Microsoft’s Unified Gaming Platform Hits More Trouble

Microsoft has long been keen on repairing what can only be described as a damaged relationship with the PC gaming community. After a slew of initial releases, Microsoft’s game for Windows Live has soured many experiences of games the company is directly involved, made worse by the lack of features (and sometimes playability at all) when the service was taken down. Windows 10 looks to save them from this past but the initial signs all point to trouble.

One of the key selling points of Windows 10 is DirectX12, a new system designed to make games run not only faster but smoother with all the benefits of the latest generation of software. With “apps” being downloaded through the Windows 10 App store, sometimes with exclusive releases of big games like Gears Of Wars: Ultimate Edition, the limitations on these releases suddenly becomes frightening for PC gamers.

According to recent reports from Guru3D, when testing the latest Ashes of the Singularity beta disabling the vsync setting wouldn’t actually disable the feature. This is because of the technology used to display games in Windows 10, the windows display driver model 2.0.

You may not notice the problem though as programs downloaded from the store don’t expose an executable file, something that a lot of software uses to help mold their experience. Ever use Steam’s big picture mode or Fraps? They both use executable files from your programs to run, meaning using them with Windows 10 games may be more difficult than expected.

Microsoft has said how much they want to bring PC gamers back to trusting their development and platforms. With items like this happening and the quiet (and disastrous) release of Gears Of War Ultimate Edition on their store, they may be harming rather than helping their reputation with the gaming community.

Windows 10 Hits Impressive 200 Million Installs

Despite a host of glaring issues it seems like Windows 10 is continuing to truck along just fine. After hitting a landmark 75 million installations by the first month and 110 million by the second month, it has hit another milestone. According to WinBeta, the OS managed to hit 200 million installations since it’s launch 5 months ago. While lower than previous months, that’s still an impressive 30 million installs a month on average.

While undoubtedly impressive after the debacle that was Windows 8, it’s important to note that these are installations and not necessary activations. This means this includes unsold devices with Windows 10 installed, which usually get shipped out a month before they are sold. Windows 10 is also a free upgrade for existing Windows users and Microsoft has been using questionable practices to force users to upgrade to the latest OS and will eventually force upgrades.

Critically, Microsoft still hasn’t addressed the fundamental privacy questions for their latest OS. Core tracking telemetry cannot be disabled and the few settings users have been able to tweak are getting changed back to the way Microsoft wants it through uncontrollable updates. With such aggressive measures, it’s not surprising that Windows 10 is doing so well. Whether or not Microsoft will hit their 1 billion installations in 3 years goal remains to be seen.

Noctua is 10 Years Old Today!

Noctua has revolutionized the cooling industry over the last 10 years and won over 6000 award from leading hardware websites. Their no-compromise approach helped to create iconic coolers such as the Noctua NH-D14. This flagship model reigned supreme for many years and still competes with today’s closed-loop liquid coolers.

On another note, the company’s wide range of fans are constructed from years of research and development while offering the consumer an unrivaled 6 year warranty.  Whether you’re after the ultra fast industrialPPC models or cheaper Redux fans, anything with the Noctua brand oozes quality. The company’s CEO discussed their 10 year anniversary and said:

“Our products have come a long way since we launched our first cooler in 2005 and our first fan in 2006, but we’re still driven by the same passion to create the best quiet cooling solutions money can buy.”

“It makes us proud that there are still a lot of people out there who use Noctua coolers that are eight, nine or ten years old and who have updated the mounting kit several times in order to make them compatible with the latest hardware,”

“I think this is a great example of what we are trying to achieve when we strive to combine premium quality products with premium quality service!”

“Fan technology has seen significant progress since the very first NF-S12, but it’s a great testimony to its design and the reliability of our SSO bearings that there are still thousands of them being used today. It’s our methods that have evolved since the development of the first S12, not our goals,”  

“While our current fan developments are infinitely more complex and elaborate than 10 years ago, even our most ambitious project of introducing fans with integrated Active Noise Cancellation is still following the same idea of continuously pushing the envelope in performance-to-noise efficiency.”

