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Tag Archives: Microsoft

How Would YOU Use This? Microsoft Developing Pressure Keyboard With 256 Levels Of Sensitivity (Oh, And Win Stuff)

microsoftpressurekeyboard By David Ponce

Lots of interesting stuff at SIGGRAPH this year. In this case, there’s a contest sponsored by ACM SIGCHI and ACM SIGGRAPH centered around a keyboard Microsoft Hardware is developing where each key is capable of detecting pressure in 8-bit resolution. In other words, in 256 levels of sensitivity. Current suggested uses for this are to selectively capitalize letters based on how hard a key is pressed, or deleting an entire word as opposed to a single letter, again, based on pressure.

Of course, these are early ideas and the whole point of the contest is to actually find out what to do with something like this. There are three categories: most useful, best implementation, most creative. Each one carries a “$2000 prize, bragging rights, and special consideration for a spot at SIGGRAPH 2010’s Emerging Technology (E-Tech) demos.”

So, you can head over to the site (check links at the bottom of article). Or if you’re too lazy to bother entering, why not give us your ideas right here in the comments… so we can steal them.

[ Contest Page ] VIA [ Electronista ]

Microsoft To Open Retail Stores This Fall

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By Chris Scott Barr

It looks like Microsoft is really gearing to shake things up in the retail world. Apparently they have decided that the world is finally ready for dedicated brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores. This week the company announced that they will be opening the first of their stores this Fall, with more coming next year. Fall seems like a good time for them to be opening a store, what with Windows 7 coming out in October, but the real question is what they’re going to be selling.

Apple stores do well because they sell hardware. You can walk in and find just about any Apple computer you want, not to mention iPods and other accessories. Is Microsoft going to sell computers from other manufacturers? If so, which OEMs will get a spot in the store? If they don’t, then will you simply see shelves lined with copies of Windows, Office and a spattering of Microsoft peripherals? That doesn’t seem like it would really draw in a lot of people. I suppose they’ll have Zune’s too, but who really buys a Zune anyway?

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Microsoft Considers Shipping Windows 7 On USB Flash Drives

By Chris Scott Barr

Lets say that you purchased yourself a new netbook not long ago, and come this fall you decide to upgrade to Windows 7. How exactly are you planning on doing that without an optical drive? Sure, with you being the tech-savvy customer, you won’t have too much trouble doing this. Of course not every person is going to have such an easy time, which is why Microsoft is considering releasing the next version of Windows on a USB flash drive.

I’m glad to hear that Microsoft is considering this alternative installation method. Granted, users can  download their copy of Windows, but not everyone wants to mess with it. The USB drive would be simple and straight-forward. My biggest question is whether or not Microsoft would charge more for a flash drive, since they do cost a few bucks more than a disc.

[ Cnet ] VIA [ EverythingUSB ]

Microsoft Outlines Windows 7 Upgrade Program

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By Shane McGlaun

We talked earlier about pricing for Windows 7 now that its launch is getting closer. The OS will debut in October, which is only months away. Many are expecting great things out of Windows 7 and it better deliver where Vista failed.

Microsoft says that anyone who buys a Vista equipped PC starting on June 26 will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 7 for free. The catch is that only certain versions of Vista are eligible for upgrade. That means if you buy a cheap computer running Vista Basic, you get no upgrade.

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Microsoft To Release Free Anti-Virus Service

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By Chris Scott Barr

Unless you’re running a Mac (yes, I went there), it’s almost a necessity to be running some sort of anti-virus on your machine. There are plenty to choose from, most of which cost a decent bit of money for a yearly subscription. Free ones also exist, but they always seem to be lacking a few important features. Well it seems that there will soon be another company tossing its hat into the ring of free anti-virus providers.

Microsoft is currently gearing up for a closed-beta of their new free anti-virus service, code-named Morro. It is described as a stripped-down version of their Live OneCare service. It’s hard to say a lot of bad things about a free anti-virus, so provided that Microsoft doesn’t find some way to royally screw things up, it should likely appeal to those that wouldn’t otherwise bother installing such software. No word on when they are planning to officially launch Morro.

[ Reuters ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Microsoft Teases With ZuneHD Details

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By Chris Scott Barr

The internet can be a great and terrible thing. It’s great for people like you and I, but not so good for big companies trying to keep a secret. There have been a lot of rumors swirling around lately about a new Zune thanks to the speed at which information travels. Rather than spewing out “no comment,” Microsoft has spilled a few of the details on the upcoming device.

They were only willing to give up a few details, which is understandable since they’ll likely be talking more about it at E3. (Shameless Plug: We’ll be at the Microsoft Media Briefing next Monday, so tune in for coverage!) What we do know is that the ZuneHD is going to feature HD video output in 720p (thus the name), HD radio, web browser and a touchscreen. We also know that Microsoft will be replacing the Xbox Live Marketplace with the Zune video store.

Microsoft is also talking about “tuners.” Essentially a tuner is a device that connects you to the Zune music and video services. So far aside from the Zune itself, the Xbox will be the first of these tuners. We’ll definitely keep you posted when we find out more Monday.

VIA [ SeattleTimes ]

Microsoft Finally Adds Netflix Support To Windows Media Center

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By Chris Scott Barr

I always liked the concept of Windows Media Center, I really did. I just couldn’t ever quite justify upgrading to MCE or Vista on my little HTPC, so I made do with what I had. Eventually my 360 would turn into my main media player in the living room, supplemented by my old HTPC running Boxee. Well for those of you that are depending on Windows Media Center, you’ll be happy to know that Microsoft has finally added support for streaming Netflix.

I feel like I should be more excited about this than I really am. You see, I use Netflix, and I already stream my movies to my Xbox 360. Hell, I’ve been doing that for like six months. Sure, it’s great to see them add this to WMC, but shouldn’t this have been done a long time ago?

[ Microsoft ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Windows 7 Shipping On October 23rd?

By Chris Scott Barr

We know that Microsoft will be offering up the first release candidate of Windows 7 in just a few days. This means that we’re probably only a few short months away from an actual release date, right? Well according to Acer it will be out in just under 6 months.

Acer’s marketing director in the UK pinpointed the release down to the very day it will hit shelves. October 23rd to be exact. I’d take this with a little grain of salt, but the timing does make sense. After all, it was about 5 months between RC1 of Vista and the actual retail date. My advice? I’d start thinking long and hard before going out and buying a new PC when there’s a new OS just around the corner.

VIA [ PocketLint ]

Microsoft Offers Extended Warranty To “E74 Error” Victims

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This post is syndicated with permission from GamerFront.net

I think everyone is familiar with the Red Ring of Death on the 360. Hell, if you’ve owned a 360 for very long, you’ve probably experienced this wonderful sensation once or twice. Well lately there’s been a new issue plaguing owners of Microsoft’s current-gen console, simply called the E74 Error.

While the E74 Error doesn’t sound nearly as ominous as the RRoD, it has the same effect. It turns your 360 from a kick-ass gaming machine into a doorstop. Since you don’t get three flashing red lights, you aren’t covered under Microsoft’s extended 3-year warranty. Until now that is.

Microsoft has apparently been listening to their customers again and have decided to extend the 3-year RRoD warranty to include the E74 Error. Just head over to the official support page for the info. I have to commend Microsoft on this move, as I’ve been a bit worried that I’ll have a $200 brick sometime in the future. Wait, did I just commend them for offering to fix a widespread issue with their console that probably never should have happened in the first place? I must be going crazy in my old age.

[ Microsoft ] VIA [ GamerFront ]