Posts Tagged

2019s

Pandemic will push Microsoft to repeat 2019’s major-minor Win10 upgrade cadence

Although Microsoft has not yet said how it will deal out the year’s Windows 10 feature upgrades, it’s becoming clear there’s next to no reason for the company to diverge from 2019’s major-minor cadence.

As the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to climb worldwide, and the disruption of modern life and business continues to sow chaos, 2020 will be a tough year no matter how one cuts it. In a time of unprecedented changes triggered by the novel coronavirus, there’s no rationale to change what worked for Windows 10 last year.

Microsoft, of course, will do what it wants – and commercial customers will have to deal with the results. But there are good reasons why the Redmond, Wash. company should seriously rethink any plan to mess with 2019’s release scheme.

First, a short recap of last year

For the two years 2017 and 2018, Microsoft’s Windows 10 feature upgrade practice consisted of two more-or-less-equally-robust refreshes containing new features and functionality. Those upgrades arrived in the spring and fall, typically in April and October, and were tagged as yy03 and yy09, respectively.

But last year Microsoft altered that schedule. The spring upgrade, 1903 was a feature-and-functionality refresh. But the fall’s 1909 was little more than a rerun of its predecessor, albeit with a small number of additional minor features. (It was so like the long-unused “service pack” concept Microsoft relied on through Windows 7 that older customers immediately labeled it as such.) The two, 1903 and 1909, shared the same code by October, allowing Microsoft to deliver the latter as a standard monthly update, which users who migrated from spring to fall could install much faster than a typical feature upgrade.

Pundits and news outlets, including Computerworld, labeled the 2019 cadence as “major-minor” to describe the volume of change in each and their relative value. Enterprises that deployed 1909 – under Microsoft’s policy, that version provided 30 months of support to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education, a year’s worth more than 1903 – were generally upbeat about the fall upgrade, simply because there was less to it.

Still, Microsoft has so far declined to say how it would deliver Windows 10 upgrades in 2020. Two feature-rich releases? Or one real upgrade and a follow-up that is one in name only?

The company hasn’t yet shown its cards.

Delay Windows 10 2004

Microsoft may have finished 2004, the year’s first Windows 10 feature upgrade, but it’s not announced when it will release it.

But really, what’s the rush?

While the moniker may foretell April as its release (or even May, acknowledging the company’s habit of delivering upgrades a month after the designation), there’s no reason why Microsoft couldn’t delay its delivery to the summer or even later.

Developers have already made moves like this: Google suspended Chrome upgrades last week; Microsoft quickly followed suit, saying it would do the same for its Edge browser. Microsoft also extended support for Windows 10 1709 to Enterprise and Education SKU (stock-keeping units) customers by six months, until Oct. 13.

All these calls were made because of the pandemic’s impact on business, motivated by developers’ own decisions to send workforces home and by the realization that upgrades are superfluous when a crisis is at hand. IT personnel have enough to do to keep the technological lights on and users don’t need the kind of stress a botched upgrade would provoke when there is already a stress surplus generated by the virus.

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” never made so much sense.

If Microsoft issues Windows 10 2004 later than its numeric name implies – mid-to-late summer, say, for argument’s sake – the need for another feature-filled upgrade during the remainder of the year falls to zero when next year’s 2103 should land in April.

A service-pack-esque release in the vein of 1909 would do just fine.

Why not just bag 2009 altogether?

If times are so tough that Microsoft shouldn’t go back to its 2017-2018 pattern, why can’t the company just forget about the fall upgrade and be done with it?

Microsoft can, of course. (It’s the one making the rules, and there’s no referee saying different.)

But the fall upgrade serves a crucial purpose under Redmond’s current policies: It’s the version that awards 30 months of support to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education customers. Sans Windows 10 2009, IT admins whose charges are running 1903 or earlier would be between the rock of no upgrade and the hard place of no security patches.

