• Stuclark

    Insider Preview build 16251

    By Stuclark, in Windows 10,

    Yesterday Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16251 into the wild. There's quite a few changes in this build, some of which are actually quite significant ... without further ado, here's the lowdown on this release.

    The first thing to notice, and Microsoft have sort of touched on it, but in a very round-about way, is that this build is a forked rs3_prerelease build. What this means and why it is significant is because this indicates that Microsoft are now in the polishing and fixing stage of the Creators Fall Update cycle - they're not concentrating on major code changes now (as is evidenced by the "forking" of this build), and are instead concentrating on fixing the myriad bugs they've introduced (or not fixed) since the original Creators Update.
    On the new features front, Microsoft have added a new "Linked Phone" feature, which allows you to link your Android (iOS coming soon) phone to your PC and then "transfer" tasks from your phone to PC. At the moment all you can do is open a web page from your phone on your PC, but it works quite well and quite nicely (even if it does ignore your browser preferences and dump you into Edge).
    There's a bunch of Cortana updates, including getting web results without having to open a web browser, and new commands to turn your PC off, restart it etc. all from the delights of your voice. (rumours that this feature was tested by telling the computer to f*** off are completely made up)
    As far as fixes go, the biggest, most important one for anyone using a Surface-type device is that, after 3 builds of flakiness, Windows Hello finally appears to be working again! Surface (and other tablet users) were getting rightly pissed off at being told their expensive devices couldn't support Hello, when they perfectly well could! I've tested this and so far* it is working
    Microsoft reckon they've fixed the ability for Windows to auto-log in to finish an update in this build - this "feature" was initially part of the Anniversary Update, but it never worked properly - well now it's back again and apparently sorted. (the jury is out until the next build update to test it though)
    Lastly, there's the usual skew of Edge updates; some more work on touch keyboards (useful for mobile and smaller tablets, but an utter waste on anything with a screen 10" or larger), plus a bunch of random bug fixes.
    Here's Microsoft's full release notes: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/07/26/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16251-pc-build-15235-mobile/#dHpkUVWYxdVt6mvo.97

  • Stuclark

    A week after Insider Preview build 16237, Microsoft yesterday released build 16241. Read on to see what's new this week:

    The short answer is... not a lot of note. There are improvements to "Acrylic Material" (Micorosoft's new name for semi-transparency in the Windows UI), which make things slightly easier to live with, plus updates for Task Manager and Mixed Reality.
    However, the biggest changes this week relate to Delivery Optimisation. Microsoft are really going to town on this feature (to recap, this is where your PC can download updates from other Windows PCs on your LAN, or on the 'net if you allow, and equally act as a streaming host to other PCs, a-la P2P networks) and in this build have added a whole skew of controlls allowing you to choose how much bandwith should be available to Delivery Optimisation; to view your download and upload statistics, plus many other tweaks and settings for these features.
    There's also now a Windows Store item for installing Ubuntu on your Windows PC. I shit you not; MS are really into this Linux on Windows thing now, and reckon you should use their store *nix builds (other distributions are coming soon apparently) rather than trying to do the install yourself. It's actually quite a clever idea, as it keeps the uber-geeks happy that they can stare at a badly scaled text interface, while keeping the sysadmins happy that they're still supporting Windows as the underlying OS.
    Full release notes are avaialable here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/07/13/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16241-pc-build-15230-mobile/#xMd5rXKSEdcpxrRq.97

  • Stuclark

    Another day, another build. This time Microsoft have released into the wild Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16237. As ever, highlights are as follows:

    Amongst the usual skew of Edge updates (MS really do seem to be trying to teach Edge everything, including how to hold the pre-used utensils in the food preperation room (i.e how to be the kitchen sink)), there's one, very notable, very oft asked for, actually incredibly worth mentioning update in this build - No more logging out to change screen resolution!!!! Here's what MS says about it:
    "No more logging out to fix blurry desktop apps: Hey, do you hate having to log out and back in to Windows to fix blurry desktop apps after docking, undocking, or remoting? We do too! In this flight, you only have to relaunch these apps in order to have them render crisply. If you have a high DPI display (a 4K display or other high dots-per-inch (DPI) display, such as Surface displays) and change the display scaling value in any way (this can happen when you dock/undock, remote from a device with a high DPI display, or otherwise change the display scaling setting) most desktop apps become blurry. This is due to 1) the apps don’t respond to a DPI change notification, because they haven’t been updated and 2) Windows keeps the display scaling/DPI data that it reports to apps constant until you log out and back in.
    In this flight we’ve changed the way that Windows provides DPI-related information to these applications such that each time one of these applications starts, they’ll get updated data from Windows. This means that for these applications, you simply re-launch them in order for them to render correctly if they’re blurry. While this isn’t what we all want: having these applications render crisply all the time, we feel that it’s a lot less painful to relaunch apps instead of having to close out of all apps and going through a log-out/log-in cycles."
    They've also buggered about with the notification and action bar some more; recently email notifications (for example) have gone from small and unobtrusive, to taking up half the bloody screen* . Other changes include more work on the re-introduction of semi-transparency in Windows (um, wasn't this in Win7? - why, yes it was), and a bunch more gaming mode and touch keyboard enhancements.
    Full release notes are here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/07/07/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16237-pc/#XqvhHrEBtTeJsWlP.97
     
