Amazon Expands Cloud Offerings, Big Firms Sign On to AWS

Amazon’s fifth cloud computing conference, AWS re:Invent, begins this week in Las Vegas, showcasing the impact of Amazon Web Services on corporate information technology. About 32,000 people are expected to attend. In the five years since its debut, AWS has offered a more price-conscious, subscription services-based alternative to on-site servers, storage, networking and software. As a result, Amazon’s AWS has grown 55 percent in Q3 to $3.2 billion, due in part to some large companies that recently came on board. Continue reading Amazon Expands Cloud Offerings, Big Firms Sign On to AWS

Google Releases Daydream View Headset to Positive Reviews

Google’s first VR headset, the $79 Daydream View, started shipping, the first step in the company’s goal to make Android the dominant VR operating system. Daydream faces some stiff competition, however, including Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR for PC and mobile devices, and Microsoft’s holographic version of Windows. So far, reviewers are giving Daydream a thumbs-up, as simple to use, inexpensive and light, and one reviewer calls the content on YouTube VR the new headset’s “killer app.” Continue reading Google Releases Daydream View Headset to Positive Reviews

Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

In January, Chrome will begin placing a “not secure” warning on the left of its address bar for websites that do not use strong HTTPS-connected encryption, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s existing sites. Up until then, Chrome has only posted warnings on HTTPS sites with faulty encryption. Later in 2017, Chrome plans to expand the categories of sites for which it will issue warnings, including any unencrypted pages visited via Chrome’s Incognito and any HTTP site offering downloads. Continue reading Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

Microsoft Debuts its ‘Teams’ Office Chat Tool, Similar to Slack

Microsoft introduced its first major addition in years to Office 365, the company’s $23 billion/year software, by debuting Microsoft Teams, which allows workers to gather with colleagues in private chat rooms. Similar to Slack, the new feature was brought to fruition by Microsoft co-founder/now technology adviser Bill Gates. Office 365’s suite of tools includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint and is delivered over the Internet. Microsoft Teams will be bundled for free with the business version of Office 365. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its ‘Teams’ Office Chat Tool, Similar to Slack

Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Facebook just announced that its PC gaming platform, Gameroom (formerly dubbed Facebook Games Arcade), is now open for all developers. The app is also available to users, for Windows 7 and up. Developers using the upcoming Unity 5.6 game engine will be able to export their games directly to the Gameroom platform. The new platform most closely resembles Valve’s Steam, which boasts 125 million active users. But Facebook is counting on its 1.71 billion monthly active users to intrigue developers and gamers alike. Continue reading Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Microsoft Rolls Out Skype for Business, Android/iOS Updates

Having shown Skype for Business in preview in April, Microsoft officially debuted the business version of the popular communications app, and announced updates to the Android and iOS Skype for Business apps. Skype for Business features include full-screen sharing, one-click to join, and edge-to-edge video. The updated apps allow users to present remotely with PowerPoint directly from a mobile device. Mac users got Skype for Business six months ago, and the “full and final Windows version” was introduced 18 months ago. Continue reading Microsoft Rolls Out Skype for Business, Android/iOS Updates

The Wolfe Aims to Turn MacBooks into Virtual Reality Players

Apple’s laptops may not have the power to run many virtual reality experiences, but an upcoming Kickstarter campaign aims to change that. The Wolfe offers an external Thunderbolt-connected GPU as a simple solution for supercharging laptops. According to its creators, The Wolfe increases the MacBook Pro’s GPU processing capabilities up to ten times. The form factor is a tidy, largish box housing an Nvidia GPU that is currently the baseline for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Early Kickstarter backers will get one for $399. Continue reading The Wolfe Aims to Turn MacBooks into Virtual Reality Players

