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

While it was reported that SyFy would fund a remake of 1970s British sci-fi series Blake’s 7 last year it never materialized. It commissioned 13 episodes of a new version of the space drama, but that deal seems to have been scrapped as Microsoft is now being linked with the show. The Financial Times claims that “people familiar with the situation” have revealed that the Redmond software giant is to pay for development and production of a new series as part of its push to add exclusive television programming to the Xbox Live platform. During the Xbox One announcement event earlier this year, it was revealed that Steven Spielberg would be producing a Halo TV series exclusively for Microsoft. And if this new report is true, Blake’s 7 will soon join that franchise in the line-up of original content. It will be made, says the FT, by Motion Picture Capital, ...

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Microsoft hopes to avoid the hardware failures it had with the Xbox 360 when it releases the Xbox One.  Red Rings of Death (RROD) ended up costing Microsoft over a billion dollars and the company has taken a number of steps to ensure overheating problems will be a thing of the past.  The Xbox One is much more intelligent now and can recognize if it is overheating.  Gizmodo chatted with Xbox General Manager of Console Development Leo del Castillo: So here’s a cool thing the Xbox One can do: It automatically recognizes when it’s overheating—probably because you’re an idiot and left a pizza box on top of it—and can adjust on the fly. In fact, it’s designed with extra room to make those adjustments. I asked how Microsoft can account for the unknowns it’s facing with the new design—much more Blu-ray player-ish than its predecessors, which invites people to set ...

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A report by Neowin claims Microsoft will RTM Windows 8.1 shortly after August 23rd.  MSDN, TechNet Suscribers, and developers will not get early access to the build, only large OEMs.  Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 to the Windows Store on October 17th and retail box copies will be available starting October 18th.  Windows Server 2012 R2 will also launch the 18th of October. The recently leaked Windows 8.1 build (9471) was an RTM branch build.  It appears Microsoft is making good on its promise to release a new version of Windows every year.  Now if Windows can do a yearly release, why can’t Windows Phone do one even faster…that may be a discussion for another time. Source: Neowin ...

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MyNokiaBlog reports on two interesting intersting patents Nokia has published this year: The Electrotactile feedback patent (and more design art) can be found here: http://www.google.com/patents/US20130120265?dq=keys+electrotactile+top+surfaces&hl=en&sa=X&ei=5mgLUriJFoWD2gWEqoGgBA&ved=0CAUQ6AEwAA An apparatus including a keypad, pressure sensors and electrotactile feedback electrodes. The keypad includes a plurality of keys. Each of the keys has a topsurface. The pressure sensors are located under the top surfaces of the keys. The electrotactile feedback electrodes are located at the top surfaces of the keys. A Kickstand like apparatus here: http://www.google.com/patents/US20130187023 An apparatus including a housing; and a stand connected to the housing. The stand is configured to cooperate with the housing for the housing and the stand to support the apparatus on a surface. The stand is movable on the housing between a retracted position and an extended position. In the retracted position the stand is substantially flat against the housing. In the extended position the stand projects from the housing with a general triangular shape. Current rumor is that GDR3 is specifically addressing some ...

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Windows 8.1 build 9471 x64 has leaked.  We’ll have more information on the build shortly.  In the meantime, grab the bits! Update: This new Windows 8.1 build has a bunch of new tutorials that will help you navigate around Windows 8.1 OS. These videos are found inside the Help + Tips app. Windows 8.1 includes lots of improvements over Windows 8 and it expected to RTM in coming weeks. Microsoft expects Windows 8.1 based devices to hit the market for the upcoming holiday season in US. Download: Mega.co.nz (3.6 GB) Password: winclub.pl Source: MS-7 via Neowin Image Credit: @sm4llzie ...

