Updates from Paul Spain

Microsoft Build – Windows 10 now installed on 270+ million PCs


This morning Microsoft Build kicks off in San Francisco at 8.30am (4.30am NZ time). I’m in San Francisco and will be sharing some of my impressions here on my blog.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella started his keynote asking many questions – such as whether technology helps our hinders our values, whether technology is helping or hindering privacy. And he answered those questions positively highlighting Microsofts mission to “Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”.

“We live in a mobile first and cloud first world” states Satya – it’s about the mobility of people across all their devices. Cloud is a new form of computing that enables this mobility.”

Nadella highlighted numbers – such as Microsoft Azure Active Directory being used by over 5-million businesses and Windows 10 now being installed on over 270-million users.

Terry Myerson showed off numerous improvements in ‘inking’ (drawing and writing on a tablet with a stylus) that are coming with the upcoming ‘Anniversary Update’ coming to Windows 10 as a free update in Winter (Summer in the US). Demonstrations should improved inking in Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator.

Other areas that have so far attracted attention:

  • Linux components such as the Bash shell is coming to Windows 10 (via Ubuntu) – and more shells coming soon
  • A converter to bring existing Windows applications and their installers to world of Universal Windows apps
  • The Universal Windows Platform means developers writing games can have the same code run on both Windows and Xbox One
  • Developers can convert their retail Xbox to a dev machine so they can test and run Universal Windows apps they are developing on their Xbox
  • Cortana and background music are amongst features coming to Xbox One in the upcoming Anniversary Update
  • Bots are becoming the new apps – and chat bots like the new browser
  • Cortana is the personal digital assist that is focussed on the user – not about a device – so it will work any device (Windows, iOS, Android)
  • The Windows 10 Anniversary Update improves Cortana – for instance developers can produce proactive ’Experts for Cortana’
  • Skype now has 300-million users and over 3-billions minutes of calls per month – and integration with external services and bots is now coming up – including integrations with Cortana, Slack, video text transcription (using the tech from Skype Translator), and things such as automated proactive suggestions (offer to add an event you’ve discussed into your calendar, offer to book you a hotel for a trip and automating the process, and offer to connect you with a close friend in a city you’re visiting).
  • Skype video bots will be coming with the new Skype Bot Software Developers Kit (SDK)
  • Skype for Hololens has been announced
  • Microsoft is launching ‘Cortana Intelligence Suite’ – a bot framework offering cognitives services and machine learning – to integrate with Cortana, Skype, Slack, Line
  • Microsoft has announced the Microsoft Bot framework – setup to integrate with integrate with systems such as Slack and Skype – and with Node.js or C#
  • Microsoft are making Cognitive Services available to developers – for instance advanced image recognition and voice recognition capabilities

(This blog will update – please refresh for further updates and also follow me on Twitter: @paulspain)

Speaking Dates

In February I gave the opening keynote at the Asia Pacific Podcast Conference with a talk about the Future of Podcasting. As organiser of the event it was great to be able to also share my views and interact with our guests from around New Zealand, Australia and the United States – including the Podcast Answerman Cliff Ravenscraft and broadcasters Kaitlyn Sawrey (ABC – Sydney), Megan Whelan (Radio NZ – Wellington), Jono Hutchison (TV3/Mediaworks) and Hugh Sundae (General Manager – 95bFM).

Coming up March 4 I’ll be at the Media Tech Pacific Conference hosting the closing panel discussion, and 11 April I keynote the Tech Soup New Zealand Conference in Auckland.

You can also hear me every week on NZ Tech Podcast and Radio Live’s ‘Your Technology’ with Karyn Hay. And of course you’ll regularly find me commentating on tech and business topics on TV and radio.


NZ Tech Podcast 211: North Korean Internet KO’d, NZ Broadband speeds ramp up, Tasman Global Access Cable

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To wrap up 2014 we discuss a strong increase in New Zealand’s broadband speeds, the Tasman Global Access Cable to link NZ and Australia from Spark/Vodafone/Telstra in mid-2016, Symantec security predictions for 2015, new tablet keyboards from Logitech, Sky TV’s Neon video-on-demand and Oculus new acquisition amongst other topics.

This episode of NZ Tech Podcast was hosted by Paul Spain (@paulspain) with guests Ross McDougall and Wal Reid. Supported by Vector Communications and published by NZ’s Podcast network – Podcasts NZ.

Get the Podcast here:

You can keep current with our latest NZ Tech Podcast updates via Twitter @NZTechPodcast, the website and facebook page.

Uber is in Wellington – and its free for now

I wrote about San Francisco’s Uber arriving in Auckland back in March – and already the service has expanded to Wellington. Currently operating on a similar trial basis as Uber did ahead of it’s full Auckland launch – a stage which the company call’s “Uber Secret”.

There’s a difference however. Rather than just a credit Uber launched with in Auckland they’re offering up to two free rides per person each week until 21 September. If you can get one that is – because there are not many Uber cars on the road in Wellington just yet. When I’ve checked it’s been about 50/50 whether or not one is available. And so far not much chance of getting an Uber ride from the airport.

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And best not to expect a free ride to Palmerston North or similar – the free rides are limited to the Wellington metro area only. It’s worth noting that at signup or after installing the app you can use a promo code/voucher for free credit. The UberNZ promo code currently puts up to $25 credit into new accounts – click through for $25 Uber credit code (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch)

The code UberNZ not only gives you up to $25 credit but also puts credit in my Uber account (thanks). With Auckland and Wellington now part of the Uber family, one has to wonder how far off a Christchurch Uber launch might be?

Update July 2015: Uber Christchurch is about to launch.

Topics I discussed on The Paul Henry Show, NZ Tech Podcast, Newstalk ZB

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This week was packed with a number exciting projects with the Gorilla Technology team and our clients. I also slotted in some media activities. That included my usual NZ Tech Podcast episode, along with a live interview on The Paul Henry Show with Rebecca Wright and an afternoon interview with Rachel Smalley on Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams Drive show.

I start next week with a Monday morning (8.15am) chat on TV3’s breakfast news show ‘Firstline’ with Sacha McNeil and Michael Wilson. Tuesday sees another episode of the NZ Tech Podcast – in this case with digital innovator Mitch Olson.

Later in the month I’m speaking at Media Tech Pacific Conference in Auckland – an event for those involved in the Broadcasting, Cinema/TV Production, and Digital Media industries across New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. The title for my presentation is ‘Internet Trends’ which gives plenty of scope to talk about past, present and future changes in the industry and my take on where things are headed.

NZ Tech Podcast 183: Computex Special – plus Apple WWDC and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 hands on

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This week I report back from Asia’s largest tech event – Computex Taipei. Featuring the latest news from Intel, Asus, Ford and NZ’s own Power by Proxi. Added to that is a first hands on experience of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and an update on Apple WWDC.

This NZ Tech Podcast hosted by Paul Spain (@paulspain) with guests from Intel, Asus, Ford, Power by Proxi and Microsoft. Published by NZ’s Podcast specialists – Global Voice Media.

Get the Podcast here:

You can keep current with our latest NZ Tech Podcast updates via Twitter @NZTechPodcast, the website and facebook page.