Tech tidbits from around the web.
2/15/2017 4:25:28 PM
Microsoft president: ‘Digital Geneva Convention’ needed to deter nation-state hacking
So will Skype be considered a war crime or just a crime against humanity? Reuters reports:
Microsoft President Brad Smith on Tuesday pressed the world’s governments to form an international body to protect civilians from state-sponsored hacking, saying recent high-profile attacks showed a need for global norms to police government activity in cyberspace.
Countries need to develop and abide by global rules for cyber attacks similar to those established for armed conflict at the 1949 Geneva Convention that followed World War Two, Smith said. Technology companies, he added, need to preserve trust and stability online by pledging neutrality in cyber conflict.
“We need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to implement the norms needed to protect civilians on the internet in times of peace,” Smith said.
Smith outlined his proposal during keynote remarks at this week’s RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco, following a 2016 U.S. presidential election marred by the hacking and disclosure of Democratic Party emails that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded were carried out by Russia in order to help Republican Donald Trump win.
Microsoft’s Forza video games top $1 billion in sales
Or, as I call it, “how much Call of Duty makes in one month each year.” The Spokesman-Review explains.
Microsoft has minted its fifth billion-dollar video-game franchise. The “Forza” racing series in December topped $1 billion in lifetime sales since the first game’s release 12 years ago, Microsoft said Monday.
Microsoft-owned Turn 10 Studios released “Forza Horizon 3” last year, the ninth game in the series. The original “Forza Motorsport” was released in 2005 with the launch of the Xbox 360 console.
Microsoft’s billion-dollar club is led by “Halo,” the sci-fi shooter that has grossed more than $5 billion and been the flagship Xbox game since the release of the original game in 2001.
Microsoft’s “Age of Empires” franchise, primarily personal-computer games, also has sold more than $1 billion. And in 2014, Microsoft bought two franchises with more than $1 billion in sales: “Gears of War” and world-building game “Minecraft.”
Microsoft delays Patch Tuesday
This happened yesterday, but what the heck. It still hasn’t been resolved. And I believe this is unprecedented.
Our top priority is to provide the best possible experience for customers in maintaining and protecting their systems. This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.
After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan.
MSRC [Microsoft Security Research Center]
Microsoft unveils Spectator View for HoloLens
Want to make videos of yourself with holograms? Of course you do. Well, this will do it. You’ll need two HoloLens headsets and an expensive DSLR camera. So, it’s totally mainstream.
Since a HoloLens can only be worn by one person, how do you open the view so everyone can see what that person sees? To solve this problem, we developed Mixed Reality Capture (MRC) to aid in the visualization of holograms that the wearer is seeing from a first-person perspective.
Though MRC is easy to use, there are some constraints. Because MRC is built directly into the device it is subject to what’s available in the device, for example the specs of the photo/video camera, available processing resources to do capture, compositing, and more. It’s also a camera attached to the wearer’s head so it’s subject to the normally imperceptible head movements that can sometimes make the resulting video not as stable as some situations might require. If you have used MRC before, you may notice that sometimes even the slightest head movement by the wearer can make it hard for the audience to follow along.
Amazon Alexa now supports Outlook.com calendars
Someone pinged me about this on Twitter yesterday, so I retweeted it. And then all the blogs picked it up. Like this one. I’m sure the original source mentioned me. Cough.
Amazon has added support for Outlook.com calendars, letting Microsoft users sync their schedules, add events and get help from Alexa with their meetings.
With this addition, Outlook.com is now supported on all major platforms and by all major digital assistants. If you want to look at it another way, now all digital assistant can indirectly talk to each other by editing your calendar.
Users who want to use the new feature can simply add the calendar on their Alexa mobile app, in the Settings pane. You won’t need to update anything, as the support was added behind the scenes and is already live.
What’s 2017’s fastest Windows 10 web browser?
I hate to point to this FUD-spreading, Microsoft-hating blogger. But this is an interesting conversation. And I’ll give you enough info that you don’t need to read it.
Last year, Google Chrome was the speediest Windows 10 web browser by a mile. This year, it’s a different story.
Edge took the blue ribbon in both JetStream and WebXPRT. If performance were the only criteria, I’d give Edge the win. It’s not.
For example, I use extensions a lot. On Chrome, my main browser on all platforms, I use over a dozen extensions every day. They allow me to search through a site using Google, invoke the ZenMate virtual private network (VPN), and save pages to Google Drive. Edge finally supports extensions, but instead of thousands, Edge supports a mere 22. That’s not good enough.
Opera, which has been slowly dropping in popularity for years, actually shows up quite well in my tests. For the first time in ages, Opera won two of the benchmarks, Kraken and Octane. It may be time to give Opera another look.
Firefox has been declining in both popularity and speed for some time now. I see no reason for this changing in this go-around.
Chrome, once unquestionably the fastest of the fast, has fallen behind both Edge and Opera. While its HTML5 support is still superb, Google needs to retune it for greater speed.
To me, it comes down to Chrome, Edge, or Opera