New Windows 11 update shows Microsoft still wants to take down the iPad

Microsoft has released a software preview for Windows 11 that will make using the operating system on tablet devices, and 2-in-1 laptops, much better.

As DigitalTrends reports, Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22563, which has just been released to people signed up to receive early versions of Windows 11 to test, optimizes the taskbar on tablets and 2-in-1 devices.

In the new update, the taskbar now has two states: a collapsed and expanded mode. When the taskbar is collapsed, it appears much thinner, giving you more screen real estate and helping to prevent accidental presses of taskbar buttons.

Meanwhile, the expanded mode makes the taskbar wider, allowing you to select items more easily, such as apps, using the touch screen.

Switching between the two modes looks pretty easy as well, and is done by simply swiping your finger up or down at the bottom of the tablet’s screen where the taskbar resides.

It seems that this version of the taskbar will only be available on Windows 11 tablets and 2-in-1 laptops, which have touchscreens that either detach from the keyboard, or can be folded back, and used as a tablet. Desktop PCs and traditional laptops won’t get this new taskbar.

As it’s currently in a Preview Build, it also means that regular Windows 11 users won’t see it just yet. However, if testing goes well and there’s a positive reaction from Windows Insiders, we could see the feature appear in a Windows 11 update sometime in the future.


Analysis: Microsoft’s tablet ambitions remain

Pics of Microsoft 8 2-in-1 PC

(Image credit: Microsoft India)

This new update shows that Microsoft’s tablet ambitions remain undeterred. While its rivals Apple and Google have found immense success with tablet devices, Microsoft has yet to do the same. Its attempts to take on the mighty iPad and gain tablet market share have been a mixed bag.

There was the deeply unpopular Windows 8, which dropped much of the classic interface of Windows, including the taskbar and Start menu, for an interface with large icons that was aimed at tablet use. The problem was, Windows 8 tablets were largely ignored, and desktop and laptop users hated having to put up with an interface that was designed for touchscreens they didn’t have.

Microsoft found more success with its Surface Pro line of 2-in-1 devices, alongside Windows 10, which struck a more even balance with an interface that was better suited to traditional PCs, while also having a tablet mode.

However, Surface Pro sales still lag behind iPad and Android tablet sales, but it seems Microsoft isn’t giving up. If Windows 11 continues to evolve to work even better on tablet devices, then this could be Microsoft’s best bet yet to take on Apple and Google.

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Microsoft shows why Windows 11 needs TPM – even if some PCs are left out in the cold

Windows 11 security is something of a hot topic, as the revamped OS comes with much tighter defenses than Windows 10, but with the side-effect of creating controversy and confusion on the system requirements front (and indeed for gamers – more on that later).

However, Microsoft recently produced a video to show how Windows 11’s new protective measures – which include TPM (Trusted Platform Module), Secure Boot and VBS (Virtualization-Based Security) – help to make systems safer against hackers. Furthermore, it reminds us these moves are an extension of what was already happening with Windows 10 (but crucially, not on a compulsory level).

The clip stars Microsoft’s security expert Dave Weston who explains more about why this higher level of security, which entails the aforementioned raised hardware requirements – including support for TPM 2.0, which rules out a fair number of not-all-that-old PCs – is required to defend against some potentially nasty security breaches.

Weston shows how this nastiness could play out in real world situations, first of all demonstrating a remote attack leveraging an open RDP (remote desktop protocol) port, brute forcing the password, and then infecting the machine with ransomware. This was on a PC without TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot, and naturally, wouldn’t be possible on a Windows 11 system.

The second attack used for demo purposes is an in-person one using a PCI Leech device to access system memory and bypass fingerprint recognition to login. VBS stops this kind of attack being leveraged against a Windows 11 system, and the former remote attack is prevented by UEFI, Secure Boot and Trusted Boot (in conjunction with TPM).


Analysis: Land of confusion

This is an interesting look at the nuts-and-bolts of how these security countermeasures work against real life attacks. Clearly, in some scenarios there are good reasons for mandating TPM and the other mentioned security technologies to help keep a PC safer against a possible attack, whether that’s a remote or local intrusion.

No one is going to argue against better protection, but the issue with making these pieces of security tech a compulsory part of the system requirements is the confusion around whether or not a PC has these capabilities.

In some cases, newer machines do indeed have TPM on-board, it just isn’t enabled – leading to a frustrating situation where the owner of a modern device could be told it isn’t compatible with Windows 11. And while it might just be a case of switching TPM on, which isn’t difficult for a reasonably tech-savvy person, it could be very intimidating for a novice user (involving a trip to the BIOS, a scary place for the untrained eye).

VBS or Virtualization-Based Security has run into further controversy, as well, given that while this isn’t an issue for upgraders from Windows 10, it will be enabled by default on new PCs that come with Windows 11 – and it causes slowdown with gaming frame rates. By all accounts, VBS can be a pretty serious headwind for frame rates, too; and again, this adds to the confusion around what’s going on with Windows 11 machines in general.

