10 Tech News Roundup #16

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Wearable numbers get a bump, as consumers shift focus to smarter devices – The wearable space seems to still be figuring itself out — though in spite of some reports about the death of the category, overall growth remains one of the few constants. According to the latest numbers from IDC, the global bump was pretty modest for Q3 of this year, at about 7.3-percent, year over year. Techcrunch

Elon Musk’s giant battery is now delivering power to South Australia – The world’s largest lithium-ion battery is now live in South Australia after being delivered a few weeks ago, easily beating the promise Elon Musk made of “100 days or it’s free.” The South Australian Government notes that for the first time, clean wind energy can be siphoned to the grid 24/7 improving the system’s reliability, whether the wind is blowing or not. The 100MW battery farm has enough storage capacity to power more than 30,000 homes. The Verge

This new FDA-approved Apple Watch band measures the electricity in your heart – The Federal Drug Administration just cleared a new band for the Apple Watch that monitors the electrical rhythms in your heart. Mashable

Dell’s latest XPS 13 is fast, nimble, and kind of stale – When Dell first introduced its redesigned XPS 13 laptop nearly three years ago, it kicked off a renaissance in laptop design. Dell proved that you could have a full-size, 13-inch display in a computer that’s as compact and portable as an 11-inch model. Nearly every other laptop maker has followed down this path, and now there are a lot of laptop options with trim bezels and small footprints. The Verge

$3 billion in EA stock value wiped out in less than 30 days – Electronic Arts’ shareholders are biting their nails as they watch the company’s stock value plummet. For November, EA shares have dropped 8.5 percent. That equates to $3.1 billion in valuation wiped out in only one month. Industry analysts are blaming the plunging stock price on the debacle over Star Wars Battlefront II and its money-grubbing loot box / microtransaction system. Techspot

Top-secret US Army intelligence accidentally posted to public AWS bucket – Security is hard but you’d at least expect some level of protection to be made when dealing with top-secret military intelligence. Unfortunately, it appears that this wasn’t exactly the case for some data shared between the US Army and the NSA. Security firm UpGuard has discovered a publicly accessible AWS S3 bucket that contains classified information on the Distributed Common Ground System – Army as well as details of communications with federal IT environments. Techspot

Microsoft is adding tabs to apps in Windows 10 – Microsoft on Tuesday shared details on a new feature that’ll (eventually) make its way to Windows 10. It’s called “Sets” and, according to Microsoft’s Terry Myerson, it’s designed to help organize your workflow and mitigate time lost to interruptions.

Apple is reportedly looking into designing its own power management chips – A new report from Nikkei Asian Review says that Apple is planning to move design of power management chips – the ones responsible for battery life management and energy consumption – in-house. BusinessInsider

NASA and HPE Push the Envelope on HPC in Space – Technology is rapidly transforming the way we think and understand the universe. In the realm of space science, technological advancements have enabled man to study Earth, explore new worlds, and even walk on the moon. Today, high performance computing (HPC) is accelerating space research and scientific discovery like never before. Organizations like NASA are using the most cutting-edge HPC solutions to analyze troves of complex data, conduct experiments, advance the Mission to Mars, and much more. HPCWire

Automation threatens 800 million jobs, but technology could still save us, says report – A new report predicts that by 2030, as many as 800 million jobs could be lost worldwide to automation. The study, compiled by the McKinsey Global Institute, says that advances in AI and robotics will have a drastic effect on everyday working lives, comparable to the shift away from agricultural societies during the Industrial Revolution. In the US alone, between 39 and 73 million jobs stand to be automated — making up around a third of the total workforce. The Verge

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10 Tech News Roundup #14

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

MICROSOFT SURFACE BOOK 2 REVIEW: BEAUTY AND BRAWN, BUT WITH LIMITS – I always wanted Microsoft to build a laptop, and it finally went ahead and built one without any tricks earlier this year. The Surface Laptop has no gimmicks, no kickstand, and no detachable screen. It’s simply the best laptop you can buy right now. The Verge

