Daily Archives: September 9, 2015
If your comment section is populated mainly by tumbleweeds, never fear! Try one (or all) of these to up the odds of starting a conversation with your readers.
Have an opinion.
Opinions are the lifeblood of blogs — your unique perspective gets us reading, and reacting to that perspective gets us commenting. You may want to appeal to the widest audience by keeping your blog blandly balanced, but you’ll miss out on the thing that makes blogs compelling: point of view. Without a point of view, you won’t get negative comments… but you won’t get positive ones, either. (Worried about being too blunt? We’ve got some tips that’ll help.)
Share a personal story.
We read blogs because we get glimpses into the minds and lives of the people behind those blogs. When you’re open about your life, it creates a welcoming atmosphere for readers to open up, too. Humans are storytellers; we love sharing and comparing our experiences. Get more personal in your posts, and your readers will start doing the same in your comments.
Link to and quote others.
Can blogs have two lifebloods? Let’s say they can: if opinions are one, links are the other. The internet without links is like a road with no intersections; blogs thrive on interconnection. Link to other posts, or quote other bloggers. The person you link to will likely pay you a visit to say thanks or expand the discussion, and they might just tell their own readers about you, too.
Ask a question.
We don’t just love reading others’ perspectives, we love sharing ours. Your readers will eventually get comfortable engaging with you via comments, but you can give them a gentle nudge by asking them questions. Stay away from vague questions like, “What do you think?” and try asking something specific and direct — solicit readers’ stories, and watch your comments section grow as people react to you and to other commenters.
The best way to encourage people to engage with you? Engage with them. Read others’ blogs, and leave the bloggers real comments. Say “Thanks!” or “Great post!”, but then go further and leave something substantive; be specific about what you enjoyed, ask a question, or offer a counterpoint. If reading and commenting isn’t already part of your blogging routine, work in small chunks of “engagement time” each week — call it an investment in your blog.
Nurture the conversation.
Once you’ve got some conversation going, make sure you nurture it. Take time to respond, prune out irrelevant or offensive comments, encourage commenters to engage with one another, and show your readers that you’re really listening by grappling with their ideas in future posts.
Windows 10 is a personal computer operating system developed by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. Officially unveiled in September 2014 following a brief demo at Build 2014, the operating system entered a public beta testing process in October 2014, leading up to and continuing through the consumer release of Windows 10 on 29 July 2015, and its release to volume licensing on 1 August 2015. To encourage its adoption, Microsoft announced that during its first year of availability, Windows 10 would be made available free of charge to users of genuine copies of eligible editions of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Windows 10 introduces what Microsoft described as a “universal” application architecture; expanding on Metro-style apps , these apps can be designed to run across multiple Microsoft product families with nearly identical code—including PCs , tablets , smartphones , embedded systems , Xbox One , Surface Hub and HoloLens . Windows 10’s user interface was revised to handle transitions between a mouse-oriented interface and a touchscreen -optimized interface based on available input devices—particularly on laplets ; both interfaces include an updated
Start menu that comprises a design similar to Windows 7 with 8’s tiles. Windows 10 also introduces Task View, a virtual desktop system, the Microsoft Edge web browser and other new or updated applications, integrated support for fingerprint and face recognition login, new security features for enterprise environments, DirectX 12 and
WDDM 2.0 to improve the operating system’s graphics capabilities for games . Microsoft described Windows 10 as an ‘operating system as a service’ that would receive ongoing updates to its features and functionality, augmented with the ability for enterprise environments to receive non-critical updates at a slower pace, or use long-term support milestones that will only receive critical updates, such as security patches, over their five-year lifespan of mainstream support. Terry Myerson , executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, argued that the goal of this model was to reduce fragmentation across the Windows platform, as Microsoft aimed to have Windows 10 installed on at least one billion devices in the two to three years following its release. 
Windows 10 received mostly positive reviews upon its original release in July 2015; critics praised Microsoft’s decision to downplay user interface mechanics introduced by Windows 8 (including the full screen apps and Start screen) in non-touch environments to provide a desktop-oriented interface in line with previous versions of Windows, although Windows 10’s touch-oriented user interface mode was panned for containing regressions upon the touch-oriented interface of Windows 8. Critics also praised the improvements to Windows 10’s bundled software over 8.1, Xbox Live integration, as well as the functionality and capabilities of Cortana and the replacement of Internet Explorer with Edge—although the browser was criticized for being a work in progress that was not yet feature complete . Windows 10 was also criticised for limiting how users could control its operation; in particular, Windows Update installs all updates automatically, no longer allows users to selectively install updates, and only the Pro edition of Windows 10 can “defer” the installation of “upgrades” for the operating system.
