Windows switching to differential patching in the Creators Update

failed-update-crop

Major Windows 10 updates, including this summer's Anniversary Update and next year's Creators Update, are distributed as essentially full operating system installs. The downloads are around 4GB, and installing them performs a complete in-place upgrade to Windows.

That is set to change as Microsoft rolls out what it calls its Unified Update Platform (UUP). Major upgrades will be shipped as differential updates, where only the differences between the currently installed version and the newly installed version need to be downloaded. The company estimates that this will result in major version upgrades being around 35 percent smaller.

UUP should also make checking for updates faster, as more of the computational workload to figure out the patches that a system needs will be handled in the cloud rather than on the client.

In making this change, some differences between the Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 PC update process are being eliminated. Currently the desktop platform can generally upgrade from any patch level to the latest version in one shot; on mobile, sometimes multiple updates are required, with two separate download, install, and reboot processes.

End-users on stable builds of Windows won't see this change take effect until after the Creators Update; the client-side infrastructure necessary to support these differential updates will be a part of that release. Insiders, however, who regularly perform major version updates (as every new Insider build is installed as an in-place upgrade) will begin seeing the improvements much sooner. Mobile releases will enable UUP updating starting with today's build 14959, with the technology coming to PC builds a little later in the year, followed by Windows IoT and Windows for HoloLens. Excluded from this is Xbox, which will retain its own update process.

Microsoft takes on Slack with its new Microsoft Teams app

microsoft-teams-feat

Microsoft today announced a major new app at its Office event in New York City. The company’s new service, Microsoft Teams is its own take on the popular team communication tool, Slack. We reported about Microsoft Teams just 2 months ago, and Microsoft is officially launching it in a limited preview for Office 365 users today. Microsoft, however, is calling Teams a group chatting software which will be accessiblefrom the Web, Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.

Firstly, let’s get the basics covered: Microsoft Teams lets you share messages and attachments just like any other chat app out there. You can start a private conversation or a “channel” which is basically a group chat. These channels can be created based on a certain project or by different teams within a company. For example, you can have a channel for the design team in your company. Another important feature of Microsoft Teams is the Fun Picker which allows users to search for GIFs and much more right within the app — sure, it isn’t really productive but it’s definitely an important feature to have in chat apps, especially in 2016.

microsoft-teams-2

However, Microsoft Teams is going to be the ultimate tool for communication in teams who highly rely on Microsoft’s Office 365 services and OneDrive. Unlike Slack, Microsoft Teams integrates with many of Microsoft’s services, including Word, OneDrive, Skype for Business, and more. With Teams, users will be able to create a Word document, or start a Skype for Business meeting, or share a file from OneDrive without having to open those apps separately. Everything simply just works together — at least according to Microsoft, that is.

microsoft-teams-3

Microsoft Teams also does some things you can’t find on Slack. For one, it has threaded conversations which are huge for any team. Threaded Conversations, for those who don’t know, allows users to reply to a message within the conversation in a threaded UI. Of course, you can also “@” someone from your team to mention them in the conversation, but Threaded Conversations are a much better way of talking about a certain topic in a channel.Anotherintegral feature of Microsoft Teams is the ability to start a video chatwithin the app — when you schedule a meeting, you will be able to start a video call on Microsoft Teams which is quite neat.

Microsoft Teams is launching in a limited preview today to Office 365 Business users, and it’ll be available to all Office 365 Business users in January 2017. You can check it out here.

AWS public cloud is twice as big as Microsoft, Google, IBM combined

Amazon-AWS-Leadership

Amazon Web Services is utterly dominating the competition, taking 45 percent of worldwide revenues for public cloud services, according to a new analysis.

Microsoft and Google might be increasing public cloud revenues faster than AWS, but they've also got a long way to go to come close to catching up, a new analysis from Synergy Research Group shows.

The combined revenues from Microsoft, Google, and IBM amount to less than 20 percent of worldwide infrastructure-as-a-service, or IaaS, revenues in Q3 2016, compared with AWS's 45 percent, the research firm reports.

Microsoft is building a quantum computer that may never work

Microsoft-Sadella

Microsoft is working on a quantum computer that uses what are called “non-abelian anyons,” a quasiparticle that physicists aren’t sure even exist. Quantum computers promise to perform calculations at unfathomably faster rathes than today’s computers. Although other companies are using more realistic, proven materials in their work to create the machine, Microsoft is hopeful that its unique approach will pay dividends as the resultant machine should be less susceptible to external interference. The company has nearly 40 people working on the project, as quantum computing is seen as well worth investing in.

