an hour long sit down with anyone as well as a 13″ MacBook Air – valued at $1199 – to the highest bidder.

This “Fortune 500 Charity Dunk Tank” is a GREAT idea. The MB Air chaser is an awesome idea, as the winner not only walks away with a dozen or so selfies with Cue, but a 13″ MacBook Air as well. I’m certain that if you bring a Sharpie, you could get Cue to autograph the case, and/ or the box, as well.

Tim Cook’s last time out brought nearly $1.0M in a direct donation to the RFL Center for Justice and Human Rights, as that was his choice for the destination of the winning bid. This time, like Tim, Eddy will host up to two guests after they have both passed a security screen. Depending on schedules, you may have to wait up to one year before you get the sit-down; and Apple doesn’t cover travel or lodging. Honestly, if you’re going to be able to afford this, travel and lodging probably aren’t high on your worry list, though.

This is the one thing that bothers me the most about something like this. There’s NO WAY the little guy has a chance in the Hot Place to win this kind of thing. It’s clear to me that the bids for this auction will soar, like Tim’s did. For example, as of this writing, bids were currently up beyond $10,500. The whole sha-bang is valued at $10k, so it’s already reached saturation. Bidding started at $1000; and has quickly climbed to the current $10,500 over the past couple of days. Bidding started on 2014-06-20. The auction closes at 2:20p EDT on 2014-07-16.

These high bids are good for the charity; but as I said, the little guy doesn’t have a chance at scoring the sit down. And while I get it – it IS for charity, after all – it would be really great if something like this could also be around for the little guy.

I know, I know… and yes, it is a bit of sour grapes on my part, I freely admit it. I need a little cheese with this whine; but it WOULD be cool to have the sit down, don’t you think? I have a ton of questions I’d like to ask, and I’m certain that with YOUR help, I could come up with one HECK of a list, especially with up to a year’s lead time. After the general, “whaddaya wanna do?” stuff ends, I’d have all kinds of questions about internal development processes, challenges, product development processes, testing and prototyping processes, NONE of which, I’m certain Cue would (be willing to) answer. Still, it would be awesome to go to the campus and have the meeting.

If you won, what would you ask Apple SVP Eddy Cue? What charity would you like to see the winning bid go to? What charity would you donate to, if you won? Whom would you bring with you; or would you go alone? Why don’t you join me in the Discussion Area below, and let me know. If you’re gonna dream… dream big!

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Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player

Play Blu-ray disks on your Mac or on your PC with this GREAT cross platform app.

MBP-01

The one thing that I’ve always felt has been missing from OS X was Blu-ray support. Apple didn’t – and still doesn’t for that matter – think that Blu-ray was relevant enough to include native support for in OS X. This is why Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player is my favorite DVD player. It provides all the regular DVD support, plus gives you support for Blu-ray DVD and HD video.

The coolest thing about Mac Blu-ray Player is that its the first universal Blu-ray media player for Mac in the world. It plays Blu-ray discs and Blu-ray ISO files on Mac and PC. It will also play all of these on iOS devices. You can also play most any kind of video, audio, or photo formats with it. It has multi-language support and is easy to use.

The app works on both Mac AND PC systems. It will run on any Mac running OS X 10.5 Leopard or later. It runs on any PC running Windows XP SP2 or later. The only obvious hardware requirement you MUST have is a compatible Blu-ray drive for either your Mac or PC

This is probably one of the best apps I’ve got on my computers. I was looking for something that would support Blu-ray on my Mac and on my PC’s and Macgo has a bundle that will allow you both Mac and PC licenses. The app is easy to use, and the interface is decent and easy to follow. With the ability to play nearly any and every kind of video file ever created, this app will give you the ability to play every multimedia file you can put your hands on and then some.

The app can also play HD video on your compatible iOS device. Just like Apple’s AirPlay, the app can project video on your iPod, iPad or iPhone. The only problem is that it doesn’t work with iOS 6.x devices. Macgo says they are working on a solution; but as of this writing, Airx doesn’t work with iOS 6.

