Microsoft Explains How To Join The New Xbox One Experience

Xbox-One

Following on from the announcement of the updates you can expect Microsoft to roll out during November for its Xbox One console. Microsoft has this week revealed how interested Xbox gamers can join the new Xbox One Experience Preview.

The New Xbox One Experience is gearing up to launch during November 2015 and will provide a completely redesigned together with a brand new guide, Community section, revamped OneGuide and more.

Microsoft explains how to sign-up if you are interested :

  • We will roll this update out over time to Preview members who opt in for it, starting with a set of Preview members who have historically submitted the most feedback. Our goal is to start with a group, get feedback on a set of features, then roll out to larger groups for additional feedback over time. It will not roll out to everyone at the same time. We’ll also be adding new features over time as we get closer to launch.
  • If you’re a Preview member, you’ll get an invitation sent to you in an Xbox Live message.
  • From the invitation, launch the Xbox Preview Dashboard and select the registration option.
  • You can then opt-in by selecting “Preview – New Xbox One Experience.”
  • If you don’t want to participate in this preview update, you will continue to receive “regular” Preview Program updates going forward. It will not remove you from the Xbox Preview Program altogether.
  • Over the next several weeks, new builds will regularly roll out to those who opt in, and our engineering team will work to improve the features and fix any bugs they identify during the preview testingWe’ll release the New Xbox One Experience to all Preview members in waves following the initial opt in period so hang tight if you aren’t in the first few groups to get access. And of course, the whole reason we’ve opened up the Preview Program has been to gather your feedback and give you the opportunity to shape the future of Xbox One. Please, keep it coming and stay tuned for more news about the New Xbox One Experience. Thanks for all of your support.

2016 Camaro SS is the Fastest SS Ever Made

camaro-ss-16

Chevrolet has offered up the performance details on the 2016 Camaro line, and the car is very impressive. More and more manufacturers are going to paddle shift automatic transmissions for improved fuel economy and performance and the 2016 Camaro line does that same thing. The lighter 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS is fastest when fitted with the 8-speed paddle shift automatic.

When fitted with that transmission the car can reach 60mph from a standstill in 4-seconds and its way to a quarter mile time of 12.3-seconds. Buyers who prefer to shift their own fears will reach 60mph in 4.3 seconds on their way to the quarter mile in 12.5-seconds. Chevy also says that the SS can generate 0.97g of max lateral acceleration.

Performance across the entire 2016 Camaro range is impressive even the base 2.0L turbo Camaro can reach 60mph in 5.4 seconds with the manual or 5.5 with the auto and run a 14-second-flat quarter mile. Buyers opting for the mid-range V6 Camaro will get to 60mph in 5.1 seconds with the auto and 5.2 seconds with the manual. Quarter mile times for the V6 version are 13.5-seconds for the auto and 13.7-seconds for the manual.

Aluminium 6-axis Robot Arm Launches On Kickstarter

Aluminium 6-axis Robot Arm

7Bot has this week launched a new aluminium 6-axis robot arm over on the Kickstarter crowdfunding website, with the aim of raising $50,000 to take their concept into production.

The 6-axis robot arm is available to pledge for from $297 for early bird backers and provides a completely assembled robot arm complete with vacuum cup gripper, power supply and USB cable.

Watch the video below to learn more about this 6-axis desktop robot arm, that has been inspired by the ABB industrial robot arm IRB2400 and designed specifically for robotic fans, engineers, educators and researchers. Its creators explain a little more about what you can expect.

With all Aluminum Body and 6 degrees of freedom powered by high torque metal digital servos with force-control supported, 7Bot has rugged reliability with exceptional performance in torque and speed, even close to the industry robot arm.

We offer two kinds of end-effectors for different applications and extensions, the Vacuum Cup Gripper is the basic accessory. It is completely assembled on the Arm. While the Two-Finger Gripper is the extra accessory for more applications.

As the 7Bot Arm is modeled after industrial robot arm, how about making a real automatic assembly line on your desk? The answer is definitely yes. Using our computer vision sample codes, you can adjust the parameters to build a real automatic assemble line on your desk

Microsoft Auto Downloading 6GB Of Windows 10 Onto Systems ‘Just In Case’

Microsoft-Windows-10

It has been reported over the weekend that users of Windows 7 and 8.1 are noticing that Microsoft is automatically downloading up to 6GB of data to their PC systems for Windows 10, without users authority.