“Last but not least, we would like to use this anniversary as an opportunity to say thank you to our loyal customers,”  

“We’re proud that we have managed to win the hearts of so many enthusiast users around the world over the last 10 years and we’ll be honoured to keep supplying you with state-of-the-art quiet cooling equipment for the decade to come!”

This is a momentous occasion and we want to thank everything Noctua has done for the PC cooling industry. Without their expertise and attention-to-detail, the quality of fans might not be what they are today. Furthermore, I’m fascinated to see what products they have in store throughout the next 10 years.

Microsoft Offer Tools to Help You Upgrade to Windows 10

Microsoft is both parts eager and keen in its attempts to upgrade everyone from the older systems to the latest, Windows 10. From offering free upgrades for windows 7 and 8 users, to automatically downloading the materials needed to install Windows 10 without warning the user, it’s clear that staying on the older systems may not be a choice for many.

In the new year, they intend to make that step a little easier for users. Currently, Windows 10 as an “Optional Update” for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users. This means that if you wanted to, you could install it. In a blog on their site, Microsoft recently announced that early next year this will be changed and Windows 10 will become a “Recommended Update”, meaning the update process will automatically start. They have clarified that when this happens you will be given the prompt asking if you wish to continue or not, with the option to revert back within 31 days if you are not happy with windows 10.

Alongside this, the tool used to create DVD ISO’s and USB installers is being updated to create a single image that will cover everything, such as the 32 and 64-bit versions of both Home and Pro copies of Window 10. All within one installation media, this means that you can install on any PC, regardless of the wanted version without having to create separate installation media.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10? Did you revert back? Give us your story in the comments below.

Microsoft Previews New Windows 10 Feature

In an understated announcement, Microsoft revealed and released an early preview build of Windows 10, featuring functional nested virtualization. Or in simpler terms, Windows running on Windows, running on Windows, like a matryoshka doll of computers. And while this may seem simple and silly at first glance, think about all the components that make your PC work. For even a single virtual machine, your PC has to fool a copy of Windows (or any other operating system) into thinking it has access to those things, not to mention the resources the physical machine has to surrender to the virtual machine. So to allow a virtual machine to properly share all of these things to a virtual machine of its own is no small feat.

What does this mean for Windows 10? For one, it makes Windows 10 more attractive to developers. When fully implemented, the nested virtualization could allow a developer to run and test their application on different versions of Windows or how their application runs in a virtual environment while keeping it entirely isolated from their own machine inside of a main test virtual machine. The feature also works as a proof-of-concept of the feature that could be including in the upcoming Windows Server 2016, where businesses could run multiple sub-servers or use it to test the usage of their virtual machine configurations without having to risk a host system, which would require far more effort to recover. On a less serious note, there are certainly people out there who would just get a kick out of seeing what they could do with the ability to use these features.

Of course, this is currently a very early preview, complete with the limitations and bugs of such a release, the details of these, including how you try it yourself using the preview build can be found on Microsoft’s own Virtualization Blog.

As a regular user of virtual machines, I’m eager to see how this feature is implemented and whether it helps Windows 10’s adoption in the professional world. Does this feature appeal to you, from a tinkering or professional perspective, or does this seem unnecessary while the storm of discussion over Windows 10s current state rages on?

Amazon Set To Release New Tablets In October

Amazon is known for a lot of things, ranging from their online store and their music stores to their Prime membership offering access to Movies and next day delivery on a range of their offered products. In recent years, their hardware has also taken the market by storm, with people buying up the Kindle and then their Kindle Fire which offered a tablet with Ebook bonuses. Now they seem to be expanding their market with a whole slew of new products.

