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Posts Tagged ‘Steven Sinofsky’

Computer Science vs. Software Engineering

November 17th, 2012 11:39 admin View Comments

Education

theodp writes “Microsoft’s promotion of Julie Larson-Green to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering in the wake of Steven Sinofsky’s resignation is reopening the question of what is the difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering. According to their bios on Microsoft’s website, Sinofsky has a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an undergraduate degree with honors from Cornell University, while Larson-Green has a master’s degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Washington University. A comparison of the curricula at Sinofsky’s and Larson-Green’s alma maters shows there’s a huge difference between UMass’s MSCS program and Seattle U’s MSE program. So, is one program inherently more compatible with Microsoft’s new teamwork mantra?”

Source: Computer Science vs. Software Engineering

Sinofsky Dismisses Trying To Take Over Windows Phone, Developers

November 15th, 2012 11:01 admin View Comments

Microsoft

Nerval’s Lobster writes “When Steven Sinofsky stepped down as head of Microsoft’s Windows division earlier this week, multiple publications cited friction with other executives as the primary reason behind the departure. Whether or not that’s the case—neither Sinofsky nor Microsoft has offered an official explanation, aside from the usual platitudes—someone with connections to Microsoft is claiming that Sinofsky’s departure stemmed from a failed attempt to bring additional parts of the company under his control. ‘Steven had apparently lost recent battles to bring both Windows Phone and the Developer Division under his control,’ Hal Berenson, president of consulting group True Mountain Group and a former Microsoft executive, wrote in a Nov. 13 blog posting. ‘I suspect that he saw those [losses] both as a roadblock to where he wanted to take Windows over the next few years, and a clear indication that his political power within Microsoft had peaked.’ The departure, he added, was the ‘outgrowth of conflict.’ Berenson’s claim was enough to draw Sinofsky himself into the discussion. In the comments section below the posting, Sinofsky left a short note suggesting that rumors of a multi-product takeover were, frankly, malarkey.”

Source: Sinofsky Dismisses Trying To Take Over Windows Phone, Developers

Amazon.com: Earth’s Biggest Wine Cellar?

November 15th, 2012 11:48 admin View Comments

The Internet

theodp writes “Ever get carded by your FedEx guy? You will. Several writers at GeekWire had just unboxed, uncorked and polished off their first bottle of Amazon wine, only to have their buzz killed by the need to cover Steven Sinofsky’s unexpected exit from Microsoft. With the caveat that per-order shipping charges will discourage those watching their pennies from ordering single bottles of inexpensive wine, GeekWire gave the overall Amazon wine buying experience a thumbs-up.” Since Amazon-owned Woot’s been selling wine for a while, it may be a stretch to call it new for Amazon, but their main site is known to many more people.

Source: Amazon.com: Earth’s Biggest Wine Cellar?

Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

November 13th, 2012 11:44 admin View Comments

Microsoft

CWmike writes with this excerpt from Computerworld: “Steven Sinofsky, the executive in charge of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system and the driving force behind the new OS, is leaving the company effective immediately, Microsoft announced late Monday. Sinofsky was also the public face for Windows 8 and its new Metro interface, posting constant updates in a Windows 8 blog that charted its development. His last post, fittingly, was entitled ‘Updating Windows 8 for General Availability.’ The OS was officially launched at the end of last month. According to the All Things D blog, there was growing tension between Sinofsky and other members of the Microsoft executive team, who didn’t see him as enough of a team player. But Microsoft’s official position is that the decision was a mutual one. Sinofsky had only good things to say about his former employer.”

Source: Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

November 13th, 2012 11:44 admin View Comments

Microsoft

CWmike writes with this excerpt from Computerworld: “Steven Sinofsky, the executive in charge of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system and the driving force behind the new OS, is leaving the company effective immediately, Microsoft announced late Monday. Sinofsky was also the public face for Windows 8 and its new Metro interface, posting constant updates in a Windows 8 blog that charted its development. His last post, fittingly, was entitled ‘Updating Windows 8 for General Availability.’ The OS was officially launched at the end of last month. According to the All Things D blog, there was growing tension between Sinofsky and other members of the Microsoft executive team, who didn’t see him as enough of a team player. But Microsoft’s official position is that the decision was a mutual one. Sinofsky had only good things to say about his former employer.” Also at SlashCloud.

