Microsoft

10 best Android apps released in 2015!

Check out the written version – http://goo.gl/vavWNE !

Join us as we round up the best Android apps released in 2015. This year, we even pick a winner!

Adobe apps – https://goo.gl/PGlS8R
Apple Music – https://goo.gl/JkP2Zw
Cortana – https://goo.gl/6x6vfC
Khan Academy – https://goo.gl/oFEu4W
Kodi – https://goo.gl/F7VBmm
Microsoft Word – https://goo.gl/Cbq9Dt
Microsoft Excel – https://goo.gl/f5zUJU
Microsoft PowerPoint – https://goo.gl/PUz5lG
Periscope – https://goo.gl/mTlJ5i
Sling TV – https://goo.gl/3HK2Vj
YouTube Music – https://goo.gl/34X5GC
YouTube Gaming – https://goo.gl/6slQZN
YouTube Kids – https://goo.gl/zDm9VY
Google Photos – https://goo.gl/YwEVxn

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Microsoft rolls out more Windows 10 updates as July 29 launch looms

Author: 

For: CNET

windows10-updates.jpg
Microsoft continues to update Windows 10 in time for its July 29 due date.screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft has pushed out a few more updates to Windows 10 as it rushes to prep its new OS for launch next Wednesday.

On Thursday, Gabe Aul, the engineering general manager for Microsoft’s operating systems group, tweeted: “Another update now available on Windows Update for Windows 10 PC build 10240.” Build 10240 is the latest and final build forWindows 10 before the official launch. As such, Microsoft has been focused on pushing out updates for that build to ensure that it’s as solid as possible.

The two updates released late Thursday include a security update with the Microsoft Knowledge Base number of KB3074679 and a new driver for Intel HD graphics. The security update description says little other than the generic: “A security issue that been identified in a Microsoft product that could affect your system.” The one for Intel HD graphics updates the driver for PCs with Intel’s integrated graphics processor. I also caught an update for Windows Defender, Microsoft’s built-in antimalware software, which is updated on a regular basis with new definition files.

Microsoft needs to hit a home run with Windows 10, not just to make up for the debacle of Windows 8 but also to prove that it can still create an OS that generates appeal, excitement and demand among users. The company has been constructing and enhancing Windows 10 since October, with feedback from people who joined the Windows Insider Program to download and test each new build and offer their comments, suggestions and criticisms.

But even if Windows 10 isn’t 100 percent bug-free and rock-solid come next Wednesday, that doesn’t spell doom and gloom for the latest version. With Windows 10, Microsoft has adopted a new rollout approach. Members of the Windows Insider Program will get the upgrade on Wednesday so they can keep testing and offering their feedback. Based on that testing and feedback as well as its own findings, Microsoft will continue to update Windows 10 to address any new issues. It will then start pushing the OS out to Windows 7 and 8.1 users who reserved the free upgrade.

And even after the upgrade is installed by potentially millions of Windows 7 and 8.1 users, Microsoft can continue to update the product as necessary through the Windows Update process. So in some ways, Windows 10 may always be a work in progress. That’s not much different than previous versions of Windows, which continually required updates. Still, the new OS needs to be as stable and user-friendly as possible during the rollout period if it’s to catch on with users, especially those jaded with Microsoft after Windows 8.

The latest Windows 10 updates should download automatically as long as you’ve enabled Automatic Updates. To do so, click the Start button and choose Settings. From the Settings screen, click the category for Update & security. In the Windows Update pane, click the link for Advanced options. And under Advanced Options, make sure the option under Choose how updates are installed is set to Automatic.

You can also check for new updates manually from the Windows Update pane. Click the Check for updates button. If any updates are found, click the View details button and then click the Install button to install them.

Windows 10 Available on July 29

Yes! Finally. I have been waiting too long for this. I reserved my copy this morning!

Microsoft announced today that it will release Windows 10 on July 29.

The OS will be available as a free upgrade to all licensed Windows 7 and 8.1 users.

Windows 10 will feature Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana, the company’s all-new Edge Web browser and will run on desktops as well as tablets and phones.
————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Blog post by the Windows Team:

Today, I’m excited to share the availability date for Windows 10. In fact, I thought I’d let Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant, share the news. You can ask Cortana for the answer! You can ask Cortana for the answer, or if you don’t have a Windows phone or a PC running the Windows 10 Insider Preview handy – you can hear it for yourself here:

Through the feedback and testing of over four million Windows Insiders, we’ve made great progress on Windows 10 and we’re nearly ready to deliver this free upgrade to all of our Windows customers*.

