Today we’re taking a peek at Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox Series X on its initial debut for consoles. This is the first time the game is available on a platform other than desktop – it was first released (in its current modern form) for Windows 10 in the year 2020. At that time it was instantly regarded as a … Continue reading
“Discovery” flights, a brand-new MSFS feature in its console version, begin in mid-air in scenic locales with pre-populated weather and lighting settings. All of them are a visual treat. The following gallery was captured in real-time on Xbox Series X.
When I think of the history of game consoles, I think of flight simulators.
Nintendo in particular has leveraged the “Pilotwings” name not once, not twice, but thrice to show off brand-new tech over various generations. I have long loved that approach. Pilotwings games err on the side of minimal challenge and maximum relaxation, arguably to let players calmly absorb the newest 3D-rendering tricks of each era.
I think about that strategy now because Microsoft Flight Simulator is launching on Xbox Series X/S this week. Since it’s roughly eight months out from those consoles’ launches, it doesn’t count as a “launch” game. But Microsoft Flight Simulator is honestly the first true “next-gen” first-party console game in Xbox’s latest era. Part of that next-gen quality is because this game, unlike other first-party fare, has no “backwards compatibility” path to the older Xbox One family.
Ever so quietly, Microsoft dropped a new operating system out in the wild. No, not Windows 11. Microsoft created its own Linux Distribution. And while you might be tempted to crack jokes that Microsoft hates Linux, this is a big deal. Especially for anyone who relies on Red Hat or Suse.
Microsoft’s new Linux Distro, dubbed Common Base Linux (CBL)-Mariner, isn’t the type of distro you’d want to install directly on any old machine. It’s primarily meant for cloud infrastructure and edge products. Specifically Microsoft’s Cloud and Edge products.
But if you are curious, it’s possible to run. Juan Manuel Rey, a Microsoft Senior Program Manager for Azure VMware, recently published a guide to ISO CBL-Mariner image. With that, you can easily get it up and running. And you can build CBL-Mariner on an Ubuntu 18.04 desktop. So you can try it out, but that’s not the real purpose here.
It’s not a guarantee yet, but with CBL-Mariner, Microsoft could bring what it does best in Windows to Linux—Patch management and distribution. Windows updates might be a hated affair in the consumer world, but in the enterprise area, Microsoft wins points for predictability and reliability. You can carefully install updates, see what they do, roll them out to many machines at scale as you see fit. While Red Hat and Suse provide well-respected distros and some support, they don’t go anywhere near as far as Microsoft. And few other Linux companies (if any) can claim to support on the same massive scale as Microsoft.
It’s a compelling argument for anyone managing servers, especially lots of servers. The biggest reason to go with Windows server management tool is the superior server management processors, but Windows presents its own problems. Linux bypasses many of those issues but lacks the same patching capabilities. But with CBL-Mariner, you can have the best of both worlds. World-class server management capabilities with strong provisioning support for both Unix and Windows and the ability to skip Windows if you need.
It’s hard to overstate the complexities in patching Unix servers compared to the Windows equivalent; it’s a job often done by multiple people on the former end and sometimes handled by just one on the latter. And most people wouldn’t notice as Microsoft quietly became one of the largest Linux distributors in the world. The hard part will be winning over the community. But recent decisions, like letting GitHub live on its own without much control, may help.
It’s too early to say that Microsoft will definitely go in this direction yet, but it’s making all the right moves to enter the Linux Enterprise space. And possibly own it. Companies like Red Hat should probably take notice.
Windows 11 is the buzz of the tech world right now. Its elegant user interface and inspiring themes have received plenty of eyeballs. Whether or not you intend to upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10, so many changes are in the cards based on the insider previews. These aren’t just typical Microsoft updates but significant new features designed for greater productivity, collaboration, and security. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest improvements you can expect in Windows 11 as a Windows 10 user. Related: 10 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade to Windows 11 1. Better Organization… Read more
With the number of exploits springing up around Windows 10, it’s no wonder Microsoft is issuing an update with Windows 11 later this year. Recent exploits have been print-related. Microsoft is now recommending that users disable the Windows Print Spooler after the third exploit in five weeks was discovered. Discovery of Most-Recent Print-Related Exploit Jacob Barnes, a Dragos security firm vulnerability researcher, discovered the most recent print-related exploit. This flaw concerns a vulnerability in the Windows Print Server. An executive summary of a talk Barnes will be giving on print driver vulnerabilities explains, “What can… Read more
Clearly the quickest way to bypass Microsoft facial recognition, no?
