Tuesday 21 July 2015

Microsoft Plans to Buy Israeli Cloud-Security Firm Adallom for $320 Million

If completed, the deal would be Microsoft’s fourth acquisition in Israel since the start of 2015.

TEL AVIV— Microsoft Corp. has signed a letter of intent to buy Israel-based cloud information-security company Adallom Inc., according to two people familiar with the matter. The expected price of the all-cash deal is about $320 million, according to one of the people.
Microsoft declined to comment. A representative for Adallom wasn’t immediately available to comment.
If completed, the deal would be Microsoft’s fourth acquisition in Israel since the start of 2015. Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist previously reported the deal.
Founded in 2012, Tel Aviv-based Adallom develops and markets a service aimed at ensuring the security of cloud-based applications. It offers its services to customers using cloud applications such as Microsoft’s Office 365, Google Inc.’s Google Apps, and the applications offered by Salesforce.com Inc.and ServiceNow Inc.
Adallom’s service monitors the use of the cloud application by individual employees, identifying patterns and then singling out anomalies as possible breaches. Competitors include Skyhigh Networks Inc., Elastica Inc. and CloudLock Inc.
Adallom’s customers include SAP SE, LinkedIn Corp. and Netflix Inc.
In January, Microsoft bought Israel-based Aorato Ltd., a company that develops software that monitors access to central communication components in enterprise IT systems.
According to the people familiar with the matter, Adallom, which employs 90 people world-wide, will continue to operate from Israel, building up Microsoft’s cybersecurity-focused operations in the country.

Monday 20 July 2015

Microsoft Enables Xbox One Game Streaming to Windows 10

Microsoft Enables Xbox One Game Streaming to Windows 10
Microsoft announced late Friday that it had enabled Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 PCs and tablets. It also announced a few changes to the Xbox app on Windows 10.
Game streaming was previously available only to Xbox One preview program members. It allows you to remotely play an Xbox One—and, soon, via backwards compatibility functionality, Xbox 360—games on a Windows 10 PC or tablet. The console and PC must both be on the same network, and you will of course need an Xbox One controller attached to your PC. (Today, that is USB-based, but Microsoft recently announced a wireless adapter.)
Setup is simple enough: On the console, navigate to Settings, Preferences and make sure the option “Allow game streaming to other devices (beta)” is enabled. On your Windows 10 PC or tablet, connect an Xbox Wireless controller with USB cable and then launch the Xbox app and navigate to Connect and connect your Xbox One console. When you do, you will see a new Stream option for game streaming.
From here, you can launch and play Xbox One-based games form your PC or tablet. Oddly, you can’t actually use your console for anything else while you’re doing that. But Microsoft tells me this option can free up the TV the Xbox One is connected to, letting two or more people enjoy separate entertainment experiences (gaming and TV or whatever) on different screens.
In addition to enabling game streaming for everyone, Microsoft also announced some new features for the Xbox app on Windows 10:
Cross-platform party Chat. A new option called “Start a party (beta) will be found above the Friends list, providing a way to start a party chat or game chat with your Xbox friends across Xbox One and Windows 10.
My Games. The Xbox app will automatically discover Windows Store games (a curiously old-fashioned name) and many older traditional PC games and then add them automatically to your game collection in the app.  If a game is not automatically added, you can add it manually by selecting My games, Add a game from your PC.
Home. The Home view has been updated, providing easier access for game streaming quicker game launching from a Recently played list. The Featured games section has been updated so you can discover and install new and popular games available from the Store.
Profile. Now you can choose whether to use your avatar or gamerpic as how you’re represented to Friends. You can also customize your avatar, change your gamertag, gamerpic, and user color, and update your name sharing settings, under Customize.
Share with your friends. You can now upload local game clips and screenshots for Windows Store games to your shared collection on Xbox Live. To do so, navigate to Game DVR, On this PC, Share. You can now capture game clips and screenshots for non-Windows Store games and access them via Game DVR, On this PC, Open folder.
Xbox avatars. The Avatars app is being updated so you can take a virtual photo of your avatar and use that as your gamerpic.
Day One Experience. To make it easier for new PC gamers, the Xbox app will help users without Xbox gamertags to create a new account, get their own gamertag, and then use more a basic user experience so they can figure things out like the noobs that they are.

