Microsoft Band Fitness Tracker for $199

Posted in Fitness Gadgets by Darrin Olson on October 30th, 2014

Microsoft Band Fitness TrackerMicrosoft announced on Wednesday the planned release of its own wearable fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band. The device is available for purchase on Thursday from Microsoft for $199, and will work with Android, iOS and of course Windows Phone 8.1.

Among the features targeting fitness, the Microsoft Band tracks your exercise reps, calories burned, heart rate around the clock and your sleep. It also has a UV monitor built in with real-time UX information to make educated decisions on sun protection when you go out.

The wearable tech from Microsoft helps with more than just fitness, though and throws its hat into the ring against other popular wearable devices for Android and Apple. The Band will display a small snippet of your incoming emails, syncs with a calender to provide reminders and will let the user voice interact with Cortana …

Xbox One Offered Without Kinect

Posted in Xbox One by Darrin Olson on May 14th, 2014

Microsoft Xbox One Without KinectMicrosoft has announced on Tuesday that it is now offering the Xbox One gaming console without the motion tracking Kinect add-on. This is an interesting move for Microsoft, undoubtedly in an attempt to boost sales. The Kinect was a major selling point and a differentiation with competitors.

The console without Kinect drops the price down $100 to $399, putting it right inline on pricing with its major rival the Sony Playstation 4. The Xbox One is available for pre-order now on Amazon at the $399 price.

In addition to this news, Phil Spencer from Xbox announced on Tuesday a new program called Games with Gold providing free games to Xbox Live Gold Subscribers. He included that a number of the entertainment services that currently required the Gold subscription will no longer require it in June, such as …

Microsoft launches Office for iPad

Posted in Microsoft by Darrin Olson on March 28th, 2014

Microsoft Office for iPadMicrosoft announced on Thursday the much anticipated release of Office for the iPad. Satya Nadella, who took over as Microsoft CEO just last month, announced that the app would be available on iPads by 11 AM PST on Thursday the 27th.

Microsoft released Office for the iPhone back in June of last year, but surprisingly had not yet released a version specifically formatted for the iPad until now. Office for the iPad is free to install and view Office documents, but to do anything more than that you will need to buy an Office 365 subscription for $99.99 annually.

The Office app includes Word, Excel and Powerpoint with a familiar ribbon interface, similar to the desktop version of the application. Buttons are slightly larger to support swiping instead of clicking to also try to integrate into the familiar usability of …

Time to Let Go of Your Windows XP

Posted in Windows XP by Darrin Olson on March 8th, 2014

Windows XP reaches end of lifeIt’s doubtful that any avid readers of the ‘brick are still sporting a Windows XP machine for their online perusing, however if you are (and our stats tell us that 15% of you Windows users visiting here are) you may want to pay attention.

After a few pushes of the date, Microsoft’s end of life for Windows XP is coming near and it appears they are sticking with it this time. After April 8, Microsoft will no longer be officially supporting the operating system. This doesn’t mean that your XP machine will suddenly quit working, but it does mean that in about 30 days there will no longer be technical support or more importantly, security updates for this operating system.

After some time this will likely leave an XP user that accesses the internet with some vulnerabilities to …

Third Windows Phone 8 Update Announced

Posted in Mobile Phones by Darrin Olson on October 14th, 2013

Windows Phone 8 UpdateMicrosoft announced on Monday the third update to its Windows Phone 8 mobile platform featuring updates including support for a larger Start screen at a higher resolution. Microsoft also included support for a faster processor, a driving mode, accessibility features and a few more.

The update creates the ability for Windows Phone 8 to support larger 5 and 6 inch mobile devices which some are calling “phablets”. Microsoft did not use the word phablet or refer to any larger devices being released however the main image on the release post from Microsoft had “phablet” in the file name. This would handle 1080p HD resolution and allows for as many as six Live Tiles across the screen. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Nokia come out with a larger device with the updated OS from Microsoft after Microsoft’s recent purchase …

Microsoft Offers Researchers Money For Enhancing Windows Security

Posted in Microsoft by Reuben Drake on August 4th, 2011

Windows has had it’s share of vulnerabilities in the past, so now Microsoft is offering more than $250,000 in cash and prizes for contestants who can come up with new ways to mitigate exploits. Anonymous and LulzSec are out there after all, taking companies down.

Microsoft will pay $200,000 for the best “novel runtime mitigation technology designed to prevent the exploitation of memory safety vulnerabilities.” Two runners up will also receive $50,000 and a MSDN Universal subscription valued at $10,000. I’d say that is lots of incentive to come up with some new tricks, wouldn’t you?

