Thursday, October 30, 2014

Microsoft Band is released

Microsoft Band is released today ending the speculation about a wearable device.

It has aced the other vendors with many notable features:
  • Longer battery life
  • Integration with Windows Phone, iPhone and Android through Bluetooth
  • Health and Fitness targeted
  • Integrated with Cloud
  • Reasonable price - a first for Microsoft
  • Cortana for those who own a Windows Phone
  • Probably more number of sensors than in a comparable wearable
The following are my speculations
  • Integration with Internet of Things (?)
  • CortanaOS and CortanaAndroid siblings in the offing
Probably I will be wearing one soon.
I tried out the MSN/Bing Health and Fitness app and the part I can use with Nokia Icon is cool. Some newer Windows Phones have the Motion Data support and they can measure the full app.

However to go with the Band Microsoft has released a new app which you can download from the Windows Store, Microsoft Health which has the same logo as the device.

Of course you need to have the band to use this app as you see here:

Do not miss this video on my other blog:


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What is driving Microsoft towards ARM for its servers?

It is now widely known that Microsoft may be turning towards ARM architecture for its servers.

What is driving it?

First of all it is not just Microsoft, many others have gotten on to the bandwagon according to the following:

ARM has proven to be good at being simpler and extremely energy efficient and if all the servers in all the datacenters can be replaced the savings would be enormous. Microsoft has tried ARM in its tablet. However they have not been that popular.
The dwindling PC sales my get a new lease of life with better laptops needing fewer charges.  Having two or three different architectures and couple of versions of OS makes it hard for the customers.

Going forward how is Microsoft going to shape its one platform, Windows 10 for all devices. Will it be x86 or ARM?

Of course, Microsoft has not come out with any news related to ARM being used for its servers.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Whose business strategy is better Apple (USA) or Xiaomi (China)?

SmartPhone market is saturated in US. You have the maxi,the mini, 6", 5", etc.etc. Always new technology, new colors, new rounded features. New models pop-up less than a year apart. What's wrong with this? Nothing, for the customers, but for the manufacturer more stress, more pain.
It was interesting to read this paragraph of how in the hell a 4 year old company in China competes against the Apple giant.

Of course this in not my original but from this interesting source (Well they are Harvard aren't they, they should know better):

"To sell high-quality cell phones at so low a price, Xiaomi keeps each model on the market far longer than Apple does. On average, a new version of a phone is launched every 265 days in the industry – down from 345 days in 2009. But Xiaomi doesn’t renew its product for two years. Then, rather than charge high prices to cover the high cost of state-of-the-art components, Xiaomi prices the phone just a little higher than the total cost of all its components. As component costs drop over the two-year period by more than 90%, Xiaomi maintains its original price, and pockets the difference. So essentially its profit formula is the opposite of Apple’s, which collects its highest profits with the introduction of each model and needs to come up with new model after new model to keep those margins up."

The summary of which is (again from the same source),

"When you consider how much easier it might be to profit from plummeting component prices than from continual new feature development (which sooner or later will likely overshoot the needs of most cell phone customers in any event), the disruptive potential of the model becomes clear."

Xiaomi knocks out Samsung in China

In order to serve the growing number of Indian users of Xiaomi, a new dedicated data center is planned to be opened in India in 2015. Xiaomi was storing Indian users' data on Servers in China but after receiving warning from Indian Air force they have decided to move out from servers in China. Presently they will be moved to servers in Singapore and later to Indian datacenter when it gets ready.

Read my previous post oon Xiaomi here:

Are they more popular than iPhones?
I bet they are.
Here is a piece of text quoted here from the previous link:
"And you thought iPhones were popular. At 2 p.m. on Oct. 14, Xiaomi put 100,000 of its Redmi 1S smartphones up for sale in India, using local e-commerce site Flipkart to sell them, unsubsidized, for 5,999 rupees ($98) apiece. Within four seconds the phones sold out. Such Flipkart flash sales have become weekly events since China’s Xiaomi entered India in July. “It’s the most important market for us after China,” says Hugo Barra, the Google (GOOG) alumnus now in charge of Xiaomi’s international expansion."

Samsung has been hit with a double punch, Xiaomi from China and Micromax from India. It's all about pricing. If it is Micromax in India it is Xiaomi in China humbling Samsung. Read this turf war details here:

To freshen up, if you have not seen this video 'Xiaomi Rising', why don't you?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Microsoft to launch cross-platform SmartWatch in the near future

Within the next few week you will be seeing Microsoft Smartwatch in the Microsoft stores.
Two very important features that distinuguishes Microsoft SmartWatch from the others (Samsung Galaxy Gear, Moto360,etc) are,

Twice the battery life

Being cross-platform it can sync with iOS and Android phones which is a big feature as the phones with other OSs have a larger market share and limiting to Windows Phone OS (<2.5% market share)will not be business-wise. Presently it may be Windows 8 based but i the future it will be probably Windows 10, the made-for OS across all device foot prints.

It also monitors wearer's heart rate passively in additions to other sensors. With its 'cloud-first, mobile-first' mantra this can integrate the wearers health information on the cloud and benefit health care. This health thing will have enterprise-wide significence as yet another benefit for enterprises to adopt Azure cloud.

More story here:
Some interesting additional info follow this link:

Name of device: ??
Price                 : ???

