Archive for the ‘cloud’ Category

Flickr gives free accounts a few more days to save their pictures from destruction

February 7th, 2019
Flickr gives free accounts a few more days to save their pictures from destruction

Enlarge (credit: Randy Adams / Flickr)

Last November, photo-hosting site Flickr announced that it was going to slash the storage afforded to free accounts; they'd be capped at just 1,000 pictures each. Starting January 8 this year, free accounts with more than 1,000 pictures were rendered unable to upload any new images, and on February 5, the service was due to start deleting the excess images. Flickr intends to delete pictures working from the oldest to the newest until each account is brought under the threshold.

February 5 has come and gone, and so far nothing has been deleted. Deletion is still in the cards, but Flickr has extended its deadline to March 12, giving its users a few more weeks to rescue their pictures. The extension comes amid widespread difficulties with downloading pictures en masse from the site, especially among its very heaviest users. As Flickr's own help pages note, it can take as long as a week to package your pictures into a single downloadable ZIP file.

Alternatively, account holders can upgrade to Flickr Pro to safeguard their pictures.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in cloud, Flickr, Gaming & Culture, photography, premium | Comments (0)

Windows 7 enters its final year of free support

January 14th, 2019
Licensing and support lifecycles are not really the easiest topics to illustrate.

Enlarge / Licensing and support lifecycles are not really the easiest topics to illustrate. (credit: Peter Bright)

Windows 7's five years of extended support will expire on January 14, 2020: exactly one year from today. After this date, security fixes will no longer be freely available for the operating system that's still widely used.

As always, the end of free support does not mean the end of support entirely. Microsoft has long offered paid support options for its operating systems beyond their normal lifetime, and Windows 7 is no different. What is different is the way that paid support will be offered. For previous versions of Windows, companies had to enter into a support contract of some kind to continue to receive patches. For Windows 7, however, the extra patches will simply be an optional extra that can be added to an existing volume license subscription—no separate support contract needed—on a per-device basis.

These Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available for three years after the 2020 cut-off, with prices escalating each year.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in cloud, microsoft, patches, security, support, Tech, vdi, Virtualization, Windows, windows 7 | Comments (0)

Microsoft is putting together a Microsoft 365 subscription for home users

December 13th, 2018
Big white clouds against an azure sky.

Enlarge (credit: Patty's Photos / Flickr)

Microsoft has had success in the enterprise space with its Microsoft 365 subscription, which bundles Office 365, Windows 10, and remote management with Enterprise Mobility + Security. Its home-oriented Office 365 subscriptions have also been growing steadily, with 32.5 million subscriptions as of the company's most recent financial reports. And now Microsoft is planning to bring these things together with a Microsoft 365 subscription aimed at non-corporate users, reports Mary Jo Foley.

Microsoft 365 Consumer would be a subscription bundle with a consumer focus. Foley notes that there have been job advertisements alluding to such a product, and the move would seem to be consistent with the company's plan to re-engage with consumers. At its Inspire partner event earlier this year, the company said that it wanted to target "professional consumers" by offering software and services to enhance their "Modern Life and Devices." The meaning of this is not entirely clear, but it seems to mean that the company will continue to make its services work better wherever you use them (greater support for iOS and Android phones). Syncing and replication will ensure that your work and current context moves seamlessly between devices.

Less clear is what a Microsoft 365 Consumer bundle would actually include. Office 365 is an obvious component; it's already being sold to consumers, and it remains the heart of Microsoft's productivity vision. But beyond that? Windows 10 is, for home users, functionally free already. There have long been fears/rumors/speculation that Microsoft will move to a monthly Windows subscription model for consumers, but there are no signs that this is happening. Given the way Windows 10 has been positioned—the "last version" of Windows that will be updated and upgraded indefinitely—it's hard to imagine it ever happening.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in cloud, microsoft, microsoft 365, Office 365, Tech, Windows | Comments (0)

Microsoft wants Azure to be the multiplayer server solution for every platform

November 14th, 2018
<em>Sea of Thieves</em> is a game already using Azure for its server hosting and scaling.

Enlarge / Sea of Thieves is a game already using Azure for its server hosting and scaling. (credit: Rare)

Microsoft today launched a preview of PlayFab Multiplayer Servers, a new Azure-based service giving game developers dynamic, on-demand scaling of multiplayer servers.

Microsoft bought Seattle-based PlayFab earlier this year with a view to using it to expand Azure's reach in the gaming world. PlayFab is building all the cloud-based infrastructure needed for today's games: matchmaking (using the same algorithms as Xbox Live to try to group players of similar skill together), leaderboards, server hosting, player identity/profile management, commerce, and so on. Broadly speaking, the intent of PlayFab is to let games developers focus on their games, taking care of the server-side work for them. PlayFab's services are platform agnostic, and Microsoft has preserved this aspect: there are SDKs for Xbox, Windows, PlayStation, Switch, iOS, and Android.

At the time of the purchase, PlayFab ran atop Amazon's AWS. Some parts still do, but others have moved to Microsoft's own Azure. The Multiplayer Server feature, released in preview today, is one of the services on Azure. Microsoft has more Azure data centers in more parts of the world than Amazon or Google, which in turn means that Azure servers should generally be closer to where the players are. This should ensure lower latency and a better gaming experience for games on those servers.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in azure, cloud, development, Games, Gaming & Culture, microsoft, Multiplayer, Nintendo, playfab, PlayStation, servers, Sony, Switch, Tech, XBox | Comments (0)

Free Flickr accounts slashed to 1,000 pictures; the rest will be deleted

November 2nd, 2018
Free Flickr accounts slashed to 1,000 pictures; the rest will be deleted

Enlarge (credit: Randy Adams)

Venerable photo sharing site Flickr has announced that from January 8, 2019, free accounts will be limited to 1,000 photos or videos. Any content above that limit will be deleted, starting February 5, 2019, beginning with the oldest images first. To go beyond the 1,000 item limit, you'll have to pay $50/year for Flickr Pro.

Created in 2004, Flickr was bought by Yahoo in 2005. The original model was that free accounts were limited to 200 pictures, with payment required to go beyond this limit. During Yahoo's ownership, free Flickr accounts were made more and more capable, with the biggest change coming in 2013, when free accounts were given 1TB of total space. Yahoo was bought by Verizon in 2017, and in April of this year, Flickr was sold to SmugMug, another photo hosting site.

Flickr's new owners say that the change is being made to better concentrate on what Flickr should be: a community for photographers to store, showcase, and talk about their work. Expanding storage to 1TB for free accounts brought in the wrong kind of users—not people who loved photography, but rather people attracted by a large bitbucket they could dump files into.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in cloud, Flickr, freemium, Gaming & Culture, photography | Comments (0)