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot is a parkour master – Parkour! That’s what we should all be devoting our combined robotics expertise towards. There’s no nobler human pursuit, so of course we should create a robot that can master the so-called ‘sport of kings.’ And yes, that is the true sport of kings. Techcrunch

Amazon’s creepy home delivery service security can be circumvented, claim researchers – The service model offered by Amazon Key, which gives the company’s delivery corps access to customers’ homes via smart lock, sounds kind of sketchy under the best circumstances. Amazon, however, assured potential customers there’d be nothing to worry about with Key — the system offers 24/7 monitoring via the Alexa-enabled Cloud Cam to monitor deliveries. Mashable

OnePlus 5T flagship starts at $499, launches November 21 – Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus unveiled its latest flagship, the OnePlus 5T, at a media event today in Brooklyn. OnePlus’ latest, a “T” release similar to Apple’s “S” phones, is kind of like a mid-cycle release. Techspot

Apple releases iOS 11.1.2 to fix iPhone X cold weather issue – Apple has made iOS 11.1.2 available, the second minor point release it’s put out in as many weeks. This one is specifically designed to address a bug where the iPhone X could become temporarily unresponsive to touch input when moving from warm weather to dramatically colder temperatures – like venturing outside in winter in Canada, for instance. Techcrunch

Student Clusterers Demolish HPCG Record! Nanyang Sweeps Benchmarks – Nanyang pulled off the always difficult double-play at this year’s SC Student Cluster Competition. The plucky team from Singapore posted a world record LINPACK, thus taking the Highest LINPACK Award, but also managed to notch the highest HPCG score as well. This is quite an achievement. HPCWire

DJI launches an Apple-exclusive Mavic ProDJI launched the limited edition Mavic Pro Alpine White today, an all-white version of the Mavic Pro with a color-coordinated remote control and propellers to match. The drone is available at Apple.com and Apple Stores in most countries. The Verge

Even new phones are no longer guaranteed to have the latest version of Android – The OnePlus 5T and Razer Phone are two fundamentally different devices, which are nonetheless united by one unfortunate downside: both of them are going on sale this month without the latest version of Android on board. OnePlus will tell you that this issue is down to its extremely stringent testing process, while Razer offers a similar boilerplate about working as fast as possible to deliver Android Oreo. But we’re now three months removed from Google’s grand Oreo launch, timed to coincide with this summer’s total eclipse, and all of these excuses are starting to ring hollow. Why do Android companies think they can ship new devices without the latest and best version of the operating system on board? The Verge

China now has more supercomputers on the world’s top 500 list than the U.S. – China has reached a supercomputing milestone. The country now has more machines on a list of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers than the U.S. Mashable

Trump administration to release rules on disclosing cyber flaws -The Trump administration is expected to publicly release on Wednesday its rules for deciding whether to disclose cyber security flaws or keep them secret, a national security official told Reuters. Channel NewsAsia

10 Tech News Roundup #12

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Apple’s record services revenue suggests growth in Apple Pay, Apple Music – Everyone’s favorite almost-trillion-dollar company reported fourth quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday. And while much of the attention was on stellar iPhone sales, Apple wants to make sure that people know its services business is doing great, too. Techcrunch

Twitter employee deactivates Trump’s account on their last day – President Trump’s infamous Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump went offline briefly on Thursday, setting forth a wave of confusion and emotions. Techcrunch

Dashlane universal password manager comes to Linux, Chromebook and Microsoft EdgeDashlane, a popular password manager that now reaches 9 million users, is launching today on Linux, Chromebook, and in Microsoft Edge for the first time. The company before required users to install its desktop software to work with web browsers, but with today’s release of Dashlane 5, the software is available as an extension that works directly in the browser. The update also includes other improvements for mobile, like support for Face ID on iPhone X and automatic app logins on Android. Techcrunch

The iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera could be a privacy nightmare – The iPhone X is officially here, and with it comes a bevy of new bells and whistles that Apple promises justify the smartphone’s hefty price tag.

Microsoft’s new HoloLens business push includes 29 new countries – Microsoft first unveiled its HoloLens headset almost three years ago, and the company continues to sell them to developers and commercial customers. While HoloLens seemed like a product that would change a lot over time, Microsoft appears to have found specific customers that are willing to adopt the headsets early: firstline workers and information workers. These might not be consumers at home running around playing games with HoloLens, but the headsets are now being widely used in organizations for remote assistance, training, and prototyping. The Verge

Google is apparently shipping some Pixel 2 XLs without an operating system – Google’s new Pixel 2 XL has been beset by a host of problems since release, ranging from possible issues of screen burn in to a weird clicking noise to failing a quality control test to shipping with empty packaging for a non-existent pair of wired Pixel Buds. The Verge

Razer unveils its first smartphone, the gamer-focused Razer Phone – Razer at a press event in London on Wednesday unveiled its first-ever smartphone, the Razer Phone. Described by CEO Min-Liang Tan as the ultimate in mobile entertainment, the Razer Phone features a 5.7-inch, 120Hz Sharp IGZO display with Ultramotion adaptive refresh rate technology and a quad HD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. Techspot

Nvidia Charts AI Inroads, Inference Challenge at DC Event – As developers flock to artificial intelligence frameworks in response to the explosion of intelligence machines, training deep learning models has emerged as a priority along with syncing them to a growing list of neural and other network designs. HPC Wire

Bitcoin hits all-time high after CME Group says to launch futures – Bitcoin jumped to an all-time high above US$6,300 on Tuesday, after the world’s largest futures market operator CME Group said it would launch a regulated trading venue for cryptocurrencies in the fourth quarter of 2017. Channel Newsasia

Grab, the Uber rival in Southeast Asia, is now officially also a digital payments companyGrab is best known for rivaling Uber in Southeast Asia, but today the company took a major step into becoming a fintech player, too. Techcrunch

10 Tech News Roundup #11

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Apple’s latest macOS update dropped a ton of new emoji – Hundreds of new emoji are finally starting to make their way into the world. Apple dropped the latest public beta of macOS High Sierra and the update comes with hundreds of new emoji, including animals, dinosaurs, and a bunch of smileys. Mashable

WhatsApp finally lets you recall messages you’ve sent by mistake – WhatsApp has finally got your back when you send a message to the wrong person or group. The Facebook-owned messaging app is rolling a feature that will finally let its 1 billion-plus users delete a message for all people within a conversation. Techcrunch

Apple debuts its first MacBook sleeve – Apple has been making gadgets for decades. And as one of the world’s favorite consumer electronics makers, the company has also made plenty of cases and sleeves to protect those gadgets, most notably for the iPhone and iPad. But Apple has never made its own laptop/MacBook sleeve, until today. Techcrunch

Google addresses Pixel 2 XL display issues with software update and 2-year warranty – The Pixel 2 XL has been hitting the headlines recently, but not for the reasons Google would have wanted. Some users were already complaining about the display’s muted colors, blue tint, and grainy textures, and last week brought reports of what appeared to be screen burn-in. After promising to investigate the issues, Google has now announced its findings. Techspot

Microsoft may be working on a foldable PC similar to its canceled Courier project – Microsoft might be revisiting Courier, the dual-screen tablet concept from 2009 that never made it into production. The product was a seven-inch, dual-screen portable PC that folded up like a book. The interface was to involve a combination of finger-swiping gestures and a stylus for writing notes or entering URLs into the browser. Techspot

Microsoft has officially halted production of the Kinect – The writing was on the wall for Microsoft’s flagship motion control device and now, it’s finally official: the company has ceased all production of the Kinect. Techspot

Blockchain expected to become top digital business trend and disrupter in 2018 – Blockchain technology is set to become the top digital business trend and disrupter in 2018, IT solutions and services firm Dimension Data has said in its latest report. Business Insider

