You likely haven't made it this far in life without learning about prime numbers, as they are one of the fundamentals of mathematics. They are also a big part of the technology world, being used for encryption. You may not think about them everyday, but there are people out there who do, and now you can be one of them.
Microsoft is introducing the Prime Challenge, a contest to find the undiscovered prime numbers, of which there likely are quite a lot, though nobody can really say how many. "The challenge is open to all; everyone is encouraged to try and find a 'lost prime'. To enter the challenge just go to www.primechallenge.org and follow the instructions online", says Microsoft.
If you missed out on the Black Friday Surface deals, you may still have a chance to get your hands on one, provided to you free of charge. That is, if you happen to be an employee at City National Bank.
City National Bank is a private and business financial institution based in Los Angeles, California. "We looked at multiple options out there, and as soon as we saw the Surface device, we recognized right away that this was a unique device that really fit the bill for what we are looking for", says City National Bank's Senior Vice President of Business and Technology Services Jim Ellaboudy.
Just over a week ago, Microsoft lashed out at Google with its latest installment in the Scroogled campaign, hiring Pawn Stars to belittle the Chromebook platform. Reaction ranged from positive to negative, but it can't be argued that it did get attention. Despite those negatives, Microsoft has no intention of backing down, and actually added another video to the archive today.
This time, the company has enlisted the aid of its popular spokesperson Ben Rudolph, "Ben the PC Guy", of "Smoked by Windows Phone" fame. Microsoft sent Rudolph out on the streets of Venice, California with a Chromebook in his hands and a camera crew in tow.
BitTorrent Sync has been around since January, when it debuted in private alpha. After moving to beta and going public, the service announced a major update and the achievement of reaching one million users. That was 30 days ago, and what a difference a month makes.
After taking from January until November to hit that first million, the organization has doubled the user base in just one month, today announcing two million users. "The milestone demonstrates the accelerating momentum for BitTorrent Sync. It also signals that in it’s first 8 months BitTorrent Sync has grown more rapidly than Dropbox at the same stage", BitTorrent told BetaNews in a statement.
Google deserves some credit for providing its 'Takeout' service that allows customers to easily move their data somewhere else if they decide to make a switch. It's a service many of us became all too familiar with in the summer when Google killed off Reader. Now the search giant is providing another way for customers to take control of their data.
Gmail and Calendar users will now be able to directly download their personal information. "Starting today we're rolling out the ability to export a copy of your Gmail and Google Calendar data, making it easy to back up your data or move to another service", states Google software engineer Nick Piepmeier.
Despite the fact we have been living with the Edward Snowden leaks regarding NSA spying since May, the story remains front page news and continues to raise questions from citizens and governments the world over. The allegations that the National Security Agency is circumventing security measures without seeking warrants is a concern, not only to every citizen, but also to major corporations which survive by promising to protect their customers' data and privacy.
Now Microsoft is taking action. Regarding the recent news stories, Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft, states "if true, these efforts threaten to seriously undermine confidence in the security and privacy of online communications. Indeed, government snooping potentially now constitutes an 'advanced persistent threat', alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks".
Misleading advertising accusations have been leveled at retailers for ages, but mostly before the internet and 24/7 customer service became part of the game. Google, despite being an internet giant, isn't immune to falling victim to it. Though, to be fair, the search giant wasn't so much misleading as it was hapless. You would think a company built on the web, would be more aware of the technology age.
What happened you ask? This week the Play store is holding an Amazon-like, week-long version of Cyber Monday, the manufactured shopping day for the technology age.
Microsoft's business communications app Lync, formerly known by the catchy name of Microsoft Office Communicator, has become a go-to instant messaging service for a number of businesses. It works with contacts from Outlook and uses Microsoft Exchange Server, to help bring people together, regardless of where they are.
Now a new update to the Lync app is being pushed out, and this one is exclusively for Windows 8.1. "Based on your feedback, we made a number of improvements in this update that we think you’ll like", the Lync team announces.
It's fairly safe to assume that there are few people left who don't have a high-definition TV, and those who do not are the ones who aren't interested in modern set-top boxes like Google TV and Roku. Unlike the early days of Plasma and LCD, now the content is there to support the TV and prices have dropped to reasonable levels.
Now PlayOn, and its PlayLater DVR service, are joining the HD revolution. "PlayOn users can now stream up to 720p HD resolution content from many of PlayOn’s 60-plus channels, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO and ABC, to their TVs with only a broadband-enabled PC, PlayOn software and a DLNA-compatible device. Also, PlayLater users can record movies and shows in HD and watch them on mobile devices, whenever and wherever, with no Internet connection needed", the company announces.
NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, has once again joined forces with Microsoft to power its popular Santa tracker this holiday season. The organization made a switch in 2012 from its previous partner, Google, to Microsoft and this time the two have big plans for improved features.
Microsoft claims this is the most immersive site yet. That's likely correct, given all of the 2013 additions. Visitors can take a virtual tour of Santa's North Pole village that comes with a 3D Claymation-style look that Microsoft says was "inspired by NORAD Tracks Santa’s long history and the Claymation style classic holiday movies".
The official holiday shopping season kicked off last week and reached full speed today with Cyber Monday. Like every year, Microsoft hopes to see a Windows product on everyone's wish list. This year the company is even planning to throw in a little something extra to sweeten the deal.
The software and services company is announcing that starting now, and running through December 28th, anyone who purchases a new touch PC or tablet is eligible for a shiny new gift card to go along with it. The card can be used to purchase any app or game in the Windows Store.
Microsoft has been busy this year, working towards landing its Office 365 in the enterprise, government offices and educational institutions. The company announced its latest ploy back on October 15, aiming at any school that licenses Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for its employees.
Today the program officially goes live, bringing Office 365 Student Advantage to thousands of educational institutions. Eligible locations will be able to begin offering Office 365 ProPlus to all students.
Apple can take comfort in the fact that its iPad Air is considered good enough competition to warrant the concern of other manufacturers, but that likely doesn't make the latest TV ads any more palatable to the company. Just recently Microsoft fired a shot with its Surface 2 comparison ads, and now Amazon is getting into the game with its tablet.
A new 30-second clip features a back and forth between the two devices, comparing screen resolution, weight and price. You likely don't need a spoiler alert to figure out which tablet comes out on top.
Yesterday marked a rather unique holiday. No, not simply that it was both Thanksgiving and also the first day of Hanukkah, but it was also the first time that these two occasions have shared a day since way back in 1888. Given that, it probably shouldn't come as a major surprise that this would lead to extra traffic on social media websites.
That was exactly the case for photo-sharing service Instagram, which announced record traffic for the second straight Thanksgiving. This time the Facebook subsidiary failed to reveal actual numbers, as it did last year, when it announced more than 10 million photos shared and a staggering 200 images per second.
Several of the folks here at BetaNews have recently been enjoying the latest version of the Android mobile operating system, known as 4.4 KitKat, through both Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices. The new version brings a number of noticeable changes to the Google platform, the biggest of which is the new Google Experience Launcher.
However, there is another notable difference, as the search company has brought along Moto X-like capability in the form of "OK Google". It's not quite up to what Motorola does, as you do have to turn the phone on first, but once you do that then it is essentially the same.