Do Great Things with Windows 10

We designed Windows 10 to create a new generation of Windows for the 1.5 billion people using Windows today in 190 countries around the world. With Windows 10, we start delivering on our vision of more personal computing, defined by trust in how we protect and respect your personal information, mobility of the experience across your devices, and natural interactions with your Windows devices, including speech, touch, ink, and holograms. We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens—all working together to empower you to do great things.

Familiar, yet better than ever, Windows 10 brings back the Start menu you know and love. Windows 10 is faster than ever before, with quick startup and resume. And Windows 10 provides the most secure platform ever, including Windows Defender for free anti-malware protection, and being the only platform with a commitment to deliver free ongoing security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.

1

We’ve designed Windows 10 to help you be more productive and have more fun, with a range of innovations**:

  • Cortana, the world’s first truly personal digital assistant helps you get things done. Cortana learns your preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information, and important reminders. Interaction is natural and easy via talking or typing. And the Cortana experience works not just on your PC, but can notify and help you on your smartphone too.

Cortana in Windows 10

  • Microsoft Edge, is an all-new browser designed to get things done online in new ways, with built-in commenting on the web – via typing or inking — sharing comments, and a reading view that makes reading web sites much faster and easier. With Cortana integrated, Microsoft Edge offers quick results and content based on your interests and preferences. Fast, streamlined and personal, you can focus on just the content that matters to you and actively engage with the web.

Inking on websites in Microsoft Edge

  • Office on Windows: In addition to the Office 2016 full featured desktop suite, Windows 10 users will be able to experience new universal Windows applications for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, all available separately. These offer a consistent, touch-first experience across a range of devices to increase you productivity. Designed from the ground up to run on Windows 10, you can easily create and edit Word documents, and deliver PowerPoint presentations while annotating on the fly. With new touch-first controls in Excel you can create or update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse. You will also be able to enjoy new versions of OneNote and Outlook, which are included with Windows 10 at no additional cost.
  • Xbox Live and the integrated Xbox App bring new game experiences to Windows 10. Xbox on Windows 10 brings the expansive Xbox Live gaming network to both Windows 10 PCs and tablets. Communicate with your friends on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One – while playing any PC game. You can capture, edit and share your greatest gaming moments with Game DVR, and play new games with friends across devices. You can play games on your PC, streamed directly from your Xbox One console to your Windows 10 tablets or PCs, within your home. Games developed for DirectX 12 in Windows 10 will see improvements in speed, efficiency and graphics capability.
  • New Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Mail & Calendar apps have updated designs that look and feel familiar from app to app and device to device.  You can start something on one device and continue it on another since your content is stored on and synched through OneDrive.

Photos app in Windows 10

  • Windows Continuum enables today’s best laptops and 2-in-1 devices to elegantly transform from one form factor to the other, enabling smooth transitions of your tablet into a PC, and back. And new Windows phones with Continuum can be connected to a monitor, mouse and physical keyboard to make your phone work like a PC.
  • Windows Hello, greets you by name and with a smile, letting you log in without a password and providing instant, more secure access to your Windows 10 devices. With Windows Hello, biometric authentication is easy with your face, iris, or finger, providing instant recognition.
  • Windows Store, with easy install and uninstall of trusted applications, supported by the broadest range of global payment methods.

In addition to these innovations, we will continue to update Windows 10 over time with new innovations to help you be more productive and have more fun. Like Windows 10 itself, these updates will be free for the supported lifetime of your device.

You can see these features in action in this video.

Get Ready for Windows 10

On July 29, you can get Windows 10 for PCs and tablets by taking advantage of the free upgrade offer, or on a new Windows 10 PC from your favorite retailer. If you purchase a new Windows 8.1 device between now and then, the Windows 10 upgrade will be available to you and many retail stores will upgrade your new device for you.

The Windows 10 upgrade is designed to be compatible with your current Windows device and applications*. We are hard at work to make this upgrade process a great experience. You can reserve your free Windows 10 upgrade now through a simple reservation process. Look for this icon in your system tray at the bottom of your screen, simply click on the icon, and then complete the reservation process. You can find more details on how this works at Windows.com.

