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

TMZ reports Shirley Sterling met with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Sunday afternoon to discuss the sale of the Clippers (a professional American Basketball team). The NBA (National Basketball Association) is forcing the Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team after racist remarks were leaked by his girlfriend V Stiviano. Mr. Sterling handed control of the sale over to his ex-wife Shirley Sterling. The meeting is said to have taken place at Shirley’s Malibu mansion. There is fear among Clippers fans that Mr. Ballmer will move the team to Seattle. Source: TMZ ...

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In a short blog post Skype informed users it is testing a refreshed UI for a small portion of Windows desktop users and select Mac users.  The new UI aims to bring a clean and modern look to Skype, providing a coherent experience across all clients. The Skype team will be analyzing test results, gathering feedback, and fine-tuning the experience before releasing to the entire user base. The blog did not provide any screenshots of the new UI. Comment below have been lucky enough to receive the new UI. Source: Skype ...

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A federal court has unsealed court documents stemming from Microsoft’s challenge to an FBI National Security Letter Microsoft recieved late last year. The FBI’s letter in this case sought information about an account belonging to a Microsoft enterprise customer. Like all National Security Letters, this one sought only basic subscriber information. Last December Microsoft committed “to notifying business and government customers when legal orders are related to their data. Where a gag order attempts to prohibit Microsoft from doing this, the company promised to challenge it in court. In this case, the Letter included a nondisclosure provision and the Redmond software giant moved forward to challenge it in court.  Microsoft’s legal counsel concluded that the nondisclosure provision was unlawful and violated our Constitutional right to free expression. The NDA did not allow Microsoft to notify enterprise customers when receive legal orders related to their data. The FBI withdrew its letter following the legal challenge. Microsoft’s chief legal counsel Brad Smith ...

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We’ve all complained about the price of the Surface Pro 3, myself included. It’s frustrating that the keyboard is an extra $130 and comparatively spec’d ultrabooks are less expensive. Maybe one lesson is that consumers appreciate form factor, aesthetics, and convenience over technical specifications. Microsoft spent a lot of time during the Surface Pro 3 press event comparing the tablet to a MacBook Air. After all the Redmond software giant is marketing this a “the tablet to replace your laptop.” Another beneficial comparison would have been with Google’s Chromebook Pixel.  The Verge wrote a rave review of the product giving it a 7.5/10, citing the “incredible design” and “excellent screen.” Interesting to note the original Surface Pro was given the same exact score by the incredible unbiased professional journalists at prestigious technology website “The Verge” Let’s see how the Chromebook Pixel stacks up against the Surface Pro. I’ll compare it to ...

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At a press event in New York earlier today Microsoft executives took subtle jabs at Apple. The Redmond software giant’s CEO Satya Nadella addressed a comment made by Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2012 about Windows 8: “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those aren’t going to be pleasing to the user.” During Nadella’s introduction at the event he stated: “We clearly are not building refrigerators or toasters.” Surface leader Panos Panay also took the opportunity to respond to a quip by Cook last year: “Our competition is confused. They’re turning tablets into PCs and PCs into tablets. Who knows what they’re going to do next?” As part of Panay’s slideshow he had a sign showing two distinct paths, showing Apple is taking their users in two different directions while Microsoft is taking the right path. While I’m sure your average person does not care about these ...

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Microsoft’s top evangelist Ben “The PC Guy” Rudolph gave a hands on tour of the Surface Pro 3. The Redmond software giant unveiled their latest generation tablet at a press event in New York earlier today. Overall the tablet was met with positive reception, however full reviews of the device have not come out at this point in time. Will you be buying a Surface Pro 3? Or were you hoping to see a Surface Mini? Pre-order it from Microsoft Store today. ...

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Panos the passionate was out in full force today demonstrating the power of the Surface Pro 3 with a Steve Job-esque quality presentation at press event in New York today. Panay emphasized that his team made no compromises with Surface Pro 3 as compared with the previous generation devices. Panay demonstrated the strength of the Surface Pro 3 by dropping it over 5 feet. That being said it did drop onto carpet, but would you be willing to drop your laptop 5 feet? Pre-order it from Microsoft Store today. ...

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It appears the rumored Surface 3 will make an appearance alongside the Surface Mini at a press event next week. A new report offers some specs and price points: i3-4GB RAM-64GB – $799 i5-4GB RAM-128GB – $999 i5-8GB RAM-256GB – $1299 i7-8GB RAM-256GB – $1549 i7-8GB RAM-512GB – $1949 No matter how you look at it, the Surface Pro family is still an expensive and premium item. The Surface 3 is believed to also have a larger screen size, possibly up to 12 inches. This would of course require new type covers: Black Purple Cyan Red (Microsoft Exclusive, possibly limited to Microsoft Stores) It is also rumored that the Surface 3 will include a smaller bezel, larger screen size and the Windows button being located on the vertical side, as opposed to horizontal. Other details still remain unknown at this time, but all will be known in the coming days. Source: ...

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Sony’s PS4 dominated the Xbox One for the fourth month in a row. New numbers from NPD show Microsoft only sold 115,000 units of their Xbox One console for the month of April. These numbers do not specify if they are sales directly to consumers. Microsoft’s highly controversial decision to unbundle the Kinect from the Xbox One is beginning to make more sense. Sony’s lower price point continues to appeal to consumers. While Sony is selling the PS4 in more markets than the Xbox One, both companies have launched in the key major game markets. Top Xbox executives have left the company in recent months. Don Mattrick left the company to become CEO of Zynga. Marc Whitten recently left for an executive position at Sonos. Xbox’s new head Phil Spencer has a monumental task ahead of him. Recently Spencer approved removing part of the Xbox Live paywall for certain entertainment ...