The move by Microsoft is to provide a ‘just in case’ scenario for older Windows users to easily upgrading to Windows 10 in the future. Although Microsoft is definitely taking liberties automatically downloading such a large amount of data automatically, as many older Windows 7 and 8.1 users may never want to upgrade to Windows 10.

Some Windows users may not have the available bandwidth from their Internet providers to accept such a large download or even have the space available on their PC systems. The downloads by Microsoft have been noticed by a number of Windows users who have not ‘reserved’ a copy of Windows 10. One such user has contacted the INQUIRER  explaining more :

The symptoms are repeated failed ‘Upgrade to Windows 10’ in the WU update history and a huge 3.5GB to 6GB hidden folder labelled ‘$Windows.~BT’. I thought Microsoft [said] this ‘upgrade’ was optional. If so, why is it being pushed out to so many computers where it wasn’t reserved, and why does it try to install over and over again?

I know of two instances where people on metered connections went over their data cap for August because of this unwanted download. My own internet (slow DSL) was crawling for a week or so until I discovered this problem. In fact, that’s what led me to it. Not only does it download, it tries to install every time the computer is booted.

Microsoft explained their intentions behind the Windows 10 automatic downloads that are causing users of older versions of Windows issues :

For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.

Microsoft renews information-sharing partnership with NATO

natoheadquartersMicrosoft and NATO have agreed to renew a longstanding partnership that will see the tech giant provide the intergovernmental treaty group’s Communications and Information Agency with details of Microsoft products and services, as well as new information about cybersecurity threats.

It’s part of the company’s Government Security Program, which was created in 2002 to provide governments around the world with controlled access to Microsoft’s source code. Since its inception, the GSP has grown to encompass a bunch of other types of information, especially over the past few years. With the new agreement, NATO will get controlled online access to source code for key Microsoft products including Windows and Office; information about Microsoft’s cloud services, and intelligence about cybersecurity threats.

That last piece is of particular importance, especially in light of high-profile attacks on government databases such as the hacking of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which the U.S. government blamed on Chinese crackers.

The Communications and Information Agency believes NATO’s members are facing new and increasingly dangerous cybersecurity threats around the world that could affect their citizens and their economies. It sees the rapid and early sharing of information about those threats as key to avoiding them.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s agreement is with NATO itself, and not its member states. That said, Microsoft has other agreements with more than 40 agencies from international organizations and countries including Australia, Austria, Canada, Poland and Russia. NATO will be able to share some security information with its constituent states in order to protect them from threats.

The deal is part of the broader NATO-Industry Cyber Partnership, a program the treaty organization announced last year. NATO was one of the first governmental organizations to sign on with Microsoft’s program, and the two have been working together under the auspices of the GSP for the past 12 years.

Primed for pigskin: How to watch NFL football anywhere and on any device

080715 football nfl rob gronkowski spikeIn its way, the NFL pioneered sports broadcasting. It wasn’t the first professional sport league in the US to take advantage of the tube—Major League Baseball beat it to both network and cable television—but it always maximized the medium better than any of its competitors. From its first league-wide network contracts in the 1960s to its expansion to satellite TV in the ’90s, pro football has secured its foothold in America’s living rooms so thoroughly that it’s now the primary way fans connect with the game.

Curiously, the NFL has fumbled its presentation on those other screens that dominates 21st century culture: Computers, tablets, and mobile phones. To date, the league has merely dipped its toe into streaming live games. That may change soon, however, as this season it will broadcast a game globally via the Internet only. It will also—temporarily at least—lift its 42-year-old blackout policy for local broadcasts.

Thanks to these developments, there are now more ways than ever to get your football fix as the season gets underway in earnest today (the season officially opened on Thursday, September 10, with the exciting game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots).

Here’s our guide to all your options.

Sunday Night Football
Sunday Night Football kicks off on Sunday, September 13 when the New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys.

