Cortana and Microsoft Graph

It would have been easy to write off Cortana when it was first announced. After all, it was just another personal assistant, and we’d already seen that done a few times. But Cortana is Microsoft’s real link into ecosystems that are not their own, and having that presence across devices that are not running Windows is possibly one of the most important ways they can maintain that presence as the device engagement on Windows goes down. Microsoft is now connecting Windows to the Microsoft Graph, which is going to open up a lot more capabilities for developers, as well as some great features for users. If you’re not a fan of cloud connected devices, this probably isn’t for you, but some of the capabilities are very appealing.


The ability to copy and paste between devices is something that iOS and macOS users have enjoyed for some time, and now Microsoft is brining it to Windows with the ability to copy and paste “just about anything” between your PC and your phone, whether or not it is iOS or Android. That should be very well received.

Pick up where you left off

This is an interesting idea, but going to be more limited in apps that can be used, but if you log off your PC, Cortana on your phone will ask if you want to keep editing the document you were on, as an example, or maybe it’s the website you were browsing on your phone that you want to pick up on your PC. As long as this doesn’t become a bother, it could be pretty handy when you need to switch devices.


This is a very interesting use of the Microsoft Graph. With Timeline, you can go back to a visual timeline of things you were doing before, so it should be much easier to get back to a task that you hadn’t completed, or if you ever have that “what was I just working on?” moment. With File History, we can already go back to files we need to get back, but this is a backup for ideas. Very clever.

The key is Cortana, which is Microsoft’s link to other platforms. Ideas like this may encourage people to use Cortana more on their non-Windows devices, but without user buy-in, this could be an interesting set of features that don’t get much traction. The other issue is Cortana availability, which is very USA first, as with most Microsoft projects. If they want this to succeed, they need to make sure their global audience can use it, but that’s never seemed to be a priority before.

The Microsoft Graph could end up being one of the most important pieces from Microsoft, but first it needs to ship, and then it needs to work well, so for now, let’s reserve judgement.

Fluent Design Windows Store and UWP Updates
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  • nathanddrews - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    "Creators Update actually shipped the first steps towards a high color aware OS, although it is limited to certain hardware configurations at the moment. That shouldn’t be a huge issue though, since there aren’t a lot of HDR monitors on the market yet."

    Monitor manufacturers have really, really dropped the ball. Most new 4K TVs come with 10-bit 4:4:4 4K HDR support or at least 10-14-bit 4:2:0 HDR support. DisplayPort 1.3/1.44 has been a total failure compared to HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 is going to leapfrog DP once again with features and product support.
  • etamin - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    so still no adobeRGB support ffs
  • qlum - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I would like it to be viable to get uwp apps from other stores than the windows store. Sure a lot of programs are not suitable for uwp but if they are I would like to use them. I just don't want to deal with a single gatekeeper that can deny apps from landing in the store they don't like. Emulators are a good example of that.
  • ahamling27 - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    Windows App Store does need a ton of work. It's the part of Windows 10 I try to stay away from the most.
  • dumbnub - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I used the Windows app store once. I logged in with my email account, that has a 100 charatcher long password (it's so long because I use lastpass, so I thought why not?). By doing so windows now demanded I enter my 100 charatcher password in at login, whereas before I didn't use a password and of course I couldn't use lastpass at the login screen on my windows machine so I had to use my phone. It sure did make me feel like an idiot but there are lots of use out there imo. So, since I like the idea of a long password, I just don't use the app store. There maybe a very simple solution, like just making a separate email for logging in or an option in windows. But I never gave one crap about the windows app store, I was just new to windows 10 and thought it would be cool to download a free car racing game. /end of boring story.
  • ahamling27 - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    That really sucks and it really shouldn't have to work like that. I did remove my login password and used a local account, you may look into that, as it's not tied to your MS account.
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    Yeah, when you login to the App Store you're using you're 'Microsoft account', which then becomes your Windows user account. It's vaguely useful if you have multiple machines and Office 365, but not for a lot else. It's also the same as/can be used as a hotmail account, I think.
  • Macpoedel - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    There are alternatives that replace the password section once you set up your account with password, although they are less secure. In Windows 10 you can set up a pincode, an image "password" on which you have to draw a chosen pattern or you can set up a biometric verification with Windows Hello (facial recognition or fingerprint matching).

    To be clear, your password remains the same as before, it's just for the login procedure and for entering administrative rights that the above methods replace your password.

    This has been around since Windows 8.

    Ionestly, I set my desktop up to not require a password, it's not going anywhere. And I also have a Windows 10 HTPC, having to enter a password there would be incredibly annoying. But my laptop needs to be protected of course.
  • Kevin G - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    What I want are Microsoft products that actually work to the point where I spend more time being productive than fighting the tools themselves. Case in point, Outlook not only crashes randomly, but I'll go into various states of uselessness. Try quick reply from the preview pane? Ha, I'll be typing but my text will not appear. Pop out the reply from the preview pane and the text I was typing magically appears! Want to view a calendar? Ha, it'll randomly display a blank white screen. Outlook will also screw up the scroll bars in calendar view so that they bars themselves will move but the actual content will not. This is even worse when view more than one calendar. It feels like I'm running head first repeatedly into a brick wall using Outlook. It is actually more productive for me to use my phone for quick emails and view calendar items than Outlook now.

    Excel is just slow. I swear for basic calculations an older 1 Ghz box from ~17 years ago running Office 98 felt faster than Excel does now on a modern quad core 3.0 Ghz system. Oh, and the new function Excel is introducing don't necessarily adhere conventional syntax used previously in Excel.

    Word has this chronic disease that it can't handle white space in an intelligent fashion. Delete a block of text? Guess what, that block of text's formatting will live on in the white space around it make any attempt to type a new block of text in its place a formatting nightmare. There is a reason why I've adapted to doing quick typing in NotePad and then pasting it in when it comes time to formatting. Outlook to a lesser extent has this same problem. Spreading like herpes.

    PowerPoint has regressed by wanting to alter my monitor arrangement every time I attempt a slide show. It says it remembers my settings so that I don't have to rearrange everything after a presentation (or before or during) but I've seen more honest used car salesmen.

    Dynamics integration in Outlook is painful to use due to its backwards interface. The web version isn't any better.

    Windows 10 also like to reboot at the most inopportune time for me: generally when I'm doing work. Also it likes to lie to me sometime when I would like to reboot later if I put my laptop to sleep. So if I want to delay the reboot by four hours and I put my laptop to sleep overnight for ~8 hours, it'll ask me again when I wake it up but then realize that I woke it up after the initial 4 hour mark and reboot anyway. Nothing like waking up to a reboot punching you in the face in the morning.
  • dumbnub - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I bought a second-hand Lenovo that came with windows 8 pre-installed and got the free upgrade to 10. I decided, stupidly, to roll it back to 8. While rolling back there was an error and I was left with no functioning OS. A family member of mine is an accountant who did use excel exclusively but it would randomly freeze when more than one excel tab was open. They use Zoho now and a chromebook even though Zoho, being completely online, isn't ideal due to slows downs every now and again.

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