Reserve your Windows 10 upgrade

Thank you for choosing Windows. We are designing it for you, so you can be more secure, more productive, have more fun.

Terry

* Initial release will be for PC and tablets. See Windows.com/windows10upgrade for availability and other details.

** Specific features may not be available in certain markets, some features require specified hardware, and Continuum for phone available on select premium models at launch.  More details at Windows.com/windows10specs and xbox.com/windows-10.

Shortcuts for Word

1. Manage Word Documents
Ctrl+N Create new document
Ctrl+O Open document
Ctrl+W Close document
Ctrl+S Save document
F12 Save document as
Ctrl+P Print document/ print preview
Ctrl+F6 Switch between multiple Word documents
Alt, then f, r Open Recent (file, recent)

▲ up

minus2. Navigate within Documents
Arrow Left/Arrow Right Jump one character to the left / to the right
Ctrl+Arrow Left/Ctrl+Arrow Right Jump one word to the left / to the right
End/Home Jump to the end of a line / beginning of a line
Arrow Down/Arrow Up Jump one line down / one line down
Ctrl+Arrow Down/Ctrl+Arrow Up Jump one paragraph down / one paragraph up
Page Down/Page Up Jump one screen down/ one screen up
Alt+Ctrl+Page Down/Alt+Ctrl+Page Up Jump to top / to bottom of visible window
Ctrl+End/Ctrl+Home Jump to end / to beginning of document
F6 Cycle through Ribbon/open panes/Status Bar/document window
Ctrl+G/F5 Go to a page, bookmark, footnote, table, comment, graphic, or other location
Alt+Ctrl+Z Go back to previously edited location in document (up to 4 places)
Shift+F5 Go to a the last change or revision. Also works after opening document.
Ctrl+Shift+F5 Set, go to and edit bookmarks
Alt+Ctrl+Home Set Browse Options. Press the arrow keys to select an option, and then press enter to browse through a document by using the selected option
Ctrl+Page Down/Ctrl+Page Up Move to next / move to previous browser object as set in Browse Options
minusDialog boxes
Tab Cycle forward through all options and elements
Shift+Tab Cycle backwards through all options and elements
Ctrl+Tab Cycle forward through available pages
Ctrl+Shift+Tab Cycle backwards through available pages
Alt+underlined letter Selects the option indicated by the letter

▲ up

minus3. Select Text
Shift+Arrow Right/Shift+Arrow Left Extend selection one character to the right / to the left
Ctrl+Shift+Arrow Right/Ctrl+Shift+Arrow Left Extend selection one word to the right / to the left
Shift+End/Shift+Home Extend selection to the end / to beginning of a line
Shift+Arrow Down/Shift+Arrow Up Extend selection one line down / one line up
Shift+Page Down/Shift+Page Up Extend selection one screen down / one screen up
Ctrl+Shift+End/Ctrl+Shift+Home Extend selection to end / to beginning of document
Alt+Ctrl+Shift+Page Down/Alt+Ctrl+Shift+Page Up Extend selection to end / to beginning of visible window
Ctrl+A Extend selection to entire document
Arrow Keys Cancel selection and return to beginning / to end of selection
F8 Turn Extend Mode on: Extend selection without pressing shift
Arrow keys , Page up/Page Down Extend selection in Extended Mode:
F8 Extend selection further by word, paragraph, document in Extended Mode
Shift+F8 Reduce the size of a selection in Extended Mode
Ctrl+Shift+f8, and arrow keys Select a vertical block of text in Extended Mode
Esc Turn extend mode off
F8 Extend a selection to a specific location in a document

▲ up

minus4. Undo, Copy and Paste
Ctrl+Z Undo the last action
Ctrl+Y Redo the last action
Ctrl+C Copy selected text or object
Ctrl+X Cut selected text or object
Ctrl+V Paste selected text or object
Ctrl+Shift+C Copy text format
Ctrl+Shift+V Paste text format
Ctrl+Alt+V Paste special
Ctrl+v, then Ctrl, then k Paste and keep Source Formatting
Ctrl+v, then Ctrl, then t Paste and keep Text only
Ctrl+F3 Cut to the Spike (separate clipboard)
Ctrl+Shift+F3 Paste from the Spike
F3 Paste AutoText ( after start typing)
Alt+Shift+R Copy the header or footer from previous section of the document

