Tag Archives: microsoft

Let’s Hear Your Thoughts on the New Microsoft Surface Studio

Last week included a number of different tech announcements, one being the release of Microsoft’s new Surface Studio computer with a highly adjustable interactive screen, as well as a nifty new wireless knob that brings an interesting ID twist to the overall design:

Core77-er, gmay3able, brought up the innovation last week in our discussion boards and got people talking about their thoughts on its promised features. Our audience’s reception of the product was varied: 

“Pretty sick. That base must be a solid chunk of steel billet in order to keep the screen in place! I like the chrome support arms too…The knob doesn’t feel like it families well with the mouse. Like many of the peripheral buttons on a Wacom I feel like I’d be trying to find uses for the knob, but I suppose since the screen itself doesn’t rotate you need some way to rotate the image.” – slippyfish

“I wonder who the intended users are for this and how big those markets are. I wouldn’t think the portion of designers who would adopt this (10%?) could solely sustain a business case for a product of this magnitude. Don’t forget most designers, whether at a firm or a corporation, have most of their hardware decisions made for them…Other than all of what I just said, it is pretty cool. Just doesn’t fit my work flow.” – yo

“I love the knob idea. It reminds me of Alias marking menus, but in a physical sense. When I’ve used a Wacom, I felt that getting the arm-to-hardware angle that I want was harder than it needed to be. This makes it look easy…Having said all that, yes, we have to wait for some reviews to know if MS sweat the details…and that is where the devil lives!” Mr-914

“A coworker of mine, and long time Mac user, blurted out after watching the video ‘That’s it. I’m in. That’s the machine I’ve been waiting for.'” – NURB

Give us your thoughts: is the Microsoft Surface Studio a hit or total miss? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on the original discussion board feed


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The Latest from SolidWorks, Exploring Connected Products with Microsoft and a New 3D Search Engine

In this final wrap-up of Develop3D Live, we examine the latest product offerings from SolidWorks, contemplate the future of connected products with Microsoft’s Simon Floyd and finish off with an exciting announcement from Yowza.

Gian Paolo Bassi of SolidWorks

Gian Paolo boasted some huge statistics in his presentation—the company now has over 3 million licenses in use and 5 million people worldwide are actively involved with SolidWorks products. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that SolidWorks is now the juggernaut of the 3D CAD world.

And yet, despite the strong market position held by SolidWorks, startups like Onshape, with their flexible, low-priced monthly subscription, are starting to influence the traditional CAD pricing plan.

SolidWorks has been resolutely traditional in their pricing plan for a long time: you start with a £5,000 one-off purchase of the software, then you’re asked to pay “maintenance” fees of around £100 per month thereafter. What’s worse, you can’t simply buy the 2016 version, stick with it for a few years and then get back on board in 2019—resellers are now enforcing a percentage of back-payments for any missed maintenance fees incurred during those intervening years.

Now, thanks to companies like Onshape, things are changing. Gian Paolo introduced a new Term-License pricing plan that sounds strangely familiar: “Lower upfront cost, flexible and scalable licensing options”—there you have it, free market capitalism in action!

But it doesn’t stop there. SolidWorks are also clambering onto another band wagon: the Internet of Things. Connected products are hot right now, and set to become ubiquitous over the next few years. Gian Paolo shared his ultimate goal for SolidWorks: to become the single CAD environment people use to develop IoT products. This means using the PCB design add-on to design both the enclosure and electronic hardware at the same time.

One cool thing that SolidWorks is currently at the forefront of is “Model Based Definition”—adding dimensions, tolerances and notes right into the 3D file, so you don’t have to produce old fashioned 2D documentation every time you need to get something made. It looks promising, but we’re unsure how it will fit in with ISO BSI 8888 standards.

The rest of the talk concerned SolidWorks’ commitment to mobile apps. There are too many either in the pipeline or already launched to go through in detail but Gian Paolo was most proud of the new 3D-design apps for kids. While we are familiar with their focus on getting SolidWorks licenses into universities and schools, this takes “getting them hooked while they’re young” to a new level.

Simon Floyd of Microsoft

It seems as though Simon Floyd eats, sleeps and breathes connected products.

Floyd’s core message focused on user-centered design, on steroids. Instead of launching a product, sending out a questionnaire and talking to users, Floyd suggested we should be automatically improving the design by using the vast amounts of data produced by connected products. After the explosion of IoT products in 2015, Floyd lamented that we aren’t taking advantage of these new, rich sources of data:

“Data is fuel for innovation.”

Increasingly, products are becoming more than their mechanical parts. Floyd articulated a neat description of contemporary products: “They are a collection of solutions.” 

He enthusiastically encouraged industrial designers and mechanical engineers to get more involved in the digital aspects of product design, including learning more about data science, sensor design and expanding our interest in the UX/UI digital experience. Ultimately, he noted, if we use the available data correctly, we have the ability to find the missing needs and problems that users may never have complained about —discoveries that could fuel product improvements on a much deeper level.

