Microsoft Band No More…

Microsoft has stopped selling their fitness watch, Microsoft Band, in their stores. They have also confirmed that they are not releasing another Band this year. With the movement in the development teams and this, it looks like the Band is getting chopped.

My first gen Band is still a great device. It’s gone through a lot, and is still working great. I’d love to upgrade to a newer version, but it looks like I’ll be going for a Fitbit. I was hoping for a new iteration of the Band…

Microsoft is believed to have disbanded the software team that was looking to bring Windows 10 to the Band a couple months ago. I’ve gotten various tips that at least some of the Band hardware team members have dispersed, too, with some moving to other Microsoft hardware teams inside the company.

Even though sources of mine have said Microsoft is planning to phase out its fitness band devices and to have no plans to roll out a Band 3 device any time soon (or likely, ever), company officials still haven’t completely conceded that it’s the end of the line for Band.

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New Windows 10 Insiders Build – 14926

For those in the Insiders group, a new build was released today. A lot of new fixes, build expiration, updates to applications. A lot of excellent changes this week. Make sure to update and try it out. Also, submit any feedback (good or bad) to the Windows team. They definitely use it to make a better Windows for future builds!

Just as we’ve always done with pre-release versions of Windows, Insider Preview builds have expiration dates. Starting tomorrow September 15th, PCs running really old Insider Preview builds will start to see build expiration notifications once a day. Then on October 1st, these PCs will start rebooting every 3 hours and then on October 15th – these PCs will stop booting all together. If your PC is running one of these old Insider Preview builds, please make sure you update to Build 14926 via Settings > Update & security > Windows Update. Build 14926 has an updated expiration date of May 1st, 2017. If your PC is running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Build 14393) in the Slow and Release Preview rings today – this does not apply to you and you will not be notified of your build expiring.

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Microsoft Launches New Online Community for IT Pros

Microsoft has officially launched a new online community with a focus on IT Professionals. The Microsoft Tech Community is consolidating several communities to focus on Windows Server, Office 365, Azure and SQL Server.

It is still a community that is new, so expect some growing pains as well as upcoming new features. Come join the fun, help out, ask questions, and join the conversation.

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the Microsoft Tech Community, bringing multiple communities together in one central location to support discussions and best practice sharing across a variety of Microsoft products and services.  The Microsoft Tech Community is an evolution of the Office 365 Network, growing to support new Azure; Windows Server, and SQL Server Communities and in future many more communities.

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New Insider Build – 14915

Microsoft has released a new build for Windows Insiders, build 14915. Lots of fixes this round (including my #1 issue – power button broken on Start Menu! Always had to right click to get it…). The app and update delivery  has been optimized, as well.

 

Starting today, Windows Insiders that have Delivery Optimization enabled will be able to download new Insider Preview builds, OS updates, and app updates from other PCs on their local network as well as from other PCs on the Internet. We introduced Delivery Optimization with the Windows 10 November Update giving users the ability to get updates from PCs on a local network and are now enabling the ability to get updates from PCs on the Internet.

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Microsoft Supporting Skylake with Windows 7/8.1

Microsoft has changed their mind and will be supporting Intel’s Skylake CPU technology until the end of support for Windows 7 and 8.1. Windows 10 will be required for the newer CPU generations, however. At least for the latest and greatest features and support.

As previously communicated earlier this year, future silicon platforms including Intel’s upcoming 7th Gen Intel Core (Kaby Lake) processor family and AMD’s 7th generation processors (e.g. Bristol Ridge) will only be supported on Windows 10, and all future silicon releases will require the latest release of Windows 10.

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Post-Anniversary Update Insiders Update

With the latest Anniversary Update behind us, Microsoft has given us another Insiders Update – Build 14901. This has a few fixes, and a new way for notifications within File Explorer.

I’d also like to thank everyone for all of your help around the research and ideas for the #WINsiders4Good events. The Seattle one was a great success and I will write up a detailed blog (with a video!) once we wrap up Berlin this weekend. The team and I are working on creating a CAT (Create-A-Thon) In A Box so that any of you can host your own event with your local community. I love that our Insider community are people who use the tech they love to help eradicate the problems they don’t love.

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New Microsoft Professional Degree Program

Microsoft has released a new program – Microsoft Professional Degree Program – that can train users and certify them in the Data Science discipline. The courses are free to audit, but if you want to get the MPD certificate for completing the course, it will cost you.

The ability to offer Learning as a Service, to meet a learner where they are in their own journey and provide the targeted experiences they need to reach their specific goals, is critical to closing the skills gap.  The versatility of the Open edX on Azure platform, and the breadth of our learning partner community, allows us to broaden our reach and deliver customized curriculum to drive skills needed in the market, such as the Microsoft Professional Degree (MPD) program.  The initial curriculum in the MPD program will focus on data science for this very reason, as a study by McKinsey & Company estimates that by 2018 the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.

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Server 2016 Launches This September

Microsoft will officially launch Server 2016 at Ignite in late September. For those running Technical Preview 5, you are running a feature complete preview and the final preview before launch.

Server 2016 for Standard and Data Center editions come with three installation options this time. Server Core, Server with Desktop Experience (the typical Windows Server GUI), and the Nano Server.

    • Server with Desktop Experience: The Server with Desktop Experience installation option (previously known as Server with a GUI) provides an ideal user experience for those who need to run an app that requires local UI or for Remote Desktop Services Host. This option has the full Windows client shell and experience, consistent with Windows 10 Anniversary edition Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB), with the server Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and Server Manager tools available locally on the server.
    • Server Core: The Server Core installation option removes the client UI from the server, providing an installation that runs the majority of the roles and features on a lighter install. Server Core does not include MMC or Server Manager, which can be used remotely, but does include limited local graphical tools such as Task Manager as well as PowerShell for local or remote management.
    • Nano Server: The Nano Server installation option provides an ideal lightweight operating system to run “cloud-native” applications based on containers and micro-services. It can also be used to run an agile and cost-effective datacenter with a dramatically smaller OS footprint. Because it is a headless installation of the server operating system, management is done remotely via Core PowerShell, the web-based Server Management Tools (SMT), or existing remote management tools such as MMC.
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Windows Insider Build 14379

Microsoft has released build 14379 for Windows 10 Insiders for PC and Mobile. As the Anniversary Update is coming in a month (August 2nd), they are now in bug squash mode. A few fixes this time:

Improvements and fixes for PC

  • We fixed an issue where the size of the Credential UI might not be big enough to display the contents on a PC with High DPI.
  • We fixed an issue where Action Center might crash after dismissing a large number of notifications.
  • We fixed an issue where Centennial app launches from Start or Cortana wouldn’t count towards those apps bubbling up in Start’s “Most used” list.
  • We fixed an issue where no note would have keyboard focus after minimizing then reopening the Sticky Notes app.
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Understanding Telemetry in Windows 10

Windows 10 gets a lot of flak for it’s telemetry and information gathering. This Technet article outlines what is gathered and sent to Microsoft and how you can control it within an organization. This can differ from the home editions of Windows 10, though.

All telemetry data is encrypted using SSL and uses certificate pinning during transfer from the device to the Microsoft Data Management Service. With Windows 10, data is uploaded on a schedule that is sensitive to event priority, battery use, and network cost. Real-time events, such as Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, are always sent immediately. Normal events are not uploaded on metered networks, unless you are on a metered server connection. On a free network, normal events can be uploaded every 4 hours if on battery, or every 15 minutes if on A/C power. Diagnostic and crash data are only uploaded on A/C power and free networks.

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