Review Category : Microsoft

After various reports, Microsoft has today confirmed that self publishing is coming to Xbox One. Apart from self publishing, each Xbox One can become a debug console allowing every one to be a Xbox One game developer with ease. Here is the announcement, I had a great chat with Marc Whitten about self publishing and Xbox One. I’ve got him scheduled to come on the podcast next week update us on Xbox One, but in the meantime he wanted me to share some great news with you about the upcoming Xbox One Self Publishing program that we’ve been working on for some time. Marc had this to say: Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This ...

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MSR is continuing its research in creating the perfect photographic, this time focusing on having the perfect hair.  Lvdi Wang has been working for the past year and a half on improving the appearance of hair in digital images. Wang and his colleagues will be demonstrating their latest progress by delivering a paper called Dynamic Hair Manipulation in Images and Videos, co-authored by Zhejiang University’s Menglei Chai, Yanlin Weng, Xiaogang Jin, and Kun Zhou, along with Wang. The paper outlines a new, single-view hair-modeling technique for generating visually and physically plausible 3-D hair models achieved with only modest user interaction. The work creates hair models that visually match an original input image. “We proposed a new method for creating a 3-D hair model from just one single photograph or short video,” Wang explains. “Such a model contains tens of thousands of individual hair strands and allows the user to manipulate hair ...

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This is not anything new, because we have already seen couple of reports about Microsoft allowing independent developers to publish their games by themselves in Xbox Store. Today Gameinformer reported that according to their sources, Microsoft will enable independent studios to access digital distribution without a publishing partner. Also Microsoft is drastically planning to overhaul the Xbox Games certification process. Also some news on Xbox debug console, We’ve also been told, but cannot confirm, that every Xbox One unit can be converted to a debug console. Instead of specific hardware units, Microsoft can authorize a console ID to play pre-release code. This is in line with information we’ve received about a new process for beta tests. They will be run via hardware provisioning on Xbox One, with the process reportedly to be enabled for up to 25,000 users per test at launch. Given the ability to provision for beta testing, the ...

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During the announcement about Xbox One, Microsoft revealed that the first-party Xbox One games will cost $59.99 in the U.S. And today they have confirmed that the UK pricing will be £49.99. In the UK Microsoft Store Online website, no. of upcoming Xbox One games such as “Ryse: Son of Rome”, “Dead Rising 3″ and “Forza Motorsport 5″ are all listed at £49.99. This should put some speculations about cheaper Xbox One games to rest. Also this pricing not so surprising,  as it is same as Xbox 360 title prices in the UK. What do you think of pricing? Source: Microsoft Store UK ...

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Intel recently previewed its upcoming energy-efficient versions of the Y-series Core processors that will consume as little as 4.5W power. These chips are expected to power fanless tablets and Intel so far has not revealed any upcoming tablet designs that will be using this chip. I expect Microsoft to refresh its Surface Pro device with this new chips for better battery performance. The 4.5W chips will have same 11.5W thermal design power rating as their 6W counter parts. There are obvious implications for the next-generation of Microsoft’s Surface Pro. It’s unclear whether Microsoft will wait until Broadwell to reduce the thickness of Surface Pro, or if it’ll go with a Y-series Haswell ULX part this year and release something that’s much thinner immediately. The challenges Microsoft would face there are similar to those Apple faced with the 2013 MacBook Air, namely Microsoft would have to be accepting of a CPU ...

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Microsoft Research has had a long history of looking at bringing static images to life.  A few months back MSR released an app called BLINK for WP8 and recently Cliplets for Windows 8.  Cliplets reanimates a portion of a scene based on user-specified regions and time intervals. The emphasis is on creative control—creating contrasting juxtapositions of frozen and dynamic content.  Think of the dynamic (animated) images in the newspapers shown in the Harry Potter films.  Or the Nokia Cinemagraph the app, same basic concept.  All these apps output .gif files. With today’s mobile devices, users can find shooting high-definition video as easy as snapping a photograph. That should mean, before long, that preserving and sharing bursts of video might become as commonplace as the current practice of exchanging still images.  The MSR research project aims to captures a spectrum of looping videos with varying levels of dynamism, ranging from a static image to ...

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Microsoft Paint is a quite simple but powerful utility.  Hal Lasko, a former graphic designer, is now 97 & legally blind but uses Microsoft Paint to continue to create art.  Lasko has released a youtube video sharing his story and promoting his artwork, which he sells prints of for $98 each on his website. Source: Hal Lasko via CNet ...

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Microsoft has released Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office and SharePoint 2010.  The SP2 release improves the compatibility of the Office and SharePoint 2010 products with Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, Office 2013, and SharePoint 2013. It also addresses security, stability, and performance and contains all the Cumulative Updates (CU) and Public Updates (PU) that have released since SP1, starting with the June 2011 CU and July 2011 PU and ending with the April 2013 CU and May 2013 PU. The issues fixed specifically in the service pack are listed in the SP2 changes list. After 90 days SP2 will be offered as an automatic update through Microsoft Update. Customers using the Office Click-to-Run technology will have SP2 streamed to them beginning in August. Download it here now: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39647 Download Links for Service Pack 2 Access 2010 Runtime SP2 KB2687444 32-bit 64-bit Duet Enterprise for Microsoft SharePoint and SAP SP2 KB2687445 64-bit FAST ...