“Connected product data will help us discover those unarticulated problems.”

Dr. Naomi Keren of Yowza

Something a little more light-hearted ended the day: Yowza announced that they are developing what basically amounts to Google’s advanced Image Search, but for 3D models. You won’t realize how useful this is until you try searching for something on Thingiverse

Naomi believes text tags and file names are useless, because they rely on lazy humans entering enough relevant information when they first upload a file. Until Yowza goes live, that’s all we have to go on—and she’s right, it is rubbish. If someone uploads a model of a chair, calls it a chair, and only ever tags it as a “chair,” how is someone searching for a “seat” going to find it? And that’s even before you consider different languages.

The cool demo that Naomi gave us shows that Yowza have been working hard on some very useful algorithms—this startup is hot, so keeps your eyes on them!

More Develop3D Live 2016 coverage:

The Latest in Design, Tech and Engineering: A Roundup of This Year’s Conference Highlights

How Onshape’s 3D CAD System is Setting New Standards for CAD Software

This post first appeared on Think Refine.


Core77

Call of Duty: Ghosts is this year’s CoD entry, headed to 360, PS3, PC and ‘next-gen consoles’ on November 5 (video)

STUB 'Call of Duty Ghosts' is this year's CoD entry, headed to 360, PS3, PC, and nextgen consoles

Like Punxsutawney Phil’s shadowgazing, we can rightfully expect a new Call of Duty game to be announced annually and available at the holidays. Also like our groundhog friend, the only annual questions we must ask are in the details — what is this year’s Call of Duty about, and who’s making it? It turns out that this year’s Duty development, unsurprisingly, falls on Infinity Ward’s shoulders — the folks who created the much lauded Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare — and it’s named “Call of Duty: Ghosts.” The first-person shooter is arriving on a whole mess of platforms this November 5th, including Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, but also PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox — given that we don’t know release dates for the PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox, it stands to reason that Ghosts will arrive on a different date for those platforms. It’s also likely we’ll see a handheld version on Nintendo’s 3DS made by someone other than Infinity Ward, but we’ve got no direct word on that just yet. More ambiguous, Nintendo’s Wii U isn’t listed, but it stands to reason it’ll head that way as well (the last series entry, Black Ops 2, got a Wii U version).

The “Ghosts” in the title references … well, we’re not entirely sure. Previous CoD games featured a character named “Ghost” fairly prominently, though the plurality indicates a game about more than one individual. Infinity Ward head Mark Rubin calls Ghosts “a new sub-brand” in the CoD franchise, and it’s getting a new (unnamed) game engine to boot — another indicator that previous characters aren’t involved. We’re holding out hope that the often overserious, dramatic tone of previous CoD games is being completely thrown out in favor of a goofy game about hunting ghosts. The bullets pass right through their ethereal form! Run for your life! We’ll hear more about Call of Duty: Ghosts at Microsoft’s big next-gen console unveiling on May 21st, so hold tight. The first teaser video is just below the jump.

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Source: YouTube

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Call of Duty: Ghosts is this year’s CoD entry, headed to 360, PS3, PC and ‘next-gen consoles’ on November 5 (video)

Microsoft’s Switch to Windows Phone app for Android attempts to prove you’re not missing out

STUB Microsoft's Switch to Windows Phone app for Android attempts to prove your not missing out

Ever since its launch, Windows Phone has faced criticism for lacking a broad app selection compared with its main mobile OS competitors. Microsoft is out to convince users otherwise, and in a rather cheeky move, has launched the Switch to Windows Phone app for Android. Available now on the Google Play store, the app takes note of all the software currently on your Android handset and sends those details to SkyDrive. Add that SkyDrive account on a WP8 device, and you’ll be offered official WP8 apps which correspond to the ones found on your Android phone, or apps that match up best if official versions aren’t available. Microsoft has also taken this opportunity to launch a new ad campaign (embedded after the break) pumping itself up as a sensible alternative to the Android / iOS battles, timed perfectly to arrive with this app. Assuming you have the requisite devices handy, hit the source links to install the software and let us know how good it is at finding a match.

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Via: AVForums, WinBeta

Source: Google Play, Windows Phone Store

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Microsoft’s Switch to Windows Phone app for Android attempts to prove you’re not missing out

OneNote update for Windows 8 and RT relives our childhood with finger drawing

OneNote update for Windows 8 and RT relives our childhood with finger drawing

Although Microsoft’s OneNote is virtually tailor-made for pen input, we doubt most Windows fans would splurge on the likes of a Surface Pro just for the sake of a quick doodle or two. With the latest update to OneNote for Windows 8 and RT, they won’t have to. The app refresh lets touchscreen PC users draw with their fingers using the same color and thickness options as their stylus-toting counterparts. The new input method won’t be as precise as a pen, but it should do the job for simple diagrams or dusting off those kindergarten-era fingerpainting skills. Whether or not you’re on a nostalgia kick, you can swing by the Windows Store today for the upgrade.

