Amazon Alexa Blueprints Launched to Let Users Create Personalised Alexa Skills

Amazon Alexa Blueprints Launched to Let Users Create Personalised Alexa Skills

Amazon on Thursday rolled out a new set of tools called Alexa Skill Blueprints, which lets users create custom responses for the smart assistant. The e-commerce giant is providing users with a set of simple templates that help in creating personalised experiences for Alexa within minutes by simply filling in the blanks. The Alexa skills a user creates are specially designed for personal use, and will only appear on the devices that are registered to the user’s Amazon account.

Alexa Skill Blueprints tool is only available for customers in the US at the moment. There is no information on when Amazon might launch it in other parts of the world. This is despite Alexa hitting more markets lately, with Echo devices launching in India. Interestingly, this feature can be accessed by Indian users by switching the language setting to English (US).

The Alexa Skill Blueprints available at launch include over 20 templates across categories like Fun & Games, At Home, Storyteller, and Learning and Knowledge. Each blueprint comes with pre-filled content that can be used as it is, or you can customise it according to your preferences. Amazon has designed the templates in a way that users can fill in some information that makes them personalised to their needs. There is no need to go through a series of complicated steps or programming as no technical knowledge is required.

With Alexa Blueprints, you can teach the assistant to answer a question a certain way, for instance, “Alexa, who is the smartest one in the family?” or create a custom command for the babysitter, such as “Alexa, open My Sitter”. You can also use Skill Blueprints to create an interactive adventure story with a child as the lead character, for instance, “Alexa, start Anna’s Story.” The skills and responses you create with Alexa Skill Blueprints will be available instantly on the devices associated with the user’s account.

“Alexa Skill Blueprints is an entirely new way for you to teach Alexa personalised skills just for you and your family,” explained Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa, in a statement about the launch. “You don’t need experience building skills or coding to get started – my family created our own jokes skill in a matter of minutes, and it’s been a blast to interact with Alexa in a totally new and personal way.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime 2 launched in India

It’s been a busy week at Samsung, as they have launched a successor to yet another budget smartphone. The new Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime 2 smartphone is available on the Samsung India website at a price tag of INR 13990/-. It’s interesting to note that this phone currently stands “sold out” on the website and there is a “notify me” option for when it becomes “available”. I can’t wrap my mind around this “sold out” business. If it were the S9 or the S9+, it would have made sense, but with the J7 Prime 2 being sold out, this just doesn’t stick well.

samsung galaxy j7 prime 2

Like all budget phones, the tech and features of the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime 2 are very basic and average. Here is where the J7 Prime 2 stands. The phone has a 5.5 inch full HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) TFT display with Corning Gorilla Glass. The metal unibody houses a 1.6GHz Octa core Exynos 7 processor with 3GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage, which is expandable up to 128 GB via micro SD card slot. Also sharing the space is a 3300 mAh battery, that is supposed to offer 20+ hours of talk-time on 3G WCDMA. This makes the phone to be 151.7 x 75.0 x 8.0 mm on scale and it weighs 170 grams, same as its older brother the J7 Prime.

The rear camera on this phone is a 13 MP with f/1.9 aperture, autofocus and flash and is enabled to record in FHD (1920 x 1080) video at 30 fps. The front camera is also 13 MP. Samsung has given the social cam feature in built in the camera App UI, and add on features include live stickers to photos, live filters etc.

samsung galaxy j7 prime 2

In the connectivity department, the Galaxy J7 prime 2 has 4G, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth v4.1, GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Wi-Fi Direct, a USB 2.0 charging port and a 3.5mm headset jack. The Galaxy J7 Prime 2 has been revealed in two colours, namely Black and Champagne Gold

Galaxy J7 Prime 2 comes equipped with Samsung Pay mini as well as the Samsung Mall. The phone also has built in features of Accelerometer, Fingerprint Sensor and Proximity Sensor. The Samsung Mall feature lets users point their camera to an object and search for similar products in real-time across shopping sites. How good it does the task of the Samsung Mall, we shall have to wait to find out.