Four new tablets are set for release in October, titled the Fire HD8, the Fire HD10, The Fire and the Fire Kids edition. Not surprisingly the Fire HD8 and HD10 will feature 8-inch and 10.1-inch screens respectively with metal backing and Gorilla glass to survive those unfortunate drops. The Fire HD8 packs 8GB while the HD10 will come with 16GB, but both are capable of being expanded with a microSD card of up to 128 GB. Priced at $150 and $230 they are not the most expensive devices on the market.

The Fire, however, has drawn the most attention, with a slower 1.3GHZ processor and 1GB of RAM the device is shown off by a 7-inch screen but comes in at only $50. Following the Fire is the $99 Fire Kids edition. A version of the Fire the Kid edition comes with a case and a 2 year no worry guarantee. This guarantee offers parents the option to send back their device, even if the kids got angry and threw it against the wall, for free.

Supporting the new devices are a slew of new features, such as the Fire OS5 which will come and show off several new features. With a variety of programs to support it, such as a year of “FreeTime Unlimited” service with the new Fire Kids edition. This offers a selection of books, shows and games that have been checked by child advocacy group Common Sense Media to make sure that your kids are only on what’s suitable for them.

An interesting new piece of software is titled “On Deck”, designed to help solve that problem when your about to get on a plane or out and about and have forgotten to download that TV series or movie you wanted to watch. On deck aims to solve this by downloading movies and shows automatically when the tablets are plugged in, deleting the content when you try to download something and run into store troubles. It should be noted that On Deck can be disabled.

With all these new features, who is tempted to buy a brand new Fire Tablet?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information and the image.

Microsoft Vows to Support the Steam Platform

Microsoft has reaffirmed their commitment to PC Gaming and intend to support Steam for the foreseeable future. In an interview with PC Gamer, Kevin Unangst, senior director for PC Gaming in the Xbox group said,

“We are not intending to compete with Steam.”

“”If anything, we want Steam to be even more successful—they’ve done great things for PC gamers in terms of having a single store.”

However, Unangst acknowledged Microsoft’s desire to push Windows’ embedded App Store and hopes to entice developers to the storefront:

“Over time do we want more developers to come over to our store and offer it in addition to Steam? Absolutely. Is competition good for people?”

“Absolutely. But our goal right now isn’t to do anything else other than support Steam and help it run great on Windows 10.”

This is a rather interesting move and corresponds with Microsoft’s focus on a unified operating system between smart devices, Xbox and PC. However, it would be naive to think their support of Steam is beyond anything but common sense. Microsoft knows the stranglehold Steam has, and cannot even begin to start offering a popular, viable solution. The PC already has Steam and GOG meaning this move is far too late and Microsoft cannot realistically compete.

Thank you PC Gamer for providing us with this information.

Windows 10 Service Release 1 Inbound for Next Week

The Windows 10 launch wasn’t the smoothest around, but it went pretty good overall. Most people are happy with the upgrade and are enjoying all the benefits that the new operating system brought along. But it wasn’t good for everyone and quite a few issues for some people from trackpads lagging to browsers crashing and much more.

Microsoft was quick to release patches for most issues reported and it looks like they’ve collected them all into one package and probably added the latest fixes as well and dubbed it Service Release 1, or SR1. According to the latest reports, that is inbound for next week, the 10th of August. So that is great news for everyone that stuck it out despite minor trouble instead of reverting back to their old Windows 7 or 8/8.1 installation.

“Windows 10 SR1 is a cumulative update package. It will bring some new features, but the main purpose is to repair the system after release and fix the problems exposed.”

Later this year, Microsoft plans to provide more substantial upgrades and add new features to OneDrive and Skype, but most importantly browser extension support for Edge, Microsofts new and quite popular browser.

Have you made the switch to Windows 10 and if so, how do you like it so far? Had any major issues, then please let us know in the comment sections.

