Windows 10, Redstone 4 released

 

Windows10Microsoft continues their march with semiannual release schedules for Windows 10 in their “as-a-service” model.  For three years they have followed their release scheduled in the spring and another in the second in the fall.

But inevitably, there are a handful of users who experience difficulty during the upgrade.  This is due to the millions of configurations that exist and the complexity of making a product like Windows 10 work on the vast majority of them.  If you are excited to get your hands on the new features, before jumping on the installation process, make sure your machine can actually run the latest operating system version. – PC Periodicals: Windows 10 update is here, but can your PC run it?, George Cox, PC Periodicals

If you meet the basic requirements you shouldn’t be seeing many issues, if any.  Although upgrading first in a test environment may be the best approach regardless.  George Cox, above covers this well in the article I linked above.  These requirements are: RAM: 1GB for 32 bit, 2GB for 64 bit; Hard disk space; 16 GB for 32 bit, 20 GB for 64 bit; CPU: 1GHz or faster; Screen resolution: 800 x 600; Graphics: Microsoft DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver; and Internet access.

This update, code-named Redstone 4, has been building up since last August and seems to include many feature refinements and usability improvements.  Redstone 5 (build 17672) is already in the Windows Insider program for review.

Getting back to the latest public release, there seems to be an many areas of improvement with areas such as, the touch keyboard, handwriting features, advancements with the Edge browser and Windows Shell.   Some of the new additions in this release were additionally covered in Microsoft’s build conference keynotes and repeated in the conference agenda.

I like the newly added OpenSSH feature.  One of the most popular tools typically in Linux/Unix is now included within Windows 10.  Now having a native Secure Shell(SSH) within Windows, you no longer have to find a solid third party app to run.  Those not familiar with these tools (ex. Putty), enables developers and administrators to use secure remote login, remote file transfer, and public/private key pair management with any system with an OpenSSH server.  Steven Vaughan-Nichols has posted a nice article explaining this new feature.

Timeline, seems to be an interesting new feature, has a ‘card’ like UI and adds to a view of browser history with tracking file and (Microsoft) application use. Some limitations, but definitely something to grow upon.  The other nice feature here is the ability to expand this history across multiple devices you are using (including other Windows PCs and iOS/Android devices).  This is certainly a nice trend I am seeing from Microsoft, Apple and others. You can easily invoke the Timeline feature by pressing the Window key + tab.

 

Brien Posey, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, has posted online that Timeline has a potential privacy hole.  This is solely This feature can be turned on or off using the “Activity History” item under the Windows 10 Settings menu. You can also remove individual items in your Timeline by right clicking and choose ‘Remove’.

A feature I find not as interesting to me is ‘Focus Assist’.  Maybe it is because I am not living in the social media world as close as many others, but for me turning my phone over, silencing it, etc is good enough.    It seems to work much like the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on my phone, where we can carve out periods of the day to not get interrupted. And just like the phone feature, we can create exceptions so that notifications from certain people will get through. One benefit though is that once your protected time ends you will get a summary of the notifications that you missed.  Maybe I need to explore a way to schedule protected times while at work and coordinate a release time while I am on a break, taking my health insurance mandated ‘steps’, etc.  I will have to play around with this some more.

Another feature in this release is ‘Dictation’.  It seems to work like a normal dictation, but like the Windows key + H shortcut to enable the feature.  What are your thoughts on this? Have you tested it out yet? I need something like this with iPhone while driving.  Ask my ‘digital assistant’ to start dictating my ideas as I drive so I am driving safe and keeping my brains safe by releasing the ideas out.

Updates to Cortana permits users tell smart devices what to do. It currently works with thermostats from “ecobee, Honeywell, Nest Learning” and more, according to the announcement.  At some point all of the ‘smart tech’ collides across multiple platforms and becomes a mess.  Not only will it become confusing or ineffective, but I believe the mass becomes a potential privacy and security risk due to not being able to hone in on a single platform to monitor for risk along with the ease of use, etc.

Microsoft Edge has a few improvements, including but not limited to, updating the Reading View feature to display your history pages in full-screen mode. Users also can use Edge to display PDFs and e-books in full-screen view.  There is also an optional grammar tools feature, which will break the words on a Web page into syllables and highlight the parts of speech (nouns, adjectives and verbs), an audio icon that appears on browser tabs has been turned into a toggle switch. Users who have a bunch of browser tabs open can just click on the audio icon to turn off unwanted sound.

There are many other features that work well, and some partially in certain circumstances, etc.  I see these as DIY work where you tear down a wall that separated two small rooms to open a larger more pleasing space, but still a lot of work to perform to get the room done.

 

‘Near Share’ feature lets Windows 10 users exchange files with PC users in their vicinity via Bluetooth. You can now wirelessly share files and URLs to nearby PCs using the new Near Share feature. Of course both parties need to have this feature loaded (build 17035+) and enabled.

Other features including updates with fonts, eye control improvements, Startup Settings, Themes, storage settings, sound and many others.

Definitely a long list of updates, many items to test and document the use cases if deploying in your business environment.

I like the new schedule format and that batch of updates contained within each release.

Redstone 4 will be followed by another release code-named “Redstone 5” in the later part of 2018. This early in the year, it might be too early to forecast exactly what Microsoft has planned for this second release, though there’s at least one feature that Microsoft has already bumped from Redstone 4 and into Redstone 5. “Sets,” which first cropped up last November in a Redstone 4 build, is a workspace-management interface that revolves around tabs. Microsoft described Sets as a way “to make sure that everything related to your task: relevant webpages, research documents, necessary files and applications, is connected and available to you in one click.” Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it was pulling Sets from future Redstone 4 builds, though it will restore the feature in a “post-RS4 flight.” Presumably, that means Redstone 5. – The 2018 Microsoft Product Roadmap, by Gladys Rama, May 17, 2018

What are your thoughts on this release?  Come across issues after deploying? Noticing some potential privacy and security issues?

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