Microsoft Makes Money on Office and the Cloud

MicrosoftAzure and Office 365 offset declines in the PC market, but the company’s phone efforts continue to be a drag

Infoworld – By Blair Hanley Frank – “Microsoft’s ongoing move to the cloud paid off once again over the past quarter, as strong growth from Azure and Office 365 offset declines in the PC market.

The company announced on Thursday that its quarterly revenue for the three-month period ending in September was flat overall at $20.5 billion. The company’s net profit was down 4 percent year-over-year from $4.9 billion to $4.7 billion.

Those results were driven by quarterly revenue from the company’s Intelligent Cloud segment, which includes Azure and Windows Server, and its Productivity and Business Processes segment, which includes Office 365 and Dynamics. Intelligent Cloud revenue grew 8 percent year-over-year to $6.4 billion, while Productivity and Business Processes segment revenue grew 6 percent to $6.7 billion.

It’s another positive sign for the cloud-focused strategy that the company adopted under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella.

Azure revenue grew by 116 percent year over year, and Microsoft revealed for the first time that its profit margin from its cloud platform is 49 percent. The company continues to keep the exact revenue and profit numbers from its public cloud platform under wraps, however.

Office 365 commercial revenue grew 51 percent year-over-year. Microsoft reported it now has more than 85 million commercial monthly active users of its cloud-based productivity suite as a service offering.

Surface sales were another bright spot for Microsoft. The company’s line of tablets and laptops brought in $926 million over the past quarter, compared to $672 million during the same period in 2015. Phone revenue continued to drag the company down for another quarter, however — revenue from that division dropped by 72 percent year-over-year.

Microsoft’s non-GAAP results of $22.3 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.76 a share blew past analyst expectations for the quarter. The consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was an expected $21.7 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.68 a share. Investors rejoiced at the news, sending the company’s stock to an all-time high above $60 per share, beating a previous high set in 1999.”

Geek Software of the Week (Linux Edition): rEFIt!

Yes, it is no longer under development, but it still works on old Macs!

You can use rEFIt to manage partitions on your old Mac to convert it to boot Ubuntu Linux! I did on my Mac Pro 1,1 2006 system!

Burning a CD

If you just want to try out rEFIt without affecting your computer, you can burn rEFIt to a CD-R (or CD-RW) and boot from that. The distributed .dmg and .cdr disk images are ready to burn. See the burning instructions for details.

Automatic Installation with the Installer Package

Both disk image distributions (.dmg and .cdr) also contain the new installer package. It will install rEFIt on your Mac OS X installation volume and make sure it is active. This is now the recommended way to install and use rEFIt.

The steps to install rEFIt this way are as follows:

Download and mount the rEFIt-0.14.dmg disk image.
Double-click on the “rEFIt.mpkg” package.
Follow the instructions and select your Mac OS X installation volume as the destination volume for the install.
If everything went well, you’ll see the rEFIt boot menu on the next restart.

Manual Installation on the Mac OS X volume

If you don’t want to use the installer package, you can do a manual install instead. This section explains how to do a manual install to your Mac OS X installation volume, which requires no additional volumes or disks. It is possible to install rEFIt elsewhere; see the following sections for that.

Here are the steps for a manual install:

Download the ‘Mac disk image or any of the other two binary distributions from the home page. Double-click to mount or unpack them.

Copy the ‘efi’ folder from the rEFIt distribution to the root level of your Mac OS X volume.
Open Terminal and enter the following commands:

cd /efi/refit

When prompted, enter the password for your user account.

If everything went well, you’ll see the rEFIt boot menu on the next restart.

Note: If you get a message saying ‘No such file or directory’ in the last step, then you didn’t put the ‘efi’ folder in the right place in step 2.

This manual installation method has a drawback that you should be aware of. Since you’re not using rEFItBlesser, Mac OS X updates will disable rEFIt, and the rEFIt menu will show up even when waking from Safe Sleep.

Installing on a separate volume or external disk

If you’re uncomfortable with having rEFIt on your Mac OS X volume, you can install it on any other volume, as long as it is formatted in the HFS+ (“Mac OS Extended”) format. For example, you can install rEFIt on a USB flash drive.

The installation procedure is basically the same as explained above — copy the ‘efi’ folder to the root of the volume, and run ‘’ inside the ‘efi/refit’ directory. The path in Terminal will be different, for example ‘/Volumes/MyStick/efi/refit’ if the volume is named ‘MyStick’.

If you want, you can use the provided ‘rEFIt.icns’ icon as a volume icon.

Installing on the EFI System Partition

It is also possible to install rEFIt on the hidden ‘EFI System Partition’ on your internal disk. This is recommended for advanced users only, and will not be detailed here. You will need to use bless with the –mount and –file options. Consult the man page for bless for more information.”

Geek Software of the Week: 7Zip!

7Zip Compression Tool

7Zip Download

FreewareFiles Editor’s Review – “7-Zip is a free zip program that is compatible with different file and archive formats, including the advanced 7z compression format. People commonly associate file compression with ZIP file format but there are actually many other formats out there, and it is good to have a single program that can handle most of them.

Compatible Formats

For compression and decompression, 7-Zip is compatible with 7z, TAR, ZIP, BZIP2 and GZIP. The program can also unpack many other file formats, including CAB, CPIO, ARJ, CHM, ISO, DEB, MSI, DMG, LZH, HFS, RAR, XAR, UDF, RPM, WIM, Z AND NSIS.

The program can be used to compress many file formats, including text and image files.

Compression Ratio

7-Zip generally compresses files better than other compression programs. For example, the program compresses 65MB of such easily-packed files as DOC to about 6MB while zipping the same files via Windows Explorer creates a zip archive of more than 8.5MB.

However, the free zip program does not compress JPEG files as well but remember that these files are already compressed anyway. The best compression results are achieved when native creating 7z files.


7-Zip has several file compression features found in other compression utilities, including:
Multi-volume support
Password protection
Batch compression
Integration with Outlook
The program fully supports Windows Explorer, and almost all its functions can be accessed by right-clicking files.
Although it is possible to perform batch compression and extraction using either drag and drop or hot keys, the feature is not directly supported in the program. Users can also create self-extracting archives when they download necessary plugins and modules from the official website.


While users will get limited support, this is true for most free software. Do not expect an active customer support. However, there are relatively active online forums and a built-in user guide.


7-Zip is a good free file archiver that can be used to compress files into many formats and unpack even more compression formats. However, its user interface is not the friendliest to ordinary people, especially considering that it lacks a Wizard. It has too many options that make it more suitable for users with some technical skills. Fortunately, many options are only available when a user presses the F9 key.

The .7Z files can also confuse many users who may not even be aware that they are compressed. However, the fact that the file format is not easily recognizable has its advantages. For example, you can use it to send an executable file as an e-mail attachment, something you cannot achieve with ZIP files.

Software Product Description

7-Zip is a free zip / unzip file archiver with a high compression ratio.

The main features of 7-Zip:

Highest compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
7-Zip is free software distributed under the GNU LGPL
Supported formats: 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB
For ZIP and GZIP formats 7-Zip provides compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
Self-extracting capability for 7z format
Integration with Windows Shell
Powerful File Manager
Powerful command line version
Plugin for FAR Manager
Localizations for 47 languages
works in DOS using HX Extender
There is port of command line version for DOS, Linux/Unix.”

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Pixel and Pixel XL review: What happens when Google designs phones?

Engadget – By: Chris Velazco
– “Google’s fascination with hardware stretches back years. Remember the early days of Android and the G1? The rise of the Nexus line? Those ill-fated Android@Home lightbulbs and those beautiful Chromebooks? It took Google a while, but that fascination turned into a sort of experimental hobby, and now into something far more serious. Software is Google’s art, and the company has been working for a long time to craft the right canvases.

That’s where the new Pixel and Pixel XL come in.

Google has more control over the development — and destiny — of these two smartphones than it ever had with any Nexus phone. It’s not surprising, then, that the company has turned to close friends to help chart this new course. Former Motorola Mobility CEO Rick Osterloh is back at Google heading up hardware after the search giant sold his company to Lenovo. HTC, which most recently worked with Google on the Nexus 9 tablet, is handling the Pixel phones’ production and assembly. There’s a palpable sense that Google wanted to round up its A-team for this project.

It shows. These Pixel phones are a culmination on Google’s part of years’ worth of experimenting with hardware, and they’re unsurprisingly great.

Excellent build quality
Fantastic camera
Smooth performance

Yawn-inducing design
Less water-resistant than rivals


After years of experimenting with Nexus devices, Google finally decided it wanted to make a phone of its own. HTC might be assembling the phones, but Google designed and developed the Pixel from end-to-end. In doing so, it crafted a truly great smartphone that sadly looks a little dull. Still, the inclusion of a speedy new Snapdragon 821 chipset and a fantastic camera make the smaller Pixel a device to be reckoned with. Now, if only it were a little cheaper.”

A Windows 10 PC in Your Hand!

Ockel Sirius A – Indiegogo from Ockel Products on Vimeo.

Need a Windows 10 PC in your pocket? Phone-sized Ockel Sirius A might just fit

ZDNet – By: Liam Tung
– “Dutch hardware developers have launched the Sirius A, a Windows 10 device with phone-like specs but all the ports you’d expect from a PC.

The maker of the Sirius A, Netherlands-based Ockel, describes it as the ‘world’s most versatile mini PC’ and is looking ship the device by May 2017, after rounding up its search for backers on Indiegogo.

The Sirius A’s phone-like features include its six-inch full HD touch display, a 3,000mAh battery, 64GB in-built flash storage, a microSD booster slot, and 3.5mm audio port. It’s also got an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer for compass functionality.

Besides these features, the Sirius A aims to capture the feel of a desktop via additional ports not found in any smartphone. These include two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, and ports for HDMI, a DisplayPort, Ethernet and a 12V power input for stationary use-cases, such as employing it as an input device when connected to a larger display.

It will also ship with Windows 10 Home 64-bit, so all desktop applications should work on the tiny PC, and it’s powered by an Intel Atom quad-core processor with 4GB RAM. Wireless connectivity is provided by a Wi-Fi chip and Bluetooth. However, unlike most PCs, it eschews a cooling fan. Instead, it has a heatsink built into the aluminum casing.

As a mini-PC, the device should be extremely portable at 85mm x 150mm wide. Likely to support the additional PC ports, the Sirius A features an interesting tapered design, starting at 20mm wide on the port side, slimming down to 6mm at the front. Despite its pocketable form-factor, the Sirius A only has battery life of about three hours under ‘casual usage’.

The company says it’s working with Microsoft to develop a ‘switch mode’ that will allow the device to behave as a mouse or soft keyboard when connected to a larger screen.

It’s not clear from the Indiegogo campaign whether when used as a mobile device the screen automatically rotates to suit the direction in which it’s held.

The campaign for the Sirius A has raised $259,500 from 491 backers so far and has 22 days left. Prices under the campaign period start at $549 however the device will retail for $699.

The Sirius A follows Ockel’s release last year of the Windows 10 Sirius B, which lacked a touch display but otherwise offered similar specs.”

The Nintendo Switch!

The Switch shows desperate Nintendo is the best Nintendo

Engadget – By: Devindra Hardawar -“Nintendo has something to prove. After the Wii U flamed out spectacularly, the company needed to do something truly different to stay afloat in the console world. Its answer is the Switch, a new hybrid portable/home gaming system that’s unlike anything we’ve seen before. While Microsoft and Sony are simply trying to shove in faster hardware to support 4K and HDR, Nintendo is going back to its roots with a device that evokes memories of spending carefree afternoons with your Gameboy, or going head-to-head with your friends in Mario Kart on the SNES. The Switch is a reminder that Nintendo innovates best after it fails; when its back is against the wall and it’s not just reacting to pressure from the competition.

We last saw that desperate, innovative Nintendo with the launch of the Wii. When it was first announced, we all made fun of its name, underpowered hardware and gimmicky motion controls. We worried about Nintendo’s focus on “casual” players and move away from ‘real’ gamers. But after 100 million units sold, the critics were proven wrong. Nintendo ended up outselling the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and both Microsoft and Sony rushed to develop motion controls of their own.

The Wii came after the failure of the Gamecube, a purple lunchbox of a console (who puts a handle on a gaming system?!) that sold a mere 21 million units. Its skew towards kids pushed third-parties away, which ultimately made it hard for Nintendo to go against the Xbox and PlayStation 2. Aside from its funky controller (and the promise of first-party Nintendo titles), there was simply nothing to really differentiate the Gamecube from the competition. The Gamecube also followed the so-so response to the Nintendo 64, which was stuck with cartridges while Sony and Sega were wowing us with the possibilities of games on CDs.

It’s tough to say much about the Switch at this point, since all we have to go on is a three-minute trailer and some press material from Nintendo. But at first glance, it appears to be everything I wanted with the Wii U. Most importantly though, it does something unique and useful. The Wii U felt like a response to tablet gaming, but its big-screened GamePad was clunky and developers never quite took to it. Super Mario Maker is the best example of what’s possible with the Wii U’s controller, but it came long after most gamers wrote off the system.

One of the Wii U’s few useful features — playing games right on the GamePad, instead of your TV screen — was limited by an incredibly short range. That makes sense, since it’s piping lots of data to the controller wirelessly, but it was annoying nonetheless. A big reason games have taken off on slates is because they let you play games on large screens from anywhere.

Rather than trying to improve that remote play feature on the Wii U, though, it looks like Nintendo built the Switch entirely around that concept. Dock it to your television, and you can play games on the big screen. Attach the ‘Joy-Con’ gamepads to the side of the display, and you can take the Switch anywhere. Simple. You don’t have to worry about reception issues. But Nintendo also doubled-down on portable gaming by giving the Switch a kickstand. You can snap off the controllers, holding one in each hand, to game as you would on your couch from any location.