Windows 10 Long Term Plan Revealed – Supporting the Operating System For 10 Years

Windows 10 has been the forefront of the big news for Microsoft since its official announcement earlier in the year. After some confusion (okay, a lot of confusion) over who would have immediate access free, what it would entail and especially regarding those running less than legitimate copies of windows 7 any news about the new system has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The latest news about the soon to be released operating system is mostly about how long-term the operating system plans to be. With recent news that windows 10 will force you to download updates automatically (therefore making sure you have the most up to date software) you are now entitled to the free updates for a total of 10 years. That’s right, a full ten years full of customer support regardless of how you’ve acquired your copy of Windows 10. This means that windows 7 and 8 users will be getting a total of 10 years service when the new operating system on July 29th when it’s released.

This means that no matter what, you can expect at least 10 years of security fixes and patches, a feature which XP has stopped receiving and is costing some companies millions to keep the operating system running.

With so many people using outdated and insecure operating systems a lot will be tempted to try out the new system, and 10 years of support will help people believe in promises that this system will not just be replaced within the next few years.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Redmond Magazine.

Windows 10 will Force Automatic Updates

Windows 10 is just on the horizon and whether you’re a gamer or PC enthusiast, we are all curious about the sort of things Windows 10 will bring to the table and it looks like Microsoft will be making some adjustments to its update policy, as well as the ability to turn off updates, will be entirely removed from Windows 10.

As Ars Technia points out the new windows 10 EULA includes a statement that does imply users to agree to an automatic update without any additional note

The software will periodically check for system and app updates, and downloads and installs them to your system. you can obtain updates from Microsoft or an authorized sources, however, Microsoft will have to update your system in order to provide you with those updates. By accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice.

Although, do not be too alarmed if this certain policy troubles you, it is quite possible for things to change between the time before release and even after the release, as it wouldn’t be the first time Microsoft announced a new policy for a product only to reverse their decision later on. In fact, Microsoft hasn’t announced this at all, yet.

Do you think automatic updates are good idea?

Thank you LifeHacker for providing us with this information

Microsoft Confirm Ability to Clean Install Windows 10

If you are an enthusiast, you know to gain the best performance out of your new operating system is to complete a fresh install. This removes any possible problems that have occurred during the time in use and gives you a clean slate to work on.

The problem is, whenever Microsoft has released a new version of Windows with a free upgrade option, that is all it is; an upgrade. This is enough to put most users off from upgrading to the newest operating system even though it proves massive performance gains.

Now Gabe Aul has confirmed that the upgrade will also work as an ISO to be able to perform a clean install. This will come as welcome news to a great proportion of the community who will want to wipe clean their storage drives to get the best possible performance.

This upgrade will be free for Windows 7/8/8.1 users for one year after release on June 29th. Just remember to check the compatibility of your hardware with Windows 10.

I’m personally looking forward to Windows 10, the start menu will be warmly welcomed back, although Candy Crush will be uninstalled almost instantly. Will you be upgrading? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Shows Off Xbox One to Windows 10 Game Streaming

Game Streaming seems to be the biggest revolution in gaming, Nvidia Shield can stream your PC games, or games in the cloud, Steam can stream to other Steam systems in your house, PlayStation 4 can stream to Vita and some Sony smart phones, the list goes on and on. Now Microsoft is joining the in-home streaming race as it aims to allow Xbox One games to be streamed to a compatible Windows 10 PC. I say compatible, as it doesn’t have to be a gaming PC, it just need to be able to decode the H.264 at a decent rate to prevent lag and you’re also going to want a decent in-home network connection, such as a decent router or switch to handle the throughput.

Microsoft showed off their new streaming feature using the fast-paced Sunset Overdrive, a very fast paced game that would make any instance of lag very noticeable, but so far, we’ve heard nothing but positive feedback on the feature and I look forward to using it once Windows 10 is released.

Why would anyone need this feature? Easy, I have an Xbox One on my TV unit, it’s hooked up to the big screen. I have two PC’s for myself and my girlfriend, plus one more upstairs for my son. What if one of us wants to play Halo or Forza, but someone else it watching TV? Easy, now we just stream it to the remote system and the game, as well as the show can go on!

