VLC and Windows 10

It’s been a few months since the popular VLC media player has been updated for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1. However, the main developer of the app, Thomas Nigro, has posted word that they are still working on a new release for those platforms. However, work on a true native Windows 10 version has not fully started yet.

In a series of messages on his Twitter account. Nigro stated:

“We’re working on a Windows 8.1 release and preparing the Windows 10 port, it takes time for many reasons. We’ll give news :)”

“But currently, honestly, we’re still focusing on Windows 8.1 instead of Windows 10 because we think many WP8.1 won’t receive W10M.”

“We’ll start working fully W10/W10M when we think we have a good last release to send to the WP8.1 that will not see W10M.”

VLC first launched in a private beta for Windows Phone in December 2014, In February 2015, the team revealed that VLC supported both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 as a universal app. In October, the team reveal that the Windows Phone version had exceeded three million downloads.


Microsoft’s ARM64 support for Windows 10 coming

Microsoft’s vision of Windows 10 is going even broader with recent job postings confirming various plans including support for Windows 10 desktop on ARM and more tantalizing “Windows 10 Mobile x86” (cough, Surface Phone).

Now, another job description posted confirms plans for Windows 10 ARM64 support coming with the Redstone releases slated for this year. The job is for a Senior Program Manager and was spotted by WalkingCat (aka @h0x0d). With the job posting comes some interesting bits about Microsoft’s plans for their all-powerful OS.

The Microsoft Careers job posting notes the following about the ‘OS Foundation PM’ job:

“Do you want to help usher in a new era of devices customers are passionate about and clamoring to have? Are you passionate about creating the operating system foundation to enable breathtaking experiences?…Windows across all device categories is readying for the introduction of 64 bit computing with the ARM instruction set (ISA). Bringing a new ISA to market involves working both broadly and deeply across Microsoft from devdiv to WDG to Server to Office and others depending on the scope of product target.”
The big takeaway there is “Windows across all device categories is readying for the introduction of 64 bit computing with the ARM instruction set (ISA)”. Additionally, Office and Server is mentioned as well, which is fascinating.

Some of the responsibilities of the job include:

Building the plan for ARM64 aligned with the Redstone wave
Identify the “big rocks” we need to move, solve, make it happen
Build the all up view of where we are, drive the schedule
Work to ensure the necessary hardware is planned for and delivered on time
Drive performance and compatibility goals, define and drive to key metrics
Likewise, the bit about “necessary hardware” being planned for and delivered on time suggests Microsoft is working on this solution for their own device range.

In some ways, this move to ARM64 is 100% completely expected. Microsoft was rumored to be working on an ARM64 variant of Windows RT before that OS got shuttered. Other companies like Apple with iOS and Google with Android are well into the 64-bit revolution for mobile. Apple’s new iPad Pro gets solid benchmarks and great battery life due to its ARM chip the A9X; the iPhone has had an ARM64 processor since the 5s series. However, setbacks in chip manufacturing and Microsoft shifting gears with Windows 10 have added some speedbumps, but at least according to this job descriptions ARM64 Windows 10 is coming and slated for this year and likely by the Fall.

What would an ARM64 OS enable? At least for phones, we could see devices head past 3GB of RAM into higher ranges like 4 or 8GB variants. Toss in the rumored x86-to-ARM just-in-time (JIT) emulator, reported earlier by Petri and you could have a potentially powerful OS that not only gets decent battery life but could run some classic x86 apps. Even then, such a system could be employed on lower cost computers, tablets or even new categories, something that the Surface Book and Surface seem to push.

At this time, there are certainly many more questions than answers.

We do know that Microsoft is very serious about putting Windows 10 everywhere and part of the entails making the OS run all hardware whether it is the older x86 instruction set or, the newer ARM64 one. At the very least, we should see some interesting devices this fall as Windows 10 continues to expand to new categories.


Skype’s real-time translations now available to all Windows users

All Windows PC owners who use the Skype messaging app should have full access to its text and voice translation features. Microsoft has announced it has completed the rollout of Skype Translator to those users. It first started the rollout in October.

Microsoft has also revealed some interesting facts about how Skype’s translation features have been used so far:

  • French to English is the most popular language pair.
  • The number of calls per day has increased 400% since launch
  • The most international Skype Translator calling corridor is Germany to Ghana

Microsoft added that the Skype team continues working to add more languages to the translator features, along with adding them to more Skype platforms and clients.


Mail and Calendar gains archive reading mails, find text button

If you’re running an Insider build of Windows 10 on your PC or phone, you may notice an update for Mail and Calendar. This update brings a number of changes, including an easier way to find text, revamped Settings page and more. Keep in mind, you’ll need to be running an Insider build on your machine, which is currently build 11082 in order to see this update. A full list of changes include:

Linked Inboxes are here now
Two new options: Archive reading mails and find text button
New revamped Setting Page
Performance improvements and bug fixes
Minor changes
Should you be on the Insider track, you can grab the update now.


EA Origin Access offers 15 older full Windows PC games for $4.99 a month

Electronic Arts is launching the PC version of EA Access, which is currently available for Xbox One owners. It’s called EA Origin Access and it gives Windows PC gamers a chance to play a bunch of older titles for the price of $4.99 a month.

EA Origin Access currently has 15 games in its Vault for subscribers:

Battlefield 3
Battlefield 4
Battlefield Hardline
Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age Origins
Dragon Age Inquisition
Need for Speed Rivals
Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare
Dead Space
Dead Space 2
Dead Space 3
The Sims 3
This War of Mine

The last game on the list, This War of Mine, is not one that EA developed or published, which shows that EA Origin Access will include games that come from third-parties. EA says it will continue to add new games to the Vault.

