Microsoft CEO confirms future convergence of operating systems in conference call
Microsoft is still planning to unify its operating systems in the future, CEO Satya Nadella has confirmed. As part of the conference call with analysts following its latest quarterly financial results release, Nadella advised that Windows 9 will be a version of the operating system which will work with universal apps, namely apps which work across multiple platforms and devices.
Major Patch Tuesday update expected for Windows 8.1
The next scheduled major update to Windows 8.1 could be coming as early as next month, according to a rumor. Windows 8.1 Update 2 could arrive on the next "Patch Tuesday" on August 12th, a month suggested in earlier speculative reports, and though the exact contents of the update remain unknown to all but Microsoft, it is believed it could feature the return of the Start Menu.
Citing lack of demand, devices start coming off retailer shelves
Lenovo has ceased sales of sub-10-inch Windows-based tablets in the US. The cessation is not from a manufacturer's defect or recall, but because the company is seeing little demand for the devices in the North American market. Devices affected by the pullout are the company's ThinkPad 8, and the smaller size of the Miix 2 tablet.
Linux gets better Chrome App Launcher
Google has issued Chrome 36 updates for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users. The new version is mostly a maintenance release, making stability, performance, and security fixes. It does however implement several cosmetic changes across desktop platforms, for instance improving rich notifications with a "flatter" look, and giving Incognito mode a new tab page (below) that's cleaner and easier to read. Likewise, the Chrome App Launcher for Linux has been revamped.
Microsoft combats Chromebooks with promise of low-cost notebooks
Microsoft is planning to fight off notebooks running Chrome OS, with the help of low-cost computers being released in time for the holiday season. Revealed at the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 today, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner claimed a number of notebooks running Windows will directly competing against ">Chromebooks, with HP said to be preparing a $199 notebook for sale.
Image shows potential Start Menu with Tile column, icon list
Microsoft's Start Menu may appear in the next major update for Windows, an alleged leaked screenshot suggests. The image believed to depict an early internal build of the update shows the Start Menu as having two main columns, similar to an image which surfaced a few months ago, taking the old style of Start Menu from Windows 7 and earlier iterations, and combining it with Windows 8's Live Tiles.
Spaceship-based twist on tower defense game forces confined strategy, resource management
It's hard to imagine what commerce and shipping might look like once humans expand into the far reaches of the universe. One take is that humans in the future could evolve an existing model, like truck driving, to deliver goods to the corners of space. Space Run by Passtech Games and Focus Interactive gives gamers a look into how such a business might unfold, through the use of strategy and resource management to fend off the dangers lurking in the darkness. But is Space Run enough to entice players into high-speed shipping lanes full of pirates and asteroids, or are they better off sitting this one out?
Platform shooter Broforce parodies action film characters with style
Occasionally, game developers serve up what could be best described as a "one-note joke" game. A title which sounds good on paper, and for all intents and purposes appears to be a pretty good idea, but ends up being a mediocre release with generic gameplay mechanics, a title that is quickly derided once people realize how extremely shallow it is. While Broforce could certainly fall into the realm of the one-note joke, it manages to tell that joke exceptionally well.
Pioneer announces Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite speakers, Elite SC series receivers
Pioneer has announced a new dedicated line of Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite speakers and Elite SC series of home theater receivers. Dolby Atmos technology was first established for cinema use, and the collaboration with Pioneer aims to offer a multi-dimensional sound experience. Dolby's partnerships will not stop at Pioneer, with Dolby Atmos branded Blu-ray and streaming video services to be launched this fall.
Mac users get new keyboard shortcut
Mozilla has released Firefox 30 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users. Despite the version number, 30 is a relatively minor update. The main addition in the desktop versions is a Sidebars button, which makes it easier to reach the Social, Bookmark, and History sidebars. Mozilla has also added support for GStreamer 1.0 -- a library for constructing graphs of media-handling components -- and a Command-E shortcut for Mac users that can be used to search for selected text.
PC drivers allow Xbox One controller use, $200 developer Kinect for Windows v2
Microsoft has announced today that they will be issuing a new set of drivers that allows people to use Xbox One controllers with their PCs. While not yet part of an official update in Windows, gamers are able to get their hands on the drivers now. The company also announced today that pre-orders are up for the new Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, which will ship to developers in July.
Chrome 64-bit said to be more secure, faster, more stable
Google has started to publicly test a 64-bit version of Chrome, the company has announced, in an attempt to improve the speed and security of the browser. Two versions of the 64-bit Chrome for Windows, Dev and Canary, are available to download by default on Windows 7 and Windows 8, though it will still offer the 32-bit version in both channels as an alternative option.
