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  • Geebo 11:04 am on July 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Microsoft   

    Microsoft wants to bring broadband internet to rural areas 

    Microsoft wants to bring broadband internet to rural areas

    If you’ve ever lived in a rural or remote area, you probably know how difficult it can be to get internet service to your home. In many cases, your only options are satellite internet, which is prohibitively expensive, or dial-up internet, which should be classified as crime against humanity. It’s even worse if you have children who need the internet to do school work, or if you’re looking for employment. Without broadband internet, it puts people in rural areas at an educational and financial disadvantage. Enter Microsoft. Microsoft, in a coalition with other foundations are working on perfecting a technology that could bring broadband internet to many people who currently can’t access it.

    When TV broadcasters switched from analog to digital signals, it left swaths of open space in the radio spectrum. Some of those frequencies can be used to deliver broadband internet over the air. While this idea has been proposed before, Microsoft seems to be going full steam ahead. Users of the service would need a special antenna and a special modem required to receive the signal and provide wi-fi to the home. Microsoft says they have no intention of becoming an ISP, but would rather perfect the technology before equipping providers with it.

    While this all sounds great, there are of course industries opposed to this technology. Broadcasters are afraid the internet signal might interfere with their transmissions. Industries that use wireless sound equipment are afraid of interference as well. That’s not even taking existing internet service providers into account. A lot of industries are very protective of their current technologies and business models. Anything that can be seen as a disruption to either of those things will almost always result in legal battles. Years ago, the city of Philadelphia tried providing municipal broadband to its citizens. To combat losing business, Verizon heavily lobbied the state of Pennsylvania to limit municipal broadband and they won. Philly never received municipal broadband and Verizon and Comcast now have a duopoly over The City of Brotherly Love. If broadcasters and ISPs were to use their deep pockets to lobby Congress we may never see this technology get off the ground.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on July 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft, OneDrive, Skype,   

    Microsoft takes a page out of Photobucket’s book with updates for Skype and OneDrive 

    Microsoft takes a page out of Photobucket's book with updates for Skype and OneDrive

    Microsoft seems to have taken a page out of Photobucket’s book on how to make customers angry with updates to two of their most popular services. The first isn’t so bad, the second is pretty bad.

    The first problem is with Microsoft’s update to OneDrive, their cloud-based storage system. Microsoft now no longer allows users to store their OneDrive folder on non-NTFS devices. That means you can’t store your OneDrive folder on most external devices such as flash drives without formatting the drives to Microsoft’s proprietary file system. Here’s the difference between NTFS and the other popular file system, FAT32.

    As the video says, NTFS is more secure, but FAT is more universally accepted. The other problem is once you format a device to NTFS, it’s a chore to reformat the device back to FAT. Like Photobucket, Microsoft didn’t warn anybody about this update and just flipped the switch at their discretion. Microsoft is famous for trying to get customers locked into proprietary formats that are Microsoft exclusive. They’ll probably claim they made the change for security purposes but many people find their external devices formatted with FAT32 to be more convenient.

    Then there’s Skype. Skype was originally a desktop-only application that allowed users to make video calls to each other on their computers. When it debuted in 2003, it was considered groundbreaking. Microsoft acquired Skype back in 2011. In more recent years, Skype became an app that can be used on any Android or iOS device. Skype was great because it did what exactly what it was supposed to do, –it made voice and video calls and that was it. With its most recent update Microsoft added humorous filters and a Highlights section. If that sounds a lot like Snapchat, that’s because it is. It’s basically a straight up rip-off from Snapchat. These new features on Skype are being referred to as fixing something that wasn’t broken. Skype’s lack of features was its biggest selling point. Much like Photobucket again, Microsoft is responding to the complaints by thanking customers for their ‘input’.

    Oh well, at least they didn’t try to charge people $400.