Source: Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

Windows 8 Release Date: October 26th

July 18th, 2012 07:09 admin View Comments

Microsoft

Several readers sent word that Microsoft has selected a release date for Windows 8: October 26th. Steven Sinofsky made the announcement today at the company’s annual sales meeting. The new version of the operating system will be sent to manufacturers next month, giving them plenty of time to prepare for general availability.

Source: Windows 8 Release Date: October 26th

Why Microsoft’s Surface Pro Will Be the First Real Business Tablet

June 20th, 2012 06:00 admin View Comments

The verdict on Microsoft’s new Surface tablet has been mostly positive. Reviewers have praised the device’s fit and finish, operating system and Touch Cover keyboards – not to mention Microsoft’s unusual willingness to try something new. But we haven’t heard as much about Surface Pro, Microsoft’s attempt to go beyond the consumer market and make tablets truly useful for business professionals and digital artists.

From a branding perspective, the consumer and business Surface tablets are essentially identical; even Microsoft’s spec sheets don’t differentiate between the two in terms of name.

But the Surface Pro is a lot heavier (903 g versus 676 g), with a battery that’s exactly a third larger in terms of charge capacity. That’s critical, because the Surface Pro foregoes the less powerful, cooler-running Nvidia Tegra ARM processor in favor of a faster Core i5 chip and a more powerful graphics processor. All in all, the Surface Pro’s specs create the impression of a serious business machine.

But will anyone use it? And for what?

While the iPad has found plenty of applications in businesses, those have largely arisen organically as users bring their own devices (BYOD) to the office, and companies – and IT departments – try to figure out exactly what to do with them. Apple has shown little interest in directly attacking the enterprise market. Microsoft is essentially trying to outflank Apple to establish a beach head in an environment it knows better than Apple does.

To date, only two companies have designed tablets specifically for businesses: Cisco’s Cius, now discontinued, and the RIM PlayBook. Cisco had no business being in the tablet market, and its “tablet” was little more than a front end for a VoIP phone. The PlayBook, for its part, has been forced to dig out from under a corporate reputation that’s declining fast. And its initial lack of email support turned the first PlayBook into a punch line, not a viable business tool.

Microsoft’s Surface is different. The BYOD trend doesn’t apply here. Microsoft is aiming the Surface Pro squarely at businesses, and the device includes a number of business-friendly features that separate it from consumer tablets.

It Isn’t Compatible With Windows, It Is Windows

While Android and iOS both offer hooks into Windows environments, for enterprises that have bought into Microsoft enterprise tools like SharePoint, Lync and even Outlook, Windows Surface should be a much more convenient choice. While it hasn’t given word, it’s logical to assume that Microsoft will provide tools that will let Surface tablets be managed by IT departments. The Surface Pro is due some 90 days after Windows 8 launches. Perhaps that time will be used to develop specific Windows integration tools.

The Touch Cover Keyboard

Tablets have been traditionally used to consume content. But with the Touch Cover keyboard/cover, Microsoft has flipped the script. Yes, you can type on a tablet. But with Touch Cover – and especially Type Cover, its thicker, even more keyboard-like cousin – the Surface suddenly becomes able to take on an increasing number of business tasks that now require a laptop.

In fact, the Surface Pro resembles an ultrabook (MacBook Air-style) laptop in many ways. That can be seen as a complement to Microsoft’s work on Surface. But many businesses that really need a notebook will still choose a traditional laptop. Surface offers greater portability than an ultrabook (although the lack of a solid hinge means you can’t really use it on your lap) but not as much flexibility or expansion options.

Digital Artist and Content Creators

Surface and Surface Pro should also merit a serious look from digital artists and content creators. Microsoft products aren’t always an easy sell to creative types, who typically live within the Apple ecosystem. But Windows 8 is fun and vibrant, and the Metro interface brings some new design cred.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions, though. Digital illustrators typically use a “tablet” – a digitizer from companies like Wacom – to sketch out their designs. Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live division who helped introduce Surface Monday night, demonstrated the Surface Pro’s digital ink capability. But he didn’t show pressure sensitivity and other features that artists demand. On the other hand, full-fledged digital graphics suites based on Windows 8 should work natively on Surface Pro – a big plus.

