Friday, January 23, 2015


With its new version of Windows, Microsoft has done the seemingly impossible: It skipped right over version 9 and straight to 10. Really, though, the maker of the world's most popular operating system dropped a lot of major announcements during its press event about Windows 10 on Wednesday. Here are the top five most interesting decisions by Microsoft for its next OS update—not including the holograms.

Windows 10 is free!

When was the last time you paid for an operating system? Because it might have been the last time... period. Just as Apple has begun making OS X free -- iOS, Android, and Windows Phone updates have always been free -- Windows has finally joined the gratis club. Well, mostly: Microsoft says it will let customers of Windows 7, 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade to Windows 10 for free for the first year of Windows 10's availability. (There is, unsurprisingly, some fine print.) Once you've upgraded, though, you're supported on Windows 10 for life.

"We think of Windows as a Service," wrote Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president of operating systems. It's clear that Microsoft wants to push its customers to Windows 10 as much as possible, which would mean fewer platforms for both the company and its developers to support. A low, low price tag helps make that happen.


As rumored, the virtual assistant Cortana from Windows Phone will debut on the desktop in Windows 10. You mainly interact with Cortana via a search box next to the Start button, and it can retrieve information when prompted, either by typing or by vocalizing your search terms. Besides searching your computer and the Internet, Cortana can retrieve specific information about things like flight information, appointments, weather, and more; it even learns about what you're interested in so it can provide tailored results. Additionally, the assistant is seamless across devices, so what it learns on your Windows Phone, it also knows on your desktop PC.

Universal experience

Microsoft is trying hard to prove that Windows is the same Windowseverywhere. Case in point: No matter which platform you're talking about, it's just "Windows 10"; the "Windows Phone" moniker has bitten the dust. The company also redesigned its apps, music, photos, mail, calendar, messaging, and so on to look and work similarly across all of its devices. The company's goal is to keep a consistent experience between its mobile platforms and desktop PCs, allowing users to seamlessly transition between the two. It's even rolling out a universal version of Office apps for tablet, phone, and PC, in which it elevates touch interfaces to the level of traditional keyboard and mouse input. Some people may balk at creating an Excel spreadsheet with a touch of the finger, but once you learn it one place, you'll know how to do it everywhere.

Project Spartan

Microsoft has finally realized that its Internet Explorer web browser seriously lags behind the rest of the competition, so the company has issued a brand new browser that's code named Project Spartan. While Microsoft didn't delve too deep into its capabilities, it called out a few, such as an engine built on modern web technology; its support for annotation via keyboard or stylus; and an updated and simplified layout that puts the emphasis on the content itself. The company said Spartan will make it to Windows Phone, too, but wasn't ready to demo it today.

Xbox App

Xbox on Windows 10

Want to play your Xbox games on your PC? No problemo. Windows 10includes an Xbox app that lets you stream games from your Xbox One to your Windows 10-compatible tablets and PCs, capture gameplay footage on your PC with Game DVR, and—perhaps best of all—provides full interoperability with the Xbox Live service. The feature finally lets you play games on your PC against your friends on their Xbox One consoles, as well as message and chat



Water, the key to life on our planet, can sometimes be one of our greatest enemies – especially when it comes to its interactions with metals. Air moisture triggers the formation of rust and corrosion on metal surfaces, while frozen water can render some metals temporarily worthless, e.g. an icy airplane wing.

Because of this, many have searched for ways to make metals hydrophobic – or water-repellent – usually by coating them with chemical additives. Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York say they have found a more effective way of making metals impervious to water’s tricks: Just shoot them with some lasers.

Dr. Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics and physics at Rochester, has been studying the effects of laser blasts on metal materials for many years, onceusing laser beams to turn metals hydrophilic, so they attract water. Now, Guo and his colleague Anatoliy Voroyev have done the reverse, figuring out a way to use short-pulse high-intensity laser bursts to alter the structure of a metal’s surface. The result: a highly water-repellent metal.

The energy the laser produces is about the same as the entire power grid of North America.

“When you radiate the short laser pulse on a metal surface, it transforms a smooth metal surface into a highly structured one, covered with a range of micro- and nano-scale structures,” explains Guo. “And those structures have the different water-repellent properties.”

The transformation lies in the laser’s power. Guo and Voroyev only shine the laser on the metal’s surface for a femtosecond; that’s one-quadrillionth of a second long. But the high-intensity laser is so powerful that within that short amount of time, the energy it produces is about the same as the entire power grid of North America. That tremendous amount of heat and energy dramatically alters the metal to produce the minuscule structures on the surface.

“If you put the new metal surface under a high-powered microscope, you see they have a hierarchal structure,” Guo says. “There are micro-scale groups and also on top of the micro groups, there are nano-scale structures. They look like a cloud on the nano-scale, with lots of protrusions and dips.”

