Microsoft releases Surface RT prices

Surface LogoMicrosoft today have released the prices for the RT version of their new Surface tablet, the prices start from £399 for the 32GB version without the Touch Keyboard (Black). The Touch keyboard as an optional extra is £99.99 and comes in Black, White and Cyan Blue.

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However you can get 2 other versions of the Surface tablet that come with the Touch Keyboard (Black) for 32GB for £479 and the 64GB version for £559, but you only have the choice of the black keyboard, that also doubles up as the screen cover. If you wish one of the other two initial colours you will have to stump up £99.

I personally think the 32GB version either with black Touch Keyboard or for those who wish to be different the 32GB without keyboard will be the two to take on the iPad. The iPad 32GB is £479 so exact pricing as the equivalent Surface RT 32GB but the Surface RT has the Touch keyboard/cover for this price.

No prices as yet for the Pro version, which is the one I’m waiting for.

Prices for the versions of Surface RT and accessories HERE at the Microsoft Store UK, but if link doesn’t take you to the Microsoft Store in your region then search for Microsoft Store in your area if available.

Microsoft Disrupts the Emerging Nitol Botnet

Cyber SecurityMicrosoft and its Digital Crimes Unit have disrupted the emerging Nitol Botnet, which is a really good bit of detective work from a study that found unsecure supply chain systems could be easily utilised for malware.

“Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit permission to disrupt more than 500 different strains of malware with the potential for targeting millions of innocent people. Codenamed “Operation b70,” this legal action and technical disruption proceeded from a Microsoft study which found that cybercriminals infiltrate unsecure supply chains to introduce counterfeit software embedded with malware for the purpose of secretly infecting people’s computers. In disrupting these malware strains, we helped significantly limit the spread of the developing Nitol botnet, our second botnet disruption in the last six months.”

Read the full article at The Official Microsoft Blog HERE

Windows 8 RTM released to developers

Windows 8 logoWhile I’m a little late with this news, due in part to being very busy in work but also installing and using Windows 8 Pro at home in testing. I wanted to check out the clean  install to my netbook via a USB install, which I generally think is the quicker method than that of DVD.

The RTM installed in no more than 15 minutes, with very clear instructions on user interaction for items like the licence key to your preferences. The hardware was really well supported on my Samsung N110 and the only driver I needed to install was an Intel Graphics driver.

w8 001  w8 002

I guess you may ask where I managed to get Windows 8 from before public release on October 26th 2012, well as a Microsoft MVP, I get access to MSDN and TechNet. So for those of you who do have the likes of MSDN and TechNet accounts you can download Windows 8 too in ISO format.

Below are the dates from Microsoft on availability.

“People will be able get Windows 8 starting on October 26th” either by upgrading for $39.99 or on a new PC or device. And if you buy an eligible Windows 7 PC today, you will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.

However, we have a number of programs that provides various audiences early access to the Windows 8 RTM code to help prepare for Windows 8 as it enters the marketplace this fall:

  • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
  • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.

Please note: if a program you are in is not mentioned, please be patient as dates for Windows 8 RTM code availability for other programs will be communicated when the information becomes available.”

The USB install method I used for those interested was an older ISO to USB/DVD application Microsoft discontinued after Windows 7 was released, I don’t know why as its a great tool, but luckily it is still available for download HERE at Majorgeeks.com.

I will be installing Windows 8 Pro on my desktop PC at some point and will blog about feature at that time.

 

Full quoted text HERE at the Windows Team Blog

Windows 8 release date October 26th

Windows 8 logoMicrosoft have announced that Windows 8 will be released on October 26th 2012, this will be in time for the Christmas holiday period. If the Surface Tablet which also uses Windows 8 is released on or around the same time, this could be a very lucrative sales period for Microsoft as many  users have been holding off on new computers or tablets in the past quarter in anticipation of Windows 8.

“October 26th, 2012! That’s right! Just a few minutes ago, Steven Sinofsky announced at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting that customers will be able to get Windows 8 – whether in upgrade fashion or on a new PC – starting on October 26th. Earlier this month at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Tami Reller told attendees Windows 8 would be available in October.”

So make a note in your calendar….

 

Full blog article post from the Windows Team Blog 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.

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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.

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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 http://preview.windows.com, 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

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.”

