Windows 10 Settings menu: The Network & Internet tab

Windows 10’s new Settings menu lets you quickly and easily find basic settings without digging through the not-so-user-friendly Control Panel. It’s still a work-in-progress, but the Network & Internet tab actually does a pretty good job of combining the traditional Network and Sharing Center with Windows 8’s watered-down settings menu. If you’re looking for connection settings, this is where you’ll find it.

The Network & Internet tab can be accessed several ways, you can access it through the Settings menu, by clicking your network icon in the system tray or by clicking View Connection Settings from the Networks sidebar. The Network & Internet tab has seven sections: Wi-Fi, Cellular, VPN, DirectAccess, Dial-up, Ethernet, and Proxy.

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Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi section is more of a courtesy than an actual section — there are no options except Show available connections (opens the Networks sidebar) and Advanced settings (takes you to a list of Control Panel links). However, Microsoft knows that if you’re looking for help with your wireless connection, this is the first place you’ll look so they direct you to the appropriate non-Settings-menu places.

Cellular

This section will hold your cellular connection information if you have one, because my Windows 10 system is a desktop, nothing showed up under the Cellular heading. However, based on the Ethernet connection section, you’ll probably see a clickable link to information (IP address, manufacturer, description, etc.) about your cellular connection.

VPN

This section is similar to what you see if you go to PC Settings > Network in Windows 8. Here, you can add a VPN by clicking Add a VPN connection (you’ll be able to designate VPN provider, connection name, server name/address and sign-in information). You can also access the Networks sidebar and advanced settings in the Control Panel.

DirectAccess

irectAccess is a feature that lets you access your company’s corporate network without a VPN — this is typically something you’ll use if your VPN is blocked for some reason (e.g., you’re in a hotel on a network that blocks VPN ports). This section is similar to the Cellular section (I can’t see anything because I don’t have a DirectAccess connection), if you have a DirectAccess connection, you’ll see an icon that you can click to see information about your connection.

Dial-up and Ethernet

These sections are simple connection sections like the Cellular section. If you’re using Dial-up or Ethernet, you’ll be able to see a connection icon in these two sections that you can click for more information about your connection. If you have an Ethernet connection, you’ll see your IPv4 address, DNS servers, manufacturer, description, driver version and physical address. There’s also a button that lets you copy that information, in case you need to paste it somewhere (such as in a troubleshooting email to your tech support).

Proxy

The Windows 10 Proxy section is exactly like Windows 8’s Proxy section (which you can get to by going to PC Settings > Network > Proxy). Here, you can use an automatic proxy or you can manually set up your proxy by entering in the IP address (domain name) and port of your proxy server. Using a proxy server lets you do a variety of things, such as hiding your IP address or accessing websites that aren’t available in your country.

The Network & Internet tab is one of the only Settings tabs in which each section has a link to Advanced settings. Clicking this link (which appears at the bottom of every connection section) will take you to a list of links that go to various parts of the Control Panel, such as the Network and Sharing Center, HomeGroup, advanced sharing settings, and Internet options.

Windows 10 preview download is available now

A new build of Windows 10 preview is available for download, Microsoft announced Friday morning. Now the world (those who’ve signed up for the preview, that is) can sample what analysts and journalists previewed on Wednesday.

The build will download automatically for Windows Insiders overnight, or you can get it now by going to PC Settings > Update and recovery > Preview builds and clicking the Check Now button. If you need to start from the very beginning—in other words, you’ve never installed Windows 10 at all—check out our tutorial on how to install Windows 10 from scratch. You can also obtain the ISO for a clean install or virtual machine download here.

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In his blog post, Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul warned that not everything Microsoft talked about earlier this week would be available.

“Some of the new features that Joe demoed on Wednesday will be available for our Windows Insiders starting today with our newest build – 9926,” Aul wrote. “However, not everything you saw on Wednesday is included in this new build. Much is still in-progress and we’re getting it out to you as fast as we can – so you can try it out and give us feedback. Over the course of the next few builds, you will see us refine Windows 10 and continue to improve the experiences as well as quality and stability.”

What Microsoft showed off in Redmond was Build 9924, which we played with as part of our preview. In a nutshell, here’s what you should expect in the new 9926 build:

Cortana: Microsoft’s digital assistant has been ported over from Windows Phone, and makes an appearance in Windows 10. We think that Cortana should interact with your Windows Phone, sending reminders to your desktop and taking over as a general search interface, to boot.

Notifications: The Cortana reminders should show up in your Action Center, the little icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Expect to see a lot more information there now that Cortana has been enabled!

Continuum: The new build should offer to put your Surface in tablet mode when undocked (or any other 2-in-1 that has the preview installed).