▲ up

minus5. Edit Documents
minusInsert Special Characters
Alt+Ctrl+C Insert copyright symbol
Alt+Ctrl+R Insert registered trademark symbol
Alt+Ctrl+T Insert trademark symbol
Alt+Ctrl+. (Period) Insert horizontal ellipsis (…)
Alt+Ctrl+ Insert em dash
Alt+Ctrl+[+] Insert en dash
Alt, then n,u Insert Symbol (insert menu)
/Ctrl+2x` Insert single opening quotation mark
Ctrl+2x Insert single closing quotation mark
Type character code and press Alt+X Insert Unicode character, e.g. 20ac
Select character and press alt+X Transform character to Unicode
Alt+character code on numeric keyboard Insert ANSI character
minusInsert Breaks
Enter Insert paragraph break
Shift+Enter Insert line break without breaking paragraph
Ctrl+Enter Insert page break
Ctrl+Shift+Enter Insert column break (break table)
Ctrl+Shift+Space Insert nonbreaking space
Ctrl+Shift+ (Hyphen) Insert nonbreaking hyphen
Ctrl+ Insert optional hyphen
minusInsert Text Elements
Alt+Ctrl+F Insert a footnote
Alt+Ctrl+D Insert an endnote
Ctrl+K Insert a hyperlink
Alt+Shift+I Insert Citation Mark
Alt+Shift+X Insert Index Mark
minusMove and Delete Text
F2, then move to position and press Enter Move selected text to different position
Shift+F2, then move to position and press Enter Copy selected text to different position
Delete/Backspace Delete one character to the right / to the left (or delete selection)
Ctrl+Delete/Ctrl+Backspace Delete one word to the right / to the left
Delete Delete one character to the right or delete selection
Ctrl+Shift+</Ctrl+Shift+> Decrease / Increase font size one value

▲ up

minus6. Formats
minusFormat Text
Ctrl+D/Ctrl+Shift+K Open the Font dialog box
Ctrl+Shift+</Ctrl+Shift+> Decrease / Increase font size one value
Ctrl+[/Ctrl+] Decrease / Increase font size one point
Ctrl+B Apply/remove bold
Ctrl+I Apply/remove italic
Ctrl+U Apply/remove underline
Ctrl+= Apply/remove subscript
Ctrl+Shift+= Apply/remove superscript
Ctrl+Shift+C Copy formatting
Ctrl+Shift+V Paste formatting
Ctrl+Shift+D Apply/remove double-underline
Ctrl+Shift+W Apply/remove words underline (only words, no spaces)
Ctrl+Shift+H Apply/remove hidden formatting
Ctrl+Shift+A Apply/remove all capitals
Ctrl+Shift+K Apply/remove small capitals
Shift+F3 Change between all upper-, first letter upper- and all lower-case
Ctrl+d, then Alt+k and enter Apply strike-through formatting (font dialog)
Ctrl+Shift+Q Change the selection to the Symbol font
Shift+F1 Reveal Formatting (show all formats of selection)
Ctrl+Alt+H Apply/remove Highlight Text Feature
minusFormat Paragraphs
Ctrl+R Right-align paragraph
Ctrl+L Left-align paragraph
Ctrl+E Center-align paragraph
Ctrl+J Justify-align paragraph
Ctrl+M/Ctrl+Shift+M Indent paragraph from the left and increase / decrease indent
Ctrl+T Increase hanging indent
Ctrl+Shift+T Decrease hanging indent
Ctrl+1 Set line-spacing to single-space
Ctrl+2 Set line-spacing to double-space
Ctrl+5 Set line-spacing to 1.5
Ctrl+0 (zero) Add or remove one line space preceding a paragraph
minusStyles
Alt+Ctrl+Shift+S Open or close Styles task pane
Alt+Ctrl+1 Apply Heading 1 style
Alt+Ctrl+2 Apply Heading 2 style
Alt+Ctrl+3 Apply Heading 3 style
Alt+Shift+Arrow Right/Alt+Shift+Arrow Left Promote / demote Headings
Ctrl+Space Remove all manual styles
Ctrl+Shift+N Apply Normal style
Ctrl+Shift+S Open Apply Styles task pane (will not close with pressing it a second time)
Alt+Ctrl+K Start Auto Format