The Heat Index?

Tablets are a godsend on the road, and the Surface Pro should be a perfect one-size-fits-all tool for business travelers, providing both entertainment and full access to their standard work tools. But there’s a potential problem: heat.

Remember, notebooks based on Intel Core chips are notorious for running hot. Microsoft said it has designed an innovative cooling system that vents the Core i5’s heat via the “seam” so that the bottom of the device stays cool. Until we can test how well that works, there’s a real possibility that the Core i5′s speed will be severely restricted to keep the device from getting too warm. Or it may turn out that professionals will have to use the Surface Pro primarily in kickstand mode to avoid setting fire to their laptops and desktops.

That kind of annoyance could make the ARM-powered basic Surface – which shouldn’t run as hot – the choice of consumers and most professionals alike, especially those who can work entirely via the Web and don’t need the full range of Windows applications. But that version runs on Windows RT and may not enjoy full software compatibility with Windows 8 programs. And since the Surface Pro does exist, software makers may be in less of a rush to convert their packages to run on RT.

Still, the Surface Pro appears to be the instant leader in business tablets. With software compatibility and a truly useful keyboard, the Surface Pro could appeal to both business users and corporate IT departments. For some business users, it might even replace a laptop as their primary computer.

Put another way, Surface isn’t really about bringing your own device to work. It’s not BYOD, but BYOS, or Bring Your Own Style.

Source: Why Microsoft’s Surface Pro Will Be the First Real Business Tablet

Hands On with Microsoft’s New Surface Tablet

June 18th, 2012 06:23 admin View Comments

A few minutes spent actually handling a prototype of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet reveals a solid device, combining a slightly bulky chassis with a clever Touch Cover keyboard that appears to work well – all powered by a Windows RT operating system that seems to to be a viable competitor to iOS and Android on these types of devices.

However you look at it, Microsoft’s new , Surface tablet released at a heavily hyped event in Los Angeles on Monday, is undeniably the most interesting product the company has revealed since the Microsoft Kinect motion-based controller. A very quick hands-on examination revealed real strengths, as well as some flaws.

First Impressions Only

First, a very large caveat: Microsoft allowed journalists and analysts hands-on time that could be measured in seconds. I mean that literally: groups of seven reporters were shuttled in at about 90-second intervals to listen to short presentations, take pictures and otherwise play with the device. I was able to handle the smaller Windows RT version of the Surface twice. (I didn’t get to touch the bigger and heavier business-oriented Windows 8 Pro model that will run Windows 8 on Intel Core i5 processors.)

Based on those limited interactions, I’m pretty sure users will be surprised by two things: one, how thick and somewhat bulky even the smaller Surface tablet feels, as well as the unusual integrated Touch Cover keyboard.

Solid as a Tank

If there’s one word to describe the Surface, it’s “solid”. Microsoft executives said that they engineered and iterated the Touch Cover to “sound like a car door,” with a solid snap that indicates bulletproof engineering.

Apple’s iPad evokes a feeling of luxury, while top-of-the-line Android tablets like the Galaxy Tab feel fast and efficient, but not overly polished. The Surface feels like a Cadillac: powerful, luxurious… solid. There’s nothing flimsy about it.

That said, at 1.49 pounds (676 grams), the Surface feels surprisingly heavy and and a bit bulky. Compared to the Surface, an iPad or Galaxy Tab seems significantly thinner and lighter. (The Windows 8 Pro model of the Surface will weigh almost 2 pounds – 903 grams, while a new iPad weighs 1.44 pounds – 652 grams.) The built-in kickstand, I suspect, will be a necessary crutch.

 

Lead photo by Mark Hachman.

Microsoft characterizes the Surface as an “HD tablet,” but didn’t disclose the resolution of the display. It will show 16:9 video natively, and the widescreen aspect ratio worked nicely running a Web browser and a mail application simultaneously. I thought I noticed a bit of jitter when the product manager scrolled the screen horizontally, but the slowdown was momentary, if at all. The touchscreen appeared responsive.

While the iPad has evolved from a content consumption device to include content-creation applications, Microsoft seems to have deliberately designed the Surface for both content consumption and creation. Key to that are the unique Type Cover and Touch Cover.