Full-page Start menu: If you’d like, you can expand the new Start menu into a full-screen Start page that looks a lot like the way Windows 8 set things up (but with icons still on the lefthand bar)

New Windows Store app: “It includes a new visual design which will be common across PCs, tablets, phones and the web. It works well within a window and can be updated independently from the OS (this matters because it allows for more frequent updates),” Aul writes.

New Xbox App:  The new app was demoed for us in Redmond. Basically, expect a lot more detail about the games you and your friends are playing.

New Photos and Maps apps: These are universal apps, and will be common to Windows Phone as well. We took at some of these last week, too.

 

Nine things to know about Windows 10

Microsoft threw us all a bit of a curveball today, announcing Windows 10 rather than the assumed Windows 9 moniker. There doesn’t seem to be a reason for this naming scheme, either. Since we’re playing toss with Redmond, here are nine things you need to know about Windows… 10.

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Mobile is supported, too: Yes, Windows 10 will come to your mobile device. Though what we saw today was heavily skewed towards enterprise and the tried-and-true keyboard-and-mouse setup, Windows 10 is also going to be your mobile OS. It will have a different look and feel (more on that in a minute), but it’s still Windows 10.

Coming late 2015: Windows 10 will officially launch in late 2015, though a specific timeframe isn’t noted. A preview is available from tomorrow on, but that’s very early stuff, and very much nt for the average consumer.

Consumers will get it, too: Though Windows 10 has been given a strong enterprise angle, it’s not only for your workplace. Windows 10 is coming for everyone, don’t worry.

It’s Windows 7-plus, or something like that: Microsoft was keen to point out that Windows 10 was like Windows 7. A lot. Though it will have some windows 8 touches, like apps that can be pinned to the start menu, it’s being billed as though Microsoft would like to simply forget about Windows 8. We kind of would, too.

Start menu is coming back: Yeah, this is why we’d like to forget about Windows 8. Though it was good for mobile, Windows 8 on the desktop was a mess without a search menu. It wasn’t intuitive, and likely caused many people to move away from Windows 8. With Windows 10, the start menu comes back, bringing us a sense of familiarity.

Stronger start menu: Not only is the start menu coming back, it’s getting awesome. You can search the web or your desktop right from the start menu this time around, which is a nifty time saver. You’ll also be able to pin apps to the start menu, which is great for those go-to apps you use all the time. Start isn’t just coming back, it’s going to be your Windows hub.

Power users will love it: Windows has always been decent for power users, but Windows 10 is great for them. Things like being able to snag an app from another desktop are great, which is something Microsoft calls “snap assist”. You can even switch desktops altogether if you like, and have each desktop running multiple apps. A new task view lets you see al the things you’re working on. Though both are very Apple-y, they’re great for power users, and Windows 10.

Touch is different: We saw a lot to do with desktop, but when you migrate into a touch interface, Windows 10 gets a lot more like Windows 8. The interface changes a bit with touch, which takes effect when you switch your input methods. While it’s early days for Windows 10, and it’s not totally clear just how this will work, we’ve got a scenario in mind.

Think of a laptop like the Yoga 2 Pro. You have it in desktop mode, and Windows 10 is one way – start menus and such. Flip it into stand or tablet mode, and you get a different, more touch-friendly interface. That could be why Microsoft is essentially building multiple UIs into one OS this time around — those experiences are different.

It’s Windows 10 because…: There was no reason given for the naming on this one. They skipped Windows 9, and the only explanation for calling Windows 10 Windows 10 was that once we see it in action, we’ll agree that it’s the right name. What?

So, there you have it, everyone. Nine takeaways from today’s announcement. We’ve still got a long way to go with Windows 10, but it’s already looking like a decent iteration for Microsoft to make, and likely necessary, considering the slipping PC business.

iOS 8 “Reset All Settings” reported to wipe iCloud Drive docs

iOS 8 might be taking another PR hit this week, though hopefully in a more limited fashion. Some users have started reporting that iOS 8’s option to reset their phone’s settings erased iWork files stored in the beta version of iCloud Drive, with some left without an option to recover them at all.

iCloud Drive was first shown to the public in beta version of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. To some extent, it tries to put Apple’s iCloud service on par with popular cloud storage offerings like Dropbox or Google Drive, allowing users to store almost any type of file on iCloud. Naturally, Apple’s own proprietary products and file formats, particularly documents, spreadsheets and slideshows from its iWork suite, enjoy preferential treatment. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be helpful in the case of this bug.

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This iOS feature warns users that all settings on their iPhone or iPad will be lost but in the same breath assures them that no data or media files will be deleted. That, however, may have applied only to files stored on the device itself because proceeding with the operation will actually delete files stored on iCloud Drive. Ironically, the damage seems to be limited to iWork documents while random files remain untouched.