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Microsoft are Bringing back the Goodness in Windows 10

Remember the days, sat at your shiny new computer and all you could think of doing was playing MineSweeper and Solitaire; well it seems Solitaire will be making a return to Windows 10.

Solitaire, MineSweeper and Hearts were ditched by Microsoft for the release of Windows 8 to offer a lightweight Operating System by cutting all the fat. Most didn’t notice this little removal and carried on their lives, others turned to the Apps for Windows Store to get their fix. Now it seems Microsoft will be offering Solitaire as a built-in program when Windows 10 releases; users will still have to visit the store to get access to the other two games. Solitaire will come default as a program accessible from the start menu; which is also making a return in Windows 10.

This discovery was made after Microsoft unveiled a new preview build, before the official upgrade becomes available later this Summer. With the noticeable addition of Solitaire, there have been upgrades to the Start menu, Taskbar and Action Center and preview of the new calendar and mail app.

I can’t wait for Windows 10, so many times have I walked away from my computer in frustration over not being able to access recently used programs without having to search for them. Will you be downloading the new instalment or are you one of those refusing to move from an even earlier Windows version? Let us know what you’re running in the comments.

Thank you to Mashable for providing us with this information.

Antec Expands Mobile Powerbank Line-Up

If you’ve ever found yourself outside the reach of an electrical outlet while your smartphone’s battery is running out, then you’ll know the advantages of having a powerbank in your pockets. Antec is mostly known for their chassis and power supply units, but they also have a list of mobile products and that a.m.p line of units just got three more siblings. The three new units consists of the PowerUp Slim 2200, the LifeBar 10 with 10,000mAh,  and the ultra-compact multitasking powerbank LifeCard.

The biggest of the three is clearly the LifeBar 10 with an incredible 10,000 mAh of backup power, enough to charge several devices a couple of times. That amount of power provides up to 33 additional speaking hours or 53 hours of surfing the internet from your smartphone. With two USB ports, you can charge several devices at once and it might even be faster than your other charger due to its dual 1A-2A USB ports for up to four times quicker charging. The housing is made of brushed aluminium for elegance, portability, and stability. The four-level LED on the top will show the current charging status of the powerbank and it even comes with a torch light at the bottom side.

If 10,000 mAh should be way more than you need, then the more average PowerUp Slim 2200 might be just right for you. It has a storage capacity for 2,200 mAh and comes with two 1A-USB ports for ultra-fast recharging. The slim design and small measurements of just 105 x 68 x 10.8 mm make it highly portable and it fits into almost any pocket. You can also charge two devices simultaneous with this powerbank and thanks to overcharging protection, discharging protection, protection from short circuits (SCP), overvoltage protection (OCP) overheating protection (OTP), the PowerUp Slim 2200 is an always reliable charging device.

The Antec PowerUp Slim 2200 is available in blue, green and silver, to match your preferred colour choice. The LED bar on the top will show you the charging status and it automatically switches off when not in use.

The previous two powerbanks were pretty normal in the way that they’re just powerbanks. But Antec’s LifeCard takes it one step further as a multitasker. It is only 6mm thick and weighs only 49gram, yet it still packs a lithium-polymer battery with 2,000mAh to charge your smartphone and other devices. Two exchangeable silicon ribbons allow the comfortable storage of multiple credit or banking cards, and also cash as shown in the image below.

The LifeCard has a 1A USB port for short charging times and the ultra-slim design as well as the Unibody-housing made of aluminium give the LifeCard both elegance and sturdiness.

The PowerUp Slim 2200 is available at a suggested retail price of £19.99. The LifeBar 10 is priced £29.99 and the LifeCard is available for £16.99.

Windows 10 Expected to be Finished by June

Microsoft is on schedule to have the final build of Windows 10 done in June, as reported by Neowin. Although, as we all know, time frames can change. With the second preview having been released last month, we expect to see the official release happening sometime soon and the debut of Windows 10 for mobile devices this month.