[“Source-cartoq”]

Google Announces ‘Chat’ as Its RCS-Based SMS Replacement Platform, Pauses Investment in Allo

Google Announces 'Chat' as Its RCS-Based SMS Replacement Platform, Pauses Investment in Allo

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Chat will be based on Rich Communication Services (RCS)
  • It will be a carrier-based messaging service
  • Android Messages will get GIF search and support for Google Assistant

Google is “pausing investment” in its consumer-facing messaging app, Allo. By that, the tech giant means transferring the entire workforce to other projects and shifting all resources to the Android Messages team. The Android Messages app will power the long awaited RCS platform that Google has been working with carriers and OEMs for years on with the aim of doing away with the severely limited SMS platform, and now we know that platform is being given a name called ‘Chat’. While Android Messages will be used as the default Chat client on most Android devices, we can expect some OEMs and carriers to offer their own apps.

Chat will be based on Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard that involves partnerships with mobile carriers to incorporate the feature right into the default SMS app, reports The Verge in an exclusive interview with Google’s new head of its communications team, Anil Sabharwal – who was formerly in charge of Google Photos. No, Chat is not another messaging app from Google’s stable; instead, it is a “carrier-based service” that will be turned on by default inside the Android Messages app. Notably, while it takes on the likes of WhatsApp and Telegram, it will not offer end-to-end encryption as it follows SMS-like legal intercept standards. All this doesn’t mean Allo will be shut down anytime soon, and Sabharwal says Google is “continuing to support the product.”

Rich Communication Services or RCS is a relatively new IP-based messaging protocol that allows for sharing high-resolution photos, group abilities, and other such enhanced capabilities. Google will include several smart features, such as the Smart Replies, GIFs and stickers, Google Assistant support, Google Photos integration, better message search, and even a Web interface that’s similar to the WhatsApp’s – using a QR code to sign in.

An interesting aspect of the Chat feature is that messages will be sent using your data plan and not as part of regular SMS messages. So, if your carrier is willing, and if you have a good unlimited plan, even SMS messages will cost you almost nothing. Currently, 55 carriers (including Airtel and Vodafone), 11 OEMs, and two operating system providers support Chat. Operating system providers include Google and Microsoft. The report adds that this doesn’t mean you can expect a Windows client for Chat soon, but, that it is possible. Microsoft in a statement to The Verge said, “RCS Universal Profile support for capabilities such as dialer and messaging functionality or other applications is considered on a device-by-device basis, where there is demand for those features.”

Back in February last year, Google had partnered with 27 mobile carriers to preload RCS on to the tech giant’s default Android Messages app. The partnerships is said to cover more than 1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. Google has been working for a while to bring SMS-replacement tech to Android, and bought Jibe Mobile back in 2015 for the purpose, and has since been partnering carriers to broaden adoption.

Timelines of the rollout is in the hands of mobile carriers as Google hopes to connect with most major ones. When asked to speculate, Sabharwal said, “By the end of this year, we’ll be in a really great state, and by mid-next year, we’ll be in a place where a large percentage of users [will have] this experience.” He says the rollout will vary “from country to country”, and regions like Europe and Latin America are likely to enable it ahead of the US. He adds, “This is not a three- to five-year play. Our goal is to get this level of quality messaging to our users on Android within the next couple of years.”

And, much like iMessage, if you send messages to an iPhone or any handset with Chat not enabled, they will be sent as regular SMS messages. Unlike iMessages though, the platform will not be closed, and despite being interoperable, will allow carriers and OEMs to customise their Chat apps and services. “We can’t do it without these [carrier and OEM] partners. We don’t believe in taking the approach that Apple does. We are fundamentally an open ecosystem. We believe in working with partners. We believe in working with our OEMs to be able to deliver a great experience,” Sabharwal told The Verge.

Of course, whether Apple will ever support Chat is a big unknown. Even Samsung’s default messaging app will support Chat, although Android users are free to install the Android Messages app from Google Play.