     
  • Geebo 12:24 pm on October 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MacBook, Microsoft, Surface, trade-in   

    Microsoft fires shot across the bow at Apple with trade-in offer 

    Microsoft fires shot across the bow at Apple with trade in offer

    Recently, Microsoft unveiled new models of their Surface line of devices and then threw down the gauntlet against rival company Apple. The folks from Redmond are offering $650 for you to trade in your MacBook for a new Surface device. This is a perfect time for Microsoft to strike with an offer like this. Not only has it been a very long time since Apple released any new MacBooks, but when Apple released the last MacPro, a lot of long time Apple users jumped ship to much more powerful Windows machines that could also be upgraded.

    Of course, not every MacBook will be accepted for trade in. You can’t trade in a MacBook with a busted screen and a frayed charger. Microsoft has set the following rules for MacBooks that are eligible for trade ins…

    Must be fully functional
    Battery must hold charge and not be required to be plugged in to operate
    Must not have any damaged, broken, or missing components
    Cannot have been modified and warranty seal must be intact
    Cannot be password protected
    Must come with original chargers and accessories

    You can trade in your old MacBook that meet the requirements at a Microsoft store or at Microsoft.com but hurry, you only have until November 7th, or as they say, while supplies last.

     
  • Geebo 10:02 am on July 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Microsoft, , ,   

    Yahoo: What could have been 

    Yahoo: What could have been

    Yesterday it was announced that Yahoo has been purchased by communications giant Verizon for $4 billion. While that may seem like a fair price for the aging internet icon, it pales in comparison to what might have been for Yahoo.

    Although hindsight is 20/20 Yahoo has made some financial decisions that even through the looking-glass of history seem questionable. For example, Yahoo had the chance to buy Google twice. In 1998, Google founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin were trying to sell their company, that would later become Google, for $1M. Both AltaVista and Yahoo turned them down. In 2002 Yahoo entered into negotiations to purchase Google but walked away from Google’s asking price of $5B. In 2008, Microsoft sought to purchase Yahoo for upwards of $40B. Once again, Yahoo walked away from the deal. However, the question has to be asked, if Yahoo did purchase Google, what’s to say that they still wouldn’t be a floundering tech company today? Not to mention we’d be without a lot of Google services that many of us rely upon today. If history is any indicator, Yahoo would more than likely find themselves in the same situation they’re currently in.

    The news isn’t all bad for Yahoo though, at least not as far as Verizon sees it. Verizon already owns another massive tech property in AOL. While the AOL brand may not have the same punch it once did it still has such properties under its banner as TechCrunch and the Huffington Post. Business Insider purports that with the addition of Yahoo to its portfolio, Verizon could have a bigger web network than both Google and Facebook. That may not be hyperbole since Yahoo was once the most visited website in the world and still holds a place in the top ten.

     
  • Geebo 9:57 am on July 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: laptops, Microsoft, , , Windows 10   

    Time running out for free Windows 10 upgrade 

    Time running out for free Windows 10 upgrade

    If you’re currently running Windows 7 or 8 on your laptop or pc, and you’ve been on the fence about upgrading to Windows 10, you may want to make your mind up pretty soon. This Friday, July 29th, 2016, will be the last day you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. If you want to upgrade after the 29th, it will cost you roughly $120. Conversely, if you don’t plan on upgrading maybe Microsoft will finally stop with their constant ‘encouragement’ to upgrade.

    I personally Like Windows 10. I was a Windows 7 holdout for the longest time, then I bought a low powered Cloudbook, the Windows version of a Chromebook, that came with Windows 10 and I was hooked. I think that Windows 10 runs better on lower powered hardware than Windows 7 did and it corrects all the problems that Windows 8 had.

    The upgrade has not been without its problems though. There have been stories of the upgrade going wrong for some people. Because of that I can’t stress enough to make backups of all your important data before upgrading. As a matter of fact I would make two backups of your data before upgrading.

    Lastly, if you upgrade and then you decide Windows 10 isn’t for you, you can quickly revert back to your previous versions of Windows.

     
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