Microsoft’s annual Build Developer Conference in April will give us a chance to see more of the features of Windows 10, although most of those updates are geared toward the developing classes.

Despite the still young nature of Windows 8/8.1, the timeline in use by Microsoft for Windows 10 is very similar to that was used with Windows 8 during its early stages of development to RTM. Brad Sams, from the Neowin Report, states:

“For a bit more information about the timetable, if you look at the Windows 8 release schedule, that OS hit RTM August 1st, 2012 and Windows 8’s consumer preview was at the end of February.”

Now before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that RTM releases are not public, but instead go out to companies such as Dell, HP, etc.  This strategy has PCs and laptops powered by Windows 10 on the market by the time the new school year starts, long before the major holiday season. At the end of the day, the possibility of things changing that timeframe is keeping Microsoft from officially confirming this time frame.

Source: TechCrunch

Google Maps is 10 Years Old

Google Maps has just become 10 years old. It’s hard to believe that it’s as old as that, but it’s also hard to imagine a world without it 10 years ago.The quintessential mapping web app was initially developed by a team of 50 people, but it took many years and many more people to bring it to where it is today.

Google Maps originally started out as a downloadable app created by Danish brothers Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen at Where 2 Technologies – a company which attracted the interest and was subsquently acquired by Google. That app was a very basic application, but it laid the foundations for what was to become one of Google’s most iconic services.

So it was, that on February 8th 2005, Google made an announcement on the Google Blog about their latest project and that a beta version was to open to the public. That was just the beginning and since then, after many additions, including hybrid maps, Street View, transit information, turn-by-turn directions and more, Google Maps has become the way most of us find our way around the planet.

Happy Birthday Google Maps.

Source: The Guardian

Windows 10 Install Will Work via Update Function

Microsoft unveiled in a media event that their latest build of Windows 10 will make updating from older versions of the Operating System as easy as installing an update. It is actually just that.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will be able to update to the new version directly through Windows Update, effectively removing the need for a DVD to be burned of flash drive to be created – including possible changing BIOS boot order and more.

At launch, this upgrade should be delivered straight through Microsoft Update, but for now you’ll need to go to the Windows 10 Technical Preview Page and select Upgrade now. This will download a file to your PC which after you will run it you will reboot and then be able to “upgrade to Windows 10 technical preview” as an option on Window update.

It’s nice to see Microsoft making it easier to update the OS, now they just need to learn that one doesn’t need to reboot the entire system when upgrading single software components; they can be restarted.

Thanks to Overclock3d for providing us with this information

Free Version of Windows 10 For Raspberry Pi 2

Just this morning we saw news that the new Raspberry Pi would be released today and now we have something great to compliment that. Microsoft has just announced that they are to release a special version of Windows 10 that will run on the new Pi that will also be available completely free of charge.

Now why is this significant? Well to get Windows 10 for free on a conventional machine, you need an earlier version of Windows, whether it be Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 and since no new Raspberry Pi will already have a copy of Windows on it, that would mean paying for one of those old versions now or pay for Windows 10 when it arrives.

The other reason why this is significant is because the Raspberry Pi has a System-On-Chip architecture, meaning without some heavy tweaking, retail versions of Windows are unsupported on the system. However, Microsoft will be compiling a very special version of Windows 10 just to run on the Pi.

There’s currently no further information on what that will look like, but that we’ll hear more “in the coming months”. Microsoft really is being quite giving lately.

Source: The Verge

Windows 10 Free For You, But Not For Businesses


A small but important note about Windows 10 that many missed, is that while it will be free to consumers, it certainly won’t be free for businesses.

Last week Microsoft announced to much fanfare that Windows 10 will be free for anyone running Windows 7 and up, but at the time didn’t really make it clear whether there would be any exceptions to that. Well now, Microsoft’s General Manager of security, Jim Alkove clarified the situation for businesses, by making it clear that Windows 10 will certainly not be free to enterprise customers.

“Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise are not included in the terms of free Windows 10 Upgrade offer we announced last week, given active Software Assurance customers will continue to have rights to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer – while also benefitting from the full flexibility to deploy Windows 10 using their existing management infrastructure.”

That “full flexibility” thing is important to, because consumer users of Windows 10 will effectively be forced to keep their machine up-to-date if they choose to get it for free, something enterprise customers would most certainly be against, as the process of rolling out updates can cause issues on complex corporate networks if not done carefully.

Windows 10 is due to arrive this autumn.

Source: The Next Web

New Tool Coming To Benchmark DirectX 12, 11 and Mantle

We saw some impressive figures from Microsoft this week, making huge promises about the performance of DirectX 12. However, you’ll soon be able to test out the new API for yourself on your own hardware.

Futuremark will be adding a new update to their 3DMark suite called “API Overhead Feature Test” that will let you test DirectX 12 against the current DirectX 11, as well as the AMD Mantle API.

“Games make thousands of draw calls per frame, but each one creates performance-limiting overhead for the CPU. APIs with less overhead can handle more draw calls and produce richer visuals. The 3DMark API Overhead feature test is the world’s first independent test for comparing the performance of DirectX 12, Mantle, and DirectX 11. See how many draw calls your PC can handle with each API before the frame rate drops below 30 fps.”

No exact release date just yet, but we do know it will be “coming soon.”

Windows Insiders Can Now Download Latest Windows 10 Beta

Windows Insiders can now download the latest build of Windows 10 – the version with all the new features we saw on Wednesday.

Microsoft said that it would allow users to download the new version next week, but for some reason it is now available to anyone. The Windows Insider programme is essentially the company’s name for the public beta and anyone can sign up at the Microsoft website.

If you’re already running Windows 10, the new version is available via a Windows Update, while for anyone else, just sign up and you can go and grab it right now. It comes with all the features the company revealed at their big event this week, including the Cortana integration, the new Xbox App, the new ‘Spartan’ browser and more.

The update has only just been made available as of writing, so we’ll have to wait for everybody to download it to see whether every new feature is there, including things like the new Xbox streaming functionality.

Source: The Next Web

Microsoft HoloLens: Everything You Need to Know

Yesterday Microsoft had their massive Windows 10 event. In it they announced a great deal about Windows 10 and a great deal about many things we weren’t expecting.

One of those things was the HoloLens – a crazy mix of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. These goggles essentially provide the virtual reality of a device like Oculus Rift, but presented in a way like Google Glass. There’s a visor that provides the viewer rich and detailed content, but content that can be ‘projected’ onto any surface. In the demo for instance, the company showed how you could play Minecraft on your living room floor, picking up and adding blocks with your hands.

Besides playing Minecraft, the HoloLens also looks like it could do a lot for education and enterprise customers too. They showed how someone made a drone with the device, picking up and choosing various components for it out of the air, and then building the real thing with a 3D printer.

The question with a device like this is, how useful will it be? Is HoloLens a gimmick, or something that represents a new take on user interfaces, that will pave the way for computing in the years to come? We’re not entirely sure at the moment, but so far, it looks more like a whole lot of fun rather than some life-altering technology.

We’ll have to try it out to deliver a definitive answer – something Microsoft says we can all do in “the Windows 10 timeframe”.

Source: Microsoft

Windows 10 Event: Everything You Need To Know

Microsoft has just wrapped up their big Windows 10 event. Perhaps the best way to summarise it is that it was about much more than just a new OS for PCs.

First they showed us exactly that – Windows 10, but more importantly that it will be free – yes, free for everyone running Windows 7 and up. It will be available for free in the first year after release, which means you can keep it for life once you’ve got it but if you don’t get it in that year, you will have to pay.

This seems to be Microsoft’s way of getting as many people up-to-date as possible with Windows, a problem faced by the company with both Windows XP and Windows 7, where many users simply decided to not upgrade. This posed a massive problem for the company, with many millions of people facing security issues after the company ended support for XP last year.

