Tag Archives: Windows

Microsoft’s budget Windows VR headsets roll out to developers soon

A lucky few developers will be able to get their hands on a low-cost Windows virtual reality headset starting this month. Microsoft announced Wednesday that the Acer Mixed Reality Developer Edition headset will start rolling out to a handpicked batch of software makers starting the end of March, with more coming later.

This marks the first release of a Windows Mixed Reality headset, which Microsoft first previewed last year. The headsets are supposed to stand out from the crowd because of a lower price and their support for “inside-out” tracking that uses sensors on the device to determine a user’s position, rather than relying on external trackers to gather that information. That’s why Microsoft is calling them mixed reality headsets.

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REVIEW: Windows 10 Yoga Book: The good, the bad, the useful

Lenovo has introduced tablets with unique designs over the years, and their latest Yoga Book, released in October, is one of the most intriguing examples. This hybrid device looks like a mini notebook, but it’s technically a tablet with a swing-open digital drawing and writing pad that can capture your handwriting or sketching when you use its included digital pen.

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(Insider Story)
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Dopamine for Windows is a free music player that expertly handles large collections


It’s crazy to think that I’ve been using Winamp as my go-to desktop music player for nearly two decades now. The app has always been the best looking tool for the job, and made light work of managing my collection as it grew from a handful of MP3 snippets to a 350GB library of locally stored tunes. I stuck with Winamp even after I upgraded to Windows 10, but it doesn’t play nice with my 4K display. That’s why I’ve been looking for a worthy replacement, and Dopamine seems to check all the boxes on my list. The free music player…

This story continues at The Next Web


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Kickstarting a Windows 10 phone is a terrible idea, yet someone is doing just that

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Who out there is excited for a new Windows 10 Mobile phone? Did your eyes just light up and your heart skip a beat? You’re in the very small minority that cares about Windows 10 Mobile then.

For some reason, the Japanese company NuAns is kickstarting a Windows 10 Mobile phone. It would be a great idea if Windows 10 Mobile was relevant at all, but it’s not. With only 0.7% of the worldwide smartphone marketshare as of Q1 2016 (that’s worse than the 1.7% ending Q3 2015), according to Gartner, the mobile platform is as a good as dead.

Even Microsoft knows it, which is why we’re seeing the company pivot towards providing its excellent apps and services on iOS and Android instead. Read more…

More about Smartphones, Crowdfunding, Kickstarter, Microsoft, and Neo


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Microsoft knows you hate Universal Windows Platform’s framerate lock and a fix is coming

Gears of War is one of the games a framerate lock, and that's something a lot of gamers aren't happy with.

Microsoft is a huge corporation, but it is also one that has learned how to remain nimble in order to pivot when it does something people don’t like.

The company told developers at the Game Developers conference last week that its mantra of “we’re listening to feedback”  applies to developers as well as gamers — and specifically, it wants to hear more about what you hate about the Universal Windows Platform. The first wave of UWP-enabled games on Windows 10 have a problem where you cannot turn off an option that locks the framerate to the refresh rate of your monitor. For example, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for PC — which is available now as a UWP-enabled game on the Windows 10 Store — has stuttering problems with its 30 frames-per-second cap that players cannot fix because the game doesn’t have standard options to turn off v-sync. For PC gamers, this is a sign that the UWP program — which is Microsoft’s effort to bring Windows together with its mobile and gaming division — is about eliminating choices.

Gaming is a $ 99.3 billion industry worldwide. Microsoft is positioning Xbox and the overarching UWP business as a way that developers can easily access the various segments of that market. The company says it is still committed to Xbox One, but it wants to also find ways to serve people who game on PC and mobile devices as well as upcoming platforms like the HoloLens augmented reality headset that combines digital imagery with the real world.

But UWP is giving off a rough first impression with the framerate issues and other problems, and Xbox product manager Jason Ronald acknowledged this issue during a presentation at GDC last week. During his talk, Ronald noted that the company is already working on a fix for many of these annoying features.

“Some of the early feedback we’ve gotten from the first wave of UWP-enabled games is that people don’t like that v-sync is locked to the refresh rate of the monitor or that there’s a lack of support for Gsync and Freesync [options that intelligently output rendered images onto a monitor at the same rate as that graphics card,” he said. “We’ve taken that feedback, and we’re actively working on fixes that we’re testing with some of our first-party studios. We’ll be shipping these later this year.”

