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Posts tagged ‘Microsoft’

16
Apr
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Apple, Samsung and more to adopt anti-theft smartphone kill switch


Apple and Samsung are duking it out in court yet again, but there’s at least one thing they (and a host of their smartphone making rivals) agree on: users shouldn’t be helpless when their phones are stolen. That’s why, starting in July 2015, all of the smartphones those companies sell in the United States will come with an anti-theft tool meant to help keep your data out of the wrong hands. The full list of backers includes the usual heavyweights: besides Apple and Samsung, there’s Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, along with the country’s biggest wireless carriers. Those parties in total represent a tremendous chunk of the American wireless industry, so your next (or next next) smartphone will almost certainly let you stick it to the sticky-fingered.

And what, pray tell, would such tools do? According to the CTIA, users will be able to remotely wipe and restore their devices (say, from a cloud backup), and prevent them from being reactivated or used by unsavory types. That seemingly simple move wouldn’t just save us all anguish, it could save us a collective total of $2.5 billion a year in replacement costs and insurance fees. It sure sounds like a win for consumers, but some — like Senator Mark Leno, who sponsored a bill to create a kill-switch for connected gadgets in the Golden State — think such tools should be on by default rather than requiring users to opt-in. He’s probably on to something, but at least all these companies have a few months to iron out the details.

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Source: CTIA

15
Apr
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Office 365 Personal now available for $7 per month


Office 365 Personal, a leaner version of Microsoft’s subscription-based productivity suite, is now available for $70 per year or $7 per month. The new package lets you use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access on one Mac or Windows computer and one tablet. You also get smartphone access with Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices, online versions of Office, 27GB of online storage and 60 Skype minutes each month. Power users can access Office from up to five computers by opting for Office 365 Home instead, which will run you $100 per year or $10 per month.

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Source: Microsoft, Purchase link

15
Apr
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Xbox One’s April update rolls out tonight to bring back friend sign-in notifications


Ready for more new features on your Xbox One? Major Nelson just announced that the April software update Microsoft has been beta testing will start rolling out to all systems tonight. The big new feature is the return of notifications for when people on your favorites or friends lists come online, like it did on the Xbox 360. Other fixes are supposed to make Kinect’s voice and gesture recognition better, and there are new UI tweaks to make sure you know the status of game saves as well as updates for your games and apps. GameDVR clips should be better looking, 50Hz Blu-ray discs will play at their native rate and yes, there is another update for controllers that addresses audio quality with third-party headsets using the adaptor.

Finally, for any updates after this one the Xbox One will be able to reboot to standby silently instead of just turning off, and you’ll be able to check manually for updates. That doesn’t apply for this update though, so Xbox One owners can watch for a reboot while they keep an eye on tonight’s eclipse, or wait for it to download over the next few days.

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Source: Xbox Wire

15
Apr
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Office comes to the Chrome Web Store along with a slew of upgrades


Microsoft OneNote on the web

Microsoft isn’t done with Office updates just because it released Office for iPad and made Office Mobile completely free — it has a bunch of improvements in store for Office Online, too. To start with, Office has reached the Chrome Web Store. You can now launch most of the productivity suite’s web apps (Excel is due soon) in the Chrome browser or Chrome OS just by clicking a shortcut. Clearly, the crew from Redmond is no longer averse to supporting your Chromebook.

Each of the apps has received at least one big upgrade at the same time. OneNote Online now offers printing support, while its Excel counterpart finally lets you add comments; PowerPoint accurately previews text, and it’s far easier to put footnotes and lists into Word. If you’ve been holding off on an Office 365 subscription because its web component was lacking, there may be enough tweaks here to justify giving it a second look.

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Source: Office Online Blog

14
Apr
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Windows Phone 8.1 finally makes the OS feel whole


Windows Phone 8.1 finally makes the OS feel whole

Android, iOS, Windows Phone. Each of these mobile platforms had to start somewhere, and it’s never anywhere close to perfect on the first try. Tenaciously, each OS gets better with each new iteration until, at some point, it just all clicks together. Sure, they’re all still works in progress, but there comes a time in which all of the gaping holes in features and functionality get plugged and concerns about the product’s future are alleviated. Arguably, Windows Phone may finally have approached its coming-of-age with an update to version 8.1.

