If you've heard of Games for Windows Live (GFWL), then you're probably familiar with some of its troubles. The difficulties some users had with fundamental things like logging in and updating the GFWL could produce some epic tales of woe. GFWL was deactivated last year, and with it went its online matchmaking system, meaning that games that used this service to create multiplayer sessions either no longer had multiplayer or had to plug into something else, such as SteamWorks. With the next big version of Windows coming out this year, Microsoft wants to give it another shot, and thankfully their using a different set of tools and also introducing some interesting new features. We sat down for a lecture on the subject, conducted by Microsoft engineers Vijay Gajjala and Brian Tyler.
Spectre x360 is now available from the company’s website
For a number of years, members of the PC master race looked to the Macbook Air with envy, even though most of us knew deep down that we just weren’t meant to be and there could be no platonic bond between the two of us. Wintel and their PC-making chums obviously took note of this lust at some point and what was initially a trickle of pretenders (remember all those “Air killers”?) soon became a cascade of contenders. Adding to that deluge of ultrabooks and ultra-thin convertibles, Hewlett-Packard has announced the Spectre x360, a 13.3-inch Broadwell-powered device designed in collaboration with Microsoft.
The Game Developers Conference is taking place just around the corner between March 2-6 and we’ll be in San Francisco covering it. There will, of course, be a bunch of game discussions and demos as usual, but we wanted to approach it from a hardware/PC perspective. Having said that, this year is going to be an interesting show for hardware with Valve finally pushing the Steam Machines again along with its VR system. On that notion, expect Valve and VR to be the talks of the show. Seriously, guys, this is going to be the year of VR.
For those who use Outlook.com, they will have to rely on Skype for all of their communication needs. In an email to its users, Microsoft announced that it will be removing Facebook and Google Chat from Outlook.com. It is a move that is unsurprising given how much Microsoft has invested in Skype.
When it comes to DirectX 12 we have been cautiously optimistic. Early tests have been promising and we are curious to see what else Microsoft has to say about its API. However, it appears that DirectX 12 will allegedly have Explicit Asynchronous Multi-GPU Capabilities according to an unnamed source who spoke to Tom’s Hardware.
Free Office 365 for education offer extends beyond the U.S.
Microsoft had already been doing teachers and students living in the U.S. a solid by offering them free Office 365 subscriptions, and now that same offer is extending beyond the border. How far? Try all the way around -- if you're an eligible teacher or a student living in a place where Office 365 is available, a subscription is yours for the taking once you provide a valid school email address.
It's becoming increasingly difficult not to be impressed (or downright spooked) with the prediction engine behind Microsoft's Bing browser. For its latest feat, Bing successfully predicted most of the top winners for the 2015 Oscars, correctly identifying 20 of the 24 results for an 84 percent success rate. That alone is impressive, though it's just another notch in Bing's belt when it comes to predicting outcomes.
Like an overzealous patron at a gentlemen's club who just inherited a fortune, Microsoft can't help but to make it rain. Free storage, that is. It was only a week ago that Microsoft offered up 100GB of free OneDrive cloud storage for a year for signing up for Bing Rewards, and now Microsoft is taking aim at Dropbox users with a similar deal -- 100GB of free OneDrive cloud storage for a year simply for verifying their account.
Even the floppy disk would have to be impressed with how long Windows XP has been able to hold onto relevance. Sure, most of the world has moved on, but there are still a lot of Windows XP machines out there, especially in various enterprise sectors. Rather than upgrade, businesses can ink custom support agreements (CSAs) with Microsoft to continue receiving support. However, it's being reported that the cost of those Windows XP CSAs are about to double.
Maybe Microsoft is still scarred from having to take a $900 million charge on unsold Surface RT tablets a year and a half ago, or perhaps a refresh is around the bend. Either way, the Redmond outfit is trying its best to entice people to pick up a Surface Pro 3 tablet. It started earlier this month when Microsoft slashed $100 off the price of every model except the entry-level configuration, and now that too is included in the sale. You can save even more if trade up from an older Surface.