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OneDrive for Everything in Your Life – SkyDrive Renamed and Improved

OneDrive for Everything in Your Life – SkyDrive Renamed and Improved

SkyDrive has been one of the most useful online services I use in my day-to-day activities both for work and home life. I easily sync my Windows 8 machines with each other through SkyDrive’s built in sync features, every photo I take on my Lumia 928 automatically gets pushed to my SkyDrive account and I use it heavily for storing files for projects I’m currently working on. And now, it’s the same great service but with a new name: “OneDrive for Everything in Your Life”.

Check out the promotional video below, I love the music they chose and the overall emotion and animations look great.

Some may even remember the “Mesh” or “LiveMesh” service from years and years ago – even at that time I loved the idea of cloud storage and file syncing between devices was super important. It simply wasn’t where it needed to be, later on Microsoft improved the service and named it SkyDrive and now, yet again we have a new name. Fortunately, I do think that the new name fits the service better and really describes what the service does in a nutshell.

Why OneDrive? We know that increasingly you will have many devices in your life, but you really want only one place for your most important stuff. One place for all of your photos and videos. One place for all of your documents. One place that is seamlessly connected across all the devices you use. You want OneDrive for everything in your life.

Source: OneDrive Blog

It’s Official – Satya Nadella is Microsoft’s New CEO

It’s Official – Satya Nadella is Microsoft’s New CEO

For only the third time in Microsoft’s 38 year history they have announced a new CEO – Satya Nadella. After months of what I imagine to be hundreds of interviews with numerous candidates, Microsoft was able to finally narrow down to one.

Nadella says in an internal memo to Microsoft Employees:

“Today is a very humbling day for me, it is an incredible honor for me to lead and serve this great company of ours.” He also writes “While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more, this is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.”

Here is the first interview with Nadella as the new CEO:

Nadella has been with Microsoft for over 20 years, he studied Electrical Engineering at Mangalore University and then moved to the US to study computer science. While at Microsoft he has worked in the Office, Bing and Cloud Divisions.

Some say Nadella is a “safe” choice, I think he is a smart choice – if Microsoft had selected a person from outside of Microsoft there would be at least a two year period of transition, confusion and stagnation – none of which Microsoft can afford to happen right now. Instead, they needed to choose someone who understands Microsoft, Hardware, Software and Services and already has the connections and understanding of the Microsoft ecosystem.

Even though Nadella is from within, I don’t believe that this means that he will sit back and ride the waves of what is in place already at Microsoft, I think he will work hard to push innovation and products to the next level.

I’m excited for this new chapter at Microsoft, I see a bright future.

What are your thoughts?

Source: Microsoft

Exploring Modern App Design and User Experience – Introduction

Exploring Modern App Design and User Experience – Introduction

Soon we’ll be starting a new blog series of exploration articles digging into the exciting world of Microsoft’s Modern Design Language and User Experiences guidelines that has been defined for Windows 8 applications and then encourage you to break those guidelines to provide your users with a unique and beautiful experience.

Throughout this series we will talking about the numerous controls available within Windows 8 applications, we’ll talk about how, where and why these controls are used, and explore the experiences around those controls. We’ll also show some real-world examples of how application designers are using these controls today within their applications.

Every article will be focused on a very specific part of Windows 8, this will allow our users to gain a solid understanding of how each feature within Windows 8 works from a “tutorial” or “average user” type of experience while still providing some of the more technical and creative information that designers and developers may find beneficial.

The end goal is for anyone who is interested in designing Modern applications to gain an in-depth, start to finish set of tutorials to help you provide your users with a useful, creative and interactive experience as they use your Windows 8 applications.

Here are some of the topics we’ll be covering in the coming months:

  • Overview of the Modern Design Language
  • Microsoft’s Five Design Principles
  • Start Screen
  • Charms Bar
  • Live Tiles
  • Hub Pages, Detail Pages
  • App Bar
  • Flyouts
  • Semantic Zoom
  • Listview, Gridview, Variable Sized Grid
  • Typography
  • Search
  • Animations/Transitions
  • Grids
  • Navigation
  • And so much more…

We are open to your suggestions as well, if there is something specific you’d like us to dig into, feel free to let us know and we’ll do our best to fit it in.

Be sure to check back often to keep up with this exciting new series, we hope you will learn something new and are able to take your application design and experiences to the next level!

Watch This: Microsoft had the most Powerful Super Bowl 2014 Ad

Watch This: Microsoft had the most Powerful Super Bowl 2014 Ad

If you watched the Super Bowl this year or like me and only watched the Ads later online, you will see that one ad really stands out from the rest – Microsoft’s “Empowering” video.

Microsoft often gets slammed for it’s advertising, but I think this spot absolutely nails it.