The Mountain View giant recently launched Hangouts Chat, an enterprise messaging app to take on Microsoft Teams and Slack. The consumer version of Hangouts will soon be merged into Hangouts Chats, and the plan was earlier that Allo would fill the gap. Now that Google has given up on Allo however, we’re left with Duo and Android Messages as the only two consumer-facing offerings. Google is happy with the way Duo is doing, and isn’t going to “pause” development on it anytime soon.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

iTunes Finally Available on the Microsoft Store for Windows 10

iTunes Finally Available on the Microsoft Store for Windows 10

Apple has finally released the iTunes app on the Microsoft Store, formerly the Windows Store app store. Microsoft, at its Build conference held last year, had announced plans to add iTunes to the Microsoft Store. While some Windows users were highly anticipating the debut of iTunes, Apple in December 2017 said that iTunes will not be available in the Microsoft Store that year.

The iTunes app on the Microsoft Store is similar to the regular iTunes, but now installation updates will be handled through the Microsoft Store updater rather than through Apple. Notably, the app will only run on Windows 10 PCs with either x86 or x64 architectures. The arrival of iTunes also ensures the software’s compatibility with Windows 10 S mode, a more secure version meant for schools and other establishments that runs apps downloaded only from the Windows Store. With the advent of the new education-focused Windows 10 S, developers are being encouraged to flock to the Windows Store to make their apps accessible there.

The app description on the Windows Store reads as, “iTunes is the easiest way to enjoy your favourite music, movies, TV shows, and more on your PC. iTunes is also home to Apple Music, where you can listen to millions of songs and your entire music library, online or off – all ad-free. Also, get new music first, radio in every music genre, handpicked playlists, and Beats 1 live or on demand.”

It is worth noting that installation of the latest version of iTunes will automatically replace the version you might have been using on your PC. It is better to back up your data before installing the update. Also, you will have to install the app on your internal hard drive, in case you were wondering whether you could install it on an external disk. Users need at least 476.7MB of disk space to install the new version of iTunes from the Microsoft Store.

[“source=gadgets.ndtv”]

Google Launchpad’s Solve for India Mentors 10 Startups

Google Launchpad's Solve for India Mentors 10 Startups

In an effort to mentor emerging start-ups, Google Indiahosted a four-day boot camp for the first 10 Indian startups as part of its ‘Solve for India’ programme.

Launched last year as an India-only pilot for mentorship by Google Developers’ “Launchpad” team, ‘Solve for India’ focuses on bringing the best of Google expertise to help emerging startups in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and build solutions for the country in varied fields.

“We shortlisted 10 startups from 160 home-grown start-ups by travelling across 15 cities in India, and are now ready to scale this pilot as a dedicated programme for India,” said Karthik Padmanabhan, Developer Relations Lead, Google India.

The participants were the founders of startups, including Nebulaa, Slang Labs, PregBuddy, LegalDesk, PaySack, Vokal, FarMart, Meesho, Pratilipi and M-Indicator.

“The quality insights received from mentors of diverse backgrounds has helped us rethink our approach of reaching out to millions of farmers in India,” said Mehtab Singh Hans, Co-Founder, FarMart.

“We’re delighted to share that we will be expanding the mentoring support beyond this boot camp, by launching a structured mentorship programme for startups who are using ML and AI to ‘Solve for India,'” said Paul Ravindranath G, Programme Manager, Launchpad Accelerator, Google India.

[“source=gadgets.ndtv”]

Huawei P20 and P20 smartphones launched: All you need to know

Huawei has launched the P20 series, in Paris yesterday which includes three phones, the P20, P20 Pro and the Porsche Design Mate RS. While chances are slim for the Porsche Design Mate RS version to be available in India, we are hoping that the rest of the bunch make it to the Indian coast soon. And as it stands, the P20 line up has been of much hype in the tech community for some time now. These phones are the flagships that everyone has been waiting for.

March 2018 hasn’t ended completely and we have seen three or four, big phone launches already. Samsung has been working overtime to push its S9 series and the newly launched Note 9 series, Huawei with the P20 Pro, has hit a home run for this season, we think.

The P20 will be available in 2 colours i.e Graphite Black & Midnight Blue, and the P20 Pro will get two additional gradient colour versions called the Twilight and the Pink Gold. Out of the two phones, we are really excited about the Pro version. Why? Because it has three cameras. Correction, three Leica cameras built into the chassis.