A first look at Microsoft’s Cortana running on Android

Microsoft promised this May that it was bringing Cortana to iOS and Android, confirming rumors from earlier in the year. The Android version leaked today—there's an APK floating around—and Microsoft has opened up an invitation-only beta to let people test the company's digital personal assistant for themselves, at least if they live in the US or China. To sign up to the beta you'll need one of a handful of recent Android handsets, and a Microsoft account that's linked to the Windows Insider program. In promoting its cross-platform software ambitions, Microsoft has said that its experiences will be mobile, following people from device to device, but best on Windows. The idea here is that Windows 10 users will use and depend on Cortana on their PCs, and hence will want her to be available on their phones, no matter which smartphone platform they use. On Windows and Windows Phone/Windows Mobile, Cortana can in principle be more deeply integrated—enabling, for example, "Hey Cortana" voice-based activation—but on Android and iOS she'll be "just" an app and accordingly constrained. That may be the principle, but for now, at least, Cortana on Android seems to be pretty close to Cortana in Windows 10, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 Mobile. Install the app and she asks for a ton of permissions, including the ability to send and read SMS messages, place calls, access contacts, calendars, and accounts, and more besides. Start her app and she looks near identical to her Windows 10 PC incarnation, and functionality seems to be very similar across Android, Windows 10, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 Mobile. Her core knowledge and configuration continues to be driven by the "Notebook," and she can give alerts and information about the same kinds of things: weather, places to eat, traffic conditions, warning you it's time to leave for an appointment, and so on and so forth. The range of capabilities can be extended by Microsoft at any time, as the majority of what Cortana does happens in the cloud, with Bing.

Similarly, her voice recognition is performed in the cloud, and performed as well as we've come to expect from her other platforms. Transcription quality is decent, and will only improve as more people start using her. There are a few gaps; she doesn't appear to be able to read e-mails, and so won't pick up things like package tracking numbers or flight info. She also can't listen for music. For the time being, at least, these features remain unique to Microsoft's platform. Likewise, the "Quiet Hours" functionality, during which incoming calls and messages are muted when busy or asleep, and the corresponding "Inner Circle" feature, which allows some calls to break through even during Quiet Hours, are only found on Microsoft's phone platform. Cortana on Android is also just an app, and lacks the kind of integration that Microsoft is experimenting with elsewhere. The Edge browser in Windows 10, for example, includes some Cortana functionality, with the digital assistant recognizing things like restaurant websites and offering additional information about them, and this has no equivalent on Android. While I've seen some complaints that she crashes a lot, I didn't have any issues like that on a Nexus 5 with Android 5.1. Even with these gaps, the result is, well, Cortana on Android. Everything appears to sync correctly with other platforms, and so she does more or less achieve the goal of providing a cross-platform experience. It's difficult to know which of the functional gaps are due to her beta status, and which are likely to be filled out as Microsoft improves her, but as things stand, Microsoft has achieved its "better on Windows" objective. Assessing the value of Cortana on Android remains trickier. For someone using Android and the broader Google ecosystem, the built-in Google Now is better integrated and more capable. If Cortana on Windows 10 turns out to be an important part of your daily life, the continuity that comes of sticking with Cortana may be valuable, but even that isn't immediately obvious; with Google Now providing direct equivalents to some Cortana features, and with others (such as appointments) being synced by your calendar anyway, many may find that the best experience comes from using both intelligent agents on their respective platforms; use Cortana when using your PC, but switch to Google Now on your phone. With most of Cortana's content delivered through the Web, it's not too surprising...