The matter is exacerbated even further because of limited recovery options. Despite having one of the prettiest and probably most sophisticated end user-friendly backup feature via Time Machine, some users are left without reprieve. In particular, some of those on the public Yosemite beta report not finding any backup of their iWork files stored on iCloud, though Maverick users may have more success in that regard. Even worse, depending on your point of view, is the fact that iCloud Drive doesn’t seem to have any backups itself, a fact that users found out when going through Apple’s customer service.

Considering that iCloud Drive is still in its infancy, hiccups like this could at least be expected as growing pains. That said, the more horrifying problem is that users could potentially be left without any way to recover those lost files. Considering that iCloud Drive’s availability is still relatively limited, Apple might be able to stop the issue from spreading further. Unfortunately for those already bitten by the bug, they might have to bid farewell to those lost documents, unless they have kept their own backups outside of iCloud and Time Machine.

HP, Applied Micro Release First 64-Bit ARM Server

Applied Micro and Hewlett-Packard have teamed up to release the first commercially available 64-bit ARMv8 server, the ProLiant m400 cartridge for HP’s Moonshot server framework.

The new server is based on Applied Micro’s X-Gene System-on-a-Chip (SoC) and runs Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system. Designed for primarily for Web caching workloads, the ProLiant m400 provides power, cooling, and space savings compared with traditional rack servers to the tune of an “up to 35 percent reduction in total cost of ownership,” according to HP.

“ARM technology will change the dynamics of how enterprises build IT solutions to quickly address customer challenges. HP’s history, culture of innovation, and proven leadership in server technology position us as the most qualified player to empower customers with greater choice in the server marketplace,” Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Servers and Networking business, said in a statement on Monday.

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HP also announced the availability of the ProLiant m800, a 32-bit ARM-based server cartridge that is also intended for the Moonshot 1500 chassis, pictured above. The m800 is “optimized for real-time data processing of high volume, complex data such as pattern analysis.” Both the ProLiant m800 and m400 extend the reach of HP’s “Project Moonshot” initiative to introduce a radical new infrastructure framework for scale-out data center installations supporting Web hosting, cloud computing, search, general-purpose databases, logging, and other fast-growing “big data” activities.

But it’s the ProLiant m400, pictured at right, which is the real milestone release. ARM’s 64-bit instruction set has been used in consumer devices like Apple’s iPhone for more than a year, but it’s taken a bit longer for the first server products to hit the market. Along with Applied Micro, Advanced Micro Devices and the now-shuttered Calxeda were the main drivers of 64-bit ARM-based computing for the data center in recent years.

Now Applied Micro can claim first-to-market status with its X-Gene SoC, though AMD is sampling its own 64-bit ARM-based “Seattle” server chips to partners and shouldn’t be too far behind.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy, said there were several good reasons to use 64-bit ARM chips in servers, which are currently dominated by the x86 processors made by Intel and AMD.

“Two key advantages of this product, compared to other ProLiant cartridges for the Moonshot System available today, are a doubling of the addressable memory to 64GB per cartridge and significantly higher memory bandwidth made possible by X-Gene’s four memory channels,” Moorhead said in a white paper.

The analyst also touted the ProLiant m400’s improved throughput for I/O intensive workloads via a pair of 10 Gbps Ethernet channels and low latency storage access.

HP launched its first “Project Moonshot” product in early 2013, a server enclosure dubbed HP Moonshot 1500 loaded with 45 Intel Atom-based server cartridges, an open-flow compliant network switch, and supporting components.

But even as the Moonshot initiative kicked off with x86-based, CPU-driven systems, HP has also been clear that it plans to mix and match many types of computer chips and integrated circuits in future Moonshot servers, including ARM-based parts, graphics processors, APUs from AMD, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and digital signal processors (DSPs).

Apple: Most Mac Users Safe From ‘Shellshock’

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Most Apple Mac owners can breathe easy following news of the Shellshock bug.

The flaw impacts Bash, a widely used command interpreter also implemented by the Mac operating system. If exploited, hackers can gain complete control over a targeted system.

But Apple users have nothing to worry about, a company spokesman told iMore in a statement.

“The vast majority of OS X users are not as risk to recently reported bash vulnerabilities,” Cupertino said in a statement published by iMore. “Bash, a UNIX command shell and language included in OS X, has a weakness that could allow unauthorized users to remotely gain control of vulnerable systems. With OS X, systems are safe by default and not exposed by remote exploits to bash unless users configure advanced UNIX services.”

Apple said it is working to provide a software update for those advanced users.

According to the Akamai administrator who first disclosed the bug, the vulnerability is present in most versions of Bash, from 1.13 to 4.3, and is based on how Bash handles environment variables.