    *small exageration, maybe

  • Stuclark

    Hot on the heals of build 16226 (well, ok, not exactly hot, more a gentle jog); Microsoft have taken the wrapps of Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16232. Here's what's new and of note in this build:

    Believe it or not (hey, this is Microsoft), this build is all about security. More accurately it's about improvements and new features in Windows Defender, Windows Defender Application Guard, and probably most importantly, Windows Exploit Protection.
    To quote Microsoft:
    "We’ve heard your feedback regarding the upcoming EMET EOL, so we’re excited to announce that starting with this build you can now audit, configure, and manage Windows system and application exploit mitigation settings right from the Windows Defender Security Center! You don’t need to be using Windows Defender Antivirus to take advantage of these settings.
    After upgrading to this build, you can find these settings by opening the Windows Defender Security Center and going to the App & browser control page:
    Either right-click the icon in the notification area on the taskbar and click Open, or search via the Start menu for Windows Defender Security Center From Windows Defender Security Center, click on App & browser control and then scroll to the bottom of the resulting screen to find Exploit Protection
    More detailed documentation will follow on Microsoft Docs, and remember that Exploit Protection is a work-in-progress and might not be fully functional just yet!"
    Microsoft's full release notes are here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/06/28/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16232-pc-build-15228-mobile/#8QMkrcxPf2Ji8r0r.97

  • Stuclark

    Yesterday Microsoft released Insider Preview build 16226 to insiders in the Fast Track. Here's the highlights of this build:

    The biggest notable change in this build is the inclusion (finally) of OneDrive Files-On-Demand. This is essentially a reversion of OneDrive functionality to that which was available in Windows 8 and 8.1 - i.e. a file icon existed within your OneDrive heirachy *even if* you hadn't previously downloaded that file to your PC. Microsoft scrapped the functionality in Windows 10, citiing user confusion about which files / folders were and weren't local to a PC; but equally created a situation where whole folder structures appeared to be "missing" on a PC due to not being previously downloaded.
    There's also a new GPU tab in Task Manager, allowing you to check what your graphics card is doing, work wise. It's maybe a bit of a geeky thing, but it's fun to have never-the-less.
    Microsoft's full release notes are here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/06/21/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16226-pc/#CIf1X7VvIj5dHUlI.97

  • Stuclark

    You could well be forgiven for thinking I'd given up reporting on Insider builds after the Creators Update was released ... but the truth is that Microsoft had gotten themselves into one of those cycles where it simply wasn't worth reporting on, or even installing, the builds being released.

    That changed last Thursday though when Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider build 16215 to the fast ring. This build is one of the first that's been stable enough to actually run day to day since the Creators Update*, but even so, there's a few glaring bugs in the "Wot won't work" list.
    First though, the changes and improvements (from the released Creators Update) which are available in this build... it's a long list, so bear with us... I've taken this list directly from Microsoft's release notes, 'cause I was too lazy to type it
    Start & Action Center bring elements of Fluent Design
    This build introduces new UI for Start and Action Center that includes elements of Microsoft's new Fluent Design System (website doesn't work, don't bother clicking on it) which was announced at Build 2017.
    Start improvements include:
    Acrylic: If you have transparency enabled for Start, you’ll notice it’s now been updated to use the new acrylic design. Vertical resize: No more glitches at the bottom of the frame. Horizontal resize: The frame now starts resizing horizontally immediately (like vertical resize), as opposed to only “snapping” to certain widths. Diagonal resize: The frame can be resized diagonally! Resize grips: It’s now easier to “grip” the edge of the frame to start resizing. Tablet mode transition: Smoother transition into tablet mode. A new look for Action Center: Action Center has been redesigned based on your feedback to provide much clearer information separation and hierarchy. And the new design for Action Center also includes elements of our Fluent Design System such as acrylic! (and in case you were wondering, we’ve also added acrylic to our notification toasts!). As a reminder, you can customize the visible quick actions by going to Settings > System > Notifications & actions.

