Microsoft Monday: Features Removed In Windows 10 Creators Update, Cortana Revamp, So.cl Shuts Down – Forbes

Terry Myerson, EVP of the Windows and Devices Group, unveiling the Windows 10 Creators Update in New York. (Amy Sussman/AP Images for Microsoft)

Microsoft Monday is a weekly column that focuses on updates in regards to the Redmond giant. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about features removed from the Windows 10 Creators Update, the So.cl social network shutting down, Teams being released tomorrow, flash support being added to the Pix app, a new partnership between Microsoft and Qualcomm, Skype for macOS now supporting the Touch Bar and much more!

Features Are Being Removed In Windows 10 Creators Update

Last week Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly pointed out that the Windows 10 Creators Update will have some feature removals. Some of the features that will be removed from the Windows 10 Creators Update include:

Flash autorun in Edge – Flash will be turned off by default in the default Windows 10 browser.

Interactive Service Detection Service – This feature detects when a service is trying to interact with the desktop

Microsoft Paint extended language support – Microsoft Paint will only support languages on the main localization list going forward.

Next Protocol Negotiation (NPN) support in TLS – The Next Protocol Negotiation (NPN) will be replaced by Application Protocol Level Navigation (APLN).

Windows Server Update Services for Windows Mobile – Windows Server Update Services for Windows 10 Mobile is being transitioned to the new Unified Update Platform, which is beneficial.

Apndatabase.xml – The Apndatabase.xml is being replaced by the COSA database. And some constructs like Hardware ID, incoming SMS messaging rules in mobile apps and APN parser will no longer function.

Apps Corner – A feature that allowed Windows phone owners to create a Start screen for guest users and choose allowed apps is being removed.

Reading List – This feature allowed users to save articles for later and it supports offline reading.

Tile Data Layer – This feature records the default apps, tiles and programs for the Start menu.

TCPChimney – This feature facilitates the transfer of workloads from the CPU to a network adapter during network data transfers.

IPsec task offload – This feature reduces CPU loads by shifting work to the network adapter.

When is the Microsoft Windows 10 Creators update expected to be released? According to sources with MSPowerUser, Windows 10 Creators update is expected to be launching on April 11, 2017.

Microsoft Is Shutting Down The So.cl Social Network

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft has decided to shut down its So.cl social network, which was created by FUSE Labs within the Research division. Microsoft originally launched the social network in late 2011. So.cl was created for students at first, but Microsoft ended up opening up the social network for everyone. And users could sign in with their Facebook accounts.

The So.cl social network emphasized mostly on image collages and video sharing. And it had a user interface that appeared similar to Pinterest.

In a blog post, Microsoft Research said So.cl will be shutting down on March 15. “Socl has been a wonderful outlet for creative expression, as well as a place to enjoy a supportive community of like-minded people, sharing and learning together. In supporting you, Socl’s unique community of creators, we have learned invaluable lessons in what it takes to establish and maintain community as well as introduce novel new ways to make, share and collect digital stuff we love,” said Microsoft Research in the blog post.

Microsoft To Release Teams Tomorrow

Microsoft is going to be releasing its Slack competitor called Teams tomorrow. And Microsoft will be hosting an online event to celebrate the launch of Microsoft Teams at 8:30AM Pacific Time on March 14th.

What is Microsoft Teams? It is an application that enables Office 365 customers to set up shared cloud-based workspaces to collaborate on work-related activities such as notes, documents and spreadsheets.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 Is Now Available

Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 became generally available on March 7th. Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 can be downloaded from visualstudio.com. There is a free Community edition for individual developers and smaller companies.

Some of the new features included in Visual Studio 2017 include IntelliSense, advanced debugging tools, enhancements to code navigation, modular installations, a built-in suite of Azure tools, code fixes, Xamarin integration, refactoring and debugging. The performance is faster than previous versions. Plus Visual Studio 2017 starts up three times faster than Visual Studio 2015.

Microsoft Releases A New Core i7 Surface Book With The dGPU

Currently, the most expensive Microsoft Surface Book is a 13.5-inch PixelSense Intel Core i7 with 1TB SSD storage, 16GB RAM / dGPU and Windows 10 Pro operating system at a price of $3,199. But now there is a new option that you might want to consider if you want to buy a higher-end Surface Book without a dGPU at a price of $2,999.

This version is out of stock as of right now. But you should be able to get your hands on it when Microsoft has it in stock again. The new Surface Book option will also ship with a Surface Pen and have the 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen as the original model. It will also have a 5-megapixel front-facing camera to support Windows Hello.

Microsoft Adds Flash Support For Pix App

Microsoft has updated the Pix Camera app for iOS with support for flash, which is interesting because this feature should have been there from the beginning. The update for Microsoft Pix app for iOS version 1.0.28 said flash was added due to “popular demand.” And a collapsible toolbar has been added that controls the flash, timer and grid overlay.

Microsoft said that the app has “faster app launch and shutter-to-shutter speeds.” Plus the app size is now smaller. The Microsoft Pix app also has facial detection and intelligent photo enhancements. And when interesting motions are sensed, the Pix app will create a short looping video of the action. There is also hyperlapse support built into the app.