Saturday 18 July 2015

Apple And Samsung Are Working On A New SIM Card Standard That Makes Carrier Switching Easier

Apple and Samsung are reportedly preparing a new SIM standard that would make it easier for consumers to switch between mobile carriers, according to The Financial TimesThe Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) is close to announcing an agreement for implementing the new SIM standard, known as the embedded SIM (e-SIM).
Essentially, the e-SIM would ship inside of Apple and Samsung smartphones and allow consumers to switch mobile carriers without having to activate a new SIM card. Switching carriers could be as easy as making a few adjustments within the settings of the smartphone. However, it will take at least a year before Apple or Samsung adopts the new e-SIM standard because a formal agreement has not been made yet.
“With the majority of operators on board, the plan is to finalize the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated by 2016,” said the GSMA via The Financial Times. The GSMA pointed out that talks with Apple are still taking place and a formal agreement is still “in progress.” What makes the e-SIM standard even more compelling is that Apple and Samsung would be able to make its devices thinner and lighter because SIM card tray components would no longer be required.
In October, Apple launched a new SIM card within the cellular versions of the Apple iPad Air 2 and Apple iPad mini 3 — which is called the Apple SIM. The Apple SIM lets customers switch their short term carrier plans between AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, GigSky and EE.
The idea behind the e-SIM existed for several years, but several mobile carriers have been resistant to the idea of an embedded SIM card. For example, MacRumors reported that AT&T locked the Apple SIM to its own data plans and required users to get a new Apple SIM if they wanted to change carriers in the future. Why does AT&T lock the Apple SIM? At the time, an AT&T spokesperson told Re/code: “It’s just simply the way we’ve chosen to do it.”
Apple SIM Activation Process / Image Credit: Apple
Apple SIM Activation Process / Image Credit: Apple
Most likely, the Apple SIM will make several more appearances before the e-SIM arrives. The Financial Times pointed out that the Apple SIM could even be ”included in the next generation of iPhones.” Mobile carriers that are currently supporting the GSMA’s e-SIM card initiative includes AT&T, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa and Telefónica.

Friday 17 July 2015

Comcast Games, Microsoft Music, HBO Online

In Tech Games and Music

The country's largest cable TV provider is working with video game maker Electronic Arts. For now, the service is free for people who pay for both Comcast TV and Internet. Customers may have to pay once a test phase ends after at least a few weeks.

Games available include FIFA Soccer, NBA Jam and Monopoly.
Comcast says the service is aimed at casual players, including people who play on phones, rather than hard-core gamers who already use consoles such as Xbox or PlayStation. The games through Comcast don't let you play online with friends or strangers, as many games allow on consoles today. You can play by yourself or with people sitting in the room with you, using smartphones or tablets as controllers.
Comcast wants to position its set-top box, the X1, as an entertainment hub. The box can stream music from Pandora and display photos from Facebook, Instagram and Flickr on a TV. Only about 5 million of Comcast's 22.4 million video customers have X1, but the company says it expects most customers will get it by the end of 2016. Customers who don't have the X1 box yet can request it.
You can sign up for the games at http://www.xfinity.com/xfinitygames.
— Tali Arbel, AP Technology Writer
Microsoft has a streaming music service, too — though it was mostly overlooked as attention turned to Apple's entry into a business crowded with Spotify, Google Play and others.
Maybe that's why Microsoft is revamping the service formerly known as Xbox Music. It's now called Groove.
Along with the new name, Microsoft promises redesigned menus and other new features when it releases Groove with Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system later this month.
The company said it's dropping the Xbox name to avoid confusion, as the service is no longer focused on Xbox gaming consoles. Instead, the new Groove can be used to manage music files on any PC or mobile device running Windows 10.
Like the Xbox Music service, Groove will also offer unlimited streaming from Microsoft's music catalog for $10 a month. It will work on Android and Apple mobile devices as well as Mac and Windows PCs.
As with Apple and Google, Microsoft also offers the option to upload songs you own to the Internet, through Microsoft's OneDrive storage service, for playback on other devices.
Meanwhile, Apple says it's honing its Apple Music service as more people weigh in with suggestions and complaints. The company plans to restore "Home Sharing," or the ability to stream music from a computer running iTunes to other Apple devices over Wi-Fi. Home Sharing was disabled on iPhones and iPads with the iOS 8.4 software update that enables Apple Music.
— Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer
HBO's stand-alone Internet service, HBO Now, is available on Android and Amazon devices starting Thursday.
The online video service had been limited to Apple device owners and customers of the New York-area cable company Cablevision. Google announced plans for Android earlier, but hadn't disclosed a launch date.
If you download the HBO Now app on an Android tablet or phone or on an Amazon Fire tablet, you get a 30-day free trial. Afterward, it costs $15 a month.

