win10-surface-hub-960

Skype – Enterprise and Windows 10

I went It was about time when I heard that Skype is gonna be integrated from the next version of Windows. It is to be Microsoft’s answer to iMessage in OS X. It will be the default messaging system for people with desktop, laptop or tablet, and be integrated with SMS and MMS on phones. And what is why better then with iMessage, Skype is available on various platforms, not only iOS and OS X.

And it gets better, I can’t wait to try out Microsoft Surface Hub, a 84″ 4K touch screen that combines Skype for Business, Powerpoint, Word, Excel and OneNote whiteboard in a fantastic way. Surface Hub comes with an embedded computer running a lightweight version of Windows 10. The screen has an impressive 100 simultaneous touch points! Working at a university, I am very interested in how Microsoft manages to combine Skype with Powerpoint and possibilities when it comes to remote lectures.

Skype and other Microsoft products are not “secure” as long as they are storing data in the Microsoft cloud and the servers are in the U. S. So enterprises and universities being skeptical or advising their employees not to use Skype are correct to do so. But there is another point here, especially from enduser’s point of view, most of us have nothing to hide and we lack a better tool for communicating with partners outside our own organization.

I these days mostly use Telegrams for messaging, but I am and will embrace Skype for being the best video conference tool that I have access to from my desktop, laptop, tablet and phone, and will continue encouraging employees to use it and hopefully also in new ways. I am pretty sure Skype will be integrated also in Office 2016, so that users can collaborate in the new ways.

And yes, it is time to give Microsoft some love again…

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hologram

Kinnect is dead, HoloLens is here

Windows 10, touch-based Office and the Spartan browser, they are all gonna be cool enough. But they are all more less forgotten with the introduction of holographic computing. I for one didn’t see this coming.

Windows Holographic is a three-dimensional, environmentally aware application environment that will be supported on all Windows 10 devices. Microsoft also introduced HoloLens, a wearable computer (including a CPU, a GPU, and a dedicated holographic processor) that uses tricks of light to project three-dimensional virtual objects on top of the environment around the user, allowing them to interact with the holograms using voice and gesture commands. The dark lenses up front contain a see-through display, there’s spatial sound so you can “hear” holograms behind you.

holograms-livingroom

I’m working as a computer engineer at the Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo. Just imagine what research can be done in the area of holograms and music. We have a motion sensor lab that is just the perfect place to take this new technology in use! I hope we can be early adopters of this new technology.

hololens

Not to talk about how holograms open up new more efficient ways to teach and learn, and more effective ways to visualize our work and share ideas.

Is touch screens already yesterday’s technology? And can we start imagine a computer that doesn’t have a mouse attached?

 

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my-apps

No, I don’t need an app for that

Lately I’ve been cleaning out apps that I really don’t use. Earlier I was a bit more: Oh, I got to try this. Lately I have come to the conclusion that I can do with out most of the apps on my Android phone. Not only that, I gave back a brand new iPad Air2 that I got at work after almost not using it the three first weeks!

Here is my thought, smartphones have been here for years now and we have found what we want to use it for.

So here are examples of apps I got rid off:

  • LinkedIn – My interest for this service is limited and accessing it once in a while from my laptop is more then enough. And never have I been so bombarded (spammed) with emails from a social service as from LinkedIn!
  • Endomondo – I have made a clear stand that I don’t want to share my training habits in such ways.
  • PCM Recorder – I cannot say that I use my phone as a sound recorder / dictaphone.
  • WordPress – I still blog, but not from my mobile devices and I need two-step authentication to access my blog as editor and that is not implemented in the mobile apps.
  • ownCloud – I use the service every day, but don’t need to access my files from my phone. I’ve earlier uninstalled the mobile apps for both Dropbox and Box.
  • Tumblr – Are there anyone still using this service?
  • Pinterest – I publish photos to this service, but find my inspiration mostly on Flickr.
  • WhatsApp – I never really started using it. I use Telegram instead!
  • Goodreads – I don’t need a mobile app to keep track of books me or my friends read.
  • VidyoMobile – Not a video app I favour. I’m happy with Skype and Facebook Messenger.
  • Inbox by Gmail – Most communication these days go through social media. I almost only get notifications from Twitter, Facebook and Flickr on Gmail these days, so Inbox didn’t work well for me…
  • DoubleTwist – I only use Google Music these days on my mobile phone when not streaming from Spotify.
  • HBONordic – I only use this service on my laptop. I would have loved to see it as an app for AppleTV / Google TV!
  • I’ve disabled all the apps that came with my Sony Xperia Z phone.

