Must Read Bits & Bytes

Windows 10 Xbox One desktop app demoed with Steam

Windows 10 Xbox One desktop app demoed with Steam

Phil Spencer, Microsoft's head of Xbox and gaming chief stepped onstage today to speak about the Windows 10 Xbox app. This app includes several columns, each with information about your Xbox One experience. You'll see Recently Played games, your Activity Feed, and Friends included. On the far right of the screen, you'll find your user icon and connections to Messages, Notifications, "My Games", Achievements, Game DVR, Editorial content, and the Xbox store. Below that, you'll find basic Settings and a Connection option.

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Windows 10 update free (for the first year)

Windows 10 update free (for the first year)

After one year of the Windows 10 platform being released to the general market, you'll have to start paying for it - if you've not already upgraded, that is to say. Just so long as you've got Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 now, or at the time at which you'd like to upgrade your machine to Windows 10, you'll be able to do so for free. It'll be a one-time update and you'll never have to pay for it beyond that.

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What to expect from tomorrow’s Windows 10 event

What to expect from tomorrow’s Windows 10 event

In a few short months, we’ve seen Microsoft go in a new direction with Windows. Possibly in an attempt to distance themselves from the aspirational (but ultimately confusing and misguided) Windows 8, we’re now getting Windows 10. Though Microsoft probably isn’t quite ready to bring Windows 10 to the consumer space, tomorrow will likely give us a better idea of what they’ve been working on since last time we heard from them. We won’t expect anything huge, but there’s still reason to be excited.

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Was 2014 really the hottest year on record?

Was 2014 really the hottest year on record?

Is climate change real, has the Earth got warmer, and was 2014 truly the hottest year on record? NASA waded into the heated argument over heat with unequivocal claims that we can't ignore rising temperatures, citing not only its own numbers but those of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and concluding the environment is getting hammered by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. However, while the claims may be bold, other researchers are less convinced that the results are so clean-cut, arguing that the sheer complexity of taking an average of the world's temperature leaves certainties far from reach.

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Project Ara has a lot to prove

Project Ara has a lot to prove

The geek within me loves Project Ara. Interchangeable modules that snick into a brushed aluminum frame and turn your smartphone into a pseudo-DSLR or a Tricorder: what's not to like? Google's ATAP team demonstrated the latest prototype - and detailed its flaws and future improvements - at Ara's second developer event yesterday, inviting module-minded partners on stage to discuss exactly what the flexible phone could become with a little imagination. Ambitious, certainly, but while many (myself included) left the event impressed by Regina Dugan and her intriguing handset, that enthusiasm was tempered with concern over whether the real-world would be so welcoming.

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Traveling? Here are 5 ways to stay connected (anywhere!)

Traveling? Here are 5 ways to stay connected (anywhere!)

When you’re traveling, connectivity can be important. When you least expect it, a data connection becomes crucial, often leaving you teetering on what happens next on your trip. Everything from directions to planning — even work — can depend on access to the Internet. But how will you know if you can get Internet? Where is it offered? Rather than fly blind when you’re in a strange locale, we’ve got some handy tips for making sure you’re connected every time you leave home, regardless of where you go.

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Google Glass now under Tony Fadell, exits Google X

Google Glass now under Tony Fadell, exits Google X

The Google Glass Explorer Program has officially been tapped by Google to shut down. That doesn't mean that there won't be any more Google Glass - in fact the opposite, more than likely - it's just part of the transition process. When a group exits inside Google X, Google's experimentation lab, it generally has more of a "not quite ready for the real world" vibe to it - now Google Glass is being brought into that real world. The real working world - not necessarily as a consumer product.

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Project Ara hands-on: Mauling the Modular Mobile

Project Ara hands-on: Mauling the Modular Mobile

Whether you agree that modular phones are the future of mobile or otherwise, you can’t argue that Google’s Project Ara isn't intriguing, and so I was keen to get my hands on the highly flexible handset. Google had three Spiral 2 devices to show at its second Ara Developer Event in Mountain View today, and while time and functionality was limited, it was a good opportunity to see how well the idea of piecemeal feature blocks works in a practical sense. Turns out, there’s good and bad as you might expect at this pre-production stage. Read on for some first-impressions.

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Eight things you need to know about Project Ara

Eight things you need to know about Project Ara

Project Ara isn’t just about Google inventing a new phone, it’s also the company’s ATAP team leading the mobile industry by the hand through exactly what the benefits of a module device actually are. With the project still only partway through, plenty of questions still remain, and Google has been picking off some of the concerns during its second developer event in Mountain View today. If you’ve been wondering about wireless charging, hot-swapping, and even whether you could turn Ara into a potent console alternative, we’ve got you covered. After the cut, magical magnets, specialist sensors, a big bet on batteries, and more.

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Grunt versus Green: Detroit shows an auto industry torn

Grunt versus Green: Detroit shows an auto industry torn

Not everything on four wheels is created equal, and while the Detroit Auto Show had its fair share of eco-mindful cars this week, the industry still couldn’t resist some heavy duty muscle. Cars like the new Chevrolet Volt and its baby - and currently only conceptual - brother, the Bolt, showed GM isn’t giving up on plug-in hybrid and range-extended cars. Its efforts were arguably overshadowed with the reveals of Ford’s GT and Acura’s NSX, however, along with a brace of new, luxury vehicles that gave only minor nods to the environment, if at all.

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