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Bill Gates blames himself for Microsoft losing the Android war

Bill Gates may not have been Microsoft CEO when Android arrived, but the outspoken billionaire still counts the software giant’s failure in the smartphone segment as his “greatest mistake.” While Microsoft may have had its own phone OS, in the shape of first Windows Mobile in 2000, and then Windows Phone in 2010, despite heavy investment the platform never managed to be anything other than a third option in the iOS vs Android war.

Indeed, though it may have beat Android to market by years, Google’s platform quickly rose to the challenge. In 2007, for example, Windows Mobile had a whopping 42-percent of market share for smartphones in the US. After the first Android device launched in 2008, however, the trajectory sharply declined. By 2010, Microsoft’s platform was down to 7-percent, dropping to 3-percent the following year.

Gates left Microsoft in 2000, leaving Steve Ballmer at the helm. However he’s not letting that stop him from taking some responsibility for how the company failed to rise to the smartphone challenge. Speaking in an interview with Village Global, The Verge spotted, Gates described not preparing Microsoft as his biggest failure.

According to the former CEO, “the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is.” Google’s OS went on to be “the standard non-Apple phone platform,” Gates observes.

Unsurprisingly, one of the constant criticisms that Windows Mobile and then Windows Phone faced is a key reason for why Gates believes Microsoft struggled and, eventually failed in the segment. A shortfall in apps – particularly key software that was available for iOS and Android, but not for Windows Phone – always hamstrung the company. That’s despite Microsoft even offering to pay some developers to create apps for its platform.

“If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom,” Gates says, on the fierce competition to be the “other” platform to Apple’s iOPS. “There’s room for exactly one.”

While Gates may be willing to shoulder much of the blame in how he set Microsoft up to compete in mobile, that’s not to say the company’s management fared much better once he left the CEO’s office. With Steve Ballmer at the helm, Microsoft paid a whopping $7.6 billion for Nokia’s smartphone business, only to pretty much consistently fail to capitalize on the brand name, technology, and design talent it had acquired.

It’s unclear how Microsoft could change that situation at this point in the game, or indeed if it even has the motivation to do so. Windows 10 Mobile, the last iteration of its smartphone OS, will be considered end-of-life by the time 2023 is through. Meanwhile Microsoft has found a successful and lucrative niche in providing software for both iOS and Android, bypassing the headaches of developing its own OS by betting on the idea that owners – and particularly enterprise customers – will want desktop-class services such as Office on their phones.

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The Civil War In Color

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Photographs from the American Civil War have a funereal air to them. Add color to these historical artifacts, and a weird thing happens: they spring to life. And in doing so, they almost seem more mundane. Jordan J. Lloyd, of digital image restoration company Dynamichrome, has added color to a selection of Civil War photographs. Consider it a reverse Instagram–rather than filter modern images through the amber lens of the past, Lloyd strips away all the nostalgia, leaving pictures that just feel strangely normal.

Three Confederate Prisoners, Gettysburg 1863

Original photograph, on the left, by Mathew Brady. Lloyd added the clouds, since the original photographic technique washed out the sky.

Idaho Governor Caleb Lyon

Lincoln appointed Caleb Lyon governor of the Idaho Territory in 1864, and he remained at that post throughout the Civil War. As governor, he signed a treaty with the Shoshone nation, though Congress never ratified it. Apart from that, his biggest historical impact is probably proposing the California State Seal. When colorizing the image, Lloyd adapted the color scheme from Rembrandt’s 1641 portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck, a wealthy cloth merchant.

Union Captain Cunningham

Taken in Virginia in 1863, this image was recorded on glass, using the collodion process. In the collodion process, a glass plate is coated with one chemical solution, then placed into a solution of water and silver nitrate. After that, the coated plate is removed and placed in the camera, where it’s exposed to light, and developed on the spot by the photographer in a portable darkroom.

Union Captain Cunningham, Colorized

Artifacts of the glass plate can still be seen in the colorized version, with an unusual streak effect inside the tent.

Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg and Staff

Also made with the wet plate collodion process. Taken in June 1862, Brigadier General David Gregg is the man seated with the giant beard. He commanded the Federal Second Cavalary Division, and in the picture you can see the division’s guidon, or special unit standard. A West Point graduate, Gregg spent most of the war countering the cavalry of his former classmate, Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart, and was sometimes successful.

Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg and Staff Colorized

The reds of both Gregg’s chair and guidon for a striking contrast to the Union blues that otherwise dominate the image. With color added, and the artifacts of the original image smoothed away, the image suddenly feels less historical. Are these the soldiers themselves, or just a really good group of re-enactors?

Microsoft, Intel: The Time For 64

SAN FRANCISCO — Two of the biggest forces in the IT industry called on developers to begin porting their applications to x86-based 64-bit architectures.

Microsoft and Intel said hardware and software pieces are in place to convert the computing industry away from a 32-bit Wintel ecosystem to a world where all platforms, from servers and workstations through desktop and mobile, can run at nearly twice the speed with a larger address space.

“The message is: Develop for 64-bits now. The transition is underway,” Pat Gelsinger, a former CTO at Intel, said during his keynote at the Intel Developer Forum here. Gelsinger also said by the end of the year, about 100 percent of servers Intel ships will come with Intel’s EM64T 64-bit addressing.

Jim Allchin, Microsoft vice president, joined Gelsinger on stage with a message to developers that Microsoft would release its first Windows x64 Editions in a month. Microsoft also said it would stand by Intel’s latest virtualization technology as well as its I/O Acceleration Technology (I/OAT) in a future version of Windows Longhorn Server.

I/OAT is expected to debut in 2006, starting with Intel’s Blackford chipset for its two-socket Xeon processors, code-named Bensley. The two companies first teamed on 64-bit architectures when Microsoft debuted Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000 running on Intel Itanium-based systems.

“We are locked on 64-bit,” Allchin said. “We like multithreading, we like virtualization and we like [multiple processor] technology.” Allchin warned that developers would still need to convert the drivers under the new architecture. A lengthy process to be sure, but one that Microsoft said it would begin addressing during its WinHEC conference next month in Seattle.

The prospect of Microsoft and Intel talking up 64-bit chips, dual-core architectures and virtualization may seem abrupt, given that six months ago, Intel executives were telling customers the time was not yet ripe to begin porting applications to 64-bit. So what’s changed?

According to IDC analyst Roger Kay, it’s a combination of Microsoft getting closer to finishing its Longhorn operating system, the completion of technologies like Intel’s I/OAT and Virtualization, and AMD .

Kay, who is also a member of the Longhorn beta process, said Microsoft must be closer than people give them credit for, based on the amount of activity discussed between mailing list servers.

“It used to be more sporadic when I’d get these requests to download a build and try it out. Now they are coming two or three at a time,” Kay said.

While PC gamers cry out for 64-bit systems and help drive more adoption, Kay said another possible driving force in the transition is digital photography. The amount of computing power it takes nowadays to edit video or layer effects for photography is staggering, he said. Kay recounted a personal experience where he could not transfer or even play a video he uploaded to his PC because the 4GB of memory was not enough.

Even though Microsoft has abandoned its plans to develop separate versions of Windows XP for workstations, the No. 1 software vendor said it will continue supporting licensing policies that are based on processors and not on cores.

Gelsinger said even though Intel is focused on Windows this week, the company would not be exclusive with its 64-bit development and would continue to add support to non-Windows operating systems like Linux distributions from Novell and Red Hat.

The 8 Best Selfie Apps For Android

Selfies are  a great form of expressing self love, and a handy way of taking a picture with someone else if you want to be in it as well. The best Android smartphones now come with features that allow you to take good quality selfies even in insufficient or bad lighting conditions. 

However, if you don’t have a phone with a fancy selfie camera, you can use one of the apps that specialize in improving the quality of your selfies. Here are some of the best selfie apps for Android that we found.

