Microsoft Edge- Potentially Your Next Favorite Browser

Internet Explorer has had quite the life span. It brought down Netscape, and was one of the reasons for the almost split of Microsoft. Unfortunately, the dominance was the reason for its downfall. Microsoft feel complacent and forgot to update IE after Internet Explorer 6. After uproar following numerous security vulnerabilities, and fresh competition from Mozilla, Microsoft updated Internet Explorer, but it was too late; The damage was done in consumer’s mind.

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Image Credit- Slate

When Microsoft announced Project Spartan (Edge’s codename), the reaction from the tech sphere was one of excitement and surprise. Internet Explorer will still be around in Windows 10, but only to appease businesses using legacy applications. Edge was introduced at Microsoft’s BUILD conference. The logo is the familiar E from Internet Explorer, but with a different color scheme.

Edge is completely redesigned, and uses no code from IE. This ensures that performance will be adequate for todays web. Microsoft recognized, “… some enterprises have legacy web sites that use older technologies designed only for Internet Explorer, such as custom ActiveX controls and Browser Helper Objects. For these users, Internet Explorer will also be available on Windows 10. Internet Explorer will use the same dual rendering engines as Spartan, ensuring web developers can consistently target the latest web standards.” The new EdgeHTML engine is rendering engine that replaces the Trident engine used by IE. 200,000 lines of code from Internet Explorer were removed for Edge, as well as 300 interfaces removed.

Edge is the first browser with a personal assistant, Cortana. She provides you with voice control, search, and personalized information. One note integration, and annotation is introduced into Edge. This feature will span through the desktop, and mobile Windows 10 devices. Mobile devices will allow you to draw with your fingers, or stylus. PC users can use their mouse. Nice.

Edge will be the default browser in Windows 10. Edge will be a formidable rival to Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome, and will be one of the highlights of Windows 10 once it launches. It is exciting to see Microsoft bury the hatchet with Internet Explorer and come back full force with Edge. The ultimate winners here are consumers. You will be provided with a more secure, and faster internet experience.

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New Mission Statement form Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

A company’s mission statement is the foundation of what drives to move forward, and gives it a sense of purpose. CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella has just given Microsoft new purpose by changing the companies mission statement. We have already seen much change come out of the software giant, such as embracement of other platforms through the offering of Microsoft apps, and collaborations with once arch enemies, (salesforce).

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Image Credit- Microsoft

After reading the mission statement, one can only assume that there is massive, even potentially radical change coming to the company. This can be felt after reading this excerpt from the latter to employees:

“We will need to innovate in new areas, execute against our plans, make some tough choices in areas where things are not working and solve hard problems in ways that drive customer value.”

Areas that aren’t working could point to Windows Phone, or the Surface line of tablets. The Windows Phone team has been integrated into the Windows team, and has faces massive layoffs. Microsoft was not seeing its vison of what a PC should be, which is what compelled it to start the Surface line, but bow Microsoft has had input on devices such as HP’s Spectre x360 convertible laptop. Other computer manufacturers have taken to developing hardware with more sex appeal, and usability, such as the Dell’s incredible 13 and 15 inch XPS laptop’s.

Another key point in the e-mail was the reaffirmation of ‘mobile-first, cloud-first:

“Strategy and ambitions. Our strategy is to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Our platforms will harmonize the interests of end users, developers and IT better than any competing ecosystem or platform.”

Nadella has only been at the helm of Microsoft for sixteen months, but the changes in the company’s practices and how it approaches its competition has changed drastically. These changes have moved a once stagnant share price, and has made Microsoft relevant and newsworthy once more. A great leadership quality is being able to look at what works, and what doesn’t, and making the tough choices necessary to focus on what does work. I hope that Nadella is able to successfully implement whatever changes need to happen to grow, and move the company in the right direction.

The full transcript of the e-mail to employees can be found here. Please remember to comment and leave your feedback, as well as to follow me on Twitter @delrealest.

Coming to an iPhone Near You- iOS 9 Part 3

Welcome to the last portion of my iOS 9 preview. Listed below are the last items with respect to iOS 9. As you will see, there are some welcomed additions for current, and future users of iOS devices. Lets start off with the iPhone companion I love to hate.

