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Some Xbox 360s not reading discs: Microsoft to give owners a new system, year of XBL

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on May 18th, 2011

Looks like Sony isn’t the only gaming giant having problems. Microsoft’s new disc format will allow for an extra 1GB of storage space for new games and hopefully stop piracy, but there is a problem. It looks like some consoles contain drives that can’t read the new XGD3 discs. Opps.

The email pictured above has been confirmed as real by the Xbox Support Twitter account, but now it’s responding to inquiries by saying that the replacements are in response to a previous update and not the upcoming one that has been in beta.

Microsoft Bing: Now With Facebook Integration

Posted in Facebook by Conner Flynn on May 17th, 2011

Facebook. It’s everywhere. You can’t escape it. That’s great if you are a fan, and not so great if you hate the social network site. And now Microsoft has announced that it will be integrating Facebook into its search results, and into their search algorithm, which will change the way that Bing search results are created.

Search results will now show you personalized results, with results that your friends have liked. This includes news stories and other items. It will also show faces of your Facebook friends, with up to three displayed next to a search result. So now you will never be far away from your friends, even when searching.

Microsoft Mobile Mouse 3500 Artist Edition

Posted in Mouse by Conner Flynn on May 12th, 2011

Art, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But I can tell you what art definitely is not. It’s not a plain and boring mouse. And to cure this Microsoft has launched a new wireless mouse, the Microsoft Mobile Mouse 3500 Artist Edition, which features some fresh designs from five artists from around the world.

The artists who designed the new Microsoft Mobile Mouse 3,500 Artist Edition include Kirra Jamison, Matt Moore, Linn Olofsdotter, Mike Perry and Jonny Wan and there are six different designs to choose from. There should be something for most everyone.

Microsoft Buys Skype For $8.5 Billion

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on May 10th, 2011

Microsoft has now officially confirmed their acquisition of Skype, in a deal which is said to be worth $8.5 billion. The big M announced the deal on their website and they say that the deal is worth $8.5 billion in cash, and that includes taking on Skype’s debts. The deal was approved by both the board of Microsoft and the board of Skype.

Does this mean that we should start calling them MicroSkype or Skypesoft? The rumor had been that Google and Facebook were looking to buy Skype, but it seems like no one guessed that Microsoft would be acquiring them.

Hulu Plus available on Xbox April 29

Posted in Hulu by Conner Flynn on April 27th, 2011

According to a scan of the June issue of OXM, Hulu Plus will launch on Xbox 360 on April 29. That’s this Friday. We knew it was coming, but the last official word we had heard was “spring”.

If this turns out to be a true scan of the magazine, it looks like Microsoft will promote the launch with a contest each week from April 29 through May 30. Prizes will be awarded to randomly chosen Hulu Plus users. Some of the prizes include Beaches Resort trips and free Xbox 360 bundles as well as Hulu Plus subscriptions.

Microsoft releases Bing iPad App

Posted in iPad accessories by Conner Flynn on April 7th, 2011

Microsoft has released a new version of their Bing app. This time it’s for their rival’s device, the Apple iPad. It comes with many cool new features that will allow you to view news articles, search for photos, check out movie listings and everything else.

Some of the new features you can expect in the Bing for iPad app include weather, stock quotes, Bing Maps, and voice search, and you can also view websites that you are searching for inside the Bing app. Sounds like some good improvements.

Microsoft may announce Silverlight for Xbox next week

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on April 5th, 2011

It looks like Microsoft may announce plans to introduce Silverlight for the Xbox 360. The company will apparently detail its plans at the MIX11 conference next week in Las Vegas. This has been planned for months and Microsoft had already revealed that it was planning to bring Silverlight to the Xbox.

This seems like a good plan for Microsoft, to bridge the gap between it’s mobile, PC and Xbox platforms. It ties in with their plans for Windows 8 as well.

Microsoft shows off 234″ touchscreen

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on March 28th, 2011

There are large touchscreens, and then there are large touchscreens. Microsoft isn’t fooling around with this humongous beast. At the CeBIT 2011 show in Hanover Germany, Microsoft, with the help of a company called Stereolize, showed off ‘Microsoft Cinema’, basically a giant 234-inch touchscreen display.