But first lets look at the basics. In the box you get the phone, SIM ejector tool, Huawei supercharge 4.5amps power plug, USB type C cable, USB type C to 3.5mm audio jack convertor and type C earphones. The phones feature a glass back and prominent Leica branding on the back. On the front is a 18.7:9 ratio, 2244 x 1080 pixels (~ 408 ppi density) OLED screen which features a smaller “than iPhone X” notch. Just below the screen is a fingerprint sensor. At the bottom you get a time see convert airport and two girls, one micro phone and the other is the speaker. On the right hand side, you have a power button with a red line on it, like all Leica products, and volume rocker buttons. These buttons are very tactile. On the top, you get a noise cancellation microphone and an infrared blaster. And on the left hand side, is the hybrid dual SIM tray. The phone runs on an octa-core HiSilicon KIRIN 970 chipset, with four cores working at 2.4GHz and the other four cores running at 1.8Ghz. This device also gets the top of the line, MALI G72MP12 GP. This entire set up is powered up by a 4000 mAh battery in the P20 Pro. The P20 however, gets a 3400 mAh battery.

The star feature on the P20 Pro, is a three camera set up. Camera one is a 40 MP RGB f/1.8 sensor by Leica, the second camera is a dedicated monochrome 20 MP f/1.6 sensor. Both these sensors are housed in an iPhone like casing. The third camera is a 8 MP f/2.4 telephoto lens. All the rear cameras get AIS ( All Image Stabilisation, a mixture of optical and digital image stabilisation) and 5x zoom. The front camera is also a beast in itself, being a 24 MP selfie camera with all the latest bells and whistles in the camera application. Needless to say, this makes the device 4K video ready and how?

Taking into consideration, both software and hardware upgrades in terms of camera, the powerful sensors and the smart UI, this phone , in our opinion has come the closest to pixel in terms of AI functionalities.

And I just couldn’t “not talk about” the Porsche Design Mate RS version of the P20 Pro. First have a look.

I like the rear layout of the RS better. The RS version gets a bigger screen, because the fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back panel. And the Leica sensors are just yum. The RS will be launched in two colours, Graphite Black and Lava Red. the phone comes with Aerospace Cooling technology, making it a more efficient phone in terms of power consumption. Additionally, the Mate RS packs Dual SLS speakers with super linear sound and Dolby Atmos systems.

The Huawei P20 will probably be priced at ~ INR.52000, whereas the P20 Pro will cost ~ INR. 72,000. Huawei has revealed that all three phones will be available globally, however, in India, the ‘how’ and ‘where’ are yet to be confirmed. This is yet another “watch out for” smartphone of 2018.

[“Source-cartoq”]

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 leaked info: All we know so far

Exciting times for Samsung. They are barely out of the “New phone/s in the market” mode with the successful global launch of S9 & S9+. So much so, even the standard ad cycles are not yet complete. And Bam! There is talk of the newest phone in their line-up already making headlines – it’s the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. It’s true that Samsung have announced the Galaxy Note 9 last week, but they did this in haste. This was partly because of poor business projection for the S9 and partly because they just couldn’t keep the stuff happening at Note 9 front under wraps. From filing for trademarks in Columbia (of all places) to testing two different firmwares globally, Samsung, at first, sure did not want broadcast this news initially. But in a matter of weeks, it took a U-turn on its strategy and made the launch news public.

samsung-galaxy-note-9-leak-1

Pundits say this is unprecedented for Samsung, because usually, as seen in the past, Samsung announces a Galaxy launch somewhere around August and starts shipping in the third quarter. And this is why, this time around it’s a bigger deal. Two flagship phones being launched so close to one another. Let’s make sense of all this, from a business stand point, as there are quite a few discussions to be made in this regard.

First, Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh announced that “bold reinvention” would be the core of this new device. But since Samsung has already made the radical innovation in the optics department of the S9 models, and with the Galaxy Note 9, there are concerns over chipset performance and power consumption, there is little room for the “bold reinvention” that Samsung has talked about.

Secondly, Samsung has in the past, timed its Galaxy Note launches to overlap with Apple’s annual iPhone upgrades, but this time around, with the Galaxy Note 9 already announced, this gives Samsung an extra month or so to capitalise on capturing as much market real estate as it can, before Apple announces its iPhone X SE later this year. And if in case, Samsung can’t straighten out the creases from the Note 9, its biggest hope for success would base on the price competitiveness with the that of the iPhone X SE.

About the battery, the prediction is, the battery stagnation seen on the S9 models, might carry over to the Note 9 as well. If true, that is bad news overall. Thirdly, since there is a real chance of Note 9 also suffering the same fate as the S9 and S9+, being called an unexciting upgrade to the existing model, Samsung needs to ensure that the consumers have absolute incentive to buy the Note 9.

Talking about incentives, the new glass in the S9 models still have room for improvement. As good rear cameras as they have on the S9 models, the front camera can be the problem child. Going by the premise, of Samsung using the same 8 MP front facing camera, as the one featured on the S9 models, there are two problems. One, that camera is a year old and it debuted on the S8 models and second, there would be no portrait mode on the selfie cam, because Samsung still relies on dual camera set up for “portrait mode”. Hopefully though, Samsung will improve the front camera on the Note 9.

Also, with the VIVO X20 Plus already featuring the fingerprint sensor integrated into its display, Samsung will have to up their game with this technology, since they have already lost their edge with being the first mobile phone brand to do that. They can still take the “first mass-market smartphone with UD fingerprint scanner” tag, but it will have to be smooth and fast as heck.

From a design perspective, Samsung Note 9 might feature a 95% screen display with the highest pixel density on the market, it will have to deliver on “every feature to be the best there is” otherwise, its a cold wet uphill climb for Samsung this year. With Apple being almost certain to bring out the X SE this year, Samsung cant just “wing it” and rely on the hardcore Galaxy Note fans to run this model successfully. Whatever the case maybe, I am more excited about the Note 9 than I was for the S9 models.

P.S.: Samsung really has to get its house in order when it comes to keeping developmental news under wraps and properly announcing their new phones. The S9 models announcement was no surprise, and this Note 9 announcement was as if the entire company had a panic attack. Is there a pattern developing? What happened to the good old days of “pomp and show”?

[“Source-cartoq”]

Windows 10 build 17661 (and earlier) for PC: Everything you need to know

As part of the Redstone 5 development, Microsoft is rolling out Windows 10 build 17661 for PCs enrolled in the Fast ring and the Fast ring using the Skip Ahead option. This new test preview introduces a small set of features and several changes over previous releases, which the company plans to deliver with the second major update expected to come out in 2018.

Windows 10 build 17661 introduces a new snipping experience, Fluent Design tweaks, changes in the Settings app for Focus assist and Sound, improvements to the High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) support, minor modifications related to input, and a lot more.

Alongside build 17661, there have been a few other builds released in April, including 17655 and 17650, which were just minor updates, but they also introduce several changes we’ll see later in the year.

In this Windows 10 guide, we’ll get a closer look at the new improvements and features that Microsoft is planning to release with the Redstone 5 update.

Windows 10 Redstone 5 latest features and improvements

Here’s everything that Microsoft has been working on the last three Windows 10 Insider Preview builds:

Task View and Action Center

Starting with build 17661, based on feedback, Windows 10 now enables the Acrylic transparency with blur effect part of Fluent Design in the Task View background.

In addition, Action Center now includes a new Screen snip button in the Quick action section to open the new snipping tool experience.

File Explorer

File Explorer is not getting visual changes, but in this build, the experience is adding more integration features using High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF).

Starting with this flight, you can rotate a HEIF image file — right-click the file and select “Rotate right” or “Rotate left” from the context menu.

Image source: Microsoft

Also, accessing the file’s properties, it’s now possible to edit metadata information, including “Date taken” and other info through the Details tab.

If you’re not familiar, HEIF is an image container that uses codecs like HEVC to improve compression, quality, and other advantages over older file formats, such as PNG, JPEG, and GIF.

