Category: News

Surface Mini Returning

Microsoft backtracked on the announcement and release of the Surface Mini (rumored, then somewhat ‘official’ with mentioning it in current Surface manuals). But, a new rumor is that Microsoft will again announce the smaller, iPad mini competitor running Windows RT.

Well-known gadget leaker @evleaks takes a break from posting marketing renders from time to time to share information about upcoming device launches, and he did just that on Monday. According to a post on his blog, Microsoft’s Surface mini is currently back in production ahead of a possible launch sometime this summer.

Windows Threshold to Cater to Desktop Users

With all the shouting at Microsoft for taking away the Start Menu from desktop users, it seems that Microsoft has caved in. Starting with Windows Threshold, possibly to be named Windows 9, they are going to be making changes to satisfy the desktop users. Those that typically use a mouse and keyboard versus a touch screen device. This should appease many users, including the many enterprises holding out on Windows 8 due to the huge UI changes.

The Desktop/laptop SKU of Threshold will include, as previously rumored, the Mini-Start menu — a new version of the traditional Microsoft Start menu, an early concept of which Microsoft showed off at the company’s Build developers conference in April. It also will include the ability to run Metro-Style/Windows Store apps in windows on the Desktop. Will it turn off completely the Metro-Style Start screen with its live-tile interface, as Neowin is reporting, and make the tiled Start screen a toggleable option from the Mini Start menu? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

New Microsoft Store Openings – Dell Venue 8 Pro for $129

For those nearby, there are some new Microsoft Store’s opening. As part of their opening ceremonies, they are offering Dell Venue 8 Pro for $129, while supplies last (which usually isn’t long). Stores are opening in Lynnwood, WA; Seattle, WA; Staten Island, NY; and Towson, MD. Stores are set to open on Saturday, June 28th.

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Microsoft Getting Into Home Automation

Microsoft is looking to invest in some home automation technology. Home automation is a hobby of mine, and I’d love to see Microsoft get more into it (without the BSOD when opening my Windows…). With programmable and learning thermostats like Nest becoming more common, as well as home security, lawn irrigation, door locks and others automated functions, it is about time a big player comes into the game.

Today, that strategy is taking a turn towards Microsoft’s home market, down the corporate route and stopping at the Internet of Things: Microsoft is launching a new accelerator in Seattle in partnership with American Family Insurance focusing on the home automation market. Applications are open from now until July 28, and the accelerator will run August through December.

IE11 Updates Require Windows 8.1 Update 1

Finally on the new server, so I can actually post news and articles again!

For those on Windows 8, make sure to keep your system updated, and update to Windows 8.1 Update 1. Microsoft has made the decision to make Update 1 required in order to obtain new Internet Explorer 11 security updates.

When Microsoft released the Windows 8.1 Update, IT feathers were ruffled by Microsoft’s decision to make it a compulsory update: without it, Windows 8.1 systems would no longer receive security fixes. As spotted by Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer, Microsoft is applying the same rules, at least in part, to Windows 7.

XBox Not Going Anywhere

Following rumors and speculation that Microsoft would spin off or sell their XBox division, Satya Nadella has squashed those rumors. The XBox isn’t going anywhere, and it staying with Microsoft management. Also, Skype is testing a on the fly translator for Skype, allowing people that speak different languages to communicate effectively.

"I have no intent to do anything different with Xbox than we are doing today," Nadella told interviewers Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg.

IE Exploit has Out Of Band Patch – Including Support for XP

The new Internet Explorer exploit that affected IE6+ on XP to 8.1 and server editions has a new out of band patch available. For those with automatic updates, you need not worry – it'll come through automatically. For those without automatic updates enabled, be sure to get your machine patched ASAP. 

We have made the decision to issue a security update for Windows XP users. Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and we continue to encourage customers to migrate to a modern operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8.1. Additionally, customers are encouraged to upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer, IE 11.

Internet Explorer Vulnerability Warning

Microsoft released a new KB article warning users of a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer. This affects most people if they are using Windows XP or newer. As it's been a couple weeks since XP was dropped from support, it will not be receiving a patch when this is resolved. So, XP users – either upgrade your OS or move to Chrome/Firefox/Opera or your other alternative browser of choice.

The vulnerability is a remote code execution vulnerability. The vulnerability exists in the way that Internet Explorer accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or has not been properly allocated. The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website.

Escape from Windows XP

Microsoft has posted a nice little game that's occupied my lunch time. Escape Windows XP has you destroying Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6. A decent shoot 'em up in your browser. Just another way Microsoft is letting you know that Windows XP is end of life and ready for the head shot.

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Final Windows XP Patch Cycle is Small

Windows XP support officially ends tomorrow, as does Office 2003. The last patch Tuesday for Windows XP is going to be a small one, though. So, after Tuesday, you can update your Windows XP machine and be done. It's probably best to update to Windows 7 or 8, though.

There will be a total of four updates released for all products, two for Windows and two for Office. Only one of the updates for each product is rated critical, although we don't yet know the number of vulnerabilities addressed for any of the products or their exact nature. All four updates are for remote code execution vulnerabilities.