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

You may recall our reporting on the Atari documentary which is being exclusively produced by Microsoft for the Xbox.  The documentary team ran afoul of the New Mexico state government which put the planned excavation on hold.  But these issues how now been cleared up and the public is invited to see the dig. Major Nelson has announced that Microsoft will be giving away t-shirts to the first 250 people and canteens to the first 75 people at the dig site. There will also be a chance to win a free Xbox One: What’s going on: Prep for  the big dig by playing classic Atari games, courtesy of Gamers Anonymous. Enjoy complementary food and soft drinks, and we’ll be raffling off prizes, including Xbox One games and an Xbox One system. Where: Gamestop 516 1st St, Alamogordo, NM 88310 (map) When: Friday, April 25 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm Please note, the event is free and open ...

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Well known Russian leaker WZOR has made a number of claims regarding Windows 9 and Windows 8.1 Update 2 (or Windows 8.2). According to WZor, Windows 8.2 might be released later this year possibly in the Autumn.  Windows 8.2 is likely to be very similar to the Spring Update (Windows 8.1 Update) and may be called Windows 8.1 Update 2 (Autumn Update). This is still being debated internally at Microsoft. Part of the Autumn Update will include the Start Menu shown at Build and possibly “windowed” Metro apps. Windows 9 is likely to contain a revamped Metro interface. The new start menu and windowed Metro apps will also be included in this update.  In the classic form the start menu will be available on devices without a touchscreen and on server systems. On systems with a touchscreen, the start button should be a different concept. Microsoft is considering making a free ...

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Microsoft continues to try to use sustainable energy sources in its datacenters.  One of Microsoft’s largest datacenters is in San Antonio.  The Redmond software giant worked with the city’s mayor, Julian Castro, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (SERI) under the leadership of Dr. Les Shephard (formerly of Sandia National Lab) to work on the role of datacenters in accelerating the growth of clean energy. Microsoft has formed a three-year agreement with UTSA to research and develop distributed generation technologies that will transform how datacenters consume energy. As part of this research, UTSA students will work hand-in-hand with Microsoft researchers to look into new “fast-start generation” energy technologies such as micro-turbines to replace the diesel generators that are used during times of peak demand and grid outages. In addition, Microsoft is making a $1 million donation to UTSA’s SERI. “Our objective ...

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Why it is unlikely that most enterprises are updating to Windows 8.1 Update, the update is now available for volume license customers. Microsoft has released the following: Windows 8.1 with Windows 8.1 Update integrated Windows Server 2012 R2 with Windows Server 2012 R2 Update integrated Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry with Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Update This is the final part of the release cycle that included  the release via MSDN on the 2nd and Windows Update on the 8th. Additional updates can be found through Windows Update and WSUS. A separate issue was found that impacted customers utilizing WSUS configured in the very specific, non-default way.  If affected, the devices will not receive future updates released by Microsoft.  Customers should read  KB2959977 for remediation guidance. Source: Springboard Series Blog ...

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Penny Arcade is a webcomic focused on video games and video game culture, written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik.  Krahulik is popularly known on the web as “Jonathan Gabriel” or “Gabe.” Krahulik has been using the Surface Pro since near its launch. It has been especially useful to him as an artist because of the Surface’s active stylus support. The Penny Arcade team is located in Seattle, quite near Microsoft’s own headquarters. Microsoft teamed up with Krahulik to create a Surface commercial: Source: Surface blog via Penny Arcade ...

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The Microsoft Store has the Surface 2 64GB and 512GB back in stock at the Microsoft Store Online.  Microsoft has had a notoriously difficult time have the Surface in stock consistently.  New iterations of the Surface products are not expected until this fall. Recently rumors of the Surface Mini re-emerged.  The Surface 2 w/ LTE has only recently been made available to carriers. Find the listings below, Surface Pro 2 64GB – $899 Surface Pro 2 128GB – $999 Surface Pro 2 256GB – $1299 Surface Pro 2 512GB – $1799 The Docking Station designed exclusively for Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. Docking Station – $199 via Microsoft Store ...

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Microsoft continues to make improvements to its Office Online suite at a more rapid pace. Microsoft has been focused on making performance improvements to PowerPoint online. Microsoft has completely re-engineered the text editor so that when a user is editing slides the layout looks more like the final result. The re-engineered text editor helps maintain a high fidelity view. Performance and video playback optimizations have also been made by speeding up advancement of slides in the editor and by adding the ability to play back embedded YouTube videos. Updates will roll out this week. Tell Me support is also rolling out to PowerPoint Online, which is now also available on Word and Excel Online. Related: office online now available in the chrome web store vba, tell me, & commenting features come to excel online new features & bug fixes come to word online OneNote Online Get Printing Support Microsoft Makes Performance ...

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Microsoft continues to make improvements to its Office Online suite at a more rapid pace. Today Microsoft added printing support for OneNote Online, a feature that has been traditionally found in the desktop application. Microsoft has prioritized features based on customer feedback. New features will start rolling out today.  In addition to printing support for multi-column section or page navigation has been added, so that you can maximize reading and editing space regardless of what device or browser you’re using. Related: office online now available in the chrome web store vba, tell me, & commenting features come to excel online new features & bug fixes come to word online OneNote Online Gets Printing Support Microsoft Makes Performance Improvements to PowerPoint Online Source: Office Blog ...

