Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Get your Kinect for Windows today

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Kinect for Windows will be available today. Microsoft is also releasing version 1.0 of the Kinect SDK, which features a host of new improvements that developers should find useful.

The Kinect SDK 1.0 provides support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same computer which significantly improved skeletal tracking. There is a Near Mode which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40cm in front of the device. There is also Microsoft Speech components, improved “far talk” for increased speech recognition accuracy.

Kinect for Windows is available now in 12 countries with a retail price of $249 and $149 for Qualified Educational Users.

Kinect for Windows Computers Coming February 1st

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Soon you will be be able to swing your arms around in front of your computer to control it with the new Kinect for Windows Computers. Microsoft’s announced the Kinect for Windows would be available on February 1st at the final CES Keynote. The Kinect for Windows will have a suggested retail price of $249. 12 countries will get the new Kinect first including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and United Kingdom.

The Kinect for Windows computers will get updates from Microsoft as time goes on and the software will still continue to be free. The Kinect for Windows computers will feature some differences such as a shorter USB cable, and the ability for the camera to track objects as close as 50cm in front of it without losing accuracy or precision. This makes using the Kinect on a desktop computer a more usable option. I am still waiting for the Minority Report heads up display, but this looks interesting as well.

Microsoft Gives the Xbox Experience an Extreme Makeover

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Xbox Live customers are receiving an update this week that is part of Microsoft’s plan to turn their widely-selling gaming console into an all-in-one entertainment system. This includes improvements to the pre-existing array of entertainment options accessible via the Xbox 360, among them Netflix streaming, ESPN programming and events, Hulu, and select MSNBC news videos. On top of these improvements, Microsoft will also be integrating a Bing search engine into the Xbox Live interface as well as including a Siri-like voice control system for search. Added partnerships and agreements with other entertainment entities expected to be announced include a deal with Google to feature a Youtube channel, and an arrangement with Time Warner to get an HBO channel put onto Xbox Live as well.

Many of these features represent Microsoft’s attempt to play catch up as much as they convey the company’s desire to be once again associated with technological evolution. For instance, Xbox Live subscribers would be much more impressed with the new ability to perform a reverse phone lookup via web search if users of the Playstation 3 hadn’t already had this luxury for years. The inclusion of voice-recognition to drive searches on the Xbox 360 is itself a race against time to beat Apple at their own game; it won’t be long before a Siri-powered Apple “smart” TV is on store shelves. Microsoft sees the writing on the wall and is determined not to be left behind.

Questions remain as to which of these new perks will be included with the Xbox Live Gold subscription, and which will demand additional payment. For instance Netflix through Xbox 360 is an additional subscription you have to pay for, while watching a multitude of sporting events via ESPN or scanning the daily news through MSNBC remain complementary. Nobody needs to be getting excited over the prospect of having HBO for free thanks to Microsoft wheeling and dealing, as such a premier movie package is certain to cost more money than the company’s willing to surrender as an investment.

The one and only gripe that can be definitively declared is the fact that this newfangled voice-recognition search capability is only available through the Kinect – the add-on for Xbox 360 players to participate in motion and sound activated gaming. Why can’t users simply use their microphones? The easy answer is probably because most gamer microphones that are plugged into the controller are too low-quality for voice-recognition to work properly. Regardless, it only comes off as a shady marketing ploy aimed at making more people buy the Kinect add-on.

But overall, the move Microsoft is making is most definitely in the right direction. This is where television, and to a greater extent entertainment and information sharing, is headed. They already have half the work done for them thanks to the innovations of their very own Xbox 360. Will they finish what they’ve started in a way that guarantees success? Until the update is released and the competition is clearly defined, it’s far too soon to tell.

Skydrive New Features Video

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There are new document management and sharing capabilities like sharing individual files from private folders. You can control permissions and post files to Facebook and share with Linkedin with a couple of clicks. You will also be able to upload a bunch of documents at once. The new interface has been encoded with HTML5’s file api to drag’n’drop documents in any standards compliant browser. The slideshows are improved, and you can right-click to edit individual documents and photos inline. The will be much faster as a result of losing the Silverlight overhead.

Skydrive New Features:

Share a single document or photo without having to share an entire folder. Right-click any file and then click Share.
Reach your friends—when you share, email goes to inboxes, not spam folders.
Share what you want with Facebook, LinkedIn, or other networks. Just click Share.
See what people have shared with you—all in one place. In the left pane, click Shared

Try Windows Phone 7 on Android or Apple Phones

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Microsoft came out with a way to tryout Windows Phone 7 on your Android or Apple IOS device. You don’t even have to install it, just bring it up in your browser on your phone at this address here http://aka.ms/wpdemo . It works really well on my Evo. If you were thinking of getting a Windows 7 Phone then give this demo a shot for free.

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