• October 30, 2017

    Skype New Desktop App Has Been Released

  • October 14, 2017

    Using Skype To Replace Landline Phone

    I recently decided to ditch my landline phone for Skype. The first reason I decided to ditch my landline was because of cost for a phone with the unlimited long distance which I am playing close to $77 dollars a month from Verizon. After looking at several VoIP services I decided that Skype was the best choice for me. Ooma and other services want the purchase of hardware I already have a smartphone for walking around and most of the time I use my landline I am on my computer anyway. The reason I went with Skype is because I need the video conference call feature and screen sharing. I figured I could dump my Verizon phone line and cancel my Webex subscription and consolidate everything into one service to save money. Skype offers unlimited calls to USA and Canada for $2.99 month that’s about 39 dollars a year. This would be enough for most people but I wanted a designated number which is 18 dollars a quarter or 39 dollars a year. Considering Webex is fifteen dollars month and Verizon is $77 I am coming out way ahead. Skype is very versatile as well I use it to call landline phones from my laptop or phone when I have weak cell phone reception. I use it for multiuser conference calls and remote support using its screen sharing features. Skype has recently added a Cortana Bot which can help with finding quick information like weather info and sports scores. The Skype Bot can also be used for reminders and messenger features. Skype does SMS messaging to phones this is, unfortunately, a pay as you go feature at a few cents a text which sounds pricey but is very handy. I think that eventually, this will be a feature bundled in...
  • Microsoft announced that they are officially ending their long-running Groove Music service originally called Zune music and before that MSN music. Microsoft is ending its service with style and class to its long-running die-hard customers by offering customers a seamless transition to Spotify. Microsoft will also stop selling music from the Windows Store but will continue with sell movies, TV, and ebook (only a matter of time I think till this stops). Groove Music Pass will officially close on December 31, 2017, anyone who has time remaining on their subscription will get a prorated refund which is a good move by Microsoft since many users of this service are Microsoft fanboys and I am sure die-hard Microsoft software users. Microsoft will keep the Groove app in Windows 10 so users can continue to play music on your PC or on your OneDrive. This I believe is a trade-off since there is still no way for users to upload music to Spotify I would not be surprised if Spotify adds support for uploading or playing personal music storage from OneDrive or Dropbox in the future. With Spotify on the Xbox, it makes sense for Microsoft to try to push whatever customers they have on Groove Music Pass to them. Spotify is available on the Windows store and does music better than any company on the market right now it’s the choice that makes sense and is a real endorsement for Spotify. Microsoft had many nice words about Spotify on their blog post “Which is why we’re excited to announce that we’re expanding our partnership with Spotify to bring the world’s largest music streaming service to our Groove Music Pass customers. Beginning this week*, Groove Music Pass customers can easily move all their curated playlists and collections directly into Spotify. Plus, you...
  • Recently during the Microsoft Edge summit, it was announced that Microsoft Edge has 330 million monthly devices. While I find this interesting I question these numbers this number was noted on Microsoft Edge Developer Twitter account and mention by Microsoft Executive saying “A lot of improvements and a lot of new features doesn’t really mean anything if no one’s using it. I’m really thrilled to announce today that, earlier this month, Microsoft Edge passed over 330 million active devices worldwide. This number has more than doubled since the Edge summit last year.” While these numbers are impressive I question if they are true. We all know I write about Microsoft a lot and I do enjoy many of their products but this number can’t be true or actuate. Let’s break this down by first saying Microsoft Edge only runs on Windows 10 no earlier version of Windows can run Edge. Microsoft has said many times they have 500 Million for active Windows 10 devices. If 330 million are active Edge users that means over two-thirds of the people using Windows 10 are actively using Edge. I know Microsoft has offered Books through Edge and have used Microsoft reward points to make Edge your default browser but even with Microsoft consumer services and points offerings there can just be no way. One thing I do believe may push Microsoft number to that point are Every time you install or upgrade Windows 10 it opens the browser so that counts you as active user Xbox uses Edge as browser Edge is default PDF reader for edge Windows 10s does not let you install any other browser besides Edge Edge is default epub or book reader in Windows 10 In Microsoft defense, you have to realize that there are a lot of Windows...
  • September 8, 2017

