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Microsoft has begun to re-analyse their policies regarding app submissions to the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store after a few online bloggers and one Forbes contributor pointed out how messed up the store has become with a huge amount of fake applications, fake services and fake fakes that are designed specifically to foist off your credit card details and charge you insane amounts of money for something that should be otherwise free. Microsoft says that they’ve “taken the feedback seriously” and will adjust the app certification requirements as a “first step toward better ensuring that apps are named and described in a way that doesn’t misrepresent their purpose.” So, no more paying $14.99 for VLC Player, then.

Source: Windows Blog

Sources close to The Verge have reportedly told them that Microsoft will soon be demoing the latest version of Windows, codenamed Threshold. The sources claim that Microsoft won’t be revealing the name just yet, but will be showing off the changes they’ve made to the user interface and how they’re getting around the mismatched behaviour of Windows in computers that don’t have touch screens. Microsoft is also expected to show off how they’re going to integrate their Cortana voice-driven virtual assistant into the OS and announce the launch date for the consumer preview of the next version of Windows.

Are any Windows users looking forward to this? Once bitten, twice shy? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Verge

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s most recent ex-CEO, announced yesterday that he would be retiring from his duties on Microsoft’s board of directors. Ballmer’s motivation for leaving were for personal reasons and other commitments he has made to other pursuits, notably lecturing at various colleges, studying in his spare time and running a basketball team called the Los Angeles Clippers. Ballmer announced his resignation from Microsoft as CEO in 2013 and has previously said that he’d only ever leave the company completely once his children were off to college. Ballmer is currently the biggest individual shareholder in Microsoft’s stock and has a net worth of around US $15 billion.

“Given my confidence and the multitude of new commitments I am taking on now, I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off,” Ballmer said in his letter to current CEO Satya Nadella and the rest of the board.

Source: Microsoft

So if you’re updating Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 today, make sure you untick and hide MS14-045, a which is a group of security updates that patch a few vulnerabilities inside Windows to improve multi-language support and/or security. This applies to KB2982791, KB290228, KB2975719 and KB2975331, all updates that appear on Windows 7 as well. Once installed, a large number of users have reported seeing blue screens and occasionally a corrupted installation. In the case of KB2982791, uninstalling it fixes one of the blue screen errors. If you encounter issues with any of the other updates, this may require repairing Windows using a disc or, in some severe cases that I’ve seen online in several forums already, a complete reformat.

Microsoft says they are working on the issue and hope to have an update soon about the situation. In the meantime, it’s probably better to hold off on automatic updates for now.

Sources: Computerworld, Microsoft Community, Microsoft Support

Windows XP Virtual Desktop

One thing that I can clearly remember dabbling with back during the Windows XP era was the Virtual Desktop Manager. If you’re not familiar with it (or are using XP to read this right now) it is/was available as part of Microsoft’s PowerToys pack, which never again saw the light of day in other versions of Windows (Vista’s pack was complete crap). The software gave you four virtual desktops, but they were all separate – you couldn’t, for example, send an open application to another window like you can in Linux, or OS X spaces. According to some recent leaks on NeoWin, though, it seems that Microsoft is ready to revisit having multiple desktops with Windows 9.

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Occasionally, Microsoft takes someone from their gaming department like Phil Spencer or, in previous years, Marc Whitten and ask them to proclaim that they’re still focused on the PC market and dedicated to PC gamers. But since Spencer last mentioned this, not much has been done about it. Until now! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… *drumroll*

Microsoft Halo 3500 mouse (1) Microsoft Halo 3500 mouse (2)

The Halo-themed Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 with 2.4GHz Wireless connectivity, 1000DPI sensitivity, a BlueTrack laser, a battery life up to eight months long and a three-year standard warranty, all for just US $29.99. You’re welcome. Enjoy playing Halo 2 from 2004!

Source: Techpowerup

halo_nightfall_characters_photo

Director Ridley Scott is producing the live-action series Halo: Nightfall. It’s meant to bridge the gap between the events of Halo 4 and upcoming Halo 5, which releases in 2015. Because the San Diego Comic-Con is currently underway and is billowing voluminous amounts of unadulterated geekery into the atmosphere, we get this first trailer for Scott’s Halo series.

Halo: Nightfall takes place on a colony world where the discovery of a shard from the original Halo structure is causing all sorts of political tension. That shard of the Halo will eventually take on a “dark and malevolent” vibe as the series continues. Nightfall’s main character is Jameson Locke (played by Mike Colter), and the miniseries will double as his origin story. Locke, 343 Industries has confirmed, will be a playable character in Halo 5.

Halo: Nightfall will be made available to Xbox LIVE members on 11 November. It’ll also be bundled with the Halo: The Master Chief Collection when it ships for Xbox One on the same date. Hit the jump for the trailer.

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windows 7 desktop

Gaze upon yonder picture, little ones. It may be the last time that you ever see a fresh install of Windows 7. Microsoft very quietly and very sneakily ended retail sales of Windows 7 last year, warning users that stock of the OS licenses on shelves would be returned on 30 October 2013, despite it being officially the most popular desktop operating system on the personal computer.

Now it’s time to remind you that 2014 is the year that Microsoft kills it off in the consumer space for good.

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Google Chromebook header

Google Chrome is known for being one of the faster and more fluid browsers out there, regularly showing up the more established competition like Microsoft and Mozilla. However this speed comes at a price and it’s been known for a while that Chrome is a system resource hog – it regularly chews up gigabytes of RAM on my system and it uses the GPU as much as possible to accelerate the UI and certain content shown in the web page. But according to Forbes, Chrome has long been a hog for a different reason altogether – they pin is as the source of a lot of unnecessary battery drain. Hit the jump to find out more.

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microsoft_france_offices

We already know that Microsoft is embarking on a job-cutting rampage now that new CEO Satya Nadella is at the helm of the company. Last week we saw these job cuts resulting in the closure of the just-opened Xbox Entertainment Studios and the ending of Xbox Originals planned TV series. Now, however, the job cuts have hit across the pond from Microsoft’s US home.

Website MCVUK is reporting that Microsoft will be axing 75% of their EMEA workforce. For those perhaps unfamiliar, Microsoft’s EMEA teams look after the company’s presence in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The remaining 25% of the jobs available to EMEA teams have been vacated, with those applicable staff members being asked to reapply for those positions.

Most of the time the EMEA teams are the companies the local gaming media deals with when heading overseas for assignments. Insofar as consumers are concerned, a Microsoft spokesperson has said that these cuts will not affect the release schedule for the Xbox One in EMEA territories.

Source: MCVUK


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