Microsoft Edge is faster than other browsers; up to 112 percent faster than Chrome

By tech2 News Staff /  16 Jul 2015 , 17:41
Yes, you read that right. After years of ridicule, Microsoft has claimed its latest browser Microsoft Edge is faster than Chrome and Safari in their own benchmark tests! Not Microsoft benchmarks, but benchmarks created by Apple and Google teams. With the latest near-final version of Windows 10 released, Microsoft is adding finishing touches to the launchpad, and getting ready to ‘celebrate’ what is their biggest launch ever.
Microsoft Edge is blazingly fast
In a blog post on the Windows blog, Gabe Aul, Head of the Windows Insider program took the opportunity to announce performance findings from the latest Windows 10 build. He added:
“The Edge team has been continuing to optimise performance since first adding the new browser to Windows 10. In this build, Microsoft Edge is even better and is beating Chrome and Safari on their own JavaScript benchmarks:
On WebKit Sunspider, Edge is 112% faster than ChromeOn Google Octane, Edge is 11% faster than ChromeOn Apple JetStream, Edge is 37% faster than Chrome
We’re really pleased with those performance gains and we hope that you’ll enjoy faster browsing with Microsoft Edge along with the many great features we’ve added over the last several builds.”
If these are true, then it’s the best thing to happen to the browser space. If anything it’s best for the browser ecosystem that Microsoft, otherwise known for Internet Explorer has spruced up its browser performance with a more efficient EdgeHTML engine than the dominating WebKit. We’re sure this will boost further optimisation and innovation in other browsers.
For those unaware, the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark is developed by the Apple Webkit development team. Although intended for the iOS, Mac, and Windows versions of Safari, which are powered by the Webkit engine, it is popularly used to benchmark browsers across platforms.

Lumia 950 And Lumia 950 XL Are Next Flagship Smartphones From Microsoft

Microsoft is rumored to release the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL handsets at the IFA event in September. Reuters
Since the end of 2014, rumors have swirled that Microsoft will be launching the Lumia 940 and the Lumia 940 XL as flagship smartphones this year. Even the purported specs of the devices have been making the rounds since past few months. But fresh rumors state that the company will be announcing the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL instead of the Lumia 940 models with the same specifications.
In 2014, Microsoft released the Lumia 930 flagship model. Phone Arena’s report claims that a Chinese tech blog has revealed that Microsoft will be skipping the Lumia 940 generation to directly roll out the Lumia 950 models this year.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 will be a sporting a-5.2 inch display that will support a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It will be able to produce a pixel density of 424 ppi. It will be featuring a Snapdragon 808 SoC that will contain a hexa-core processor and Adreno 418 graphics. The chipset will be supported by 3 GB of RAM.
The handset will come with an inbuilt storage capacity of 32 GB. It will also carry a microSD slot. The rear will be housing a PureView technology-powered 20 MP camera whereas the front will be flanked with a 5 MP selfie snapper.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL will be phablet device as it expected to house a 5.7-inch screen with support for Quad HD resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. The display will support a pixel count of 515 ppi. It will be powered by Snapdragon 810 chipset that includes a 64-bit octa-core CPU and Adreno 430 GPU. It will be coupled with 3 GB of RAM.
The native storage of the Lumia 950 will be 32 GB. It will also come with microSD slot. The handset will also come with 20 MP PureView rear camera and 5 MP front-facing selfie camera. 
The Microsoft Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL will be shipped with Windows 10 Mobile OS onboard.NDTV states that Microsoft has proclaimed that premium Lumia smartphones powered with Windows 10 Mobile OS will be arriving this year. The new devices will be announced at the IFA 2015 tech show in September in Berlin.