It has more area than anyone, even an NBA player could touch, but we assume that the touch functionality goes all the way to the top. Pretty impressive if you are the Jolly green giant.

New Xbox hardware rumored in 2015

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on March 21st, 2011

This generation of consoles is pretty long-lived. It’s taking awhile before a new model is released. But the time is drawing near. Now, an online portfolio of a team member of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business Design Group has said that a new Xbox is scheduled for a 2015 release.

They have already started work on it this month. If this is true, then it means that the Xbox 360 will be a decade old when the new model arrives. We know that Microsoft was recently searching for engineers who are willing to work on its next-generation console.

Is Microsoft working on the Xbox 720?

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on March 9th, 2011

Microsoft may be working on the next generation Xbox, which we might as well call the Xbox 720. This speculation comes from some recently posted some job listings on Linkedin for what seems to be Microsoft’s next generation console.

There are listings for an Audio/Video Hardware Architect, an Audio Architect and a Graphics Architect and the listings reference ‘next generation’ consoles, so this isn’t wild speculation. We have no idea when we might see a new console, but at least they are working on it.

Microsoft Express Mouse

Posted in Mouse by Conner Flynn on February 24th, 2011

Microsoft has released the Express Mouse. It’s glossy white, egg-shaped and has a unique off-center USB cable to reduce resistance when the mouse is used on the right-hand side. As far as a mouse goes, they look pretty stylish.

The three-button-plus-scroll design comes in six bright colors and is one of the cheapest mice around that uses Microsoft’s blue laser to improve tracking. The Microsoft Express Mouse will be released in April 2011 for $19.99. Only gray and red versions will ship at first and should be followed by green, pink, and two shades of blue for a colorful June.

Microsoft Bing toolbar integrates Facebook

Posted in Facebook by Conner Flynn on February 17th, 2011

On the same day that Google decided to get a bit more social, now Microsoft has released a new version of their Bing toolbar, with new features to enhance your Bing experience. The new Bing toolbar helps make tasks much easier and quicker.

There’s the inclusion of a Facebook button, so you can see what’s going on in Facebook without having to leave your current page or open a new tab. It allows you to share content on the social network more easily and quickly. You can also read email from multiple services now instead of just Hotmail.

Microsoft wants to eliminate blurry DSLR photos

Posted in Cameras by Conner Flynn on January 24th, 2011

Many of us have a problem shooting blurry pics. It can be hard to hold your camera still. If you have this same problem and have some DIY skills, you might be able to make your own custom solution to blurry photos.

This is thanks to a team at Microsoft Research who is working on deblurring images by detecting inertial movements of the camera itself. They took an Arduino board and bundled it with some sensors, including a Bluetooth modem, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, and a trigger for the camera. The system works by detecting rotation, translation and planar depth and then it applies mathematical transformations to the image to remove the blur caused by these movements. Pretty good solution.

Microsoft is getting into the TV set top box business

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on January 4th, 2011

The time is right for Microsoft to make a play for the set top box market. Apple is never at CES and Google is asking its partners at CES this year to hold back while Google takes its Google TV back to the drawing board. The timing seems perfect.

And according to the Seattle Times that is just what they are doing. Looks like Microsoft is going to enter this market with a stripped-down version of Windows suited for set-top boxes and connected TVs. The software is a version of its embedded device software, overlaid with the Windows Media Center interface, with media streaming and remote-control capabilities.

Microsoft Kinect used to teach sign language

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on December 21st, 2010

The Microsoft Kinect hacks just keep on coming and the latest one looks like it might be one of the most useful Kinect hacks yet. Researchers at Georgia Tech College of computing are working on a hack for the Kinect that can be used to teach people American sign language.

This one will help teach sign language to deaf children and has a ton of potential in other ways as well. Judging by the amount of Kinect hacks we are seeing, hackers and modders are limited only by their imagination.