Microsoft seems to have another wrist based device for health monitoring apart from the wristwatch as well as provide a hook for IoT. This may be the device discussed in an earlier post. These rumored stories may get cleared in the next few weeks with the debut of the Smart watch.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Expanding vista of Windows OS: Universal Windows apps with Windows 10

In pursuing its dream of 'Mobile-first, Cloud-first' world Microsoft has embarked on the new version of Windows, Windows 10. You can build Universal Windows apps for all Windows devices from embedded to any size; games or enterprise applications; and one store and one way to deal with apps from the store.

In order to experience the thrill (there will be a lot not so thrilling experiences on the way with lots of updates and all. Things may break now and then) you should sign-up for the Windows Insider Program here.

This is what the offer is if you sign-up:
"Join the Windows Insider Program so you can be part of every key moment along the way as we create Windows 10. You'll get Windows 10 Technical Preview, all the builds as soon as they're available, and an easy-to-use feedback app."

Well you need to be good at fixing things up if they go wrong preferably with experience in trouble shooting with all kinds of tools.

Some of the nice things now possible with Windows 10 can be found in this announcement link here:

The desktop has the start menu as well as some selected favorite apps together juxta-positioned on the desktop as shown. I suppose you can add / remove the apps from the desktop. I will let you know if it is possible after I have tried it.

The format of Windows Store Apps and desktop programs are indistinguishble and everything runs in a window. The apps windows can be dragged around and resized just like any desktop window.

Snapping multiple apps together on the same screen is possible as shown.

Note that all the above images taken from the link mentioned earlier.
Other noted features are:
  • Admits Multiple desktops
  • New task-view button for quick switching
  • finding files faster (I would like to see this happen)
Watch this video to get your first impression.

I have signed-up but not installed Windows 10. Presently fighting with a bug in the Windows 8.1 OS. I will be installing on a VM and let you know my impressions.

It appears that Microsoft has found a closure to the complaints regarding the Start button users of Windows 7 (and earlier versions) who were unhappy with Windows 8 which got somewhat improved in Windows 8.1.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Microsoft Azure planning to cover Indian sky

Beginning 2015 there will be data centers (3 local data centers) in India. According to Nadlella, 'A mobile first world can't exist without a cloud first world'. With 900 end points (based on mobile phones) to contend with it is a no brainer to have cloud services local to India.

Nadella thinks there is a trillion dollar opportunity waiting to be grabbed.

According to local Microsoft chief, this move will guaranate 'Digital India' a reality. I think this is a great move.

Read details here:

More info here:

This Windows 8.1 (x64 bit) problem is a tough nut to crack

Each software and each version brings its own bag of problems and a whole lot of bug fixes and patches.

Windows 8.1 is no different. Recently I came across a problem which I have not been able to solve but making all efforts to fix. This post describes the problem and the attempts to correct it.

Recently I copied over several hundred image/video files from my Windows Phone 8.1 Preview to my Windows 8.1 (x64 bit) Toshiba Laptop. This is when I started noticing problems. The computer became slow and I lost access to the properties of files / folders on the desktop. I also noticed that it
was not possible to run the command processor (cmd.exe) in the elevated mode which I required for some diagnostics. For example, if I right click any file, the rotating wheel would start and after a minute or so, the whole desktop would refresh as if nothing happened.

Of course I found some work arounds to achieve what I wanted but the OS was not operating as expected. You may find links to the work arounds here, and here.

After succeeding to run the SFC /scannow command in the elevated mode, I was able to determine that certain files were corrupted and could not be repaired. These files were posted to the forum and here is a list files that could not be repaired..
2014-10-16 10:28:25, Info                  CSI    000006fc [SR] Cannot repair member file [l:36{18}]"Amd64\CNBJ2530.DPB" of prncacla.inf, Version = 6.3.9600.16384, pA = PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE_AMD64 (9), Culture neutral, VersionScope = 1 nonSxS, PublicKeyToken = {l:8 b:31bf3856ad364e35}, Type = [l:24{12}]"driverUpdate", TypeName neutral, PublicKey neutral in the store, hash mismatch
2014-10-16 10:28:31, Info                  CSI    000006fe [SR] Cannot repair member file [l:36{18}]"Amd64\CNBJ2530.DPB" of prncacla.inf, Version = 6.3.9600.16384, pA = PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE_AMD64 (9), Culture neutral, VersionScope = 1 nonSxS, PublicKeyToken = {l:8 b:31bf3856ad364e35}, Type = [l:24{12}]"driverUpdate", TypeName neutral, PublicKey neutral in the store, hash mismatch
2014-10-16 10:43:57, Info                  CSI    00000b73 [SR] Cannot repair member file [l:36{18}]"Amd64\CNBJ2530.DPB" of prncacla.inf, Version = 6.3.9600.16384, pA = PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE_AMD64 (9), Culture neutral, VersionScope = 1 nonSxS, PublicKeyToken = {l:8 b:31bf3856ad364e35}, Type = [l:24{12}]"driverUpdate", TypeName neutral, PublicKey neutral in the store, hash mismatch
2014-10-16 10:43:58, Info                  CSI    00000b75 [SR] Cannot repair member file [l:36{18}]"Amd64\CNBJ2530.DPB" of prncacla.inf, Version = 6.3.9600.16384, pA = PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE_AMD64 (9), Culture neutral, VersionScope = 1 nonSxS, PublicKeyToken = {l:8 b:31bf3856ad364e35}, Type = [l:24{12}]"driverUpdate", TypeName neutral, PublicKey neutral in the store, hash mismatch
In order to troubleshoot my original problem, I managed to repair the corrupt files using dism and then carried out a SFC scan of the computer (although this was not really necessary since dism provides the same informaiton). Now there are no corrupt files in the computer.

The original problem still persists. I am trying to further troubleshoot. Protection Status