About the author  ⁄ Suril Amin

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

Broadcasting functionality via the Twitch app has arrived a day early on the Xbox One.  An update to Twitch’s Xbox One app lets gamers stream their games to both other Xbox users and on Twitch. A new “Xbox broadcast” command commences recording and streaming, but you need to follow the instructions below first. How to Prepare for Twitch Broadcasting From your computer: Go online to www.twitch.tv and sign up for a Twitch account. In Settings, go to Channel & Videos and select Archive Broadcasts. On your console: Sign into your Xbox One console and download the Twitch app. You can customize your picture-in-picture to broadcast both your gameplay and yourself through Kinect. In your Profile, make sure your presence is set to “online” In the Settings app under “Privacy and Online Safety,” make sure the option to “See if you’re online” is set to “Everyone” and “Broadcast gameplay” is set to “Allow.” ...

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The wait for the Surface Power Cover is almost over, Microsoft is at least finally willing to take your money.  As of today, the Surface Power cover is available on the online Microsoft Store for pre-order in the US, Canada, and Japan for $199 with shipping date of March 19th. The power cover is similar to the type cover but extends the battery life of your Surface up to 70% and doubles as a screen cover. Technical Specifications Dimensions 7.4 x 10.9 in 9.75 mm thin Weight 0.55 lbs Compatibility Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 Available colors Black Keys * Activation: Moving (mechanical) keys * Layout: QWERTY, * Full row of function keys (F1 – F12) * Dedicated buttons for Windows shortcuts and media controls Interface Magnetic Sensors Accelerometer Warranty 1-year limited hardware warranty Overview of the Power Cover Extends battery life while you work Work with the speed and ...

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Three weeks ago we reported: “Microsoft Surface 2 AT&T LTE Version Passes Through The FCC, Release Expected In Next Few Months.” During a Reddit AmA on new Surface devices back in September 2013, Surface team confirmed that they are working on LTE version of Surface devices. Q: “Why was LTE not included on neither Surface nor Surface Pro?” Panos Panay: “We didn’t talk about it today, but Surface 2 will be launching an awesome LTE SKU early next year!” Now new information has come to light that the new Surface 2s w/ LTE have been mass produced and are sitting in Microsoft to start to build up inventory.  Our friends at WPCentral have received photos of the device, including the box that reads “AT&T Network Ready” but are not sharing them publicly at this time. It is expected that the new Surface 2 w/ LTE will be unveiled at the Build ...

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Microsoft is offering a chance to win a trip to the Xbox E3 Media briefing in Los Angeles, California in June of this year.  Microsoft will be selecting 5 grand prize winners. Winners will have the option of brining a friend with them in addition to roundtrip coach-class air transportation from an airport near winner’s home to Los Angeles, CA; two nights’ accommodations at a hotel (single room, double occupancy); ground transportation between hotel and airport; one dinner and one breakfast or lunch; a $3,000 Microsoft Store gift card a $200 Visa gift card and admission to the Xbox E3 Media Briefing. Microsoft estimates a total value of $8000 if you are a winner. Contest is restricted to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia, Canada (excluding Quebec) and Puerto Rico who are at least 18 years old.  These contests are often region restricted due to different laws each country ...

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Undoubtedly Titanfall is the most highly anticipated game for the Xbox One.  In fact, in the short term, Microsoft’s success with the Xbox One  is dependent on the successful launch of Titanfall.  Microsoft hopes Titanfall will do for the Xbox One what Halo did for the previous consoles. Over the weekend Respawn lead engineer Richard Baker officially confirmed that Titanfall’s native resolution will be 792p on the Xbox One, or slightly higher than standard HD (high definition).  This shuts down rumors that Titanfall might have launched at 900p, or a resolution in between standard HD and Full HD [1080p]. “We’ve been experimenting with making [the resolution] higher and lower. One of the big tricks is how much ESRAM we’re going to use, so we’re thinking of not using hardware MSAA and instead using FXAA to make it so we don’t have to have this larger render target,” Baker stated. “We’re going to experiment. ...

