Microsoft Kill’s It’s Windows Keyboard for iOS

Microsoft is removing Word Flow from the App Store. This means that the critically acclaimed keyboard app will no longer be available to iOS users who haven’t already downloaded it. And those that have face the prospect of Word Flow never being updated again. Because that’s how Microsoft rolls.

Having failed with their “Windows Phone” Microsoft began releasing several apps including Word Flow for iOS. Word Flow being a keyboard app designed to replicate the Windows Phone typing experience on your iPhone. Microsoft released Word Flow in April 2016, and gave it a major update adding GIF search and other features in August 2016. You can check out my April 25, 2016 review of Word Flow here.

Now, Microsoft is delisting Word Flow on the App Store. This means that while existing users will be able to carry on using Word Flow (without any future updates or support) new users are being denied the opportunity to try Word Flow out for themselves.

On the Microsoft Garage website, Microsoft describes the Windows Phone keyboard app as “an iOS app with a blazing fast keyboard that comes with search (GIFs, restaurants, and more), free customization options and includes Arc mode for comfortable one-handed typing.”

That one-handed typing is what separated Word Flow from the crowd. Once you got the hang of it Word Flow could speed up your typing, and all while leaving one hand free for other things.

Microsoft is advising Word Flow users to download SwiftKey instead because the former acquired the latter in early 2016. And this acquisition is probably why Microsoft is killing Word Flow in the first place. Let’s just hope the one-handed typing feature now makes it into SwiftKey.

Galaxy Note 7 Banned from Flights

This is a first. A smartphone has been banned from flights. Samsung’s much maligned Galaxy Note 7 has been finally put out of it’s misery with Samsung recalling these devices.

The US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have now banned the device on all flights �?to, from, or within” the United States – even if they’re turned off, and regardless of whether they’re on carry-on or checked luggage.

n fact, you can’t have a Note 7 at all if you’re so much stepping onto a flight, and if you try to sneak one in on checked luggage, you can face fines. Airlines are to deny boarding unless you rid yourself of your $900 device.

If you somehow do sneak a phone onto a plane, you will be instructed to keep the device off and on your person at all times, not in luggage.

The ban goes into effect today, October 15, at 12 PM ET. That’s not exactly much time to get the word out to every flier. Given 1 million people are apparently still using their Note 7’s, the TSA is going to have a field day with confiscated devices.

You can read statement in full at the source link below. And if you haven’t done so already, please just exchange your phone for something less incendiary already.

Black Friday Tech Tips

This week the holiday season officially gets underway with Thanksgiving followed by “Black Friday”. During the past decade tech stuff has taken up a greater role in the offerings provided by retailers and this year is no different. Here are some things to look for this year.

Buyer Beware

Be warned that what you are purchasing is not discontinued because it has suffered from bad reviews in 2014 or that it has been discontinued.

Early Bird Shoppers

When you see big discounts make sure you get to the store, or the Web site early. This is because retailers are often so eager to lure shoppers, Black Friday many times starts at midnight or even on Thanksgiving Day. Be aware of this because if the retailer actually begins their sale on Thanksgiving and you show up on Friday you may be out of luck.

Very Inexpensive Laptops

Perhaps this holiday season you are in the market for another laptop for yourself or a family member but you don’t want to break the bank. There are several good options here from the high to low end. There are many choices but here are two of my recommendations.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3– If you are looking for an high end laptop/tablet hybrid this is a great deal at $799.

For about half the price of the Surface Pro you can grab the HP Pavilion 15.6″ Touch Screen at $399.

Use Your Smartphones, Tablets and Social Media

Stores are now offering dedicated shopping apps, in some cases offering discounts and coupon codes. Sometimes this adds will direct you to “like” their add on Twitter or Facebook which often provides you with another discounted “code”.

iPhone Accessories Fire Sale

With the iPhone 6 out iPhone 5 accessories like cases, battery chargers and more can be found many times discounted, especially during the holidays.

Tablets for Every Budget

iPads are not discounted, but I have seen the Surface Pro 3 on sale for $799 at the Microsoft Store which is about a $100 price drop. There are also now a number of smaller, less expensive tablets available in the $200-$300 range which is amazing. These will usually be Android and Windows tablets. Of the two available today I prefer the low end Windows tablets as compared to the Android tablets.

Dell Venue 8 – A great Windows tablet for $199.

For a little more cash you can check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 which runs Android at $249.

