Technology

Daily News Roundup: Microsoft’s Next Big Update Is Really a Service Pack

Microsoft finally let us know what’s going on with the next Windows Update, code-named 19H2. And it seems the update will be relatively minor, more of a service pack than anything else. New features may even be off by default.

After the release of Windows 10 May 2019 Update, previously known as 19H1, Microsoft took an unusual step. It skipped past the usual next update (19H2) and pushed Windows Insider testers straight to Windows 10 20H1, next year’s update.

That left everyone in the dark about what was going on with 19H2 (usually an October update). The typical sequence had been to start testing the “xxH2” update soon after xxH1 releases, and then begin finalizing the update in September of each year. The goal is an October release (barring issues). So moving Windows Insider testers past the update was surprising.

Now Microsoft is explaining what the plan is. The company released the first 19H2 update to Windows Insiders on the Slow Ring. And in a blog post, Microsoft said that 19H2 would have “a scoped set of features for select performance improvements, enterprise features and quality enhancements.”

The company goes on to explain that even the release of this update will look different, it will behave more like a Cumulative update instead of a large feature update. All in all, it seems 19H2 is shaping out to be something more of a service pack for the May 2019 Update than the late year feature update we’ve seen in the past. What we don’t know is if this will be the new norm. [The Verge]

RELATED: Microsoft Still Isn’t Testing Windows 10’s Next October Update

In Other News:

  • A Chinese Smarthome platform is actively leaking passwords: SmartMate, a smarthome management platform, misconfigured a backend server two weeks ago, making it accessible to the public. The server contains IP addresses, user names, passwords, and even reset password info. And while the passwords are hashed using MD5, they’re unsalted. That means the password encryption is easy to crack. Bad form all around. [ZDNet]
  • PlayStation Vue live streaming prices are increasing: PlayStation Vue is a terribly named live tv streaming service from Sony, similar to SlingTV (and not a gaming service as the name suggests). The company announced yesterday it will raise all of its prices by $5, meaning its cheapest plan is now $50 a month, and the most expensive plan will set you back $85 a month. Boy that’s so much better than dropping cable, right? [TechCrunch]
  • Samsung’s Unpacked Event scheduled for August 7th: Samsung is sending out invites for a product launch event it calls “Unpacked.” The invites heavily feature a black stylus, suggesting we’ll be hearing about the next Galaxy Note. Hopefully, this phone doesn’t try to fold[CNET]
  • Amazon Alexa’s skills will soon work together: Currently, if you want to move from one Alexa skill to another (say a movie theater booking to a restaurant reservation skill), you’ll have to ask for the new skill explicitly and repeat information (times, location, etc.). Amazon’s new skill connections feature aims to solve that by letting some skills work together and hand over information. Sounds useful. [TechRadar]
  • Windows Phone 8 won’t update apps anymore: If you’re still using Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone 8.1, you really should stop. Starting today, Microsoft will not push app updates to these two mobile operating systems. Any updates Windows Phone Developers release for their apps will only push to Window 10 mobile. [Windows Central]
  • Google seems to have cut off the Pixel C from updates: Google only guarantees 18 months of updates for Pixel devices, and it seems the Pixel C tablet has hit that mark. As 9to5Google points out, the Pixel missed the last round of updates, and its 2015 release date puts in the right timeframe for a cutoff. You could try moving your tablet to LineageOS, but that’s behind in updates as well. [9to5Google]
  • Ryuk Malware continues its reign of terror and ransom:  Georgia’s Judicial Council and Administrative Office of the Courts is the latest in a long line of victims to Ryuk malware. The infection encrypted essential data and seems to have taken the court’s website offline. Representatives at Emisoft, an antivirus company, tells us they can decrypt computers infected with Ryuk about three to five perceent of the time. It’s a long shot, but it may be worth trying as opposed to paying the perpetrators ransom, which would encourage them to keep going. [Ars Technica]

A solar eclipse is coming, but unless you happen to live in Chile or Argentina, chances are you can’t see the total eclipse in person.

That’s OK, NASA has you covered with the next best thing. The Space Agency will livestream the eclipse today. You can choose from three different streams, one without any audio, one with commentary in English, and one in Spanish. The streams start at 3 PM Eastern Time (7 PM UTC), with commentary beginning an hour into the stream.

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