Weekend Recap: Azure global outage, Windows 8.1 Update 3, Surface Pro 3 vs Macbook Air, and more
This week has been quite interesting in the world of Microsoft. We’ve covered a lot over the past week and chances are you most likely missed an important piece of news. Let’s take a look back in a feature we call “Weekend Recap,” highlighting the popular stories from the past week.
At the start of this week, we introduced you to five-year-old Ayan Qureshi who is known as the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional in the world. Becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional is no easy task, let alone if one is only 5 years old! But that’s exactly what young Ayan Qureshi managed to accomplish.
We offered a quick hands-on look at the new HP Stream 7, which runs Windows 8.1. A full review of the device will be coming shortly, but so far we like it!
Marcus Ash, Program Manager for Cortana at Microsoft, spoke about a number of different topics regarding Cortana in an interview posted by the company earlier this week. The interview asks Ash a number of questions about Cortana, and how Cortana will fare in the future. Speaking of Cortana, Microsoft recently updated the Help+Tips app on Windows Phone adding Cortana integration.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 went head-to-head against the Macbook Air in a new video advertisement this week. Microsoft’s video advertisements against Apple products have really been hard-hitting as of late. You can watch that video below. Speaking of the Surface Pro 3, it recently made Time Magazine’s list of 25 best inventions of 2014. How cool is that?
We learned this week that in an effort to save its loss-making business, chip-maker Intel will merge its cash-earning PC processors and the loss-making mobile processors divisions. As a result of the transition, the company will further blur the line between tablets and laptops.
Microsoft is currently testing out robot security guards at the Silicon Valley campus and they only cost $6.25 an hour. The machines stand at around 5 feet tall, weigh in the range of 300 pounds and are armed with a wide array of sensors and cameras, along with a rather large battery. With an running time of 24 hours, the robots are designed to carry out the mundane patrols that comprise much of the work of security staff and police around the world.
A brand new 5-inch Windows Phone device was spotted in development, but no one has any official information on what this new device could be. Is it a successor to the Lumia 1020? Speaking of brand new, Foursquare released a brand new redesigned app for Windows Phone this past week.
The Microsoft Band was back in stock at the online Microsoft Store for one day only and was immediately out of stock. The Microsoft Band is clearly selling like hotcakes. If you own a Microsoft Band, you will want the official companion app called Microsoft Health, which received a big update this past week.
Video is becoming more and more important when it comes to communication in this digital world. Companies use video for training, sharing information, and making announcements. Now Microsoft has enabled video through Office 365. These videos can be uploaded by employees and shared internally within the company between employees.
For those who don’t know, there were three updates on plan for Windows 8.1 this year. Each update was going to introduce new features to the operating system, preparing it for Windows Threshold. Windows 8.1 Update 1 landed first, and introduced a hefty amount of updates, but Update 2 didn’t. Microsoft may have changed their plans with these updates, but the November update (also known as Update 3) was released this past week.
OneStore is a new Windows Store coming in Windows 10 which works across all form factor devices. That includes PC’s, tablets, phones, Xbox and more. This past week, Microsoft further detailed its plans for the new OneStore, and how the new Store will be ready for businesses.
Microsoft announced the addition of high-definition images, image captions, and various other improvements to the Bing.com home page based on feedback. Speaking of Bing, Microsoft has been using the search engine as a crystal ball when it comes to sport events. Now Microsoft is stepping into the NFL playoffs to see how well Bing can predict the outcomes.
Feature of the week
Tired of your poor battery life on your Windows Phone device? Check out this cool feature which shows you how you can improve your Windows Phone battery life with just a few minor adjustments. Of course, if you have suggestions on ways one could improve battery life, please share your ideas in the comments below.
Big story of the week
Microsoft’s cloud service Azure was hit with an unexpected global outage on Tuesday November 18th. And this was no minor downtime. In fact, this outage affected various Microsoft products and services. For example, OneDrive would not let you see your files. Most if not all of Microsoft’s official blogs were down, and the Microsoft Band wouldn’t sync. Other services like the Tweetium app would not function properly, the Xbox Live service had some issues affecting online games and achievements on both Xbox 360 and the Xbox One, and the official DVLUP Windows Phone developer website was offline as well as other websites that were hosted on Azure.
THe next day, Microsoft issued a statement regarding the matter and offered an apology. “Yesterday evening Pacific Standard Time, Azure storage services experienced a service interruption across the United States, Europe and parts of Asia, which impacted multiple cloud services in these regions. I want to first sincerely apologize for the disruption this has caused. We know our customers put their trust in us and we take that very seriously.”
The disruption was allegedly caused by a bug discovered during a routine performance upgrade to servers, which then began to cause significant difficulties. Microsoft is still investigating the cause of the outage and is looking for ways to prevent it from happening ever again. As part of the apology, Microsoft is offering SLA Service Credits to those affected.
“We want you to know that as a customer impacted by this incident, there is no need to submit a Service Level Agreement (SLA) Claim. We will validate and proactively issue SLA Service Credits in the billing month subsequent to the incident. “Further reading: Azure, Bing, Cortana, HP, Microsoft, Microsoft Band, Microsoft Store, Office 365, Surface Pro 3, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone, Xbox One