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Microsoft cutie Pamela Woon (aka Miss Chinatown 2001) goes to Makerhaus and its 10,000-square-feet of fabrication prototyping – a membership workshop that features 3D printing for things such as jewelry, toys and virtually anything you can design with 3D software. While 3D printing isn’t mainstream – yet – it’s only a matter of time before it is, with the potential to crank out increasingly complex creations as easily as printing a Word document. In fact, customers can buy a 3D printer at Microsoft retail stores this fall and at Staples for $1,299. With the Windows 8.1 update, the vision of desktop manufacturing started to seem real. We found out Windows 8.1 will have built-in support for 3D printing. And a new project from Microsoft Research pioneers techniques to embed unique information (such as serial numbers) inside 3D printed objects readable by a terahertz scanner as a cost-effective alternative to adding ...

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Michael Dunn, program manager of Xbox Live, talked about Xbox One’s reputation in a blog post on Xbox Wire.  The new community-powered reputation model for Xbox One helps users avoid the players they do not want to play with. If a user does not want to play with cheats or jerks, they do not have to. The new reputation model helps expose people that aren’t fun to be around and creates real consequences for trouble-makers that harass our good players. This is done by simplifying the mechanism for Xbox One – moving from a survey option to more direct feedback, including things like “block” or “mute player” actions into the feedback model. The new model will take all of the feedback from a player’s online flow, put it in the system with a crazy algorithm that was created and validated with an MSR PhD to make sure things are fair ...

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The VLC gave an update for backers on their Kickstarter page: WinRT still advances As people who follow @videolan know, we keep working quite a bit on our port to the WinRT platforms. It is probably the port where the most effort is spent on those days, and is probably the most difficult. The good news is that we are improving quite a bit, and we are closer to having something on the store. Precision about VLC ports Some people said that we stopped working on WinRT to ship VLC on iOS… This is totally wrong, because those are not the same people working on it. VLC development is closer to a bazaar than to a cathedral building, and while the core advances altogether, people, who are volunteers, work on what they want, and on the features they want. This is very often true for VLC modules, and this is ...

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A new report out by Eurogamer shares a number of interesting tidbits gathered form sources inside Microsoft.  First, the reason the Xbox One is so large was to ensure the device was extremely reliable and not experience heat related problems as were seen in the Xbox 360; which cost the company over a billion dollars.  Secondly, the device is designed to last at least 10 years and in fact the Xbox can stay powered on during that entire period of time.  Since the device is designed to be always on, it is nearly silent and the low power states help with this quite a bit.  By extrapolating from the sizes of known components (principally the USB port), Eurogamer believes the Xbox One dimensions are approximately 34 x 26 x 8 cm or 13.3 x 10.2 x 3.1 inches. Wired’s photography of the Xbox One internals shows that airflow won’t be a ...

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More free games are on the way, courtesy of Games with Gold on Xbox 360. Xbox Live Gold members worldwide can continue building their collection of digital games on Xbox 360 with three new titles, available for free download for a limited time starting tomorrow. The August line-up of titles includes:  “Crackdown”“Dead Rising 2” ($29.99 ERP) and “Dead Rising 2: Case Zero”(400 Microsoft Points) –  Available between Aug. 16 and 31 “Crackdown” pushes the action genre with three-dimensional persistent playground, highly innovative co-op gameplay and an extensive prop interaction system. The game received top reviews from Eurogamer and OXM UK Ahead of the launch of “Dead Rising 3,” take a look back at its predecessors that took the franchise to a new level of zombie-killing fun. “Dead Rising 2” was rated 9.5/10 by Game Informer and “Dead Rising 2: Case Zero” received an “A” from the New York Post. Like ...

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A year ago today, Microsoft introduced the preview of Outlook.com. User feedback has helped in delivering over 600 additions, changes and improvements, packaged in 34 feature releases in the last year. Over 100 of these 100 were to help improve performance, reliability and stability. In terms of the size of the feature, here are the top twelve that have been delivered based on your feedback. Top 12 in the last 12 months Source: Outlook Blog ...