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Microsoft continues to support Windows 8.1 users and has released three new updates to resolve some minor issues.  I wish we would get a new build, but unfortunately we will all just have to wait until RTM in late August. To check for updates hit win key + w, type in  “update,” click on windows update, hit check for updates. Information on updates: Update for Windows 8.1 Preview that enables service metadata packages to work correctly An update is available for Windows 8.1 Preview. This updates resolves an issue that could cause the service metadata packages of some network operators not to function. For example, the tethering feature does not work as expected. Update that improves the stability of SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 Preview An update is available for Windows 8.1 Preview that improves the stability of the SkyDrive service. You cannot view a webpage that contains a timer in Internet Explorer ...

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The New York Post is reporting that Ashton Kutcher is close to signing a $10 million endorsement deal with Lenovo.  Kutcher has been the face of Nikon for a number of years now and is expected to shoot a number of new commercials with Lenovo.  Nikon and Kutcher split after he asked for over double of his multi-million dollar salary. He is also the star of the upcoming film about Apple CEO Steve Job’s life.  Kutcher also runs a technology venture capital fund, A-Grade investments, with Guy Osery and Ron Burkle reportedly worth over a $100 million.  Kutcher may lose a lot of that money due to his ongoing divorce proceeding with Demi Moore.  Kutcher is currently the star of Two and a Half Men, raking in over $24 million over the last year. Personally, I’m not really a fan of Kutcher, I think of him of that guy from “That 70s Show” who gets ...

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After 16 years at Microsoft, James Larus will be departing the company to become the new Dean at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne (EPFL) School of Computer and Communications Science (IC) in Switzerland. Mary-Jo Foley at ZDNet reports: Larus was a Principal Researcher who contributed to the programming languages, compiler and computer architecture fields inside and outside the company. He joined Microsoft Research in 1998 to start and lead the Software Productivity Tools (SPT) group, according to his bio. He subsequently become a Research Area Manager for programming languages and tools, where he started Singularity, a Microsoft Research operating system project. Singularity is a microkernel operating system and set of related tools and libraries that is developed completely in managed code. Singularity was not based on Windows; it was written from scratch as a proof-of-concept. Microsoft made the Singularity source code available for download under a non-commercial, academic license ...

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SkyDrive is the consumer cloud storage solution from Microsoft that offers great ways to manage your files in the cloud. One of the best advantages of using SkyDrive is that it is deeply integrated into Windows. All your files are available to you on your phone, tablet, desktop PC, and via SkyDrive.com and opening and saving files to SkyDrive is now as easy as saving to your hard drive. With all the existing features, Microsoft has further improved the SkyDrive experience in Windows 8.1. Today, they detailed some of them. Place holder files and Smart Thumbnails: Because people’s data storage needs will continue to grow faster than storage capacity on their mobile devices, we asked ourselves how we could provide you with access to all your SkyDrive files without actually downloading them, using precious local disk space and Internet bandwidth. Our answer is what we often refer to as “placeholder ...

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Speaking at San Diego Comic Con event, various Microsoft executives discussed about Xbox One and its capabilities in a panel moderated by Major Nelson. Here are some info they discussed at the panel. Xbox One will be able to detect who is holding the controller automatically. More impressively, the controllers automatically recognize who is holding the controller through the camera. When the controller is passed from player to player, the games automatically load individual controller profiles for that player. Now passing controllers around during a game won’t require you to back out to the options menu and change look inversion. Xbox One’s video recording feature automatically records and stores locally the last five minutes of every game you play. You can simply say “Xbox record” and it saves out the last 30 seconds of gameplay for uploading and sharing. Next gen Kinect can scan player’s faces to use it in ...

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Dean Hachamovitch, the head of Internet Explorer team at Microsoft had an interview with TechRadar in which he discussed about including WebGL support in the upcoming Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft announced few years back that they will not include WebGL in IE due to security reasons, but Microsoft now believes that most of the security issues have been fixed. “There is a very interesting security exploit that involved WebGL and Firefox for Mac; basically you went to a malicious site and it could read everything on your screen. It reads the Word document you have in another window. That’s a great example of the kind of security vulnerability we were concerned about.” It wasn’t until the standard changed that he would consider it. “The WebGL specification now includes technology called CORS that effectively prevents image stealing attacks.” The IE team also put in a lot of extra work to improve ...

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According to report from Reuters, members of Microsoft board have held talks with ValueAct Capital Management in the last week over the activist shareholder’s demands to have a seat on the Microsoft’s board. ValueAct owns 33 million Microsoft shares as of March, which is 0.4 percent of total outstanding shares of Microsoft in NASDAQ. ValueAct wants to have control over Microsoft to make changes on how they adapt to the new world of mobile computing by having a board member. Microsoft’s huge stock drop on Friday, prompted by its financial results and a $900 million write-down on the value of unsold Surface tablets, provoked fresh skepticism of Ballmer’s new plan to reshape Microsoft around devices and services. “The recent reorganization does not fix the tablet or smartphone problem,” Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund said in a note to clients on Friday. “The devices opportunity just received a $900 million hardware write-off ...

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Microsoft’s stock price fell more than 11 percent on Friday, their biggest plunge in more than 11 years. Microsoft reported their quarterly financial results yesterday of $19.90 billion in revenue and a net profit of $4.97 billion. But the stock value down is due to whopping $900 million write-off of Microsoft’s Surface RT inventory. Microsoft recently reduced $150 off the price of the Surface RT tablet to further increase the sales. Steve Ballmer said the following statement on Surface and Windows based tablets, “We are working hard to deliver compelling new devices and high value experiences from Microsoft and our partners in the coming months, including new Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs,”   ...

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