Settings

Windows 10 build 17661 also updates the Settings app as Microsoft continues to consolidate all settings under one experience to eventually retire Control Panel.

Sound

On Settings > System, the Sound page now includes “Device properties” on the Settings app. Simply click the link under the output device, and it’ll take you to a new page, where you can change the name of the device, and select the spatial audio you want to use.

You can also click the link under the input device to change the name of your microphone.

Notifications & actions

On Settings > System, the Notifications & actions page, under “Quick actions,” you can add or remove the new Screen snip button in Action Center.

Focus assist

On Settings > System, the Focus assist page has been updated to enable the feature automatically when you’re playing any games in full-screen mode. Previously, this option was available for DirectX exclusive games.

However, in order for this feature to work, you have to make sure the “When I’m playing a game” option is enabled under “Automatic rules.”

Pen & Windows Ink

On Settings > Devices, the Pen & Windows Ink page is getting an update making available a new Screen Snipping option, under Pen shortcuts, giving you the ability to start using the new screenshot tool with one click using the pen.

Image source: Microsoft

Also, the page includes a new option that allows the pen to work just like a mouse, instead of panning and scrolling the screen.

Family & other users

On Settings > Accounts, in the Family & other users page, you won’t find significant changes, but the “Set up assigned access” option now is grouped under the “Device lockdown” section.

Region & language

On Settings > Time & Language, the Region & language page, the language options page now lists additional features, such as language pack, in addition to handwriting and speech. If some of the features aren’t installed, you’ll now see a button download directly from the options pages.

Also, on “Region & language,” you can see at glance whether the language is your default for apps and display language.

Keyboard

On Settings > Ease of Access, the Keyboard page now includes an option that lets you set the Print Screen button on your keyboard as the default to launch the new screenshot tool.

The option is called Use the Print Screen key to launch screen snipping,, and it’s located under the “Print Screen key” section.

Input

Emoji

Starting with Windows 10 build 17661, using emojis, the skin tones will appear in a row view, instead of you having to click a button to access the different tones.

In addition, you’ll also find additional tweaks to the emoji panel, including a new message to let users know that they can simply open the panel and start typing to search for an emoji, and the bottom no longer shows the buttons using a gray background.

Handwriting

The handwriting panel now includes a delete (backspace) button in the top level menu, and Microsoft says that button to switch languages is now under “…” menu.

System

On this flight, Windows 10 is also modifying the out-of-box experience (OOBE) to include a new page allowing you to enable activity history sync, which is an essential feature to use Timeline across devices.

Snipping experience

On Windows 10 build 17661, Microsoft is introducing a new experience to take screenshots on your computer.

Originally, Screen Sketch was a feature part of Windows Ink, now it’s an entirely separate application that can take screenshots, offers many tools to annotate them, and it’s an app that now gets updated through the Microsoft store.

The app is very straightforward, you can open it just like any other app from the Start menu, but you can also use the Windows key + Shift + S keyboard shortcut or clicking the Screen snip button in the “Quick actions” section in Action Center to bring up the screenshot tools (Rectangular clip, Freeform clip, and Fullscreen clip).

Once you take a screenshot, the capture will be copied to the clipboard so you can paste it on any application. However, the experience will also create a notification in Action Center that you can open with Screen Sketch to edit, annotate, and quickly share it with anyone you want.

The tools available in the Screen Sketch app includes a snipping button, option to open images and undo and redo buttons. In the middle, you’ll find the annotation tools, including three different markers, eraser, ruler, and an option for touch annotation.

On the far right, you’ll find your Save and Copy to clipboard options, and the button to share the capture using the Share experience.

Also, there’s a new option in the keyboard settings page, which allows you to replace the Print Screen button to take a screenshot using the new experience instead.

Windows Security

The Windows Defender Security Center app now becomes “Windows Security,” and on build 17661, the app adds some changes to make it easier to understand threats and actions that need your attention.

Since build 17650, the experience now includes Fluent Design tweaks, and as a result, you’ll now see the Acrylic material effect in the navigation pane, the Reveal effect when hovering items, and the app now takes the system color.