▲ up

minus7. Search and Replace
Ctrl+H Open traditional find and replace window
Ctrl+h, then Alt+D Open traditional find window
Alt+Ctrl+y, /Shift+F4 Repeat last find after closing find window
Ctrl+Tab Jump between find menu and document
Alt+Space, Arrow keys and Enter Move find menu window
Esc Close traditional search window if active
Ctrl+F Open (new) search menu in navigation task pane
alt, then w,k Open and close Navigation pane (View, Navigation)

▲ up

minus8. Manage Word View
minusSwitch Views
Alt+Ctrl+P Switch to Print Layout view
Alt+Ctrl+O Switch to Outline view
Alt+Ctrl+N Switch to Draft view (used to be normal view)
Ctrl+scroll mouse Zoom in and zoom out
alt then w, q Open Zoom Menu (no native shortcut exists for zoom in/ zoom out)
Alt+Ctrl+S Split the document window
minusRibbons
Ctrl+F1 Show or hide the ribbon
F10/Alt Select item in Ribbon
Esc Leave Ribbon or Submenu
Arrow Left/Arrow Right Move left or right between main Ribbon Menus if active
Arrow Keys Move left/right/up/down between Ribbon Menus and Sub-Menus
Space/Enter When in ribbon Open or activate selected item
minusNavigation Pane
Alt, then w,k Open and close Navigation pane (View, Navigation)
F6/Shift+F6 With Navigation Pane open: Switch forward / backwards between (1) Navigation Pane, (2) Bottom Taskbar, (3) Ribbon, and (4) Document
Tab/Shift+Tab In Navigation Pane: Move through Navigation Pane options
minus9. Tables
minusNavigate in Tables
Arrow Down/Arrow Up Jump one row down / one row up
Tab/Shift+Tab Jump to (and select) next / previous table cell
Alt+Home/Alt+End Jump to first column/ jump to last column
Alt+Page Up/Alt+Page Down Jump to first row / jump to last row
Ctrl+Arrow Left/Ctrl+Arrow Right One cell to the left / to the right
minusSelect Table Contents
Shift+End Select current table cell
end, then shift+Home Select content of current table cell
Press and hold shift and press arrow keysrepeatedly Extend selection to adjacent cells
Ctrl+Shift+f8, then press Extend selection or block
Alt+5 on numeric keypad (with numLock off) Select an entire table
minusEdit Tables
Alt+Shift+Arrow Up/Alt+Shift+Arrow Down Move current row up or down
In first column, press shift+End Select row*
In first row press alt+Shift+Page Down Select column
Shift+Delete Delete rows* with rows selected
Shift+Delete Delete columns with columns selected
Alt, j, l, d, r Delete row at cursor
Alt, j, l, d, c Delete column at cursor
Alt, j, l, a Insert row above cursor
Alt, j, l, e Insert row below cursor
Alt, j, l, l Insert column to the left of cursor
Alt, j, l, r Insert column to the right of cursor
Ctrl+Tab Insert tab character
tab in last table cell Add row at the end
*Make sure selection extends past the last column which is number of columns +1. Word shows the selection extended next to the last column.
minus10. Outline View
Ctrl+Shift+O Switch to Outline View
Tab/Shift+Tab Promote / Demote a paragraph (or Alt+Shift+Arrow Left/Arrow Right)
Alt+Shift+Arrow Up/Alt+Shift+Arrow Down Move selected paragraphs up / down
Ctrl+Shift+N Demote to body text (set style to normal)
Alt+Shift+[+]/Alt+Shift+ Expand / Collapse text under a heading
Alt+Shift+A Expand or collapse all text or headings
[/ key on the numeric keypad Hide or display character formatting
Alt+Shift+L Show the first line of body text or all body text
Alt+Shift+1 Show all headings with the Heading 1 style
Alt+Shift+N Show all headings up to Heading n
Ctrl+Tab Insert a tab character

minus11. Review Documents
F7 Choose the Spelling command (Review tab).
Alt+Ctrl+M Insert a comment
Ctrl+Shift+E Turn change tracking on or off
Alt+Shift+C Close the Reviewing Pane if it is open.
Ctrl+Shift+* Display nonprinting characters.
Alt+F10 Display the Selection and Visibility task pane.
Ctrl+Shift+G Open the Word Count dialog box.

