Windows 8 RTM on track for August

Windows 8 logoMicrosoft have announced at the annual WPC Conference that Windows 8 RTM is on track for an August release date, this then would to me have the retail release coming on time for the holiday season in as a guess end September, early October.

“Today in Toronto, Canada, at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller spoke to thousands of partners from around the world. She shared some exciting new details regarding Windows that I wanted to pass along.

For the first time, we provided details on Windows 8 availability. Tami confirmed that Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August. For enterprise customers with Software Assurance benefits, they will have full access to Windows 8 bits as early as August. Additionally, she noted that RTM is when we’ll be turning on the commerce platform so that developers can start earning money for their apps – we’ll have more to share on the Windows Store for developers blog soon. Of course, right now with the Windows 8 Release Preview, all apps are still free for people to try.”

Read the full article at The Windows Team Blog HERE

EU Trade Committee MEP’s dismiss Acta

hackerThis was a vote I was waiting to hear what the results of as I blogged about the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) law on copyright protection and illegal file sharing of media back in April HERE. Today sees the results of the EU parliamentary committee  who voted against this law by 19 to 12.

“Acta aims to tighten rules on both online and offline piracy but has attracted many critics.

One of its harshest detractors has been UK MEP David Martin, the lead member of the committee.

Speaking after the Inta vote, he said: “This was not an anti-intellectual property vote. This group believes Europe does have to protect its intellectual property but Acta was too vague a document,” he said.

He said that it “left many questions unanswered”, including the role of ISPs in policing the internet. He also said that many on the committee felt that the sanctions for breaches of copyright were “disproportionate”.”

Although this is not the full parliamentary vote on this law, it is seen by many as the death-nail to it as the committee involved with this vote are who advise the main parliament which way to vote.


Read the full article at BBC News HERE

Microsoft Windows Phone 8 announced

Windows PhoneWell hot of the new of the release of Microsoft’s Surface tablet is the news on the forthcoming release of Windows Phone 8, reading Joe Belfiore’s post on the Windows Phone Team’s blog earlier the device sounds really good and may just improve on the current Windows Phone 7.


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“With Windows Phone 8, the similarity is more than skin deep. We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8. It means Windows Phone and its bigger sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system. That translates into better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster.

This new shared core—along with all the extra work we’ve done on top of it—opens up a new world of capabilities, which you don’t have to be a techie to appreciate. Here’s a taste:

  • Multi-core processor support: As reviewers have noted, Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on phones with a single processor. But piggybacking on the Windows core provides support for multiple cores—so we’re ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.
  • Bigger, sharper screens: Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions—1280×768 and 1280×720, opening the door to amazing new handsets with high-definition 720p displays.
  • More flexible storage: Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so you can stuff your phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important to you, and then easily move it all onto your PC.
  • NFC wireless sharing: If you haven’t heard the term “NFC” yet, I’m betting you soon will. This emerging wireless technology lets phones share things over short distances. In Windows Phone 8, it helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier—just tap your phone another NFC-equipped device. How cool is that?
  • Internet Explorer 10: The next version of Windows Phone comes with the same web browsing engine that’s headed for Window 8 PCs and tablets. IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous websites and malware.
  • Wallet: Windows Phone 8’s new digital Wallet feature does two great things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and other important info right at your fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, you can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at compatible checkout counters.
  • Better maps and directions: Windows Phone 8 builds in Nokia mapping as part of the platform. Our partnership will provide more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in many countries, plus the ability to store maps offline on your phone so you can work with maps without a data connection.
  • Cooler apps and games: Basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games, for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment.”

The above all sounds great and moving with how users are using mobile phones these days as an all-in-one device from Phone, Media player, Sat-Nav and Social Media. I would love to though know when these will be available and at what price point, but I guess we will have to wait for the OEMs like HTC, Nokia, Samsung etc to release their product ranges.

“The new Start screen is so useful and emblematic of what Windows Phone is about that we want everybody to enjoy it. So we’ll be delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window Phone 8 is released. Let me repeat: If you currently own a Windows Phone 7.5 handset, Microsoft is planning to release an update with the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen. We’re calling it “Windows Phone 7.8.””

I am particularly glad of the above quote in that users of Windows Phone 7.5 will not be fully left out in the cold with an update to those phones to version 7.8 which is basically the GUI Metro screen layout of new size tiles.

There will be no major update for Windows Phone 7 users to take advantage of the new features as the hardware technology is not compatible, which is a pity.


Read the full article post at The Windows Phone Team Blog HERE

Microsoft Announce Surface Tablet PCs

I know that Microsoft had a big announcement at an event in Hollywood yesterday but I never saw a Microsoft branded tablet being it! I do however when thinking about this move more have to think a Surface branded tablet is well within a product range Microsoft have already.


Surface tables have been around for some years now and not so far back Surface 2.0 was released, albeit now with a name change to Pixelsense so this new Tablet falls into the smaller brother or sister of Pixelsense.

“Microsoft unveiled Surface: PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows. Company executives showed two Windows tablets and accessories that feature significant advances in industrial design and attention to detail. Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise. It delivers the power of amazing software with Windows and the feel of premium hardware in one exciting experience.”

Having only viewed the screenshots of the product so far, I like the look and design of it, I also having been using Windows 8 for some time think that Windows 8 will fit this product really well.

I think the amount of various colours that the screen cover/keyboard (see 1st picture below) has will appeal to many who just want to be different, the built in kickstand is really good touch also.

gallery_5_large  gallery_2_large

Big question is will it be as all tech writers put it, an “Apple Killer” and the direct comparison here is the iPad, I doubt it in honesty but it will be the best shot out there to steal some market share from Apple’s iPad.

Read more from Microsoft News Centre HERE and the Surface homepage HERE (although the Surface homepage is new so content to follow)

Microsoft release Windows 8 Release Preview version

windows-8_thumb1Microsoft have now released the Windows 8 Release Preview version of their new Windows operating System. I would liken this release to what many who have beta tested Windows before to the old RTM version, bar show stopper bugs, this will likely be what you see in the shops latter this year.

“Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Windows 8 Release Preview, the next milestone of the highly anticipated Windows 8 operating system. Available for download today in 14 languages at, the Windows 8 Release Preview delivers a fast and fluid experience, along with a new user interface that responds equally well to touch as it does to keyboard and mouse. Since the February release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which was downloaded more than 1 million times in the first 24 hours, Windows 8 has become the most tested Microsoft operating system of all time, and with today’s release, it enters its final phase of development before it releases to manufacturing.

“We’re thrilled to be at this milestone with the Windows 8 Release Preview,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft.”

If you have a spare PC or use Virtual Machines then its well worth giving this version a try, I have had no issues with the Consumer Preview version and I installed it on my production netbook, had no major crashes or incidents to speak of, but usual warning from me is to only install this version of Windows on a non critical or only household PC, as this version while very stable for me, could still have some bugs or may not be compatible with your current favoured 3rd party software.

I will post about any new and important changes in this version from the previous one, in a few days time,

Read the full Press release from Microsoft News Center  HERE

EU to vote on controversial Acta law

hackerLater the European Union (EU) is to vote on the controversial Acta law which some have said if implemented will stifle free speech and potentially cause some internet users to be drawn into legal issues through no fault of their own.

By drawn into legal issues for internet users I mean that in some instances a user could be blamed for downloading an illegal copy-writed film or music, when in fact they are innocent, as the IP address could be same as other users or their PC has malware or their Wi-Fi if not secure could be used by others.


“A controversial anti-piracy agreement is back under scrutiny as the European Parliament prepares to carry out a series of key votes.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) seeks to curb the spread of illegally downloaded copyrighted material online.

However, critics say it is a potential threat to freedom of speech online.

To date 22 member states, including the UK, have signed the treaty – but it is yet to be formally ratified by the EU.

While the agreement covers the counterfeiting of physical items, such as pharmaceuticals, it is the measures relating to pirated material on the internet that have caused most concern among campaigners.”

It will be interesting to read the final results on the vote and you know that whatever the result some of the main hacking groups will target some sites with DDoS attacks as they have done in the past.

Read the full article at BBC Technology News HERE

Anyone want a Cookie?

cookie monsterEvery time I think or hear the word Cookies the picture of Cookie Monster from Sesame Street appears in my head spouting the immortal line of “Me want Coookiees” but cookies from Sunday (27/05/2012) have more of a significance to play in the computing and internet area, as from today all websites are obliged to inform and give you the option of opting out of said website storing a cookie on your computer.

If you do not know much about what the role of cookies in the using the internet is then please read the articles HERE and HERE (section 12 from and created by my good friend Charlie aka Chaslang). The latter one of the two I have added as cookies are very mis-understood at times and many think they are malware related, they are not.

The BBC News webpage all set to go for this cookie rule today.

BBC News Cookie Notification

“Friday marks the last working day for UK businesses to prepare their websites for a new law governing the use of cookies.

From Sunday, sites must obtain “informed consent” from visitors before saving cookies on a machine.

Cookies are pieces of personal data stored when users browse the web, sometimes to power advertising.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is to launch a tool for the public to report non-compliant sites.”

One thing to note is that once you have agreed or disagreed to allow cookies from a particular site on your PC, each time you visit that site, the option you chose will still be in-action, but you can either deleted your Browsers History (Internet Explorer 9’s options HERE) or do check with your favoured browsers options and help pages. If your browser like Internet Explorer 9 has Tracking Protection you can use that to manage various cookies, I have picked on IE9 as it know and use it more than Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

HERE is the EU Directive on privacy and electronic communications but via the UK Gov’s website as its more readable than the gobbledgook pages of the EU Commission HERE. *I do note the EU Commission has not enacted the cookie options yet! worth checking Sunday to see if they have broken their own laws!*

The Financial Times (FT) cookie option

FT Cookie options

Personally I do not see an issue with cookies that the EU Commission has, to be honest it has just caused more website admins a headache in adding this new alert option. I would imagine the EU Commission will be very busy as I can bet that if we were to see figures in 6 months time on the percentage of sites of websites compliant with this law we would see a high figure non-compliant.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this new law?


Read the full quoted article at BBC Technology News HERE

Kia Motors and Microsoft team up with UVO eService

Kia UVOKia Motors and Microsoft have collaborated on an in-car telematics application which has the functions of gathering data from your car and driving style, this can then feedback to the owner, when maintenance schedules such as servicing are alerted to the owner.

UVO also adds technology for satnav to being able to make phonecalls.

Kia UVO-hi-Phone_Call

What UVO feeds back to the car owner:

    • UVO eServices is connected to a multitude of sensors embedded throughout a Kia vehicle. These sensors watch for data such as diagnostic trouble codes, mileage and driving patterns.

    • Customers access this maintenance and vehicle diagnostic information on their PC or mobile device.

    • Customers can also request a customized maintenance schedule, which Kia formulates by adjusting the factory maintenance schedule based on the performance data for their vehicle.“What’s great about UVO eServices is that it showcases how an intelligent system can use information that already exists to improve various aspects of your daily life,” says Steven Bridgeland, senior product manager for Windows Embedded at Microsoft. “Kia has done an impressive job of blending the practical benefits of technology in a way that redefines how you interact with your car.”

I have a car that has Blue and Me from Fiat & Microsoft, which is pretty much the early Windows Mobile in-car telematics service, while it does not have all the functions of the Kia developed one, it is how I feel cars should be developed in the future.

“Ask most people how they track the maintenance of their car, and it’s likely they’ll reference the tell-tale or the ubiquitous static cling oil-change reminder tucked in the corner of the windshield. But if Korean auto maker Kia Motors has its way, these analog mainstays could give way to something a bit more high tech.

Kia this year rolled out UVO eServices, which includes a suite of telematics tools to monitor your vehicle’s performance and help you stay current with factory maintenance schedules. UVO eServices also includes navigation and location-based services that help monitor your car’s location — whether lost in a parking garage or keeping tabs on where your teen took it the night before.”


Read the full press release at Microsoft News Centre HERE

LinkedIn for Windows Phone 7

LinkedInFinally LinkedIn have released their Windows Phone 7 (WP7)app and in the short time I have been using it, I can say it is really polished and fluid application. I have read some reviews of the iPhone version vs the WP7 version and users that have tried both out are coming down in favour of he WP7 version.

Having used both myself I can totally agree with them, in that the WP7 is a lot better laid out as well as some great functionality, like the Metro UI Live Tiles.

“LinkedIn for Windows Phone makes it easy to get on-the-go access to your professional network and all the rich LinkedIn insights to help you be great at what you do. You can find and connect with millions of professionals worldwide, quickly access a real-time update stream with news and information from your professional connections, read timely news impacting your industry, keep up-to-date with your professional groups, search for jobs, and follow your favorite companies’ news.”


The WP7 version also offers a few things the iOS version does not in that you have listings for Companies and Jobs, the companies option will be useful for many I would imagine as social networking is what LinkedIn is all about.

Overall in the short time I have used this new app, I have found it to be a great first release and hope for more functions in later releases.

Do please let me know your thoughts on the Windows Phone version vs the iOS version if you have used both?

Read the full LinkedIn blog post HERE

Is Apples voice control Siri biased?

Apple SiriWell it looks as if Apples iPhone based voice control Siri is not all she is cracked up to be, in that from a complaint from Nokia, the results of a question users could ask on “what is the best smartphone?” has been alleged to have been changed for a default answer.

“The debate over “what is the best smartphone ever?” took an unexpected twist after Apple’s voice-activated assistant Siri appeared to favour the iPhone’s rival.

Over the weekend, users of Siri were told the answer was Nokia’s Lumia 900.

But Siri now responds to the same question with a jovial: “Wait… there are other phones?”

Nokia has accused Apple of “overriding the software” after the quirk was noticed.”

If this is found to be true then it for me and likely others will bring what Siri can do and honestly into question, especially if Apple can manipulate the replies to specific questions, skewed in their favour or ignoring a rival device or software.

Read the full article at BBC Technology News HERE