Over the air

Unlike the NBA, NHL, or MLB, the NFL plays a simple 16-game schedule with each team playing one game a week. That lends itself to fairly predictable TV programming. The league splits the Sunday afternoon telecasts by conference: AFC games air on CBS at 1 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. ET, and Fox runs the NFC games at 1 p.m. and 4:05 p.m. NBC retains the popular Sunday Night Football broadcast, which kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET.

This year ESPN celebrates its 10th season broadcasting the iconic Monday Night Football game (it took it over from ABC in 2006), which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. ET. For the season opener, however, the cable network will be broadcasting a double-header, with the first game starting at 7:10 p.m. ET and the second at 10:20 p.m. ET. (If you don’t have a cable subscription, you’ll need to sign up forSling TV to watch ESPN.)

Thursday Night Football returns to CBS for a second year. Beginning Sept. 17, it will broadcast seven games, which will be simulcast on the cable-only NFL Network. The league’s flagship channel resumes sole ownership of Thursday night games from Nov. 5 through Dec. 26, with the exception of Dec. 3 when both channels with broadcast the division matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.

Tom BradyNFL.COM
Deflategate, featuring the New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, continues to roil the game.

If this abundance of TV offerings has your head swimming like you just took abone-crushing hit from Kam Chancellor, check out 506Sports.com or Sports Media Watch. Each site lists which game is on what channel for each week of the season. Bookmark them for easy access.

Bye bye blackouts

Undoubtedly the biggest development for NFL fans this season is the league’s lifting of its longstanding—and controversial—blackout policy . Since 1973, pro football’s broadcast rules maintained that a home game couldn’t be televised in the team’s local market if it wasn’t sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff. The blackout policy was the strictest of the four major North American sports and the bane of every team owner ( Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross famously bought up unsold tickets for years to circumvent TV blackouts) and fan.

Now that billion-dollar broadcast deals make football more profitable in the living room than in the stadium, the NFL is at least entertaining the idea of jettisoning its archaic policy by suspending it for this season. After the season, it will evaluate the suspension’s impact and decide whether or not to do away with blackouts permanently. Stay tuned.

NFL Sunday TicketDIRECTV
Hardcore football fans who subscribe to DirecTV might be interested in the service’s NFL Sunday Ticket option.

Cable and satellite TV

You can catch every down your home team plays this season just watching over-the-air broadcasts; but for expanded offerings, cable and satellite are still the way to go.

In addition to the NFL Network, many pay-TV providers continue to offer NFL’sRedZone Channel. Hosted by Scott Hanson and existing only for about a seven-hour window each Sunday, RedZone airs nothing but the day’s highlights (mostly touchdowns, as the name suggests) at a frenetic pace that perfectly evokes the adrenaline rush of a game-winning drive.

Both NFL Network and the RedZone Channel are available online as well. You can access them if you’re a cable subscriber and your cable company is listed among the providers. That caveat leaves out Comcast subscribers—the company still isn’t on the list of provider participants despite the fact that it continues to offer both channels in its cable packages.

NFL Mobile
Verizon has a lock on showing NFL games on mobile phones.

Among the hardest-core football fans,NFL Sunday Ticket, which gives you access to every regular-season Sunday afternoon out-of-market game, is as coveted a prize as the Lombardi Trophy. However, it remains the exclusive property of DirectTV as the satellite providerrecently extended its rights to carry the package for another eight years.

But if you’re a DirectTV subscriber and willing to shell out $252 on top ofyour regular subscription fee, you can get all 2015’s out-of-market Sunday games plus the Mix Channel, which lets you watch four or eight live games on a single channel, and its Player Tracker, a fantasy footballowner’s dream that lets you keep tabs on up to 20 players.

Or for about $100 more, you can get the $354 NFL Sunday Ticket Max, which throws in NFL RedZone Channel, Direct Fantasy Zone (a channel devoted entirely to fantasy football), Short Cuts (entire games condensed into 30-minute commercial-free replays), and the ability to stream live games through the NFL Sunday Ticket app.