Having a more secure PC is great, without a doubt, but there are costs here which have a potentially negative impact on the experience of some users adopting (or trying to adopt) Windows 11.

Via Neowin

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Too Hot To Handle on Netflix is the new Love Is Blind if you like steamy dating shows

Too Hot to Handle on Netflix is the spiritual successor to Love is Blind, and the new steamy dating show is now streaming on the service, just in time for the weekend.

The Netflix series casts a number of gregarious, good-looking singles, sends them to an island resort, and asks them to cohabitate for a few weeks. 

The catch here, because these shows always need a catch to stay relevant, is that they can’t… canoodle. If they can abstain for physical intimacy for the length of the contest, they’ll win $ 100,000 – but hey, either way it’s a win-win amiright?

The series has eight 40-minute episodes that all dropped today… which will likely be gobbled up and all over social media by the time Sunday rolls around.

Does Netflix have the hots for trashy TV? 

So what's the deal with all these new dating shows on Netflix? While traditional cable has always relied on one or two of these types of shows to woo viewers during primetime, Netflix traditionally has strayed away from going there. 

But that seemingly changed with The Circle, a game show about catfishing your opponents through a pseudo social network, and also Love is Blind, which tasked contestants to go on a number of blind dates without seeing one another before picking a partner whom they’d marry at the end of the show. 

Honestly, you can't fault Netflix for falling into the same trap that other networks fall into – these shows are relatively cheap to make (there's no special effects or big-name actors) and they draw a lot of attention.

While this one probably won't hook me personally, it's nice to see Netflix keeping others entertained during a particularly un-fun time. 

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Disney Plus in March 2020: new movies and shows, including Black Panther (updated)

Some big hitters are coming to Disney Plus in March 2020, including the fantastic Black Panther, which finally joins the collection of Marvel movies on the service.

Now Disney has revealed the full list of movies and TV shows on Disney Plus for March 2020, we've updated this list. You can check out Ice Age, for example, as more non-Disney animated movies from Fox start moving onto the service. 

We already of a few other releases on Disney Plus beforehand in March 2020, like the original movie Stargirl, which was previously revealed as March 13. And The Clone Wars' final season will continue throughout March 2020 after debuting on February 21. Dreadful guinea pig action movie G-Force also joins in on the fun from March 14. 

Other originals, like Shop Class presented by Justin Long, are more kid-oriented, but we've listed those below too in case they take your fancy. We've bolded out our personal highlights, and we've updated this list now we know everything on Disney Plus in March 2020.

Disney Plus in March 2020: movies and TV shows confirmed so far

  • Doctor Dolittle 2 – March 1
  • Ice Age – March 1
  • Black Panther – March 4
  • Bedtime Stories – March 5
  • The Finest Hours (Returning Title) – March 6
  • Three on the Run – March 6
  • One Day at Disney (new episode) – March 6
  • Disney Fairy Tale Weddings (new episode) – March 6 
  • Marvel Hero Project (new episode) – March 6
  • Diary of a Future President (new episode)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (new episode) – March 6
  • Shop Class (new episode) – March 6
  • Stargirl – March 13
  • Wicked Tuna (S3-8) – March 13
  • Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks (S1-6) – March 13
  • Zorro – Second Series (S1) – March 13
  • One Day at Disney (new episode) – March 13
  • Disney Fairy Tale Weddings (new episode) – March 13
  • Marvel Hero Project (new episode) – March 13
  • Diary of a Future President (new episode) – March 13
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (new episode) – March 13
  • Shop Class (new episode) – March 13
  • G-Force – March 14
  • Big Hero 6 The Series (S2) – March 17
  • One Day at Disney (new episode) – March 20
  • Disney Fairy Tale Weddings (new episode) – March 20
  • I Didn’t Do It (S1-2) – March 20
  • Playtime with Puppy Dog Pals: Puppy Playcare (S2) – March 20
  • Vampirina Ghoul Girls Rock! (S2) – March 20
  • Marvel Hero Project (new episode) – March 20
  • Diary of a Future President (new episode) – March 20
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (new episode) – March 20
  • Shop Class (new episode) – March 20
  • A Wrinkle in Time – March 25
  • One Day at Disney (new episode) – March 27
  • Disney Fairy Tale Weddings (new episode) – March 27
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (new episode) – March 27
  • Shop Class (new episode) – March 27

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The 5 best ever Super Bowl halftime shows

Needless to say…we're SUPER pumped for next weekend's Super Bowl. But forgetting the actual football for a moment, we've been taking a look at the best halftime shows in history to get us ready for the main event. In the past we've had spectacle, we've had controversy, we've had surprise guests and even more surprising fashion slips. We've had the world's biggest stars taking to the field to put on a show once the second quarter's all washed up and we want more. 