Enterprise/Education customers will not want to adopt a yy03 version because it offers only 18 months of support, far too little (as Microsoft acknowledged when it bent to customer pressure and debuted the 30 months nearly two years ago). But with 2009 out of the picture, the next fall refresh, a putative 2109, won’t be available until around October 2021, probably not reliable enough for businesses until early 2022.

Only Windows 10 1909 has an end-of-support date after that: Its retirement is currently to be May 10, 2022.

Expecting organizations to be able to migrate to a new version in just a few months? That’s a fool’s errand.

Dumping 2009 would put enterprises in a bind, not this year but at the end of the next and the beginning of the year after that (hopefully long after COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror). They would be forced to migrate to one of the spring upgrades and settle for just 18 months of support, knowing that they would have to shortly do it all over again.

By “shortly,” Computerworld means sooner than wanted. Let’s say Microsoft does scratch 2009. An enterprise with PCs running Windows 10 1809 would normally target 2009 as the replacement, aiming to upgrade every two years. But with Windows 10 2009 missing, the firm would have only poor choices, as the following figure shows.

No Windows 2009 IDG/Gregg Keizer

If Microsoft decides to simply not do a fall Windows 10 refresh, enterprises would have to depart from an every-two-year upgrade schedule.

More options for Microsoft

One option would be to accelerate migration to annually and upgrade to Windows 10 1909 starting in the last months of 2020 or the first of 2021. (Windows 10 1809 falls off support in May 2021.) Later, the company could return to the every-two-year tempo by moving from 1909 to 2109 during the opening months of 2022.

Another would be to deploy the delayed 2004 later this year, even though that version comes with only 18 months of support, then get back to a release with 30 months of support, such as 2109. Making that might be tough, though, as 2004’s support would expire just six months into 2109’s lifespan. (If Microsoft doesn’t shove 2004’s release back several months, this move would be impossible.)

A missing fall upgrade, even one in the mold of a feature-free service pack, would clearly ruin the rhythm businesses have set for managing Windows 10. That’s why Microsoft would almost certainly issue something other than 2004 this year.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



Source link

2019’s most important Chrome OS advice and analysis

More than any other platform, Chrome OS is in a constant state of evolution — and if you blink for a minute, you’re bound to miss some significant new improvement or addition.

I mean, heck, this past year alone, Chrome OS has gained a Virtual Desks system for advanced productivity, platform-wide support for a Chromebook-optimized version of the Google Assistant, and a host of smaller but no less significant Android-like additions. Google has also committed to stepping up its stance on software support for Chrome OS devices, and the makers of Chromebooks have started exploring some interesting new hardware options that could add an awful lot of appeal for business users. And, as usual, all of this fast-paced progress shows no sign of slowing down soon.

The best part? Whether you’re a new Chromebook convert or a Chrome OS vet, the ecosystem’s ongoing evolution means there’s always something new to learn and consider. So behold: some of 2019’s most useful and thought-provoking Chromebook tidbits. Catch up while you can and make sure you’re making the most of your work and/or personal technology.

Part I: Chrome OS advice

The most important thing to check before buying a Chromebook

Save yourself from buyer’s remorse by thinking through what a Chrome OS device-maker won’t tell you.

Chromebook cheat sheet: How to get started

Got a new Chromebook? This guide will help you navigate the ever-expanding world of Chromebook apps and figure out how to make the most of Chrome OS.

22 worthwhile ways to use Google Assistant on a Chromebook

Google Assistant is finally working its way into the fabric of Chrome OS, and it’s bringing with it some interesting new possibilities.

The smart worker’s guide to using a Chromebook offline

Chrome OS may be cloud-centric at its core, but you can get plenty accomplished offline on a Chromebook — if you set things up thoughtfully in advance.

10 easy steps to make Chrome faster and more secure

Looking to speed up Chrome? Give me 10 minutes, and I’ll give you a noticeably better browsing experience. (Note that these tips aren’t specific to Chrome OS, but they absolutely do apply to it.)

