News you need to know
Microsoft shows off the future of Windows
This week, Microsoft unveiled what Windows 10 is going to look like for consumers and it's looking promising. The company is taking all the mistakes it made with Windows 8 on board and actually starting to listen to customers.
The new Start menu adapts to the type of device you're on and combines the old-school start menu with the modern look, just like it should have been when Windows 8 launched. Microsoft is also adding Cortana, its voice assistant to the desktop and a new browser, codenamed Spartan, which will be the focus instead of Internet Explorer.
The biggest (and perhaps most unexpected) news was Windows 10 will be free for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users.
I was impressed by the announcement; it feels like Microsoft has finally delivered what everyone actually wanted. If you want to try the new Windows you can download a preview version for free, today.
BlackBerry CEO Wants Legislators To Make Developing BlackBerry Apps Mandatory
If it wasn't obvious enough that BlackBerry is failing, the CEO said this week that he wants the government to force developers to build applications for BlackBerry devices. He says that "applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system.”
SpaceX Sells 10% Stake to Google, Fidelity for $1 Billion
Google this week put money into a $1 billion financing round for Elon Musk's SpaceX. On the surface, that sounds odd but with SpaceX working to build out the internet in space over the next few years, it makes sense for the company to jump onboard. Google is working to bring the internet to remote places and this deal may just help it achieve that.
How the Rise of a Mega Solar Panel Farm Shows Us the Future of Energy
This great long read looks at Californian mega solar farms that are working to provide a minimum of 33% of the state's energy consumption. The sheer scale of these places is mind boggling.
Traveling and photography
A great piece that looks at telling stories through photos, the equipment used to do so and how to improve your own shots. The way Paul presents his photos is lovely; I'm hoping to start putting my own photo story site online, rather than just uploading individual shots.
What the Web Said Yesterday
Can the entire Internet be archived? How do we keep track of how it changed over time? This is a great look inside the work the Internet Archive does to preserve as much of it as is possible.
The Button That Isn't
You know how in every movie that deals with bombs or nuclear war, there's a big red button for unleashing it on another country? That doesn't actually exist in the real world. So... where did that myth (that won't die) come from?
Google’s Secret Study To Find Out Our Needs
Fascinating article about a program Google runs with around 1,200 participants. It asks them at random points during the day what they need, so the company can learn how best to serve them.
Project HoloLens: Hands-On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles
If you had told me Microsoft was going to unveil holograms at its Windows event, I probably wouldn't have believed you. The company showed off a wearable that overlays 3D holograms on the real world, which you can interact with with your hands.
The device looks like a pair of goofy goggles, but has a whole computer onboard and allows you to interact with the superimposed things almost like they're real objects. A demo showed an engineer exploring a scale 3D model and another where the user is playing Minecraft in the real world.
It's only a prototype right now, but we're truly starting to move away from simply using screens for computing, which is exciting.