Biometric authentication is a key piece of the tech industry’s plans to make the world password-less. But a new method for duping Microsoft’s Windows Hello facial-recognition system shows that a little hardware fiddling can trick the system into unlocking when it shouldn’t.
Services like Apple’s FaceID have made facial-recognition authentication more commonplace in recent years, with Windows Hello driving adoption even farther. Apple only lets you use FaceID with the cameras embedded in recent iPhones and iPads, and it’s still not supported on Macs at all. But because Windows hardware is so diverse, Hello facial recognition works with an array of third-party webcams. Where some might see ease of adoption, though, researchers from the security firm CyberArk saw potential vulnerability.
That’s because you can’t trust any old webcam to offer robust protections in how it collects and transmits data. Windows Hello facial recognition works only with webcams that have an infrared sensor in addition to the regular RGB sensor. But the system, it turns out, doesn’t even look at RGB data. Which means that with one straight-on infrared image of a target’s face and one black frame, the researchers found that they could unlock the victim’s Windows Hello–protected device.
For years, Microsoft’s vision was “[a] computer on every desk, and in every home, running Microsoft software.” But now, Microsoft is a very different company. And with its latest moves in Xbox and Windows, Microsoft’s new vision is clear: “Windows everywhere, even without a single PC in the home.”
You may have heard (or experienced for yourself) that Windows 11 Home edition won’t let you set up your computer without signing in to or creating a Microsoft account. If that worries you, you should also know that Linux never requires anything of the sort.
In an internal memo from 2005, Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie details how an always-accessible, cloud-based Windows desktop will one day transform the technology industry. His vision is coming to life more than 15 years later with Windows 365, a subscription service that lets you stream a powerful Windows desktop to any device—yes, even your iPad.
Of course, you may know Azure as the backbone for Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly xCloud), a service that beams demanding console games to phones, tablets, and any other device you can think of. Windows 365 is simply the next step after Xbox Cloud Gaming. If you can stream a AAA game to any device, why not do the same with a super-powered, cloud-based desktop?
In that vein, Windows 365 is actually very similar to Xbox Cloud Gaming. Users can access their Cloud PCs from any device with a modern web browser, so long as they have a decent internet connection. And like cloud-based games, Cloud PCs retain their open apps and activity even as you jump between devices. For example, apps you open in Windows 365 on your iPad will still be there when you use the service on a laptop.
Cloud PCs sound incredibly convenient, though the main benefit may be power and speed. Subscribers can pick how powerful they want their Cloud PC to be and run apps that are too demanding for their real-world computer or tablet. And as Microsoft demonstrates, its Cloud PCs can reach internet speeds up to 10 Gigabits, making for a lightning-fast browsing or file transfer experience.
The idea behind Windows 365 isn’t exactly new, and several cloud-based “virtual PC” platforms have launched over the last few years. But unlike Shadow or Microsoft’s own Azure Virtual Desktop, the new Windows 365 platform is easy for individuals or large businesses to manage. It’s not a niche product—that’s why it carries the same “365” moniker that Microsoft slaps on its modern Office suite. (Although I should clarify that Windows 365 is based on the Azure Virtual Desktop platform.)
Business and Enterprise editions of Windows 365 will launch on August 2nd. Companies will pay a flat rate for each Windows 365 license that they use and can pick from 12 different Cloud PC configurations to give their employees. This system should be familiar to businesses that currently pay for Microsoft 365 services.
Unfortunately, we have no idea when Microsoft will sell Windows 365 subscriptions to individuals. But that may not be a bad thing, as this service likely costs more (in the long run) than a high-end PC. If you’re an enthusiast who wants to try Windows 365, you’ll have to find an employer who’s willing to pay for it, at least for the time being.
There’s a new vulnerability in Windows 10 called “PrintNightmare.” It was revealed in early July 2021, and Microsoft is already rolling out an emergency security update to fix the problem. You should update as soon as you can.