Microsoft is frustrating a lot of people with UWP. That includes gamers, but industry luminaries like Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney — who helped turn that company into a software-tool powerhouse with the Unreal game-creation engine — have also detailed some intense criticism of this initiative.

Ronald didn’t directly address those comments, but he reiterated that they’re hearing them.

“We’re listening to feedback,” he said. “We say that all the time to the public and the gamer audience, but it’s true of developers as well. Feedback from developers and gamers is critical to our success. It directly affects our priorities and our roadmap.”

Microsoft also promised that it will have more to share about UWP updates that address other concerns they’ve heard from developers. You can expect those to hit before the end of the year.

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Say so long to TweetDeck for Windows

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Remember TweetDeck for Windows? Well, as of April 15, it’ll be dead, buried in the giant software graveyard. RIP.

Twitter on Thursday announced that it is streamlining and enhancing the TweetDeck backend. As a result, if you’re logged into Twitter via Twitter.com or Analytics.twitter.com, you’ll no longer need to also login to TweetDeck.

It also means that Twitter has decided to stop developing TweetDeck for Windows.

Launched as part of the original HTML5 TweetDeck in 2011, TweetDeck for Windows was a separate app that had a near-identical experience to the standard TweetDeck in Chrome experience. Read more…

More about Twitter, Tweetdeck, and Tech


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Microsoft will bring BitLocker and Secure Boot to Windows 10 IoT Core

Raspberry Pi

Microsoft is beefing up the security capability of Windows 10 IoT Core, the compact version of Windows intended for Internet-connected devices. Microsoft’s BitLocker data encryption technology and its Secure Boot system for only supporting trusted software will both appear in in an upcoming release of the operating system, Microsoft announced today.

“By building this into IoT Core you can get these highly valuable security features without needing to build your own implementations meaning you can get your project done faster and still be more secure,” Steve Teixeira, director of program Management for the Internet of Things team in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, wrote in a blog post.

The build packing BitLocker and Secure Boot will be available to people participating in the Windows Insider Program, Teixeira wrote.

The OS became publicly available last month following a preview that came out in April, days after the formal release of Windows 10 proper.

For those who want to try it out, a new Windows IoT Core Starter Kit might be just the thing. It costs $ 114.95 with a Raspberry Pi 2 and $ 75 without the Pi. An SD card in the kit comes with the OS installed.



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Microsoft launches meeting app Invite for iPhone, coming soon to Android and Windows Phone

One of the meeting rooms at Communitech, a startup mecca in Waterloo, Ontario. Google also has 200 employees here.

Microsoft today launched a new standalone app for scheduling meetings called Invite. Available only for iPhone users in the U.S. and Canada for now, you can download Invite now directly from Apple’s App Store.

Here is how it works. First you suggest times that work for you, and then invite attendees to vote. You can send invites to anyone with an email address — even if they are outside your organization. The recipients select all the times they can attend from the app itself or from a browser, once votes are in, you pick the time that works best.

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The best part is that anyone invited can see what options work best for other attendees, and suggest their own times as well. The sender chooses a final date and time whenever they’re ready, hitting Send Calendar Invites to get it on everyone’s calendars.

Here is how Microsoft explains its thinking behind the app:

Invite is designed to overcome the biggest obstacle when scheduling meetings — not being able to see the calendars of attendees outside your organization. As a result, your proposed meeting can be repeatedly declined until you find a time that works.

From VentureBeat

Location, location, location — Not using geolocation to reach your mobile customers? Your competitors are. Find out what you’re missing.

Certain events and meetings can be moved if something more important comes up, but only each person knows best where they are flexible. By letting attendees pick times that work for them, even when it means moving one of their own meetings, can stop that meeting from being scheduled on a Friday evening.

Invite is mainly designed for users with Office 365 business and school accounts. That said, the app also works with any email account, including Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.

The app’s launch and limitations are very similar to Microsoft’s Send, a lightweight email app that debuted in July. Like Send, Invite is starting out as iPhone-only, available only in two countries, and with the promise of “coming soon” to Android and Windows Phone.

Invite is the latest in a long line of apps to emerge from Microsoft Garage, the software giant’s lab for experimental tinkering. At this rate, Microsoft will soon have more experimental apps than “final” apps.

And that’s okay, as long as some of them are eventually released or integrated into existing products.

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Microsoft, Baidu Deal Drives Windows 10 Adoption

Microsoft announces a partnership with China’s Baidu to broaden Windows 10 adoption in the world’s most populated country.


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