Be Aware of “Leaked” Ads

Retailers often alter their sales as they learn what competitors plan on doing or as their inventory changes. So understanding this check the retailer’s ads you are most-interested in periodically.

Happy shopping and don’t forget to pick up a gift for your favorite tech guy!

FAA Looks to Expand New Cell Phone Use Policy

I have written about this story several times now and one final twist is here. I never accepted that mobile devices could impact airplanes in any meaningful technical way and I was thrilled to see that the FAA finally lifted that unnecessary restriction from passengers (on takeoff and landing). On a recent trip by air it was awesome to have US Airways simply direct everyone to switch their mobile devices to “airplane” mode for takeoff and again on approach for landing. The only restrictions at this point were the use of laptops (over 5lbs) which needed to be put away.

However it seems many are pushing for the use of “cell phone” while in flight. Now here – technology issues aside I believe that this should remain restricted. Airplanes are crowded places and the aggravation this will cause to those around someone carrying on a conversation (by phone) while in flight will more then likely lead to confrontations by frustrated passengers.

Regardless of my opinion here, the Federal Communications Commission is actually proposing a new rule, permitting cellphones in the air. Unsurprisingly, many, just like me are unhappy about the prospect of sitting next to a loud yapper for hours. However, help could be at hand, in the form of the Department Of Transportation. It may prohibit voice calls, for being unfair to consumers. I will stay on top of this ongoing story and keep you, my dedicated readers up to date. What do you think? Should we be allowed to talk on the cellphone while in flight?

Microsoft’s BIG Year – 2013

The year 2013 is really really important in respect to Microsoft’s future. Here are some of the highlight’s of what is happening in 2013 with Microsoft. Microsoft is obviously hoping that these new products will increase their presence in both our professional and personal lives.

Advertising

Microsoft’s advertising campaign is actually catchy & fun which is something that Microsoft has always struggled with. Microsoft’s new advertising campaign actually make me forget these 2 guys.

Windows 8

This new operating system which comes in various flavors will seemingly be everywhere next year. Windows 8 actually arrived in the last quarter of 2012. I have been using it for the past several months. This is a new and exciting operating system. Not since Windows 95 has Microsoft been this innovative. There will be surely be some push back from business. This is because it is so very different from prvious versions of Windows. However I believe it will actually be accepted in the business world much faster then Windows 7 was.

Windows 8 has 4 flavors. This will probably be somewhat confusing to the masses. This necessary due to the unique needs and abilities of each platform. However on the surface windows 8 will look and feel the same regardliess of the platform you are on.

Tablets

The Microsoft Surface is the first piece of actual hardware Microsoft has built on it’s own. This is big news on it’s own merit. I have not had a chance to actually use one of these yet and the reviews have been admittingly mixed. I believe that the mixed reviews are the result of the limitations of the “Windows RT” operating system. The RT version of Windows 8 is simular in nature as Apple’s IPAD operating system. Users are restricted to the APP store for applications. The Surface does come with Microsoft Office loaded however there is no Outlook. This is also be dissapointing to many.

However by the end of the year other manufactorer’s such as DELL and HP will be releasing their own Windows 8 tablets which will be running “Windows 8 Pro” as opposed to “RT”. This is the same version of Windows that PC’s will be running. This version of Windows provides the ability to install any application, from any source in addition to access to the APP store. These tablets will begin the merging of tablets and laptops for the first time. These next generation Windows 8 tablets are the ones which should find success and the ones I am most excitied about.

Smartphones

Windows 8 smartphones are about to hit the market. These smartphones have been receiving high praise from most in the tech world who have had a chance to use them. With RIM reeling, these Windows 8 phones will offer the professional a new opportunity to use a smartphone that has the fun factor while being a powerful work device. With Microsoft Office and SkyDrive built in working on the go will never be easier.

Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft’s newest version of Office will officially become available in early 2013. Their tablets and smartphones already have this built in. I have been using the “consomer preview” for months now. This new office is really a subscriber based solution with customers paying a small monthly fee for access. With your subscription, access to your files is available across all of these platforms. With SkyDrive access is available to your files on any PC, even without Office installed. Office 2013 also provides the ability to link social media servcies such as facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to your account.

I may not be 100% accurate in my 2013 prediction for Microsoft but one thing is for certain. Next year will be a truly busy year for Microsoft and it will be fun to watch to see what happens and how successful Microsoft can be.