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An update for the Metro Skype app for Windows 8.1 has been released.  With this update, if you have Skype running on multiple devices, your read chats and picked up calls will sync automatically.  This update finally address the major pain points of Skype when the decision was made to kill off Windows Live Messenger. Other devices will stop ringing when a call is answered - When you pick up a call on any device and your modern Skype is on, the incoming ring will stop much faster. Whether you have Skype on a mobile, in your Outlook.com inbox, desktop, tablet or 2-in-1, Skype calls will sync up wherever you choose to take the call from. Synced chats – Your chat history and read messages also sync automatically across devices. This way, wherever you are, you can continue the conversation you started. You can also send an IM while someone is offline ...

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We reported earlier this week that Microsoft had finalized Windows 8.1 Update 1.  The update is likely to be officially unveiled at the Build Conference in early April but the Redmond software giant has given no official date for a release.  Most of the features in the release have been known from earlier leaks for some time now. Links to download the final updates through Windows Update have been discovered.  The updates can be downloaded via a registry change or directly downloading the patches. (Update: it appears the registry hack does not work anymore) It appears that these links are intended for internal Microsoft employees have been testing or “dogfooding” Windows 8.1 Update 1. KB2919442: 32-Bit – 64-Bit – ARM *KB2939087: 32-Bit - 64-Bit – ARM KB2919355: 32-Bit – 64-Bit – ARM KB2932046: 32-Bit – 64-Bit – ARM *KB2938439: 32-Bit – 64-Bit – ARM KB2937592: 32-Bit – 64-Bit – ARM The files above with an asterisk (*) are optional.  The correct order to ...

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Sony has had a very successful launch of the PS4.  Early adopters of the PS4 have touted native full 1080p gaming as one of the many promises and early advantages of Sony’s new console. In a blog post last November Sony wrote in a blog post that Killzone Shadow fall features a “competitive multiplayer mode” that supports up to 24 players and “runs at native 1080p and 60 fps.” To put it nicely this isn’t quite true and gamers are furious. In single player mode, Killzone Shadow Fall runs at a full 1080p. In multiplayer mode, however, the native resolution drops significantly in order to bump the frame rate from 30 fps to near 60 fps. A brief explanation from CraveOnline: Killzone: Shadow Fall outputs at 1080p in single-player and multiplayer, but it isn’t native. It uses a unique processing method that blends 960 x 1080 images together. Therefore, the 1080p advertised on the ...

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End of life for Windows XP is approaching quickly. In addition to a pop-up notification that Win XP will hit end of life, Microsoft Security Essentials will now give prominent warnings to users running Windows XP. The next Security Essentials engine version, 4.5, is currently available in pre-lease form.  Officially version 4.5 is supported on Windows Vista & Windows 7, but it can be installed on Windows XP. (The product is built into Windows 8) When installed the user will now see a warning with the yellow bar in the image above or the yellow tray icon nearby. These yellow warnings stay up even if the product is completely updated and the system scan is clean. Microsoft released a statement to ZDNet “Windows XP customers already running Microsoft Security Essentials will receive version 4.5 when it ships.” It’s been over a decade, time to get off Windows XP. Source: ZDNet ...

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A new report claims that then Cloud EVP Satya Nadella, Tony Bates, along with Bill Gates and the Microsoft board all initially opposed Steve Ballmer’s plan to acquire Nokia.  Nadella would later change his mind but Bates remained vehemently opposed. Tony Bates is no longer with the company, Gates stepped down as chairman, while Ballmer is now on the board and Satya Nadella is currently CEO. If this report is indeed true, I have a deepened respect for Steve Ballmer. Bloomberg reports: Ballmer’s relations with the board hit a low when he shouted at a June meeting that if he didn’t get his way he couldn’t be CEO, people briefed on the meeting said. The flare-up was over his proposed purchase of most of Nokia Oyj, and part of an ongoing debate: Should Microsoft be a software company or a hardware company too? Several directors and co-founder and then-Chairman Bill ...