Table of Contents

Price: Free.

Best for: Adding masks and filters to your selfies.

People tend to think of Snapchat only as an Instagram-type app for sharing pictures and videos with your friends. However, Snapchat is a great app for taking selfies and enhancing them with the various lenses, emojis, filters, masks, and fonts. The app even allows you to create your own filters if you don’t find what you need on Snapchat.  

If you don’t have it installed yet, you can download Snapchat for free from the Play Store. 

Using Snapchat for taking selfies is easy: Open the app and take a picture as you normally would, using a mask or a filter. Then add text or effects if you like. You can choose to save your Snapchat selfies to Memories or Camera Roll, and then access them in your phone’s gallery. 

Price: Free.

Best for: Taking selfies in low light conditions.

Taking good looking selfies requires good lighting. If your phone doesn’t have the right hardware for taking selfies in low light conditions, Front Flash is a must have.

Price: Free.

Best for: Taking Instagram-friendly selfies.

Afterlight is a photo-editing app that every Instagram fan will appreciate. The editing tools and the overall style of the app is similar to that of Instagram, but Afterlight offers many more editing options. 

If you’re looking to improve your selfies by adding a filter or a texture to it, you can use dozens of unique filters available on the app. Afterlight has frames that are the same format as the ones on Instagram, so you won’t have to crop the selfie to fit the Instagram square. 

Price: Free.

Best for: Taking and editing group selfies. 

YouCam Perfect is probably one of the top selfie apps out there. There isn’t much this app can’t do when it comes to taking beautiful selfies. YouCam Perfect has a real-time beauty camera with special effects designed to enhance your selfies. You can use this app  to take a photo as well as a video-selfie. 

One of the best features this app can offer is the ability to use the beauty camera to take group selfies. It automatically recognizes all of the faces on camera and applies enhancing filters to all of them at once. In case you want to edit someone out of the picture, you can use the app to remove them from the frame. 

Price: Free.

Best for: Taking silent selfies.

Candy Camera is a perfect selfie app for when you need to take a sneaky selfie without anyone around you noticing. The app has a silent camera feature that allows you to take pictures without any sound, even if your phone isn’t in silent mode. 

Aside from the silent camera, Candy Camera has a number of beauty features for enhancing your selfies, like face slim, whitening, smoothing, makeup and more. You can even use this app to add some tan or abs to your pictures. 

Price: Free.

Best for: Removing annoying objects from your selfie’s background. 

PhotoDirector is an AI-powered photo-editing app that can help take your selfies to the next level. One of the best features of PhotoDirector is the Object Removal tool. You don’t need to worry about other people or background objects ruining your selfie, as you can later remove them from the picture using this app.

*06_photo director*

PhotoDirector also has a beauty editor with auto skin toning options, as well as some cool filters and effects to spruce up your photos. 

Price: Free.

Best for: Creating selfie GIFs.

Retrica was originally the photo-editing app that specialized in filters that helped add retro style and atmosphere to your pictures. Now the app offers over a hundred different photo filters that add more texture and color to the photos. 

One feature that makes Retrica truly stand out among the other selfie apps for Android on this list is the ability to create GIFs. Now you can use Retica to create a GIF from a video or an image easily.

Price: Free.

Best for: Putting a smile on your selfie.

FaceTune2 is a selfie editor that has it all. You can apply filters to your selfies, remove blemishes, smoothen your skin, whiten your teeth, and change the shape and size of some of your facial features. You can even tweak your smile to make your selfie look friendlier.

Aside from the beauty options, you can use FaceTune2 to accentuate certain details of your photo, blur the background, and change the lighting of the picture. 

The Best Sleep Tracker Apps For Android

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

A good night’s rest is crucial to one’s fitness journey. Those who don’t get enough may not feel great during the day. Smartphones can help you understand why. Most fitness trackers or sleep tracker apps let you track how much sleep you get every night. Others record your snoring, and some even make you put your phone in the bed to see how often you toss and turn. From there, you can go to a doctor to get help or adjust your sleep habits accordingly. In any case, these excellent sleep tracker apps should help you get started.

