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

Looks like Microsoft has continued to tinker with the Xbox One to maintain a competitive edge against the PS4.  Geekwire reports: Xbox chief marketing officer Yusef Mehdi just spoke at the Citi Global Technology Conference and said Microsoft is now in full production for the Xbox One and producing in mass with plans still on for a November 2013 launch. About one month after improving the GPU clock speed, Mehdi added that Microsoft just made another technical boost by upgrading the CPU performance to 1.75 GHZ from 1.6 GHZ. “This will be the biggest launch we’ve ever done by a wide margin in terms of units shipped at launch,” Mehdi said. Source:  Todd Bishop ...

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Microsoft originally stated the $100 Surface Pro price cut would last from Aug 4 – Aug 29th.  However, as widely expected, Microsoft has made the price cut permanent. $100 USD off Surface Pro (including the 256GB SKU) – Surface Pro will now start at $799 USD $40 USD off Touch Covers – Touch Covers will now start at $79 USD, Limited Edition Touch Covers will now start at $89 USD $50 USD off Surface RT bundles – Surface RT bundles will now start at $399 USD Microsoft provided a statement to Neowin: The customer response to recent Surface pricing and keyboard-cover promotions has been exciting to see, and we are proud to begin rollout of Surface Pro, Touch Cover and Surface RT bundles at even more affordable prices starting 29 August. People who buy Surface love Surface, and we’re eager for more people to get their hands on this incredible device. ...

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Signs of collaboration at Microsoft?! *gasp* On his blog today, Major Nelson announced that the Xbox One will be using Skype’s audio codec for a premium audio experience.  Nelson reports: Thanks to integration with Skype’s audio codec, which has a proven track record of high-quality voice through billions of hours of use within Skype, as well as dedicated audio processing (for Xbox One conversations via Skype and multiplayer party chats), Xbox One offers higher quality voice chat with the Xbox One Chat Headset compared to Xbox 360—whether you’re chatting in-game or through party chat with Skype on Xbox One. But the improvements don’t stop there. The Xbox One Wireless Controller’s new expansion port dramatically expands the data transfer rate between the controller and console. Combined with Skype’s audio codec, this enables crystal-clear digital audio with the Xbox One Chat Headset, both capturing and rendering speech at 24 KHz PCM, which ...

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The English build of Windows 8.1 has been leaked by WZOR.  These are original Microsoft images.  Hopefully this shut-ups all whiny developers about not getting early access to the build.  As if they didn’t know it would leak in a few days anyways. Use the magnet links to download the torrent using your favorite client. Here is the pertinent information from the MyDigitalLife Forums: ADMIN note concerning activation: Retail keys (including ProWMC upgrade  keys), OEM: DM keys (Pre-installed windows 8 OEM), OEM:NONSLP keys activated users can upgrade & stay activated! Also a complete fresh install and re-activation should be possible. MAK of w8 does not activate. KMS of w8 does not activate 8.1 MICROSOFT.WINDOWS.8.1.RTM.X86.ENGLISH.DVD-WZT RELEASE DATE: 08/21/2013 BUILD: 6.3.9600.16384.WINBLUE_RTM.130821-1623 FILE: Windows_8.1_EN-US_x86.ISO SIZE: 2,915,131,392 byte SHA-1: 802CFCD3A411D99C097EA7E747F0B6697F9BDAC4 MD5: 7DD36FEA0D004ACFEDBDB3A5521EF5FF Code: magnet:?xt=urn:btih:D40A31912E9C1227826397B208228EFF3839802D MICROSOFT.WINDOWS.8.1.RTM.X64.ENGLISH.DVD-WZT RELEASE DATE: 08/21/2013 BUILD: 6.3.9600.16384.WINBLUE_RTM.130821-1623 FILE: Windows_8.1_EN-US_x64.ISO SIZE: 3,899,295,744 byte SHA-1: BC2F7FF5C91C9F0F8676E39E703085C65072139B MD5: F104B78019E86E74B149AE5E510F7BE9 Code: magnet:?xt=urn:btih:958ED16A00869C0BA4C04815AB500FFA1F2EE92E MICROSOFT.WINDOWS.8.1.ENTERPRISE.RTM.X86.VOLUME.ENGLISH.DVD-WZT RELEASE DATE: 08/21/2013 BUILD: 6.3.9600.16384.WINBLUE_RTM.130821-1623 FILE:  ...

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Our friends at Videogamer read the small print at the bottom of Microsoft’s ‘Get the Facts’ page on the Xbox website which reads: “Xbox voice commands will not be available in all markets on the product release date. Voice commands will be available at launch in US, UK, CA, FR, and DE.” Of the 13 markets where the Xbox One will be available this November, players in the following countries will have more limited access to voice commands: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain and New Zealand. Of course you can use the Xbox One without using the voice commands, so not need to over-react to this.  I’m sure the Kinect will receive updates over time and support the remaining countries. The Next Web Reports: As Albert Penello, Microsoft’s head of product development, told OXM earlier this week, the Xbox One is also region-free, so anyone should be able to import ...