Siri

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Image Credit- MacTrast 

Siri gets smarter in IOS 9. Siri will be able to better understand you (lets hope so), deliver results faster, and offer suggestions before you ask it a question. What is it that you are able to ask Siri now? Well, according to Apple:

  • You can “Ask Siri to search through your photos and videos based on dates, locations, and album titles. For example, say “Show me photos from my trip to Aspen in January” and you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for.” and,
  • “Siri can remind you about things you’re looking at in your apps — like Safari, Mail, and Notes — and want to follow up on later. If you’re halfway through an email, you can say “Remind me about this tonight.” Or if you’re looking at a place in Maps where you want to stop later, you can ask for a reminder when you get to your car.”

Just like Google, Siri will now prepopulate results as you type in the search field. Nice. Lastly, Siri will also make suggestions based on your app usage, and times you use said apps.

Behind the Scenes Improvements

Apple promises better responsive performance, easier updates, better battery life, and tighter security.

Improvements to the OS allow it to save power whenever possible. An example of this is when your device is facedown on a table, iOS prevents the screen from turning on. This is putting those sensors to excellent use. Changes such as this equate to about an hour of additional battery life.

Smaller Updates

You will not need such a massive amount of free space to be able to update your iOS device. Currently, updates need about 4.58 GB to be able to update, but with IOS 9, you will only need 1.3 GB. Finally. This will be welcomed news for those people that make the mistake of buying a 16 GB iPhone.

Security

Given the last year of security challenges Apple, and the industry have faced, Apple is stepping its game up in keeping its customers more secure. Enhancements to security include six-digit passcodes. Those prying eyes will have a harder time breaking in to your device. Two-factor authentication will also prompt (using a verification code) when signing to a browser, or unrecognized device. I am glad to see Apple make an effort in this important field.

Android Migration

This is the icing on the cake. According to Apple, iOS 9 will make it easier for Android users to make the jump by providing them with a migration tool that will transfer “…contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books. Additionally, it will help you rebuild your app library, too. Any free apps you used — like Facebook and Twitter — are suggested for download from the App Store. And your paid apps are added to your iTunes Wish List.” This would have been really handy for all those users that ditched their Android devices when the iPhone 6 launched.

Overall, these evolutionary updates to iOS and its apps will remind users why they made the right choice when they picked their iOS device over the competition. I hope you enjoyed my preview of iOS 9. Please leave your comments or questions in the blog post. Please follow me on Twitter @delrealest.

Coming to an iPhone Near You- iOS 9 Part 2

This is a continuation of my last blog post. Here I go more in depth to other iOS devices an features. Part 3 coming soon!

CarPlay

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Image Credit – 9to5mac

According to Apple, “If your car supports wireless connection to iPhone, you can use CarPlay without plugging in. CarPlay also plays audio messages, so you can hear from people in their own voices. If you use your car’s knobs to control CarPlay, you can now take full advantage of the way they tilt and spin to scroll through lists or pan around in Maps. And apps developed by car manufacturers are supported, too — so you can control more of your car’s features without ever leaving CarPlay.” Pretty neat!

Multitasking!

FINNALY; But its only in the iPad. The once had an iPad Air, and I sold it because of a lack of multitasking. I may end up buying one again. Multitasking comes with three features:

  • Slide Over
    • This allows you to open a second app with out closing the one you are currently using. If you’ve ever used Windows 8 its like summoning the charms bar. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.
  • Split View
    • I’m sorry to reference Windows 8, but that’s exactly what it reminds me of! Both apps are running side by side. You can also drag the border in the middle to change the side of whichever app you are using.
  • Picture in Picture
    • This one is awesome. While FaceTiming with someone, simply press the Home button and your session will scale down to the corner of the display. This makes it easy to continue working while using FaceTime.