Privacy concerns were also voiced by critics and advocates, as the operating system’s default settings and certain features require the transmission of user data to Microsoft or its partners.
Cortana is an intelligent personal assistant created by Microsoft for Windows Phone 8.1 (where it now supersedes Bing Mobile), Microsoft Band , Windows 10 , and coming to iOS , Android, and the Xbox One. Cortana was demonstrated for the first time at the Microsoft BUILD Developer Conference (April 2–4, 2014) in San Francisco. It has been launched as a key ingredient of Microsoft’s planned “makeover” of the future operating systems for Windows Phone and Windows. It is named after Cortana, a synthetic intelligence character in Microsoft’s Halo video game franchise originating in Bungie folklore, with Jen Taylor , the character’s voice actress, returning to voice the personal assistant’s US-specific version. As of 2015, Cortana is available as a beta to all users of Windows Phone 8.1 in the United States (US English), China (Mandarin Chinese), and the United Kingdom (UK English). Users in certain countries can also choose to opt-in to the alpha for the English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish versions of Cortana on Windows Phone as of August 2014. In most of these regions, Cortana is also available via Windows Insider to both PC and mobile users of Windows 10. Cortana’s features include being able to set reminders, recognize natural voice without the user having to input a predefined series of commands, and answer questions using information from Bing (like current weather and traffic conditions, sports scores, and biographies). Windows 8.1’s universal Bing SmartSearch features are incorporated into Cortana, which replaces the previous Bing Search app which is activated when a user presses the “Search” button on their device. Cortana also includes a music recognition service. Cortana can also roll dice and flip a coin by asking the commands “roll a die” (one die), “roll the dice” (two dice), and “flip a coin”, Concert Watch is a feature that helps Cortana determine which bands or musicians you are interested in by monitoring your Bing searches. Cortana also integrates with the Microsoft Band for Windows Phone devices if connected via bluetooth. On the Microsoft Band Cortana can make reminders and bring phone notifications. Since the Lumia Denim series, launched in October 2014, active listening was added to Cortana, enabling it to be triggered with the phrase: “Hey Cortana,” even across the room and without the need to touch the phone. After the trigger phrase is spoken, Cortana can be controlled normally for tasks like setting a reminder, asking a question, or launching an app. Some devices from the United Kingdom by O2 have received the Lumia Denim update without the feature but this was later clarified as a bug and Microsoft had since fixed it. Cortana also integrates with services like Foursquare to provide restaurant and local attraction recommendations. The Notebook feature of Cortana is explained as follows ; The “Notebook” is where personal information such as interests, location data, reminders, and contacts will be stored for access by Cortana. Cortana will be able to draw upon and add to this data in order to learn a user’s specific patterns and behaviors. Users will be able to view this information, with the aim of offering greater control over privacy settings by allowing them to specify what information is collected, “a level of control that goes beyond comparable assistants”. Users can also delete information from the “Notebook” if they deem it undesirable for Cortana to know. In the design of Cortana most versions take the form of two nested, animated circles. The circles are animated to indicate certain activities such as searching or talking. Cortana features a “do-not-disturb” mode in which users can specify “quiet hours”, something that is already available for Windows Phone 8.1 users. Users can change the settings so that Cortana calls users by their names (or nicknames). It also has an extensive library of Easter Eggs, consisting of witty and pre-determined remarks. Cortana correctly predicted the winners of the first 14 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup knockout stage , including the semi-finals, before it incorrectly picked Brazil over the Netherlands in the third place play-off match . This streak topped Paul the Octopus who correctly predicted all 7 of Germany’s 2010 FIFA World Cup matches as well as the Final. Furthermore, Cortana can also predict the games of various other sports such as the NBA, the NFL, the Super Bowl, the ICC Cricket world cup and various European Football Leagues. Cortana can also solve mathematical equations, convert units such as between Celsius and Fahrenheit, meters and feet, and calculate the exchange rate between currencies including Bitcoin.Follow @ManuMuema