Streaming

You don’t necessarily have to be a DirectTV subscriber to stream live games this season. Last year, the provider introduced its NFLSundayTicket.TV app andextended discounted subscriptions for online access to NFL Sunday Ticket tosome non-DirectTV subscribers: (very) specifically, apartment dwellers; residents of metropolitan New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco; and students at 10 select universities.

This season, DirectTV is extending that discount offer to all four-year colleges and universities. It has also expanded the list of devices games can be viewed on to include Google Chromecast, Xbox 360, Windows 10 and Roku. (Previously, the package was only viewable on Android and iOS devices or via the web, as well as on Sony PlayStation 4 and PS3, and Xbox One.) For information on packages, pricing and eligibility, check out the NFLSundayTicket.TV FAQ.

Outside of DirectTV, legal streaming options for NFL games are still limited. Since 2008, NBC offers an interactive broadband broadcast of its televised games, as it has since 2008, and Verizon subscribers with More Everything plan can live stream all nationally broadcast games through the NFL Mobile app.

Sunday Night Football Extra

Fox will stream 104 live NFL games this season via its Fox Sports Go app and FoxSportsGo.com website, but you’ll need a subscription to a pay-TV provider that carries Fox Sports (you’ll find all the details in this story ).

Signs are afoot, however, that may soon change.

This season, for the first time ever, the NFL will live stream a regular-season game for free to a global audience. For this groundbreaking event, the league logically chose one of its International Series games in London: the Oct. 25 game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars will be streamed exclusively by Yahoo! ( Google, Apple, and Amazon were among those the league reached out to) and only televised in each team’s home market. A 30-minute version will also be available on demand.

Given both teams’ records for the last several years, the broadcast itself is really the most interesting thing here. Though the NFL has said it hasn’t decided whether or not it will partner with a streaming service provider for future games, this experiment clearly indicates the league is finally making steps toward finding an over-the-top distributor for its games.

DirecTV Game MixDIRECTV

And that’s good news. Super Bowl streaming set another record this year, with 1.3 million people watching Super Bowl XLVIV through NBC’s web stream instead of on TV. While that represents just a tiny fraction of all Super Bowl viewing, it shows that there is an audience willing to embrace alternatives. If the Oct. 25 event is deemed a success, perhaps the NFL will make a more serious commitment to live streaming and set a new bar for broadcasting sports in the 21st century just as it did in the 20th.

Looking for even more ways to watch the game this season? Don’t miss our roundup of second-screen apps, and our complete cord-cutters guide to watching football.

Crowdfunded company ordered to pay up after failing to deliver the goods

altius asylum cardsNot every crowdfunded project is going to result in a product: This much is a given. But the State of Washington took one such project to court—and won.

According to the Washington State Office of the Attorney General, Altius Management, which sought funding to produce its Asylum Playing Cards, will have to pay $54,851 in fines and restitution. That includes $23,183 in court and attorney fees, #31,000 in fines, and a $668 payout to the 31 Washington residents who contributed to the project.

The project, a set of specially designed playing cards, raised over $25,000 in pledges from 810 backers. The funding period for the project wrapped up in October 2012, and Altius told backers to expect their rewards (basically, thank-you gifts for pledging) in December of that year.

According to the attorney general’s press release, backers never received their rewards, and “the company has not communicated with its backers since July 2013.” Altius also never offered refunds to its backers.

Kickstarter’s terms of service require creators of successfully funded projects to “complete the project and fulfill each reward.” If that isn’t possible for some reason, creators “must make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to the best possible conclusion for backers,” according to Kickstarter.

The court made its judgement back in July—the Internet noticed the ruling only in the last few days—and a quick check of the comments made to the project’s Kickstarter page indicates that at least some backers finally began receiving their promised decks over the summer.

While Washington State’s move to take Altius to court was a first, that state’s government isn’t the only regulatory entity that’s taken on unfulfilled crowdfunding efforts. TheWashington Post reported back in June that the FTC filed a complaint against another company that cancelled its crowdfunded project without providing rewards or offering refunds to backers.

Didn’t ask for Windows 10? Your PC may have downloaded it anyway

new windows 10 logo primaryWhether you want Windows 10 or not, Microsoft says it may download the files to your PC regardless.