minus12. Print Documents
Ctrl+P Print a document (print preview)
Esc Close print preview
Arrow keys, Page up /Page Down Move around the preview pages (with focus on preview page*)
Ctrl+Home/Ctrl+End Move to first page / last page (with focus on preview page)
*Except tabbing, there seems to be no shortcut to jump to preview page. Clicking on it with the mouse is an option

minus13. Fields
Alt+Shift+D Insert current date (insert DATE field)
Alt+Shift+P Insert page number (insert PAGE field)
Alt+Shift+T Insert time (insert TIME field)
Alt+Ctrl+L Insert LISTNUM field
Ctrl+F9 Insert an empty field
Ctrl+Shift+L Insert a LISTNUM field
Shift+F9 Show or hide field code/result of selected field
Alt+F9 Show or hide field codes/results of all fields in document
F9 Update selected fields*
Alt+Shift+F9 Run GOTOBUTTON or MACROBUTTON from the field that displays the field results
F11/Shift+F11 Go to the next field/ previous field
Ctrl+Shift+F7 Update linked information in a Microsoft Word source document
Ctrl+Shift+F9 Unlink a field
Ctrl+F11/Ctrl+Shift+F11 Lock a field / Unlock a field
*to update all fields, select the complete document with ctrl+a, then update fields by pressing f9)

minus14. Mail Merge
Alt+Shift+K Preview a mail merge
Alt+Shift+N Merge a document
Alt+Shift+M Print the merged document
Alt+Shift+E Edit a mail-merge data document
Alt+Shift+F Insert a merge field
Alt+Shift+K Preview a mail merge
Alt+Shift+N Merge a document
Alt+Shift+M Print the merged document
Alt+Shift+E Edit a mail-merge data document
Alt+Shift+F Insert a merge field

minus15. The Rest
F1 Get Help or visit Microsoft Office.com
Alt+Space Open the window menu
Alt+F4 Exit Word
Shift+F10 Display a shortcut menu (Simulate right mouse button)
Alt+F3 Create new Building block with selected texts

Why 2015 will be the year that the cloud comes of age

This post is brought to you by Media Temple gr_logo_light

It has been reported that by 2018, the global market for cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion. Having burst onto the tech scene in 2006, the “cloud” — as IT leaders, programmers, and marketers know it today — is almost a decade old. From Google Docs to Dropbox, Web-connected humans are glued to the cloud every minute, of every day.

Take a step back, however, to ask yourself what the cloud is, where it is, and what it does. Now, try to condense those thoughts into a short sentence.  The closest that you might come to a definition is the following explanation from TechTarget:

“Cloud computing enables companies to consume competing resources as a utility — just like electricity — rather than having to build and maintain computing infrastructures in-house.”

As TechTarget elaborates, cloud computing touches upon the following three areas:

  • Self-service provisioning, in which end users can control and customize workloads on demand.
  • Elasticity, which means that users can scale their computing needs to demand.
  • Pay per use, in which users measure and pay for the resources that they’re using.

The short story? The cloud is a lot of things to a lot of different types of companies and consumers. What 2015 means is that the tech community has exceeded a decade of research, development, and innovation. Here are three important ways that the cloud is helping companies evolve.

1 – The cloud levels the playing field between enterprise giants and small ventures

mobile security laptop fingerprint 520x315 Why 2015 will be the year that the cloud comes of age

Not so long ago, the highest performing technology assets were limited to large, complex organizations. With the level of risk and investment involved in adopting new hardware, few organizations could boast access to fast and infinitely scalable computing power.

“Before the cloud, companies implemented new software and technology in a relatively traditional way through structured, company-wide deployments,” explains John Brennan, head of business development at international communications firm BT.

What the cloud brings to the table is versatility that allows end users to invest in the exact resources that they need — no more and no less. Companies can switch over to lightweight, cloud-based deployments that require little in the way of on-premise configuration and management.

“There’s much less investment and risk required to adopt and use new technology, and service agreements can be adapted to a company’s size through flexible pricing models, which has given all companies equal access to the latest and tools and capabilities,” says Brennan.

One of the most basic examples of this idea is cloud hosting provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) — a resource used by companies ranging from bootstrapped solopreneur ventures to fast growing startups and the largest organizations in the world. It’s cost effective for every type of user to access the same basic technology.

2 – The cloud simplifies information exchanges

rain cloud gloomy 520x316 Why 2015 will be the year that the cloud comes of age

Today’s top technologies — and human-to-human communications protocols — are dependent on APIs. Thanks to very simple programming, applications can connect to support the swift and efficient flow of information ranging from product SKUs to media buys, CRM data, and credit card transaction details.

“Cloud based APIs and microservices simplify information exchange,” says Chris Hoover, global vice president of product and marketing strategy at Perforce Software. “It lowers the barrier for new vendors to enter the market.”

The result, according to Hoover, is a trend in which enterprise companies are moving away from a ‘top down’ approach to software and information exchanges. More than ever before, individual departments, teams, and employees have the ability to choose their own software. This versatility will place increased pressure on organizations to become more innovative — and exchange information faster.

“A lower barrier to entry for enterprise software means increased competitive pressure,” says Hoover. “Expectations for faster release cycles mean that development within enterprise software vendors must accelerate, which leads to implications for new processes and automation.”

3 – The cloud allows higher levels of support

CloudDrive 520x199 Why 2015 will be the year that the cloud comes of age

Applications of the cloud are seemingly limitless. Companies have ultimate flexibility to add and remove resources as needed.

“Previously when you bought a server, you were trapped within that box,” explains Dustin Bolander, vice president of technology at IT firm Technology Pointe.

“If the company needed less resources long term, you still had to commit to that capital cost. If you needed more long term solutions, you were stuck making large purchases for more servers. Cloud lets you right size things on a monthly — or shorter — basis.”

This flexibility yields higher demands for customization — which will, in turn, create a need for higher end support packages.

“We are seeing a lot of companies dissatisfied with the level of support offered by many infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers,” says Bolander.

What’s important to keep in mind, according to Bolander, is that the tech community isn’t looking at the cloud from a cost-savings perspective anymore. Rather, the cloud has evolved into a tactical advantage for businesses looking to scale strategically.

Managed system operations (SysOps) services will include areas of performance monitoring, security audits, system backups, and resource optimization. Rather than managing these initiatives in-house, business of all sizes will be better positioned to focus on their core strengths instead of distracting maintenance operations.

“Multiple support tiers will become the norm,” says Bolander.

Final thoughts

The cloud has created a story that is ‘to be continued,’ with 2015 being a critical year for technologies to mature.  As companies grow accustomed to flexible, scalable infrastructure — and competition for faster, better services increases — the need for stronger support will grow stronger too. Meanwhile, the tech community will figure it all out together.

(Source The Next Web)

First look: Project Spartan browser

spartanlaunch.png

(Credit: Tuong Nguyen)

Microsoft has delivered a fresh build (10049) of Windows 10 technical preview, including a first taste of its brand-new browser, code-named Project Spartan. The build is available to those already running the Windows 10 tech preview and enrolled in the fast ring upgrade path (find outhow to turn on the fast ring upgrade). Once you upgrade your Windows 10 preview to the current version, you’ll see Project Spartan’s icon on the Taskbar.

spartaniconstart.png

At Microsoft’s January Windows 10 event, the company introduced many features that do not appear in this version of Project Spartan. However, the browser’s slim, simple interface; lightning-fast launch; and modern design make this Internet Explorer successor look very promising, not to mention its cool built-in features.

Cortana

Microsoft’s digital assistant is making her debut in Project Spartan, but current functionality is quite limited. Calendar syncing is not available in this build, and Microsoft says that the flight information seen in previous demos is coming soon. However, you can use Cortana’s search functionality by highlighting key terms to perform Web searches, find directions on a map, or look up the definition in a dictionary. Useful cases include getting the local forecast right in the address bar by searching for “weather,” and or having Cortana pull up the business hours or location of a restaurant when you visit that restaurant’s main page.

cortanadirections.png

Reading View

Project Spartan’s Reading View strips pages of distractions to provide a clean reading experience. It removes banner ads and other site elements, while embedded content like images and video are rearranged to reduce reading disruption. Reading View’s functionality is similar to those of the Readability or Clearly extensions for Google Chrome.

readingviewsidebyside.png

Web Notes

Project Spartan’s Web Notes lets you annotate webpages. Jot down ideas, highlight passages, circle important terms, and type up comments. Share notes via email, or upload them to OneDrive or social media. OneNote is also supported, as Microsoft aims to change the way we collaborate and browse the Web.

webnote.png

Check out the official Project Spartan announcement on Microsoft’s blog.

Source: Downloads-CNET

Tuong Nguyen

Raised in the Bay Area but educated on the sandy beaches of San Diego, Tuong writes for Download.com specializing in Windows Security and Mobile Apps.