Thursday, 27 February 2014



Microsoft Xbox One ($500)
Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program continues to grow, with the company revealing in a new Xbox Wire post a diverse assortment of indie developers now signed up to create content for the Xbox One. You’ll see a whole bunch of familiar names on the list, which includes more than 60 different studios with varying degrees of experience. The Behemoth is perhaps best-known for its one-time Xbox 360 exclusive brawler Castle Crashers (later released for other platforms). Playdead is the team behind Limbo. Zoe Mode created the inventive PlayStation Portable/Nintendo 3DS platform-puzzler Crush. Robomodo worked on several latter-day Tony Hawk titles, including the most recent, an HD re-release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
There are plenty of other familiar names as well. Just run down the list and search out each one, and you’ll see big teams, tiny teams, and virtually everything in between. This is only the latest ID@Xbox reveal for Microsoft. A December update confirmed that more than 30 different studios are working on Xbox One content, including Crytek and Double Fine. Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer revealed a month later that a new Worms game from Team17 and Ninjabee’s Nutjitsu will be among the first ID@Xbox releases. Sure, some of these games actually have to come out before we get too excited, but there continues to be lots of promise in Microsoft’s under-explored, under-discussed indie publishing initiative.



intel 730 ssd
Looking to dump your mechanical driver in favor of a super-fast SSD? If so, Intel just announced something that might be right up your alley. 
And oh, by the way, it looks pretty metal – at least as far as PC components go.
The chip-maker just took the wraps off a new solid state drive, dubbed the 730 series, which sportsa silver finish that would look right at home inside the torso or head of a T-800 Terminator. It’s also got a Terminator-like skull on the top panel as well, which we find to be simultaneously cool/awesome and ominous. As a metal fan, I personally appreciate the touch. Thankfully though, that’s where the similarities between the 730 Series and the murderous, tank-like cyborg end.
Shipping in capacities of either 240GB or 480GB, the Intel 730 Series SSD is, as you probably expected, of the 2.5-inch variety, and is also 7mm thick. It also consumes up to 5.5 watts of power when active and as little as 1.3 watts when sitting idle.
As for data transfer rates, the Intel 730 Series SSD’s read time hits a maximum of 550MB per second, while its write time tops out at 470MB per tick. Of course, we’ll be able to get a better handle on the legitimacy of those states once we have some 730 Series drives in hand for testing. Intel’s internal tests were conducted on systems equipped with the company’s very own elite Core i7-4770K processor, an Intel Z87 chipset and 8GB PC3 of RAM.
You can snag the 240GB Intel 730 Series SSD for $249, while the 480GB version run you $489. The drives will begin shipping on March 18, roughly three weeks from now.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

How to Update to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8

Update to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8

 Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 build on Windows 8 and Windows RT, to bring you enhancements in
 personalization , search, apps, the Windows Store, and cloud connectivity, and has the security and reliability
 features you expect from Windows. It's fast and made to work on a variety of devices—especially on
 the new generation of touch devices.
If your PC is currently running Windows 8 or Windows RT, it's free to update to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1.
And unlike previous updates to Windows, you'll get this update from the Windows Store.

1. Before you begin

The system requirements for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 are nearly the same as the requirements for
Windows 8—if your PC is already running Windows 8 (or Windows RT), in most cases, you can get the free update
 to Windows 8.1 (or Windows RT 8.1).
But before you begin, here are some things to keep in mind.
  • Your files, desktop apps, user accounts, and settings come with youWindows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 come with some new built-in apps, and it will update or replace some of your existing built-in apps. Your existing Windows Store apps don't come with you, but once the update is complete, you can reinstall all of these apps at once—or just the ones you want. For more info, see the Welcome to the new Windows section of this page.
  • We'll check your desktop apps and devices for you. As part of the update, we check your current desktop apps and connected devices, and let you know what you'll need to do to get them ready for the update, or to get them working again after the update. In most cases, you won't need to do anything—most desktop apps, devices (like printers), and network connections will work normally after the update. If you have particular desktop apps or devices you're concerned about, you can check their compatibility in the Windows Compatibility Center .
  • Consider using a Microsoft account to sign in to your PC. If you already use a Microsoft account to sign in toWindows 8 or Windows RT, you’ll use that same account to sign in to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1.
    If you don’t, we recommend that you start using a Microsoft account in Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1. Simply put, it’s the glue that holds together so many useful features of the new Windows: the ability to download apps from the Store, automatic syncing of your settings and documents between your PCs, backing up your photos to the cloud so you can get to them from anywhere, and seeing all your contacts from multiple email and social networking accounts together in the People and Mail apps.
    If you already have an account you use with, Xbox LIVE, Windows Phone, or Skype, then you already have a Microsoft account. If you use more than one of these, we can help you figure out which email address to use.
  • You can keep working while the update is installing. Download and installation times vary from about 30 minutes to several hours, depending on your Internet connection speed, and the speed and configuration of your PC, but you can still use your PC while the update is installing in the background. During this time, if you decide to leave your PC unattended, be sure to save your work and close any apps you have open first, in case your PC needs to restart automatically while you’re away. After it restarts, you won't be able to use your PC for a little while (from about 20 minutes to an hour), while the updates are being applied. After that phase is complete, we'll walk you through choosing a few basic settings and then Windows will finish applying any final updates that are needed.

2. Prepare your PC

There are a few things you should do before you start installing.
  1. Back up your files. Although your files and apps come with you when you update to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, it's a good idea to make sure that your files are backed up first by setting up File History.
  2. Make sure you have enough free disk space. If you're currently running Windows 8, you need 3,000 MB of available space to install the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1, and 3,850 MB of available space to install the 64-bit version ofWindows 8.1. On a Windows RT device, you need 2,250 MB of available disk space to install Windows RT 8.1. For more info, see Tips to free up drive space on your PC.
  3. Plug in your laptop or tablet. It's important to keep your PC plugged in throughout the update process, because if you lose power before it's done, the update might not install properly.
  4. Connect to the Internet. It's best to stay connected until the update is done. If you don't, you’ll need to connect again to finish setting up later, and setup will take longer.
  5. Get the latest critical and important updates. There are some updates you might need before you can installWindows 8.1. In most cases, the latest updates will be installed automatically using Windows Update. But if you don’t have automatic updates turned on and you need to check for updates manually, or if you'd like to check to see when the latest updates were installed, you can do this from Windows Update. For more info, see Windows Update: Frequently asked questions.
  6. Temporarily turn off your antivirus program. Some antivirus software might interfere with the installation. After you install Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, remember to turn your antivirus program back on.

3. Get the free update

Ready? Now you can download the free update from the Windows Store.
  1. Go to the Start screen, and tap or click the Store tile.

    Store tile on Start
    Store tile on the Start screen
  2. In the Store, tap or click the Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 update. if you don't see the update on the Store home screen, see Why can't I find the update in the Store?
  3. Tap or click Download.
  4. The update will download and install in the background while you use your PC to do other things. The installer will check to make sure you have enough disk space, that your apps and devices will work with Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, and that you have all the required updates.
    In some cases, the installer might find something you need to take care of before you can continue installing the update. If so, you'll see a message telling you what you need to do.


    • If the installation is interrupted for any reason, you can restart the update from where you left off by going back to the Store and downloading the update again.

4. Restart

After the update is downloaded and the first phase of the installation is complete (which could take between 15 minutes and a few hours, depending on your system and your connection speed), you'll see a message telling you that your PC needs to restart. It will give you 15 minutes to finish what you’re working on, save your work, and close your apps, and then it will restart your PC for you. Or you can restart it yourself.

Message warning of restart
Message warning of restart


  • If you leave your PC before it's ready to restart, be sure to save your work and close any desktop apps you're using to make sure you don't lose anything when it restarts automatically. Your PC might need to restart more than once, depending on how it’s set up, and whether additional updates are needed.
  • Restarting will take longer than usual—from 20 minutes to about an hour—while the update is applied. During this time, you won't be able to use your PC.

5. Choose your settings

License terms

After your PC finishes restarting, you'll be presented with the Microsoft software license terms. Review the terms, and then tap or click I accept to continue. If you don't accept the terms, this cancels the installation of Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, and your PC will roll back to Windows 8 or Windows RT.

