Tag Archives: Visual Studio

Tuesday Talk ~ Microsoft


Did you know Microsoft is expanding its presence on Apple’s iOS 10 messaging platform with a new iMessage App designed to allow groups to search for movies, food, events and other entertainment options and vote on what to do? Does this surprise you?
It shouldn’t. Despite public posturing to the contrary, which hit its apogee under the madly gesticulating Steve Ballmer (thank goodness for his great replacement, CEO Satya Nadella), Apple and Microsoft have had a long and very rewarding relationship, with engineering teams collaborating on each other’s campuses for decades.
Apple uses Microsoft networking protocols; Microsoft embraces Apple video and audio standards. Microsoft Office works beautifully on Mac and iOS, and in fact, to my eyes, benefits from Apple’s superior (-looking) OS and monitor tech. And even Apple’s macOS has only had little updates over the last couple of years – meanwhile Microsoft is developing a future OS that will combine standard 2D display tech with 3D/holographics, VR and AR. This is called Fluent Design.

I guess we will see if Apple has any vision in this area … one day.
Meanwhile, Microsoft recently released its dev platform Visual Studio for macOS. Chipping, chipping, chipping away …

This is reasonable, sensible and productive. It’s how adults should behave, right? I think so.  However, lately Microsoft has been making hardware, something it has almost never done, barring Xbox. In fact, Windows fans used to laugh at Apple because Apple made hardware as well as software. Then Microsoft made some awful products like that cack-coloured music player and the Windows Phone. Yuk.

But now, Microsoft is making the hardware that even Apple fans can be impressed by, while Apple fiddles while watching its hardware house burn down. Apple’s products are still beautiful, sexy, slim, minimalist … and obsolete, lagging generations behind other computers. Pro Mac users want and need their Macs to be grunty, and nothin’ else! They’ve got to the point where looks are secondary because Apple needs so desperately to up the computational power of its pro machines.
Some, unfortunately, have given up already – will they come back? We used to run stories about ‘switchers’ who had dumped Windows for macOS and couldn’t be happier.
Now there are even rumours that Apple is planning a new ‘pro’ iMac “designed to compete with Microsoft’s Surface Studio all-in-one PC“…

WHAT? That’s pure heresy right there! Also, Apple isn’t in the Virtual Reality space yet. There’s supposedly an Apple lab in wellington pursuing this, and Apple has made various VR acquisitions, but Apple’s hardware isn’t up to VR – Oculus dropped support for the Mac in 2016 because it wasn’t powerful enough. The only thing Apple seems to excel at now is 4K display support, but Windows is catching up fast.
Once we looked cool and progressive with our Apple gear.
Now we look like sad holdouts.

Anyway, it’s WWDC soon (New Zealand’s June 6th). Apple, will announce stuff. But I remember saying that last year … and the year before …

Teardown, 808 doc, Visual Studio, 5TB portable, Trump and US-built, Twitter trolls, Mac Pro void, Apple pix, VR sometime, decent Color Picker


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13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar teardown shows difficult to repair computer — The first full tear-down of Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has concluded, with confirmation of a non-removable SSD, and as expected the computer has little possibility of user repairability.
The interior layout differs from the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys beyond just the SSD being surface mounted, repair guide depot iFixit noted. The Touch Bar model features a physically smaller battery rated at 49.2 Watt-hours versus the 54.5 Watt-hours in the function key model, a pair of fans, a double-ended heat-sink, and lower speakers that have no relation to the purely cosmetic speaker grills in the new unit. And heres the odd fact that Apple’s MacBook Pro Touch Bar currently lets users scrub through YouTube ads, and here’s everything you need to know about USB-C & Thunderbolt 3 on Apple’s new MacBook Pro.

Apple Music nabs exclusive streaming rights to star-studded ‘808’ documentary — Apple has secured exclusive first access rights to 808, a documentary film chronicling the impact the Roland TR-808 programmable drum machine had, and continues to have despite its discontinuation 33 years ago, on the music making world.

New Visual Studio is here, and for Mac — Visual Studio ’15’ gets a real name, and Microsoft bestowed the VS brand on Xamarin Studio. After a set of leaks from MSDN Magazine on Monday, the company officially confirmed Wednesday morning that it’s bestowing the Visual Studio brand on Xamarin Studio, a C# development environment for the Mac that Microsoft acquired earlier this year.

Seagate 5TB portable drive — Seagate is rolling out a device built for on-the-go folks with an insatiable thirst for more space. Later in November, you’ll be able to pick-up a Seagate Backup Plus Portable drive with a whopping five terabytes of storage capacity – enough to store about 1000 high-definition movies, or 20 AAA PC games.

What Apple would have to do to comply with Donald Trump’s American-built mandate — President-elect Donald Trump has pushed a protectionist proposal that could to force Apple “to build their damn computers and things in this country.” It’s a suggestion that has been outright dismissed by most observers —but should it be? [And you thought Apple gear was already unaffordable …]

Twitter beefs up its mute tools and abuse policies to help you proactively silence trolls — Twitter is bulking up its tools to combat online hate and harassment. In recent months, critics have called out Twitter for not doing enough to stop online abuse. Now Twitter is fighting back against the growing impression that social the network is becoming far too vitriolic.

HP exploits Apple’s Mac Pro void with new Z2 Mini — Hewlett-Packard has announced the Z2 Mini, a powerful but compact desktop computer aimed at technical and creative professionals in CAD, finances, OEM and education. With the option for an Intel Xeon quad-core E3-1200v5 (or CORE i3/i5/i7), up to 32 GB of RAM, Linux and Windows 10 support and a model with support for six displays, the Z2 Mini can meet the needs of many professionals on the desktop who don’t need the highest performing Z workstation. Most importantly, it’s HP’s concerted effort to exploit a vacuum Apple has created on the desktop.

Look at pictures of Apple products instead of buying Apple’s US$300 Photo Book — Apple has released Designed by Apple in California, book that chronicles the last 20 years of Apple’s triumphs in product design and innovation. Or scroll through this post of great looking Apple products through the ages right here in your browser for free

VR coming to the Mac ‘in a few months’ — Windows is the dominant computing platform for VR gaming right now. However, Valve will encourage wider operating system support by bringing a SteamVR beta to macOS and Linux systems “in the next few months,” according to a Hexus report. [Don’t rush, then.]

Developers and designers finally get the Color Picker they need with Drop — Your Mac has a built-in color picker, but it doesn’t feel like it was cerated with coders and designers in mind. Tapity’s coding team thought that was unfortunate, so they whipped up Drop — a colour picker that fits the bill for both coders and designers.
Drop lets you sample and save on-screen colours as Hex, RGB, Swift or Objective C values for mobile and desktop formats. You can save color values to Drop’s built-in palette, copy them to the clipboard, and create colors without first sampling them. It also lets you store color swatches on the new Retina MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar for easy access.
Drop is currently available for 50% off at NZ$5.99/US$3.99 on Apple’s Mac App Store.