Other improvements

Along with all the features and changes, Windows 10 build 17661 also includes a number of other minor improvements. For example, as part of the Ease of Access improvements, Narrator now is much better at communicating the use of Sets.

When hovering over the Start button in the taskbar, you’ll now see a “Start” tooltip.

Starting with this flight, Microsoft is once again making available Sets in the Fast ring, but only for a select number of users.

If you write in Chinese (Simplified), you’ll find a few interesting changes in this release, including a new Input Method Editor (IME) toolbar that now supports the dark theme mode of Windows 10, and there’s a new logo for the Microsoft Pinyin IME.

Image source: Microsoft

The extended context menu for IME in the taskbar now includes a “bunch of options,” and the emoji panel now works in the IME toolbar.

Image source: Microsoft

On build 17655, Windows 10 includes a new Mobile Broadband (MBB) USB class driver for devices with SIM card and USB modem support. This new driver is based on the new Net Adapter framework stack that was originally released with Windows 10 version 1703.

Finally, starting with build 17650, you can add rules for the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) process in the Windows Firewall. In addition, since this flight, the default firewall is also able to show notifications for WSL processes.

Wrapping things up

Although this flight falls into the minor release category, it’s still a significant preview, as it’s the first build revealing numerous visual changes and new features.

As a reminder, always consider to install pre-releases of Windows 10 on a spare computer or virtual machine. It’s never recommended to use Insider builds on your primary device due to the fact that you may come across errors, problems, and possible data loss. At least, you should always make a full backup of your computerbefore installing the latest preview, in the case things don’t go well, and you need to rollback.

According to Microsoft, moving forward Windows 10 previews for the Redstone 5 development will be available in both, through the Fast ring and Skip Ahead lane.

What do you think about the progress that Microsoft is making with the Windows 10 Redstone 5 update? Tell us in the comments.

[“Source-windowscentral”]

Windows 10 – Latest update will start big rollout TOMORROW, here are seven hidden features

Windows 10

Windows 10 – April 2018 update starts rolling out automatically on Tuesday May 8

Windows 10 fans from tomorrow will be automatically prompted to upgrade to the April 2018 update.

The latest Microsoft patch officially launched last week, but PC users had to manually upgrade to download it.

But from May 8 Windows 10 users around the world will receive automatic notifications to upgrade.

The Windows 10 April 2018 update is the OS’s first major patch of 2018, with another big download due out later this year.

In a blog post, Microsoft explained how Windows 10 users will be able to update to the latest version tomorrow.

The Redmond-based tech giant said: “You don’t have to do anything to get the update; it will roll out automatically to you through Windows Update if you’ve chosen to have updates installed automatically on your device.

“Once the download is complete and the update is ready to install, we’ll notify you, so you can pick the right time to finish the installation and reboot, so the update does not disrupt you.”

So, if you’re thinking of hitting that install button on Tuesday then here’s some of the new features arriving in Windows 10.

Windows 10 April 2018 update

NEW TIMELINE

Microsoft wants to make it more simple for its Windows 10 users to find the things they’ve been working on.

That’s why they are introducing something called Timeline.

This feature allows users to go back in time up to 30 days to find their files.

It even works across multiple platforms so you can search for things you’ve been working on when using a phone, tablet or laptop.

Here’s what you should do after a Windows 10 upgrade

SHARING IS CARING

The Windows 10 April 2018 update will make it easier to share websites, photos or documents with nearby devices that are also running Microsoft’s flagship OS.

The nearby sharing feature works over Bluetooth and is similar to Apple’s AirDrop.

It lets user share with colleagues or friends nearby and is quicker than e-mailing over a file.

Nearby sharing is disabled by default, and you can only set it to receive files from everyone nearby or your own devices.

BLUETOOTH BOOST

With the latest Windows 10 update Microsoft is adding a quick and simple way to pair with Bluetooth accessories.

Windows 10 will now create a notification for you to quickly connect to a Bluetooth device and pair with it.

When a new Bluetooth device is found a notification will pop up and you simply need to hit connect to pair with it.

TALK TO YOUR PC

If your fingers are feeling the strain then the new Windows 10 April update will help.