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Apple to iWork Users – All Features will be Restored

I kinda figured this was the case. It’s good to know that Apple isn’t leaving users (totally) out in the cold.

iwork09090106-3

When Apple reworked iWork late last month and:

  • Made it 64bit
  • Leveled compatibility with iOS, iWork in iCloud and OS X
  • Made it free with the purchase of a new Mac

The update was huge; and it was the shot that restarted and won the Office Suite War  in a single volly; or so I thought. I later found out  that a number of features were missing, apparently removed, much to the chagrin of many iWork 9 users. The outcry had many pundits scratching their heads and users headed towards Office 365 or other alternatives.   Microsoft had fired back without even raising a finger.

Thankfully, Apple has heard the outcry of the masses and has responded.   The missing features were removed in order to insure file compatibility with iWork for iOS.   They will restore 18 of the missing features over the next 6 months.   According to Apple, “In rewriting these applications, some features from iWork ’09 were not available for the initial release.   We plan to reintroduce these features in the next few releases and will continue to add brand new features on an ongoing basis.”

Apple will restore 8 features to Pages, 6 to Numbers and 4 to Keynote, or 18 features in total.   This includes customizable toolbars, renewed Apple Script workflow automation support and thumbnail-based section management.   Unfortunately, once documents are converted in the new version of iWork, they can’t be opened in iWork ’09.

The biggest problem here is that the features will be restored over time and not in a single update after the 2013-10-22 initial release of the cross platform version of iWork.   Its nice that the features will be restored, but some are wondering why this message wasn’t delivered with the updated version of iWork in the first place.

The big question here is whether Apple intends to answer these questions or just gloss over them?   Will they accelerate their release schedule; or weather the storm and get them out there when they can? It wouldn’t mean the end of the world to a lot of people, as those that were dependent on the older features can still access the older software either after the update from an “archived” folder created during the installation routine of the newest version of iWork; or by not updating the software and continuing to use iWork ’09.

If you’re not an iWork user yet, but are interested in the new cross platform version, be aware that there are updates to be made. Existing users should watch for the updates and their missing features to be restored.

What do you think of the situation?   Did Apple stick it to its users, or is the situation something that will work itself out over time?   I’d love to hear your thoughts in the discussion area, below.

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Cloud Services Raining Problems – Google Drive & OS X Mavericks

mavericksWhat do Mavericks, Google Drive and Apple Support all have in common? Finder crashes…

Mavericks was made available to the public for free on 2013-10-22. It’s been one of the most successful OS X rollouts ever for Apple, in large part because of its many new features and also because its performance has been top notch. However, that doesn’t mean that all is right with the world.

I don’t really like the Finder Tabs implementation that Apple worked into Mavericks Finder. The “fold under” paradigm to the feature makes it very difficult to see what tabs are available in any particular Finder window. Safari uses the same paradigm and has the same problem, in my opinion.

In order to resolve this issue for me, I don’t use Finder Tabs and instead use Total Finder, an $18 Finder add-on that I was turned on to more than 18 months ago. Version 1.5.2 works best with Mavericks; but you have to watch. If something goes wrong with Finder, it’s probably the first place you should look and the first extension you should kill. If for some reason the extension does go south, it doesn’t auto restart, which is good and bad. Is good because you won’t get caught in some ugly, Finder crashing loop. If Total Finder force quits, Finder should come back, and you should be able to use your Mac “normally.” It’s bad, because if you want the features back after the force quit, you have to manually restart the extension.

I upgraded to Mavericks before the 2013-10-22 availability due to my Developer Program membership. I had the Gold Master before the public did, and it’s been a solid performer for well over a month. I’ve not had any issues with it, Total Finder, or any other application or extension I have installed on my Early 2011 MBP. So, when I started having Finder crashes yesterday morning and ALL yesterday evening, I kinda got worried.

I hadn’t installed any new Mac software. There were no changes to the system that I was aware of, so either something got corrupted, I had a virus or worm intrusion, or I had other problems. I have ClamX AV installed on my Mac, and I have not been getting any warnings from it. I’ve got its System Sentry running and scanning the root and subfolders on EVERY drive permanently attached to it, so I was relatively certain I didn’t have any weird bug.