Microsoft Apologizes for Amy Winehouse Tweet

Posted in twitter by Conner Flynn on July 25th, 2011

Microsoft got themselves in some hot water after a small PR account for Xbox told followers to remember the deceased musician Amy Winehouse by purchasing her last album on the company’s entertainment marketplace, Zune.

Maybe not the best of ideas. After about an hour of retweets with comments that showed that people did not appreciate the tweet, the account tweeted a follow up, apologizing.

Microsoft Ends Support For Windows Vista SP1

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on July 13th, 2011

Microsoft has already announced that they will stop supporting Windows XP within the next 3 years, and now Vista is in it’s crosshairs. Microsoft has made it known that it will stop supporting Windows Vista SP1.

If users want to keep getting support, they will have to upgrade to Windows Vista SP2, though Microsoft suggests it would be better for you to upgrade to Windows 7. Better for them too of course. The company is trying to get everything in order for the arrival of Windows 8 in 2012.

Microsoft says no to Windows Phone 7 based tablets

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on July 13th, 2011

Sorry Windows Phone 7 fans. Microsoft has announced that there will not be any tablets running on the Windows Phone 7 operating system. The company views tablets as more of a personal computer, not a mobile device.

All hope is not lost though. A Windows based tablet might show up using the Windows 8 operating system, which should arrive in 2012, and this will be the only tablet OS to be issued by the company. I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Microsoft to Release Limited Edition Star Wars 360 Console with Kinect

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on July 10th, 2011

Here’s something that Star wars fans will love. It looks like Microsoft is prepping a limited edition R2-D2 Xbox 360 console with Kinect sensor that will launch with the forthcoming Kinect Star Wars.

The machine will likely not be droid shaped, but it will be in a blue and white paint job as well as the Kinect sensor itself. You are going to want to trade in your old XBox for this one for sure.

Microsoft Still Skeptical About 3D Gaming

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on June 27th, 2011

Sony and Nintendo have embraced 3D, but Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has yet to actively support it. Xbox senior product manager David Dennis says that the company is taking a wait and see approach and you can’t really blame them.

He says that Microsoft will not implement 3D in the 360 until 3D proves its staying power and gamers demand it.

Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 3000

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on June 16th, 2011

The Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 3000 offers both curves and comfort, true to it’s name. It is designed for a more natural wrist position. The keyboard features quick keys, allowing you to control your music, videos, and do stuff like open the calculator with one key.

The slim, glossy design saves space on your desk and is better for you than normal keyboards. The Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 3000 is $24.95. Who wants one?

Microsoft gives the Xbox 360 Slim a hardware update

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on June 13th, 2011

Microsoft is planning another hardware update for the Xbox 360. This new update is all under the hood and won’t affect the look of the machine very much if at all. New Xbox 360 slim consoles will come with a new System on a Chip that will put the CPU, GPU, system memory and I/O logic all on the same piece of silicon.

This should make the console quieter, allow it to have an even smaller power pack and also generate less heat. It will actually be cheaper to manufacture than the old multi-chip system, so Microsoft will make more profit on each console sold.

Microsoft unveils live TV streaming for Xbox 360 from Sky TV, Foxtel and Canal

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on June 6th, 2011

Looks like the recent rumors were true. Microsoft has announced a new streaming TV implementation for the Xbox 360 today. The Kinect and Bing-powered voice search which can pull in content from online sources like Hulu, Netflix and Xbox Live Marketplace, will also work with live TV from IPTV partners.

Great news for the console. Right now that list only includes Sky in the UK, Foxtel in Australia and Canal+ in France, but users there will be able to search across those services and view them directly through the console. No info on any US-based partners.

Windows 8 to come in at least 4 versions

Posted in Windows by Conner Flynn on May 18th, 2011

We love choice. That’s why we have so many flavors of ice cream and it’s also why our gadgets come in so many colors and with so many varied options. Now that we are all hungry for ice cream, I’ll get to the point. Rumor is that Microsoft will offer at least four different versions of Windows 8 for devices with ARM processors. According to Renee James, Intel’s senior vice president and general manager of Software and Services Group, Windows versions that run on ARM devices will be focused on tablets and other mobile devices.

Are you tired of Microsoft having too many versions of their OS? This might be a problem for them. We will have to wait and see. But I think most of us just want one or two options for the OS, so we can make a hassle free choice and be done with it.