Unique Touch Cover Keyboard

Although only time (and repeated pounding) will reveal if the these innovative keyboard/covers hold up as well as a typical Bluetooth keyboard, Microsoft executives swore that they could touch-type on them nearly as fast as on a normal keyboard. And I can believe it.

I briefly tried the thinner Touch Cover. Although the key travel looks to be minuscule, I’d guess that it’s roughly similar to the “chiclet” keyboards used by the MacBook Air. Slight dimples in the “J” and “F” keys allow users to align their fingers for true touch typing. And, of course, there’s the connection – the magnetic clasp seemed solid enough to require a bit of force to remove it. (The thicker Type Cover offers a more traditional keyboard feel.)

Windows RT

I haven’t used Windows RT in a tablet environment before, and I was quite impressed. At first glance, it looks like Windows RT tablets will offer a robust experience.

Microsoft obviously couldn’t show off the components within the Surface tablet – and there has been no indication of where the device will be manufactured – but Steven Sinofsky, who oversaw the Surface’s development, bragged that its 2×2 MIMO internal antenna configuration would enable best-of-class Wi-Fi performance. It certainly appeared so; the demonstration tablets loaded content without a hitch. However, the demo didn’t show off the unit’s video port, a nice touch rival tablets lack.

Microsoft appears to be trying to position the Surface as a brand new class of device: the content-creation tablet. While I didn’t fall wildly in love with the hardware, first impressions of the Windows RT tablet OS suggest that Microsoft has a winner.

Source: Hands On with Microsoft’s New Surface Tablet

Windows 8 Won’t Play DVDs Unless You Pay For the Media Center Pack

May 4th, 2012 05:22 admin View Comments

Media

An anonymous reader writes “You may already know that Microsoft plans to sell Windows Media Center as a separate, paid pack, but now the company has revealed that Windows 8 will also stop default support for DVD playback. You’ll only be able to play DVDs and Blu-rays if you upgrade to the Media Center pack. ‘Acquiring either the Windows 8 Media Center Pack or the Windows 8 Pro Pack gives you Media Center, including DVD playback (in Media Center, not in Media Player), broadcast TV recording and playback (DBV-T/S, ISDB-S/T, DMBH, and ATSC), and VOB file playback. Pricing for these Packs, as well as retail versions of Windows 8, will be announced closer to the release date. To give you some indication of Media Center Pack pricing, it will be in line with marginal costs.’” In a comment, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky elaborates: “(marginal is small, honest, and we just haven’t determined the final prices yet based on ongoing work but we are aiming for single digit dollars but we don’t control the truly marginal costs). We wanted to include Media Player for everyone without everyone incurring the cost even if they don’t even have an optical drive.”

Source: Windows 8 Won’t Play DVDs Unless You Pay For the Media Center Pack

Microsoft Isn’t Laughing At Twitter Parody Of Windows Exec

February 13th, 2012 02:30 admin View Comments

shutterstock_microsoft_windows.jpgMicrosoft demanded the takedown of a phony Twitter account purpoting to be that of Windows Division President Steven Sinofsky.

Over the weekend, Microsoft used its @BuildWindows8 account to send a message to the account owner, saying “@StevenSinofsky please see guidelines on parody and impersonation. Your account is not following them them and has been reported.”

By Saturday evening, the phony account had been removed, but a new one that was strikingly similar to the original had seemingly taken its place.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows users to post under pseudonyms, which has led to high-profile spoof accounts for tech celebrities, including now fewer than half a dozen for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. But rarely has a prankster gone as deep-down the corporate food chain to parody an executive that few outside of diehard Windows geeks would know by name.

And while many of the accounts are harmless, Microsoft had reason for concern: the person or persons behind the hoax were using the fake Sinofsky Twitter account to answer questions from customers and journalists. The bio on the account did have a clear-cut disclaimer (“”I’m all about Windows 8 right now. And having a laugh. Oh, I’m not ‘the’ Steven Sinofsky by the way. He’s got a little project to focus on for now”) but that wasn;t enough to tip some people off to the satire.

Neither Twitter or Microsoft have responded to a request for comment, but we’ll update the post if they do.

Source: Microsoft Isn’t Laughing At Twitter Parody Of Windows Exec

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