Asus Transformer Book V combines smartphone, tablet, notebook
Asus has expanded its collection of Transformer devices with a number of new convertible tablets running Windows, at its Computex presentation. The Transformer Book V heads up the launches as a five-mode, three-in-one converged notebook running both Windows and Android, accompanied by the Transformer Book T300 Chi, and the Transformer Book Flip notebook.
Policy change forces Chrome users to install extensions only from Chrome Web Store
Google has updated Chrome for Windows, forcing it to only install extensions sourced from the Chrome Web Store. The change, which prevents the installation of extensions locally, is being billed by the company as an attempt to make it "much more difficult to malware to secretly install unwanted Chrome extensions," and in turn improve security for the browser's users.
VirusTotal Uploader for OS X allows Mac users to upload suspicious files for scanning
Google has announced the release of its file-scanning software, VirusTotal Uploader, for OS X. Allowing users to upload files they are suspicious of to be scanned, VirusTotal Uploader for Windows has been available for some time. The OS X version includes dragging and dropping a file or folder to the VirusTotal Uploader, and can scan it against over 50 antivirus solutions. Applications can also be scanned. VirusTotal Uploader for OS X can be downloaded immediately for OS X 10.8 and 10.9.
Stream Steam games from a Windows computer to OSX, Linux
Earlier this week, game purveyor Steam opened up the in-home game streaming feature to all users. In a nutshell, the feature allows users of a Windows PC to stream the video of a game to a satellite computer on Windows, OS X, or some flavors of Linux in real-time, with input provided by the satellite computer . All the "heavy lifting" of the game is done by the Windows PC streaming the game, as well as "on the fly" conversion of the video stream to H.264, allowing for the satellite computer with a much lower specification or incompatible operating system to play. How well does this work in real life?
End of Windows XP support pushes China to avoid Windows 8
China has banned the use of Windows 8 on new computers used by the government, citing security issues. The limited lifetime of support for Microsoft operating systems, as evidenced recently with Windows XP, is said to have forced the government to decree all desktops, notebooks, and tablet PCs to run any other operating system than Windows 8.
Mac acceleration uses Core Animation
Opera has released a significant update to its web browser, v21, for Windows and Mac users. The Windows edition adds Opera's new "Aura" hardware acceleration technology, improving the speed and response of the interface. While the Mac software lacks Aura, Opera says it has achieved similar results using OS X 's Core Animation.
Microsoft reverses course on earlier statement promising no software fix
Despite the update deadline having passed on Windows XP, Microsoft has issued an emergency patch to fix a major problem affecting users of the elderly operating system using Internet Explorer and Flash. The fix is currently available to Windows XP Service Pack 3 owners through the briefly resurrected Windows Update tool.
Google Now adds card for car parking reminder in latest update
A new Google Now update will help drivers remember where they parked. Android Police reports the app will detect when the user is traveling by car automatically, bringing up a Parking Location card in Google Now that shows the approximate location of the vehicle after it has stopped. The update also includes a new reminders interface, a centralized list of nicknames, adds voice control to some device settings, and retains recent Google Now cards when in offline mode.
Windows exploits already active
Adobe has issued a new security bulletin warning of a Flash flaw that could allow a hacker to seize control of a computer. So far just Windows exploits have been seen in the wild, but Adobe cautions that Mac and Linux systems are vulnerable as well. The security hole is present only in older versions of Flash Player, requiring simply that people have up-to-date software.
All platforms to open up in near future
Group video calls on Skype are now free for users on Windows desktops, OS X, and the Xbox One, according an announcement by the Microsoft-owned service. The company in fact says it intends to make group calls free across all platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and the Windows 8 "Metro" interface. A precise timetable hasn't been revealed.
Windows 8.1 could get Start Menu earlier than first thought
The Start Menu could be making its way back to Windows desktops in another Windows 8.1 update later this year, according to rumors. A second update for the operating system is apparently on the way, landing sometime in the third quarter of this year, and may see Microsoft bringing back the Start Menu before its expected return in the next version of Windows.
Unclear if XP version of anti-malware utility will see an update
Widespread reports are circulating about problems with Microsoft's Security Essentials package for Windows XP. Users are claiming that the latest update is slowing machines down to a crawl, similar to the impact that an active virus would have on the machine.
Migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 delayed by IRS over budget troubles
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has paid Microsoft for an extra year of support for Windows XP, it has been revealed. The agency's failure to migrate approximately 58,000 out of 110,000 Windows computers from Windows XP to Windows 7, and though the actual figure being paid is unknown, it is likely to cost the IRS millions of dollars.
Flaw mandates TLS 1.2 support, not found in older Windows Server versions
Microsoft has stopped the downloads of the new Windows 8.1 update to enterprise customers after it was found to destroy the ability to recieve future updates, including security patches. The flaw affects businesses that use Windows Server Update Services 3.0 (WSUS) Service Pack 2.
