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Microsoft has been playing catch up in the mobile market, with its latest iteration of Windows Phone being teased at the company's Build Developer Conference during the week.
We should expect Microsoft to launch Windows Phone 8.1 within the coming weeks, with the final version of the mobile OS ready for developers on April 14. The "final feature build" has already been seeded to partners according to reports, with the "Final Adaption Kit" to be completed on April 8. The combination of the latest build and the kit should gel together for the final release of Windows Phone 8.1.
Apple has today began seeding the fifth version of its OS C Mavericks 10.9.3 beta build to developers. This pre-release version is coded 13D33, and developers are being asked to focus on key aspects of the OS such as Graphics Drivers, Audio, Safari, and Contacts / Calender USB Sync via iTunes.
This is part of the upcoming update to OS X Mavericks that will usher in 4K Support for external monitors, a first for the operating system. While the syncing via USB option was nixed in previous builds, Apple hopes to bring it back in the next update with a more refined and intuitive version that will work seamlessly with iTunes.
Microsoft is finally getting with the plan and realizing that manufacturers do not want to pay for the OS they install in their mobile devices. With free Android dominating the smartphone and tablet market-space, paying $100 or even $50 to install a less popular OS on the device you are manufacturing is a tough pill to swallow. During its keynote at the Build Conference, Microsoft announced that its Windows OS will be free for smartphones and tablets, but there is a catch.
For smartphones the Windows Phone OS will be completely free, but only tablets under 9-inches will be eligible for the free version of the OS. Additionally, Microsoft said that it will release a free version of Windows that will power The Internet of Things in the future. It is still unclear weather ending OEM royalties on smartphones and small tablets will help improve Windows Phone and Surface adoption rates, but it is a step in the right direction.
When Microsoft first unveiled Windows 8, the entire tech world began complaining about the lack of a Start menu in the next-gen operating system. Microsoft's vision was that everyone would switch over to touch-screen based devices and Windows 8 would be the new standard that all other operating systems strive to reach. Unfortunately, as with Windows Vista, Windows 8 was for the most part a flop with anything other than casual PC users.
The enterprise and business world failed to adopt Windows 8 or its later 8.1 update, and many attribute that to the lack of a true desktop interface that featured the Start menu that everyone was familiar with. During this weeks Build Conference, Microsoft said that it will be bringing back the Start menu, but it will still feature a live tile interface off to the right. There is a major update to Windows 8.1 scheduled to drop this month, but the Start menu will not come with it. Microsoft says that it will issue an update later this year that will include the reborn Start menu.
Many banks and ATM operators are making plans to migrate its ATM systems to Linux as Windows XP's support will no longer be provided from April 8th. The report indicated that this will allow companies and operators to have more control over the hardware and software of the machines.
As pointed out earlier, many companies were either planning to shift to newer Windows operating system or purchasing extended support for Windows XP until they've completed migration for all of its machines. As of now, about 95% of the world's ATMs are using Windows XP. It is expected that 60% of 400,000 ATMs in the United States will still be using Windows XP post its end-of-support deadline.
The deal is good for Surface Pro 2 tablets, select notebooks, all-in-one desktops, and 2-in-1 products.
The upgrades must be made through the Microsoft Store, and includes 90 days of free support along with free data transfer. Microsoft is keeping the promotion going through June 15, and customers will be required to show an XP-based device in-store or place an order in the store using an XP device.
Microsoft and security experts have repeatedly warned users they face increased threat from malware and other security threats if they remain on XP. However, XP is still an extremely popular OS - despite its age - and Microsoft has found it difficult to entice users to upgrade.
The Microsoft Windows XP operating system reaches end of support in less than one month, and utility companies face possible security problems. Security experts are most worried about potential service disruptions if cybercriminals successfully compromise XP-based PCs and control centers - and to make matters even more pressing, XP is a major OS used in almost all U.S. gas and electric utilities.
To help offer an additional layer of support, Microsoft will provide "Antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015." However, cybercriminals are still anxiously awaiting the deadline, when they know home consumers and business users will be susceptible to malware, virus attacks, and other cybercrimes to steal information.
Of reported incidents, the energy sector made up more than half of the Department of Homeland Security industrial control systems cyber emergency response team (ICS-CERT) complaints, with a focus on trying to test network limitations - and steal trade secrets.
Recent reports are suggesting that a beta version of the upcoming update to OS X Mavericks has been pushed out to developers, and contains options for them to upscale their applications to 4K Ultra-HD resolutions. If true, this would allow Macbook Pro owners to connect their device to an external 4K display without any distortion, or blurry-ness messing up the image quality.
The reports suggest that the code update will also usher in 4K at a 60Hz refresh rate, something that has been limited to just 30Hz for a while now. The beta update is said to be OS X Mavericks 10.9.3, but no information was given on when it may release to the public, and if 4K will be supported on every application or if Apple is leaving it up to the developers to code their apps for 4K.
About 95% of U.S. banks are using Windows XP for ATMs. That could be troubling as Microsoft plans to shut down tech support for this operating system on April 8. Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for Windows XP.
U.S. Banks and ATM experts are taking this seriously. If banks are unable to complete upgrading all of its ATMs with the newer Windows OS by April, customers might be at risk of being exposed to any kinds of patch holes if any security flaw was found after Microsoft axes its support. This will be a good opportunity for hackers to exploit many ATMs, so its a race against time for a majority of banks.
If you are a user of Windows 8.1 on a computer that lacks a touchscreen, you may be very frustrated at the user experience that the OS has offered so far. One of the things that Microsoft has promised to address with the first update for Windows 8.1 is making it easier for people not on touch PCs.
We mentioned last week that rumors pegged the launch of the update for Windows 8.1 to happen on April 8. That also happens to be the same day that Windows XP reaches the end of support date. Word has surfaced from sources who claim to be familiar with the goings on at Microsoft that the update has reached Release to Manufacturing or RTM.
That is a significant milestone for software and means that the update is officially ready to ship. The source also claims that Update 1 for Windows 8.1 has also been shared with PC makers and partners. The final update is said to have been compiled on February 21.