Amazon Web Services Beats Cloud Rivals with First Volta Instances – Driven by a surging demand for HPC and AI compute power, the delay between the introduction of high-end GPUs and adoption by cloud vendors is shrinking. With the Nvidia V100 launch ink still drying and other big cloud vendors still working on Pascal generation rollouts, Amazon Web Services has become the first cloud giant to offer the Tesla Volta GPUs, beating out competitors Google and Microsoft. HPCWire

Apple calls Face ID quality change report ‘completely false’ – Apple is calling into contention an earlier report from Bloomberg that claimed the company had lowered the accuracy of the face recognition in order to increase iPhone X production yields, calling the report “completely false” in a statement to The Verge. The Verge

New BadRabbit ransomware spreads through Eastern Europe – A new ransomware attack named BadRabbit is spreading through Russia, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries. Targeting corporate networks, computer systems for the Kiev Metro, Ukraine’s Odessa International Airport, several Russian media outlets, and others have been affected, with systems encrypted and computers displaying a ransom message. The Verge

10 Tech News Roundup #10

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Southeast Asia’s Sea, formerly Garena, to raise upwards of $884M in US IPO – Sea, the Singapore-based digital entertainment firm formerly known as Garena, is set to raise upwards of $884 million when it lists on the New York Stock Exchange Friday under ‘SE’. Techcrunch

Atlassian is on one heck of a run – When Atlassian went public at the end of 2015, it was a bit of an anomaly: a tech IPO whose numbers looked quite good with some profitability.

Microsoft quietly added an anti-cheat game feature to Windows 10 – Microsoft started rolling out the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to PCs earlier this week, complete with features like Windows Mixed Reality and people integration for the taskbar. While most of the new additions are obvious, Microsoft quietly added an anti-cheat feature for games. The Verge

Tim Cook promises a new Mac mini will come some day – You thought that just because Apple hasn’t updated it in over three years, the Mac mini is dead? We don’t blame you, but according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, there’s still hope for Apple’s tiny desktop computer. Mashable

Google could update Chrome to address pesky in-browser cryptocurrency miners – In-browser cryptocurrency mining is becoming a serious issue. While some sites like The Pirate Bay are open about the behavior, others (knowingly or otherwise) attempt to use your CPU cycles without your permission. Techspot

Watchdog warns of dangerous security vulnerabilities in children’s smartwatches – Safety concerns over children’s connected toys are nothing new. Wi-Fi enabled dolls such as My Friend Cayla and Barbie were found to be vulnerable to hackers, while smart Fisher-Price toys and HereO watches also featured dangerous security holes, all of which have since been patched. Now, a watchdog has warned that more smartwatches aimed at kids could be easily compromised. Techspot

Apple is slipping after reports of iPhone 8 production cutsShares of Apple are down 1.65% to $157.12 in early trading on Thursday on reports that the company has cut orders linked to its new iPhone 8. Business Insider

Malaysian authorities probing report that personal data of millions of consumers up for sale – PUTRAJAYA: Police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said on Friday (Oct 20) they are investigating claims that the private data of millions of Malaysians are being advertised for sale online. Channel NewsAsia

Where Security Meets High Performance Computing – As its power increases and its cost declines, High Performance Computing (HPC) is making an impact on the security field. The ability to use parallel processing to run at speeds of a teraflop or higher is now contributing to improved security in airports, online and elsewhere. At the same time, HPC itself creates a number of new security risks for organizations that employ it. This article looks at HPC’s impact on security. It also explores HPC’s own vulnerabilities and discusses how new solutions from Dell EMC and Intel help address them. HPCWire

Netflix: the content war – Netflix will spend US$7 billion to US$8 billion on content in 2018 as the streaming wars escalate, it said this week. That cash goes toward a mix of licensed and original programming. “Our future largely lies in exclusive original content,” said Netflix in its latest earnings report. Stranger Things is among the recent hits for Netflix’s studio. Tech in Asia

