Daily download: What's going on in the world of Microsoft for Monday, May 11, 2015 Clip art courtesy of "PrinterKiller"

Daily download: What's going on in the world of Microsoft for Monday, May 11, 2015

Welcome to life in a post-Ignite world. If you're still swimming through the sea of coverage we produced last week, I recommend you read our wrap-ups of Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Four. Once you're all caught up, see what's new in the world of Microsoft today.


THE END OF WINDOWS?

Developer evangelist Jerry Nixon's quote "Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10" took off on the Web, mostly because it sounds awfully like "This is the last version of an operating system that has stood astride the enterprise like a colossus, only with a Start Menu, since you people really get worked up if there isn't one."

The reality is a little more nuanced: Microsoft's shifting its concept of the Windows operating system away from the operating system as the software package that is effectively the boss of every other app on the computer. Instead, it's looking at Windows 10 as a service that will be continuously and incrementally refined, and those improvements will be delivered via the cloud.

On a related note: Tech Republic notes that Microsoft's Windows 10 world, which promises the Continuum mode with a UI that adapts to whatever device is displaying an app, is an awful lot like Canonical's Ubuntu in its end-user experience goals. And they run down the pros and cons for embracing each one.

 

IT'S GOOD TO EXCEL

Why not start the work week by feeling more productive? Susan Harkins' tutorial on using Excel's Subtotal feature is a quick and effective way to automate some of the more tedious metrics-keeping you may have to to for your work or personal life. 

If you're already an Excel maven and you're really into PowerQuery — Power Query for Excel is available with an Office 365 subscription, Office 2010 Professional Plus with Software Assurance, Office 2013 Desktop SKUs or Excel 2013 Standalone — you can get a list of updates on the data analysis feature.

 

SCRATCHING THE SURFACE OF THE ENTERPRISE

Microsoft has released a new driver specifically designed to make the Surface 3 a mass-deployable device and bring additional enterprise-level features to the smaller tablet.

However, as Rod Trent warns: 

I spent some time with the Surface 3 in the Microsoft Store at Microsoft Ignite last week. While it's comparable to the Surface Pro 3, the footprint is much smaller. I'm always wishing for more screen real estate with my Surface Pro 3, which is why I utilize the dock with multiple monitors, so the Surface 3 size means I get even less.

Another reason to consider hitting "pause" on any mass deployments of Surface 3 tablets? They don't run Windows 10. That's right — you won't be able to experience the whole "one experience across multiple devices, including your mobile device" thing on your mobile device if it's a Surface 3.

 

ON THE EDGE OF MORE SECURE WEB SURFING

This browser vows to be safer than its ancestor, Internet Explorer, in several key ways: embedding Microsoft Passport technology with asymmetric cryptography to authenticate you to your web sites; performing a reputation check on sites the browser visits, blocking sites that are thought to be phishing sites; and using new security features in the W3C and IETF standards.

Another Edge item: The New Tab page in Edge incorporates a lot of a web browser's most frequently hit tasks/sites, like a search box (it's Bing, of course), bookmarks and apps related to the sites you hit.

 

UNDER THE SEA

Back in 1996, Neal Stephenson chronicled the laying of underseas cables to bolster the physical infrastructure of the Internet, in a story that ranged across decades of telecom business deals, the history of rubber, and the international intricacies of laying all these cables that start in one country and finish in another. It's a fascinating piece of historical reportage now — especially since Microsoft broke the news today:

We announced deals with Hibernia and Aqua Comms, in which Microsoft is investing in a cable with each company to connect Microsoft’s datacenter infrastructure from North America to Ireland and on to the United Kingdom. These cables will help deliver data at higher speeds, with higher capacity and lower latency for our customers across the globe.

Additionally, we joined a consortium comprised of China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, KT Corporation with TE SubCom as the cable supplier. As part of our participation in the consortium, Microsoft will invest in its first physical landing station in the US connecting North America to Asia.

 

 

FROM US, FROM OUR SISTER SITES

If you're going to read only five tech stories today, make them these:

Digging Deeper into Windows Update for Business

Microsoft's 2016 software version announcements

Windows Azure Pack to Become Azure Stack

Several Paths Diverge in the Quest for IT Professional Development

2015 TC 100 Survey Now Open

 

FUN STUFF

Finally, for a bit of levity — it can't be all work, not even on a Monday — try either of these reads:

Turn your Windows phone into a portable karaoke machine. This is either a phenomenal icebreaker or a way to torture people you don't like — or possibly both, simultaneously. You're limited only by your phone's ability to pick up the song you want to sing along to.

Xbox has gotten power-conscious: The SmartGlass app lets Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android users turn their Xbox on and off when the Xbox One is connected to the same home network as SmartGlass. And users can now  select an energy-saving power mode during their initial Xbox One console setup.

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