Roundup Though there may be no Neo this year, a new Windows is almost upon us as The Register rounds up the emissions from Redmond that you might have missed.
More Insider tinkering for Windows 10 2004 as the end of April nears
The long-awaited Windows 10 2004/20H1 release crept a little closer last week with another ever-so-minor update in the form of build 19041.173, a retread of a previous update with some extra bonus fixes.
The Slow Ring build (20H1 has yet to trouble Release Preview) included fixes to deal with a resource allocation failure that left some USB mass storage devices unable to initialise correctly and an issue that prevented older versions of apps opening. It also fixes an annoying glitch that stopped the mute button working on "certain devices" with the Your Phone app.
There was, however, no indication of when 20H1 might actually become generally available. The hideous experience of Windows 10 1809 (aka the October 2018 Update) means that a migration to the Release Preview ring of the Windows Insider programme would seem prudent ahead of release, although time in April is starting to run short.
Edge 81 arrives in the stable channel
To celebrate its status as Number Two (if you count the legacy version that Microsoft is desperately trying to hide under the floorboards), a fresh version of the Edge browser was pushed out to the Stable Channel over the weekend.
Microsoft Edge version 81 is now available in the Stable channel. Your browser will automatically update, or you can update manually at edge://settings/help.— Microsoft Edge Dev (@MSEdgeDev) April 14, 2020
We hope you love it!
The Stable Channel is where normal users can find Microsoft's Chromium-based browser, while the Beta, Dev and Canary channels are altogether more exciting places to be.
The most eye-catching feature this time around is Collections, a tool designed to allow users to collect and compare items or put together event plans (back in the day when events didn't involve saying "no, you first" at tiled video feeds that resemble something out of a particularly dishevelled episode of Celebrity Squares).
Development had been paused but, as with the Chromium team, things are beginning to get rolling again. Although version 82 has been cancelled, version 83 is due in "mid May".
Billions and billions of Teams meeting minutes
Jared Spataro, corporate veep for Microsoft 365, rubbed just a little more salt into the wound last week by reminding us of a study a few years ago that found that in-person meetings made people happiest.
But hey, as of 31 March the company had seen a record of 2.7 billion Teams meeting minutes in one day as "in person" became "socially distanced."
We've certainly been in some meetings that seemed to take over a billion minutes as one attendee after another lost track of the mute button, and March did seem to take an awful long time, but all the same; it's quite the milestone.
It is, according to Spataro, a 200 per cent jump from 16 March's 900 million minutes.
He went on to highlight research that found humans were calmed by looking each other in the eye. He also highlighted the jump in video being used in Teams calls – there has been increase of over 1,000 per cent in the total video calls on Microsoft's Slack-for-Suits platform during March.
Even in the normally restrained UK, Teams users turn on the camera for 47 per cent of calls while shy US chatters only flip the shutter 38 per cent of the time.
While Teams now permits custom backgrounds, this hack is still looking forward to an AI filter to deal with the foreground. Nobody needs to see the whole lockdown beard and through-a-hedge-backwards look that seems to be de rigueur at present.
Erasure of the Office 365 brand continues apace
Hot on the heels of spraying the rebrandogun at Microsoft's consumer and small and medium-size business productivity lines in the form of "Microsoft 365", the company also announced last week that Office 365 Groups would become Microsoft 365 Groups.
Office 365 Groups arrived in 2014 as a cross-suite service for Office 365 commercial and education customers to create public or private groups. It started with apps such as OneNote, Outlook, Sharepoint and Skype for Business, and the likes of Yammer and Teams have been added over time.
While Microsoft gave the reason for the change as "to reflect the fact that Office 365 Groups power collaboration across Microsoft 365", Office 365 for Enterprise, Firstline Workers, Education and Government are not being renamed.
We're sure nobody will find that confusing at all.
SQL Server Management Studio gets more Notebook support and a version update
While the upstart Azure Data Studio continues to garner attention, version 18.5 of the venerable SQL Server Management Studio came out last week.
The new version adds "Notebook" as a Generate Scripts destination as well as support for sensitivity rank in Data Classification. More interesting are the bug fixes, which include an irritating problem where editing a SQL Agent job step could freeze the user interface.
Other fixes include an issue where Azure Active Directory authentication was not working through a proxy and the Data Classification wizard failing to open for databases with lots of tables.
SQL Server Management Studio first put in an appearance with SQL Server 2005 as a replacement for the good old Enterprise Manager of yesteryear. It has thus far resisted having "Azure" or "365" slapped on it but we fear it may only be a matter of time. ®