KiaOptimaWithUVOeSer_Web

Read the full press release at Microsoft News Centre HERE

The “New” Bing, the search engine gets updates

BingMicrosoft yesterday announced the next raft of updates for their ever growing in user base Bing search engine (approx. 15% of the search market ), the updates should start to be available to users in the USA from June 2012 and then other countries at a later date.

“With the new version of Bing, rolling out over the coming weeks and broadly available in the U.S. in early June, people can easily get advice and recommendations from friends and experts with the new social sidebar. They can also view useful, action-oriented information via the new snapshot feature. And they can find what they’re looking for faster, with more relevant results and a refreshed user interface. All of this is presented in a new, three-column design that focuses on helping users take the leap from finding information to making quick, informed decisions”

I have to agree with the below comment and it is one comment I get a lot on web forums, is to why is it way too hard at times to search for just simple things, well  there are generally many factors to this, not adding enough core words to your search query or using operators like “my search” around your key word/s or using advanced operators like “my search” filetype:pdf. These search operators if you type yourself up a list of them to print out and keep by your PC will become second nature over time. 

“More than two-thirds of consumers use search to accomplish tasks, according to a Microsoft user survey. Yet 60 percent wonder whether they have found the best information available for what they’re trying to do, and 52 percent find themselves entering multiple queries and visiting lots of sites for searches that shouldn’t be so ha

However if Bing is to become more intelligent in its search and offer you various options as listed below in both images and below quoted text, then your searches should become  much more tailored, with Bing narrowing the search down and with the option of asking a friend or colleague in your social media circle, such as Facebook.

HotelSearch_Web_bing

“The new features in Bing are designed to help people complete tasks combining the best information from the Web, rich data organized in a better way, and the input of friends and experts.

  • Improved Web Results: Consumers can perform traditional Web searches faster, with more relevant results using the new, cleaner user interface.

  • Snapshot: Users can quickly complete tasks by viewing useful information related to their searches and compiled by Bing as a single “snapshot” – all in one place in a separate column.

  • Sidebar: Consumers can take action based on the recommendations of friends and experts in the sidebar – displayed in a third column, separate from main Web results page.”

HotelSearchActivity_Web_Bing

Bing is progressing nicely in my opinion and not just because I am a Microsoft MVP (see logo button in right side panel) but it has gone down a different track in searching unlike other search engines that just give you way too much of what you don’t need, which is why I love cluster type search engines (Yippy for one).

I just hate it these days for instance when I need to search for a applications .exe file and all I get is a million and one Hijackthis logs ahhhhhhhh! so being able to use either search operators as I mentioned earlier to weed out the data you don’t need or if the revamp of Bing can help in this goal I will be a happy internet user.

Do post in comments your pet hates about searching on the internet these days as I like to know I’m not the only grumpy one out there.

 

So watch out for the updates to Bing in June.

 

Please read the full press release at Microsoft News Center HERE

Motorola wins injunction against Microsoft in Germany

Xbox360Motorola have been granted an injunction to stop Microsoft not only as some headlines in the tech press state, banning the selling of the XBox360 in Germany but also Windows 7 and supplying Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player as they all have the disputed H.264 media video codec files.

“Motorola Mobility has scored another patent victory over Microsoft in Germany.

Judge Holger Kircher of the Mannheim Regional Court today awarded Motorola an injunction againstWindows 7, theXbox 360, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player after finding them in violation of patents related to “adaptive motion compensation” and “adaptive compression of digital video data.”

According to FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller, who was first to report on the story, the injunction would allow Motorola to ban the distribution of Microsoft’s products, as well as recall and destroy Windows 7 and Xbox 360 units that are currently on German store shelves. However, Mueller says that Motorola is facing some hurdles if it wants to enforce the bans.”

This and similar other patient disputes will rage on and on as there is the FRAND (Reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing) accord between many tech companies and the patients they hold as its in the interest of the end user. If the likes of Motorola, who are being taken over by Google at present, decide to be anal about patients that are in the public interest, companies like Microsoft do hold many many patients that could cripple their companies.

I’m all for protecting patients but you can at times go too far with law suits, so how far do you go before you think, this tech should be for the benefit of all, I would like to here your thoughts on this.

 

Read the full article at CNet HERE