Yesterday’s computer news was about something old: Windows 7. After 11 years, Microsoft is officially ending support for it — though as Tom Warren notes, there’s a healthy chance the company will blink and provide some kind of security update at some point for something critical.
Windows has a reputation for shipping a good version, then a bad version. Windows 7 was one of the good versions, and upgrades to Windows 10 are free for consumers. That means you can skip right over Windows 8, and more power to you.
Now, the future for Windows is harder to divine. Microsoft won’t be releasing a “Windows 11,” but instead updating Windows 10 on whatever cadence it can decide on from year to year. Early on it seemed like it wanted to be a lot like Chrome OS in issuing updates on a regular and frequent cadence, but lately things are moving a little slower as some bugs have crept in. There’s also Windows 10X coming later this year, the version of Windows 10 designed for foldable devices.
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When I interviewed Microsoft’s CEO back in May 2018 (time flies!!), it was clear to me that Microsoft wants to make sure its fortunes don’t depend on Windows — and Nadella has achieved that goal already. Microsoft is as focused on making sure its software runs well on other platforms as it is on maintaining the platform that made the company — maybe more so.
I think the action for the next while is going to be centered around the new Edge browser — based on Chromium — and what Microsoft can do with it. I’m confident the Edge browser itself will run fairly well and hopeful it’ll be less of a battery killer than Chrome. For me, the thing to watch is whether Microsoft can use that technology elsewhere in Windows and Office or if Edge will just feel tacked-on.
GOODBYE, WINDOWS 7
└ Microsoft bids farewell to Windows 7 and the millions of PCs that still run it
Thank you to Windows 7 for undoing some of Vista’s excesses. Thank you also to Windows 7 for being good enough to allow millions of people to skip Windows 8 because of its excesses. You have been stalwart and true, but now is the time for you to rest. May your registry always be clean and your start menu uncluttered.
I salute you, oh Windows 7, with the salute emoticon, which happily includes the number seven: o7
└ How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free
└ The PC market just had its first year of growth since 2011
With Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 today, businesses around the world are being forced to upgrade their legacy devices, leading to “vibrant business demand” for Windows 10, according to Gartner.
└ Microsoft patches Windows 10 security flaw discovered by the NSA
It’s unusual to see the NSA reporting these types of vulnerabilities directly to Microsoft, but it’s not the first time the government agency has done so. This is the first time the NSA has accepted attribution from Microsoft for a vulnerability report, though
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└ Trump accuses Apple of refusing to unlock criminals’ iPhones, setting the stage for a fight
└ Latest Galaxy S20 Plus leak shows off 120Hz display and no headphone jack
Max Weinbach is back with more details and specs. Looks like 120Hz screens is going to be baseline for Android flagships this year. I’m also intrigued by the taller/longer shape. I really did like it on the Sony Xperia phones last year.
By the way — the consensus is that “Bloom” was the codename for Samsung’s folding phone and the actual product name is going to be “Galaxy Z Flip.” I think my concerns about addressing gender could still stand, though, depending on how Samsung positions the phone. I will say that the only thing that endears me to the phrase “Galaxy Z Flip” is that is has the last three letters of the English alphabet all a row.
└ Yahoo parent Verizon promises it won’t track you with OneSearch, its new privacy-focused search engine
From the company that brought you the Super Cookie, a …privacy-focused search engine? Fool me once but I guess we could take Verizon at its word here, because it would be quite a scandal if it turned out otherwise. Maybe.
Let’s just call this a trust-but-verify kind of situation — if we’ve learned anything about tracking over the past decade, its that people find ways to do it that you never would have imagined.
└ Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time is the GOAT of low-stakes television
One sign of admiration that you can see in this article and everywhere else is that we write it “Jeopardy!,” exclamation point included and do so without the usual millennial irony. (Or is it Gen X irony?). If you want to teach somebody how to be stoic, kind, funny, and empathetic all at once, you could do a lot worse than sit them down have them watch Alex Trebek host this show.
└ Time zones mess up more than just your sense of time
You might think you know what you’re getting into with this video by Cory Zapatka and Verge Science, but it takes a fascinating and vital turn halfway through. For some, setting their watch is a political act.
└ Coral is Google’s quiet initiative to enable AI without the cloud
Little, easily programmable AI chips are going to be an essential part of our computing infrastructure — it can’t all go to the cloud. James Vincent looks into Google’s offering in that regard, Coral. It’s a little too tightly tied to Google’s own AI ecosystem for many, though.
Anyway, if you’ve heard Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talk about “the intelligent edge” any time in the past year and wondered what he’s on about, this story is a good primer on what these devices are, why they’re needed, and what their potential might be — whether they’re made by Google or not.
└ Instagram starts bringing DMs to the web
Good get from Ashley Carman. Access on the desktop may not be the main way mobile chat apps are used these days, but it’s essential for people who have office jobs. If you’re staring at a certain screen all day and your fingers are on a certain keyboard, you’re more likely to use the chat app that can appear on that screen and work with that keyboard.
└ Google to ‘phase out’ third-party cookies in Chrome, but not for two years
Here’s me, touching briefly on what’s going on with the browser war. It really does inflame a lot of passions and I really do think every side here is not giving the other side the benefit of the doubt. And that those sides would probably say ‘you darn tootin’ we’re not giving those varmints the benefit of the doubt!’ That’s how web developers talk, you see. There are very good reasons for everybody to distrust everybody else in this whole privacy mess.
Here comes the cliche, though: good, so long as all that contention leads to a more resilient and long-lasting solution. We need to have this conversation and the web and the browsers we use to access it need to develop more quickly. Too many things are broken right now.
└ SpaceX continues to blast satellites into orbit as the space community worries
Elon Musk’s plan to put 42,000(!) internet-providing satellites into space raises a lot of legitimate issues, especially when it comes to tracking satellites and preventing collisions. Loren Grush has a deep, nuanced look at the current state of things for both that and astronomy. Worth your time: