Microsoft’s Email Insights finally adds some useful search smarts to Outlook

Email Insights, a new experimental app from the Microsoft Garage, is the answer to a problem Google’s Gmail solved more than a decade ago: how to search Outlook and find exactly what you want.email insights search

Google’s Gmail gained enormous traction in part because it allowed a quick, convenient way to search emails. Today, you can search Outlook, but it arranges the results in order with no real preference given to what might be most relevant.

Email Insights works with both your Microsoft Outlook desktop application as well as Gmail, and attempts to bring the three most relevant results to the top of your inbox via an “intent pane.” The tool also provides contextual autocomplete, spelling correction and a fuzzy name search that will pull up the name of a contact, even if you’re not entirely sure how to spell it.

email insights intent pane

The “intent pane” within Email Insights brings up relevant search results to the top of your inbox.

Users can open tabs within Email Insights to perform multiple searches. The search box can also be used to fire off a quick, one-line email to a contact, or even set up a quick meeting—functions that are becoming more common in the notifications window within smartphones.

If you’d like, you can even “detach” the Email Insights toolbar from Outlook itself and drag it down to your taskbar, Microsoft said.

 Let’s face it: Gmail is still easier to use than Outlook, at least where everyday email searches are concerned. If Email Insights proves as useful as it sounds, maybe Outlook will incorporate it into a future release. The problem, though, is that this app is being published via Microsoft Garage, Microsoft’s online home for app experiments. If you like Email Insights, encourage others to download it, too. Otherwise, Microsoft could kill it, as it recently did with Cache, its erstwhile Google Keep killer.

Final Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview lands, bringing iOS support

As promised last year, Google has released the fifth and final version of the Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview, paving the way for the full release of the wearable OS and urging developers to get their apps ready for next month’s launch.Android Wear

While the release mostly brings bug fixes and general performance improvements, there are a few standout features. Most notably, the new version brings iOS support for the new on-watch Play Store, letting iPhone users enjoy the same standalone application experience as Android users. Additionally, Android Wear apps running on watches paired with iOS devices will be able to perform phone “hand-off flows” for launching web pages on the linked iPhone. The new update also optimizes the available network bandwidth for standalone apps, in an effort to save battery life.

android wear ios
The final release of the Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview brings full iOS support.

Also included is a new navigation drawer feature, which lets you “flip a flag to toggle to the single-page, icon-only action drawer,” providing faster navigation to different views inside apps. Furthermore, the new update brings support for NFC Host Card Emulation to open up Android Pay support on supported watches.

Google has already announced that Android Wear 2.0 will be launching in early February, so developers who want to support it at launch need to submit their apps as soon as possible. As Google explains, “The final developer preview includes an update to the Wearable Support Library. Apps compiled with API level 25 and this support library are considered ready for deployment in the Google Play Store.”

It’s almost here! We’ve been waiting patiently for the release of Android Wear 2.0 since we first laid eyes on it last May at Google I/O, and it’s finally ready to launch in just a few weeks. If you own one of the supported watches, you’ll be able to play with it soon enough (though Android Pay support will be limited to models with NFC chips), and a whole new crop of wearables is sure to take advantage of the new features, starting with Google’s own offering.

This story, “Final Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview lands, bringing iOS support” was originally published by Greenbot.

Lenovo tunes N23 Yoga Chromebook for Android apps with ARM processor

Some Chromebooks released this year will be able to run Android apps from the Google Play Store. Lenovo has tuned its new N23 Yoga Chromebook 2-in-1 to effectively run Android mobile apps.lenovo N23 Yoga Chromebook

PC makers are taking a page from smartphones and tablets and adding touchscreens to Chromebooks. Many new models can be interchangeably used as laptops or tablets.

More Chromebooks are also getting ARM processors — which dominate in smartphones and tablets — to effectively run Android apps. Most Chromebooks today have Intel x86 chips, which dominate in PCs, but Android apps best run on ARM processors.

Lenovo, for the first time, is using an ARM chip in the N23 Yoga Chromebook 2-in-1, breaking its long-time reliance on x86 chips. The device has an 11.6-inch touchscreen, and it can be used as a tablet or laptop thanks to a hybrid design.

The N23 Yoga is “optimized to run the Google Play Store apps,” Lenovo said in a blog entry.

The device will start shipping in April, with the price starting at US$279. It will first ship in the U.S. and then worldwide.

In addition to Lenovo, Samsung and Acer have also plugged ARM chips into 2-in-1 Chromebooks designed to support Android apps. Samsung at CES announced new Chromebook Plus, which uses an ARM-based homegrown six-core Exynos chip, and Acer last year announced its Chromebook R13, which uses another ARM chip, the MediaTek’s MT8173c chip.

Chromebooks can deliver a better mobile experience with Android application compatibility, so using ARM processors makes sense, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

Chromebooks with Intel chips will be able to run Android apps, but they come from a PC background. ARM chips have a mobile heritage, and that is why Lenovo may have put the MediaTek chip in the N23 Yoga, McGregor said.

The N23 Yoga has serious horsepower with the MediaTek chip, which is based on ARM’s latest Cortex-A72 core. The MT8173c chip was originally designed for smartphones and tablets, and it has an integrated PowerVR graphics core, which can handle 3D gaming and high-definition video.

The device offers 10 hours of battery life, weighs 1.35 kilograms and has up to 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The screen displays images at a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. It also has HDMI, USB Type-C, and USB 3.0 ports.

But Lenovo hasn’t entirely ignored Intel. It separately announced an N23 Chromebook with Intel’s “next-generation” Celeron chip, which may be the processor code-named Apollo Lake. It’s a standard laptop with an 11.6-inch 720p screen. It also has two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a 2-in-1 card reader. It will be available next month starting at $199.

The PC maker also announced the rugged ThinkPad Chromebook 11e family of rugged laptops with Intel’s latest quad-core Celeron chip. The Chromebook Yoga 11e has a 2-in-1 hybrid design, while the ThinkPad Chromebook 11e has a standard laptop design. The devices have up to 32GB of storage and up to 8GB of RAM. The devices have USB-C ports, one USB 3.0 slot, and offer 10 hours of battery life.

The ThinkPad 11e Chromebook will start at $369, while the ThinkPad 11e Yoga Chromebook will start at $449, and both will ship in May.

GPG Suite updated for secure email on OSX Sierra

GPG Suite, an application that brings encrypted email to Mac OS, is now available in public beta for Sierra.code programming software bugs cybersecurity

The software package had been compatible up to El Capitan but wasn’t working with Sierra, which was released by Apple in September. The new software can now be downloaded from the GPG Tools website.

It adds support for the OpenPGP encryption standard, which is an open-source version of the PGP encryption package first developed in 1991.

Four software apps are contained in the package:

— GPG Mail is a plugin for Apple Mail that allows users to encrypt, decrypt, sign, and verify mails sent using OpenPGP.

— GPG Keychain is a manager for encryption and decryption keys. GPG Services is a plugin that adds GPG encryption to many other applications, and MacGPG is the software that ties it all together.

— OpenPGP is a public-key encryption system, which requires users to create two keys. A public key which is shared widely and a private key which is kept confidential.

Under the system a user, Alice, encrypts a message to a second user, Bob, using Bob’s public key. Once done, it can only be decrypted using Bob’s private key.

Macworld published a guide to setting up the software in 2015.

In the last several months, encrypted messaging has gotten a higher profile. WhatsApp began encrypting all messages by default in 2016, and secure SMS app Signal has seen a rise in users in the weeks since Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S.

The encryption used in all the systems means messages are kept secure as they traverse the internet and telecom networks to their recipient.

In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10

ARM tried to break into the PC market but had a disastrous outing starting with Linux-based smartbooks and then tablets with Windows RT.Lenovo's N23 Yoga Chromebook

But ARM is launching a comeback in PCs, and the third time could be a charm. ARM chips could emerge as a threat to Intel’s x86 as super thin laptops get smartphone-like usability with cellular connectivity and long battery life.

The comeback for ARM is starting with Chromebooks, with more models hosting the chip architecture. Lenovo’s new N23 Yoga Chromebook — a 2-in-1 with an 11.6-screen — has MediaTek’s quad-core MT8173c chip, based on ARM.

At CES, Samsung announced Chromebook Plus, which uses an ARM-based Exynos chip. Acer last year shipped the Chromebook R13 with the MediaTek MT8173c chip. The ARM-based Chromebooks have flexible designs and can be used as laptops or tablets.

All Chromebooks due for release this year will be compatible with Android mobile apps in the Play Store. That’s where ARM holds an advantage over x86 — most Android apps are designed for ARM, which dominates in mobile devices.

Most Android smartphones and tablets have ARM chips, so it’s common sense to put them in Chromebooks, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

Later this year, ARM will appear in Windows 10 laptops powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835. The laptops are being called “cellular PCs,” which will include smartphone-like capabilities of cellular connectivity and long battery life.

ARM has ruled the mobile market but has failed to make a dent in laptops and desktops, despite multiple attempts by PC makers to introduce products. The most notable failures are around the tablets with Microsoft’s Windows RT OS, which found no adopters.

But as more data moves into the cloud, the time is ripe for ARM to make a comeback to Windows PCs and Chromebooks, McGregor said.

Application compatibility was a big reason Windows RT devices failed, McGregor said. At the time, ARM could not support most of the legacy Windows applications, but that won’t be an issue anymore.

The ARM-based Windows 10 PCs coming later this year will have an emulator to run legacy Windows apps. Any application that runs on x86 chips will also run on ARM chips, said Cisco Cheng, a Snapdragon evangelist at Qualcomm.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip will also bring new features to laptops. The chip has a superfast cellular modem that can download data at speeds of up to 1Gbps (bits per second). It also has quick charging features, Bluetooth 5, and 4K graphics. Laptops will be thin and offer long battery life.

But PC makers are cautious and don’t want to commit to releasing an ARM-based Windows 10 PC quite yet. But PC makers are showing enthusiasm for the idea of superthin laptops with long battery life that can remain connected to mobile networks all day.

Dell is waiting to test the hardware before committing to releasing an ARM-based Windows 10 laptop, said Raza Haider, vice president for commercial client products at Dell.

But the idea of an ARM-based cellular PC is attractive, and Dell wants to offer all kinds of laptop options to its clients, Haider said.

HP declined to comment on whether it wants to release an ARM-based Windows 10 PC. However, the company already offers the Elite X3, a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone with an ARM chip that can double as a PC in a pinch. That could open the door for an ARM-based Windows 10  laptop in the future.

Lenovo declined to comment on its plans for an ARM-based Windows 10 PC. Lenovo has been shy about adopting ARM-based chips for its laptops and desktops, but the N23 Yoga is its first Chromebook with a non-x86 chip.

Microsoft today is mostly reliant on x86 for the Windows OS, and is turning to ARM because it wants to compete in the mobile world, Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, said in a research note.

It’s in Microsoft’s best interests to make Windows 10 compatible with ARM, and cellular PCs may be just the way to break the long-standing Wintel alliance, Gold said. It will also give Microsoft more flexibility to deploy the Windows OS.

For device makers, competition between ARM chips and x86 is a good scenario. It gives PC makers more choices to add to their product mix and gives them more leverage in negotiations with Intel.

In the end, the adoption of ARM boils down to the price of laptops. Lenovo’s N23 Yoga Chromebook is aggressively priced starting at US$279, but the ARM-based Windows 10 cellular laptops may be much more expensive.

The Snapdragon 835 is an expensive, top-line chip that will appear in smartphones priced above $500, and there’s no way laptops including the chip will cost less than that, Gold said.

Intel will still offer x86 PC chips for low-cost PCs and continue to dominate that market. Another threat for Intel is coming from AMD’s Ryzen chips in the high-performance x86 PC market.

The failure of Windows RT on ARM-based tablets is also fresh on the minds of PC makers. If PC makers find a considerable amount of application compatibility issues on ARM-based Windows 10 PCs, that could affect the adoption. Microsoft has demonstrated applications on ARM-based Windows PCs, but extensive independent tests haven’t yet been conducted.

ARM licenses chip designs but isn’t aggressively chasing the PC market. It’s the chip and device makers licensing ARM designs that want to put the chips in as many devices as possible. But the opportunity to strike a blow to x86 in Chromebooks and Windows PCs is real this time round, and PC makers will investigate it, McGregor said.

If you want to be an Xbox Insider, Microsoft says you’ll now have to earn it

If you want Microsoft to let you through the velvet of rope of its Xbox Insider programs, be prepared to earn it—and up through four different tiers of beta access, to boot.Creators Update updated home xbox one

A Microsoft support post from Monday night confirms that there are now four rings of beta access within the Insider program, not one, and that applicants will literally be judged on how they participate to earn access. Only the most worthy will get to try out upgrades like the excellent Creators Update features for the Xbox One being rolled out now.

Users who are already part of the Xbox Insider program won’t have to do anything. They will find themselves automatically moved over and assigned to the new hubs over the next several weeks, Microsoft said.

The new rings of Xbox Insiders include the highest-priority ring, Alpha, followed by Beta, Ring 3, and Ring 4. Microsoft’s description of the new program utilized both the velvet glove as well as the iron fist: Users were concerned with the frequent updates that Microsoft pushed to Insiders, so the new tiers offer users a way to match the availability of new beta experiences to what users prefer.

There’s a catch, naturally: If you to advance through the ranks, so to speak,you’d better actually use the new software, test it, and provide enough feedback to justify including you. And if you take a break, sorry—your Xbox could drop to a lesser-priority ring while you relax on the beach.

 This is an enormous change to the way Microsoft treats its Insiders, allowing the true believers better access. There’s no indication that those fans will receive any news or information early, but it certainly allows those with an extra box or a real lust to be rewarded for their loyalty. It’s too early to tell, though, how Xbox Insiders will respond. Another question hanging in the air: Will Microsoft set up a similar program for Windows Insiders?

Creators Update updated guide xbox one

Microsoft

The new Creators Update for the Xbox One includes a new Guide, which Insiders have already.

Microsoft explains the rings in this way:

 The Alpha ring is the “cutting edge,” Microsoft says, and members will receive two to three updates per week, gaining access to new features and fixes “at the expense of potential bugs.”

 The second Preview ring will receive just one to two updates per week, with slightly less risk of encountering bugs.

The third Preview ring will receive about two to three updates per month, with system updates arriving even less frequently.

The fourth and final Preview ring typically receives new system updates about once per month. These builds are just about ready for public release, so will be the least buggy.

xbox clubs

Upgrades like Clubs have rolled out to Insiders first.

Naturally, the way in which users advance and fall back through the rings is the most interesting aspect of the whole program.

To confirm their ring ranking, Xbox One owners can open the Xbox Insider Hub on the Xbox One and check the System tab. That tab will also allow users to apply for upper-echelon rings, but only if their participation has potentially qualified them. If they’re nowhere near worthy, that option won’t appear.

“Xbox Insiders earn the right to participate in the respective Preview rings based on their activity, which is judged by Xbox Insider XP, forum activity, and overall console usage,” Microsoft’s post says. Users can move up through the four rings by completing quests, surveys, quick polls, and ratings within the Hub app; participating in games and betas, providing feedback via the official forums; reporting bugs, and simply using the console.

The three top-tier rings have limited capacity, according to Microsoft. The company said it will review each user’s status regularly and invite them to join a higher tier via a system message.

Naturally, users can also fall from grace. If your account drops significantly due to inactivity, you’ll be bounced to Ring 4, the lowest-tier ring, and be forced to work your way back up. Ring 4 is as far as you’ll fall, though, unless you voluntarily opt out of the Xbox Insider program entirely.

Thoughts? Microsoft knows this is a big change and wants your feedback. Presumably, posting in the support thread could boost your Insider standing as well.

To comment

Intel brought 300 drones to the Super Bowl

It wasn’t live, but Intel’s 300 drones in the sky behind Lady Gaga at the start of the Super Bowl Halftime Show were impressive nonetheless. What started out as a sea of floating lights came together by the end of the bit to form an American flag. It was impressive, cool, and it was all thanks to the ever-growing interest in drones.ladygagsuperbowldrones

The Super Bowl was the third public outing in the U.S. for Intel’s Shooting Star quadcopter drones following several weeks of aerial shows at Disney World in Florida. It was also a record-breaking moment for Intel’s drones, which were allowed to fly up to 700 feet for the first time after receiving special permission from the Federal Aviation Authority.

Each drone weighs a little less than a volleyball and is equipped with LED lights that Intel says can create more than 4 billion color combinations in the sky.

 

To make the drones actually operate and move the way they need to, Intel said it developed special algorithms to automate the animation process. But during show time, the drones can be operated by a single pilot from one PC.

Although Intel says the drones were designed specifically for entertainment purposes, there may also be more practical applications for these drones in the future. Intel’s drone chief, Anil Nanduri, told Wired that he sees a future where these drones could be used for purposes such as search and rescue. Just plug in a search pattern and off they go.

Intel wasn’t the only company talking drones on Sunday. Amazon also aired a Super Bowl commercial showing off drone-based Prime Air deliveries. Prime Air is not yet available in the U.S., but it is currently being tested in the UK.

Although Intel’s Shooting Star drones are able to show up for special events, the devices aren’t yet available for sale; the quadcopters still have to get a stamp of approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV With 4K Video Support Launched in India

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV With 4K Video Support Launched in India at Rs. 2,54,995

  • The 5D Mark IV features Dual Pixel sensor for enhanced subject tracking
  • Canon also announced two new L-series lenses
  • The 5D Mark IV is priced at Rs. 2,54,995 for the body only

Professional photographers can finally rejoice as after a painful four-year wait, Canon has announced the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, which is the successor to the much-loved 5D Mark III. The new model brings with it 4K video recording and Dual Pixel autofocus for much better video capabilities. It will be available in India from the first week of September at Rs. 2,54,995 ($3,499) for the body only, Rs. 3,06,995 ($4,399) with the EF24-70mm f/4L kit lens, and Rs. 3,24,995 ($4,599) with the EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens.

The camera boasts of a 30.4-megapixel full-frame sensor along with the Canon’s Digic 6+ image processor. Other features include ISO range of 100-32000, 7fps burst mode, video recording up to 4K at 30fps, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS, NFC, and USB 3.0. The camera has a 3.2-inch fixed touch-enabled LCD display 1.6 million-dot resolution. The body is built from a magnesium alloy for added durability. Along with the new camera, Canon also launched two new L-series lenses – the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM ultra-wide zoom lens and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM standard zoom lens.

The most interesting thing about the 5D Mark IV is its new proprietary Dual Pixel autofocus system, which now allows for quicker continuous autofocus in video mode. With the added phase detection autofocus, you can now simply tap the display in live mode to switch focus when shooting stills.

“Canon’s EOS 5D series of DSLR cameras has a history of being at the forefront of still and video innovation. And today, we add to this family of cameras the EOS 5D Mark IV- the first in our 5D series to offer 4K video and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “In developing this new DSLR camera, we listened to the requests of current EOS users to create for them a modern, versatile camera designed to help them create and share beautiful still and video imagery.”

“The EOS 5D Mark IV is truly the most versatile EOS ever, all set to revolutionise photography in India,” said Kazutada Kobayashi, President and CEO, Canon India. “With the launch of such evolutionary products, we foresee our numbers to grow and achieve a market share of 50 percent in the DSLR segment.”

 

Nasa’s Juno Probe Set for Closest Jupiter Flyby

Nasa's Juno Probe Set for Closest Jupiter Flyby This Saturday

  • Juno will be about 4,200 kilometres above Jupiter’s swirling clouds
  • There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter scheduled
  • Mission scheduled to end in February of 2018

Nasa has said that its Juno spacecraft, launched five years ago, will get closer to the cloud tops of Jupiter this Saturday than at any other time during its prime mission.

“This is the first time we will be close to Jupiter since we entered orbit on July 4,” said Scott Bolton, Principal Investigator of Juno from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

At the moment of closest approach, Juno will be about 4,200 kilometres above Jupiter’s swirling clouds and traveling at 208,000 kilometres per hour with respect to the planet.

There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter scheduled during its prime mission scheduled to end in February of 2018.

The flyby on Saturday will be the first time Juno will have its entire suite of science instruments activated and looking at the giant planet as the spacecraft zooms past.

“So for this upcoming flyby Juno’s eyes and ears, our science instruments, will all be open,” Bolton noted.

“This is our first opportunity to really take a close-up look at the king of our solar system and begin to figure out how he works,” Bolton said.

While the science data from the pass should be downlinked to Earth within days, interpretation and first results are not expected for some time, Nasa said.

“No other spacecraft has ever orbited Jupiter this closely, or over the poles in this fashion,” Steve Levin, Juno Project Scientist from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said.

“This is our first opportunity and there are bound to be surprises,” Levin noted.

Not only will Juno’s suite of eight science instruments be on, the spacecraft’s visible light imager — JunoCam will also be snapping some closeups.

A handful of JunoCam images, including the highest resolution imagery of the Jovian atmosphere and the first glimpse of Jupiter’s north and south poles, are expected to be released during the later part of next week, the US space agency said.

The Juno spacecraft was launched on August 5 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

 

You Can Now Tour Yosemite National Park in VR With US President Obama

You Can Now Tour Yosemite National Park in VR With US President Obama

Barack Obama has become the first US President to be featured in a virtual reality (VR) video where he can be seen traverseing through the Yosemite National Park situated in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, also conveying his concerns about climate change.

Created by National Geographic, Felix & Paul Studios, and Facebook-owned Oculus, the 11-minute video is available on the Oculus Store for Samsung Gear VR and will soon come to Oculus Rift VRheadset.

“The VR experience provides a personal look at President Obama’s trip to Yosemite with his family over Father’s Day weekend,” Oculus said in a blog post on Friday.

 

Obama is seen interacting with students during an event tied to his “Every Kid in the Park” initiative and speaking with Don Neubacher, the Yosemite National Park superintendent.

 The viewers can explore the incredible surroundings of Yosemite, including El Capitan, the Cathedral Rocks, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Falls and the Merced River.

“National Geographic has been a pioneer in visual storytelling throughout its 128-year history. We see virtual reality as a new frontier and are thrilled to use this powerful medium to help celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary,” said Rajiv Mody, Vice President of Social Media for National Geographic.

The viewers can also see the First Family – First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia, and Sasha – crossing the footbridge and taking in the view of Vernal Falls.

“As filmmakers, we wanted to use cinematic virtual reality’s unique transportive power to bring audiences into a journey with President Obama where they could experience firsthand the vertiginous, lyrical, and timeless beauty of Yosemite,” added Félix Lajeunesse, Co-founder of Felix & Paul Studios.