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Today the Xbox is adding two of the most watched TV brands in the U.S. to Xbox Live: Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, both owned by Viacom.  Xbox Live Gold1 members in the U.S. can now watch stand-up comedy with unlimited access to the CC: Stand-Up library featuring more than 6,000 videos from 700 of the funniest comedians on the planet.  The extensive video library gives you hours of stand-up and highlights some of today’s most popular comedians and up-and-coming talent, including the very best of comedians like Aziz Ansari, Patton Oswalt, Hannibal Buress and many others. And with Kinect for Xbox 360,1 you can use your voice to navigate through the app for non-stop comedy goodness. Also launching today on Xbox Live is Nickelodeon, making Xbox 360 home to kid-favorite and family-friendly TV shows and characters. Xbox Live Gold members1 in the U.S. can catch full episodes, watch funny videos ...

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Omar Shahine and Mona Akmal from the SkyDrive team held an AMA on reddit answering user questions.  We’ll be sharing any interesting tidbits. Shahine addressed Microsoft’s policy on putting naked photos in your SkyDrive I can tell you what we actually do here (how we technically implement our policy). We don’t really have any interest in what’s in your private files. The only exception here is where we’ve stated what we have a zero tolerance policy for child exploitation and we proactively scan for content uploaded to SkyDrive using technology called PhotoDNA (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/presskits/photodna/). You can read more about this technology and what it’s used for at Microsoft as well as at Facebook and now Google to detect these images and catch criminals. However, when you share your private files on the web, we do have an interest in making sure that the content you are sharing is not offensive in ...

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Omar Shahine and Mona Akmal from the SkyDrive team held an AMA on reddit answering user questions.  We’ll be sharing any interesting tidbits. Many users still want features that were availbale in Windows Live Mesh & FolderShare such as Peer-to-Peer Mesh Sync.  Mona Akmal addressed this: P2P sync as a technology serves two purposes: 1. Make syncing of files between two devices faster 2. Bypass a physical cloud location We are always working on achieving #1 and will consider all technologies that help us make syncing faster. For #2, we do not believe this is a sustainable model for most users since device connectivity is not guaranteed and “all-your-files-anywhere” cannot be achieved without a physical cloud location. So we have no plans of bringing P2P back as an alternative to SkyDrive cloud storage. The SkyDrive team is acutely aware that many users want dropbox like features in SkyDrive: Question: Can we ...

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Omar Shahine and Mona Akmal from the SkyDrive team held an AMA on reddit answering user questions.  We’ll be sharing any interesting tidbits. A number of users asked if the NSA could access their files on SkyDrive.  While the questions was not answered directly, it was said that a built-in encryption is not coming to SkyDrive and users could use a third party solution such as TrueCrypt.  Mona Akmal addressed the security on SkyDrive: Your SkyDrive account and your private files are password-protected. When you upload or access private files on SkyDrive, we encrypt information sent between you and our servers using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to prevent eavesdroppers from seeing your files when in transit. Once your files are on our servers, we work to prevent hackers from accessing your data by employing sophisticated physical / electronic security measures. We also store multiple copies of your file on different ...

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Microsoft is nearing completion of its fourth and final update for Visual Studio 2012 before it completely Visual Studio 2013 and beyond only.  The VS team has adopted a rapid quartlety release cycle.  Quite impressive considering the complexity of their software suite. The ultimate goal of the VS team is to have developers move to subscription model of their Visual Studio software rather than buying a full license of a certain version. ZDNet Reports: While Visual Studio 2012 may continue to receive bug fixes and security updates, “future investments will focus on new scenarios delivered by Visual Studio 2013,” a spokesperson noted. Microsoft delivered a public preview of Visual Studio 2013 in late June, alongside a public preview of .Net 4.5.1, both under a “go-live” license. VS 2013 adds support for asynchronous debugging (when using VS 2013 on Windows 8.1, not older Windows releases) for C#, VB, JavaScript and C++ developers. .Net ...

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