X-Box

The revamped Xbox One console will be launched come November 2013 in the US, UK and 19 other countries that have not yet been specified; after some of its unpopular features landed it in trouble. The new Xbox One will not be cheap either and will retail at a price of USD499/ £429/ AUD599.

The Xbox has a newer version of Kinect installed in it and has even more powerful specs. The Xbox One comes with more features integrated in it such as Skype, music, live TV and of course the games. Al these are operated by the voice recognition of Kinect.

The Xbox One specs include;

  • x64 8-core AMD Jaguar CPU,
  • USB 3.0 ports,
  • 500GB hard drive and 8GB DDR3 RAM.
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi

The Blu Ray drive included in the Xbox is Microsoft’s first and shows that they are embracing Sony’s disc format after the HD/DVD format. The Xbox console comes with both the HDMI-in and out-ports that will incorporate your set-top boxes for a better TV-watching experience.

With the SmartGlass feature gamers can now start one-player games from a tablet or view the scores/achievements. The Smart Match feature will be able to make multi-player games in the background while you play the one-player games. The friends list limits has been changed from having only a hundred friends and the Xbox points will now be money, real money.

Windows Azure cloud to get open source Java

An open source version of Java is expected to be introduced by the Microsoft Corp. in partnership with Java virtual machine technology vendor, Azul Systems. This build of OpenJDK is expected to run on windows Azure cloud platform. This project is expected to be complete before the end of the year but a preview however will be released before the final version is released.

This project is aimed in ensuring that the Windows Azure users can use OpenJDK freely in a manner that Microsoft fully supports and backs it up. The actual development will be spearheaded by Azul while Microsoft will provide the required engineering support. In return Microsoft will also update its Eclipse IDE plug-in so that Azure can support the OpenJDK iteration from Azul.

Similarly, it is Azul that will be the commercial entity and will be responsible for building, certifying and delivering the program to Microsoft Windows Azure. The Azul administrators were quoted as saying that they have 11 years of experience and domain expertise that is uniquely focused on delivering JVMs.

The Azul company is viewed as a small player who has deep expertise in Java while Microsoft as a big player hungry for workloads and would go to any extent to run any workload, thus it is striking deals left and right just to ensure that its vast cloud infrastructure is put to use.

Microsoft Excel features 3D maps

Microsoft has seen the introduction of a new excel visualization feature, GeoFlow. It is a reliable 3D map, pretty and comes in handy anytime you try to track events in history or over a particular space and time. It enables anyone using a windows PC for data analysis visualize geospatial and temporal data. It will even be more effective when the internet and networks become more real and sensors make time and place as important as amounts.

Similarly, if you have like a million rows on your Microsoft excel sheet, GeoFlow can enable you plot the data over Bing maps. This really helps you save time and also makes your work look neat since the visualization is actually good looking and time lapse capabilities are always considered especially when you are running out of time.

This feature is part of a worldwide Telescope project aimed at helping users explore a high resolution map of the world. However it is increasingly being used to solve important problems including finding historic information and also archiving data which rather could have taken a longer period to find. The online users experience even a better performance of the feature since it is more attractive and interactive when connected to the internet.

Microsoft Themes for windows 8

Over the years, Microsoft has been producing awesome and lively themes for their users and they are not just about to stop. With summer almost around the corner, they have come up with the most appropriate themes depicting this awesome season. They are the most appealing themes to install in your PC and tablets as well.

For the travelers, the new Microsoft themes for windows 8 would seem appealing and sweet to reckon with. One from photographer Kyle Waters that features the vast Alaskan Landscapes has a number of attractive and beautiful images on the US largest state.

Similarly, Ian Rushton’s themes could never been better as the themes created from the New Zealand sites photos. Another theme which complements the spring season is the Swedish Spring. Karyn Servin, a renowned artist, has also created a theme, Delectable Designs, whose artwork is mainly on cartoon images of cupcakes, pastries and other pleasantries.

These Microsoft themes come in the wake of the summer season and most depict the nature and relaxed atmosphere brought by this season.

Other than the themes, Microsoft has also released a bunch of wallpapers for previous versions of windows as well as for windows 8. Amazingly, the windows 8 wallpapers are panoramic, in that they can stretch across two monitors in windows 8.

Microsoft gadgets should be disabled

In July Microsoft recommended that all users should disable windows sidebar and Windows Gadgets as fast as possible. This is for the users own good, in that by doing so, he or she will be protecting himself/ herself from vulnerabilities involving execution of arbitrary codes by the sidebar when it is running insecure gadgets.

A security advisor stated that gadgets installed from untrusted sources pose a high risk to your computer and can either damage it or illegally access files and private data. Similarly, they can show you objectionable content or at times change their behavior thus they can’t be trusted.

For those who might not be aware of what gadgets are, they are the small app like icons that hang around the desktop. They include clocks, what to do lists, weather apps, news gadgets and so forth. They were introduced in 2007 and were defaults setting in windows vista. Most of the users complained that they took too much of their computer resources including space and speed and most turned them off.

Microsoft has gone further and removed the download page where users used to obtain these gadgets. This is to show how serious they are on the issue. Similarly, gadgets have not been included in the preview versions of windows 8 and most likely, Microsoft gadgets have seen their end.

Microsoft to drop the Skydrive brand name

A High Court ruling in June ruled out that Microsoft Corp. should stop using the Skydrive brand name since it infringes the BskyB broadcaster’s trademark. The judge stated that enough evidence had been collected on the confusion brought about by the name among the public. This will see the tech company undergo a transition period in which finally they will assume another name for their cloud storage service.

However, the two companies came to terms and agreed to work together despite their differences so as to benefit their customers.

Bosky argued that Microsoft’s use of the word “sky” was inappropriate since the company ran some digital services under the “sky” name including Sky broadband and Sky Go for streaming videos.

The judge argued that some customers who had faced problems with the Skydrive service, mostly called the BskyB Company mistakenly in the belief that they were responsible for the Skydrive services. Microsoft Corp. thus agreed to the challenge and will soon be finding a more appropriate name for the cloud storage service.

It might be a tough decision but might work out to be the best since the confusion had to be cleared and the issue settled once and for all. However the cloud storage services are expected to remain unaffected by the change of the brands name.

The Privacy of Microsoft information for the Government

When the government searches for information from Microsoft which relates to customers, Microsoft does not just voluntarily provide them with the information. They are principled and very limited to their disclosures since they commit to transparency. Summarized together across the various software and services,

In short, when governments seek information from Microsoft relating to customers, we strive to be principled, limited in what we disclose, and committed to transparency. Put together, all of this adds up to the following across all of our software and services:

Microsoft may not offer any government with direct access to their customer’s data. It only pulls and offers the particular information that is mandated by the concerned legal demand.

Supposing a government is need of a particular customer’s data including one that has the national security information, a legal process is followed suggesting that it has to serve Microsoft with an order from the court for account information.

Microsoft responds to requests for particular identifiers and accounts. There is no blanket or discriminatory access to the customer’s data. The collective data that has been published is able to clearly show that it is only a small fraction of the customers have been subjected to a government demand related to the security of the nation.