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Your Amazon Fire TV Stick is about to get a BIG upgrade

Information courtesy of The Mirror
Amazon’s newest streaming gadget goes on sale today – but there’s an update in store for older versions.
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick has been a smash hit and given thousands of people a cheap way of turning their telly into a smart TV.
After revealing a new version that includes the Alexa voice assistant and a specially modified remote control, Amazon is going one step further.
The company is issuing a software update that’ll make all Fire TV Sticks – including the first and second generation – compatible with the Alexa assistant.
It means you can use the voice controlled technology to search for your favourite shows or get it to fast-forward and rewind in case you missed something.
The new software upgrades every existing Fire TV Voice Remote to an Alexa Voice Remote. Those without a voice remote can use the Fire TV app for iOS and Android on their smartphones to access Alexa in the same way.
The same software update also upgrades previous generation Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices to the new, cinematic UI.
“Not only are we shipping a new Fire TV Stick – a faster and more powerful successor to our fastest-selling UK device ever – we’re also rolling Alexa out to every single Fire TV device in the UK,” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Amazon Devices International.
The timing is no coincidence. Today is the day that Google’s much-hyped Home smart speaker goes on sale in the UK.
Many tech experts see voice search as the next big interface that we’ll use to control our gadgets. And the big companies are scrambling to establish their brands.
Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri lead the way, closely followed by the newly-released Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana. Cortana now comes bundled in with every Windows 10 PC.
“This will allow millions more customers to access Alexa, meaning they can get answers to questions, use Alexa skills, manage their smart home, or even find things to watch and control playback, just by asking.”

Microsoft starts forcing Windows 7 and 8.1 users to update to Windows 10

Users who stick with the older software will knowingly expose themselves to cybercriminals.
Information courtesy of The Independent
Microsoft has started blocking Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 updates for computers running certain new chipsets.
The company announced plans last January to block next-generation Intel, AMD and Qualcomm processors from system updates on older versions of Windows, but didn’t reveal when support would be cut.
The process appears to have just kicked off
Social media users are reporting that Microsoft is now blocking access to Windows 7 and 8.1 updates on devices running Intel’s Kaby Lake processor.
Instead of the normal download screen, users attempting to update their systems are facing an error message reading, “Your PC uses a processor that is designed for the latest version of Windows.
“Because the processor is not supported together with the Windows version that you are currently using, your system will miss important security updates.”
Microsoft has tried to justify the move by saying that the processors offer new capabilities that makes compatibility with older systems difficult, but it’s also being seen as yet another aggressive technique designed to migrate more customers to Windows 10.
Changes to Microsoft’s policy have also created plenty of confusion.
Skylake processors were included in the original policy announcement, but Microsoft has back-pedalled now says that some devices running the chipset will continue to receive Windows 7 and 8.1 updates, while others won’t.
Machines running Ryzen, Kaby Lake and other new processors will have to upgrade to Windows 10.
Microsoft has released a Windows lifecycle fact sheet to clarify the situation.
“Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information,” it reads.
In other words, users need to upgrade to Windows 10 or knowingly expose themselves to cybercriminals.
According to NetMarketShare, almost half of all computer users are still on Windows 7, which came out in 2009.
Earlier this month, Microsoft cut support for Window Vista, widely considered the worst version of the operating system ever made.
If you need any help with upgrading Windows 7 or 8 please do not hesitate to contact us

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Microsoft confirms the Windows 10 Creators Update will only come to 13 Windows phones

Information courtesy of WindowsCentral.com
Microsoft today confirmed murmurings that the Windows 10 Creators Update will only officially roll out to a limited batch of supported Windows phones.  As detailed in the release notes for the latest Mobile Insider build, the list includes a total of 13 Windows phones that will be officially supported at the Creators Update’s full release, as well as on the Windows Insider program going forward.
Here’s a look at the supported phones:
HP Elite x3
Microsoft Lumia 550
Microsoft Lumia 640/640XL
Microsoft Lumia 650
Microsoft Lumia 950/950 XL
Alcatel IDOL 4S
Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL
SoftBank 503LV
VAIO Phone Biz
MouseComputer MADOSMA Q601
Trinity NuAns NEO
The official list matches a list initially reported last week by ZDNet.
For those disappointed by the move, Windows Insider chief Dona Sarkar explains:
We recognize that many Insiders will be disappointed to see their device is no longer supported. We looked at feedback from our Windows Insiders and realized that we were not providing the best possible experience for our customers on many older devices.  That helped us determine which devices we support for the Windows 10 Creators Update. We are continually listening to your feedback to provide the best experience for ALL of our customers.
Unfortunately, this leaves many people using Windows phones like the Lumia 930 and 1520 without an official way to move up to the Creators Update when it releases on April 25. Nor will phones not on the list be able to test out future Insider builds. Devices that may already have a Creators Update test build installed can keep running it, but they’ll remain unsupported going forward.