    Microsoft Edge Improvements
    Pin your favorite websites to your taskbar: Pinned sites are back! We heard your feedback, and are in this build you can now pin a website to the taskbar from Microsoft Edge! We’ll use the site’s icon to give you quick access to your favorite sites right from the taskbar. Simply select “Pin this page to the taskbar” from the settings menu in Microsoft Edge.
    Full screen mode (F11) in Microsoft Edge: This build introduces a new Full Screen experience in Microsoft Edge. Simply press F11 or choose the new Full Screen icon in the Settings menu to take your websites full-screen. You can exit Full Screen view by pressing F11 again, or by clicking the Restore icon in the top-right corner.
    Annotate Books in Microsoft Edge: We’ve added the ability to annotate EPUB Books by highlighting in four colors, underlining, and adding comments. To get started, select some text, and choose an option from the menu.To add notes as you read, select text, tap or click the Add a note button and add your note.
    Microsoft Edge PDF improvements: We’ve added more highlight colors and the option to Ask Cortana in PDFs in Microsoft Edge.
    Other Microsoft Edge Improvements, including:
    Microsoft Edge’s splash page (seen when newly launched) so that the color transitions more smoothly to the Start and New Tab pages. You will now be able to close the Microsoft Edge app directly using the close button, even when a JavaScript dialog is showing. We’ve added an option to “Add tabs to favorites” from the right-click context menu on tabs. Using it will create a Favorites folder with all the sites open in tabs in the current window. New tabs will now animate more smoothly onto the tab bar when opened and closed. We’ve improved session restore behavior so that when a multi-window Microsoft Edge session is restored by clicking on a link (for example, from an email), the window in focus at the end of restoration is the one containing the new link. Cortana Improvements
    Taking Cortana reminders to the next level through vision intelligence: Most of us have experienced taking a picture of upcoming event poster or bookmarking an event site for future reference, only to forget about it later. With this build, we’re rolling out two new features starting with the en-us market to help you never again miss an event you’re interested in!
    Cortana camera roll insights: With your permission, Cortana will now prompt you to create a reminder when she notices event posters in your camera roll! To try it out, make sure you’re signed into Cortana with your MSA or work account, and then give Cortana permission to access your camera roll via Settings > Cortana > Permissions & history > “Manage the information Cortana can access from this device”. The next time you take a picture of a flier for an upcoming event, Cortana will reach out asking if you want to create a reminder for that time.
    Note: Cortana will only provide insights when your device is plugged into a power source and on an un-metered network.

    Cortana Lasso: Are you a pen user? If so, Cortana can now help keep track of future events on your screen! Use the new lasso tool to circle the relevant information and Cortana will recognize the time, and offer suggested follow-ups through a context menu. Keeping track of upcoming events has never been easier! To try it out, go to Settings > Device > Pen & Windows Ink > Press and hold, and select Cortana Lasso in the dropdown picker. Find a website with upcoming event info, or an event poster someone shared in social media – once you have the event on your screen, just press and hold the pen back button, circle the time information, and watch Cortana do her magic. That easy!
    Note: For this to work, your pen will need to support Press and Hold – for example the pen that came with the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, or Surface Studio.

    Evolving the handwriting experience in Windows 10
    Using your feedback to evolve the handwriting experience: We’ve been hard at work incorporating your feedback, and with today’s build we’re introducing a new XAML-based handwriting panel – with more gestures, easier editing, emoji, and more!
    New features include:
    Write as much as you want in the panel with the new conversion & overflow model! As you write, you’ll now see your previous words convert to typed text within the handwriting panel. When you fill the handwriting panel and lift your pen off the screen, the text will shift so you have room to continue writing. Press the commit button to insert all the text and clear the slate.
    Select text to edit it: See something you want to change? If you select text while the handwriting panel is open, that text will now appear within the panel so you can easily make alterations.
    Make corrections within the handwriting panel by overwriting converted text: Was something misrecognized? Instead of using the suggested text alternate, you now have the option of just inking the correct letters right on top of the converted text!
    Make corrections using ink gestures: Once your written words have been converted to type, or if you’ve selected existing text, you can now easily make simple edits from within the handwriting panel using our four new gestures: strikethrough, scratch, join, and split. Try it out!
    Easier access to emoji and symbols: We’ve added two new buttons to the handwriting panel, so you can easily input emoji or symbols without needing to switch to the touch keyboard Simply tap the button, pick the character you want, and you’re set to go!
    Reducing the chance of palm rejection: We’ve added a new setting in Pen & Windows Ink Settings so finger inking needs to be explicitly enabled – this will help avoid inadvertent ink being drawn on the handwriting panel as you’re writing with your pen.
    Floating by default: While you still have the option to choose, we’ve made the decision for the handwriting panel to now by default appear next to where you’re writing. To change modes, tap the new keyboard settings menu button in the top left corner of the keyboard.
    Improved handwriting recognition for English (United States): We’ve made some changes to our US English handwriting recognition engine to improve its accuracy. Would love for Insiders to try it out and share feedback on how it feels now.
    English mode for Simplified Chinese handwriting: To further improve the recognition accuracy of mixed input (when Chinese and English characters are inked together), we’ve added an English mode button when handwriting in Simplified Chinese. Just press the button, ink the desired English words, and the inking done in English mode will be recognized using the English (United States) handwriting recognition engine. After your inking in English is finished, you can press the English mode button again to go back to default mode.