Guo says this method of turning metals hydrophobic is superior to chemical coatings, like Teflon, in a couple of ways. First of all, these laser-generated metals repel water way better than any type of coat available. With a Teflon-coated metal surface, such as your average non-stick frying pan, it requires a tilt of 70 degrees to rid the surface of any water. With these laser-enhanced metals, an angle tilt of just 5 degrees is sufficient for getting water to slide off.

Additionally, the laser technique doesn’t require any extra ingredients. When Teflon is heated, it starts to decompose and detach from the metallic surface. Some studies have linked this deterioration to health problems in humans and birds. But Guo’s metallic transformations are not temporary and don’t peel away; the laser light fundamentally alters their structures. “This water-repellent structure is intrinsic to our metal surface,” says Guo. “It’s not a coating, so we don’t have to worry about it coming off over time.”

The research team envisions a number of applications for these metal materials, beyond making it easier to cook scrambled eggs. The metals are non-corrosive, remaining sturdier for longer periods of time, and they yield a number of transportation benefits, such as ensuring that ice never forms on a car or airplane wing. Even ships can become faster with these materials; a hull constructed with hydrophobic metals can reduce water friction and drag on the sea.

But more importantly, Guo is excited about the metal’s applications in the developing world. Hydrophobic metals can stay cleaner for much longer without requiring a lot of water to wash away dirt. The researchers tested this by throwing dust particles onto a piece of laser-blasted metal, watching as just a few dozen droplets cleared it of all the grime. This self-cleaning property could be very helpful for keeping latrines clean in developing nations, where clean water is scarce.

“We are very excited about applying this hydrophobic surface to prevent water contamination,” says Guo. “If you don’t allow water to stick on the surface, the water containing microbes and biomaterials will not be able to survive on the surface either, keeping the area clean.”

However, Guo still has a way to go before these metals can be mass-produced. To make a 1-inch by 1-inch hydrophobic metal piece, it takes an hour of laser blasting. So it may be some time before we have water-resistant cars and metal toilets.


What does it mean to have holograms on Windows 10?

Windows 10 is the first platform to support holographic computing with APIs that enable gesture and environmental understanding on an untethered device. With Windows 10, holograms are Windows universal apps, and all Windows universal apps work as holograms. Holograms in Windows 10 will lead to entirely new ways for us to communicate, create, and explore.

What is Microsoft HoloLens, and how does it work?

Microsoft HoloLens is the first holographic computer running Windows 10. It is completely untethered – no wires, phones, or connection to a PC needed. Microsoft HoloLens allows you to pin holograms in your physical environment and provides a new way to see your world.

Microsoft HoloLens features see-through, holographic, high-definition lenses and spatial sound so you can see and hear holograms in the world around you. Complete with advanced sensors and a new Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that understands the world around you, Microsoft HoloLens is able to run without any wires while processing terabytes of data from the sensors in real-time.

What is a hologram?

A hologram is an object like any other object in the real world, with only one difference: instead of being made of physical matter, a hologram is made entirely of light. Holographic objects can be viewed from different angles and distances, just like physical objects, but they do not offer any physical resistance when touched or pushed because they don’t have any mass. Holograms can be two-dimensional, like a piece of paper or a TV screen, or they can be three-dimensional, just like other physical objects in your real world. The holograms you’ll see with Microsoft HoloLens can appear life-like, and can move, be shaped, and change according to interaction with users or the physical environment in which they are visible.

Why would anyone want holograms in their real world?

While we’ve made incredible advances as an industry in the way in which we interact with computers, we are still constrained by the need to conform to the ways computers recognize our commands through mouse clicks or by touching a screen. Using holograms, you can pin your digital content, such as apps, information, and even multi-dimensional videos, in the physical space around you, so you can interact with them in the same ways that you interact with other physical objects.

How is this different from existing VR technologies?

Holographic experiences with Microsoft HoloLens are different from existing experiences, such as virtual reality (VR). With VR, the user is completely immersed in a computer-generated reality, or virtual world. While immersed in a virtual world, users are best advised to stay seated or keep still to avoid collisions with physical objects they cannot see in the real world. Holographic experiences on Windows 10 are about delivering a mixed reality that lets you enjoy your digital life while staying more connected to the world around you – transforming the ways you create, connect, and explore.

How do I learn more about designing and developing apps for Microsoft HoloLens?

Microsoft HoloLens runs on Windows 10, so developers building on Windows 10 will already know how to build for Microsoft HoloLens from a platform perspective. Having this same foundation means that developers will be familiar with the tools and benefits of the Windows Store.

The best way to get started is to become familiar with Windows 10 by joining the Windows Insider Program. Next, register for Build 2015. At Build, you’ll learn more about how to get started designing and developing for Microsoft HoloLens, receive details on the SDK, and meet members of our engineering team. If you can’t attend in person, plan to tune in via livestream or check out the recorded keynote and session presentations that will be available after the event.

HoloLens -Will Microsoft Change The Way We live in ?

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