In addition, subscribers will be able to get 10% discounts on full game purchases via the Origin service. Finally it will offer free trials of upcoming EA games, with the first being Unravel on Feb. 4. Unlike EA Access for the Xbox One, which also offers a 12-month subscription plan for $29.99, EA Origin Access is only available for the $4.99 a month plan.

Source: EA Origin Access

Gaming Windows

Microsoft Solitaire Update

Microsoft has just pushed out a nice update for their new Microsoft Solitaire Collection Windows 10 app that fixes a few bugs and brings some subtle new features to the game.

Among the bugs squashed with this update were ones involving disappearing undo buttons in certain modes, incorrect Daily Challenge counting, and inaccurate Daily Challenge star ratings. The new features added include a new mode for first-time players to help introduce them to the game, smarter card stacking in Klondike, Spider, and FreeCell, and a new portrait mode for users playing on phones running Windows 10 Mobile.

A new visual theme has also been added however it isn’t so much an interesting new visual design but one made for the visually impaired. This new Jumbo theme features big bold lettering and numbering on the cards and should make the game a lot easier to play for those with poor eyesight on a Windows 10 device or playing on a small smartphone screen.

Not included on this update are the long-awaited leaderboards which have been listed as “coming soon” since Microsoft Solitaire Collection launched alongside Windows 10. This feature is a strange omission since this and the previous version are connected to Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming network which is designed to connect gamers with each other in addition to granting Xbox Achievements and provide cloud saves.

Microsoft has released a fairly good collection of casual games on the Windows platform with apps covering gameplay based on digital jigsaws and mahjong to minesweeper and slots. While all of their casual games are Xbox Live enabled, currently only Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Bingo have been upgraded to the new Windows 10 Universal App format which allows them to be played across Windows 10 devices and also connect to the newer version of Xbox Live running on the Xbox One.


Windows 10 PC build 10586.63 is out

While Windows 10 Insider lead Gabe Aul promised an increase in builds for Insiders in the coming year, it looks like the Windows team hasn’t forgotten about everyone else. A new Windows 10 PC build labeled Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1511 for x64-based Systems (KB3124263) or 10586.63 has begun rolling out to Windows 10 users who are not part of the Insider Program.

As for details of the new update, it’s early, and it seems the Windows team has yet to provide bullet points as to what the cumulative update brings. As part of Patch Tuesday, the new update comes alongside an update for Microsoft Visual C++ and updates to Windows Malicious Software Removal Tools for Windows 8, 8.1, 10 and Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 x64 Edition as well as Windows Defender.

Winver2010586.63 Windows 10 PC build 10586.63 is out today for non-Insiders via KB3124263
As for Windows 10 Insiders, it seems the only updates gained are to Windows Defender and the Malicious Software Tools. Windows 10 Insiders are sitting on build 11082 that is in line with the upcoming Windows 10 Redstone updates due sometime later this year.

Beyond perhaps some needed bug fixes and patches, the release of today’s update along with the release of the mobile Insider update are signals that the Windows team is back in the offices, and Windows 10 development is back in full swing.


Microsoft ends support for Windows 8, asks users to upgrade to Windows 8.1 or 10

If you have paid $99 for a year of Amazon Prime service, or were thinking about doing so, you might save some money when you pre-order a number of upcoming games. Amazon Prime members can currently save a whopping 20% on games like Crackdown 3, Gears of War 4, and ReCore for the Xbox One, along with games for other platforms.

The discount is, again, just for Amazon Prime members, and the savings won’t be seen until you select the game and then proceed to checkout. That’s when the 20% price cut will be applied. There’s no word on when this special offer will end so you might want to take advantage of it now. Games that are part of this Amazon Prime sale should be identified in the “Special Offers and Product Promotions” part of its listing.

Here’s a partial list of games that are included in this offer that might be of interest to Xbox One owners, along with links to their Amazon listings:


Support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 end today

Microsoft is ending support for three versions of Internet Explorer today. If you’re still rocking IE 8, 9 or 10 you’ll no longer receive updates from the company and will need to upgrade to version 10. You could also install a third-party alternative, or even Windows 10 and take advantage of Microsoft Edge.

Those who are using older versions of Internet Explorer will now be bugged by alerts to upgrade, much like consumers who Microsoft is urging to upgrade to Windows 10. Do note that those with Windows Vista installed will still be able to receive support for IE 9 until the OS itself is dropped in 2017.

If you’re dead-set on using old Internet Explorer, a registry hack can be deployed to get rid of the notifications, but we recommend you either upgrade or choose a different browser.


IT Companies and Tech Startups 2015

Starting your own IT company is a worthwhile endeavor, but it can often be difficult to advertise. You will be faced with an overwhelming amount of competition, as the web is full of other similar startups. You need something that can give you a distinct advantage, a memorable feature that will never cease to impress both your customers and your niche rivals.

WordPress is the perfect place to start. Regardless of your business, it offers a free and equal opportunity for anyone that is willing to set up and account. People from across the planet come here to set up their sites and blogs, in hopes of gaining exposure. In fact, you can say that it is better than the real life market, which is often skewed towards the rich and influential. Just by having a presence here, you are advertising yourself.

Being part of a large community also has its drawbacks, because you are constantly forced to make yourself noticed. Fail to do so, and there are plenty of other companies that are more than willing to take your place? So how can this be done? Well, by using WordPress themes. The default theme is decent, but one needs to acquire a distinct specialized look, if you wish to be taken seriously. Maybe an artist’s blog or a gaming site can afford to make slight mistakes or design errors, but not an IT company. That beings said let’s take a look at some WordPress themes that are made for IT companies: