Microsoft

Windows 10 update still free for Assistive Technology users

Windows 10 update still free for Assistive Technology users

Missed the free gravy train of Windows 10 updates? Feeling some regret for not grabbing the opportunity while it lasted? Don't worry. Apparently, there's a sort of "loophole" that you can use to still get the Windows 10 update for free, depending on your conscience. Microsoft has revealed that it will continue to offer the update for free for owners that use its Assistive Technologies. As luck would have it, Microsoft isn't checking whether you really do use, let alone need, those assistive features anyway.

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Xbox One system update arrives with Cortana and more

Xbox One system update arrives with Cortana and more

If you've been eager to try out Cortana, Microsoft's digital voice assistant, on your Xbox One, the wait is finally over. The console's summer system update has started rolling out this weekend, and as has been promised for months, players will be able to use voice commands to navigate and use Xbox One features and settings. The update also introduces background music options and additional integration with Windows 10 desktop apps.

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Reminder: Windows 10 free upgrade promotion ends today

Reminder: Windows 10 free upgrade promotion ends today

Just a friendly reminder that today is the final day that folks with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. The free upgrade promotion - which has been running for nearly a year now - will come to a close at midnight, so if you've been procrastinating but planned to upgrade, now is definitely the time. Of course, many of you are probably well aware that the promotion has been going on for a year, given the rather annoying desktop pop-ups that urge you to upgrade. Those should (presumably) be ending too, so cheers all around.

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Microsoft Phone future gets darker with 2,850 layoffs

Microsoft Phone future gets darker with 2,850 layoffs

What Microsoft says and what Microsoft does are two very different things. Granted, it hasn't actually committed to a solid smartphone hardware business, but it hasn't completely discounted that future either. But if there were any doubt that Microsoft doesn't really have smartphones in mind, as far as devices are concerned, this revelation of nearly 3,000 job cuts should probably banish all that. And with that employee exodus, Microsoft has practically rid itself of the Nokia smartphone business that it acquired two years ago to the tune of $7.2 billion.

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Surface Pro 3 battery woes only a software bug, says Microsoft

Surface Pro 3 battery woes only a software bug, says Microsoft

"Stay Calm and Keep Updating." That seems to be the message that Microsoft, at long last, is giving baffled and irate Surface Pro 3 owners regarding their concern about the suddenly degraded battery life of their beloved 2-in-1 tablets. Rather than a cunning marketing ploy to get those to upgrade to, say, a Surface Pro 4 or even a Surface Book after their warranties run out, Microsoft simply claims it is a simple case of a software bug and that it can simply be fixed with an update. Whenever that update comes.

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Microsoft will make Cortana mandatory in Anniversary Update

Microsoft will make Cortana mandatory in Anniversary Update

Virtual personal assistants and chatbots are all the rage these days. But while some of them, like Siri, Alexa, or even Cortana, are interesting and at times even useful, they aren't exactly suited for all situations and all devices. And yet, that is the message that Microsoft is trying to get across by forcing Cortana on all Windows 10 users, whether they like to or not. Come August 2nd, when the Anniversary Update rolls out, users will no longer be able to disable Cortana like before, ensuring that she becomes the center of all your desktop, and online, searches.

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Microsoft Pix aims to bring better photos to iOS

Microsoft Pix aims to bring better photos to iOS

The camera on the iPhone 6s is already fairly impressive in terms of quality, but Microsoft is looking to improve the photos it takes with its new app, Pix. The app launches today on the iOS App Store, and it comes with a number of features that make it worthy of consideration by folks who have decided to use an iPhone as their day-to-day shooter.

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Microsoft Researcher, Editor for Word set to replace Clippy

Microsoft Researcher, Editor for Word set to replace Clippy

There is perhaps no Microsoft feature as ridiculed and as reviled as Clippy, the not so helpful, overzealous, and obnoxious "Assistant" that Microsoft introduced in its Office suite. Although Clippy has long been buried, its legacy continues, albeit in split features. Part of its mission now lives on in the Researcher and Editor features for Microsoft Word, which, as the names say, help users in their research and editing tasks. Thankfully, they are less unsavory and even less visible than Clippy.

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Microsoft project uses machine learning to identify flowers

Microsoft project uses machine learning to identify flowers

You can use your phone to figure out what song is playing on the radio, and there are even some apps that try to figure out how many calories are in your meal based on a snapshot of it. Now, thanks to Microsoft Research Asia and the Institute of Botany Chinese Academy of Sciences, there’s a way to do this with flowers. The idea is that we’re surrounded by flowers all summer long, but probably can’t identify many of them. If a particularly striking one finds your eye, you can use this recognition project to upload a photo of the flower and get information about it in return.

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Xbox Live Gamertags will soon come with an expiration date

Xbox Live Gamertags will soon come with an expiration date

If you're one of the millions of people who have a Gamertag through Xbox Live, you should know that soon they'll come with expiration dates. Starting September 15, any Gamertag that goes five years without being used will expire, re-entering the pool of available Gamertags for anyone to claim. With the Xbox brand turning 15 years old in November, something like this was bound to happen sooner or later, and now we have a date for when the policy concerning Gamertags will change.

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Gears of War 4 will feature PC-only enhancements

Gears of War 4 will feature PC-only enhancements

Back when Microsoft announced that Gears of War 4 would be coming to PC, we're guessing more than a few gamers assumed it would be a direct port of the Xbox One version. While it may be a little pessimistic to assume that right off the bat, it also wouldn't be entirely unfounded given Microsoft's hot and cold history with PC gamers. As it turns out, however, it looks like PC players will have a number of enhancements at their disposal when the game launches in October.

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Xbox One, Surface Pro 4 get summer discounts pre-Anniversary update

Xbox One, Surface Pro 4 get summer discounts pre-Anniversary update

Summer is here, at least for those in the US, so naturally it's an opportune time to get some sales rolling. It isn't surprising to see Microsoft slash the price of its Xbox One flagship console, though it is somewhat curious that it is also offering a discount for the Surface Pro 4 as well. But with a new $249 price tag and just days before August 2nd, the Xbox One has just stolen the Xbox One S' thunder to become the cheapest Xbox console. At least for now.

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