Windows Phone only had a few big pain points remaining, and 8.1 certainly appears ready to fill the holes. The platform now has a fancy notification center to complement the information displayed on Live Tiles; the keyboard has improved with new swipe gestures; the OS can now support even more hardware options; and last but not least, it now comes with a smart virtual assistant to take on Siri, Google Now and S-Voice. The 8.1 update cooked up a lot of great things, and I got the opportunity to take it for a spin for a few days ahead of the official developer preview’s launch. It may not be perfect yet, but Windows Phone just grew up significantly. Here are some of the firmware’s highlights.

Cortana

Windows Phone included a search option from the beginning, and it was useful at the time, but smart competitors like Siri, S Voice and Google Now have quickly turned the tide, rendering Microsoft’s “voice assistant” completely obsolete. Thankfully, the 8.1 update introduces a personal assistant named Cortana which brings Windows Phone into the modern era.

Named after Master Chief’s trusty AI sidekick in Halo, Cortana is designed to help you do essentially whatever you need to do on a phone. She does the usual things: schedule appointments, alerts you to upcoming flights, tells you the weather, gets you directions to your next meeting, dictates messages, toggle settings and opens apps. And yes, she even tells jokes and responds in humorous ways to (most) silly questions. Those are givens these days, so I’ll tackle the more unusual things she can do.

First, Cortana has her own notebook, which she uses to gather more information about you and your preferences. She learns about your dining preferences, travel needs, regular routine and news stories you’re keeping track of (I’m hooked on the hunt for MH370 right now, so Cortana keeps that front and center). Often, these things will even pop up on Cortana’s Live Tile.

Another interesting part of Cortana is that she has the ability to give me reminders about specific people. For instance, I don’t want to forget that I need to ask my mom about her latest road trip, so I tell Cortana and she ensures that the reminder flashes on the screen the next time she calls.

If there’s a time in which you want to activate Cortana in a public (or quiet) place and you don’t want to disturb anyone else around you, you can just type your request in the bar at the bottom and Cortana will take care of the rest.

Cortana can also set up Quiet Hours for you. This is Windows Phone’s version of Do Not Disturb mode, which restricts calls and texts during specific hours, as well as times the calendar lists you as busy. If there are certain people who you want to allow in during those times, ask Cortana to add them to your Inner Circle (or just add them manually if you prefer).

Windows Phone 8.1 also supports geofencing, and Cortana takes full advantage of this opportunity. If you know that you’re going to be passing by the local pizzeria and you want to grab a pie on your way home from work, tell Cortana to remind you when you pass by, and she’ll make sure you remember.

My biggest frustration about Cortana is the fact that it takes me two clicks to get in and start talking: the first click to get into the program, and the second to tell her to begin listening. I’d like to see Cortana gain a true hands-free feature. An always-listening mode, for example, would allow me to simply use a hotword to activate her, and if that’s not an option yet, I would at least like the program to start listening once I press the search key to enter it. This kind of automatic option is technically possible in Windows Phone, since Cortana automatically listens for responses whenever she asks me questions (when I ask to send a text to someone, Cortana asks me for the message and then listens for my answer).

Microsoft boasts that Cortana can understand context — she can see something like “Thursday for coffee” in an incoming text and she’ll help you set it up in the calendar — but this is one area in which she needs a little work. Case in point: I used Cortana to turn on two alarms (one for five minutes from now, the other fifteen minutes from now), but she couldn’t understand when I asked her to turn off both of my alarms. She also couldn’t understand when I requested that she turn off my next alarm, and mistook 1:39PM for AM (I didn’t specify one or the other, but Cortana just assumed that I meant AM — despite the fact that she could’ve easily looked at my alarms and seen for herself). Curiously, the input box, which doubles as a suggestion box, told me to ask Cortana very specifically to turn off the 1:39PM alarm. This means the phone itself was smart enough to figure out which was which, but Cortana didn’t share the same knowledge for some reason. There were also plenty of times in which I’d ask a question in conversational style and I’d end up getting Bing search results.

It’s the little things like this that indicate why Cortana’s still in beta for now. There’s a lot more for her to learn over time, but at least she’s got a solid base to start from. Not only will Cortana get a better idea of your likes and dislikes as you interact with her more often, she’s also powered by Bing servers and will be constantly updated by Microsoft engineers, which means she’ll continue to get smarter as more people use her as well — and you won’t have to wait for formal updates to benefit from those changes.

I was impressed by how well the phone dictates my requests, aside from the occasional time when she couldn’t get exactly what I was telling her. I can’t be sure yet how well she’ll work on budget devices with lower-powered processors, but the Lumia Icon test unit I played with was able to process my requests in a very short period of time. Now it’s just a matter of refining how Cortana interacts with the users, by making her even more personal and understanding context a little better. However, this is just my first few days of using the service on a regular basis; over the next few days I’ll do more testing to see how Cortana compares with competing virtual assistants.