    Windows 10s is Destined To Fail

    Microsoft announced Windows 10s on May 2nd of this year this is Microsoft’s third attempt at a lightweight OS and its already not doing well on the market. To prove my point Microsoft quietly extending its free Windows 10 S to Win 10 Pro upgrade. Just looking at Windows 10s and the market they are pitching the product to and the competitor they are up against Windows 10s was destined to fail from the day it was released.   I first would like to point out that Windows 10 S is targeted at education. It’s no coincidence that Windows 10 S is focused on the education sector, where Google’s Chromebooks are currently exploding on the scene. But even targeted at education there are issues with the platform that are dragging it down.  The Windows-Store-apps-only plan doesn’t seem to be doing well with Surface buyers or educational institutes and there is a reason why. First, the Microsoft store is not even on the same level as the Google Play Store to start the Microsoft store has next to no good apps that users want and Microsoft is having a hard time getting developers to create popular apps on their platform. Not to mention that Microsoft over the life of their product has installed in the end user mindset that as long as it’s compatible with Windows you can install it on your desktop not trying to push this culture shift on users is not a good decision by Microsoft.  Microsoft does not have the user loyalty and conditioning that Google or Apple has where they can just change a platform and users will just follow. Users from day one on ChromeOS know they have to use the only what the Play Store offers for apps and they are limited to Googles very large selection (the large selection Microsoft is lacking). Google spent years luring top apps to their platform...
  • The Office365 team opened up their post this month by talking about teamwork “More than ever, effective teamwork is critical to your success. This month, we made the experience of working with others even better through the release of co-authoring in Excel, enhancements to Microsoft Teams, an updated Yammer app, and more.” General Availability Excel Co-authoring – Now anyone can work together at the same time in Excel spreadsheets that are stored on SharePoint Online, OneDrive, or OneDrive for Business. General Availability AutoSave Word, Excel and PowerPoint – AutoSave is available for all Office 365 subscribers. Any Word, Excel, and PowerPoint stored in OneDrive and SharePoint will be AutoSaved. Individual work or Co-authoring will save your latest changes automatically in the cloud. Rich profiles in Outlook for Windows – Microsoft is rolling a newly redesigned experience to Outlook for Windows. By leveraging Microsoft Graph, they Microsoft can including relevant files, conversations, and group membership in the new design. New Yammer App – The Yammer app for the iPad got a new design adding a better experience for universal search, automatic sign-in, and a better reporting. The new Yammer activity report helps administrators understand how your organizations Yammer activity. Microsoft Office365 For Education Got Update OneNote Class Notebook Gets Microsoft Teams—Students and teachers can now enjoy a full view of their OneNote Class Notebook right from within Teams helping to simplify classroom management. Microsoft Teams Allows Teacher Share Instructional Material—Teachers can now add links to online reference materials for classroom instruction through Teams. The new feature allows students to access to the third-party resources. Better Administrator Controls —IT administrators can now specify permissions for third-party apps in Teams. Scores from assignments can now be imported into a school’s Learning Management System, ensuring a single source of truth for student grades.
  • Microsoft and Amazon announced today that the Amazon Echo will be able to talk to Microsoft Cortana AI (Artificial Intelligence) Platform. Amazons very popular AI platform Alexa will be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated in the post “Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” going on to say “Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.” Users will have access to Alexa and Cortana features no matter what platform they are using. If you are by your Echo you could Cortana to booking a meeting, accessing work calendars, or reading your work email. The same goes for if you are on a Windows 10 computer you could as Alexa to make a change to your smart home device, check the status of Amazon orders or interact with Alexa skills to listen to Sirius Radio. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said “The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience,” Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year. What surprised me is how long Siri has been around and Amazon never reached out to Apple who is not offering a smart speaker competitor until recently and really is not even a competitor for Amazon in its current form. On top of that Amazon had time to talk to Apple before their HomePod debut and HomePod will not even debut until December reports are saying....
  • August 24, 2017

