Support for Windows XP ends on April 8th, 2014. Tim Rains of Microsoft goes over the risks of running the operating system after support ends. Running the OS after that date is definitely not something that I would really trust. So, for you still running it, it might be getting time to update your PC.
Some of the people I have discussed this scenario with are quick to point out that there are security mitigations built into Windows XP that can make it harder for such exploits to be successful. There is also anti-virus software that can help block attacks and clean up infections if they occur. The challenge here is that you’ll never know, with any confidence, if the trusted computing base of the system can actually be trusted because attackers will be armed with public knowledge of zero day exploits in Windows XP that could enable them to compromise the system and possibly run the code of their choice. Furthermore, can the system’s APIs that anti-virus software uses be trusted under these circumstances? For some customers, this level of confidence in the integrity of their systems might be okay, but for most it won’t be acceptable.
The Xbox One is able to monitor it’s temperature and adjust the fan speed and it’s power usage based on if it’s overheating. This is something that may have helped the initial runs of the Xbox 360 and it’s overheating causing the RRoD’s.
“We can’t prevent misuse of the product," del Castillo says, "but we can certainly anticipate it." That’s done by the Xbox being aware of the temperature it’s running at, and having the capacity to cool itself down in a few ways. "The way we designed the box, we don’t actually intend it to ever have to go to maximum speed under normal environmental conditions. But there is overhead. So we’ll allow the fan to go all the way up to its maximum speed and if that solves the condition without the user having to do anything."
Save the date – October 17th for the public release of Windows 8.1, the free update to Windows 8. A few good new features with it – new Start button (not the start menu), animated backgrounds for Metro – or the same background as your desktop, integrated Bing search, and a bit more.
Windows 8.1 continues the vision we began with Windows 8 and is an example of our commitment to continuous innovation and improvement for our customers. And Windows 8.1 brings many improvements in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, search which is powered by Bing, built-in apps including a few new ones, an improved Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive (and much more) that people will enjoy. If you haven’t already, you can give many of the new features and improvements in Windows 8.1 a try with the Windows 8.1 Preview. Business customers can begin testing Windows 8.1 for deployment in their environments with the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview.
The Xbox One no longer requires the Kinect to be plugged in. For me, that was not so much about the tin foil hat spying stuff, but more of ‘what happens when the Kinect breaks’ or ‘what if I block it or don’t want it sitting there’ (My first Kinect broke, I’d hate to have a $500 paperweight if that happened again)? I guess it appeases both crowds. Microsoft seems to be really listening to the consumer this round. Better shout this next: “PRICE! I WANT IT FOR $149 AT LAUNCH!”… Nah, not that lucky!
We already knew that you could turn off the Kinect, but now Microsoft says it doesn’t have to be plugged in at all. Speaking to IGN, Microsoft’s Marc Whitten shared the news that the Xbox One will indeed work without Kinect.
NVIDIA CEO has announced that they are working on the Surface 2 and helping to make the new version much more successful than the first Surface. Still, an ARM chip that won’t run standard x86 application will be the shortfall of the tablets, but at the lower cost for the hardware, it’s a tradeoff.
A big problem for Surface RT, the version of the tablet that runs on ARM-based chips instead of Intel, is that it didn’t have Outlook available at launch, Huang said.
"It is the killer app for Windows," Huang said. "Now we’re going to bring it with the second-generation Surface. We’re working really hard on it, and we hope that it’s going to be a big success."
Microsoft has announced that it is moving away from the Xbox Live Gold Family Pack and going back to individual accounts. They do have a new Home Gold feature that allows anyone in your home to use the Xbox One for all Gold features. For those currently using the Family Pack, you will get an additional 3 months free on each account, which is nice.
Now, it’s time for my naysayer comments – Although the benefits are nice, this is great for those with a single console in the home or are upgrading to the Xbox One. My kids will still want individual accounts to play their games on separate machines (Minecraft, mostly). I haven’t seen the details of the new Xbox Live changes, but I don’t want to pay $60 a year times 3 for all three of us to play together at the same time. For a single console, it’s great. I only have to worry about the single cost, which would be less.
I’m hoping that the Gold membership works across all profiles on that machine for multiplayer, regardless of who has the membership (me, as PC509, would be the owner and Gold holder, but my kids could log in under their profile and still play multiplayer). It sounds like that is the case, so I’m probably good there.
But, Home Gold is only on the Xbox One. So, I would still need multiple Gold accounts on my older Xbox 360 systems. Not sure if this is the case or if it’s going to be something different, but that’s what I’m reading from the announcement. I’m upgrading to the One, but the kids will continue to use the 360 for at least another year or so. We’ll see on this one. It could be completely different.
