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Monday, April 14, 2014

Microsoft Surface Mini will arrive this summer to rival Apple's iPad Mini

Pint-sized Microsoft tablet to feature 8in screen, stylus support
By Lee Bell Apr 14 2014

MICROSOFT IS RUMOURED to be plotting to launch a smaller version of its not so popular Windows 8 tablet, named the Surface Mini, sometime this summer. Unlike previous rumours of a 7in screen, speculation now suggests that the so-called Microsoft Surface Mini will feature an 8in display, will be focused on note-taking, and will most likely be aimed at stealing the iPad Mini customer base away from Apple. To support its note-taking functionality, Microsoft will ship the Surface Mini with dedicated stylus input, such as a Wacom digitizer or something comparable for more accurate note taking, the rumours suggest. The renewed speculation comes from a Neowin report, which claims that sources have said that the tablet will definitely make its way to market in 2014, though the sources can't seem to pinpoint a date except "summer time".

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Apple: Consumers Want What We Don't Have (Cheaper Smartphones, Larger Screens)

Leaked court docs also show that Phil Schiller expressed displeasure with Apple's ad agency
By Brandon Hill April 8, 2014 repost here April 14, 2014

Apple’s never-ending court battle with Samsung has recently resulted in a treasure trove of internal documents leaking to the internet. The latest round of documents making their way to the public domain include slides that shows Apple’s concerns regarding its lack of affordable smartphones and smartphones with screen larger than 4 inches. The documents also show that Apple’s Phil Schiller was extremely upset with Apple’s advertising agency for not developing an ad campaign worthy of sufficiently promoting virtues of the iPhone. Cheaper Smartphones, Screens Larger than 4”… Where Are They? The first of the leaked slides from Cupertino show the incredible boom in smartphone sales over the past three years, and that Apple is completely missing the boat with regards to affordable smartphones (sub $300) and large-screen smartphones (larger than 4 inches)

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As Windows XP support ends, are 'XPocalypse' reports overblown?

Consumers, businesses and cash machines rely on the operating system. What are the dangers of support ending?
By Charles Arthur Monday 14 April 2014

Microsoft has officially stopped providing support and security updates for XP, its ubiquitous 13-year-old operating system. The "XPocalypse" officially began on Tuesday 8 April when support officially ended, but security companies have repeatedly warned of the inevitability of a zombie army of hacked XP machines that will stalk the internet, dooming us all.

Except that nobody seems particularly worried. The businessman Derek Olsen wasn't even aware that Windows XP had reached the end of its life, and the computers running it at his company, Olsen Environmental in Perth, Australia, still seem fine. "We've got four or five running it, and six or seven PCs running Windows 7," he says. Nor are the ones running XP antiquated: "All our PCs are less than four years old. We grabbed some ahead of them stopping selling models with XP." There are no compatibility issues, he says.

The 18-strong company is typical of hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of small businesses around the world. There are an estimated 430m PCs still running some version of Windows XP, first released in 2001, and whose last formal Service Pack 3, released in April 2008, is approaching its sixth birthday.

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Also Read this --> IRS misses Windows XP upgrade deadline, must pay millions to Microsoft for security patches
And this too --> UK government also paying millions to Microsoft for XP support

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Apple mulls extension to walled garden

iTunes for everyone
by Nick Farrell Mar 25 2014

Apple is so worried about its flagging iTunes sales it is thinking of flogging an app on the more popular Android site. The fruity cargo-cult is worried about a double-digit drop in iTunes downloads and opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service. Of course, the tame Apple press is saying that such a cunning plan will cure cancer and rival Spotify and Beats Music. This is Apple heresy as the great Apple Messiah Steve Jobs said unto his followers "that fans would never subscribe for music". Of course he also said no one would buy small tablets or big smartphones so it appears that his gift of prophecy was not up to snuff. To make matters seem more desperate, Apple is looking at adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival. The move would, Apple hopes, mean that it will get its lucrative iTunes software on another platform and no longer depend on the ever shrinking iPhone sales. The only difficulty with that is that iTunes is pretty dire software which people use because it is on the iPhone. Placed on an Android phone it would probably be ignored in droves.