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Via: OneNote Blog

Source: Windows Store

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OneNote update for Windows 8 and RT relives our childhood with finger drawing

Microsoft’s next revision of Facebook for Windows Phone 8 hits beta

Microsoft's next revision of Facebook for Windows Phone 8 hits beta

Last year’s revision to Facebook for Windows Phone may have gotten fans closer to the Facebook grail, but it was still lagging behind its iOS and Android siblings. Microsoft is finally catching up though, with the latest beta of the app. This build supports the new Facebook Timeline, higher-quality photos and post sharing. It’s currently listed as being compatible with Windows Phone 8 — which might leave some 7.5 and 7.8 users feeling a bit salty. You’ll have to download it straight from the link below if you’re up for giving it a whirl, since it can’t be directly from your device.

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Source: Microsoft

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Microsoft’s next revision of Facebook for Windows Phone 8 hits beta

Machinima launch for Xbox 360 has us watching more games than we play

Machinima launches for Xbox 360, has us watching more games than we play

When Microsoft piled on the Xbox media channels last year, we didn’t realize just how long it would take for some of those channels to come to fruition. We’re quite possibly on the cusp of new hardware, and Machinima’s app is just now making its Xbox 360 debut. Still, it might be worth the wait for those who live and breathe gaming even after they’ve set down the gamepad. The app includes the full suite of Machinima channels and their associated videos, ranging from regular shows and specials through to game blooper reels. Machinima is available everywhere Xbox Live is active; if that isn’t enough to tide you over, Microsoft is teasing the reveal of a OneBeat electronic music app next month.

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Source: Major Nelson

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Machinima launch for Xbox 360 has us watching more games than we play

Skype adds video voicemail to Windows desktop beta

Skype adds video voicemail preview to Windows desktop beta, Windows 8 users left hanging on the telephone

You’d think that with Skype firmly under Microsoft’s control, the service would roll out new features to Windows first. Bizarrely, though, that’s not the case. Skype’s video voicemail feature, which previously soft launched on Android, iOS and OS X, is now coming to Windows 7 and up (a Windows 8 version should be forthcoming), hitting the company’s end of April promise. The feature, still labeled a preview, works exactly as advertised, letting users record short video clips that can be sent to and viewed by any contact regardless of their OS. There’s one caveat though: you’ll need to install Skype 6.5 beta for Windows desktop and Flash to test it out. It’s just a risk your vainglorious self will have to take for modernity.

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Source: Skype

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Skype adds video voicemail to Windows desktop beta

Microsoft says Illumiroom isn’t yet ready for next Xbox, but will get public demo in July (video)

Microsoft says Illumiroom isn't yet ready for next Xbox, but will get public demo in July

Since we saw Illumiroom at CES in January, the technology has come quite a ways. But while it’s still a spectacular technology display, don’t look for it to pop up in any Xbox announcements in the near future. In fact, Microsoft Research’s Hrvoje Benko and Brett Jones told us during a interview that while they have Illumiroom technology working well at this point, they’re not likely to even demo it to the public until July at Siggraph.

That’s not to say that you’re not going to want it. The researchers showed in detail exactly how it works: they use a Kinect to scan your living room, then project a series of “illusions” onto it with a wide-screen projector, getting the colors just right using a technique called “radiometric compensation.” The projector and Kinect can be mounted in any convenient spot in the room, like the ceiling or a table. While the technology can be used with other forms of entertainment, researchers concentrated on gaming, since they’re able to generate source material that works well with the effects. Some of those illusions include “focus,” which displays special effects around the images, “segmented focus,” to extend the display to portions of the living space (requiring extra material to be generated), and “appearance,” changing the look of your room by giving it a cartoon appearance, for instance. Despite the still-early phase of the research, it’s definitely whetting our appetite for more — and you can see a full video of the presentation after the break.

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Microsoft says Illumiroom isn’t yet ready for next Xbox, but will get public demo in July (video)

Skype for Outlook.com preview launches in the UK, coming to the US soon

Skype for Outlookcom preview launches in the UK, coming to the US soon

Outlook.com’s 60 million-plus users will have another feature to take advantage of soon, as Skype is previewing built-in web access to its service. Currently available in the UK (headed to the US and Germany in “coming weeks,” — worldwide this summer) it lets users make calls directly from their inbox via a browser plugin available for Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. Users with existing Skype accounts will also need to link their account to to the website which will allow their contacts to be merged, with the idea of having more choices of how to reach out to close contacts. Gmail’s added easy access to hangouts and even Facebook has integrated Skype-connected video into its messaging so we suppose it’s necessary for feature parity, with the added bonus of Skype’s large install base. There are two demo videos embedded after the break, or you can head to Skype’s blog for more details.