Express settings

You'll see a list of recommended settings, called express settings. To accept these settings and continue, tap or click Use express settings. You can change any of these settings later, after you finish setting up. If you'd like to change some of these settings now, tap or click Customize.

Express settings shown in setup
Express settings shown during setup
For more info, tap or click Learn more about express settings. To learn about how these settings affect your privacy, tap or click Privacy statement.

Sign in

Next, you'll be asked to sign in.

Signing in during setup
Signing in with a Microsoft account
If you already use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 8 or Windows RT, your account name will be filled in for you. If you previously used a local account for this, you'll need to sign in with your local account first, and then we'll ask you to set up a Microsoft account, which you can use to sign in to your PC after the update.
Show all

If you already have a Microsoft account

  1. Enter your Microsoft account email address, if needed, and your password.
  2. We'll send a security code to the alternate email address or phone number you've set up for this account, and you'll need to enter that code to verify that you're the owner of the account. This helps us protect your account and devices when you access sensitive info. If you don't have alternate contact info set up for the account yet, you'll be asked to provide it now.


    • If you have more than one Microsoft account, you can get help figuring out which email address to use for your Microsoft account.
    • If you signed in to your PC using a Microsoft account before you installed Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, then you might not need to enter a security code.

To create a new Microsoft account

  1. Choose Create a new account.
  2. Next, you'll be asked to choose an email address you'd like to use as a Microsoft account. This can be any email address you use, and isn't limited to addresses that come from Microsoft. Enter the email address that you use the most. We'll use it to set up the Mail and People apps for you with email and contacts that you already use every day.
  3. Enter the password you'd like to use, and fill in the rest of the info, including your first name, last name, and your country or region.
  4. Next, you'll also be asked to provide an alternate email address or phone number where we can reach you by email, phone, or text message (SMS). This helps us protect your account and devices whenever you access sensitive info using this account. After you enter this info, we'll send a message to you containing a security code, and you'll need to enter that code to verify that you're the owner of the account.

SkyDrive cloud storage

If this is your first time setting up a PC with Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, you'll see the new SkyDrive options.
If you already have another PC running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, and you chose to sync settings on that PC, then yourSkyDrive settings will also sync from your existing PC to this one, and you might not see this screen.

SkyDrive options during setup
SkyDrive options during setup
If you click Next on this screen, your PC will use these default SkyDrive settings:
  • Photos you take with this PC are saved to your camera roll folder on this PC, and a smaller copy of each photo is automatically backed up to your SkyDrive.
  • When you create a new document, the default save location is SkyDrive. But you can always choose to save individual documents locally or on another drive.
  • Windows will save a backup copy of your PC settings to SkyDrive. If something ever happens to your PC and you need to replace it, your settings are saved in the cloud and you can transfer them to a new PC instantly.
You can change any of these settings later in PC settings. If you'd prefer to turn off all of these settings now, tap or click Turn off these SkyDrive settings (not recommended).

Final updates

Because Windows is always being updated, it’s possible that critical updates have become available since Windows 8.1 andWindows RT 8.1 were finalized. Windows checks for these critical updates when you finish setting up Windows 8.1 orWindows RT 8.1 for the first time, and if it finds any, it will download them automatically. Downloading and installing these updates might take a few minutes, depending on the updates you need. Your PC might also need to restart one or more times to complete the updates.

6. Welcome to the new Windows

The new Start screen will appear.

Start screen
The new Start screen
Much of it will look familiar, but if you'd like to explore what's new and how to get around, check out this Start screen page.
Your desktop apps come with you when you update to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, but you'll need to reinstall your Windows Store apps. You can see all of the Windows Store apps you own in the Your apps section of the Store. From here, you can choose the ones you want to install on your updated PC, and install them all at once.

Installing apps from Your apps page in Store
Installing apps from Your apps page in Store

To reinstall apps from the Store

  1. On the Start screen, tap or click the Store tile to open the Windows Store.
  2. Swipe down from the top edge of the screen or right-click, and then tap or click Your apps.
  3. Select all the apps you want to install, and then tap or click Install.


  • You can also reinstall apps from the Start screen by tapping or clicking the tiles.
  • You don't need to wait for the apps to finish installing. They'll keep installing in the background while you do other things.

Microsoft-made Xbox One Receives First Feature Update

Microsoft-made Xbox One Receives First Feature Update

Microsoft has finally decided to offer its latest Xbox One console a much needed upgrade. According to reports, Microsoft's earlier promised spring update for the Xbox One has finally been pushed out for fans and owners, although the update was expected to arrive a few days earlier. Revealed first via Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, the new update is the highly anticipated spring update (as we mentioned before) and brings over a host of revamped upgrades to the the newest gaming device that has already been released by Microsoft.

Microsoft-made Xbox One Receives First Feature Update

However, better late than never, the first major update for the console brings over a boatload of improvements, which includes better Kinect integration and voice recognition. Apart from that, the update brings over improved overall stability to the console, apart from some important fixes to the dashboard - like onscreen meters for the controller's battery and free HDD space. And as far in-device HDD is concerned, Major Nelson states: "With this update, you will find it easy to find how much space your content takes up and better manage your content. You can also control your install lineup and more easily manage your download queue." 

Recommended: Nokia X, aka Normandy Specs Leak Again

 "We've separated My Games and My Apps into separate lists, so you can easily create separate queues for both. Now you can pick the order in which you want your content to load and we've added a boot progress indicator so you can better track updates while they load," he adds. 

Here is the entire list of notes for the new update:

 Recommended: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 and Tab 4 8.0 Spotted at FCC -Ability to delete game and application save data -Improved installation and DLC management -Improved UI for accessing friends, achievements, messages, and party chat -Game DVR app to be included in the Xbox One Guide as an app channel -Update to the boot progress indicators for system update -Improve consistency of UX for update & install progress -Separate game, application, and install queue lists -Addition of USB keyboard support -Improved NAT detection -Network Troubleshooter improvements -Blu-ray quality improvements -Significant performance and stability improvements

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Nokia Lumia 2520 review: Meet Microsoft's new candy-coated, anti-Surface tablet

Nokia Lumia 2520 review: Meet Microsoft's new candy-coated, anti-Surface tablet


Microsoft to drop price of Windows 8 licenses 70% for low-end devices

Microsoft to drop price of Windows 8 licenses 70% for low-end devices, report says

In a bid to stave off competition in the low-end tablet and notebook market, Microsoft will be reducing what it charges device manufacturers for its Windows 8.1 licenses, according to a Friday Bloomberg report that references anonymous sources. For devices that retail for less than $250, the cost of a Windows 8.1 install will drop from $50 to $15, with no restrictions on the type or size of the hardware, Bloomberg reports.
It’s a move that could inspire manufacturers to make super-low-end Windows tablets, but might have even greater impact in the notebook space, where manufacturers are moving toward sub-$250 Chromebooks running Google’s free Chrome OS. Take, for example,Samsung’s Chromebook 3, which retails for $230. If that machine were running Windows, a huge chunk of its build-out costs would be going to Microsoft—and the notebook probably wouldn’t cost price-conscious consumers just $230.
samsung chromebook frontview2 highres 100027955 large
Notebooks like the $230 Samsung Chromebook 3 are putting pressure on Microsoft at the low end of the PC market.
Windows 8 is selling poorly relative to Windows 7, with some 200 million licenses sold since Windows 8 was released in October 2012. For comparison’s sake, Windows 7 sold 240 million licenses within its first year.
Obviously, the traditional PC market is losing a battle of relevance to tablets. The public’s poor reaction to the Windows 8 interface doesn’t help. Nor does the dearth of rock-star-caliber apps in Microsoft’s Windows Store. But the currently high pricing of Windows 8 only impedes Microsoft’s efforts to place Windows in inexpensive, commodity-caliber devices. Successful sub-$250 Android tablets tell us there’s a market of interested consumers who don’t want to spend $299 on an iPad mini.
On Friday, The Verge reported that the 70 percent price reduction is part of larger revision of licensing policy, according to anonymous sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans. The most intriguing change: Microsoft would automatically boot Windows to its desktop on non-touchscreen hardware.
Score another win for traditional PC users. Microsoft is clearly getting the message.

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