Wayne Williams

Microsoft looking to end bugs in software by monitoring developers

eye tracking

Modern programs are so complex that bugs are pretty much unavoidable, but Microsoft is looking at ways of reducing coding errors as much as possible, including trialling an experimental approach that involves monitoring developers as they work.

The idea is to track eye movements and other mental and physical characteristics of the developers, in order to spot when their alertness levels drop or they are struggling with a task -- which is when errors are most likely to creep into their work.

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PlayStation 4 outsells Xbox One for sixth consecutive month in the US


Microsoft might have seen sales of the Xbox One more than double in June, but the games console is still being outsold by Sony’s PS4, according to industry-tracking firm NPD Group.

While the uncoupling of the Kinect and introduction of a $399 base model has caused a clear sales spike it will likely be some time before we see whether that's enough to help the Xbox One catch up to its rival.

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[Updated] Lenovo ends sales of small-screen Windows tablets in US due to lack of interest


Microsoft is keen to get its tiled OS on as many devices, from as many hardware makers, as possible. It introduced the license-free Windows with Bing back in May as part of this push, but prior to that, at Build 2014, it announced it would be offering Windows for free to OEMs and ODMs on all tablets smaller than nine inches.

The dream of an army of smaller devices running Windows 8.1 has suffered a major setback now though with news that one of the largest Windows device makers, Lenovo, has decided to kill off its smaller tablets in the US, citing lack of interest.

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Under the Dome goes over the top in promoting Microsoft Surface


Microsoft is the master of product placement. Watch almost any American-made TV show and at some point it’s likely one of the characters will whip out their Windows Phone, fire up their Surface, or use Windows 8.x. No one in those shows ever seems to own an iPad or an Android phone, which is odd considering that in the real world, most people do.

I caught up with the latest episode of CBS show Under the Dome last night, and for a brief moment thought I was watching an advert for Surface, so prevalent was Microsoft’s slate. The problem was… [spoilers ahead]

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Xbox One sales more than doubled in June, says Microsoft -- means nothing


A fan of Microsoft’s new gaming console? Prepare to rejoice. While up until now the Xbox One has been roundly thrashed by its arch rival, Sony’s PlayStation 4, it seems uncoupling the Kinect in order to allow the device to compete on price is paying dividends.

According to Microsoft, since the new Xbox One offering launched on June 9th, the company has seen sales more than double in the US, compared to May’s figures. Fantastic! But hold on… Maybe don’t start that party just yet.

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Watch Satya Nadella's keynote at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is delivering a keynote today at the Worldwide Partner Conference and you watch what the tech giant’s new boss has to say here.

Monday's Vision Keynote covered a wide range of topics, including Windows Phone’s shipments, forthcoming Windows devices, and there was even some hints on what to expect from Windows 9.

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Watch the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference keynote here


The Vision Keynote for the WPC 2014 has ended now, and Microsoft covered a wide range of topics, and even delivered some surprising news -- Windows Phone is apparently now the fastest growing mobile operating system, with more shipments than iPhone in 24 markets.

Microsoft also talked about forthcoming Windows devices, including $99 tablets, and even had some news about the next version of its operating system, Windows 9. If you didn’t attend the conference, and would like to know more about what Microsoft revealed, you can watch the keynote here. And because it’s not live, you can even skip through all the boring bits, and the music!

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Wondering what Windows 9's Start menu might look like?


We got our first glimpse of the future Windows Start menu at this year's Build Developer Conference, but since then Microsoft has kept the much requested feature well under wraps.

Over the past couple of weeks we've seen some screens purporting to be from leaked versions of the next major Windows release. They certainly look the part, but are they the real deal?

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Raspberry Pi introduces an improved model -- the Model B+


We’re big fans of the Raspberry Pi here at BetaNews. The popular (not to mention super-affordable) credit card-sized ARM GNU/Linux computer was designed to bring programming back into schools but has quickly found an audience way beyond that.

The Pi is available in two variations -- the $25 Model A, which comes with just the one USB port and no Ethernet, and the more advanced $35 Model B with Ethernet and two USB ports. Today, however, there’s a third choice -- the Model B+.

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Selling a smartphone? Here's how to securely wipe your personal data

gift phone

As a test, Avast purchased 20 used and supposedly wiped Android phones and discovered that it was able to recover vast amounts of personal user data. My colleague Brian Fagioli reported the story here.

Google responded to the news, stating "This research looks to be based on old devices and versions (pre-Android 3.0) and does not reflect the security protections in Android versions that are used by the vast majority of users". It went on to offer users advice on how to make sure when selling an old mobile phone you aren’t also gifting your personal data to buyers.

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Windows 8.x's failure will be the making of Windows 9

Try again

I know it’s a little crazy to talk about how well a future operating system will do, especially when Windows 9 hasn’t even been officially announced yet. But we do already know a fair bit about Windows 8.1’s successor and that, I think, is enough to build a reasonable case.

Windows 8.x is a flop. As much as I love it, I’m a realist. The operating system has taken 20 months to grab just 12.54 percent market share. Windows Vista, the previously used example of a failed OS, was at 19.82 percent in the same time frame. Windows 7, which followed Vista, has been a great success, and there’s every reason to think Windows 9 will do much, much better than Windows 8.x has.

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Microsoft gives away almost 300 ebooks -- master Windows 8.1, Office 365, and much more


Eric Ligman, Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager, has released a whole new batch of free ebooks, covering topics such as Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows 7, Office 2013 and Office 365, Azure, Lync 2013, and SQL Server. There are ebooks and resource guides for all things Microsoft.

For the past few years, Ligman has been writing posts in which he has given away almost 150 free Microsoft ebooks, and now he has another 130 more titles available to download for free, in addition to all the ones previously offered. Yes, that's right -- there are now close to 300 titles available.

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Patch Tuesday: Microsoft issues critical fixes for all versions of Internet Explorer

Security alert

It’s Patch Tuesday, and Microsoft has issued six security bulletins including two which are rated "critical" and allow for Remote Code Execution (RCE), and three which are labeled "important" and allow for elevation of privilege inside Windows. The final patch is rated "moderate" and fixes a Denial of Service vulnerability in the Service Bus for Windows.

The patches affect all versions of Internet Explorer, as well as most versions of Windows. XP users are at risk from these vulnerabilities, but are not covered by the updates.

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WZor says the end is in sight for Windows 8.1, and Windows 9 is on its way


The problem with running rumors -- something we rarely do on BetaNews -- is in most cases they are entirely made up. We will occasionally cover claims by trusted Microsoft watchers like Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley because they usually come from a knowledgeable source.

Russian leaker WZor knows a lot about Windows too, and although the group's website has been down since an ex-Microsoft employee was charged with stealing secrets (and early builds of Windows 7 and Windows 8), that hasn’t entirely stemmed the flow of leaks. A post from WZor on the Russian-language Ru-Board makes some interesting claims regarding both Windows 8.1 and its successor.

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Do Android users really need malware protection?

virus malware infection mobile

Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security at Google, spoke to journalists prior to Google's I/O developers' conference and said that Android users who install antivirus and other security apps on their devices are no better off than those who don’t. The risk of potentially harmful applications is "significantly overstated" he believes, and there’s no need for anyone to install any form of third party protection.

"I think ... paying for a product that you will probably never actually receive protection from is not a rational reduction of risk -- but people buy things for lots of reasons", he said. Security expert Graham Cluley, who worked for Sophos for 14 years, disagrees. In a blog post he says Ludwig is "wrong, wrong, wrong". Two very opposing views. So who’s right?

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