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

Given all the hype, it is no surprise to anyone that Titanfall is #1 selling console game in the UK, but is nice to have the data to back it up.  Sales of the Xbox One are up 96% with 70% of Xbox Ones purchased this week were part of the Titanfall bundle (in the UK).   Last Week This Week Title New entry 1 Titanfall New entry 2 Dark Souls II 1 3 South Park: Stick Of Truth 4 4 The LEGO Movie Videogame 2 5 Thief 5 6 FIFA 14 3 7 Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 6 8 Call Of Duty: Ghosts 7 9 Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition 8 10 Battlefield 4 10 11 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag New entry 12 Yoshi’s New Island 9 13 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 12 14 Grand Theft Auto V 14 15 Aliens: Colonial Marines 11 16 Rayman Legends 16 17 ...

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VLC for Windows 8 was finally made available in the Windows Store, in beta form, just a few days ago.  The initial release contained a number of bugs including one that crash the app on startup.  An update to fix this issue along with improving the stability of the app has been submitted to the Windows Store.  President of VideoLan Jean-Baptise Kempf gave us an update on his blog: After the first beta release a couple of days ago, a second build fixing the most important crashes has been submitted to the store, for certification. It should notably fix the crash on start, on some machines, but other stability issues, on the music side too! We’d like to thank the new contributors that helped. It should appear automagically in a few hours on the store. Next release, next week! Hopefully these rapid updates continue. It appears VLC seems to have more than a 1000 users ...

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Over $400,000 has already been given away at the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest where the world’s most popular browsers are exploited for cash prizes.  An item which has been getting very little media attention is a $150,000 prize for exploiting Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 11 running on 64-bit Windows 8.1, with the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) turned on is still unclaimed. On the other hand, Google Chrome has been exploited twice, and a handful of exploits for Mozilla Firefox were also shown off.  Internet Explorer was successfully exploited once without EMET turned on. Source: @jmanici ...

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Banks around the world will miss a deadline to upgrade outdated software for automated teller machines (ATMs) and face additional costs to Microsoft to keep them secure.  The Redmond software giant first warned that it was planning to end support for Windows XP in 2007, but only one-third of the world’s 2.2 million ATMs which use the system will have been upgraded to a new platform, such as Windows 7 by the April deadline, according to NCR, one of the biggest ATM makers. To ensure the machines are protected against viruses and hackers many banks have agreed deals with Microsoft to continue supporting their ATMs until they are upgraded, extra costs and negotiations that were avoidable but are now likely to be a distraction for bank executives. “There are certainly large enterprise customers who haven’t finished their migrations yet and are purchasing custom support,” a spokesman for Microsoft said, declining ...

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In a lengthy blog post today, released on a Friday evening in an effort to bury the story, Mozilla announced it was cancelling the Metro Firefox Project.  The company cited “low usage” and “limited resources.”  Having tried out the Metro browser a couple times it was a terrible & buggy piece of software.  Also not mentioned in the blog post was that the project was wildly off schedule, like clockwork every few months I would write about how the project had been delayed again and again.  I used the first beta of Windows 8 in 2011 we’re now almost quarter way through 2014.  Mozilla is clearly struggling to find its identity.  With their “limited resources” they seemed to manage to write an entire mobile operating system which has gained little traction as well.  Firefox is being overtaken by the popularity of Google Chrome, the very company the are dependent on their funding for.  ...

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Microsoft has scored a big deal in Sweden with the Riksdag Administration buying into Windows 8, Office 2013, Skype, and Lync.  The new environment started rolling out in  March in the form of a pilot project with 100 participants and after the elections this fall, all 1,650 jobs in Parliament will receive the new software. The big Microsoft venture also means that employees will receive select phones and tablets based on Windows. The Swedish government will be developing apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. (Due to the translation it is unclear if the government is adopting Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 or Win8.1 Update 1) Mr Einarsson, head of it operations at the Parliament administration, says that the focus on mobility that began a few years ago are now going to be widened, which will offer the same experience to users regardless of which device they are using.  The ...