10 Tech News Roundup #8

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Facebook quietly launches Mac and PC Workplace Chat apps with screen share – TechCrunch has discovered that Facebook has stealthily launched official desktop PC and Mac chat apps with screen sharing — two features users have been begging for. Techcrunch

Apple is looking into reports of iPhone 8 batteries swelling – Reports from a few iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus buyers have suggested there could be an issue with the battery inside some of the devices swelling, causing the case of Apple’s new iPhone to split open and expose the smartphone’s internals. Techcrunch

Apple gave Uber the keys to your iPhone screen, and it was all super shady – Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Uber is a shady company. Mashable

The Pixel’s missing headphone jack proves Apple was right – When it launched the iPhone 7 a year ago, Apple confidently declared the headphone jack obsolete technology that we could learn to live without. The Verge

HP is ditching the last serious Windows phone – HP has canceled plans to build out a line of Windows phones due to Microsoft’s general disinterest in continuing to battle Google and Apple on mobile. The Verge

Analyst and execs say Microsoft might kill off the Surface line by 2019 – With its new Pixelbook 2-in-1, it appears as if Google is trying to take on Microsoft and its laptop-tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro. But several big names within the industry think the Windows maker will drop its Surface lineup by 2019, if not sooner. Techspot

Microsoft has an Edge on iOS and Android handsets – Do you use Microsoft Edge? While I haven’t spent a huge amount of time with Microsoft’s newest browser, I have to admit it’s fast and slick. Techreport

The rise of female e-gamers in Singapore – SINGAPORE: A marketing executive by day, female gamer Calyn Koh heads straight for her home computer after work. Channel Newsasia

Outside criticism forced YouTube to change its search results after Las Vegas shooting conspiracy theories spread – YouTube is revamping the way its search algorithm picks videos to display on the site, after a spate of clips promoting false conspiracy theories about Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting were prominently featured on its site. Business Insider

Google Compute Engine goes a little crazy with up to 96 CPU cores and 624 GB of memory – If you’ve got a resource-hungry app, Google Compute Engine’s latest offering has you covered. Techcrunch

Journal #183 – Time Flies and Minimalism Is Now Part and Parcel Of My Life

Before I knew it, the first week of October is almost over. This also mark the second month since my adoption of the minimalism lifestyle.

I think I can call myself a minimalist now.

During these two months, I have seen myself stopping myself from purchasing items outright without thinking twice. I kept asking myself whether I need the item and if I do need the item, how long do I need it or for what purpose.

Take iPhone for example. I wanted iPhone X because it’s shiny and it has brand new features that my iPhone 7 Plus don’t have. But I knew that I don’t even need it. Those shiny new features serve no purpose and doesn’t add any value to my life. The money that I will be spending on it could be saved up for future use or be part of my retirement funds.

As I mentioned previously in my journals, I even applied minimalism to my clothes. I have my own personal uniform that I wear everyday to work. My colleagues have of course commented on it but once I mentioned that I am a minimalist, they understood. Everything that I do or own is intentional and the bare essentials. The only few people that have yet to comment are my bosses. If they do ask, maybe I will use this chance to tell them that I also apply minimalism to work. I will only do the bare essentials and we shall see how they react.

I have also cleared out my wardrobes, gave away my graduation gown, got rid of old video games that I no longer play, and even certain old boxes that don’t really serve any purpose. I cleared out some old letters by sending them to the shredders too.

Now I finally realized that those things that I did threw or gave away was really there because I’m sentimental, or that I felt insecure, or just feel inferior. I buy stuff to make me feel good or reward myself for handwork. Now, I don’t want stuff. Instead, I need to focus on relationships, my health, calming my neurotic mind, and have enough money to feel safe and stable.

So what’s next for my minimalism journey?

I will probably replace my current wardrobe and remove cabinets until I only have three furniture in my room: A smaller (twice as small), new wardrobe, a bed, and finally a small computer desk for my MacBook Pro, a 27 inch monitor, and the essential hardwares that I need to go online and play certain kind of games.

I will get rid of my existing Windows-based desktop too, except for the GTX1080 graphics card which I will keep for e-GPU purpose. I don’t need two machines when I do majority of my work on my MacBook instead of my desktop. I will get a new 15inch MacBook Pro because it has to have sufficient power for me to do the occasional programming work for my client, light-medium gaming, and support the e-GPU. In general, the 15inch will serve as a desktop replacement. My current 13inch just doesn’t cut it, except maybe for lightweight programming, watching videos, listening to music, and writing. Gaming is a no go, well…more like it’s not at an acceptable standard or level for me anyway.

So what about you guys? For those who just adopted minimalism, how has your journey been like? Let me know down in the comments below.

And a final update about my day today…

The integration work has been going fine. I managed to resolve an issue with data binding of a User Control defined in the ControlTemplate with a data source in the data context. But of course, my whole morning was to deal with the fact that my company didn’t give me the license key for Visual Studio Professional 2017 edition and the software expired today. I had to uninstall it and install a community edition as a temporary solution because development work still has to continue.

Anyway, Visual Studio, Windows, and the whole development ecosystem has not been a great experience.

This is the first problem.

It took 1.5 hours just to reach 49% and I started installing at around 9.50 am. By the time it reached 79%, it was already lunch time.

Then, every edit, every key press or something, visual studio will hang or being doing some god-knows what processing.

And if I add a new file or something, I get this dialog which stays on for up to 3 minutes.

Maybe it’s my development environment or the machine itself or maybe the network. But because everything in my office runs on Windows, it just simply made me hate the platform even more.

And that’s why I switched to Mac and bought into the Apple ecosystem. Yes, Apple has its own problems but nothing as bad as the craps I have to deal with ever since Windows 8.1 came out until Windows 10.

Ok, I’m done with my ranting.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Latest Technology Tidbits 2

LaterPay enters the US market with its media payment technology

Dated: 11 August 2017

Read More: LaterPay brings its media payment technology to the US

Summary:

Media companies will now gain access through LaterPay to a new form of business model that will allow them to monetize various pieces of content or getting users to buy a pass to their sites for a limited period of time.

It does sounds a lot like micropayment. When it comes to the internet, micropayment as a model tends to fall flat. Cosmin Ene, LaterPay’s founder and CEO, said that their technology is suppose to make the payment process as frictionless as possible. No payment information is needed when readers buy their first piece of content. It’s only when the bill reaches $5 that the users would need to pay up.

LaterPay raised an additional 5 million euros, bringing the total funds to 20 million euros, in as part of their United States expansion.

Author’s Take:

I personally never quite liked ads because they ruin the experience of a site and it’s can be full of malware. Thus I use a ad-blocker. I also don’t subscribe to news sites because there are free sources. I know that authors and journalists need to make money too. Hmm…I think this might change my stance.

Microsoft Surface products no longer recommended by Consumer Report due to reliability issues

Dated: 10 August 2017

Read More: Don’t buy these 4 Windows laptops if you care about reliability, says Consumer Reports

Additional Reference (if any): Microsoft Surface Laptops and Tablets Not Recommended by Consumer Reports

Summary:

Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that tests and rates products across multiple categories has officially removed the “recommended” designation from four Microsoft laptops. They are also not recommending other products in the Surface lineup because of the poor predicted reliability.

Reliability of a given product was determined by survey of Consumer Reports subscribers and other recent studies, according to the press release. From the data collection, the organization estimated that 25% of Microsoft laptops and tablets will encounter some problem within two years of ownership.

The press release stated, this is not to say that other brands do not have issues but the difference in how unreliable Microsoft devices were was “statistically significant”.

Microsoft offered their counter statement in an email to COnsumer Reports, “Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability. We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”

Author’s Take:

I did own a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 once and I didn’t use it long enough to experience any significant problem. I personally like the experience provided by the product but I do see people commenting on forums about how their devices were not working properly.