Images can be picked to match device specs
Google has released Chrome 34 for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. The main addition is support for "responsive" images. This allows web developers to set multiple versions of a graphic, improving speed and bandwidth consumption on less powerful devices. Whereas a Windows desktop user might see the full-quality version of an image, for example, someone on an iPhone might see a lower-resolution file. The iOS and Android apps haven't been updated yet, however.
iFixit partners with Fairphone, aims to reduce cell phone waste
Do-it-yourself repair guide company iFixit has announced its plan to partner with Dutch social enterprise Fairphone. Fairphone's aim has been to address the wastefulness and disposability of the cell phone market; Fairphone is offering a cell phone that ships with its own set of repair guides through a preinstalled iFixit app. The Fairphone sources its parts from conflict-free manufacturers, and with a published cost breakdown available for the phone, one can know exactly what is being paid for upon purchasing.
New update makes more concessions to keyboard, mouse users
At Microsoft's annual Build conference, Microsoft also announced that it has developed a major update to Windows 8.1. The update, available to users April 8, will improve the experience for keyboard and mouse users, as well as bring substantive changes to the Microsoft application store.
Suite would improve current multiplatform support
Alongside Office for iPad, Microsoft may also be preparing to launch a new licensing bundle today called the Enterprise Mobility Suite, sources say. The bundle is reportedly aimed at large-scale customers who need a way of managing Windows, iOS, and/or Android devices. While cross-platform support has been available from Microsoft for a while, EMS is expected to include Windows Intune, a new Azure Active Directory "Premium" option, and Azure Rights Management Services. Active Directory Premium is described as a paid version of Azure Active Directory with features like group-based app access, and self-service password resets and group management.
Three-episode 'season pass' now available for $20
The epic quest platformer BioShock Infinite on Tuesday saw the simultaneous release on Mac and Windows of its third and final expansion pack, Burial at Sea - Episode 2. The add-on follows the release of Burial at Sea - Episode 1 and Clash in the Clouds for the artistic platformer, which makes exceptional use of rich environments, and offers new achievements as well as a continuation of the previous pack's storyline. The $20 "Season Pass" has been updated to include the new content.
Feature being rolled out gradually
Google Now notifications are beginning to roll out to users of the stable versions of Chrome, according to an official announcement. Until this week, Now was only available in Android, beta editions of Chrome, and the Google Search app for iOS. Only a small percentage of Chrome users will see notifications today; the full rollout is set to last several weeks.
Microsoft practices regarding default browsers the real issue
A former engineer for Mozilla points the blame for the company's recent decision to shelve the Metro version of the Firefox browser squarely at Microsoft -- rather than on poor adoption numbers initially laid out by the company. Rather, the true issue lies with Microsoft's browser rules, says Brian Bondy.
Attempt by Microsoft to upgrade users before Windows XP support ends
Microsoft is trying to encourage users to migrate away from Windows XP to a newer operating system, by offering a discount on a new computer. Customers buying one of a number of selected PCs at a Microsoft Store will be able to receive a discount of $100 off the cost of the new machine, after exchanging an older computer running Windows XP with the store.
Alex Kibkalo accused of stealing, leaking Windows code to unnamed French blogger
A former employee of Microsoft has been arrested for allegedly stealing trade secrets and software relating to Windows. Alex Kibkalo, a Russian national based in Lebanon that formerly worked as a senior architect at the company, stands accused of passing pre-release software and Windows 8 trade secrets to an unnamed French technology blogger.
Change could upset some Mac users
Apple has formally dropped Windows 7 support in Boot Camp for users of the 2013 Mac Pro, an updated support document reveals. It's not clear why the change was made, but it can also be seen in Boot Camp Assistant, which insists on "Windows 8 or later" during the Windows installation process. The omission could upset some Pro users who don't like the touchscreen-oriented interface additions made in Windows 8.
Report claims leaked memo reveals new Microsoft policy over dual-booting devices
Asus is receiving pressure from both Microsoft and Google to drop plans to sell a dual-booting notebook, according to reports. The manufacturer has apparently postponed its plans to ship the Transformer Book Duet, a combined notebook and tablet that could switch between Android and Windows, and is also looking to stop the sale of other dual-boot devices as well.
Windows version should also go free
Microsoft is planning to launch a free version of OneNote for the Mac later this month as part of a plan to expand the functionality of the platform, sources say. The company currently has a paid version for Office for Windows, and free iOS, Android, and web apps, but has so far left OS X alone in the software's decade-plus history. Like the Mac version, the Windows title is also expected to become free.