A lot of good stuff coming from the changes, but I always look at the whole package before I decide. I think the pros will definitely overcome the cons.
Xbox Live Gold Family Pack Conversion to Individual Memberships
As a valued Xbox Live Gold member, we’d like to thank you and your family for being part of the Gold community.
We continually evaluate our offerings and are always working to provide services that best meet the needs of our customers.
- Starting August 27, 2013, we will be converting each activated account on your Gold Family Pack to an individual Xbox Live Gold membership to prepare for new upcoming features on Xbox Live Gold. Rest assured, each individual membership will work on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
- Through the new Home Gold feature on Xbox One, a single Xbox Live Gold membership will allow anyone in your home to enjoy many Gold features like multiplayer, access to Gold entertainment apps, and more on your Xbox One.*
- As a bonus, we will give each converted individual Xbox Live Gold membership from your Gold Family Pack an extra 3 months of Gold (in addition to the time remaining on your membership term).**
- Before your memberships convert, you can still add family members to your Xbox Live Gold Family Pack, for a total of up to four accounts. However, any unassigned secondary accounts will no longer be accessible after your conversion. Please be sure to update your secondary accounts here.
After your memberships convert, the only Gold Family Pack features that will no longer be available are activity monitoring reports and Microsoft Points allowances. Activity monitoring reports will deactivate at the time of Gold Family Pack conversion, whereas the Microsoft Points allowance feature will no longer be available after the next Xbox 360 system update. Xbox Live family settings, including parental controls for what your kids can access and play on or offline, will still be available.
More Info >>
We hope you enjoy your 3 bonus months of Xbox Live Gold and continue to benefit from your Xbox Live Gold memberships on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
The Xbox Live Team
Windows Phone has increased sales 77% over last years sales. They are still in third place behind iOS and Android, but are still steadily increasing. The Windows Phone platform is very strong, very stable and easy to use. I would really like to see more people jumping on board and having more applications developed for it. If you’re looking for a new phone, get into a store and play with these phones. You might be impressed.
According to the IDC’s latest numbers, Windows Phone has seen a surge of 77% year over year for device shipments (8.7M in 2013 versus 4.9M for 2012). With those numbers, Windows Phone has increased from 3.1% market share to a modest 3.7%. While iOS and Android still dominate with 13.2% and 79.3% market share respectively, Windows Phone maintains the largest year over year increase.
Since the announcement of the Xbox One, many have wondered, rumored and speculated on what applications will require an Xbox Live Gold subscription (which runs about $60 a year) and what will require a Silver (free). Well, for those expecting a Playstation like experience that allows you to watch Netflix and others for free, you’ll be disappointed.
The news makes me wonder, though. Is this a tactic to bring in more Gold subscribers for those that want an Xbox and Netflix, or is there more to it? Does Netflix, Hulu and others require the Xbox Live service and servers, or is it just forwarding everything through to the media servers with no middleman? I really have no idea, myself. I know it’s very doable to access the Netflix servers without a third party service (Roku, PS3, PC’s, iOS, etc. do it). Perhaps it’s part of the contract, or they do get a significant amount of revenue from media viewers on the service…. For me, it doesn’t matter. I use Gold for the multiplayer gaming. Netflix, Hulu and others are there as an added bonus. For others, paying $60 a year on top of the $8 a month for Netflix is a bit too much. Paying twice to access the service.
Microsoft has released another Surface RT vs. iPad commercial. The one bit that gets me is the integrated keyboard and kickstand. Kickstand, yes. Keyboard? It’s an optional accessory at an additional cost. Other than that, and the much larger library of applications, the Surface RT beats the iPad all around. At $350, I might bite. For a strict tablet, it’s great. For any standard desktop apps, I have my laptop.
Bing Search on Windows Phone 8 has been updated and improved. It is currently being rolled out in the US, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you will soon. Other regions will be updated in the coming months.
Some good updates that should help speed things up while you’re on the go.
Today when you tap Search and flick left or right, you see four different search result categories: Web, Local, Media, and Shopping. Once the update rolls out, you’ll see just three: Web, Images, and Videos.
Why the design change?
As useful as some of the existing views might seem, many people just don’t use them all—or know that they’re there, Bing product manager Alisher Saydalikhodjayev told me. Consolidating and streamlining the views should reduce confusion and help people find what they’re looking for more easily.
The new Web category, for example, is designed to be smart enough to show whatever’s most relevant to your search, including images, videos, and local results (check out the screenshots below). “We’re gonna put more info on your first search result screen,” Saydalikhodjayev says. This also means less swiping on your part, he notes. The Bing team has also worked to improve the freshness of the service’s local results and made it easier to get things like directions and phone numbers for local businesses.