    We rely on your feedback to let us know how this new experience is doing, and will be using your feedback to determine readiness. Please try writing some things and log feedback about the experience here. If your PC has pen support, then the handwriting engine for each language should download automatically when you add it to your language list. If it doesn’t, you can go to Optional Features and choose to download it. We’re currently investigating your reports that there’s been some lag when inputting ink in recent builds.
    Find My Pen: Don’t know where you put your pen? The pen doesn’t have a GPS, so we can’t help you there, but what we *can* do is tell you where you were when you last inked on your computer. Which is what we’ve done! Head over to Settings > Update & Security > “Find My Device” to see what it’s all about.
    Scrolling with pen. In the effort to create a more intuitive pen interaction on Windows, we are emphasizing natural and direct manipulation of content with pen. You don’t have to “hunt and peck” for scrollbars or frequently switch between pen and touch when navigating; now you can scroll content directly and fluently as you would with your finger. Want to see it working?
    Selection with pen. We also revised selection with pen by giving it more control over the selection process. Not only are we showing selection grippers whenever text is selected via pen, but also are allowing for a consistent and fast selection of content – text, objects, or ink—by dragging the pen while the barrel button is pressed.
    Note: scrolling with pen is currently only supported for UWP apps, however we’re working on adding it for Win32 as well (like File Explorer). Selection with pen isn’t yet up and running in Microsoft Edge, but it will be coming in a later flight. This will also impact selecting text with pen in epubs and PDFs in order to try the new Microsoft Edge features shown above. For now, please use another input method if you’d like to see how it works.
    Hardware keyboard Improvements
    Entering emoji on your hardware keyboard just got easier: We’ve heard your feedback, and today we’re happy to announce the new Emoji Panel! Press Win + period (.) or Win + semicolon (;) while focus is in a text box and the Emoji Panel will pop up for you to quickly scroll through and pick the emoji you want.

    In the “People” emoji category, you can change the skin tone of the emoji by clicking the button on the top-right:

    In addition to using your mouse to select an emoji, you can also navigate through the panel by using the following keys:
    Arrow keys – Navigate among emoji Tab / Shift + Tab – Switch emoji category Enter – Select an emoji Esc – Close the panel Currently this emoji experience is only available when English (United States) is the active language of your keyboard. As a reminder, if you need to switch between the languages in your language list, you can use the Win + Space hotkey.
    Converging the touch keyboard experience
    We have a totally new touch keyboard on Desktop! If you’ve been jealous of better keyboard features on your phone, then you’ll be happy to hear with today’s build we’re bringing those familiar phone keyboard experiences to your PC with our new XAML-based touch keyboard!
    This includes many popular requests we’ve heard from you such as:
    Enhanced Text Prediction: We’ve made a bunch of improvements to our text prediction engine to make it more intelligent. For example, you now don’t need to type anything other than “Text ” to complete the frequently used message, “Text me when you get a chance” using the suggested words. If you’re using a UWP app, you can also now enjoy Emoji suggestions!Try it out! Type “birthday ”, “coffee ”, or “dog ” and see what happens! Prediction is currently only working with the English US keyboard, however we’re working on enabling more languages

    Improved emoji experience: If you switch to the touch keyboard’s emoji view, you’ll find can now smoothly scroll through the entire contents of each emoji category, rather than page by page. You’ll also notice that any additional available emoji candidates based on your most recent word are displayed at the top in the candidate area

    One-handed touch keyboard: Following extensive research on tablet postures, we’re adding a new keyboard layout to provide the most comfort when holding the device in your hands! It looks similar to a phone keyboard – smaller and more narrow. You can freely put this smaller touch keyboard wherever you want (although we recommend docked to the side of your screen ) and use it with one hand. To switch between languages, press and hold on the &123 key. Note: This keyboard takes the place of the split keyboard layout

    Shape writing with the one-handed touch keyboard: One of the most powerful phone keyboard features for fast and easy text input involves swiping over the keys without releasing your finger on the screen. We call it shape writing. Today we proudly announce the first shape writing keyboard on PC! Because it’s works just like your familiar phone-style one-handed keyboard, you don’t need to do anything to learn it again. Just use it as you would use your phone’s touch keyboard. Bonus: it also works with pen! Shape writing is currently only supported for the English US keyboard, however we’re working on enabling more languages.