The best sleep tracker apps for Android

Host of customizability.

Puzzle dismiss feature.

My Day dashboard.

Alarm Clock Xtreme has a lot going on. It’s technically an alarm clock app. However, it also comes with sleep tracking features. It features a variety of alarms. The idea is to help people who have trouble waking up by giving them a bunch of different ways to try. It’ll save what time you go to bed and wake up every morning. It’ll even analyze your sleep quality as well as quantity. They’re not what you’d think of when it comes to sleep tracker apps. However, it doesn’t do half bad.

BetterSleep

An extensive list of sleep sounds.

Records audio while you sleep.

Includes alarm.

BetterSleep is one of the better holistic sleep tracking solutions. Not only does it keep tabs on your shuteye, but it also records sounds you make or disturbances in your environment. This can be anything from talking to coughing to farting. BetterSleep focuses on helping users fall asleep faster. It includes sleep sounds, sleep stories, hypnotic content that’ll put you in a slumber-ready trance, and more. Users can also mix their own sleep tunes within the app. The only mark against it is its relatively steep price compared to other apps on this list.

Do I Snore or Grind

Unobtrusive snoring and grinding tracking.

Ability to add external factors and remedies.

Built-in alarm.

Do I Snore or Grind is a simple sleep tracker app. It simply finds out if you snore or grind your teeth in your sleep. The free version allows for up to five nights of recording. The pro version removes that limitation. Some other features include tips on reducing both grinding and snoring, as well as complete offline support. The app is usable in airplane mode if need be. You can use the app with your remedies to see if they’re effective for you or not. It won’t track your sleep as in-depth as other apps, but it can help fix some of the sleep problems you may be experiencing.

Google Fit

Price: Free

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Completely free.

Supports several wearable devices.

Plugs into a host of third-party apps.

Google Fit seems to do just about everything. It will track your activity, steps, calories, and even your sleep. The app is fairly basic. You just do things and enter them into the app as needed. The app then spits out your progress. The app comes with integration with a ton of other services. They include Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal, Lifesum, Sleep as Android, and several types of fitness trackers. It even works with Wear OS devices. It’s one of the better sleep trackers, especially if you use it with other apps.

PrimeNap

Great sleep monitor with sleep debt analysis.

Added dream journal with dream monitoring.

PrimeNap is the second rebranding of this app. However, despite its new digs and name, the app is mostly the same. It features detailed graphs, a sleep debt analysis chart, alarm clock functionality, and even some extra stuff like a dream journal and a noise machine function. It also boasts minimal permissions and no subscriptions, both features that we appreciate. It’s relatively new, at least compared to others on this list. However, it seems to work quite well.

Sleep as Android

Price: Free / $3.99 per month / $19.99 annually / $39.99 once

Smart wake feature.

Sleep tracking using ultrasonic signals.

Puzzle alarms.

This is one of the original sleep tracker apps on mobile. It’s been around long enough to mature into something really special. It’ll track your sleep cycles like normal. It also supports Wear OS and Galaxy Watch devices. The app can also integrate with Google Fit and Samsung Health. It can play binaural tones to help you sleep. It’ll even act as an alarm clock that makes you solve a captcha before the alarm turns off. The free version is a two-week free trial. After that, you’ll have to pay for it.

Sleep Cycle

Smart wake-up feature based on sleep cycles.

Useful “asleep after” timer.

Online backup feature.

Sleep Cycle is one of the more expensive sleep tracker apps. The free version has a fair set of features. It’ll try to wake you up when it senses that you’re ready to. It also offers sleep analysis, nightly sleep graphs, and various alarms. The premium version includes additional features. Some of it, like the Philips Hue integration, is for iOS only. We thought that was lame. The premium version is a $29.99 per year subscription. We don’t know if it’s worth that. The free version is nice, though.

