Happy Wednesday! You have a day to figure out how you'll handle anyone who attempts to pinch you for not wearing green.
The biggest story of yesterday and why you should care today: Amazon is not kidding about using its foray into bricks-and-mortar stores as a way to solve the retail problem of "anonymous shoppers" moving through the stores without data attached. Its bookstore in Seattle has provided proof-of-concept for the effectiveness of showcasing its online assets (the cloud, data customized to users) in an offline environment. What's more, Amazon has taken the hated customer habit of "showrooming," i.e. looking at an item in a store, then using your phone to see if you can buy it more cheaply online, and turned it into a bricks-and-mortar asset. What's more, it's helping sell consumer on Amazon-branded tech hardware:
Until this visit, I didn’t realize how much lighter a regular Kindle was over the same-sized Kindle Paperwhite or Voyage (perhaps because of the embedded reading light in the latter two). The store also has extensive displays of private-label Amazon Basics products, from cables to Bluetooth speakers. This is a literally tangible improvement for shopping Amazon’s own product lines.
The retailer is also trying to eliminate two interrelated online shopping bugbears: the "friction" of having to log in and include payment information every time you shop vs. trying to keep the transaction secure. One possible solution: facial recognition, i.e. using a selfie to log in. Amazon's filed a patent on the process already. Here's hoping the facial recognition is more secure that the voiceprinting Alexa currently uses, as that device doesn't distinguish between the voices of authorized users or their roommates.
Also worth noting: This excellent survey runs down ten different security features in Windows 10 that deserve more attention, from virtualization-based security to Device Guard.
Also worth noting: Despite earlier reports, Microsoft will continue accepting Bitcoin as currency in its Windows store.
The most useful tech news:
Here's a primer on using the Android app Unclouded as a dashboard for managing the assets in your many cloud accounts.
Here's how to create custom Start Menu tiles for your PC games in Windows 10.
Did you break the Home button on your iPhone? Here's how to live with the damage.
Good news! The next time you Skype your coworkers, you can derail the conversation by including your favorite YouTube links; they'll play within the app.
The most amusing tech news: Ten Internet of Things products you must try in 2016 is both a survey of the state of connected technology and a reminder that few of us have a life so interesting that it will include both the need for a concussion-sensing football helmet and a city made entirely of smart Legos.
What we published yesterday:
HERE They Go - Windows 10 Support Pulled for HERE Apps — The rumble was from unhappy Windows 10 users around the world as they see a very significant collection of apps leaving their beloved platform.
Skype for Web Gains New Capabilities in Latest Update — These updates, announced yesterday on the Skype Garage & Updates blog, bring near feature parity to the web version of Skype and give the user complete freedom to access the service on any computer with a browser. This avoids the need for a separate program download if you are not on your own device.
One Possible Reason for Microsoft Band Pairing Problems with Android Phones — One interesting result from early switchers moving to Android is the inability to pair the Microsoft Band. Why? It apparently has to do with the length of the name given to the Microsoft Band.
OneDrive Uses Telemetry Data to Improve Online Sharing Options — Thanks to the Microsoft OneDrive team, we have a new real world example of how data can show Microsoft when a feature in one of its services is now working well.
Amazon's brick-and-mortar store: We take a tour — In the ultimate blending of the World Wide Web and the real world, we took a camera inside the Seattle bookstore Amazon now operates -- and we saw exactly how the store's designed to optimize all the data we've been feeding it all these years.
What is my CPNI and Why Does AT&T Want to Share it? — This sharing of CPNI data would also extend to un-named subsidiaries or affiliates of AT&T Inc that provide, design, market or sell these products and/or services.
Win a Free Conference Pass to IT/Dev Connections 2016! — We're happy to announce and formally kick-off a very unique and rewarding program called “ITDC: Work to Win” that can get you a free conference pass to IT/Dev Connections 2016.