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By Rich Woods
One of the brains behind Nokia Lumia PureView is coming to Microsoft's Surface imaging team
by Rich Woods
In the days of Windows Phone, Nokia was the leader, but it didn't just sell the most Windows Phones. It had the best cameras too, and if you were a Nokia Lumia fan, you knew it. One of the guys behind Lumia PureView was Ari Partinen, and he's returning to Microsoft.
Well, more specifically, he's joining Microsoft. You might recall that back in 2014, Microsoft purchased Nokia's devices and services division. While one of the PureView chiefs, Juha Alakarhu, actually stuck around at Microsoft until mid-2016 when it was clear that Windows phones weren't going to be a thing anymore, Partinen left right away. He actually moved on in May 2014, right after the deal closed on April, and he actually joined Apple.
But now, he's at Microsoft, and he's joining the imaging team for Surface. He made the announcement on Twitter today (via Windows Latest).
If there's one thing to hope for out of this, it's that a better camera is going to arrive in a future iteration of the Surface Duo. In fact, we know that Microsoft is looking for someone to do it from job listings. Unfortunately, there's only so much the camera can be improved before physics becomes the barrier. The Surface Duo is incredibly thin, and since the camera is on the inside of the device, there can't be a camera bump.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft outlines what's next for the PDF reader in Edge
by Rich Woods
Today, Microsoft published an update to the roadmap for the PDF reader in its Edge browser. Indeed, the company is constantly adding new features to it, and it does update the roadmap from time to time.
The firm said that most requested features are available now across Windows, Mac, and Linux. These include things like support for a Table of Contents, page view, and filling basic forms when it comes to reading and navigation. For annotation, you can now ink in a variety of colors, and you can easily take text notes on a PDF. There have also been a variety of features for enterprise and education, like Read Aloud.
And then there are the features that are on the way. One big one is called view recovery, and what this does is it remembers the place where you were last reading the document. This might be especially useful if reading a book-sized PDF. You're also going to be able to view MIP files protected in other tenants, and validate certificate-based digital signatures.
That's all of the stuff that the team is currently working on, but there's more that's coming later. Microsoft is planning to add PDF file previews to the File Explorer and Outlook, and there's going to be support for adding textboxes for form filling. You'll also be able to view labels of protected files, validate ETSI digital signatures, and of course, there are accessibility improvements on the way.
Naturally, Microsoft didn't say when these features are rolling out. Obviously, the ones that it's working on now will arrive first.
By Abhay V
Windows Terminal Preview 1.7 improves window management, settings UI, and more
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft today announced a new preview release of Windows Terminal, bumping up the version to 1.7. This also means that version 1.6 is now being made generally available. As for version 1.7, the company is bringing a bunch of improvements to the newly added settings UI, enhancements to windowing, and the usual crop of bug fixes.
The biggest additions come to windowing, as the tool now lets users choose where a new terminal instance launches thanks to the ‘windowingBehavior’ global settings. The options include the ability to open a new window in an already existing terminal instance or a new window. There are three available options and they can be found on the Startup page of the new settings UI.
The tool is also getting a ‘newWindow’ action that allows users to open a new window through keyboard shortcuts. Additionally, there are new arguments for commands to choose between the windows that one wants to interact with. For example, users can open a new tab with the default profile in the current window or in a new window.
Another interesting addition coming with version 1.7 is the read-only panes feature. As the name suggests, users can prevent input into panes by using the 'toggleReadOnlyMode' action, letting them avoid untoward key presses when a build is in process. Currently, there are no shortcuts assigned to it. The tool is also getting the option to automatically move focus to a pane by hovering on it with a mouse. This setting is present in the Interaction section of the settings UI or can be enabled using the 'focusFollowMouse' action. It is set to false by default.
Next up are improvements to the new settings UI. The UI is now being made the default for Preview users. However, not all options from settings.json are available in the UI yet, and the firm is requesting feedback on users’ preferences on GitHub here. As for the improvements, there’s a new Actions page to list all the keyboard shortcuts, a redesigned Color Schemes page that aims to be less cluttered, and enhancements that make it easy to use with a screen reader or the keyboard alone, improving accessibility.
Other changes coming with version 1.7 include JSON fragment extensions support, a new centerOnLaunch setting to always launch the terminal in the center of the screen, a new action for search that allows users to search between the next and previous matches, and a few bug fixes.
Here are the miscellaneous improvements made for the release:
And here are the bug fixes:
Those that installed Windows Terminal from the Microsoft Store should be able to update to the latest version automatically. These updates can also be installed manually from the GitHub page here that contains both the preview version and the version being made generally available.
Games with Gold: Metal Slug 3 and Warface: Breakout are now free
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Sticking to the schedule Microsoft announced last month, the first wave of the March Games with Gold has landed heralding a double drop of bonus games to Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game pass Ultimate members. The two games available now are the Xbox One title Warface: Breakout and the Xbox 360 title Metal Slug 3.
Warface: Breakout is available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, while Metal Slug 3 is up for grabs across the Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
Use the store links below to add the titles to a Gold activated Microsoft account:
Warface: Breakout (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S)
Metal Slug 3 (Xbox 360, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)
Those who haven't yet managed to claim Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition from the previous Games with Gold promotion still have two weeks left before the game is replaced by the next Xbox One Gold game, Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse.
As always, keep in mind that Xbox 360 games claimed via these promotions will continue being playable even if the Gold subscription is discontinued. However, claimed Xbox One games are only playable while the account has an active subscription to Gold.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft job listing hints at 5G and a better camera in the next Surface Duo
by Rich Woods
Microsoft first announced the Surface Duo in October 2019, showing a video where something in a bag rang, and immediately the crowd knew that the long-awaited Surface phone had arrived. While it was planned to launch in the holiday 2020 season, it arrived over the summer, but it definitely had some shortcomings.
It included a Snapdragon 855 chipset, which was last-gen even then. However, it's entirely possible that the reason was because a Snapdragon 865 would require 5G and reworked antennas. The camera also wasn't impressive, packing a low-end 11MP f/2.0 sensor, and being that the device itself is so thin, there's only so much z-depth that the camera can possibly offer.
According to a job listing that was spotted by Windows Latest, both 5G and a better camera should be coming in the next model. OF course, none of this is surprising, as the new Snapdragon 888 comes with an integrated 5G modem and a separate 5G modem is a requirement for the Snapdragon 865, 865+, and 870. The job listing calls for someone with experience with 3GPP standards and 5G radio technologies.
And then there are the camera improvements, where apparently, Microsoft will be using machine learning and artificial intelligence for better image processing. While this will certainly help with a camera that's mediocre even in broad daylight settings, there's only so much that image processing can do to overcome the barriers set by entry-level hardware.
Other than that, there's not much to say. Again, this stuff isn't surprising, but it's nice to see that Microsoft is working on solving the weaker points of the Surface Duo's hardware.