Microsoft adds 'Here's what we may have broken' screen to Windows 10 Insider PCs

Also: Visual Studio Code update, new toys for Kubecon, and 25 years of the Start Button


In brief While eyes were on its new phone, Microsoft slipped out a pair of updates to the Insider version of Windows 10.

The Beta Channel (formerly known as the Slow Ring) received a round of security updates as well as a UWP authentication fix for the 20H2 release of the operating system (due at some point in the back half of 2020).

The Dev Channel, however, received that most rare of gifts in the form of build 20190: an update with some properly in-your-face user interface changes.

The "new post-update experience" now brings up the Tips app to show "the most exciting changes on your PC" after an Insider update has been inflicted on it. Assuming, of course, the thing still boots – this is preview code after all.

Acknowledging that "it doesn't always feel clear what changed with a major update," the gang will select what it feels are the most interesting new features and highlight them via the new first run experience. Clearly the insistence on firing up Edge after updating just wasn't cutting it.

The new experience can be turned off in the Notifications & Actions setting, where users will be intrigued to note that it may also appear "occasionally when I sign in".

The gang has also continued tweaking the graphics settings to allow users to specify which GPU should be used for which application as well as dealing with an issue that could leave explorer.exe borked on touch-capable devices after resuming from hibernation.

It's August so welcome to July's Visual Studio Code

Developer darling Visual Studio Code celebrated August by releasing the July edition, version 1.48, with some handy improvements, notably in the browser-debugging arena, and previews of upcoming features, such as TypeScript 4 support.

Debugging a page previously required the "Debugger for Chrome" extension and a launch.json config file. The process has now been streamlined via a new Debug: Open Link command. The JavaScript debugger has also seen a raft of fixes and improvements.

Other useful improvements include some around source control (for example, making the source control view always show the repo rows) and the user interface. Additionally, all the text file encodings of desktop VS Code are now supported when running the editor in a browser.

Looking like it might emerge from preview soon is Settings Sync, which shares VS Code configurations over a user's machines (although requires a Microsoft or GitHub account). A Settings Sync Insiders service has also been added for the brave testers of the platform.

Kubecon 2020: Azure Kubernetes gains ephemeral OS disk support and image updates

As yet another virtual conference kicked off, Microsoft rolled out updates to its Azure Kubernetes service.

Hitting general availability is node image update functionality, allowing upgrades while remaining on the same Kubernetes version. In preview is integration with the Azure Resource Health, to alert users when clusters are looking poorly and ephemeral OS disk support, "which makes responding to new compute demands on your cluster even faster," according to Brendan Burns, corporate veep for Azure Compute.

It's taken a while for Azure Ephemeral OS Disk to arrive for the Kubernetes service. Azure Ephemeral OS disks went to GA in July 2019, are created on local machines, and aimed at stateless workloads. The theory goes that read/write latency is lower and imaging is faster. The downsides include the loss of Azure Storage persistence.

Feeling old? It is a quarter of century since Windows 95's RTM

How was your weekend? Did you throw a 25th anniversary party for the 15 August Release To Manufacturing of Windows 95? No? For shame.

Bringing forth the much-loved Start button, Windows 95 was the follow-up to the soaraway success of Windows 3.1 and 3.11. Replete with 32-bit application support and pre-emptive multitasking, the operating system kind of did away with the separate MS-DOS on which its predecessors tottered (although the venerable operating system can still be found lurking in the background).

The cues found in Windows 95's user interface (such as the taskbar, start menu, windows explorer and notification area) persist to today although the hardware requirements were considerably more parsimonious – it could be made to work on an Intel 80386-powered PC with 4MB of RAM (although the experience would be distressing for user and hardware alike).

Those who forgot the chocolate cake and party poppers need not fear. 24 August was when users were finally allowed to get their hands on Microsoft's latest and greatest before trying out something called "Internet Explorer" courtesy of the Plus! pack... ®


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022