Microsoft is improving its dictation experience with users now able to interact more accurately with their PCs via speech.

The firm says it will now be easier than ever to take a note or write a paper, with just your voice.

With your cursor in any text field either in Windows 10 or in an app, simply press Win+H and start talking.

Windows 10MICROSOFT

Windows 10 – The April 2018 update is being rolled out automatically

EDGE IS GETTING BETTER

Google Chrome continues to lead the way when it comes to internet browsers but Microsoft is still working hard to make sure its Edge browser keeps up with the competition.

A new update to this software is adding a range of features to help users surf the web more easily and with less interruptions.

Once updated, Edge adds a new audio icon to mute and unmute a tab that is playing sound.

Books, PDFs and Reading View pages can go full-screen for a distraction-free reading experience and shopping online now gets easier as your address, payment and other information can be securely saved with the option to autofill on web payment forms.

There’s also a nice feature when printing from the web with a new option to print with a cleaner and clutter-free format.

Windows 10MICROSOFT

Timeline is one of the big new features in the Windows 10 April 2018 update

FOCUS ASSIST

Microsoft is aware that we’re all getting distracted by emails, messages and the endless barrage of social media notifications.

In the April update, Windows 10 adds something called Focus Assist which is aimed at disabling these digital distractions.

Users can either switch on Focus Assist when they feel the need or have it enabled automatically at certain times of the day.

When you’re finishing with your work or important assignments, you’ll then receive a full summary of what you missed while you were in Focus mode.

And don’t panic about missing an important message as Microsoft says users can set specific contacts to break through the block.

Microsoft CEO hinted it could be ‘ultimate mobile device’

GAME CHANGER

The Windows 10 April 2018 update will also include gaming updates.

Users will now be able to customise graphics performances per game, which will let users set games to high performance or power saving.

The Xbox game bar is also getting a new lick of paint, with the update bringing either a black or white theme to it.

[“Source-express”]

How to Turn Any Part of Your Windows Desktop into a GIF

Image result for How to Turn Any Part of Your Windows Desktop into a GIF

GIF: David Murphy

Gif. Jif. No matter your pronunciation preference, it’s easy to create that wordusing a variety of apps and services. Since I started working at Lifehacker, I’ve found that it’s sometimes easier to show, not tell, in the form of a little animated image that demonstrates some key feature or setting. Consequently, I’ve started making a lot of GIFs, and here’s the app I use to do it on Windows.

The app ScreenToGif is GreatToHave for making GIFs

I don’t recall where I stumbled across ScreenToGif, but I love this app. When you first pull it up, you’re presented with a simple menu that shows off the app’s four key functions: Recording your screen and turning that into a GIF, transforming the silly faces you make into your webcam into a GIF, launching a digital whiteboard and turning your scribbles into a GIF, and a general editor you can use to take existing files (like MP4 videos) and make them GIFs.

Screenshot: David Murphy

For the screen-recording bit, click on the big red Recorder icon and a fun little window overlay will appear—a picture frame of-sorts that you resize around the area you want to capture. Set your desired frames-per-second and hit F7 to start your recording and F8 to stop.

Screenshot: David Murphy

As soon as you stop recording, ScreenToGif launches its editor and automatically loads whatever it is you just captured. The GIF editor is kind of like a simplified video editor—since a GIF and a video both create the appearance of motion in similar (but identical) ways.

You can go through your potential GIF frame by frame and trim or delete that which you don’t want in the final product. You can also add or reduce the amount of time between each frame (to shorten or lengthen the speed of your GIF), move frames around, add transitions and slides, and pepper your GIF with witty text captions or other overlay elements.

Hop on board the one-mana pain train.
Screenshot: David Murphy

When you’re ready to create your GIF (File >> Save As), you can encode it using a variety of options (including FFMPEG and Gifski). Each will give you a different combination of quality and file size, so be sure to try a few to figure out which is best for your GIF-making needs. Here are a few I created using the 1.0, 2.0, and Gifski encoders, respectively:


Do you have a Windows app (paid or free) that you absolutely love? Tell us about it:david.murphy@lifehacker.com.

[“Source-lifehacker”]