Thurrott Daily: February 22

Posted on February 22, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Skype, Mobile, Android, iOS, Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: February 22

iPad users of the future.

A few tidbits from around the web.

2/22/2016 4:20:24 PM

Follow the flight of Pegasus II tomorrow

This looks like a lot of fun: Tomorrow (February 23), scientific leaders and Microsoft employees will launch a meteorological balloon called Pegasus II to an altitude of 100,000 feet. But you can interact with this experiment using a mobile app,Microsoft says.

We invite you to participate in the experiment of Pegasus II, slated for launch the week of February 22, 2016. Born from multi-year research findings that resulted in creating open and complex systems with real-time communications, you’ll be part of exploring a system that could span geographical and physical boundaries and leverage powerful digital processors. You will explore a new generation of systems with new capability to bridge the digital and physical worlds. Specifically, you’ll:

  • View real-time telemetry
  • Communicate to spacecraft during flight
  • Receive text messages from the craft as it reaches milestones
  • Witness the live launch and view flight video (eye-in-the-sky)

Want to learn how? Simply, sign up for text message flight notifications and Pegasus II will text your phone when it begins its ascent. You can then view live video and telemetry at the research team’s website, and you can download the mobile applications to your phone by searching for “Pegasus Mission.” Or, follow on Twitter @PegasusMission.

2/22/2016 2:02:19 PM

Microsoft delivers February update for Windows App Studio

Microsoft announced today that it has updated its web-based Windows App Studiowith a number of new features aimed at bringing small businesses, creatives, and content producers into the fold. Here’s what’s new.

Grouped layout – Windows App Studio now supports grouping data based on a data point.

Date & Date/Time data type – Two new data types for our collections: Date and Date/Time (Date + Time w/ minutes precision).

Search within app – Search within an app generated in Windows App Studio lets users search through an app to find specific content, which is particularly helpful when there is a lot of data.

Collection favorites – Users can now have the option to save any data from your collections as their favorites into a favorites section.

Service improvements – This release also includes an improved App Studio back end service.

In addition, Microsoft says it will soon launch a contest to highlight the best apps made with Windows App Studio. More details on that soon.

Microsoft releases Cyanogen mods for Skype, Cortana, OneNote and Hyperlapse

As you may recall, the Android-based Cyanogen release is one prong of Microsoft’s new mobile strategy. This week at Mobile World Congress, the software giant took a step forward with Cyanogen by releasing new “mods” that phone makers and service providers can build into their own devices. Mary Jo Foley explains:

Via Cyanogen’s MOD platform, developers like Microsoft can take advantage of the core platform programming interfaces within the Cyanogen OS. Users can install the various mods, like the Skype mod, directly into their dialer to add VoIP calling functionality.

In addition to the Skype mod, are a Microsoft Hyperlapse mod for stabilized first-person videos; a OneNote mod for dialer, browser, emmail and calendar note taking; a TrueCaller mod for spam ID and blocking; social lockscreen mods; and a Cortana mod to handle tasks like voice-activated selfies, according to Cyanogen’s announcement.

More info here.

Microsoft is killing Skype’s Qik

Or as Microsoft puts it, “Skype Qik is moving.” As in “moving on.”

In 2014, we launched Skype Qik, a mobile video messaging app to help share moments with groups of friends. Since then, we have learned that many of you are already doing these things in Skype, and as a result, we migrated some of Qik’s most used features into the Skype app you already know and love.

Due to these updates, the last day Skype Qik will be available for use will be March 24th, 2016. Please make sure to save any special messages you may want to keep before March 24th. After this date, you will no longer be able to send or receive messages.

Nokia confirms it will re-enter the smart phone market

I think this is a big mistake, but it appears that Nokia is at least doing it in a way that will minimize its financial risks. CNET reports:

Nokia confirmed Sunday at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona that it’s pressing ahead with plans to sell smartphones. It just doesn’t know when.

“There’s no timeline, there’s no rush,” said Nokia Chief Executive Rajeev Suri at a press event. “It could happen in 2016, it could happen later.”

Suri made it clear that Nokia wants to wait for the right partner rather than rush back into the market. As he has previously said, the company will not make the phones but will license the Nokia brand to a manufacturer.

It may prove to be a controlling partner, though. “We want to be in a position to design the devices in question with appropriate control measures in case they don’t meet expectations,” said Suri. When asked whether Nokia would partner with Foxconn, which also works closely with Apple to manufacture iPhones, he said he did not know yet.

Nokia believes it still has the potential to make an impact on the smartphone world, and will likely aim to do so with “premium” devices. “The recognition of the brand is still very high in all the major markets,” said Suri. “We think it’s a good business model.”

Apple’s iPhone encryption stance is marketing hoo-hah and hypocrisy

The U.S. Department of Justice has alleged that Apple’s refusal to bypass the encryption on a terrorist’s iPhone is a “marketing strategy,” and they’re right. And the reason we know this to be true is that Apple is awfully selective about which data they can supposedly access and which they can’t. CNN reports:

Apple’s stance on privacy and security applies only if you don’t back up your data to iCloud.

Apple says it can’t provide information that’s stored on iPhones because it doesn’t have access to people’s passcodes. Opening the door to those phones for law enforcement could make your personal information vulnerable, Apple argues.

But if you back up to iCloud, Apple does keep the key to those “backed up” emails, photos, personal notes, contacts and calendar events.

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent open letter to customers says: “We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.”

However, Apple aggressively pushes customers to backup iPhone content to iCloud, where that data is exactly within Apple’s reach.

About 500 million iPhone users use iCloud, by the way.


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