After Mavericks reinstalled itself (a system update/rebuild of 10.9.0 was released after the GM was made available to Developer Program members and it automatically came down and its install was started), I hadn’t updated any other software. However, all day yesterday, I had Finder crash after Finder crash. Finder would auto restart, but it got to be so bad, that I couldn’t get any work done or even watch any video full screen. The looping Finder crashes took over my machine. I immediately started looking at Total Finder as the culprit. In the past, if my Mac developed Finder issues, it was likely behind them. However, Finder kept crashing over and over, and Total Finder had force closed after the first one. It wasn’t causing the issue.

finder_crash

I took a run over to Apple Support Forums after that. I found a couple of threads about Finder crashes and Mavericks, and a couple of possible solutions. The first one involved removing the com.Apple.Finder.plist file (my system actually had 3, which made me think I some Finder problems anyway…) from my ~Library\Preferences folder. Moderate success had been reported with that.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work for me. Finder continued to crash about once every 2-3 minutes.

The other solution I found was related to people who had Google Drive installed on their Mavericks system. To stop Finder crashes, you had to uncheck the option to display file sync status. That worked.

Shortly after I came to work, I got a notice from MacUpdate Desktop that a new version of Google Drive had been released. Unfortunately, release notes weren’t available at the time of release, and I can’t find anything online that tells me what changed. However, I plan to update Drive when I get home and will likely leave sync status icons disabled, even if they’re fixed. This isn’t the first time that Google Drive’s sync status icons have caused serious performance or stability issues on either Mac or Windows systems. The feature is a convenience, but not something I have to have turned on. As long as the content syncs and my menu bar icon says all is well, I’m happy.

The biggest problem here is that with the big push to get everything in the cloud, Google can’t afford to have Drive causing issues like this. They need to get a handle on it and kill the problem or else the service will be seen as unreliable, even with the work around.

 

Again, this is something that I’ll be monitoring, and if I have an update, I’ll make sure it gets on Soft32.com ASAP.

 

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Apple OS X 10.9 Mavericks

The Year of the Cat is done. Surf’s up, Dude!

Mac-OS-X-10.9-Mavericks-System-Compatibility-ListIntroduction

There have been a lot of changes at Apple since Steve Jobs passed a couple years ago. While the iPhone 5/5S/5C may be the last iPhones that he actually had design influence over, there have been changes not only in the mobile space, but on the desktop as well. Apple is continuing is annual update cycle with OS X; and its anticipated they will release version 10.9 to the general public on or around 2013-10-22.

Code named Mavericks, after a favorite surfing spot in California, Apple has run out of cat names. While that may make many meme lovers a bit sad, OS X users shouldn’t be too upset. Mavericks sports a number of back-end updates that make it largely a maintenance release. However, there are a number of new, end user based features that many may find useful or more useful now that they’ve been improved.

Mavericks-03

As a long time Windows user and recent (within the last 5 years) Switcher, there are some really nice enhancements here that should make most Mac users want to upgrade. Let’s take a quick look at all of them and see where the ups and downs really are.

New Features

Maps

After starting Mavericks for the first time, this is the first change that I noticed to the OS, as the program icon for Maps is in the dock by default. It was new, and very obvious to what it was.

I’ve been writing about Apple Maps for quite some time. In fact, GPS apps are a bit of a specialty of mine. I love using them, partially because I’m so directionally challenged, its laughable.

There’s been a lot of “room for growth” in Apple Maps since its introduction. Apple’s done a decent job of fixing some of its bigger problems and in keeping it OUT of the lime light. However, with the introduction of OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Apple Maps has matured to a point where Apple is introducing the app to the desktop as a direct competitor to Google Maps’ desktop browser interface.

Maps-03

Introduced as an app rather than a website or web service, Apple Maps is an Apple exclusive tool. With your Thunderbolt, Retina or HD capable Mac display, the app can display images in 100% HD clarity. Because it makes use of your Mac’s graphics adapter, zooming is smooth and responsive and text and details are HD crisp. Maps’ hybrid and satellite displays via Flyover are photo perfect; and its 3D capabilities give you the feeling as though you’re seeing your chosen location first hand.

Apple Maps’ navigation is greatly improved; and the best part about Maps on your Mac is that you can now plan out your trip – including all of your side trips – on your desktop and then send all of your destinations directly to your cellular capable iDevice where Maps will provide turn-by-turn, voice guided navigation.

This is a HUGE improvement in Mavericks and iOS 7, as it makes the app that much more credible and reliable. What Apple needs to do now, is insure that that message is successfully delivered and appropriately socialized to current and potential users.

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