Thankfully, we're getting it as Jennifer Lopez and Shakira take up the mantle in 2020, but to welcome them to the Super Bowl halftime hall of fame, we're counting down our top shows over the last 53 Championship games. 

That means we're running through all the silhouette guitar solos, left shark antics, helicopter exits, and genre-mashing dance offs to find the craziest, most awe-inspiring performances yet. Each year is exciting, but there are some special years when magic is made on the field and it all happens between the second and third quarters. The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most bombastic blasts of entertainment of the year, and we're bringing you the very best of the best for some pre-game study.

5. Super Bowl XLIX halftime show: Left Shark steals the show from Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott

You'd be forgiven for any confusion the day after Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott took on the Super Bowl halftime show. Instead of raving about the stars of what was, anyway, a fantastic show, the world was obsessed with a hapless extra dressed in a shark costume. 

Left Shark quickly became an internet phenomenon after some lacklustre dance moves became a hilariously human distraction on a stage of superstars. Aside from the lovable shark mishaps, we enjoyed Katy Pretty being propelled into the sky for a rendition of Firework, after Missy Elliott joined her on stage for a three song diversion. Still, it was an electric show that demonstrated just how deep the halftime show has become ingrained in entertainment culture. 

4. Super Bowl XXX halftime show: Diana Ross has lift off

A Diana Ross Super Bowl halftime show was never going to be a low-key affair. But 14 costume changes, sparkling airlifts, a field-covering golden cape, and a helicopter exit set to I Will Survive and Take Me Higher took the short entertainment slot to new heights. 

If you can try and ignore the theatrics for a second, you'll also realize that this 1996 show was filled to the brim with the medleys and mashups of Diana Ross's hottest tracks. We kick off with Stop In The Name of Love and flit through some of Ross's top tracks before reaching costume change number six at Chain Reaction, then it's a whistle stop tour past Reach Out And Touch before a sublime Ain't No Mountain High Enough is belted from the heights of an airlift. 

3. Super Bowl XXXV halftime show: the best of 2001 come to party

Aerosmith. NSYNC. Britney Spears. Mary J. Blige. Nelly. You could have ripped the Super Bowl XXXV lineup straight off a 2001 USB MP3 player. It was a never ending roster of fireworks (coming out of JT's hands no less), boyband power poses and dance offs. And then Walk This Way happened. 

Suddenly you have Britney taking the stage to duet a verse with Justin, and then Mary J. Blige joins the party. Who next? Nelly jumps out to complete this Who's Who of everyone's bedroom poster collection and the world seems to stop spinning for just a moment. The 2001 Super Bowl halftime show was stuff of legend, bringing together the biggest artists of the day to perform in new and spectacular ways – plus, it was the first show to allow the audience onto the field so no wonder the entire show feels different. 

Oh yeah, and the whole thing starts with a Ben Stiller Dodgeball cameo.

2. Super Bowl XLVII halftime show: Beyonce brings out the single ladies

We were happy with a Beyoncé halftime show, if a little shocked she had never held the show solo before. We were happy with a slew of hits infused with the kind of raw power you only find in a Knowles performance. We were even happy with a solo artist taking on the entire Super Bowl halftime show by herself… until she wasn't. 

Dreams came true when Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined their former Destiny's Child frontwoman on stage just before a legendary Charlie's Angels pose. Bootylicious and Independent Women ensued, before a rendition of Single Ladies and Halo melted the nation. Not only was Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime show an explosive success in its own right, but it served to somewhat alleviate the reputation of the singer herself after controversy over lip syncing earlier in the year. 

1. Super Bowl XLI halftime show: Prince's Purple Rain

There's something about performing in the pouring rain that makes everything so much more intense. To be honest, Prince never needed the added flair to raise the stakes of his shows, but the Super Bowl XLI halftime show was on another level of showmanship. Take big budget spectacle and combine it with an artist as extravagant as the man who made himself a symbol and you've got yourself a show. 

Every second, from the opening thunder of a We Will Rock You cover to the finale of a particularly fitting Purple Rain was dripping in finesse. A simple silhouette and a shredding guitar solo made for one of the most powerful moments in halftime history. 

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Who is performing at the Super Bowl 2020 halftime show? 

From helicopters to awkward sharks, we've enjoyed swathes of legendary performances over the last 53 Championship games. Following in the footsteps of these star-studded spectacles are Jennifer Lopez and Shakira as they take to the stage for the 54th Super Bowl in Miami, Florida.

We're expecting some of each artists' biggest hits to boom out over the speakers of Hard Rock Stadium so get ready for some Jenny From The Block, Hips Don't Lie, Let's Get Loud mashups. Celebrating the history of Latin music in the heart of Miami, the two artists will also likely treat us to a live selection of their Spanish-language hits.

To make sure you don't miss a minute of the spectacle, we've put together a handy guide to watch the Super Bowl halftime show online from anywhere.

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