    A new touch keyboard settings menu: Along with all our other improvements, we’ve updated the way to switch into Handwriting panel and other keyboard layouts. You can find our keyboard settings menu icon at the top left corner of the touch keyboard. It’s a one-stop settings panel for all the layouts (Default, One-handed, Handwriting, Full) and modes (Docked, Floating), as well as a shortcut for jumping to language settings.
    As we light up these new keyboard experiences, it’s very important that we receive your feedback to help make improvements and ensure we ship a polished experience to Windows users. If you have a touch or pen capable device, please take a moment to try it out in any languages that you speak and give feedback in as much detail as possible. Our readiness decision will be based on what you tell us. (PS – don’t forget you can move the keyboard around when it’s undocked by dragging the move icon in the top right corner!)
    Please note the touch keyboards for Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages are not working with this build – we will fix this as soon as possible in an upcoming flight.
    Dictation on the Desktop: Our keen-eyed Insiders may have noticed a microphone button in the touch keyboard pictures above – that’s because you can now use dictation to input English or Chinese text on desktop! Simply tap the microphone button in the top left corner of the touch keyboard or handwriting panel, or press the new dictation hotkey Win + H to start dictating. Currently only available for English (United States) and Chinese (Simplified) input methods.
    Besides dictating text, you can also use voice commands to do basic editing or to input punctuations. Below are some examples of English dictation voice commands:
    Say “press backspace” to inject a backspace character Say “clear selection” to unselect the text that has been selected Say “press delete” to inject a delete keystroke Say “delete that” to delete the most recent speech recognition results, or the currently selected text Say “delete last three words” to delete the last three words Say “stop dictating” to terminate the dictation session Say “end spelling” to terminate spelling mode Say “go after <word or phrase>” to move the cursor to the first character after the specified word or phrase Say “go to the end of paragraph” to move the cursor to the end of the paragraph Say “move back to the previous word” to move the cursor to the left side of the previous word Say “go to start of <word or phrase>” to move the cursor to the first character before the specified word or phrase Say “go to the start of paragraph” to move the insertion point to the start of paragraph Say “go down to next sentence” to move the cursor forward to next sentence Say “go to the end of the sentence” to move the insertion point to the end of the sentence Say “move to the start of the word” to move the insertion point to the start of the word Say “go to the left” to inject a left arrow into input Say “move right” to inject a right arrow into input Say “select <word or phrase>” to select the specific word or phrase Say “select that” to select the most recent speech recognition result Say “select next three words” to select the next three words Say “start spelling” to switch to spelling mode Say “comma” (or “period”, “question mark” etc.) to input the punctuation “,” (or “.”, “?”, etc.) Shell Improvements
    Enhancing your Share experience: We want sharing to be easy and natural. With the last build we added people-first sharing, and with this build we’re bringing another new Share feature to your desktop:
    Copy Link: Don’t see the app you’re looking for in the Share UI? If you’re sharing a link – like a website in Microsoft Edge, or an app from Store – we’ve added a new option in the Share UI to copy that link to your clipboard, so you easily can paste it into your app of choice.

    New local media folder detection for UWPs: Photos, Groove Music and Movies & TV all have one thing in common: exploring your local content based on the folders you provide. We’ve heard your feedback that sometimes local media is missing as a result of folders not being included, so with this build we’re adding new logic to address this. After a storage scan, we will now detect relevant media folders you might want to include in your collection when looking at the files via UWP apps, and suggest them to you when you go to add new folders. Want to try it out now? Add a new folder with 30+ pictures, songs, or videos to your desktop. Go to Storage Settings and press the refresh button to trigger a scan. The next time you go to add a folder to your favorite UWP (such as Groove Music), you’ll see this new experience:

    Note: If no new media is detected, you will see the file picker dialog.
    My People Improvements:
    We fixed an issue where the icons of contacts pinned to the taskbar would appear cut off when using small taskbar icons. We’ve updated our logic so that if you have the My People flyout open, you can now drop a file onto any of the contacts pinned in the overflow area to initiate a share with them. We’re updated the sound made when you receive an emoji from one of the contacts pinned to the People bar in the taskbar. We improved My People reliability and fixed an issue where hit testing would become offset after adding or removing items from the systray. Night light improvements including:
    We fixed an issue where mirroring a display and then disconnecting from it would break night light on that screen. We fixed an issue where when night light had been manually enabled, and the device entered then exited S3 sleep, night could then become disabled. As a result of your feedback, we’ve updated our logic to now use a quick transition into night flight if applicable after rebooting or manually enabling night light. Settings Improvements:
    New Video Playback Settings: Head to Settings > Personalization > Video Playback and you’ll now find some additional controls for media enthusiasts. If you have an HDR monitor, we’d love to hear your feedback on how video streaming feels when these new options are enabled. We’ve also added some battery settings for you to decide whether you’d prefer to optimize video streaming for battery usage or video quality.
    Note: You’ll noticed a “Unsupported video type or invalid file path” error at the top of the page. This is a known issue we’re looking into, it shouldn’t otherwise impact the usage of these settings.
    A new HDR and Advanced Color Settings Page: If you have at least one connected display that supports HDR, you’ll now see some additional information! Go to Settings > System > Display > “HDR and advanced color settings” to find more details about the HDR settings of the currently selected display.
    Per-App Defaults Settings Page: In the past, when using Settings you had to start with your file type or protocol if you wanted to make a change to the default app. That’s changing with this build, and you can now start with your app, and then see the available options for what it can handle. To see this new option, go to Settings > Apps > Default apps > “Set defaults by App”. Choose an app and click ‘Manage’ to see all the file types and protocol associations for which the app is the default. This page takes the place of the one that had been available in Control Panel, as part of our ongoing effort to converge the settings experience.

    Updated Network connection properties page: We’ve heard your feedback that setting a network profile to public or private isn’t discoverable, so we’ve updated the Network connection properties page to make it easier and prominent. Instead of the previous toggle under “Make this PC discoverable”, you’ll now find two radio buttons to select whether the profile should be public or private.