“The upside is enormous and there is practically no downside,” Alex Bocharov, a computer scientist at Microsoft Research working on quantum computing, told Scientific American in an article published Sunday. “Microsoft is a very affluent company; it sits on something like US$100 billion in cash. So what else one would you invest in? Bill Gates is also investing in other things—to eradicate malaria and HIV that might require quantum computing at some point.”

BillGates

Non-abeilan anyons are a controversial part of quantum computing, though. The concept was put forward by Alexei Kitaev in 1997 and was met with skepticism. “I laughed when I first read it,” Nick Bonesteel, theoretical physicist at Florida State University, told Nature in 2008.

Whereas normal computers have transistors that switch between “on” and “off” states, the best way to think about quantum machines is that these switches can exist in both states at the same time, allowing for a multitude of possibilities to be represented at once. Where the on/off states in normal computers are known as “bits,” in quantum computing they’re called “qubits.”

This potential allows for artificial intelligence more powerful than ever before. Yuri van Geest, founder of SingularityU, told an audience at Pirate Summit 2016 last month that a maze solving app would take some time to find the right answer with a regular computer, but with a quantum machine, the answer would appear instantaneously. This boost in analytical skills, van Geest explained, could impact the jobs market.

For Bocharov and the team, it’s all about pushing a pioneering new technology. “In the past, the question was always whether something was a problem where a quantum computer would be hypothetically better than a classical computer,” he said. “Now we want to figure out, not just is it doable, but how doable is it?”

Convert Hex Color Code to Brush/SolidColorBrush in XAML App

To set the background color of an object in .NET XAML, you will need to set the Brush object type. To create a Brush object from a hexadecimal color code, use the following.

//input ex: #dcdcdc
public static Windows.UI.Xaml.Media.SolidColorBrush 
        GetColorFromHex(string hexaColor)
{
	return new Windows.UI.Xaml.Media.SolidColorBrush(
		Windows.UI.Color.FromArgb(
			255,
			Convert.ToByte(hexaColor.Substring(1, 2), 16),
			Convert.ToByte(hexaColor.Substring(3, 2), 16),
			Convert.ToByte(hexaColor.Substring(5, 2), 16)
		)
	);
}

Happy coding!

Nadella: 'Windows is the most open platform there is'

nadella-gartner-2016

When Satya Nadella became CEO of Microsoft in 2014, he asked what the company's place in the world is, and how it could make the biggest contribution.

What he kept coming back to was that the company builds things that empower people to build their own things. When he looked at Microsoft, he saw software that could be a force to "democratize and empower people."

Nadella articulated what that vision means for the future of Azure, Windows, Office, Cortana, Linkedin, and more during his keynote address - on a telepresence link - at Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2016 in Orlando on Tuesday.

In conversation with Gartner analysts that featured lots of Nadella's usual well-crafted, nuanced statements, he also boldly declared:

"Windows is the most open platform there is."

It came in the context of Nadella talking about Microsoft's mission to unite the three big constituencies in the technology world.

"That's the approach we've always taken," said Nadella, "bringing users, IT, and developers together... When you bring them together, that's where the magic happens."

Microsoft research works on “touching” virtual reality objects

Microsoft Research has presented a new way to interact with virtual reality by touch. As haptic solutions for virtual reality, NormalTouch and TextureTouch 3D haptic shape controllers are able to explore the virtual space with just your finger. Currently, the controller only supports the index finger, but who knows what else could be developed with further innovations.

The 3D objects are tracked in virtual reality with the Optitrack system and presented through the Oculus Rift headset.  The NormalTouch renders the surface of virtual objects by using a flat platform that tilts, extrudes, and turns based on the shape of the digital objects. The TextureTouch uses a matrix of 4×4 pins that give the finger the impression of the shape by rising and falling based on the shape. This controller gives a finer detail into the texture, letting the sixteen pins bump up and down for coarser 3D objects.

Thanks to the OptiTrack system, the controllers are limited from penetrating through virtual objects and can even detail the softness of each digital surface. Touching a ‘soft’ object would impress more than pressing against the more ‘firm’ object in which the pins wouldn’t move.

 

During testing, users were able to have a more productive experience with virtual reality by involving the haptic controllers. Studied alongside the currently available vibrotactile device, both controllers had excelling areas such as a higher accuracy of touch with the TextureTouch.