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Microsoft will be rolling out calendar search for Office 365 users over the next several months. Calendar Search allows you to search your own calendars or Group calendars for events in the past, present, and future. You can also search for people’s calendars and overlay their calendars on top of yours for quick comparison. To search your calendar using a keyword or phrase, while your calendar is selected you simply type a keyword in the search box and click or tap enter (or the search icon). The Outlook Web App shows results based on the term you typed, whether that term appears in the body, title, or location of the event, in the name of an attendee/organizer, or even in the name of a category applied to an event.  Calendar Search groups results by month and orders them in descending order by date. Microsoft has provided a FAQ: Q: When ...

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Bill Gates sat down with Rolling Stone Magazine for extensive interview that dealt mostly with his charitable foundation.  In the interview there were a few questions surrounding technology and Microsoft. He revealed that Microsoft was also interested in buying WhatsApp. He personally feels WhatsApp is extremely valuable company, but the price Mark paid for WhatsApp is more than what he expected. If there’s a deal that symbolizes where Silicon Valley is today, it’s Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. What does that say about the economics of Silicon Valley right now? It means that Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be the next Facebook. Mark has the credibility to say, “I’m going to spend $19 billion to buy something that has essentially no revenue model.” I think his aggressiveness is wise – although the price is higher than I would have expected. It shows that user bases are extremely valuable. It’s software; it ...

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Yesterday the annual British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Games Awards celebrated the best titles over the past year.   While Sony was seen as the big winner, the Xbox had a few wins too. Xbox Live indie title Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons scooped up the award for Best Innovation – a huge achievement for its creative director and long-time filmmaker Josef Fares, who up until this title had never made a game before.  Xbox One exclusive Forza Motorsport 5 was nominated for both Best Strategy and Simulation, and Best Sports game.  Grand Theft Auto 5 picked up awards for Best Multiplayer, Best Game Design, and Best British Game. Source: TechRadar ...

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A new trademark filing by Microsoft appears to be for in house game studio Leap Experience Pioneers. Leap Experience Pioneers (LXP) are an in-house games developer for Microsoft based in the US. Although they had been in existence for some years they thought it was the right time to define their identity. Something that all parts of their business could relate to, but more importantly, be inspired by. They considered themselves pioneers (as their name suggests) and wanted to encapsulate the the spirit of fronteering Americans – combining a cowboy with an astronaut with attitude. We then set about creating some short animated logo stings and brand guideline document. – See more at: http://www.territorystudio.com/work/….HFrgBuyl.dpuf On March 6, 2014, Microsoft filed a trademark via the USPTO for “LXP”. It entered the Trademark Reporting and Monitoring System (TRAM) yesterday, on March 10. It’s a basic 1(b) Intent-to-Use filing for game software, and reads ...

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The StartupBus is an annual invitation-only event where coders build a startup in the time it takes to drive to the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. Once at the show, they present their idea to angel investors. This year, the bus was traveling from Florida. The event was almost ruined when  in the wee hours of Sunday night, the house they were staying at in Austin got robbed and “tens of thousands of dollars” of laptops were stolen. Mitch Neff, the Bus’ organizer tweeted about it a 3 a.m. So.. #StartupBus Florida house got robbed tonight of tens of thousands of laptops/electronics. That’s #sxwproblems — Mitch Neff (@MitchNeff) March 9, 2014 Lucky for the Startup Bus Microsoft had been monitoring the SXSW twitter stream and came to the rescue.  Microsoft delivered a bunch of Surface tablets and Dell and HP laptops running Windows 8.1. The coders also received shoes from Creative Recreation and Herschel backpacks courtesy of Microsoft. ...

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It is Patch Tuesday and on schedule Microsoft has released a number of updates for the the Surface 2, Pro, & Pro 2.   The updates contain support for the Power Cover (which is now available for pre-order), improved multiple finger support, bug fixes for wireless issues, improved miracast support, and stability and performance improvements.  A detailed list can be seen below: Surface Pro March 2014 updates Windows 8.0 updates: The following updates will be listed as “System Hardware Update – 3/11/2014” when you view your update history. Surface Type Cover 2 Firmware Update Device (v1.0.317.0) update improves multiple finger support on the touchpad. Surface Touch Cover 2 Firmware Update Device (v1.0.317.0) update improves multiple finger support on the touchpad. Surface Power Cover Firmware Update (v1.0.323.0) provides support for Surface Power Cover. Windows 8.1 updates: The following updates will be listed as “System Firmware Update – 3/11/2014” when you view your ...

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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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