QuickType

According to Apple you can, “Shape up your text in no time with an all-new Shortcut Bar, convenient editing tools, and a handy new way to select text with Multi-Touch gestures. And now when you use a wireless keyboard with your iPad, you can enjoy even more keyboard shortcuts.” And “Bold, italicize, or underline — even copy and paste — with just a couple of taps from your keyboard. The Shortcut Bar can also be customized for third-party apps, so the tools you need are always right where you need them.” This will be handy for those that use an iPad a their primary computing device, and may compel other to do the same.

Coming to an iPhone Near You- iOS 9 Part 1

In a world where you know use your phone more than your PC, its important that the OS powering that device is solid. iOS is becoming more mature at time goes on. Its initial release was revolutionary. It is hard after a few releases to recreate that type of magic so companies fine tune their products (evolve) them to keep themselves relevant, and help their customers be more productive.

iOS 9 is a release that adds many new features to existing apps, and introduces new ones. Everything from built-in apps to, to the core of iOS 9 has been updated.  Improvement for apps include:

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Image Credit- Ctrlhelp.com

News

This is a brand new app that is embedded into your iOS device. This is a news aggregation app that you can customize to include the content that you are interested in reading. News pulls from leading publications, as well as indie ones. Unfortunately, you cannot delete this app because it is part of the OS.

Notes

The current notes app is REALLY basic. Apple has added a ton of useful features that will remind you of OneNote or Evernote. The most welcomed feature is iCloud synchronization that will keep all of your notes up to date through your iOS and Mac devices. This feature is awesome, because you no longer have to fumble between devices to find that note you need. You can also;

  • Turn lists into checklists
  • Sketch, and
  • Take notes on a picture.

Maps

For you few that use this app, there’s some handy new features coming. Like is OS X El Capitan, Maps in iOS 9 is getting public transit information. Another handy feature is that it will display near by restaurants, or attractions.

Wallet

Wallet is evolving, and your wallet is slowly gaining more room. iOS 9 hastens this by adding support for:

  • Discover Card,
  • Retail charge cards (JCPenny, or Kohl’s),
  • Loyalty cards! (Dunkin’ Donuts DD Perks, MyPanera, and Walgreens Balance Rewards)

Yay!

I will have part 2 for you soon. We will explore enhancements to CarPay, and multitasking. Please let me know if you are enjoying the blog. It is fun writing it. Follow me on Twitter @delrealest for trending tech updates.

Office Mac 2016- A Long Time Coming

Since 2011 Mac users and lovers have been patiently waiting for a new version of Microsoft Office for Mac. We have seen releases for Windows, iOS, and Android come about while we raged with envy. Microsoft’s excuse for why they have waited so long to release a new version was because they had to pull that team away to work on mobile versions of Office. All this due to Microsoft’s ‘Cloud First, Mobile First’ strategy, and increased completion from Google.

microsoft-office-macImage Credit- Microsoft

There are alternatives to Office for Mac, but let’s be real; It is like stepping back in time to 1998. Even as outdated as Office for Mac 2011 is, it is years ahead of iWork, and Google Docs. Microsoft responded to out cried with a preview of Outlook that was released back in March. Aside from being really buggy, and offering no synchronizing capabilities with your online calendars (Google, and Outlook), the user interface was very polished and up to date. This has only improved though out the last few months, but still no calendar support! I do have to add that Exchange calendars are supported.

PMG_Image_Excel_860x503Image Credit- Microsoft

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have all been updated to look like their Windows counterparts. This is a very awesome thing, because no longer will someone switching machines have to deal with different ribbons, and locations of commands and features. With Office for Mac 2016, Mac users are no longer second class citizens to their Windows counterparts. We have Google and Apple to thank for turning up the heat with their own offerings. My only complaint is that the software is still really buggy.

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There is no target date for launch, but it is speculated that it will be in the second half of this year. I am sorry, I know that is VERY BROAD. An announcement was expected by the time Apples World Wide Developer Conference kicked off, but obviously nothing has surfaced. My prediction would be late summer/ early fall. I say thing only because of the bugs I’ve come across, although Microsoft has been quick to push out updates. We have waited long enough though. Microsoft please finish this!