Exciting new Microsoft Surface tablet is on track for an October launch

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Release Date
Image Source: Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft is preparing for one of its most critical Windows updates in its history, theWindows 10 release that will be available as a free download to consumers who already own genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8 copies. Beginning on July 29th, the update will be rolled out gradually, with Windows 10 retail boxes supposed to reach retailers at some point after that. But Microsoft is also working on new hardware for Windows 10, and a report already shares some exciting details for the next-gen Surface tablet.

Likely to be called Surface Pro 4, the next Windows flagship is supposedly launching this October. At least that’s what sources from the supply chain told Taiwanese tech news site Digitimes.
The Surface Pro 4 will feature “the same ultra-thin form factor, bezel size and large-size display as the predecessor model,” the website says.
However, the new Surface tablet will feature Intel’s new Skylake processor, and might pack Samsung SSD drives of up to 256GB. Other details have not been provided yet, and it’s not known how much the new Surface Pro 4 will cost.
According to the sources, the new Surface might help Microsoft increase monthly tablet shipments to 500,000-600,000 units from the current 300,000 monthly units.
Microsoft confirmed a few days ago that it plans to unveil new Windows 10 hardware at the upcoming IFA 2015 show in Berlin, Germany, without specifying anything about mobile devices. However, the company has an event titled Windows 10 Lights up New Devices for September 4th at the German trade show.
The new Surface Pro model – if it’s going to be unveiled in September – won’t be the only new tablet/laptop running Windows 10 out of the box. According to the company, “a breadth of new Windows 10 devices, including tablets, 2-in-1s, premium notebooks, gaming devices and all-in-ones” are about to be unveiled.

Microsoft has finalized Windows 10

Microsoft has now finalized Windows 10, ready for its release later this month. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge that the software giant has selected build 10240 as the final release to manufacturing (RTM) copy, allowing PC makers to start loading the software onto new machines ready for release. We understand that Microsoft is signing off on the build internally today, and may announce the RTM publicly by the end of the week or choose to ignore the milestone and focus on the launch. While Microsoft is planning to launch Windows 10 on July 29th, new PCs with the software won’t be available until some weeks later. Microsoft is now pushing for existing and new device owners to upgrade to Windows 10 as part of a new marketing campaign.
Microsoft will first roll out build 10240 to its Windows 10 testers, and the company is now focused on patches and fixes that will also roll out alongside the OS launch. While the RTM process is a milestone for Microsoft, especially almost 20 years to the day the company finalized Windows 95, it’s really just one step in a new model that will see Windows act more like a service. In the future Microsoft will be updating Windows 10 regularly, especially the built-in apps that power most experiences in the operating system. Microsoft will test these future updates with its Insider program first, before rolling them out more broadly over the coming months.

Build 10240 now available for Windows Insiders in Fast and Slow rings

Hi everyone, today releasing a new build to both the Fast and Slow rings. We’re just about two weeks away from beginning to offer Windows 10 to the world, as Terry detailed here. Over the past few days we’ve been preparing our release pipelines and processes, and this build is one step closer to what customers will start to receive on 7/29. For example, you’ll notice with this build that the desktop watermark is no longer there (you can still do Search > Winver to see your version number.
On Monday we announced that builds from here on will only be available through Windows Update, so to get this one you can either wait and it will be installed automatically (but who are we kidding, I know you want it now!) or go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates. Remember that you’ll need to be logged in with your Microsoft Account in order to receive the build.
Besides builds, over the next 2 weeks you’ll also see some Windows Updates and app updates in the Store, so make sure to keep checking for updates daily to make sure you’re running the latest and greatest code.

