Microsoft’s Cortana music recognition feature has been retired

Microsoft’s Cortana music recognition feature has been retired. The company some time ago added the ability to identify songs through Microsoft’s Digital Assistant, Cortana.

But now some users are reporting that Cortana’s song recognition abilities are no longer available and the digital assistant ability to identify songs has been retired. To enjoy the functionality you would need to press the music icon on Cortana’s interface while playing music. The service then identifies the songs from the Groove library and brings you the results.

This functionality no longer works since the Digital Assistant does not have any library to search after the retirement of the Groove Music service. The news was confirmed by one of Microsoft’s Cortana Team Engineer in reply to one of the users stating: “What you are seeing is expected. Due to the shutdown of the Groove Music service Cortana music recognition has also been retired.”

If you are trying to access the service by tapping on the icon, you will now be greeted with a message stating “Song unrecognized”, “this service is retired”, but “music continues”.

Now with the retirement of Groove Music and unavailability of Shazam app from the Windows Store, the Windows 10 users are currently left with no music recognition app to download and use.

Microsoft expands its footprint

It’s funny to think that Microsoft was once just known for its personal computer operating system Windows and its office suite Microsoft Office. Since 1975 when it was first founded, the company has expanded to gaming, the cloud, virtual reality, mobile devices, artificial intelligence holograms and more. 2017 was another year of advancements and innovation as the company aimed to touch every surface of software development.

Visual Studio 2017 was officially released in March with four core pillars: fundamentals, cloud, mobile and DevOps. Microsoft has “expanded beyond the IDE into a family of tools that are now designed for a mobile-first, cloud-first world,” stated Julia Liuson, corporate vice president for Visual Studio. The release included new refactoring, search and navigation, code generation, analysis, IDE improvements, code editing, debugging and live uniting testing capabilities.

In May, the company outlined its vision for the future of computing at Microsoft Build. According to Microsoft SEO Satya Nadella, the future of computing “comes down to the design principles and choices we make. I believe we can make practical design choices that help enshrine our timeless values. The first one is that we empower people with technology. Let’s amplify their ingenuity. Let’s use technology to bring more empowerment to more people.” To do so, the company announced plans to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence in its applications and devices such as the Cortana Skills Kit, and new cognitive services for vision, speech, language and search capabilities. “Moving from a mobile-first, cloud-first world to a new world that is going to be made up of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge,” he said.

Other announcements at the Build conference included new additions to the Xamarin cross-platform development tools such as the Xamarin Live Player coding environment and the Visual Studio Mobile Center.

Microsoft built on its vision for the future of computing at the end of the year at Microsoft Connect. There, the company announced Visual Studio App Center, Visual Studio Live Share, a preview of Azure DevOps projects, Azure Databricks, Visual Studio Connected Environment for Azure Container Service, Visual Studio Tools for AI and Azure IoT Edge. “It’s never been a better time to be a developer, as developers are at the forefront of building the apps driving monumental change across organizations and entire industries, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, wrote in a blog post.

The Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK was released in October with new tools for building mixed reality experiences, modernizing applications for the workplace, and building and monetizing games and apps.

For the cloud, Microsoft announced Azure Cosmos DB, Cloud Migration Assessment, Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, Azure Site Recovery solutions, and joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation. In addition, Microsoft tackled containers, security, data business intelligence and blockchain in 2017 with the release of Azure Container Instances, Azure Container Service, a collaboration with Red Hat, the Microsoft Security Risk Detection tool, advances to SQL Server 2017, SQL Operations Studio, Power BI Premium, and becoming a part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.

As for the Windows Phone, Microsoft decided to scale back with the announcement that it would no longer be adding any new features to the phone, but it would continue to support the platform with bug fixes and security updates.

Other big announcements for the year included Microsoft .NET Core 2.0 with improved performance, debugging and live unit testing; C# 7.0; and the Git Virtual File System.

Apple follows Microsoft’s footsteps, plans to launch unified app platform

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is a unique way that allows an app to run on various Windows 10 devices like the Xbox, Mobile, etc. But this platform has lost its charm since Microsoft killed its mobile platform which was mainly going to be benefitted by this.

It basically offers an API in the core of the OS across devices that can be used by the developer to create their app package that would work on all devices regardless of the screen size. It is basically a common or a unified platform for the apps so that they can run on various Windows 10 devices at the core. Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform will be getting a competitor and the competitor is Apple.

A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple is also following the footsteps of Microsoft by unifying its platform for apps. Apple would be creating a unified platform for apps so that developers can create apps for iOS and macOS devices. The project is internally codenamed as ‘Marzipan’ and may get announced at annual WWDC next year, according to an article by Bloomberg. After which developers will be able to create an app package for their apps that would work on any hardware be it iPhone with iOS on a touch interface or on a Mac with macOS on a mouse. This platform may be rolled out as part of its next major updates for iOS and macOS.

According to a statement by CEO Tim Cook, he doesn’t seem to be a fan of this idea at least till when he said it. His statement goes like this, “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.” Even this idea was called a compromise by Apple’s software chief. But the idea is really beneficial especially for the apps that never get updated on the macOS. What do you think about Apple’s UWP clone? Let us know in the comments below.

Microsoft to bring Windows Defender Application Guard to Windows 10

Microsoft yesterday released a new Windows 10 Build 17063 to the Windows Insiders and the update introduced many new features, including Windows Defender Application Guard for the operating system. Since Microsoft wants to make Windows 10 the most secure operating system, with the upcoming Redstone 4 update, Microsoft will bring Windows Defender Application Guard to Windows 10.

While Windows Defender Application Gaurd (WDAG) is an enterprise-exclusive feature, it is also making its way to Windows 10 Pro SKU. This new security feature is already available for the Fast Ring Insiders, WDAG is now expected to ship with the next OS update which is set to arrive in the spring of 2018.

Microsoft claims that this technology would help Edge become the world’s most secure browser. Windows Defender Application Guard for Windows 10 will basically protect your machine against the malware using Hyper-V virtualization technology.

“Windows Defender Application Guard provides unprecedented protection against targeted threats using Microsoft’s industry leading Hyper-V virtualization technology. Check out this recent RSA talk on Window Defender Application Guard if you’d like to understand this feature in some more detail,” Microsoft explains in a blog post.

Earlier this year, Microsoft detailed this new technology in a presentation. Chas Jeffries, Lead Program Manager, Windows Enterprise and Security, at Microsoft Ignite provided an in-depth look at Windows Defender Application Gaurd, you can watch the presentation here



Microsoft previews Quantum Development Kit

Microsoft is helping to democratize quantum computing with the announcement of the Quantum Development Kit. The company first announced plans to develop a Quantum Development Kit in September at its Ignite conference.

“Quantum computing takes a giant leap forward from today’s technology—one that will forever alter our economic, industrial, academic, and societal landscape. With the preview release of the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit, we are one step closer to realizing this vision,” the Microsoft Quantum Team, wrote in a post.

The kit is designed to get developers up to speed with programming on quantum computers. According to the company, developers do not need to be experts in quantum physics. The kit is deeply integrated with Visual Studio, so aspects will be familiar to developes who already use VS to develop apps.

“What you’re going to see as a developer is the opportunity to tie into tools that you already know well, services you already know well,” Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president in charge of the company’s quantum effort, said in an announcement. “There will be a twist with quantum computing, but it’s our job to make it as easy as possible for the developers who know and love us to be able to use these new tools that could potentially do some things exponentially faster – which means going from a billion years on a classical computer to a couple hours on a quantum computer.”

The Quantum Development Kit includes the Q# programming language, a quantum computing simulator, and resources for building quantum computer apps.

The Q# programming language was designed specifically for quantum. It is a high-level programming language that includes a native type system for qubits, operators and abstractions, according to the company. The quantum simulators will enable debugging support and support for simulations that requires more than 40 qubits. The kit will also provide a trace simulator for optimizing code to run on quantum computers.

In addition, the company is providing a suite of documentation, libraries and sample programs to get people familiar with aspects of quantum computing such as quantum teleportation.

This is just one piece in Microsoft’s plan to build a “full-fledge quantum computing system, “which includes everything from the quantum computing hardware to the full software stack,” according to the company.

Microsoft confirms download issues with latest Windows 10 preview builds

Microsoft yesterday confirmed that some Windows 10 Insiders may have trouble in downloading the latest Insider builds for both Fast and Slow Rings. The Redmond Giant informs Insiders that users trying to install Insider Build with version 17046 or 17025 on fast and slow ring will be seeing an error “80096004”.

This error is due to internal issues being found at Microsoft and Insiders have been advised to wait for a new Insider Build to be released for being able to download. The company also confirms that Insiders would also face issues with downloading additional language packs or other features.

Microsoft Insider Team member Brandon LeBlanc in a Tweet confirmed that if users have been able to download the latest build then they should face no issues, but if you are seeing error in downloading the latest builds, then you would need to wait for a new Insider build for Windows 10 users on both Fast and Slow

See the post below:

FYI: Build 17046 (Fast) & Build 17025 (Slow) will fail with error code 80096004. Also: attempted downloads of language packs or additional Windows features (FODs) will also encounter an install failure. Details here:

We are currently not sure as to what is causing the issue, but Microsoft is currently working on a fix and should be able to roll out a new Insider Build as early as Friday. If any of our users have been able to install the latest build do let us know if you are facing any issues, in the comments below.


Microsoft is not bringing Android app emulation to Windows Phone again

Back in 2015, when Windows 10 Mobile mattered for Microsoft, the company planned to bring Android and iOS apps on its Windows Phone, which obviously was a pretty big deal, given the fact Windows Phone is dead as critics had claimed that the apps available on Windows Phones pale in comparison to their Android and iOS counterparts.

In case you were hoping/expecting Microsoft to bring back the Android app emulation on Windows 10 Mobile device again, Microsoft’s Senior Program Manager on the Windows Insider Program yesterday confirmed that the company is not bringing Android app emulation to Windows Phone again. “No, we’re not bringing Android app emulation to Windows 10 Mobile,” Brandon LeBlanc tweeted.

Not so long ago, a Windows Phone user posted on the Feedback Hub requesting the Redmond giant to bring back the Project Astoria, as it would give unsupported Windows Phones a new life. Microsoft engineer later faced criticism when he responded to the feedback without even reading it.

Don’t get your hopes down as the developer is testing a new version of Windows Phone Internals tool, it will basically allow you to install custom ROMs. Technically you will be able to install Android operating system and its app on your Windows Phone.

Windows Phone Internals Tool will bypass SecureBoot on modern Lumia Windows Phone, this allows “custom ROMs, Mass Storage Mode, Root access and many more hacks to all Windows Phone 8 and Windows 10.”


MariaDB coming to Azure, as Microsoft joins the MariaDB Foundation

On the first day of its Connect developer conference, Microsoft announced that it is joining the MariaDB Foundation, the group that oversees the development of the MariaDB database.

Connect is Microsoft’s other annual developer conference. The big conference, Build, takes place each spring and covers the breadth of Microsoft-related development, from Windows to Azure to Office to HoloLens. Connect has tended to have something of an open source, database, and cloud spin to it. At Connect last year, Microsoft announced that it was joining the Linux Foundation. In years prior, the company has used the event to announce the open sourcing of Visual Studio Code and, before that, .net.

MariaDB is a fork of the MySQL database that’s developed and maintained by many of the original MySQL contributors. In 2008, Sun Microsystems bought MySQL AB, the company that developed and created MySQL. In 2009, Oracle announced its plans to buy Sun, creating fear in the community about MySQL’s future as a successful, community-developed, open-source project. To ensure that the database would continue development in spite of the purchase, the MariaDB fork was created in 2009. The subsequent development of MySQL arguably justifies those fears; while Oracle still publishes source code, the development itself happens behind closed doors, with minimal outside contributions.

To prevent MariaDB from suffering the same fate, the MariaDB Foundation was created in 2012. This foundation owns the copyright to contributions and its goal is to ensure that the project remains driven by the user community.

