If you live in the UK and are thinking of purchasing Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet, now is the time. Pick up one through the Microsoft Store or a participating retailer (which in terms of brick and mortar sellers means John Lewis) and you’ll get a Touch or Type Cover thrown in for free.
It’s a very good deal, as you’d be looking to pay around £100 if you were to buy a cover separately. You can pick up the 32GB tablet-only version of Surface for £399 at the moment.
On Monday I said Windows 8’s ‘failure’ is still a win for Microsoft and talked about the upcoming update -- codenamed Windows Blue -- speculating that it would be priced cheaply like a Mac OS-style upgrade, rather than be given away for free.
Turns out I was wrong. Today Tami Reller, Windows division CFO announced at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston that the update will be called Windows 8.1 and be entirely free for existing Windows 8 users, as a download through the Windows Store.
After nearly two months of using Microsoft’s services almost exclusively, I made the painful decision to switch back to Google for most of my web needs. I say "most" because I’m still using, and enjoying, Outlook.com.
My decision to stick with Microsoft’s webmail service seems well founded, as the company is adding more features all the time. It introduced Skype support two weeks ago, and from today is rolling out the ability to directly message your Gmail-using contacts. Or "friends stuck on Gmail" as Microsoft amusingly phrases it.
Raspberry Pi, the popular credit card-sized ARM GNU/Linux computer, now has a camera add-on. A year in the making, the camera board consists of a small lens on a chip around the size of a postage stamp, attached to a flex cable.
Connecting the module is just a matter of opening the camera port on the Raspberry Pi (it’s situated between the Ethernet and HDMI ports) and inserting the flex. The process is a little fiddly, but easy enough.
I was in Dubrovnik, Croatia (or King’s Landing for Game of Thrones fans) when Tami Reller, Windows division CFO announced that Windows 8 had sold 100 million licenses. Since I’ve been back in the UK I’ve had a chance to catch up on what the internet thinks, and it’s fair to say Windows 8’s accomplishments continue to divide opinion.
Some pundits claim the big number proves the doubters wrong, and shows Windows 8 is a roaring success. Others, like my colleague Joe Wilcox, argue 100 million is nothing. I have my own view, and it’s somewhere in-between.
Four weeks ago, Microsoft flicked the switch and officially merged Windows Live Messenger with Skype. Users of the popular IM tool were greeted with a message stating "A newer version is available. You must install the newer version in order to continue. Would you like to do this now?"
Although Skype is a great tool, many fans of Messenger were up in arms about the forced change, and I know people who still pine for the old chat application. Fortunately, there’s a very simple way to get it back.
I’ve been using Bing as my primary search engine for nearly two months now, and I like it. While I personally think it still lags behind Google in some areas, it’s definitely improving. It delivers decent results, offers some great features and does an excellent job of integrating social sources like Facebook and Twitter.
I chatted with Bill Hankes, a director at Bing, to find out more about the service and the division's future plans, and also asked him about that divisive Scroogled campaign...
Fifth in a series. Nearly two months ago I gave up Google and switched to Microsoft. Although I tried not to have any preconceptions, I’ll be honest and say I thought (based on past experience), I’d be swapping a set of mostly superb products and services for a collection of inferior alternatives and hate every moment I was away from Google.
That turned out not to be the case. Now my experiment is over, I find myself impressed with some elements of Microsoft’s offerings, but frustrated with others. So here’s a summary of my overall experience.
While all the press attention is focused on Google Glass, there’s another even more life-changing invention continuing to be developed and refined at Google. The company’s self-driving cars have already driven more than 400,000 miles without an accident (there have been two crashes -- in the first the Google car was rear-ended at a stop light, and in the second it was being driven by a human).
Although they won’t likely become commonplace on our roads for another 15 to 20 years, make no mistake, driver-less cars are the future, and will have lots of benefits. Aside from reducing accidents, they’ll be able to travel much faster -- no need for speed limits -- and give passengers (and we’ll all be passengers) time to do other things. Forget working from home, you’ll be able to work from your car.
Google Fonts is a collection of open-source typefaces designed to make websites look more appealing. The set includes fonts with names like Caesar Dressing, Faster One, and Oleo Script Swash Caps.
Starting from today the web giant is making these fonts available for use on the desktop (Windows and Mac). You can use them in your own creations, but just as importantly by having them stored locally on your system, your browser won’t have to download them, which will save a little time. And we all know how important speeding up the web is to Google.
Under Marissa Mayer, Yahoo has started to really embrace mobile, rolling out a succession of apps. That run continues today, with the launch of a new Yahoo app for Android.
Available now, the app delivers a stream of short news summaries with images, to give you the gist of something. If you have the time you can then read the full article at your leisure. You can personalize the content you see by scrolling to the end of each story, and ticking the topics you like, and removing those you’re not interested in. Your preferences are maintained across all of the devices you use. Yahoo says: "The more you use the app, the more relevant stories you'll start to see".
Microsoft has announced that it is rolling out a preview version of Skype for Outlook.com in the United Kingdom that will allow users to make audio and video calls directly from their inbox.
Available from today, Skype for Outlook.com requires a one-time download of a browser plugin for Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome. Once installed, users simply connect Skype to Outlook.com and merge their contacts.
Usually when I do a Q&A session with tech firms like IBM, The Raspberry Pi Foundation, and Vonage, I come up with the questions myself, picking topics I think will be of most interest to our readers. However, for my forthcoming interview with the Internet Explorer team I want to shake things up a bit.
So instead of compiling the list of questions myself, I’d like your help and input. If you've a burning question you'd like the IE team to answer, post it in the comments below.
If the rumors are to be believed, every company in the tech world is currently working on a smartwatch. Apple was among the first to be linked to a wrist device, but since then we’ve heard similar development stories concerning Samsung, Microsoft, Google, and LG, to name just a few.
Assuming at least some of those rumored watches come to fruition, the developers are going to have to find a way around the issue of typing on a tiny smartwatch face, but researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have come up with what they think is an ideal solution.
Samsung unifies its PC line under the ATIV brand, rolls out two new Book models and SideSync software
Samsung has announced it will be expanding its ATIV brand name to cover all of its Windows PCs, not just its convertible PC devices. The aim is to create a single cohesive brand for all its Windows 8 products, in a similar way to how the Galaxy brand unifies all of its Android smartphones.
In addition to the rebranding, Samsung has rolled out two new ATIV Book models -- the ATIV Book 5 and ATIV Book 6.