    HP Announces New OMEN X Gaming Laptop

    At GamesCon HP announced their new Windows 10 gaming laptop named OMEN X. The OMEN X laptop comes with Windows 10 allowing you to live stream games through the live game streaming service Mixer allowing you to connect with the Xbox community. The HP OMEN X is optimized for Windows 10 Game Mode and has a 17-inch 4K display with 120Hz 1080p display options for fast refresh rates and great graphics. Microsoft blog states “Built for gaming enthusiasts and esports athletes seeking uncompromised performance, the OMEN X Laptop with Windows 10 is built to support virtual reality, while engineered with thermal tech to support unlocked CPUs and factory-overclocked GPUs. Plus, it’s packed with memory options for unparalleled gaming performance in a stunning design with customizable lighting.” Microsoft points out the OMEN X has VR support saying “VR-ready on all configurations and include features that enhance gameplay” Knowing how hot Intel Processors run I am glad to see HP took cooling seriously adding Thermal management with more fans, an integrated vapor chamber with heat pipes and radiators for the CPU and GPU. The OMEN Command Center Software sounds very cool and I am actually kind of excited to see how that works. The fact you can manage CPU and RAM overclocking plus chassis and keyboard lighting sound like a lot of fun. The lighting is the thing that always catches everyone’s attention lets be real. The specs on the laptop look intense as well Mechanical and RGB LED-per key backlit keyboard 17-inch 4K display DTS Headphone:X Intel 7th gen Core i7 CPUs with unlocked options for overclocking XMP memory options for memory overclocking and tested profiles up to DDR4-2800 Factory-overclocked graphics cards up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 1 TB 7200 rpm RAID0 SSD USB 3.0 Type A, two Thunderbolt 3-certified...
  • Microsoft is gearing up to help send the kids back to school by helping you pack the digital backpack full of great apps from the Microsoft Store. Microsoft every year offers back to school discounts on software and hardware this year I think tops last year’s deals on software. Out of all the discounts offered the only one that caught my eye was Adobe Photoshop Elements at 40% Off. Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 is a $100-dollar purchase at $59.99 you are saving about $40 dollars. Enough savings to buy Microsoft Groove for 4 months at the $9.99 price point (I roll my eyes as I say that). Considering I just looked at Groove Music Pass and it’s missing a lot of big name artists recently but that’s another post for another day. Movie Edit Pro Windows Store Edition is 50% off at price point of $29.99 saving you $30.00 but judging from the 1-star reviews I would not waste your money. If you need a good Movie editing software Blender for free and works great. The three apps I do think are worth the money besides Photoshop are: Human Japanese– 50% off – $9.49 save $9.50 Earth 3D – 67% Off – $0.99 save $2.00 Complete Anatomy free Human Japanese is a great tool for anyone wanting to learn Japanese and is highly rated. Complete Anatomy and Earth 3D are highly rated and I know a few people who use them for education. Along with discounts on software announced by Microsoft they announced the return of STEM Saturdays coming in September to all Microsoft Stores. If you need Photoshop now might be the time to buy the software usually Photoshop never goes below a 40% off mark.  
  • August 17, 2017

    OneNote for Windows 10 Gets Update

    OneNote for Windows 10 got a lot of I think cool updates this month. Microsoft points out that OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote 2016 desktop app are very similar, but with few key differences. Microsoft did mention these features are being made available to customers on a gradual basis. So, may not get them immediately. Microsoft also stated on their site “OneNote Insider builds are temporarily on hold until the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. This means you won’t receive app updates from the Windows store until they are released to everyone.” Text to Math – Using your keyboard you can type an equation as text into OneNote and use Math or draw a graph to solve your problem. (This feature is only available if you have an Office 365 subscription.) Smart Lookup – Get information from the insights pane with definitions, Wiki articles, and top related searches from the web. Insert online pictures – You can insert Bing photos and images without leaving OneNote. Tables of all shapes and sizes – Choose any number of rows and columns you need to organize your OneNote information. With Tables in OneNote, you can now add and delete rows or columns, add table shading, or sort your information. More highlight colors – OneNote is no longer limited to just the yellow highlighter you can now use blue, green, red, and more. Zoom in, Zoom out – The new OneNote new Page Width option allows you to zoom in and out.