Short Takes: January 23, 2015

Short Takes: January 23, 2015

An often irreverent look at this week's other news

An often irreverent look at this week's other news. This issue is dedicated entirely to Microsoft's latest Windows 10 event and the gaggle of announcements the company laid on us this week. So, sit back. Have fun. You'll learn something and might smile a couple times. 

Four sentences doth not a Windows 10 news story make

As I was scanning the headlines from various tech news outlets after the Windows 10 ultimate reveal event (which is what I've decided to call it), I saw what I expected. There were numerous headlines with similar themes like the "top 5 things about Windows 10" or the "everything you need to know about Windows 10." Yawn. These stories may well contain good and valuable content, but the titles are so commonplace now they're boring. I moved on. But, some titles were actually compelling. One such title captured my attention that subsequently solicited a mouse click. When I arrived I was presented with four sentences. FOUR.

C'mon, guys. Put some effort into it. 

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

If you either attended the Windows 10 event personally or watched using the provided live stream, you caught the Cortana demo delivered by Microsoft's own Joe Belfiore. Cortana is a fantastic personal assistant technology. Left to her own devices, she's wonderful, warm, and intelligent. But, what delivered during the demo yesterday was comical, uncomfortable, and scripted. I half expected a winged monkey to throw back a green curtain to reveal – wait for it – Steve Ballmer. Who, incidentally, put his stamp of approval on the event over Twitter shortly after…

We miss you Steve. But, not for the reasons you were hoping. 

Don’t worry, Gulliver, Terry Myerson is alone and unarmed

The Windows 10 event was a fantastical journey, orchestrated beautifully. It was like a circus act that consciously and methodically ramped up the excitement with each new minute and continued to build throughout. But, it took another semi-fairy tale turn after Microsoft introduced and began to demo HoloLens, the company's Holographic visor that looks suspiciously like something from Robocop. The first demo? Turning Terry Myerson into a real life Lilliputian.

So, maybe it wasn't Steve Ballmer behind that green curtain, after all. But, seriously, isn't this what the definition of Sci-Fi truly is? A fairy tale replete with cool technology. But, in this particular case, the tech is real and the fairy tale, well, you decide.

P.S. If you're too young to know what a Lilliputian is, I beg you to read more. 

If using GoogleGlass Makes You a Glasshole, Using HoloLens makes you…

HoloLens is NOT GoogleGlass and should never be compared as such. HoloLens is a reimagined computer interface, completely contained, and tether free – or at least will be. Yet, as soon as HoloLens was announced, no less than 25 articles hit the tubes talking about how GoogleGlass and HoloLens stacked up against each other. Isn't that sort of like comparing a DeLorean DMC-12 to a Tesla Model S? They don’t make DeLoreans any more.

Just sayin'… 

Area 51 is real and it's in Redmond

For those X-Files fans or just general UFO enthusiasts and believers, we got a real treat this week when Project Blue Book released. Project Blue Book contains a massive stack of reports (130,000 in all) that the Unites States Air Force has kept under wraps since 1947. The newly declassified reports detail every confirmed and unconfirmed UFO sighting the Air Force investigated between 1947 and 1969. They contain some amazing photos and information – if you're into that sort of thing (and, I am). However, sifting through the new releases you won't find one mention of Microsoft or HoloLens and that's disturbing since, apparently, Area 51 actually exists under the Visitor Center on the Microsoft campus. That's where HoloLens was developed in utter secrecy. According to Microsoft, the company has partnered with NASA to develop software called OnSight which will allow Earth-bound scientists to walk on Mars – virtually. Basically, the Curiosity rover will terramap Mars and deliver the information back to Earth where HoloLens-clad scientists can "play with things."

This is alien technology, folks. 

Can I get a free upgrade to my TV?

Microsoft is offering a deal for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 consumers to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. After looking at the extremely cool 84 inch, 4K display with white boarding, video call, and Kinect-type gesture capability called the Surface Hub, I'd like to request the same free upgrade deal for my 50 inch TV at home. No deal? 

And, lastly…

I want to thank Paul Thurrott for his many, many years of service, which included writing each and every Short Takes issue since the beginning of time. This is the first issue that doesn’t have Paul's usual snarky stamp on it, and it's sorely missed. Paul will do well wherever he treads and he remains a good and trusted friend.

Paul, may your sushi be fresh, your coffee cup stay full, and your selfie stick remain steady.

Thanks for the fish!


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