Now is a good time to upgrade that iPad of yours

Dated: 7 August 2017

Read More: Finally, there’s a good reason to upgrade your iPad

Summary:

It’s challenging for Apple to convince users who already own an iPad to buy a newer version. The existing iPads can already do many things users wanted to do such as watching videos, surfing the web, reading news, etc.

The new iPads are just not compelling enough for these kind of users. However, with iOS 11, that situation may just change.

For photographers, they will now be able to edit photos much easier on iOS 11 for iPad with the new updated Photos app. They will now be able to edit a photo with just a few sliders. The app now also allows trimming of Live Photos so that you get to keep parts that you want, and allow you to special effects to the Live Photos.

Advanced photographers who wants more power can look into using the recently updated Adobe Lightroom for iOS, which comes with support for Apple Pencil, 3D Touch Support, and nearly all the features from the desktop version.

Author’s Take:

So with iOS 11, the “Pro” moniker of the iPad finally starts to make some sense. I personally own a iPad Pro 9.7 and I find that I use it from time to time to do creative work like drawing, or writing. With the Logitech Create keyboard for iPad, the overall footprint is small enough for me to bring it with me anywhere to do my journals and various writing projects. All the apps that I need are there and I didn’t need to bringing my MacBook out. The Apple Pencil is intuitive to use and I take notes with it.

Thoughts about Microsoft Build 2017

Well, I’m late to the party. Other news sites, bloggers, and vloggers have all covered it. They have their own thoughts about it. I’m going to do my own take on it, on only features that I’m interested in

For those who don’t already know, Microsoft held an event in Seattle between May 10 to 12, 2017 that introduced to the world a whole bunch of new things for Windows 10 that we all should be excited about — by that I mean techies.

To summarize, during the event, Microsoft pointed out several trends that’s going on that most of us already know: the rise of IOT devices, Artificial Intelligence, Serverless Architecture. They also talked about what they are doing regarding those trends. They are digging in deeper, delivering better solutions or services that customers need.

I’m more interested in their new Fluent Design. User experience and graphics is important to me (though I can’t really draw very well). Microsoft has attempted over the past decade to deliver a nice interface. They introduced Aero with Windows Vista, which was a massive flop. It was slow and sluggish. I’ve personally used it and don’t really like it. Then came Windows 7 and they improved Aero. It was much snappier and still look great.

Then came Windows 8 where they introduced what was known then as Metro design, subsequently known as Modern UI and then Microsoft Design Language. I personally liked it more than the pseudo-3D of Aero in Windows 7 because it is simplistic and minimalistic. It was improved Windows 8.1 and then in Windows 10.

However, the biggest gripe about Microsoft’s Windows was that the user interface isn’t consistent. There are some glaring defects that any good user interface designer should pick up on and fix it. Then, there is the fact that there are thousands if not millions of applications that runs on it. Many of which are legacy application and their user interface hasn’t been updated in ages. On the other hand, the web user interfaces have gotten so much better though every webpage is starting to look like each other due to the extensive use of common frameworks like bootstrap.

With Fluent Design, Microsoft aim to make Windows look great. As a design language, there are five main features:
1. Light
2. Depth
3. Motion
4. Material
5. Scale

You can read more about the Fluent Design System here.

When you combine all five of them properly in your application, the experience the user get will be so much better, richer and immerse them. This design language is in part, I believe due to the increase use and popularity of mixed-reality devices.

As someone who has been using Apple for more than year and already buy into the ecosystem, I’m somewhat excited to see how future applications made for Microsoft Windows will look like and how it will affect the way we as users interact with our devices. My concern was that, there is always the issue where the third-party developers do not ensure their app is consistent with the overall look and feel of the Windows running on the user’s computer.

Right now, the Fluent Design System is implemented in a somewhat beta form with the insiders build of Windows 10. If you are interested, you can download that and try it. Until it is released fully and used by many of the applications in Windows, I will stick with the experience I’m getting from Apple’s ecosystem.