Most intriguingly, you can just hand one controller over to a friend for a Mario Kart match. I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually sat on a couch and played someone in a local multiplayer session. With the rush towards online gaming, local multiplayer has felt like a dying trend over the last decade. That was never lost on Nintendo, though — and the Switch seems like it’ll revive the magic of gaming with nearby friends.

Developers will likely appreciate the Switch’s straightforward design, as well. Instead of worrying about creating a second-screen experience for games, they can just focus on making games as usual for a single screen. It’s important to note that the Switch is docked when it’s connected to your TV — you’re not actually holding the screen, as you would with the Wii U. Instead, you’re holding the Joy-Con or classic controllers to play games on your television, as you would with any other console.

Even at this early stage, it seems like Nintendo has managed to intrigue developers more than it ever did with the Wii U. Its initial lineup of third-parties include Capcom, EA, Activision, Bethesda, Epic Games, Konami, Ubisoft and Square Enix. We’ve seen games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and NBA 2K running on it, along with first-party titles like Splatoon, Mario Kart, and of course, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. All of those publishers are a good sign, since a console is only as strong as the games and developers supporting it.

Sure, there are valid concerns around the Switch. We don’t know anything about its battery life, actual graphical quality or cost. And while my Twitter feed has been freaking out over it, there’s still a chance the Switch might not take off with consumers. For now, though, I’m excited. Instead of repeating its mistakes, Nintendo seems to be learning from them. And that’s a good thing for gamers everywhere.”

Ethanol Fuel From the Air?

Check this out! Imagine a process that takes CO2 from the air, and makes Ethanol!
Scientists Accidentally Discover Efficient Process to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol

Popular Science – By: Avery Thompson – “Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered a chemical reaction to turn CO2 into ethanol, potentially creating a new technology to help avert climate change. Their findings were published in the journal ChemistrySelect.

The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. The reaction turns CO2 into ethanol, which could in turn be used to power generators and vehicles.

The tech involves a new combination of copper and carbon arranged into nanospikes on a silicon surface. The nanotechnology allows the reactions to be very precise, with very few contaminants.

‘By using common materials, but arranging them with nanotechnology, we figured out how to limit the side reactions and end up with the one thing that we want,’ said Adam Rondinone.

This process has several advantages when compared to other methods of converting CO2 into fuel. The reaction uses common materials like copper and carbon, and it converts the CO2 into ethanol, which is already widely used as a fuel.

Perhaps most importantly, it works at room temperature, which means that it can be started and stopped easily and with little energy cost. This means that this conversion process could be used as temporary energy storage during a lull in renewable energy generation, smoothing out fluctuations in a renewable energy grid.

‘A process like this would allow you to consume extra electricity when it’s available to make and store as ethanol,’ said Rondinone. ‘This could help to balance a grid supplied by intermittent renewable sources.’

The researchers plan to further study this process and try and make it more efficient. If they’re successful, we just might see large-scale carbon capture using this technique in the near future.”

Dr. Bill.TV #410 – Video – “The Leprechaun Riding on the Back of a Unicorn While Taking a Picture of a UFO Edition!”

The last VCR is made this month, Mandriva (formerly Mandrake) Linux is no more, As PCs decline, Microsoft betting its future on the cloud, CrossOver for Android has been installed and runs on a Google ChromeBook.

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio

Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!


Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo


Dr. Bill.TV #410 – Audio – “The Leprechaun Riding on the Back of a Unicorn While Taking a Picture of a UFO Edition!”

The last VCR is made this month, Mandriva (formerly Mandrake) Linux is no more, As PCs decline, Microsoft betting its future on the cloud, CrossOver for Android has been installed and runs on a Google ChromeBook.

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio

Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!


Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo


Codeweavers Crossover Running on a Chromebook!

Codeweavers Crossover allows you to run some (quite a few) Windows apps on Linux. It is the paid version of WINE. Well, Chromebooks are based on a special distro of Linux, and some Chromebooks (like the ASUS Chromebook Flip) now work with Android. So, look what Codeweavers has done!

Here’s what Codeweavers says: “Google released Android for Intel based ChromeBooks. AND CrossOver for Android installed and ran on a Google ChromeBook. More importantly, we were able to install the Steam Client into CrossOver for Android and run LIMBO and other games. MORE IMPORTANTLY, we have DirectX 9 support, keyboard support, mouse support, and sound support TODAY!!! PEOPLE, we are staring at a Leprechaun riding on the back of a Unicorn while taking a picture of a UFO. We are running CrossOver through Android on a ChromeBook running a Windows based game launched from the Steam client. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE…EVER!!!”

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