    A new context menu for Wi-Fi networks in the View Available Networks flyout: To get you where you need to go faster, we’ve added a new context menu full of quick actions when you right-click one of the listed Wi-Fi networks. Options include Connect, Disconnect, View Properties, or Forget Network.
    Windows Update improvements:
    View your active Windows Update policies: If there are any applied group policies for Windows Update, a page will now appear in Windows Update Settings so you can look through them.
    Understanding your updates: We now list out the individual update status and progress in Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. So if there are multiple updates pending (for example, a new build, a driver update, and a definition update for Windows Defender), you can see and track each different status, which wasn’t as obvious with the single progress bar used in prior builds.
    Other improvements in Settings include:
    You can now add other AAD work/school users from Settings. We’ve heard your feedback, and have adjusted the order of the Settings categories so that the new Cortana category is now more central, and the Windows Update category is now once again the final one in the list. When moving or uninstalling an app from the Apps & Features Settings page, you’ll now see a progress bar. We fixed an issue where pinned secondary tiles would appear as groups in that app’s Notification & Actions Settings. We fixed an issue resulting in garbled characters when viewing the new tips in Settings on non-English languages Gaming Improvements
    Game bar improvements:
    Based on your feedback, the Game bar (Win + G) now has a button to enable or disable Game Mode for the current game. Its icon will be updated soon in a future flight. The Game bar (Win + G) now allows you to take screenshots of games running in HDR. Sharing those screenshots to Xbox Live using the Xbox app will come in a future update of the app. Note: broadcasting does not support HDR. Screenshots will be taken in the resolution of the game window, which enables the 4K screenshots that are now supported. Game Clips and broadcasts will be transcoded to 1080p if the resolution is higher than that. Screenshots of games running in HDR should now correctly save a copy in PNG that is tone mapped to SDR. Bitrate changes during game broadcasting to Mixer should now be smoother and more seamless. When broadcasting to Mixer, you can now specify the language that you are speaking during the broadcast. The resources made available to games running in Game Mode have been tweaked on popular machine configs, including 6 and 8 core CPU machines, resulting in improved game performance for games running in Game Mode. If you missed our announcement introducing Mixer and all the goodness along with it, check it out here!
    Developer Improvements
    Per app Runtime Broker: If you open Task Manager, you will notice UWPs now use per-application instanced Runtime Broker processes, rather than all sharing a single session-wide Runtime Broker. This will help improve resource attribution, resource management, and fault tolerance.
    Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) no longer requires Developer Mode! Previously, you had to enable Developer Mode (Settings -> Update & Security -> For Developers) in order to run Bash & Linux tools on Windows. This restriction has been lifted; you can now run Bash on Windows without developer mode being enabled! More information here
    Hyper-V gets virtual battery support: You can now see your machine’s battery state in your VMs! To try this feature, create a new VM using the “New-VM” cmdlet, and add the “-Prerelease” flag. This will give you a pre-release VM that will have this feature enabled.
    Other improvements including:
    Registry Editor is now per-monitor DPI aware! That means it should no longer be blurry when used in mixed DPI environments, or when changing DPI. We fixed an issue resulting in VIM being broken for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) users in result flights. We fixed an issue where the choice command was failing when run in a Command Prompt script. Ease of Access Improvements:
    Narrator Improvements:
    Scan Mode on By Default: The largest change that you will experience is that Scan Mode is now on by default. This means that: Up and Down Arrows to get through everything: You can simply use the up and down arrow keys to get through all of the content of your application. Press Space to Interact: To interact with simple controls (such as buttons, checkboxes, toggle buttons etc. you can press the space bar). Editbox Switching: If you navigate to an edit field using the up and down arrows, Narrator will automatically turn off Scan Mode so that you can type into the edit field. When you are ready to exit the edit field you can use the up and down arrows to exit the edit field and Narrator will turn scan mode back on. Turn off Scan Mode with Caps + Space: If you want to turn off scan mode, and want to get back to the old way of doing things, press Caps + Space. It will be turned off for that app and you will hear “Off”. Remembering the state of scan mode by application: If you explicitly turn off scan mode, by pressing Caps + Space in an application, this choice will be saved in an exceptions list so that when you reopen the application Scan Mode is off. To remove this application from the exceptions list you can press Caps + Space again Left and Right Arrow to move by character: Left and right arrows will move you by character Since Scan Mode is now on by default, we’ve removed the popup dialog when first launching Narrator explaining how to start scan mode. Narrator Input learning: This will allow you to learn the keys on your device. Narrator will tell you the key that you have pressed, and the Narrator command associated with it. This mode can be turned on and off with Caps + 1. New and improved hotkeys: To read from where you currently are through the rest of the application you can press Caps + R for Read. To jump to the beginning of an application you can now press Caps + Home and to jump to the end of an application you can press Caps + End. The read window command, Caps + W also had some improvements in this release. Caps + W will now read both the controls in the window and the text. Narrator Getting Started User Guide: There is now a button in the main Narrator UI to the Narrator User Guide located here, where you can find more information about scan mode and all of the Scan Mode commands. Braille improvements: Narrator users can type and read using different braille translations, choose a blinking cursor representation, and choose the duration of “flash messages”. You can also now perform braille input for app shortcuts and modifier keys, which enables you to use your braille display for common tasks such as:
    Pressing the Tab key Pressing the Escape key Pressing the Windows key Pressing sequences like Win + U to open Ease of Access Settings Pressing sequences like Alt + F to open the file menu Pressing sequences like Ctrl + S to save Pressing sequences like Ctrl + Alt + N Using first letter navigation in lists And more! For the app shortcuts, there are also new commands to perform that input. Here’s a list of example commands (Braille dots = Keyboard input):
    Space + dot4 + dot5 = Tab key (Tab key) Space + dot1 + dot2 = Shift + Tab key (Set skipping of blank braille windows on/off) Space + dot2 + dot3 + dot4 + dot5 = Alt + Tab key (Set track screen cursor on/off) Space + dot2 + dot4 + dot5 + dot6 = Windows key (Set sliding braille windows on/off) Space + dot1 + dot2 + dot3 + dot5 = Windows + Tab key (Set autorepeat on/off) Space + Routing Key 1 – 12 = F1 – F12 keys Dot7 = Backspace key Dot8 = Enter key Space + dot2 + dot6 = Escape key Space + dot3 = Cursor left key Space + dot6 = Cursor right key Space + dot1 = Cursor up key Space + dot4 = Cursor down key Space + dot2 + dot3 = Page up key Space + dot5 + dot6 = Page down key Space + dot2 = Home key Space + dot5 = End key Space + dot3 + dot5 = Insert key Space + dot2 + dot5 + dot6 = Delete key Inject and hold one or more modifier keys followed by another letter or key:
    Space + dot8 + dot1 = Hold Windows key Space + dot8 + dot2 = Hold Alt key Space + dot8 + dot3 = Hold Ctrl key Space + dot8 + dot4 = Hold Shift key Space + dot8 + dot5 = Hold AltGr key Space + dot8 + dot6 = Hold Caps Lock key Space + dot8 + dot7 = Un-hold all modifiers Introducing Color filters: Windows 10 now includes color filters at the system level, including filters designed to make it easier for people with color blindness to differentiate between colors like red and green and to make it easier for people with light sensitivity to create and consume content. You can find these new filtering options under Settings > Ease of Access > Color and High Contrast” (previously called High Contrast Settings).