Read the full research submitted for more details. Let us know in the comments if you’re looking forward to these sorts of advances in virtual reality.

Microsoft warns iOS isn't as secure as you think

Microsoft_Cybercrime_Center

Microsoft has warned customers that iOS is no more secure than Android, contradicting commonly held beliefs about the relative security of the two platforms. The company said that recent attacks targeting iOS prove it's as vulnerable as Android.

Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate vice president for enterprise and client mobility, set out his views in a company blog post last week. He used the Pegasus iOS spyware, revealed last month, as an example of severe vulnerabilities present in iOS. Pegasus is capable of monitoring everything a user does on their device, leaving them vulnerable to further attack.

The malware was analysed by Lookout Security, a Microsoft partner. In its report, Lookout described Pegasus as "the most sophisticated attack we've seen on any endpoint." Since it originates from a leading iOS security firm, Anderson said the statement reveals a lot about the state of security on Apple's platform.

Anderson is attempting to challenge the trust that consumers typically place in Apple. Android threats are far more numerous and gain more widespread attention than attacks on iOS. iOS is not immune to potentially devastating malware though, in contradiction of the views of some customers. Anderson said Pegasus should be a "pretty startling wake-up call" that everyone is "under constant persistent attack" on every platform.

Microsoft executives have reportedly indicated "unwavering implicit trust" in Apple's iOS "countless times," revealing how strong the association between Apple and security has become. The belief that Apple's platform is stronger than Android appears to derive from iOS' closed nature. Because it's a more controlled ecosystem, the attack surface is lower than for Android malware.

This view is dangerous, according to Anderson. Every mobile device is at constant risk of attack, regardless of the platform it runs. "I know for a fact that all the providers of mobile operating systems go to superhuman lengths to harden their platforms and do everything they can to deliver the most secure operating system possible," said Anderson.

However, iOS, Android and Windows all have vulnerabilities that expose them to potentially devastating attacks. Some platforms are targeted more frequently than others but this shouldn't influence people to make assumptions about a platform's security. Pegasus demonstrates that even a closed ecosystem can be infiltrated by some of the most complex mobile malware ever observed.

Coming from Microsoft, Anderson's argument represents a powerful message to businesses and consumers that iOS may not be all it seems. Pegasus has proven iOS presents a viable attack vector to cybercriminals. It has also demonstrated that malware has been commercialised to the point that it's an off-the-shelf product, available for purchase from the secretive NSO Group. According to Microsoft, the idea of a single platform being more secure than others is an urban myth. In real-world terms, any device can be hacked and every user is a target.

Microsoft to launch new Surface PC at October 26th event

Microsoft-26October-2016

Microsoft is holding a special Windows 10 and Surface event in New York City later this month. The software giant has started emailing out invites to an event on October 26th, and Microsoft is expected to make some Xbox-related announcements at the event, alongside new Surface hardware and some details on the company's next Windows 10 software update. Microsoft's event isn't expected to be as large, or involve as much hardware.

Surface-branded keyboards and a mouse have started leaking ahead of Microsoft's event, and the company is widely expected to be unveiling at least one new all-in-one desktop PC.

The main focus of the event will be the unveiling of Microsoft's vision for the future of Windows 10, and the company's desktop PC hardware to support it. Microsoft is expected to detail new features in Windows 10 that it plans to ship in two major software updates next year, and discuss how some of those features feed into its Xbox gaming strategy across both platforms. Microsoft's event will be live in New York City on October 26th, so stay tuned for our live blog.

$.ajax No 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource with WebAPI

I want to get data from a WebAPI with jquery

        $("#btnSend").click(function () {
            $("#sending").show();
            $.ajax({
                type: 'GET',
                url: '/Report/SendEmail?quote=18',
                crossDomain: true,
                success: function (msg) {
                    if (msg == 'True') {
                        alert('Email sent to the client');
                    }
                    $("#sending").hide();
                },
                error: function (request, status, error) {
                    $("#sending").hide();
                }
            });
        });

and it produce

‘No Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource error.

The solution is to add in the result of the WebAPI the following code:

            Response.Headers.Add("Access-Control-Allow-Methods", "GET, POST");
            Response.Headers.Add("Access-Control-Allow-Headers", "accept, authority");
            Response.Headers.Add("Access-Control-Allow-Credentials", "true");

Happy coding!

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