The question is, how is the company going to make money? Microsoft has always been a software company, so does this mean that is changing? Will they make more money from OEMs buying Windows, from Office subscriptions, than consumers purchasing the OS? We’ll have to wait and see.

After that bombshell, everything else on the OS side of things seemed quite insignificant. There are some nice new features for Windows 10 though, including expansive Cortana integration.

Cortana will be on all Windows PCs and tablets now, and you’ll be able to use your voice to do a whole manner of things, from the usual “find me restaurants” to searching your computer’s hard drive. Cortana integrates with the new and improved start menu, allowing easier access to everything.

Another big Windows 10 story was the introduction of a new browser to replace IE. ‘Spartan’, as it’s codenamed, includes a number of features that bring the Windows default browser more up to date with Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It has a Reading List like OS X, where you can save webpages for offline viewing across your devices, and it also has a new annotations feature that allows you to ‘edit’ webpages and share those edits with friends.

They also announced the new efforts to bring Windows desktop and Windows Phone closer together. Developers can create apps that run across both platforms and quite like website these days, they will adapt and transform to fit the screen size and input method you’re using.

There was some gaming news in there as well, as many of the features of the Xbox will be made available to compatible PC games. Yes, With ‘Game DVR’ and the new Xbox app, PC gamers will get a lot of the share functionality that the Xbox brings, and users will also be able to play online with both PC and Xbox gamers of the same game.

A big thing for the gaming part of Windows 10 though is the streaming functions – you will now be able to stream an Xbox game to a Windows 10 PC or tablet in your home – not over the web though. You can sit in bed with a Surface tablet playing an Xbox game with an Xbox controller.

They then moved on to two new devices – Surface Hub and HoloLens. Surface Hub is a little less interesting – it’s a giant touch screen for businesses to use that utilises Windows 10. The big deal though was the HoloLens.

HoloLens is a VR and AR device – a cross between Google Glass and Oculus Rift. It allows you to visualise ‘holograms’ onto pretty much any surface – you can play a game on a table for instance, or watch Netflix on your wall. It’s still in development, but will be available during the Windows 10 launch period.

That pretty much was it for this massive Microsoft event, be sure to look out for further articles from us that will explore all the announcements in detail.

Microsoft Announces ‘Microsoft HoloLens’ Headset

Microsoft seems to be combining the worlds of AR and VR here – they’ve just announced a headset that envisions ‘holograms’.

It’s like Google Glass, but a bit crazier. You can interact with Minecraft on a table, watch Netflix on a wall and more. It will be available “in the Windows 10 timeframe”.

This is developing and we’ll have more on it later.

You Will be Able to Stream Xbox Games to Windows 10 Tablets and PCs

Yes, Microsoft has just announced that you will be able to stream xbox games to Windows 10 PCs and tablets. Essentially this is like the gamepad on the Wii U or remote play on the PlayStation, but is the first time this has been made possible between a console and a PC.

You’ll be able to use an Xbox controller to play games on your tablet wherever you are – in the house.

Yes, in the house, as it is only local at the moment and cannot be done over the internet.

More from the Windows 10 event soon.

Windows 10 Spartan Browser Confirmed

Windows 10 will indeed come with a brand new browser with a bunch of new features.

The browser will be called Spartan and features integration with Cortana and sharing features in Skype. There will be a reading list feature where pages can be saved for offline viewing and transferred to other device and there’s also those new editing features, where you can make notes on a webpage which can be shared with others.

Cortana will allow you to select parts of a webpage for which ‘she’ can give you further information on.

More to come on the Windows 10 event soon.



Windows 10 to Be Free for Users of Windows 7 and Up

The Windows 10 event is underway right now and they’ve just announced something that is quite a big deal – Windows 10 will be free to all running Windows 7 and up.

Yes, Windows 10 will be available to all running 7, 8 and 8.1, for one year after release. That essentially means, all users of Windows 7 and up will have one year to get it for free (for life), after that you will have to pay.

We’ll have more on the event to follow.