Squad based strategy comes to mobile and desktop worlds
Trying to mash tactics and strategy into a game that spans computers and mobile devices is no easy task. Not only do the controls need to be precise enough to use with a mouse and touchscreen, but the game must offer a consistent experience. Best known for Battlecruiser 3000AD in the late 90s, 3000AD has offered gamers a tactical, squad based strategy game in Line of Defense Tactics across multiple platforms -- OS X, Windows, iOS and Android. The game focuses on strategic thinking and resource management to get a squad of four through their missions in one piece. Does the game hit all the right marks considering its ambitious reach? Or will Line of Defense Tactics end up a frustrating game because of it?
Windows Update claimed to be in hands of manufacturers before April release
Microsoft has reportedly finalized the incoming update for Windows 8.1, ahead of a release in early April. The final version of Windows 8.1 Update 1 has apparently been signed-off for a Release to Manufacturing (RTM), namely to computer and notebook manufacturers to include in their products, with devices offering the update pre-installed likely to appear at the same time as the update's release to consumers.
QuickTime 7.7.5 now available, addresses security weaknesses
Apple has released a QuickTime update to rectify multiple security issues with its Windows version. Users who play a maliciously-crafted movie file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution, caused by an uninitialized pointer issue existent in the handling of track lists, memory corruption, and more. Improved error-checking is now included, and additionally a buffer overflow that was previously present in the handling of H.264 encoded movie files has been fixed through improved bounds checking. QuickTime v7.7.5 may be obtained from the QuickTime Downloads site, and is available for Windows 7, Vista, XP SP2 or later.
Considering discounts of up to 70 percent for low-cost device licenses
Having seen its share pummelled by mobile devices that continue to eat into traditional notebook and desktop PC sales, Microsoft is said to be looking at discounts to Windows licensing on low-cost hardware in an effort to regain marketshare, Bloomberg reports. Citing unnamed sources "familiar with the matter," the move is intended to fight back against the consumer move to tablets and smartphones as substitutes for much of what desktop and notebook PCs used to do.
More likely to upgrade, stay up-to-date on OS, software
Mac users are almost four times more likely to upgrade to the latest version of OS X than Windows users are, and that 41.7 percent of current Mac users can be defined as "engaged" (meaning, among other things, that they run up-to-date software and OS versions as well as use the Internet frequently), compared to just 11.6 percent of Windows users who meet the same criteria. Overall, Macs account for nearly a quarter of the "up-to-date" computer user market.
Sales took 16 months to reach on tablets and PCs
Sales of Windows 8 have reached an important milestone, with 200 million licenses sold of Microsoft's latest offering. Executive Vice President of Marketing Tami Reller let the sales numbers slip during a talk at Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference, but was later confirmed by Microsoft. The news comes about eight months after the 100 million sales mark had been reached for the operating system in May, a disappointing result. At the same point in its development history, Windows 7 had sold significantly more copies..
Messages to offline Skype users included in app update
Microsoft has finally fixed the way Skype synchronizes messages across multiple devices, the company has revealed, something that it hinted at late last year. Part of a larger update across multiple platforms, the change will allow users to read all received messages on an account regardless of whether a device is signed in or not, with messages read on one device causing it to be shown as read on all others.
Slides claim 80 percent of XAML code usable for Windows desktop, mobile apps
More evidence of Microsoft's merging of the Windows and Windows Phone lines has allegedly surfaced. Leaked images claimed to be from a Microsoft slideshow about the project appears to show it is working towards "Universal Store" apps, namely apps that use the same basic code base, but can be produced to work on both the mobile and desktop versions of Windows.
DaaS allows Chromebooks to run cloud-based Windows apps
Chrome OS users will be able to use traditional Windows apps in the future, Google has announced. Working with VMWare, the two companies have developed Desktop as a Service (DaaS) for enterprise users, allowing companies to run Windows apps on servers with the intention of letting Chrome OS devices connect and stream the content directly to the Chromebook or Chromebox.
Pinch to zoom, swiping navigation added to beta Firefox version
Mozilla has released a beta version of its Firefox browser, for use with touch-enabled Windows 8 systems. Teased by the company in early 2012, Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta is said in a company blog post to be optimized for the operating system's Metro user interface style, with the main focus of the release being its usefulness for owners of touchscreen computers, notebooks, and tablets.
Threat seen in the wild, Adobe says
Adobe has released a new version of Flash Player for Windows and Mac, 22.214.171.124, to cope with a serious security hole. The company warns that exploits for the vulnerability have been seen in the wild, and that the problem could potentially allow an attacker to seize control of a computer. A matching Linux update is labeled v126.96.36.1995.
Social API gains simultaneous notifications
Mozilla has released Firefox 27, an update to its browser for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The desktop apps have been given an updated Social API, allowing for multiple notifications at the same time. Until today, Firefox would only show notifications for the social network indicated in a user's toolbar. Mozilla is also supporting two new networks, Delicious and Saavn.