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Google retakes crown as US desktop traffic king

After playing second fiddle to Yahoo for the past seven months, the Web giant back on top, according to ComScore rankings.
by Dara Kerr March 25, 2014

It was only so long before Google hoisted itself back to the top spot on the most-trafficked Web site list for US desktops. Data analytics firm ComScore released its monthly top 50 list on Tuesday revealing that Google challenger Yahoo had fallen to No. 2 after ruling the rankings for the last seven months. For February, Google came in with more than 189 million unique visitors, and Yahoo had more than 183 million. Microsoft took third place with more than 162 million unique visitors. ComScore's list shows that search engines, news sites, and social media pulled in a heavy load of visitors. The total desktop Internet audience in the US for February was more than 222 million unique users. This particular ComScore list doesn't include mobile traffic. While Yahoo was ahead of Google for US desktop traffic over the last few months, Google has mostly remained the top trafficked site for desktop and mobile combined, along with controlling the search engine market.

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Microsoft Announces DirectX 12: Low Level Graphics Programming Comes To DirectX

by Ryan Smith on March 24, 2014

With GDC 2014 having drawn to a close, we have finally seen what is easily the most exciting piece of news for PC gamers. As previously teased by Microsoft, Microsoft took to the stage last week to announce the next iteration of DirectX: DirectX 12. And as hinted at by the session description, Microsoft’s session was all about bringing low level graphics programming to Direct3D. As is often the case for these early announcements Microsoft has been careful on releasing too many technical details at once. But from their presentation and the smaller press releases put together by their GPU partners, we’ve been given our first glimpse at Microsoft’s plans for low level programming in Direct3D. Preface: Why Low Level Programming? The subject of low level graphics programming has become a very hot topic very quickly in the PC graphics industry. In the last 6 months we’ve gone from low level programming being a backburner subject, to being a major public initiative for AMD, to now being a major initiative for the PC gaming industry as a whole through Direct3D 12. The sudden surge in interest and development isn’t a mistake – this is a subject that has been brewing for years – but it’s within the last couple of years that all of the pieces have finally come together. But why are we seeing so much interest in low level graphics programming on the PC? The short answer is performance, and more specifically what can be gained from returning to it.

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Nvidia Reveals Next-Generation "Pascal" GPU for 2016

By Kevin ParrishMARCH 25, 2014

During GTC 2014, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang revealed the next-generation GPU, Pascal. This chip is aimed at next-generation super-computers, workstations, gaming PCs and cloud super-computers. The chip is also based on a technology called NVLink, and uses 3D memory to amplify the bandwidth between the GPU and memory sub-system. Pascal fits in a module that's a third the size of a PCIe card. According to Huang, NVLink is chip-to-chip communications. He said that the programming model is basically PCI Express with enhanced DMA capability, and that software can adopt this interface very easily. This solution enables programmers to bind memory between the CPU and GPU, the GPU and GPU, and the second generation cache coherency between the GPU and CPU cache. "One of the benefits of parallel computing is to be able to take all these GPUs and put them in parallel, and treat them like one big massive GPU. If we'd only have the bandwidth to communicate from GPU to GPU," he said during the keynote. "NVLink allows us to do just that."

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Microsoft hints that DirectX 12 will imitate Mantle, but AMD insists its API has a bright future

By Joel Hruska on February 27, 2014

Multiple sessions at the upcoming GDC (Game Developers Conference) are teasing the existence of a new, low-level series of APIs coming to both Direct3D and OpenGL. Nvidia has already given several talks on reducing driver overhead in OpenGL (a substantial example of one such presentation is available online), but the input from Microsoft is new. In fact, as some of you may recall, an AMD executive publicly stated a year ago that there was no “DirectX 12″ on the Microsoft roadmap. Microsoft responded to those comments by affirming that it remained committed to evolving the DirectX standard — and then said nothing more on the topic. Then AMD launched Mantle, with significant support from multiple developers and a bevy of games launching this year — and apparently someone at Microsoft decided to pay attention. Note: Microsoft has not confirmed “DirectX 12″ as an actual brand name for the next-generation of DX technology. It’s used here as the most logical version number. The GDC webpage for one of the DirectX talks states ” You asked us to bring you even closer to the metal and to do so on an unparalleled assortment of hardware. You also asked us for better tools so that you can squeeze every last drop of performance out of your PC, tablet, phone and console. Come learn our plans to deliver.”

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