Security experts, including Errata Security’s Robert Graham, are already comparing Shellshock to this year’s Heartbleed bug, which set the tech sector on fire after its discovery in April.

But, unlike Heartbleed, which affected only a specific version of OpenSSL, the Bash-based flaw has been creeping into old devices for more than two decades.

Despite the Web-based panic, there is actually no pressing need to fix the flaw, according to Graham, who said primary servers are probably not vulnerable. But everything else probably is.

Users are encouraged to scan the network for things like Telnet, FTP, and old versions of Apache.

“Anything that responds is probably an old device needing a bash patch,” Graham said this week. “And, since most of them can’t be patched, you are likely screwed.”

CyanogenMod 11.0 M7 released; based off Android 4.4.2

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The next version of CyanogenMod version 11.0 M7 has hit the download servers, which has been based off Android 4.4.2. The changes are shown below:

* Common: Theme Chooser UI Overhaul
* Common: Calculator app redesign (courtesy Xlythe)
* Common: Performance Profiles
* Common: Improved theming performance on low memory devices (~512MB RAM or less)
* Trebuchet: Move settings to new slide-out panel
* Trebuchet: Consolidate settings for home and drawer options
* Media: Add FFMPEG support (expanded media format support)
* Bluetooth: Improved support for new car audio systems and docks
* Various small bugfixes, global and device-specific

Despite Android 4.4.3 being available, this release is still based off the earlier version, with the changes introduced in the 4.4.3 update being merged into CyanogenMod for nightly releases, which are now being distributed. It will be the M8 version of CM next month which incorporates the changes introduced in Android 4.4.3 in the next stable release.

SOURCE: CyanogenMod

Customize the Daydream feature in Android with Daydream Widgets

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Like most of us, are you trying to make your Daydream feature in Android a little more useful? Daydream Widgets is the missing link in making one of the most underused features in Android actually useful.

Added in Android 4.2 Daydream is a feature that Android added that is more or less a screensaver for your device while idle or docked. The feature will allow the Daydream screensaver to display an array of visually appealing colors, photo frame, photo table, and more to entertain you while your device is docked. Some apps have built in Daydream plugins to display information relevant to the app, but most are not very customizable.

Daydream Widgets takes this bland Android feature a step further by allowing you to put almost any widget you want on the Daydream screen. You can pick a couple widgets and even personalize the background color of the Daydream. Imagine having your weather widget displaying by your email and your calendar while your device is docked. The widgets will cycle and show up one right next to each other or one after another depending on how you have it configured. The goal is to personalize the Daydream to your specific needs so that it will be most useful for you.

This app is an extremely easy to use and fully customizable solution developed specifically to make Daydream full of useful information, information that you want.

Daydream Widgets is a free app that you can download in the Google Play Store.

Android Wear notifications demoed by a Google Developer

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We know one thing for sure – they are coming. Yeah! Smartwatches are coming as Apple seems to be prepping an iWatch while Google has already released a platform – Android Wear and its SDK for developers. Wearables are a huge category, but right now, in 2014, the concentration seems to be on smart watches. LG and Motorola were among the first companies to hop in with Google in the smart wearables market.

Google’s Android Wear is a platform for the wearables and for now, wearables are being portrayed as devices where you have easier access to the notifications of your smartphone. Google have just released a video demonstrating how the notification system works on the Android Wear platform.

Google’s developer Timothy Jordan has written a post on the company’s Social network – Google+ about how notifications work on Android Wear. He has also mentioned that just by adding a few lines of code, the developers will be able to deliver richer experience to the users on their wearables.

As you can see in the image above, you can identify the notification by the app icon on the top right corner. Google has also released a video explaining a little more about notifications. You can check out the video right below.

Next version of Android looking to change navigation buttons

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The next version of Android, whether it be 4.5 or 5.0, is possibly looking to change up the look of the interface a lot more than the subtle changes from Ice Cream Sandwich to Jelly Bean to KitKat. We’ve already seen the leaks of their redesigned stock icons, code named “moonshine”, and now we’re seeing a different navigation bar

The typical home button has been replaced with a Google logo, providing evidence that Google is looking to integrate their services even further into Android, like they have with KitKat’s Google Now Launcher. The multitasking logo is a bit different as well, and the only reason I can think of why is because of possibly how Google is going to list your recent apps menu. We’ve heard rumors before that Google is looking to change the Android UI completely, so perhaps multitasking will be a whole different thing in the next Android.

While I am a fan of Google changing up Android and integrating Google Now more, I’m not sure how I like the idea of having the Google logo as my home button. However it’s too soon to tell what they really have in store for us so I will be my judgment at bay.