Simon Bisson

Simon Bisson is a freelance technology journalist. He specialises in architecture and enterprise IT. He ran one of the UK's first national ISPs and moved to writing around the time of the collapse of the first dotcom boom. He still writes code.

Mary Branscombe

Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

Latest Posts

How Siri and Windows Phone voice recognition differ

There's a slightly weird, slightly sad video for the TellMe service that Microsoft bought, merged into its own voice recognition offerings and used for the voice recognition, control and search on Windows Phone. It shows a Siri-style service that fast-forwards a couple of gal pals through planning and celebrating a wedding - only with the kind of really long-term interactions you need to accomplish anything more complex than a Web search or putting an appointment in the diary.

November 4, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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Courier was designed for me; and I didn't believe in it

Knowing what Microsoft cares about, I worked out what had killed Courier a few months ago and I was fascinated to see it confirmed by Cnet's story about the secret history of the project.Chatting about a (completely different, non-Microsoft) single-purpose business tablet device, one of the developers bemoaned the way users of their prototype loved the way it did the one thing it did so well - and then asked if they could read their email on it.

November 1, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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Nokia Lumia is pitch perfect for 20 somethings

The fact that Nokia has delivered exactly what it needs to in order to succeed in selling lots of Windows Phone handsets everywhere except the US) and - apart from an intriguing hint about contextual services - not a ringtone more isn't a bad thing. In fact it's a very smart business decision; investing in overly complicated, overly expensive handsets isn't the way to make money or gain market share - just attention in gadget blogs.

October 27, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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Windows isn't the only OS that cares about pens

But it might be the only OS with the patent to do pens the right way…One of the highlights of Adobe's MAX developer conference this year was Photoshop Touch; a tablet application, initially for Android but coming soon for iPad, that's a real application with powerful features. Equally interesting was the device Adobe was demonstrating it on - a prototype Samsung Galaxy Tab with the kind of pressure-sensitive Wacom pen that's been in Tablet PCs for years.

October 17, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me

Richard O'Brien definitely didn't have the natural user interfaces in mind when he wrote the lyrics to Rocky Horror - or at least not the sort that as an industry we're currently feeling our way towards…And feeling might be a more apt term than most. I've been struggling with NUI recently, feeling that something was missing.

October 12, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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Can Intel save PCs from crapware?

If the thought of another app store on every PC you buy makes you think ‘shovelware’ as it's more politely known, don't despair quite yet. While one of the ways that Intel is aiming to achieve the six millions users AppUp general manager Peter Biddle has promised in a year's time is by making it hard to find an Ultrabook that doesn't have Intel's app store on, he's pushing for that to be something you don't immediately uninstall.

October 5, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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Just what is an app store, anyway?

It's easy to think of things evolving in a simple step-by-step approach, where A leads to B to C to D, and so on and on. It's a pity that it's a fallacy.

October 2, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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The Last Windows?

All good things, they say, must come to an end. And so, looking at the guts of Windows 8, and casting the runes and sticking a finger in the wind, it's possible to say that the end of Windows (as we know it) is finally in sight.

September 26, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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Run any app in Windows 8 straight from the Start screen

You don't need the Run dialog, the pinned taskbar icons or even live tiles in the Windows 8 Start screen; you just need to start typing.Press the Start button, start typing the name of the app you want, or the file you want, or the control panel setting, and a list of matches appears on the Start screen (app first, but you can click Documents and Settings in the filter on the right - or choose any of the apps that have a search contract in the list to see specialised results).

September 22, 2011 by Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe

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