The MariaDB Foundation aims to address one of the common problems with open-source projects: attracting and enabling new contributors. Contributing to open-source projects can often be an intimidating and difficult experience. Fixing a bug or adding a feature usually requires some familiarity with the codebase to know which part of the code needs to be changed. Once this has been done and the development work completed, there’s then work to get the work accepted as a contribution; matching the coding standards of the project, passing the review process, justifying design decisions, and more. The MariaDB Foundation does this outreach in an effort to lower the barriers to entry.

Monty Widenius, the co-creator of MySQL and CTO of the MariaDB Foundation, says that this has been very successful; over the last year, MariaDB has received more community contributions than MySQL did over its entire lifetime. Sustaining this kind of outreach requires money; Microsoft, joining the foundation as a platinum member, will help this work continue.

Microsoft’s involvement will also boost the level of Windows-specific expertise involved in MariaDB’s development. MySQL has always supported Windows, but core developers, including Widenius, are primarily Linux developers, with most optimization and design catering to that operating system. Microsoft’s Windows expertise should, over time, result in an improved experience on Windows.

Widenius tells us that Microsoft has already started to make contributions, with Azure being the focus. As well as announcing the membership of the MariaDB Foundation, Microsoft also said that it will soon offer a preview of Azure Database for MariaDB. This will be a fully managed, cloud-hosted version of MariaDB.

Microsoft’s Xbox One X sales higher than expected in its first week

Microsoft launched its Xbox One X last week and the company was successful in selling 80,000 units in the United Kingdom in the first week of its launch. The Xbox Marketing Chief confirmed the number of units sold and the company is expecting it to increase the sales in other parts of the world as well.

However in spite of the encouraging sales of the Xbox One X the company plans not to include the console in its Black Friday Deals since the company expects the device to show positive results in the coming holiday season.

Microsoft announced the Xbox One X at its E3 2017 on June 11, 2017 and is said to be the most powerful gaming console ever built by the company with a 4K resolution display.

It also has 12 GB of GDDR5 RAM of which 9 GB can be used by developers for their games. Microsoft will be using a custom GPU engine for Xbox One X which runs at 1172MHz. Xbox One X also has an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive for 4K movies and entertainment and 1TB of storage.

Microsoft also announced that existing Xbox One accessories will also work on the new Xbox One X. Microsoft is expected to use “super sampling” for the One X that will make new games look much better on 1080p TVs.

Gameloft is dropping support for Windows Phone but not because of Microsoft

Gameloft recently announced that it would no longer support the Windows Phone platform, blaming Microsoft for not supporting its own mobile operating system. While the company stated that it wouldn’t support Dungeon Hunter and some selected games, however it is likely that no new games will be released for Windows Phone because the platform is unfortunately dead.

A week ago, Gameloft’s Community Manager revealed that it is dropping support for Windows Phone because of Microsoft. “Microsoft announced recently that they are discontinuing development of this platform, for that reason, we will not be able to keep creating updates for DH5 for Windows Phones,” the company said in the forum.

However, today the company has released yet another statement, this time Gameloft has said that Windows Phone is no longer being supported because of low user base. Surprisingly, Gameloft is not blaming Microsoft anymore.

“An internal miscommunication led to an incorrect statement regarding the end of support for Dungeon Hunter 5 on Windows Phones. To clarify, the reason we will not be able to release further updates for Windows Phones is that, unfortunately, the community of players on this platform has become too small for us to support.

We thank all Windows Phone players for their continuous engagement in Dungeon Hunter 5, and want to offer them the possibility to migrate their progress to Windows PC, or to an iOS/Android device, in order to continue playing with the most recent content and events. Dungeon Hunter 5 will still be available on Windows Phone for those who choose to remain on this platform, with all its current functionalities, but will not receive updates,” Gameloft said in a statement.

Gameloft recently released a new game for Windows Phone and PC, despite saying it wouldn’t do so. But now as Windows Phone platform is no longer being supported, more and more users are likely to quit the platform for Android or iOS, as a result Gameloft will also not release any new games for Microsoft’s mobile platform.