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We’re looking for feedback and ideas to redesign the website. While the site looked okay a few years back and it is in great need of a UI update. Some basic goals for the re-design are: Responsive Design Site that works great on mobile devices Touch friendly website Metro design New Logo As you may or may not be aware this site is primarily run by Pradeep and myself in our spare time. We both have regular day jobs and are making virtually no money on this site. We continue to blog because of you our readers. We hope that we are providing a unique and independent enthusiast perspective focused on Microsoft news. We do not want to be in a position where we have to ask for donations to keep the site running. We would also like to get your feedback on content on the site. Would you like ...

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There has been a lot of buzz about Alibaba lately. Their upcoming IPO is set to make a few people billionaires and many more millionaires. It may in fact be the biggest IPO ever in recent history. Analysts estimate the company is worth between $136 to $250 Billion. Within technology companies this puts Alibaba’s worth below Apple, Google and Microsoft and on the lower end, just under Facebook and Qualcomm. For those not familiar with Alibaba, it is the Chinese version of Google, Amazon, Ebay, and Youtube combined. Among its early investors include Japanese based Softbank and Yahoo. Softbank CEO and founder Masayoshi Son recently bought Sprint in the United States and is looking to also acquire T-Mobile. Son was an early investor Yahoo and owns the majority of Yahoo Japan. Son was instrumental in also convincing Yahoo to invest in Alibaba. In 2005 Yahoo invested $1 billion in Alibaba for ...

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Microsoft Power Query for Excel is an Excel add-in that enhances the self-service Business Intelligence experience in Excel by simplifying data discovery, access and collaboration. The Power Query team has added a number of new features to Power Query. You can download the update from this page. New Data Sources Updated “Preview” functionality of the SAP BusinessObjects BI Universe connectivity Access tables and named ranges in a workbook Improvements to Query Load Settings Customizable Defaults for Load Settings in the Options dialog Automatic suggestion to load a query to the Data Model when it goes beyond the worksheet limit Preserve data in the Data Model when you modify the Load to Worksheet setting of a query that is loaded to the Data Model Improvements to Query Refresh behaviors in Excel Preserve Custom Columns, Conditional Formatting and other customizations of worksheet tables Preserve results from a previous query refresh when a new refresh attempt fails New ...

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I was not actually aware .NET 4.5.2 had been released, but Microsoft put up a post on MSDN outlining the major changes in .NET 4.5.2. I have seen a number of developers complaining about the lack of forms support in .NET. If you’re a .NET developer let us know your thoughts on this release in the comments below. New APIs for ASP.NET apps. The new HttpResponse.AddOnSendingHeaders and HttpResponseBase.AddOnSendingHeaders methods let you inspect and modify response headers and status code as the response is being flushed to the client app. Consider using these methods instead of thePreSendRequestHeaders and PreSendRequestContent events; they are more efficient and reliable. The HostingEnvironment.QueueBackgroundWorkItem method lets you schedule small background work items. ASP.NET tracks these items and prevents IIS from abruptly terminating the worker process until all background work items have completed. This method can’t be called outside an ASP.NET managed app domain. The new HttpResponse.HeadersWritten and HttpResponseBase.HeadersWritten properties return Boolean values that indicate whether the response headers have been written. You ...

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OneDrive has added a five new features based on user feedback. OneDrive’s group program manager detailed the changes in a blog post. OneDrive web UI has been updated for better photo viewing. They have increased the size of thumbnails to create a more beautiful view of your photos and videos. Also, you can now see videos in All Photos view with video playback improved with this release as well as adding support for more browsers and mobile phones. OneDrive already allows you share individual files in a folder to others, now they offer the ability to add more items after you’ve already shared the original grouping. Just go to your Shared view, right click on the group that you want to modify, and select Add. Other new features: Album Cover Customization OneDrive automatically creates rotating covers for your folders to give you a peak at the photos inside. There are many times, however, ...

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New reports reveal a number of new details about the rumored Surface Mini: No built in Kickstand An accessory cover will work as a kickstand Likely to be available in Silver, similar to the Surface 2 ARM based device (Windows RT) Ships in June 7.5-inch device 1440 x 1080 display 4:3 aspect ratio similar to iPad (unlike 16:9 Surface & Surface Pro) Active Pen support (similar to Surface Pro) Ships by end of June From earlier reports it is likely that the Surface Mini is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, differing from the Surface 2 which is based on the NVIDIA Tegra processor. It is likely other specifications will match with the Surface 2 and the Surface Mini will come in 32GB/64GB variants and with 2GB RAM. It is unlikely the first version of the Surface Mini will have LTE support at launch, and it will likely come in the future. ...

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The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2014 in Los Angeles is little over a month away. Microsoft has confirmed it will hold a press event on Monday, June 9th at the Galen Center beginning at 9:30 a.m. PDT. Major Nelson informs us: During the briefing, you’ll be treated to everything from in-depth looks at previously announced games to trailers for our unannounced games coming in 2014 and beyond. You can stream Xbox: Game On live beginning on June 9 at 9:00 a.m. PDT with our pre-show coverage on Xbox.com, Xbox Live, and Windows Phone globally. You can also watch Xbox: Game On on Spike TV in the U.S. and Canada at 9:30 a.m. PDT. We’re also planning a number of fan-centric events both before and after Xbox: Game On for those fans that are in LA, and for those who are watching around the world. Stay tuned for more details on those activities as ...

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