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By Rich Woods
Windows 10 is getting rid of the 3D Objects folder soon
by Rich Woods
One of the really big pushes around Windows 10 has been mixed reality. It started six months ahead of the release of the OS, when Microsoft announced HoloLens and a special version of Windows 10 called Windows Holographic. But that wasn't the end of the company's 3D ambitions, because a couple of years later, it actually added the Windows Mixed Reality shell into the OS.
Prior to that, the firm introduced an array of VR headsets that would start at $299, a very low price for the time. And around the same time, Microsoft introduced Paint 3D to Windows 10, and at the time, Paint 3D was actually planned to replace Paint.
Around this time, a folder called 3D Objects was added to the OS, because Microsoft truly believed that consumers would be interested in this stuff. And now, that folder is going away, signaling an end to the giant mixed reality push. The change showed up in yesterday's Windows 10 Insider Preview build (via Windows Latest), which was build 21322.
Sadly, Microsoft's mixed reality plans never took off, at least from a consumer perspective. In the enterprise, customers have found some important use cases for it, as we've seen from products like HoloLens 2 and newer Windows Mixed Reality headsets that are aimed squarely at businesses. But for things like Paint 3D and using the Windows Mixed Reality shell in Windows 10, it turned out that it didn't have the future with consumers that Microsoft thought it would.
PowerPoint's Presenter Coach is now available for Office Insiders on Mac
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft has announced that its Presenter Coach feature for PowerPoint is now available for Office Insiders enrolled in the Beta channel on macOS devices. The feature was first announced almost two years ago, and it relies on artificial intelligence and speech recognition to help users improve their presentation skills so that they're more engaging and efficient. It also came to Android last year.
Essentially, Presenter Coach listens to what the presenter is saying, and it tries to catch common malpractices that make a presentation less appealing. If the user makes long pauses during the presentation, for example, or if there's constant reuse of sounds like "um", the PowerPoint's Presenter Coach will let them know so they can address it. It also detects monotone speeches that can make a presentation less interesting.
To use Presenter Coach on PowerPoint for Mac, you'll need to head into the Slide Show tab and choose Rehearse with Coach. The feature requires a stable internet connection and, of course, a microphone, be it the one built into your device or an external one.
Currently, Presenter Coach is only available for Office Insiders on macOS running version 16.27 (build 21021100) or newer. It also only works in English for now, though Microsoft says more languages will be supported down the line.
AdDuplex: Windows 10 version 20H2 hits 20%, version 2004 still the most used
by João Carrasqueira
As we near the end of February, AdDuplex has released its latest monthly report on the usage share of different versions of Windows 10. As always, the report is based on data collected from 5,000 Microsoft Store apps that are using the AdDuplex SDK v.2 or higher. Around 80,000 PCs were surveyed, and the data was collected throughout February 24.
As more time passes from the release of Windows 10 version 20H2, the update is spreading to more users, and it grew by about 3.2% to reach 20% usage share. That's a nearly identical growth to what we saw last month, but it also means version 20H2 is spreading more slowly than version 1909 did a year ago. In February 2020, that update was already on 22.6% of Windows 10 devices.
In fact, version 1909 remains ahead of version 20H2 right now, with 26.8% of Windows 10 users still running that version, though this is a significant drop from the 31.2% usage share it had last month. The most used version is still with May 2020 Update, or version 2004, which even increased its usage share from 39.8% to 41.8%.
Older versions of Windows 10 only saw very slight changes in their usage share. The May 2019 Update (version 1903) dropped from 6.6% to 5.8%, and versions 1809 and 1803 both dropped a decimal point to 1.4% and 1.7%, respectively. Versions prior to that also dropped by 0.1% collectively, with Insiders conversely growing by 0.1% to reach 0.3%.
Looking at the data trends from the past few years, it's evident that version 20H2 is taking slightly longer to expand its market share than past releases have, but it's not a drastic difference. It should continue to grow steadily until version 21H1 is released in the next couple of months.
By Hamza Jawad
Power BI On-premises data gateway February update released
by Hamza Jawad
Image via Microsoft Power BI (YouTube) After wrapping up last year's Power BI updates, activity on Microsoft's data visualization and analytics platform front slowed down due to the holiday season. Today, the Redmond firm has released the latest version of the Power BI On-premises data gateway, after its last release in December introduced a new Azure Cosmos DB connector.
The first change this time around is fairly straightforward. The name of the aforementioned connector has been renamed from DocumentDB - the name it was launched with last year - to Azure Cosmos DB. This change will be visible to customers under the heading of the "data source type" in the data source settings.
The deprecation notices that were handed out with the last update are also being reiterated, as they will be coming into effect this month. For one, support for the use of gx64krb5 to undertake Kerberos single sign-on (SSO) in the process of creating SAP BW data sources is being discontinued immediately. On a similar note, support for the use of OpenSSL while creating SAP HANA data sources with SAML single sign-on is also being deprecated at the same time. Although existing connections will be supported, new ones cannot be created now, and the CommonCryptoLib is recommended for use instead.
Moving on, the Gateway install will also require the .NET 4.8 framework in all versions starting now. As always, reports published to the Power BI Service and refreshed via the Gateway will adhere to the exact same query execution logic/run-time as in this month's Power BI Desktop version.
The Standard Mode installer for the latest version - 3000.72.6 - can be downloaded here, while the Personal Mode installer can be downloaded here.
Surface Hub starts getting Windows 10 Team 2020 Update
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft started rolling out the Windows 10 Team 2020 Update for the Surface Hub 2S last week, starting with Germany and the Netherlands. The update spread to Hub 2S users globally starting yesterday, and today it's time for the original Surface Hub to get the update.
The update is available for both the 55- and 84-inch models of the original Surface Hub, as long as you have enabled full telemetry on the device. Right now, the update will be available in a few countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and UK. Starting next week, on March 2, it should be available in all markets around the world.
The update can be downloaded from Windows Update and Windows Update for Business, but you can also download the Surface Hub Recovery Tool and use it to get the update immediately. This might be the best method if you want to avoid enabling full telemetry on the device.
Microsoft notes that the update will be rolled out over the coming weeks, so it may take some time for it to show up on every device. This should help prevent any issues from spreading to every user. It's a good idea to check out the known issues with the Windows 10 Team 2020 Update before making the jump. Also, keep in mind that version 1703 will only be supported through March 16, so you shouldn't wait too long to update.