Action Center

Ever since Windows Phone was first introduced, I’ve liked the ability to use Live Tiles to look at glanceable information whenever the Start screen is displayed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a full solution to a much greater problem: how does a user look at notifications without having to exit an app or unlock the screen? It’s hard to believe that it took Microsoft over three and a half years to figure it out, but Windows Phone 8.1 addresses that glaring oversight with a notification menu called Action Center. But forget the fact that it’s taken so long for it to arrive — it’s actually well done for a first go. In fact, after a few days of use I already prefer using it over the iOS notification center (although it’s still not quite as good as Android’s option).

The Action Center consists of four spaces on top for customizable shortcuts or toggles, depending on which action you choose. Here is where you can toggle your brightness, airplane mode, bluetooth, internet sharing, quiet hours, location and rotation lock; you may also get a shortcut for your camera (extremely helpful your phone doesn’t have a hardware button to do this for you) and settings like WiFi and VPN. For most activities listed, this is much faster and easier than pinning a specific Live Tile to Start or digging through settings menus to do it.

The original status bar still hangs out on the top of the screen, but it now comes with a battery meter and date, both of which I’ve found handy. The option to clear all notifications and go straight into settings are also near the top, though they’re located just underneath the shortcuts.

As for the notifications themselves, they’re easy enough to click to get more info or swipe to clear them out for any given app. You can also click to access a specific notification (say, one particular email) or choose to simply open up the entire app itself. Oddly, should you choose to open up a specific email, there’s no way to move backward or forward through your inbox, so you have to re-open the Action Center and click on a different email to read it.

The Action Center offers a few advantages over its iOS counterpart. For one, iOS doesn’t have shortcuts or toggles of any kind; additionally, you can swipe away your notifications, sync them up with your apps and Live Tiles in real-time, clear all of them at once (arguably one of the biggest pain points on the iOS version) and the status bar indicates that you have new notifications awaiting you. That said, iOS at least offers multiple tabs for more types of content, such as a “today” tab that shows calendar appointments, today’s weather and stock information.

It doesn’t fare as well against Android options, however. While a handful of versions of the notification menu exist thanks to manufacturers wishing to differentiate, the guidelines are the same. Not only can you swipe away notifications, you can also use two fingers to expand individual ones — and you can even act upon most of them (for instance, you can choose to delete or reply to emails directly from that menu). On Android, you can also access plenty of shortcuts, settings and toggles by pulling down the tray with two fingers; there are more on the screen, but they’re not as customizable as it is on Windows Phone.

For now, don’t pay too much mind to how it compares with Android — in its very first implementation, Microsoft managed to make the Action Center not only usable but enjoyable as well. This is a huge win for the company, which needed to do well in this area if it wanted to progress upward and onward.

Word Flow Keyboard

Another pain point in the Windows Phone experience has been its Word Flow keyboard, which was among the best in the mobile space when it first emerged on Windows Phone 7 but hasn’t improved much since; it got stale while Android flourished with a wide number of great keyboards boasting a lot of neat features. With 8.1, the keyboard just got upgraded to support swipe gestures, which is something I’ve grown used to using on Android phones and tablets. (Fun trivia: we first saw keyboard swiping on a Windows Mobile device, so it’s nice to see it finally come back to Microsoft’s mobile OS.)

With the swipe gestures, Word Flow works precisely as you’d expect it to — use your finger to draw to each letter in a word, and the phone figures out what you’re trying to say. It’s not completely perfect, as it doesn’t always get every word that I try to type, but that’s nothing new with these types of keyboards. It’s still a huge improvement over the previous version of Word Flow, and I noticed that my experience got better with practice in just a few days of use.

Hardware support

Last fall’s firmware update (known simply as Update 3) added support for larger and higher-resolution displays, as well as top-of-the-line processors. This upgrade was crucial for Microsoft, because until then the company struggled to convince manufacturers and consumers that a flagship Windows Phone could be just as good as an Android or iOS device at the same price. Microsoft had some strict hardware requirements to ensure WP8 devices were optimized to its liking. Fortunately Nokia found a way to differentiate its Lumia 1020 by featuring a 41MP PureView camera, but otherwise there wasn’t much reason to choose it over, say, an HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4.

