MSN feed to be gone

Microsoft has announced that an update later this year will enable the ability to disable the MSN feed in the widgets board on Windows 11, offering different layouts including one that’s “widgets only”.

Ever since Microsoft introduced the widgets in Windows 11, they have shot themselves in the foot with their horrible, curated newsfeed from MSN. The only way to get rid of it is to disable widgets completely.

My feeling is that Microsoft should axe MSN completely and forever. Just shut the whole thing down. It’s not only polluting Windows but Edge as well.

New Teams app for Windows hits preview; GA slated for June

I suggest you read Mary Jo Foley’s analysis. She is always on top of things. My own findings:

  • The Windows client is a complete rewrite. Users will be able to switch back and forth, for a while.
  • The new Teams up looks akin to the consumer version of Teams, that already has been made available in GA.
  • Microsoft claims twice the speed and half the memory requirements. Here is your incentive to move soon.
  • The rewrite moves the architecture from Custom HTML/JS on top of Angular on top of Electron to a new stack based on Microsoft WebView2. It contains three layers: Fluent, React, and a client data layer.
  • There is now a multitude of for-pay options like Teams Premium, or a Teams Copilot. You can make it as expensive as Microsoft desires. I see some contract work coming up.
  • Not important for most users, but a must-have for almost all IT guys: multi-tenant login with notifications from all tenants. Hooray.

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Ctrl-Shift-V in Microsoft Word

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just copy and paste text from a website into your document and have it look good? Imagine not having to manually remove the source formatting like font size, type, or background color.

You might be familiar with this shortcut Ctrl + Shift + V (Cmd + Shift + V on Mac) — it’s also called “keep text only” or “paste plain text”—because of its popularity in other applications like Microsoft Teams, Word for the web, Google, and Gmail. No matter what you call it, the Paste Text Only shortcut is now available in Word for Windows and Word Mac.

What took you so long, Microsoft?

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Bing Chat coming to mobile Bing, Edge, Skype apps

In this spirit of learning and continuing to build new capabilities, we’re excited to share today the preview release of the new Bing and Edge mobile apps.  We’re beginning to roll out the incredible capabilities of the new Bing and Edge on your smartphone along with some exciting new features, such as voice input. In addition, we are creating a new chat experience, beginning with Skype, to enhance your social communications with your friends and family.

Coming today, but only if you are already off the waitlist. This is exciting stuff. I use both Edge and Skype, the latter because it has transparent translation, which I rely on for people who speak none of my languages.

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Microsoft overstepping with Edge & Bing

I have been a happy Edge user for a few years, but more recently the experience is degrading for me. Microsoft dumped a few useful features like the good epub reader that used to be built in. And it keeps altering settings while pretending to make my browsing experience better. One recent example is how they quietly disabled the DuckDuckGo extension I had previously installed. What does it do? It changes the default search engine to DuckDuckGo.

This is what I want to see when I search for something:

This is what Microsoft wants to show me instead:

I also fought very hard against Microsoft to make this my opening page in Edge:

I like a clean desk, a clean desktop, and I need focus. Continue to distract me, and I will dump Edge for this reason alone.

Changes at Microsoft

Geekwire is citing a memo from Satya Nadella. Here is something that caught my eye:

we are taking a $1.2B charge in Q2 related to severance costs, changes to our hardware portfolio, and the cost of lease consolidation as we create higher density across our workspaces.

Microsoft is removing some 10,000 jobs while realigning the company. They are putting $1.2 billion on their balance sheet to offset costs for this change. Severance cost is money paid out to fired employees, cost of lease consolidation is money paid to get out of lease contracts and to move to fewer and smaller office spaces, but changes to our hardware portfolio is the interesting one.

There will not be any press statements about which products Microsoft is dropping. Your guess is as good as mine. You will have to watch what disappears from the Microsoft Store.

Update: Meanwhile somebody wrote a comment (disqualified by refusing to leave his full name) which had a good suggestion:

Update: This was a good call. CNET reports that Microsoft is shutting down Altspace VR on March, 10.

I was invited to an event at the beginning of February where Microsoft is demonstrating a teleporting service, which is most likely built on the cloud-based AR/VR platform Mesh.

Changing the scroll wheel direction in Windows 11

Microsoft has removed a setting from the system settings that would allow you to change the scroll direction on the mouse wheel. The default is now to roll the window over the document, while Apple has long ago set the default to scroll the document itself. Windows has the old way, Apple the new way. Some people prefer the old way, some the new way. But you need to able to set it.

Your only option is to change one parameter in the Windows Registry, which of course requires admin privileges. Two steps:

  1. Find the HID device path in device manager.
  2. Set FlipFlopWheel from 0 (Windows) to 1 (Mac) in regedit and reboot.

If you have a Logitech mouse you can set the scroll direction in Options+.