    Magnifier UI improvements: We’ve updated the Magnifier zoom in and out buttons to have a more modern style.
    * One of the "known issues" in this build is that it will disable wireless networking on some devices, due to a driver bug. Microsoft's solution to this is to "revert to an older build". Nice one, Microsoft!

  • jonmorris

    Honor today announced the arrival of its latest, and arguably most impressive phone yet: The Honor 8 Pro. It marks the start of a new line of phones from the trendy startup that’s part of Huawei’s ever growing empire. Jonathan Morris of jmcomms.com published the following:

    Some of you will already be well aware of this phone, as a rebrand of the Honor V9 that went on sale in China earlier this year. It was always pretty likely that it would make an appearance here after a while, and here it is.
    Think of it is as cross between the current flagship Honor 8, and the Huawei Mate 9 – with some of the software features from the latest Huawei P10.

    Honor 8 Pro: The phone built for speed
    Rather than waffle on, let me list the highlights:
    A 5.7-inch QHD LCD display, designed for immersive VR experiences – and made possible to enjoy straight away because the Honor 8 Pro box itself converts into a Google Cardboard VR headset. A 4,000mAh battery. Take note Samsung! The same Kirin 960 chipset as powering the Huawei Mate 9 and Huawei P10, which has a GPU that offers a staggering 180% performance increase over the Kirin 955 used in last year’s flagship Huawei P9. A 12-megapixel f/2.2 dual-camera, with wide aperture mode, and now offering a standalone monochrome mode like the Leica-branded Huawei models 6GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and a memory card slot Available in three colours (blue at launch) £474.95 retail price
    All of that represents a lot of phone for the money, and alongside the Honor 8, a personal favourite of mine, Honor now has something to suit those who found a 5.2-inch screen too small, but perhaps didn’t want to sacrifice performance and functionality for the cheaper Honor 6X that had a 5.5-inch display.
    While the Mate 9 and Honor 8 Pro aren’t entirely separated at birth (the Huawei phone having a 5.9-inch screen and a pseudo-stereo sound system in landscape mode), there are still many similarities and, like the Honor 8 vs the Huawei P9, the Honor phone actually offering more functionality in some areas.
    Take the Mate 9 with a Full-HD display on all but the more expensive Pro models, whereas Quad-HD is standard here. Likewise, 6GB is standard on the Honor, compared to 4GB.
    What the Mate 9 does offer over the Honor 8 Pro is a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor coupled to a 12-megapixel colour sensor, but the Honor 8 camera is still a great performer to this day and can hold its own to a lot of the competition.
    Read my full review and check out my photo and video gallery. The Honor 8 Pro supports fast charging (9V/2A), whereas the Huawei models supports even faster ‘super’ charging. The other thing to note is that, for now at least, no UK network will be stocking the phone. The only way to get one is direct from Honor’s online store itself.
    The Honor 8 Pro can be pre-ordered from today, in platinum gold, midnight black or navy blue. Take my advice and get the blue. It may not have the wonderful shimmering effect on the back, but it’s still the most stylish of the three.
    To help make up your mind, there’s no need to wait for a review as it’s already here!
    The Honor 8 Pro should start being delivered to customers around April 20th.