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The Extreme Windows Blog has a fun post about a racing simulator that is powered by Windows: Back in 2007 Chris saw some of the existing racing simulator projects and thought: “I think I could build something like that, only better!”. That started Chris on an adventure that would entail cash outlay in excess of $30,000, and span over 5 years of building, refining, upgrading, and perfecting his racing simulator. Project E.B.T.R. is something that you really have to try in person to appreciate! If you want to check it out in person, you can see Chris at some of the major gaming events where the E.B.T.R. Simulator is rented for attendees to experience. Some of the events where Project E.B.T.R. has been showcased include PAX Prime, PAX Prime East, GeForce LAN 6 (which was on the USS Hornet!), PDXLAN, and Intel LAN-fest events. For more information about events and ...

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The powers that be at Microsoft unleashed their attack dog, Frank Shaw to punch back at the tech press; justifiably so, I only wish they would have done it sooner.  For the past few days we have seen nothing “news articles” slamming Ballmer.  Sure he has made some major mistakes, but there was not even a slight attempt to balance the coverage even slightly.  The problem is that what is written on tech blogs is regurgitated into the mainstream press.  For example Forbes call Ballmer the worst CEO ever of any publically traded company. Ballmer doubled profits, tripled revenues and served as Bill Gates’ right hand man since near the inception of the company.  Half of Microsoft’s billion dollar businesses came to fruition under Ballmer.  Ballmer certainly wasn’t the greatest CEO ever but given the circumstances and the situation he inherited I thought he did an okay  job.  And it’s ...

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Dell announced their refreshed line-up of latitude ultrabooks and laptops.  Honestly, I’m pretty unimpressed especially in terms of design.  Michael Dell is fairly focused on trying to take the company private, with a critical vote happening later this year.  Brandon Leblanc on the Windows Experience Blog reports: These new models are constructed with brushed aluminum, reinforced magnesium alloy, strong steel hinges, woven carbon fiber, durable powder-coated underside, spill-resistant keyboards and LCD seals. They all are also available with touch display options with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT for up to 10 times higher scratch resistance compared to traditional material used in laptop screens throughout the industry. The Latitude 7000 Series starts at $1,049 (U.S.) and will be available on September 12th. The Latitude 3000 Series starts at $599 (U.S.) and will also be available on September 12th. The Latitude 5000 Series will be available in October. Latitude 7000 Series Latitude 5000 ...

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As we reported last week, it would only be a matter of time until the Windows 8.1 RTM (build 9600) leaks began once it was in the hands of the OEMs. http://pan.baidu.com/share/link?uk=1761935015&shareid=1651802203 The first leaked build is the a Chinese Windows 8.1 x64 Enterprise build. Builds in other languages will be coming shortly. See more screenshots here: http://www.thecollectionbook.info/gallery/?f=/windows/nt%20kernel/windows%208.1/6.3.9600.16384/chinese%20simplified/enterprise/x64 Source: Faikee on MyDigitalLife ...

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My third favorite Australian (behind Rupert Murdoch & Michelle Jeneke) and well known technology enthusiast Long Zheng had an interesting set of tweets shortly after Ballmer’s retirement announcement. In his typical humorous fashion, using the hashtag #IfIWereMSFTCEO on twitter, Zheng pondered a number of things he would immediately do if Microsoft named him CEO. What would you do as Microsoft CEO? Voice your thoughts in the comments below.  We’ll do a follow-up post with the best ideas.   What would you do as Microsoft CEO? Voice your thoughts in the comments below.  We’ll do a follow-up post with the best ideas. Please follow Long Zheng on twitter and his startup 121cast (SoundGecko) ...

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With an update rolling out to the Xbox 360, Microsoft will finally transition from MS points to local currently.  Microsoft has posted a FAQ explaining the transition in further detail: FAQ Your current Microsoft Points can be converted to an equivalent dollar value (valid until June 1, 2015). Transactions at this time are not being taxed, but in a future update Microsoft will start charging for local sales tax. However, the company will charge local sales tax on transactions in the future. Xbox Live users can continue to buy and redeem Microsoft Points cards for the foreseeable future, and later this year, Microsoft will start offering Xbox Gift Cards to replace the old cards. A Microsoft representative told Polygon, “Today we started rolling out the official release of the 2013 Xbox Live Update. To ensure a stable release, this will be a gradual deployment across members and regions. Don’t panic ...

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Win8China has posted some screenshots of Windows 8.1 RTM (build 9600). Everything pretty much looks as expected. It’s only a matter of time until the full build leaks now that it is in the hands of the OEMs.  Windows 8.1 will be officially released October 18 and as a free upgrade from the Windows Store on October 17th.  The OS hit RTM just a few days ago. Source: Win8China ...

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Australian media magnate and CEO of News Corp Rupert Murdoch shared his thoughts about Ballmer retiring on Twitter: I think Murdoch is partially right in that hedge funds were partially responsible, but not in the way most people think. Ballmer was not forced out, and anyone pushing that narrative is just wrong. We’ll expand more on this point in another post. Follow Mr. Murdoch on twitter ...

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Microsoft begun discussing about technology and design thought behind Xbox One console and controller in the recent few weeks. This week they posted a video in which Xbox’s Graeme Boyd talks with Senior Product Designer Quintin Morris on how that technology makes the new Xbox One controller our best controller yet. This is a must watch video to know the inner parts of Xbox One controller. As you can see in the video above, Microsoft really focused on improving the existing Xbox 360 controller to a whole new level that will serve the new Xbox One console.   ...

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