SnoreLab

Price: Free / $3.99 per month / $11.99 per year

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Pure snore recording app.

Nifty trends screen highlights potential issues.

Journal for monitoring factors.

SnoreLab is one of the more unique sleep tracker apps. As its name suggests, it’s completely focused on snoring. It’ll detect when you do snore, log the times, and then record you doing it. It’ll also measure the intensity, frequency, and more. You can even log when you’ve been doing things like drinking to see their effects on your snoring. It’ll email the sound files to you as well for easy reference. It won’t give you graphs based on your N3 deep sleep cycle, but it’s amazing for snoring.

Fitness band apps

Assassin’S Creed Unity Issues: Ubisoft Blames Amd

Assassin’s Creed Unity issues: Ubisoft blames AMD [UPDATE: Ubisoft recants]

UPDATE: Ubisoft has now made clear that issues this week do not stem from any one piece of hardware – noting specifically that they did not mean to imply that AMD was the source of the troubles they’ve been having.

“As previously reported on the Assassin’s Creed Live Updates Blog, our team is furiously working to resolve bugs and performance issues for Assassin’s Creed Unity on all platforms.” Ubisoft continued, “On PC, some media outlets have misinterpreted a forum post indicating that we were working on resolving issues that were AMD-specific. We apologize for any confusion and want to be clear that we are working with all of our hardware partners to address known issues that exist across various PC configurations.”

In our Assassin’s Creed: Unity Review you’ll find us giving the game a lower-than-usual score. Not because the game isn’t beautiful – it certainly is – but because after Black Flag, especially here with out-of-game purchases and sign-up incentives running rampant, Unity isn’t all that it could have been.

Ubisoft seems to be suffering a blow in the stock market as a result of launch-day woes. This image was captured at 5:35 CET on the 12th of November, the a bit over a day after the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

Our review is based entirely on the Xbox One version of the game at the time this article is published. It will continue to be this way until we can get the PC version of the game running successfully.

Thus far we’ve seen many of the issues spoken about in Steam – lagging menus, very poor frame rates, and crashing. A shocking 62% of reviews on steam – out of well over 700 reviews – are currently negative for this game.

A community manager by the name of “UbiJohkr” on the official Assassin’s Creed Unity Forums suggested the following bit on the PC performance thus far:

Another complaint was lodged earlier today by Twitter user Antonio Jesús Villarán López, saying, “@Ubisoft, #ACUnity is a beautiful game, I’m enjoying so much, but please, fix bugs, app companion and initiates.” Ubisoft responded:

“Hi Villarán, we are aware of these issues and our teams are working on fixing them. Glad you’re enjoying the game!” – @Ubisoft

Uplay services were out on and off throughout the day today, with @UbisoftSupport suggesting services would be back up this afternoon. Downtime is currently unknown – though not unexpected as the first couple of days after a major game launch can be taxing on any server system.

Below you’ll find a Unity “Glitch Compilation” as created by Crashinside3 Station. We recommend you TURN OFF THE SOUND because it’s Barbie Girl by Aqua. Unless you’re in the mood, of course.

Ubisoft forum member Tr4sh99 discovered the latest version of the game for PC to be October 29th, 2014. This suggests that the delay of the game earlier this year was not necessarily for updates to the game itself, but for elements outside development.

ChangeList:1034362;Version:]DEV;Branch://assassin/acu/pc;Project Name:ACUPC;Time:Wed Oct 29 06:10:55 2014;SDK:N/A;Exec:scimitar_engine_win64_f.exe;MD5:7e5e74e86c7 797ac5484bdfb53572a99 found in folder AC4BF[0]-tm_

Let us know if you’re having problems with Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and we’ll be continuing to try to get the PC version of the game to work long enough to capture gameplay.

Also PLEASE feel free to speak up if you’re on the other side of the fence. If you’ve had nothing but a great time playing Unity so far, by all means, speak your mind!

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