Technology, no matter what company it comes from empowers so many people with and without handicaps – it’s great to see how this new technology is making people’s lives better.

Watch this video to get a better understanding how Steve Gleason uses the power of technology (specifically the Surface and Kinect) to live a better, more interactive life while living with ALS. It’s empowering!

Apple’s View on the Future of Computing is Cumbersome and Expensive

Apple’s View on the Future of Computing is Cumbersome and Expensive

Apple SVP of Marketing, Phil Schiller told MacWorld

“It’s not an either/or. It’s a world where you’re going to have a phone, a tablet, a computer, you don’t have to choose. And so what’s more important is how you seamlessly move between them all… It’s not like this is a laptop person and that’s a tablet person. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

I find this statement a bit odd, Phil is saying you “Don’t have to choose which device, simply move between them all”, yet with this viewpoint the user actually DOES have to choose. They have to choose do I bring my Laptop? My Tablet? Do I need to bring both? Despite what Phil and Apple believe, this isn’t freedom, this isn’t choice, this is flat-out cumbersome.

I do believe that users will need two devices, a tablet and a phone with “accessories” to flush out the full experience. Instead of buying a full desktop you simply buy a docking station and a monitor when you need the desktop experience. (I’ll talk more about this in a future article)

A Surface Pro 2 or similar Windows 8 based tablet device offers you the most bang for you buck, the most flexibility in size, portability, productivity and consumption.

The real reason Apple doesn’t want to merge devices is because they make almost all of their money from hardware. If they don’t sell hardware they don’t make money, that would make me nervous if I were an investor.

This is what Apple wants their users to own:

  • Desktop ($2,999 – Mac Pro)
  • Laptop ($1,499 – Mid-Level MacBook Pro)
  • Tablet ($599 – 32GB iPad Air)
  • Phone ($299 – iPhone 5s, 32GB, ATT 2 Year Contract

Total: $5,396

This is what Microsoft wants their users to own:

  • Tablet ($999 – 120GB Surface Pro 2 – Replaces both a Laptop and Desktop)
  • TypeCover ($129)
  • Docking Station ($199.99)
  • Phone ($99 Nokia Lumia 1520, 16GB expandable to 64GB, ATT 2 Year Contract)

Total: $1,426.99

Total Difference: $3,969.01

Have you ever wondered why Apple hasn’t added in support for multiple accounts on iPads? Think about it, they want every individual person to own one, that’s great for Apple, not so great for you.

Post-PC equals 2 devices not 4 as Apple seems to strongly believe.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pick and choose between 4 devices everyday, I want work on 2 devices everyday and use them wherever, whenever and however I need to.

Business Insider Article: Apple’s View of the Future of Personal Computing
Macworld Article: Mac at 30

Design for Touch First, Not Mobile

Design for Touch First, Not Mobile

Throughout 2013 we kept on hearing about how we should be designing and developing for Mobile first – everyone is mobile they say. Designing for mobile though sets you up for issues down the road as you expand to desktops, laptops and tablets.

We should all be designing for Touch first, not mobile first. Touch is the one form of interaction that now spans across all the devices we use everyday, touch is the future not being mobile.

Our phones are touch, our tablets are touch, kiosks are touch and now with Windows 8 on laptops and desktops – every device is now touch friendly. If you want to have a consistent, powerful experience across all your devices, then you should be focusing on designing for touch first.

As laptops and desktops with touch displays continue to be the new norm, people will expect the applications they use to be touch friendly. In the past week alone I have heard several people talk about how they keep trying to touch their old non-touch laptops now that they have been using Windows 8 on tablets. My laptop screen has numerous fingerprints on the screen from me trying to tap a button or swipe across the screen – not having touch on my old computers is surprisingly quite frustrating. I cannot wait to upgrade all my hardware to new touch-based devices.

Many people seem to think that having a touch interface is slower, will cause you fatigue by holding your arm up all day as you touch the screen or that it simply gets in the way. Touch isn’t meant to replace your mouse and keyboard, touch is there to compliment them – especially on your laptop or desktop. It’s much faster to tap a button quick with your finger than it is to try and move your mouse over the button and click. If your buttons are too small, touching becomes much more difficult and tedious – that’s why you need to design for touch first.

When you design for touch, you are inherently designing for mobile – the opposite however is not true.

People constantly say that Microsoft is no longer innovative and never does anything interesting. I think Microsoft advances technology way more than people think, they just do it in a more subtle, long-term way. One of those ways is the advancement of main-stream support of touch based laptops, desktops and of course software with Windows 8.

Within the next year, touch will be an expected experience and not Google nor Apple is ready for this new experience.

What has your experience been with touch based devices? Do you own a touch based laptop or all-in-one desktop?