Windows 10 Update to Include Windows Holographic Access

An update to the Windows 10 operating system will enable PC users to jump into mixed reality next year when their computers run the Windows Holographic shell Microsoft introduced in early 2015. “The update will allow users to multi-task in mixed reality environments, which combine traditional 2D Windows 10 apps with immersive, 3D graphical environments,” notes TechCrunch. “These will be enabled via a range of ‘6 degrees of freedom devices,’ input devices that add positional tracking to other more traditional forms of input, like clicking and pointing.” The team is also looking to make this available to PCs that do not currently have the necessary specs to run full-scale virtual reality. Continue reading Windows 10 Update to Include Windows Holographic Access

Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook is working with game engine Unity to build a dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform. The new platform will not require the intensive coding of Facebook’s previous SDK, making it easier for game publishers to offer iOS and Android games on the desktop. Developers now have until August 31 to get “instant access” to an alpha version of Unity 5.4 needed to build and export games to Facebook’s Web and desktop app. Facebook’s move is seen as an attempt to regain gaming revenues lost to the mobile platform. Continue reading Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Google Now Could Introduce Customization with New Feature

Google has tracked specific information since Google Alerts debuted, and several startups have tried to improve the experience. Google Now is the company’s current intelligent personal assistant, integrated into Android and search, and capable of delivering a wide range of information, from sports scores to weather. But it’s not easy to customize Google Now for individual interests; the user relies two not very intuitive or granular tools: on/off switches in the app’s setting or tapping on items to deem them not interesting. Continue reading Google Now Could Introduce Customization with New Feature

Apple Releases Public Beta Version of its Feature-Rich iOS 10

Apple released an early public beta version of its next mobile operating system yesterday for iPhone and iPad users interested in testing the new updates. Some industry analysts have described iOS 10 as the most extensive update in years, citing features such as improved photo software, a new messaging app, and a more convenient way to take devices out of sleep mode. Beta testers can also check out redesigned apps for music, maps and news. “If more early testers report bugs and give other feedback to Apple, it is less likely that major problems will remain on release” this fall, reports The New York Times, noting that Microsoft was largely successful with its similar testing process for Windows 10. Continue reading Apple Releases Public Beta Version of its Feature-Rich iOS 10

Microsoft Releases Code to Linux and Mac OS for First Time

Microsoft released .NET Core 1.0, a software development platform for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems, marking the first time that the company has officially supported the two primary competitors to its own operating system. The source code was originally released in 2014, for testing. Linux vendor Red Hat will support it on its Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS. Because .NET Core is open source, developers will be able to configure it to their needs as well as use it for free to develop their own applications. Continue reading Microsoft Releases Code to Linux and Mac OS for First Time

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Microsoft is positioning itself as providing, with Windows 10, the only platform for “mixed reality,” which the company describes as “providing devices with the ability to perceive the world, breaking down the barriers between virtual and physical reality.” In a three-minute video, Microsoft shows how it believes various types of augmented reality will be able to interact, using HoloLens headsets, VR helmets and other devices. Microsoft invites its partners to build on the Windows Holographic platform. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Microsoft is Scaling Back its Consumer Smartphone Business

Two years ago, Nokia announced that it had sold its mobile phone and smartphone businesses to Microsoft in a $7.2 billion deal. Since then, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shifted the company’s focus to bringing software and services to Android and iOS mobile systems rather than convincing consumers to use Windows. Last week, Microsoft announced it was selling its low-end feature phone business, and yesterday added it would further scale back consumer phone efforts and cut another 1,850 jobs. The company explained it would also take a $950 million charge as part of the move. Continue reading Microsoft is Scaling Back its Consumer Smartphone Business

Windows Users are Encouraged to Uninstall Apple QuickTime

Apple has decided it will no longer support or update its QuickTime software for Windows PCs. The company recently posted instructions online for uninstalling the popular multimedia player. Windows PC users should note that keeping QuickTime on their computers could pose a risk since there will be no more security updates (two new security holes were discovered by researchers at Trend Micro just last week). Apple offers an alternative to QuickTime via iTunes for playing back video and audio files. Additionally, Microsoft has its own media player. Continue reading Windows Users are Encouraged to Uninstall Apple QuickTime

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