Microsoft And Qualcomm Partner On ARM Servers To Challenge Intel’s Dominance

Qualcomm is going to sell server chips to Microsoft to be used in the Azure cloud computing services. The chip is known as the “Centriq 2400” and it uses ARM Holdings’ chip architecture. Intel’s x86 processor architecture currently dominates the backend computing infrastructure market at a 99% market share according to Forbes technology reporter Aaron TilleyThe Centriq 2400 chip is built on a 10-nanometer process node and contains 48 cores.

An update about the partnership was announced at the Open Compute Platform Summit on Wednesday morning. Qualcomm said it was releasing a server specification based on Microsoft’s Project Olympus, which is Microsoft’s open source hardware design for data centers.

This announcement has been a long time as Microsoft and Qualcomm have been working together on this project for years. “Our relationship with Microsoft is strategic in nature,” said Qualcomm senior vice president and general manager Anand Chandrasekher. “It doesn’t stop with 10nm chips. We’re working with them on doing other cool things on future projects.”

Microsoft Responds To Vault 7 CIA Leaks

Last week, a trove of leaks were published on WikiLeaks. And it was revealed that tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Apple and Linux were vulnerable to surveillance. According to BetaNews, Apple responded right away by saying it already fixed many of the vulnerabilities. And Microsoft followed up shortly after saying it was looking into the issues. “We are aware of the report and are looking into it,” said Microsoft in a statement about the Vault 7 CIA leak.

Some of the other companies have not responded to the issue yet. For example, Google has not yet responded to the report that Android is vulnerable to privacy invasions. And The Linux Foundation has not addressed the allegations as of yet.

Samsung TVs were shockingly reported as vulnerable to privacy invasions. The reports claim that the CIA is able to listen to conversations through the Samsung TVs. Samsung responded by it is aware of the report and that protecting consumers’ privacy is a “top priority.”

Report: Internet Usage On Android OS Inches Closer To Windows

In terms of Internet usage, Google’s Android operating system is getting closer to surpassing Microsoft Windows as being the most popular operating system. This is based on data collected by StatCounter for Internet usage on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices as of February 2017. Windows came in at 38.6% and Android was 37.4%.

This is a significant change from January 2012. “The idea of Android almost matching Windows would have been unthinkable five years ago,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. “In January 2012 Windows held 82% global internet usage share compared to just 2.2% for Android.”

In terms of PC Internet usage, Microsoft still dominates at 84.1%. However, Internet usage on mobile devices and tablets surpassed PCs for the first time in October 2016. Mobile devices and tablets hit 51.3% Internet usage compared to 48.7% for desktops.

Skype Update For macOS Now Supports Touch Bar

Microsoft has updated Skype for Mac to version 7.48 with Touch Bar support. The Skype update makes it easier to control phone calls.

The Touch Bar will show you the name and profile photo of the person that is calling. And from there you can tap on Start Video, Hang Up or Mute. Plus the Touch Bar will show support for Siri, volume and brightness.

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Donates $40 Million To University Of Washington Computer Science & Engineering Program

According to GeekWire, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is going to donate $40 million to the University of Washington’s computer science and engineering program. Microsoft is also donating $10 million in Allen’s honor. The $50 million endowment is for a new Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering department at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“We are entering a new golden age of innovation in computer science, and UW students and faculty will be at its leading edge,” said Allen in a statement. “My hope is that the school will have the same influence on them as it did on me — that they will continue to dream big, breaking through technological barriers and using their skills to solve some of the biggest problems our world faces.”

Microsoft Is Placing OneDrive Ads In Windows 10 File Explorer

Several Windows 10 users have pointed out that Microsoft has been placing ads for the OneDrive cloud storage service at the top of File Explorer. The ad says “Get the best deal on your cloud storage with OneDrive. For $6.99 a month, an Office 365 subscription gets you 1TB (1000 GB) of OneDrive cloud storage as well as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.” Plus there is a button that says “Learn More” — which likely links to the OneDrive website.

“The new tips notifications within the File Explorer in Windows 10 were designed to help Windows 10 customers by providing quick, easy information to enhance the experience relative to storage and cloud file management,” said a Microsoft spokesperson via The Verge. “That said, with Windows 10 customers can easily opt out of receiving these notifications if they choose.”

Microsoft Redesigns Cortana App For iPhone

Microsoft has redesigned the Cortana app for the iPhone with a brand new user interface. And Microsoft said a few other improvements were added to the update including “redesigned calling, texting and reminders. Plus Cortana app for iPhone now has full page answers. Here is what the update log says:

Thanks for using Cortana! Cortana V2.0.0 includes several performance and design improvements that make Cortana a better assistant for you:

  • A fresh new look with an improved user experience

  • Redesigned calling, texting, and reminders

  • More immersive full-page answers

  • Faster page transitions and improved app responsiveness

Acadian Asset Management Partners With Microsoft

Acadian Asset Management has partnered with Microsoft to utilize the Bing Predicts macroeconomic indicators, according to Business InsiderAcadian’s director of global macro quantitative research Ryan Stever told Business Insider that the decision was Microsoft’s search engine could be used for predicting things like the economy. Some of the data that Microsoft could provide is basic credit card sales and satellite details that track shipping routes.

Microsoft Monday includes seven days worth of updates from the Redmond-based software giant. What are your thoughts about the “Microsoft Monday” news from this week? Please leave a comment!

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