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Microsoft continues to make improvements to its Office Online suite at a more rapid pace. Today Microsoft added a number of new features to Word online that have been traditionally found in the desktop application. Microsoft has prioritized features based on customer feedback. New features will start rolling out today. Comment support is now available on Word Online, it was also added to Excel Online. The new comments pane makes it easy to see all comments in your document, and it allows you to reply to comments or mark them as done. Hints along the margin make it easy to tell where comments have been added. A number of improvements have been made to Lists for Word Online. Some of the changes include make the auto-numbering behavior more intelligent about detecting when you’re continuing a previous list, or starting a new list. You can now right click a list item and select ...

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Microsoft continues to make improvements to its Office Online suite. Today Microsoft added a number of new features to Excel online that have been traditionally found in the desktop application. Based on feedback the most requested feature from power Excel users was VBA (visual basic applications) support. Excel Online now contains improved support for files that contain VBA. You can now open and edit VBA-enabled spreadsheets without removing (or corrupting) the VBA contained in the file. Commenting support has also come to Excel Online and users can now insert new comments as well as edit and delete existing comments. These comments can be seen if the document is opened in the desktop application. “Tell Me” support is also coming to Excel Online.  Tell Me was added to Word Online a few months back.  Tell me is essentially a search box which easily helps you find a feature you may be looking for. ...

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Office Online is a free version of select Office applications offered by Microsoft. Microsoft recently rebranded the product, it was previously called Office Web Apps. Office Online competes primarily with Google Docs. Later today Chrome users will be able add Word Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote Online to the Chrome App launcher to create new Office documents online with a single click from your desktop.  Excel Online will be coming to the web store shortly. The “app” in the Chrome Web Store is simply a link to that redirects a user to the Office Online website. Microsoft is embarking on the strategy of making Office available on all platforms. Office for iPad was recently released and the Redmond software giant announced that it would also be coming to Android tablets in the near future. A demo of a touch version of Office for Windows 8 was shown at the 2014 Build ...

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While most users have been able to install Windows 8.1 Update without any issues this has not been the case for everyone. In the ‘Microsoft Answers’ forum a number of users reported error code 0x800f081f. A patch was subsequently issued for these users: Download KB 2939087. Another common issue was being unable to uninstall IIS after a successful update with Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2.  Download KB 2957390 to resolve that issue. installation For users who still had problems installing Windows 8.1 Update this workaround can be found on Microsoft forums: Run CMD as administrator (Go to start screen, all apps, search CMD, right-click and select run as administrator) Enter: dism /online /remove-package /packagename:Package_for_KB2919355~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.3.1.14 When step 2 has completed, enter: dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup Retry the update! Have you had any issues installing Windows 8.1 Update? Let us know in the comments below via Neowin ...

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The Smoking Gun reports a group of alleged hackers have been charged with breaking into the computer systems of the U.S Army, Microsoft, and several other firms to steal pre-release copies of popular video games like “Call of Duty,” simulation software for Apache attack helicopter pilots, and confidential data that was used to create counterfeit versions of the Xbox gaming system. Three men have been named in a sealed federal indictment charging them each with 15 felony counts, including conspiracy, fraud, and computer hacking, according to a copy of the 54-page document. Two other alleged hackers–a North Carolina resident and an Australian teenager–have been identified as unindicted coconspirators in the scheme, which began in early 2011 and continued for more than two years. A federal grand jury last July returned a sealed indictment against Nathan Leroux, 19; Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28; and David Pokora, a Canadian resident. FBI agents last week arrested ...

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With Windows 8.1 Update officially released there are a number of small changes which make life easier some. Here are some tips and tricks via the Windows Experience Blog: BEFORE the update: Non-tablet devices would boot to the Start screen. Closing Windows Store apps would take you back to the Start screen. And pictures, music, and video files would open in Windows Store (modern) apps. AFFER the update: Non-tablet devices will now boot to the desktop. Closing a Windows Store app now takes you back to the previously used app. If you close all apps, it takes your back to the desktop. And pictures, music, and video files now open with associated desktop apps (like Windows Photo Viewer, Windows Media Player, etc.). We now have an official explanation of when the power button will appear on the start screen: On some devices you may not see the Power button. On devices ...

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Spectrum, the airwaves over which wireless devices communicate, is increasingly in demand throughout the world. As mobile broadband access is expanding and unprecedented numbers of smart devices come online, efficient use of wireless spectrum becomes increasingly important. The Microsoft Spectrum Observatory was created to provide an intuitive presentation of wireless spectrum usage in locations around the world. Usage information is recorded through monitoring stations and is stored and processed for visualization through the Microsoft Azure cloud. The data is then easily accessible and freely available to the public. Microsoft recently released all of the source code for the Microsoft Spectrum Observatory under the Apache 2.0 license, increasing the opportunity for collaboration among academics, governments and others interested in learning more about how wireless spectrum is used. “The data provided by the [Microsoft] Spectrum Observatory is particularly useful for government regulators throughout the world, who are increasingly looking for new methods ...

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Amazon (UK), Asda, and other British retailers have slashed the price of the Xbox One Titanfall bundle by £50 to £349.  At launch Microsoft charged  £429 for an Xbox One but soon dropped the price to £399.  This new price of £349 is the exact same price point a standard Sony PS4 is sold at today in the UK.  These price drops are not totally unexpected.  With the Xbox 360 Microsoft slowly dropped the price of the console as the years went on eventually matching the Nintendo Wii $250 price point.  However, this is bad news for Sony whose price and international availability of the PS4 have been major selling points of the console. For context, some approximate price conversions based on today’s market: £50 = $83.68 £349 = $584.12 £399 = $667.80 £429 = $718.02 via Video Gamer ...

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