I hope you are all enjoying my blog. Please remember to follow me in Twitter @delrealest, and comment on my blog. I would love to hear form you. If you are in the Reno, NV area, hit me up and we can grab a beer and discuss Trending Tech! 🙂

‘El Captain’ is Sailing to a Mac near You

Confession time; I used to be a diehard Microsoft fan boy, but over the last few years I’ve transitioned to the Apple Ecosystem. The continuity features in OS X Yosemite sealed my affection for OS X, and Apple. This simple yet powerful feature lets me remain on Mac, and with Microsoft Office for Mac finally being updated, I have no reason to go back to Windows. Apple’s new OS will only make my bond to it stronger.

At its WWDC in San Francisco this month, Apple announced their new OS, OS X El Capitan. Yosemite, and its wonders, seem to be the new naming attraction for Apple’s new OS’s. El Capitan is more an evolutionary update more than anything, and it is ultimately a refinement of OS X Yosemite. New features in El Capitan include:

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Performance

Apple promises across the board performance claiming:

  • Up to 1.4x faster app launch,
  • Up to 2x faster app switching,
  • Up to 2x faster display of first Mail messages, and
  • Up to 4x faster PDF opening in preview. Good!

Split View

This feature is reminiscent of full screen app splitting in Windows 8. The screen will be filled up with whatever two apps you choose, and you can resize the screen by moving the line that divides the apps either left or right.

Mission Control

For those of you who are not OCD about how many windows are open, enhancements to Mission Control, the F3 button on your Mac’s keyboard, are coming to El Capitan. According to Apple, Mission Control places your windows in the same relative location, so you can spot the one you’re looking for more quickly. it’s now even simpler to make more room for your windows now by just dragging any window to the top of your screen, and drop it into a new desktop space.

Spotlight

This is Apples awesome desktop search engine. In El Capitan, Spotlight will be delivering you results for weather, sports, stocks, web video, and transit information. You will also be able to ask Spotlight to find a file using natural language — so when you’re looking for something, just type it the way you’d say it. You will also be able to resize the Spotlight search window for your viewing pleasure.

Mail

I could care less for Apple Mail, but there are some handy new features coming down the pike that make me want to take a second look. Like its cousin on the iPhone, Mail will now let you add suggested events and contacts. Yay! This means that you click on an event in an e-mail, for example, “Meet me for dinner at 7 PM tomorrow.” and a calendar event will be added to Calendar. The same is true for contacts; someone’s contact information will be indexed by Apple to the appropriate fields, and you will be asked if you want to add them to your Contacts application. Nice. Now you can take care of emails with a swipe, just like on your iPhone. Swipe right to mark an email as read or unread, or swipe left to delete. You’ll be focused on what’s important in no time. All this on your trackpad of course.

Notes

The Notes app is getting a makeover. Now you can turn a list into a checklist, or add a photo, video, URL, or map location to a note. With iCloud integration, all your notes and everything in them are synchronized between your Apple devices. So you can create a note on your Mac and check it on your iPhone.

Photos

Support for third-party tools that will be available from the Mac App Store and accessible through the app. You will be able to use multiple editing extensions on a single photo, or use a mix of extensions and the editing tools built into Photos. New filters will also be added for all you hipsters.

Safari

The new Pinned Sites feature will let you Keep websites you visit often, such as your Facebook, or Twitter feed open, up to date. They’ll stay active in the background, and they’ll stay put on the left side of your tab bar. Airplay integration will allow you to share videos from a web page to Apple TV. This last feature proves that it’s the little things that matter; If you’re listening to audio in one tab and another website starts to play, you can mute the one you don’t want to hear. And if what you really want is silence, you can mute all audio from your browser, too. YES!

Other features include enhancements to Chinese, and Japanese fonts and inputs, and a public transit addition to Maps.

El_capitan_and_merced_river Image Credit – Wikipedia

I can’t wait for El Capitan. Again, it’s the little things that matter, and NO ONE does a better job at making these small, yet necessary additions than Apple. Please comment your thoughts about El Capitan, and remember to follow me on twitter @delrealest. If you’re ever in the Reno, NV area, lets meet up for a beer and talk trending tech!