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Source: Skype Blog, Outlook Blog

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Skype for Outlook.com preview launches in the UK, coming to the US soon

Microsoft working on redesigns for Xbox, Yammer, Skype and Bing

Microsoft working on redesigns for Xbox, Yammer, Skype and Bing

Considering Microsoft’s efforts to rebrand, redesign and rebuild its Windows platform, it’s no surprise to hear the company is tweaking the visual aesthetics of its other brands, too. Speaking at Design Day 2013, Wolff Olins creative director Todd Simmons and Windows Phone design studio manager Albert Shum talked about the challenges of rebranding a company like Microsoft. “We’re still trying to figure out how to put a consumer face on this brand, as an ecosystem,” Simmons said, explaining how the team wanted to get away from the idea of Microsoft being a top-down, monolithic entity. The discussion touched on the creation of the Windows 8 logo, but also shed light on efforts to revamp other Microsoft brands. “Other brands are coming along too,” Simmons explained, teasing the audience with a pair of sketches. “Bing, Skype, Yammer, Xbox — everything is under development.” With Microsoft’s next generation gaming hardware lurking just around the corner, the time for a new logo might just be nigh. Read on to see the pair’s full 45-minute presentation for yourself.

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Via: Verge, Travis Lowdermilk (Twitter)

Source: Vimeo, Design Day 2013

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Microsoft working on redesigns for Xbox, Yammer, Skype and Bing

Switched On: Microsoft’s small tablet trap

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

DNP Switched On Microsoft's small tablet trap

For example, if x86 chips were more competitive with ARM processors from a performance-per-watt perspective, then Microsoft wouldn’t be as reliant on Metro-style apps for functionality. And if more developers were creating Metro-style apps, then consumers wouldn’t have to go to the legacy desktop mode as much to get things done. (Until the company releases a Metro-style Office, Microsoft really can’t wag its finger too much at third parties.)

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Next Xbox Games Will Reportedly Only Require Internet Connection If Publisher Decides

Next Xbox Games Will Reportedly Only Require Internet Connection If Publisher Decides

Despite the fact that Microsoft has already announced its plans for revealing next generation Xbox on May 21st, the rumors keep on coming in. According to a latest report which address the controversial issue of the next Xbox supposedly needing an always-on internet connection for playing games, it is up to publishers to decide whether or not their games require such internet connection. Microsoft will reportedly not be imposing any restriction of this sort. Publishers and only publishers will decide.

Apart from this, the next generation Xbox is also expected to be able to record gameplay videos, these videos can then be shared on social networks. It is said to be a DVR like system which the users can enable or disable as per their liking. Not only will publishers reportedly decide whether their games need always-on internet connection, they will also be able to add achievements to their games even after they have been launched. These achievements wouldn’t need to be released as optional downloadable content. Microsoft makes the announcement on 21st of May and will make the full unveil at E3 conference in June.

By Ubergizmo. Related articles: XCOM FPS Becomes ‘The Bureau: XCOM Declassified'; Releasing August 20, PlayStation 3, PS Vita Owners Can Now Queue Downloads Via PSN Web Store,image

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Next Xbox Games Will Reportedly Only Require Internet Connection If Publisher Decides

ATD: Gates, Ballmer and Sean Parker join Zuckerberg’s FWD.us lobby group

ATD: Gates, Ballmer and Sean Parker join Zuckerberg's FWD.us lobby group

Mark Zuckerberg showed he’s more than just a social butterfly earlier this month, forming the tech-focused political lobby group FWD.us alongside some other big names in the industry. Now, according to AllThingsD, a few more heavy-hitters have signed up to offer their expertise, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Sean Parker and Intuit CEO Brad Smith. Not a bad crew to have on your side when technology issues are up for discussion, especially Ballmer — he’s notoriously good at getting his point across.

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Via: The Verge

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ATD: Gates, Ballmer and Sean Parker join Zuckerberg’s FWD.us lobby group

AllThingsD: Gates, Ballmer and Sean Parker join Zuckerberg’s FWD.us lobby group

FWDus political group adds Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Sean Parker to its ranks

Mark Zuckerberg showed he’s more than just a social butterfly earlier this month, forming the tech-focused political lobby group FWD.us alongside some other big names in the industry. Now, according to AllThingsD, a few more heavy-hitters have signed up to offer their expertise, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Sean Parker and Intuit CEO Brad Smith. Not a bad crew to have on your side when technology issues are up for discussion, especially Ballmer — he’s notoriously good at getting his point across.

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Via: The Verge

Source: AllThingsD

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AllThingsD: Gates, Ballmer and Sean Parker join Zuckerberg’s FWD.us lobby group