‘We make things that help you make things and make things happen’ 

With that quote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella closed yesterday’s big keynote in which the company announced a new Microsoft Band, new phones that can become computers when docked, a new Surface and its first-ever laptop computer.

The Surface Book is an incredibly interesting product. It’s a convertible (with an insane hinge) that can become a tablet with the release of a button. It’s built by Microsoft, something that I didn’t expect from a company who has depended on a bunch of OEMs for hardware for decades.

In an interview with The Verge, Nadella didn’t seem phased by the thought of going up against OEMs, saying it allowed Microsoft to push the ecosystem forward.

It and the Surface Pro 4 are more powerful then ever, with seemingly better pen technology than anyone else right now.

All of these devices – and more — are powered by the new Windows 10, arguably Microsoft’s best OS to date. In addition to syncing things across devices easily, Microsoft is betting big on having a single set of development tools for all of these different screens. It’s a different approach then what Apple’s doing with OS X and iOS, and Google with Chrome OS and Android, but I think it can be successful, if the company can prove investing in their platform is worthwhile for developers.

There’s no doubt that the company is on a roll, and these new products extend that further. Yes, the Surface is kinda weird, and yes, Windows Phone feels basically hopeless, but all in all, Microsoft products feel like they’re on the right track.

As an Apple user, I’m glad to see this. Apple needs aggressive competition, and Microsoft seems to be delivering that again.

Windows 95 hysteria »

I grew up in a PC household, and didn’t use a Mac with any regularity until my sophomore year of high school.

The first computer I ever used was my dad’s NEC laptop, running Windows 3.1. A few years later, my parents bought a Gateway PC running Windows 95, which blew my mind as a 9 year old kid.

What I remember most is being impressed was the user interface. It was much easier to use than Window 3.1, with the Start menu leading the way to a new, more organized world.

I wasn’t aware of the massive marketing push behind the OS, obviously. While I’ve read some about it in the years since, this article really is wild.

The Windows cycle »

Tom Warren, opening his Windows 10 review on The Verge:

Windows has a cycle. Windows XP saved us from Windows ME, Windows 7 saved us from the Windows Vista mess, now Windows 10 is here to save save us from Windows 8.

It’s nice to be on the good part of the cycle.

I’ve been playing with the pre-release versions of Windows 10 on and off for a while now, and I like what I’ve seen. Microsoft has reigned in some of the insanity of Windows 8, and the whole thing feels faster and more modern than its predecessor ever did.

Microsoft buys Wunderlist »

Another month, another acquisition by Redmond. This fits in line with Microsoft’s other recent purchases, including Sunrise and Acompli. Like Google, Microsoft is taking platforms other than their own seriously these days, and it’s a good thing.

Microsoft launches Office 2016 for Mac preview »

I can feel many of you rolling your eyes already, but Office plays a central role if you have to live in a cross-platform world, as I do.

I haven’t played with this yet, but from Microsoft’s site, it looks like a welcome update to the applications so many people rely on everyday.

Microsoft’s big day 

Today’s Microsoft’s keynote was packed full of announcements, from previews of Windows 10 and a post-IE browser to Xbox improvements and a virtual reality headset.


Like many who have been in the Apple camp for a long time, my natural tendency to dismiss Microsoft as old and boring, reserved for people stuck in the enterprise, but the truth is that Redmond is more relevant than they have been in years, and today’s event proves it in several ways.

Color me excited about what Microsoft is doing for the first time in a long time.

Windows 10

Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft started on their whole “one OS, everywhere” concept, but the company had to split their OS based on what processor was under it — resulting in the much-despised Windows RT.

All that’s gone now, it would seem. Windows 10 is one OS, spanning from the desktop to the smartphone. The whole OS has an interface that’s smart enough to know what kind — and size — of device it is on.

Hell, even the Xbox is getting Windows 10; whatever that means.

This isn’t the approach Apple’s taken, of course. Apple still ships Mac OS X and iOS as separate operating systems, albeit with special versions for the Apple TV and (soon) the Apple Watch. OS X and iOS share a lot of under-the-hood bits, but they don’t share much in the way of control or UI elements.

While I think Apple’s way still is best, but there’s no denying that Windows 10 is compelling.

Features like Cortana, Microsoft’s powerful digital assistant will be on the desktop, as will smartphone-like access to things like Bluetooth and location settings.

Interestingly, it’ll be free for a year for anyone who owns Windows 7 or 8. Clearly, this is in response to Apple making OS X updates free several years ago, but this is a big move for Redmond. Unlike Apple, Microsoft doesn’t rely on hardware for the majority of its income, so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the company’s earnings.


The upcoming version of Office falls in line with Windows 10, with one version to run on all devices. Both the OS and the office suite will change depending on input type, which seems a little crazy, but these things have to live in a world where a laptop can flip over and become a tablet, and it’s good to see Microsoft realize that.

Project Spartan

While it’s here to plague web developers for years to come, the end of Internet Explorer is in sight.


It’s actually unclear if Spartan is just the next IE, or if Microsoft will take this opportunity to put the maligned brand out to pasture.

We know that the new browser will be powered by an all-new rendering engine, but it doesn’t seem like its WebKit. This world it still doomed to having Microsoft build its own engine, but hopefully it will be as modern as the company claimed today.

On the feature side, Spartan boasts deep integration with OneNote, making it easy to mark up webpages and share them. There’s also Reading List which is exactly what it sounds like.

Surface Hub

The new Surface Hub — no, not this Surface or that Surface — is a 84-inch 4K display with a built-in computer hooked up to a bunch of sensors, cameras, speakers and more.

In short, the Surface Hub can hold conference calls, serve as a digital whiteboard (powered by OneNote) and more.

Where it got real weird

The Microsoft HoloLens is a visor-based virtual reality headset that overlays holographic images on the real world.

Basically, this plus the Oculus Rift.

I don’t even really know what to say about this, but this article is well-worth the read. I have no idea what this stuff is for beyond gaming, but it sure seems awesome.