Good news: this wasn’t a one-off scenario for Microsoft, because version 8.1 comes with some fantastic improvements in this arena. Arguably, the most important addition is support for dual-SIM devices. The company wants to hit emerging markets hard, and by offering that extra SIM underneath the hood, Microsoft effectively throws in a new selling point to help it compete against Android in those markets.

There’s also support for virtual soft keys (until now, only capacitive keys were allowed) and even more Qualcomm chipsets than before, and the hardware camera button is no longer required. As much as I like using that button, it simply doesn’t make much sense on budget devices; eliminating the shutter key may shave off a bit of a phone’s production costs, which hopefully will make inexpensive handsets similar to the Lumia 520 even less expensive.

Finally, WP8.1 will also let you save your apps to SD, which makes a huge difference if you’re low on extra storage. Interestingly enough, Microsoft says that the apps are still encrypted to ensure that random users can’t snag your SD card and try to copy your games over to their device.

Other key improvements

The change log is too lengthy to list all of the new improvements to Windows Phone, but I want to highlight a few other features which enjoyed some much-needed attention from Microsoft.

Personalization. The new update makes Windows Phone feel a touch more personal. Not only can you choose your own wallpaper for the Start screen, the picture you choose also moves behind the Live Tiles (or through them, in the case of transparent tiles). I’d love to see something similar for the application list as well, since not much seems to happen visually on that screen. Microsoft will also have a new app out in the coming weeks that will let you choose from a bunch of new lock screens.

Battery saver. In the past, Battery Saver has worked exactly the way you’d think it should: when your battery starts getting low, this feature begins shutting off the non-essential apps and services in order to keep your phone alive as long as possible. It still does all that, but it improves upon it by adding the ability to see which apps are causing the most drain to your battery. If any of your apps are hogging all the power for itself, you can tell it to shut off in the background.

Calendar. Arguably, one of the weakest links in the OS has been the calendar. This also saw some significant improvements across the board in 8.1: most importantly, Microsoft’s added weekly and monthly views. The month view shows colored lines for each day that you have appointments, the different colors representing the specific calendar it’s assigned to. The weekly view is a grid of eight boxes (one for each day of the week and another that shows the week in relation to the rest of the month), but you can press on any day and it will expand to show more details.

Store. The Store has a slightly different look, but the most interesting part of it is that apps can now update automatically, if you desire. On top of that, apps that you’ve purchased in the past now show up as “owned” when you conduct a search for them. Finally, the act of installing an app doesn’t kick you out to the application list — it just keeps you on the same page you were already on.

Wrap-up

Finally. For the past three years, I’ve admired Windows Phone for many reasons, but the update to 8.1 marks the first time that the platform actually feels… complete. In other words, there are no more gaping holes in its features or functionality — essentially, I can now use Windows Phone without feeling like I’m giving up something that I’d otherwise enjoy on an Android device or an iPhone. With the update to version 8.1, you can now enjoy a functional personal assistant, a robust notification center, solid hardware support and a great keyboard, all of which were huge pain points that needed to be addressed a long time ago.

Of course, Microsoft still has plenty of challenges ahead. After all, it’s still quite uncertain what kind of changes will happen to Windows Phone after the Nokia acquisition is finalized, and we still haven’t seen a ton of manufacturers announce new hardware yet, despite Microsoft’s claim that there’s a ton of renewed interest in the platform. The OS has struggled to grow since its conception and is just now starting to hit double digits in market share (in certain regions, anyway). My hope is that this update signifies a change in momentum for the company. With new leadership, new significant functionality and the company’s “One Microsoft” vision, Windows Phone 8.1 could easily be the boost the company needs to foster continued growth.

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14
Apr
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Microsoft offers early download of Windows Phone 8.1


We get it. You want to download Windows Phone 8.1 as soon as possible just to see if Cortana is really as cool on a mobile device as she is in the Halo series. Or, perhaps it’s the new Action Center and swipe keyboard that strike your fancy. Whatever reason you have for wanting to play with the latest version of Windows Phone ASAP, now’s your chance. Microsoft has just announced that a developer preview of the new update is finally available for download, but as the name of the build implies, this is meant for third-party developers so they can get a good head start in prepping their apps ahead of widespread release. That said, you can still get in on the action, even if you’ve never written a line of code in your life — there’s just a few risks involved.

First of all, according to Microsoft’s site, you’ll need to register as a developer with App Studio for free. Technically, this tool allows you to create apps that you can run on your own Windows Phone (if you want to publish them to the Store, that’ll cost you $20), but it’s also a workaround that enables you to install the latest and greatest previews on your phone at your leisure. Heck, you’ll still be able to upgrade to the final build as soon as it’s available on whichever device you have — you just can’t revert back to the previous version.

There’s a few other things you must know before you start clicking buttons. Most importantly, performing the early upgrade will likely void your warranty in the process, so keep that in mind; additionally, these builds only consist of the Microsoft-sanctioned part of the update — in other words, any manufacturer or carrier customizations (and drivers) will only be available when that phone’s official release comes out. If the privilege of playing with new firmware before everyone else is too much of an opportunity for you to pass up, head here to get started.

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Source: Microsoft

14
Apr
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​Age of Empires marches on iOS this summer


Even if we wanted to, we can’t (rather, shouldn’t) play Age of Empires all day. This summer it’ll become a time-sinking possibility, however, with an AoE spin-off headed to iOS. The teaser video dropped by Microsoft doesn’t reveal much outside the broad release date. Age of Empires: World Domination only gets mere seconds of gameplay teased so it’s hard to derive exactly how much depth the mobile iteration will go into. Fortunately, horses, spears and Huns, at least, have already made the transition.

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Source: Joystiq

14
Apr
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Joystiq weekly wrap-up: Fire-breathing lizards, big bad wolves and giant robots


Welcome to the first edition of the Joystiq Weekly Wrap-up, where we present some of the best stories and biggest news from our beloved sister-publication. After the break you’ll find, among other things, Pokémon, the Big Bad Wolf and the final word on Titanfall’s ongoing multiplayer examination. Our brothers and sisters in arms are on the ground in Boston this weekend for PAX East too, and you can find all of that coverage right here. Pour a frosty beverage and join us for the week’s gaming news, won’t you?

News

Arguably the biggest news this week came from Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros-themed Nintendo Direct broadcast. The franchise hits the 3DS this summer and the Wii U this fall with two online modes (For Fun and For Glory) and a unique spin on series-staple Adventure mode, Smash Run. Perhaps the biggest news, though, is the addition of all around bad-ass Charizard to the game’s roster.

One of the more intriguing games shown at Microsoft’s E3 press event last year was indie-puzzler Below. It’s being developed by Capybara Games (Super Brothers Swords and Sworcery EP) and news hit this week that if you don’t feel like shelling out $500 for an Xbox One — it was previously announced as a platform-exclusive — that the game is coming to Steam, too.

In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel you’ll travel to the moon when it releases this fall for PS3, PC and Xbox 360. The last-gen title takes place between the first two games, and you’ll be fighting for antagonist Handsome Jack this time around.

If you’ve beaten Bastion countless times while waiting for developer Supergiant Games’ follow-up Transistor to hit, it’s almost time to let The Kid rest. The action-RPG releases on the PS4 and PC for $20 on May 20th.

Reviews

This week Joystiq reviewed Xbox One exclusive Kinect Sports Rivals and episode three of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us. Critic Jessica Condit lamented Rivals is another instance of Kinect’s crippled functionality.

The Xbox One Kinect is more responsive than its predecessor, but it still doesn’t seem ready for this level of gameplay. My set-up meets the requirements – a clear, open floor and seven feet of playable space from Kinect to the front of my couch. Still, Kinect had trouble deciphering who was playing if anything moved in the background or just off to the sides, and it tracked motions inconsistently.

Joystiq‘s managing editor Susan Arendt was much more positive in her look at Biggby Wolf’s latest chapter. Although The Crooked Mile narratively occupies the middle of Telltale’s Fables yarn, that shouldn’t be held against it she says.

Taken by itself, it’s unsatisfying and half-missing, but of course it’s not meant to be taken by itself. It’s the centerpiece of a larger whole, the lock that will let everything eventually make sense.

Original stories

Road-trip season will be here before you know it, but with the price of gas still pretty high, getting out and exploring the open road can be an expensive proposition. If you’d still like to see some of the US though, Ubisoft’s The Crew will let you do just that, virtually. The constantly-connected racer lets you and three buddies drive from San Francisco to Salt Lake City and other cities (including Detroit), completing challenges and collecting cars. Joystiq‘s video preview gives an overview of the game’s look and feel.

As part of its ongoing look at crowdfunded game development, Joystiq notes that the month of March continued the space’s continued slump. What’s more, March was the second-worst month of pledges in the prior 10 (when Joystiq started the series).

PC gamers are a proud people: they tend to invest heavily in their rigs and expect the best possible experience from their games as a result. For them, playing a console game that’s been ported can be a crap shoot in terms of performance. With the brutally difficult Dark Souls 2, however, that isn’t the case. The PC version is prettier than its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts, and is the best version of the game that’s available.

In the wake of games like Battlefield 4 and its still-rocky performance, Joystiq has started an ongoing look at how a game’s multiplayer fares in the first month after launch. With Titanfall, the outlet says that despite a few brief outages, the experience remains solid, dubbing the game’s state of service “good.”

That’s it! Be sure to check back next Sunday for another recap, or if you’re impatient, click over to Joystiq and catch the news as it happens.

[Image credit: Miguel Angel Garrido / Flickr]

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Source: Joystiq

13
Apr
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Weekends with Engadget: GS5 and Fire TV reviews, Sony’s Yoshida on VR, and more!


Welcome to Weekends with Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines from the past seven days — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. For even more action, subscribe to our Flipboard magazine!

Samsung Galaxy S5 review: a solid improvement, but don’t rush to upgrade

Samsung’s latest handset, the Galaxy S5, has a slightly larger screen and squared edges, but nontheless recognizable as part of the Galaxy family. Packing a heart rate monitor, fingerprint scanner and extensively revamped TouchWiz UI, it’s a solid upgrade from the GS4. But is it worth an early upgrade?

Getting to know Microsoft’s new Xbox lead, Phil Spencer

There’s a new sheriff in Xbox town, and his name is Phil Spencer. While most of us know him as the E3 guy who speaks about games during Microsoft’s keynote, Spencer is a longtime Redmond employee who worked his way up from the bottom.

The Micro is a $200 3D printer that can make a teacup in an hour

If you’ve been expectantly waiting for 3D printer that wouldn’t require you to wring out your wallet, now might be your chance to pick one up. This week, M3D’s Micro hit Kickstarter — for only $200.

Lightroom mobile arrives for iPad with touch-friendly interface, realtime sync

Lightroom mobile for the iPad is here! Adobe’s latest companion app brings photographers most of the most of the funtionality found in the desktop version, and any changes you make will be pushed to your Lightroom cloud.

Neil Young on digital audio: You’re doing it wrong

Neil Young has a plan to serve up high-resolution audio, and it’s called Pono. But why would anyone spend $400 on a somewhat chunky media player and re-buy all of their music library in FLAC format? We sat down with the rock icon to find out.

My First Time on the World Wide Web

Do you remember the first time you cracked open the treasures of the World Wide Web? Our editors sure do. Read on for a look into the lives of Engadget’s biggest nerds and their first experience with the “internet.”

Amazon Fire TV review: the set-top that tries to do everything

Is it a gaming console? Is it a media streamer? Well, Amazon’s Fire TV is a little of both. Sure, the $99 set-top box is lightning fast thanks to its “ASAP” technology. But in an ecosystem all to its own, will the Fire TV be able to attract enough development and content to stay afloat in an already saturated market?

SONY DSC

Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida loves that Facebook bought Oculus, says it helps validate PlayStation’s efforts

Most of us were surprised (maybe even appalled) once we learned that Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion. Shuhei Yoshida, head of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Worldwide Studios, however, was thoroughly excited.

Play Nintendo’s rarest game on your Wii U

Back in the 90s, Nintendo released 90 copies of a three-part, competitive play cartridge called Nintendo World Championships. In the spirit of nostalgia, the company’s adding said game into its next iteration of NES Remix for the Wii U.

Amazon phone reportedly coming in September with glasses-free 3D

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon’s planning to release its own smartphone this coming September. What’s more, the handset’s reported to have four cameras with retina-tracking tech, making it possible to project 3D images without needing glasses.

Subscribe to Weekends with Engadget on Flipboard today!

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13
Apr
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IRS tastes its own medicine, will pay Microsoft millions for Windows XP support


Usually, the Internal Revenue Service is the one getting paid this time of year, but Uncle Sam will be lining someone else’s pockets this tax season because of its attachment to Windows XP. In case you hadn’t heard, support for XP officially stopped on April 8th, meaning that Microsoft will no longer provide support or security updates for the venerable OS. However, governmental computers can’t be left vulnerable, so the IRS will be paying Microsoft millions of dollars for custom support to keep their machines secure and functional. Right now, over half the agency’s PCs still run XP, despite Microsoft telling the whole world that it would stop support for the OS in 2014 six years ago. The plan is to have all IRS machines running Windows 7 by the end of the year — at which point the clock starts ticking on the transition to Windows 8. No rush, though, Microsoft has pledged to support Windows 7 through 2020. Let the governmental procrastination begin!

[Image Credit: Alamy]

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