Tag Archives: microsoft

The Microsoft HoloLens Is Like An Augmented Reality Holodeck

HoloLens Builder

The floor, couch, table and walls are real. The Minecraft stuff is not.

HoloLens in the kitchen

The TV is a hologram, too

This January, Microsoft announced the most exciting thing they’ve created since the Kinect: a combination of the Oculus Rift and Google Glass called HoloLens. Except that unlike Glass, you’re not meant to wear it in public and open yourself up to ridicule and beatings; and unlike Rift, you’re not cut off from the world and placed in a (possibly disorienting) purely virtual one.

HoloLens is a set of goggles with a built-in computer which places holograms directly in your environment. So through visual trickery, you could look at your empty desk and actually see a 3-D hologram of a block of marble on it, then sculpt it into the Venus de Milo. Or you could play a game where the characters jump on your couch. Or see a screen on a blank wall. Take a look at the concept videos:

The thing is very much a prototype now, with the promise that it will be available “in the Windows 10 timeframe”. Developers and partners are supposed to get access to it this spring, but it’s not likely to be on the open market until 2016.

Wired tried it out and really liked it — they had nothing but good things to say. Engadget was a bit more real and said that in its current state, it sucks for two reasons: the prototype is heavy, hot and uncomfortable in general and the software is demo-quality only, not fully-fledged consumer-grade functionality. They did acknowledge that it has some great possibility, if Microsoft does it right. So if and when it gets there, it should make for a very, very cool gadget to get instead of the a differently-sized iPad or a smartwatch.

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From Microsoft, via Laughing Squid

Apple Co-Founder Likes The New Windows Phone

Steve Wozniak, known by nerds all over as “Woz”, was the technical brains behind Apple. He and Steve Jobs first started building computers in Jobs’ parents garage: Woz knew the electronics and technical details like the back of his hand, while Jobs had good taste. The two Steves grew apart over the years, and Woz stayed on at Apple for a couple years after Jobs got fired in 1985. Being a fabulously wealthy nerd, he now consumes all the gadgets he can. His favorite phone is the iPhone, but he also has a few Androids and likes that you can tinker with them more than you can with the iPhone.

Well according to a new interview, he also has the new Windows phone (Nokia Lumia 900), whose interface he likes so much that he thinks Steve Jobs may have reincarnated at Microsoft. And he definitely prefers it to his Androids, but not his iPhone. With this kind of endorsement, maybe mobile Windows isn’t dead yet — much to the chagrin of the Blackberry crowd.

From SoundCloud, via iMore

After 15 Years, Microsoft Finally Gets Its Hands On Netscape

The history of Netscape is a lot like that of the phoenix:

  1. the company started in 1994,
  2. released the first successful web browser a year later,
  3. made billions,
  4. attracted competition from Microsoft in the form of Internet Explorer,
  5. lost that war in 1997, and
  6. finally, just four years after its IPO, capitulated and sold to AOL.

But, like the phoenix, that’s not where the story ends: just before selling to AOL, the source code was openly released to the public, where it languished in the mediocrity it had become. A few years later, a couple of developers at AOL-owned Netscape began trying to improve the bloated code base and created a project called Phoenix. That name got into trademark trouble with another company, so they changed it to Firebird; but, it turned out that name was taken by another piece of software, so in 2003 they changed it one last time, to Firefox.

Mozilla Phoenix Logo, which later became Mozilla Firefox


It turned out Firefox was trademarked too, but in the meantime, AOL had created a non-profit called the Mozilla Foundation to handle such matters. (The name Mozilla is a contraction of “Mosaic Killer”, and was Netscape’s code name all along — Mosaic, being the original web browser and competitor which Netscape did indeed kill. However, Microsoft then licensed Mosaic and turned it into Internet Explorer.)

Firefox became a hit, and is probably the most widely-known open source project ever created. Mozilla continues to develop it, and in fact most of its budget comes from Google, as compensation for making them the default search engine in Firefox. Over the next few years, Firefox was single-handedly responsible for eroding the almost complete monopoly over the web which Microsoft’s Internet Explorer had come to enjoy.


In 2008, Google released their own web browser called Chrome. (They’ve also continued to fund Firefox all along.) Since then, Internet Explorer’s share has been further cut in half, from 70% before Chrome was released. Yesterday, however, AOL announced that it sold a billion dollars’ worth of patents to Microsoft; word has it that among those patents are ones from Netscape. If true, Microsoft now holds patents to its web browsing competitor Firefox, which is funded by Google, which in turn makes the remaining of the three major browsers. And that would mean that the byzantine history of web browsers — Mosaic got killed by Netscape, which got killed by Internet Explorer (which came from Mosaic), which got killed by Firefox (which came from Netscape), whose patents are now owned by Microsoft — is going to keep getting more interesting

One last thing worth mentioning is that the guy who created Netscape, Marc Andreessen, became a multi-millionaire from doing so and now invests his money into tech startups for a living. His most lucrative one: an early investment in Facebook.

From All Things D, via Slashdot