The smarter way to capture screenshots in Chrome

The next time you need to capture a screenshot in Chrome, this handy hidden command will be your new best friend.

Android apps for Chromebooks: The essentials

Turn your Chromebook into a uniquely versatile modern computing machine with these Chrome-OS-enhancing apps.

The best Linux apps for Chromebooks

Make your Chromebook even more capable with this carefully selected set of Linux apps for expanding Chrome OS’s potential as a business tool.

Part II: Chrome OS analysis

6 significant new Chromebook hardware trends

From extended keyboards to dual-purpose wireless charging panels, some interesting physical twists are on the horizon for our Chrome OS computers.

Making sense of Google’s Pixelbook strategy

The missing piece of the puzzle that explains Google’s curious-seeming 2019 laptop plan has finally fallen into place.

How Chrome OS Virtual Desks could change the way you work

A new feature now available on Chromebooks has tons of productivity potential. Here’s how you can put it to use.

It’s time to rethink the Chrome OS upgrade standard

Google’s handling of Chrome OS upgrades has long been an asset for the platform — but now, it’s starting to become a liability.

Google’s Chrome OS upgrade changes are a solid start

Following the publication of the previous story, Google committed to a more sensible approach for Chromebook software support. Huzzah! Now let’s see where it takes us.

And a bonus productivity-booster…

A simple way to supercharge Gmail snoozing

Make Gmail’s web-based snoozing feature far more powerful with this easy-to-implement efficiency-boosting enhancement.

And with that, we’ve reached the end of our 2019 Chrome OS coverage. What a ride it’s been, eh? Don’t unbuckle yet, though: If there’s one surefire prediction for 2020, it’s that we’ll have plenty more to discuss here in the ever-overlapping areas of Chrome OS and Android.

Enjoy the brief bout of quiet — ’cause it won’t stay that way for long.

Sign up for my weekly newsletter to get more practical tips, personal recommendations, and plain-English perspective on the news that matters.

AI Newsletter

[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



Source link

Download: Discover 2019’s Best Places to Work in IT

Computerworld‘s annual 100 Best Places to Work in IT list showcases the top 100 U.S. workplaces for technology professionals. Our 26th annual report ranks top organizations across the country that offer IT professionals challenging projects, robust salaries, superior benefits, flexible work/life options and unsurpassed access to training and career advancement opportunities.

To see which U.S. organizations are the Best Places to Work in IT and what it is that makes them such desirable places to work, read our special report in an enhanced PDF format that includes video content.

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

Go Team: It’s All About People

At Computerworld‘s Best Places to Work in IT, collaboration is more than just a buzzword.

Video: Some Head-Turning Benefits at Our Best Places to Work

When we say “superior benefits,” we mean it.

Profiles of Five Best Places

Want to know what it’s like to work at a Best Places organization? Read these profiles of five outstanding IT employers:

  • CarGurus: Its range of benefits is a draw for top tech talent.
  • Accelirate: With needed skills lacking in the labor pool, the company looks for candidates ready to learn.
  • Illumina: Empowering IT helps advance the company mission.
  • JPL: Workers have tools to “solve problems that no one else has solved.”
  • Owens Corning: A global company that still feels small.

Video: An Inside Look at 3 Best Places to Work in IT

What’s it like to work at a Best Place to Work in IT? We take you inside Kaiser Permanente, CarGurus, and Kronos and reveal what they’re looking for in new hires.

Rankings: The 100 Best Places to Work in IT

Browse our ranked lists of the top large, midsize and small IT employers in the U.S. in 2019.

Plus: see the top 10 organizations for benefits, retention, training, diversity and career development.

Video: What It Takes to Be a Best Place to Work in IT

A look at how leading organizations successfully attract, and keep, top-notch IT workers.

How We Chose the Best Places to Work

A look at the methodology that went into selecting the 100 organizations for our list.



Source link