I think I disabled or removed about 25 apps all together. Have you gone through your phone, and looked at every single app and tried to memorise when you last used it? How many apps do you actively use? I have come to the conclusion that I’m more or less fine with the apps that come from the major vendors, like Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Of course there are exceptions, like Yr.no, Stay.com and Telegram. Do you conclude in the same way? When did you last install a new app that you still use today?

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sway-presentation

Wanted to try Prezi, ended up with Sway

Recently I noticed that there was a new presentation tool in town, Prezi. A few of my scientific staff had started using it. I recommended them to stop using it as there was no official work template for the tool. Yes, we want our logo and colors on all of our presentations. But after having said that, I wanted to have a closer look at the tool, I also found out that the company behind the product was from Hungary. I made a first presentation in their free web based tool and and noticed that it was based on Flash. That was it for me, I refuse to touch anything new based on Flash. What happens what with presentations when Apple turns on the kill switch cause of a security issue with Flash? Flash runs in a sandbox with in Safari on OSX Mavericks or newer, but what on older versions of the OS?

So, no Prezi, but could I find a presentation tool only based on HTML 5? To my surprise, yes! Microsoft has a new presentation tool. It is not a replacement for PowerPoint, as PowerPoint is very slide-based. Sway is more a way of constructing a story/journey through information. I found it really easy to use and my first presentation/journey looked good! I especially loved that there were no irritating animations. Simple and clean!

I should come with a disclaimer: Sway is still in an early stage of development, and what I tried was only a preview and there are more features to come. I hope to see Sway as part of my Live account in a free version and perhaps as a pro version of my Office 365 account.

Do you want to try Sway? Thought so, head to sway.com and log in (with your consumer Microsoft account). Then hit the ‘Get Started’ button and start typing. Hopefully you have an idea for your first sway story – something that requires a number of images will do fine (perhaps a photo story?). I started outlining a presentation that I will do later this week and I think that I will try to make a photo story (and compare it with Exposure).

I loved how you with Sway could pull in content from a number of sources – the Bing search is very useful to quickly find an image of something and add it straight into the sway. ‘Add Source’ at the moment asks for feedback on other sources you’d like to see available.

Another cool feature related to images is ‘Moods’, that allows you to change the style (there are twelve available). A more advanced color option in ‘Moods’ is that you can select one of the photos within your sway to act as the palette in order to get some colour co-ordination!

Tell me what you think and please share your Sway story with me…

Here is my first story:

Update, Wednesday 14.01.2015: @bestham started twittering with me and recommended reveal.js and impress.js. He also presented with me with slides.com, which is a web based graphical front end for reveal.js. Thank you very much!

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telegram

Telegram – Platform Independent Messaging

I absolutely hated that iMessages locked me in to the Apple’s universe with the iCloud in the center. My work phone is now running Android and privately I’m using Windows Phone. Before Christmas I got a brand new iPad Air 2 and within the last three weeks I only used it an hour. I found that I continue doing every thing on my Macbook Pro. So today I gave it to somebody else at work. I might get myself an iPhone in the future, but I guess iMessages will remain turned off:

Turning off iMessagesI mentioned platform independent. For me that always been important. Having been using BeOS for many years I fast found that protocols and file formats should be open. And now I found a more or less perfect messaging system. Both the clients and the protocol are open (and free to use). There are clients available for OS X, iOS, Windows, Windows Phone, Linux and Android. A fun fact for me is that most of the clients are developed with Qt. So what is the solution called? It’s called Telegram, and I hope you will join me!

I’ve already uninstalled the messaging apps WhatsApp and Wire, and I have been fairly little active on Skype lately. But you can still reach me on Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts.

Telegram - One billion messages a dayOther features I enjoy

  • Messages sync seamlessly across any of your phones, tablets or computers.
  • You can send messages, photos, videos and files of any type (doc, zip, mp3, etc) to people who are in your phone contacts and have Telegram.
  • You can send broadcasts to up to 100 contacts.
  • Telegram is cloud-based and heavily encrypted. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices at once, including tablets and computers, and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files (doc, zip, mp3, etc) of up to 1,5 GB.
  • Telegram is not intended to bring revenue, it will never sell ads or accept outside investment.
  • At Telegram they think that internet privacy should be about protecting your private conversations from snooping third parties, such as officials, employers, marketers, advertisers, etc. It is not limited to hiding your online status, your public posts or your profile pictures from the people around you!

 

 

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alcatel-pixi3-press

Alcatel’s Pixi 3 phones come with support for three OSes

A new year and new mobile phone models. Alcatel phones are not available in Norway, but once in a while you notice them for doing something different.