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A filing with the FCC reveals Microsoft has been working on an accessory currently called the Surface Wireless Display Adapter.  The accessory is an HDMI dongle which allows mirroring to a tv or other external monitor from a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2.  According to the FCC filing the dongle supports dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n and may hit the market as early as August.  It is possible a demo may be shown at the Build Conference in a few weeks. It should be noted the Surface 2 currently supports the Miracast standard which allows you to mirror your screen to another Miracast capable display wirelessly. Source: FCC via Engadget ...

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A new report claims the Xbox One Twitch app will have 1280 x 720 streaming video compared to the PS4’s 960×540. This gives Xbox One the advantage of streaming high definition 720p video while the PS4 stream at a resolution slightly better than standard definition. Neowin reports: A Reddit post from user “rotj” links to a stats page for the Xbox One Twitch app, which recorded information from the stream of Microsoft’s own Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb. The stats show that the Xbox One Twitch update will stream live gameplay at a resolution of 1280×720 compared to 960×540 for the current PS4 version. In addition, the bitrate for the Xbox One is close to 2.7Mbps, compared to 1.7Mbps for the PS4. Both display at 30 FPS.  The Twitch app release will conincide with the highly anticipated launch of the FPS Titanfall. Source: Neowin ...

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Beginning today more than 92,000 music videos to Xbox Music.  Whether you are listening to a new playlist, create a Radio stream based on your favorite artist or pick a random track from your collection with Xbox Music on Xbox One, and if the song has a music video, watch it play automatically in HD on your TV. Only one step is required to play a music video. Find your playlist, say “Xbox Play,” and watch the videos appear on screen. I think this will be a highly useful feature, especially for social gatherings. Source: Xbox ...

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The Outlook and Skype teams jointly announced today that Skype for Outlook.com has rolled out worldwide. Changes include: Mac & Safari support HD video calling for PC users No more Ringing on other devices after the call has been picked up  To get Skype for Outlook.com simply download the plugin and visit your Outlook.com to chat or video call.   With Skype for Outlook.com, you can easily connect with your Skype friends right from your Outlook.com inbox, so you can go from chat or email to a video call with just one click. If you haven’t had a chance to it check out, getting started is easy. Just download the plugin, link your Skype account to find your friends and start a video call or send an instant message without having to leave your inbox! The latest version of the plugin now has Mac support for Safari, so you have even more ways ...

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One hypothesis I frequently promote is that the media loves to criticise Microsoft and will take any opportunity to do so.  The high negative anti-microsoft sentiment in the tech blogs often bubbles its way into the mainstream press.  Newly minted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently promoted Mark Penn to Chief Strategy Officer.  Mark Penn is the mastermind behind the Scroogled campaign. Previous to Microsoft, Mr. Penn was a high level democratic political consultant who eventually worked on Hilary Clinton’s political campaign.  Mr. Penn has always received pretty favorable press coverage especially from more center-left leaning publications as the New York Times. But it seems now that Mark Penn works for Microsoft he has fallen out of favor with the press. And the Times has published a fairly negative hit piece on Mr. Penn.  Here is an excerpt from the NYT article with some of the spin taken out: Mark Penn ...

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Steve Ballmer joined his old college friend Dean Peter Tufano at the Saïd Business School for a question and answer session.  This is among Steve Ballmer’s first public appearances since Satya Nadella was named CEO of Microsoft and Ballmer officially retired. The relatively informal question and answer session deals very little with the future of Microsoft and mostly discusses higher level business inquiries such as innovation, failure, and management.  Personally I really miss Steve Ballmer, nobody had the energy & passion he had for the company and it’s quite apparent after watching this q&a session. (Talk starts at around 5:30) A few choice quotes from the talk that were tweeted by a senior Verge reporter: Ballmer answers question on what he’d want on his grave stone once he’s dead. “He was a great father and a great husband.” Ballmer says the number one best thing about being rich is “I can ...

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