    More info: Honor 8 Pro Store
     
    This article was originally published by Jon on his website jmcomms.com and is copyright to Jonathan and his website

  • Stuclark

    They're the most important phones of the year so far, so lets have a head to head battle to see which one comes out on top.

    Comparing phones always a somewhat emotive opinion on the part of the person doing the comparison, so I have tried to keep this one based upon facts rather than feelings. Some may argue with some of the decissions and some may need explaination. For example, the S8 wins the screen category purely because it has the highest ppi (pixels per inch) rating; screen size has been ignored; and the G6 wins the rear camera category because the dual lens feature allows for more flexibility, even if the S8 / S8+ camera has a slightly better f stop rating.
    (the winning phone in each category is shown in dark green and gains 2 points. Where no obvious winner exists, or where the size of the S8+ is a contributing factor, "highly commended" scores are in light green and gain 1 point)
    Feature LG G6 Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8+ Construction Candybar, aluminium & glass Candybar, aluminium & glass Candybar, aluminium & glass Size 148.9mm x 71.9mm x 7.9mm 148.9mm x 68.1mm x 8.0mm 159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm Weight 163g 155g 173g Screen 5.7" 2880x1440 564ppi 5.8" 2960x1440 570ppi 6.2" 2960x1440 529ppi Battery 3300 mAh 3000 mAh 3500 mAh Processor Snapdraggon 821 Exynos OctaCore Exynos OctaCore RAM 4GB 4GB 4GB Storage 32GB + MicroSD 64GB + MicroSD 64GB + MicroSD Camera (rear) Dual 13Mpix f/2.4 (125deg) & f/1.8 (71deg), IOS, HDR10, AssistedZoom 12Mpix f/1.7 "dual pixel" IOS 12Mpix f/1.7 "dual pixel" IOS Camera (front) 5Mpix f/2.2 IOS 8Mpix f/1.7 IOS 8Mpix f/1.7 IOS Connectivity 3G, 4G, LTE 600Mb, WiFi AC, NFC, GPS, Bt 4.1, USB 3.1 3G, 4G, LTE 1000Mb, WiFi AC, NFC, GPS, Bt 5.0, USB 3.1 3G, 4G, LTE 1000Mb, WiFi AC, NFC, GPS, Bt 5.0, USB 3.1 Android version Android 7.0 Android 7.0 Android 7.0 Fingerprint Sensor Yes, rear (middle) Yes, rear (left) Yes, rear (left) Protection Waterproof (IP68), Shockproof Waterproof (IP68) Waterproof (IP68) Charging QuickCharge 3.0 QuickCharge 3.0, Wireless Charging QuickCharge 3.0, Wireless Charging Price £ 649 £ 689 £ 779 Availability 27th April 2017 20th April 2017(pre-order delivery) 20th April 2017 (pre-order delivery) Total points 14 18 17 The table speaks for itself, with the highest score, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the winner, narrowly beating it's larger brother, the Samsung Galaxy S8+.

  • Stuclark

    Just before MWC 2017, Samsung told us that they wouldn't be launching their flagship Galaxy S8 at the trade event, instead they'd be releasing it "some time soon". This should have been everything LG needed to steal a large chunk of important market share from their arch rivals. Unfortunately, it looks like they missed a trick; here's why...

    With Samsung out of the picture, LG rightly stole most of the press attention at MWC with the launch of their G6 handset, which, in the most part, is a very nice piece of kit. However, in order to fully capitalise on Samsung's delay, they needed to do one thing, do it well, and do it quickly...
    Get the phone into the hands of users before Samsung launched the S8.
    ... they didn't. At the time of writing (after Samsung have launched the S8, *and* anounced it's worldwide availability), we still don't know when a large number of key markets, including Europe, are going to get the G6 (and only in Korea is the phone currently available, leading to a huge number of grey import sales). Epic fail!
    The Samsung phone bests the LG phone in most ways, apart from ergonomics and the lovely Quad-DAC audio chipset in the Asia-only version of the G6. However, consumers are a fickle bunch, and if they could have gotten the G6 faster, before they knew when they'd have to stump up almost £700 for Samsung's latest, they would have forgone Quad-DAC and Wireless Charging (only available on US G6s), to have the latest phone in their hands.
    Overall, this is a massive mistake for LG. They had the world eating out of their palm and they missed it. Maybe they couldn't ramp production quickly enough, but if that were the case they should have run a pre-order system like Samsung and Apple do to keep the buzz going. If production quantities were not the issue and maybe the phone's variant models were the issue, LG should have scraped all that this-feature, that-feature crap and given the whole world the same phone, like Samsung do.* They didn't do that either.
    All I can say is... oops!
    *Samsung and others vary the frequencies in use for LTE and on some handsets add CDMA support, but mostly their specs stay the same for all world handsets. LG produce 3, 4 or 5 physically different variants of a phone, some missing feature A, some feature B etc.

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