Their new new Pixi 3 smartphones are available in 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0-inch screen sizes, and all four of them can run either Android, Windows Phone, or Firefox OS! This basically hasn’t been possible yet, as inclusion of Windows Phone was only made possible by the relatively recent Windows Phone 8.1 update. Microsoft removed several hardware button requirements on Windows Phone 8.1, making it possible for OEMs to put Windows Phone, Android, and other operating systems on the same phones without actually altering the underlying hardware, lowering the barrier to entry for those OEMs.

Wouldn’t it be great being able to dual boot Android and Windows Phone on the same device?

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android-next

This is not Next Microsoft…

… but my fastest uninstall yet!

Microsoft has lately been flirting with the Android platform. Outlook, Onenote, Onedrive and Office are products available. But out of their Microsoft Garage (“idea factory”) there has also come some Android specific apps, like Next Lock Screen.

It seems like everybody does a Lock Screen for Android these days. Next doesn’t bring us anything new, just the usual calendar entries, missed calls and text messages, Facebook Messenger/WhatsApp/WeChat notifications, and of course weather, without unlocking your phone. It also also comes with a launcher, where you can sort your favourite apps when at home, work or on the move. But it doesn’t save you time when screen lock is activated on the phone!

So my question to Microsoft is, why on earth did you think we needed yet another Lock Screen app? I’m back to using Dashclock.

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windows10-startmenu-750

Windows 10 on my Surface

I’m sure 2015 is gonna be an exciting year for us working with desktop computers. At work we stayed with Windows 7 and have now skipped the latest two versions Windows, Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows 8.1 has worked well for me, but I can understand why we didn’t push it at work.

With Windows 10 things change, and I find it better suited for traditional desktop and laptop computers again. The Start menu is kind of back, and there are many new technologies under the hood. The OS is well integrated with cloud services from Microsoft and seems to be coming with a brand new browser. Upgrading 1500 Windows machines at work would be an exciting challenge and a great goal of mine. I hope our administrative systems running on Internet Explorer will not be a show stopper!

I’ve been using Windows 10 on an old laptop so far, but today I upgraded my Surface. I didn’t manage to wait till January 21st. A new public preview release will be made available then. I want to spend this spring getting to know Windows, Powershell and SCCM, 10 and hopefully IT staff will be allowed to use it at work some time this winter or spring. We should have the OS in our fingers before we start upgrading our users computers.

windows-10-consumer-preview

Other things to expect

Windows 10 and MDM

Microsoft added Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities to Windows 8, but I guess you didn’t notice! More MDM functionality will come a long with Windows 10, perfect for small businesses that don’t need an Active Directory infrastructure for their PCs.

Touch-based Office

In the end of 2014 we got touch-based Office mobile apps for iOS and Android. But this year we will get it also for touch-based Windows devices and a new version for both Windows desktop and OS X.

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Fake Syria Video

A few days ago I saw a remarkable video from Syria of a young boy feigning injury twice to save a girl. The video got the name “Syrian hero boy” and has been seen a few million times.

It scares me that a governmentally funded institute, like the Norwegian Film Institute, could fund such a film. And just as horrible is it that they had to urged the filmmaker, Lars Klevberg, to clarify the video’s backstory. Klevberg contacted the BBC and admitted the video was not authentic, revealing the footage had been filmed in May 2014, not in Syria but in Malta. The Oslo-based filmmaker said his team wanted to draw attention to the plight of children in war-torn Syria:

If I could make a film and pretend it was real, people would share it and react with hope. We shot it in Malta in May this year on a set that was used for other famous movies like Troy and Gladiator. The little boy and girl are professional actors from Malta. The voices in the background are Syrian refugees living in Malta.

Klevberg proclaimed he and his team had no reservations about deceiving viewers of the “Syrian hero boy” video:

By publishing a clip that could appear to be authentic we hoped to take advantage of a tool that’s often used in war; make a video that claims to be real. We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war. We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video.

Producer John Einar Hagen also acknowledged the video’s creators and backers had debated the ethical implications of presenting the fictional footage as authentic to viewers:

The children surviving gunshots was supposed to send small clues that it was not real. We had long discussions with the film’s financiers about the ethics around making a film like this.

This is so horrible! Next time we see something horrible from Syria, can we then blame people for asking if the recording is real or not? My take is that the coverage from the war in Syria has often focused on the children, not only on Norwegian NRK and TV2, but also BBC. I guess that other TV channels have done the same. Journalists that have risked their own lifes for the recordings and then comes somebody living the good life, the movie makers, and make a fake movie. The least they could have done was to state that the video was not authentic in the beginning or the end of it. The Norwegian Film Institute should take another round on the ethics, when their thoughts simply were that children surviving gunshots were supposed to send small clues about the whole thing not being real… Then you haven’t understood much! You have also missed the opportunity to debate children and war, as the debate rather started on how could such a film be made in the first place!

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