Microsoft Edge is blazing fast!

The Edge team has been continuing to optimize performance since first adding the new browser to Windows 10. In this build, Microsoft Edge is even better and is beating Chrome and Safari on their own JavaScript benchmarks:
  • On WebKit Sunspider, Edge is 112% faster than Chrome
  • On Google Octane, Edge is 11% faster than Chrome
  • On Apple JetStream, Edge is 37% faster than Chrome
We’re really pleased with those performance gains and we hope that you’ll enjoy faster browsing with Microsoft Edge along with the many great features we’ve added over the last several builds.

Windows 10 App Development

Developers working on Windows 10 will have the first opportunity to upload Universal Windows Applications to the Windows Dev Center using production quality Windows 10 tools on July 29th. We appreciate all the time you’ve spent using flights of the tools and providing feedback and we are excited for you to begin sharing your applications with everyone running Windows 10. For more information on developing Universal Windows Apps, see the Building Apps For Windows blog.

Office on Windows 10

Thanks to all of you who have been using the new Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile apps on Windows 10. There are a few changes to the apps coming up that are part of helping them get ready for their release with Windows 10. You may have already noticed that on PCs and tablets we’ve added “Mobile” to the app names (to help distinguish them from the Office desktop suite), while on phones we simply call the apps Word, Excel and PowerPoint. We will also remove “Preview” from the app names and in about one week, you will need an Office 365 subscription to edit on Windows 10 PCs and larger tablets.
Similar to what we announced in March, viewing and most editing will remain free for non-commercial use on devices of 10.1” or less. Otherwise, you will need a qualifying Office 365 subscription. If you don’t have an Office 365 subscription, you can sign up for a free trial at www.office.com/try. You can also always edit your documents for free in Office Online at www.office.com. The full featured OneNote Universal App will come installed with Windows 10 and similar to OneNote on all other devices, editing is free.

We’re getting close!

We’re all working super hard here to deliver the best Windows ever, and are preparing everything that needs to be in place for our public release. We cannot wait for all of you, and your friends and family who reserved their upgrade, to see the result.
This is going to be an exciting couple of weeks, but it is also only the beginning.Windows as a service means that we’ll continue to keep Windows up to date with improvements and features, and our Windows Insider Program will continue so you can get early builds and share your feedback with us.
Stay tuned for more news about our launch activities, and at least one fun surprise for Windows Insiders coming up!

Thursday 16 July 2015

Here Are 10 Striking Images of Future Sea Levels

You may have heard that the world could be in for 20 feet of sea level rise even if it meets its climate goal of keeping warming below 2°C. And if you haven't heard, feel free to get caught upover here. We'll wait.
That rise would vastly reshape coastlines around the world and endanger millions unless efforts are made to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changes already in the pipeline. Specifically, 444,000 square miles of land that's home to more than 375 million people today will be swallowed up by the oceans. 
But saying that (and showing maps and figures) only conveys a fraction of the change society could be in for. To really understand what climate change could mean for coastal areas, photos really do the trick.
Below are 10 before-and-after images of iconic locations in major U.S. coastal cities if sea levels rose 25 feet. The after images were created by visual artist Nickolay Lamm using sea level rise mapping data developed by Climate Central. Boston's Back Bay becomes the Front Bay, Los Angeles's Venice Beach and Miami's Ocean Drive disappear completely and the Washington Monument could find a second use as a lighthouse.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
AT&T Field
Back Bay Boston
Ocean Drive Miami
Charleston Citadel
San Diego Convention Center
Statue of Libery
Washington Monument
San Francisco's Crissy Field
The after images were created by visual artist Nickolay Lamm using sea level rise mapping data developed by Climate Central