In a statement to the Inquirer, Microsoft confirmed that it automatically downloads Windows 10 installation files on eligible PCs, provided automatic updates are enabled through Windows Update. The download occurs even if users haven’t opted in through the Windows 10 reservation dialog.

“For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade,” Microsoft told the Inquirer. “When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

When reached for comment, Microsoft told PCWorld that the downloads occurred around the time of Windows 10’s July 29 launch.

Why this matters: Microsoft appears to have crossed a line in its zeal to move people onto its latest operating system. Several reports indicate that the Windows 10 files take up as much as 6GB of storage in a hidden folder, potentially hamstringing machines that don’t have much free space left. Even worse, users who have strict data caps could face hefty overage charges for a massive download that they didn’t even ask for.

Bye-bye bandwidth

PCWorld has also heard from several readers on this issue, including one whose data plan has been affected by the automatic download. The reader, who runs a small computer repair shop, did not reserve Windows 10, yet recently noticed 6GB missing from his main desktop.

Upon further investigation, the reader’s daughter—who lives in an area without wired Internet and relies on Verizon Wireless for connectivity—had also automatically downloaded the installation files. “They do not wish to upgrade at this time, as they prefer to stay with Windows 7,” the reader said. “But they’re four days into their wireless plan, and have used more than half of their allowance because of the Windows 10 download.”

The Inquirer also spoke to a reader who said Windows 10 tries to install itself every time the machine is booted. It’s unclear if this is typical behavior for those who haven’t opted into the upgrade.

This isn’t the only instance where Windows 10 has gotten users into trouble with data caps. By default, the system also uses peer-to-peer networking to distribute Windows 10 updates, potentially eating up bandwidth without users’ knowledge.

What you can do

It’s worth noting that Windows Update provides users with a few auto-install options. Enabling “Important” updates provides security and stability fixes, while “Recommended” updates are meant to improve non-critical issues. There’s also a “Microsoft Update” option for other software such as Office. We’ve reached out to Microsoft to see which of these tiers enables the auto-download of Windows 10 files.

In the meantime, some users have reported success at removing the files and Windows 10 update prompts by entering the following into command prompt as an administrator:

WUSA /UNINSTALL /KB:3035583code>

This should at least remove Windows 10’s update notifications, but we haven’t confirmed whether it removes the installation files and prevents further downloads.

Brad Smith will decide privacy policy, IP issues and more as Microsoft’s new president

brad smith cropMicrosoft’s privacy policies—you know, the ones that encompass the dodgy privacy-infringing tools in Windows 7 and 8—have a new overseer. On Friday, the company named Brad Smith as its new president. Smith, who is also the company’s chief legal officer, will be the face of Microsoft in legal and intellectual property issues, as well as privacy.

Smith was formerly general counsel & executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs, according to his updated bio page.

Smith will be Microsoft’s first president since 2002, according to Bloomberg. Given that his role is more of an administrative one, it’s not likely that he’ll have any direct impact on Microsoft’s product roadmap. Still, Smith will be the man who crafts Microsoft’s privacy policy.

Here’s how Microsoft describes Smith’s new role:

“In this role Smith plays a key role in representing the company externally and in leading the company’s work on a number of critical issues including privacy, security, accessibility, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion, among others. He also leads a team of business, legal and corporate affairs professionals spanning 55 countries. These teams are responsible for the company’s legal work, its intellectual property portfolio, patent licensing business, and the company’s government affairs, public policy, corporate citizenship and social responsibility work.”

Why this matters: If you’re the type who focuses on Microsoft’s products without any care for how much of your data is being collected, than Smith’s new role might not mean much. But if you’re someone who’s concerned about privacy (and based on the user comments we’ve seen, quite a few of you are) Smith will be the one to watch. On one hand, Microsoft has fought the U.S. government is its attempts to collect user data; on the other, there’s the ongoing privacy concerns about Windows 10. In either case, Smith will be the man who handles this aspect of Microsoft’s business.

Surface clones rising: Now Dell is reportedly developing one, called the XPS 12

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 (1)Dell reportedly is developing its own Surface 2-in-1 tablet clone, dubbed the Dell XPS 12, which will boast a 4K display and a kickstand.

Is everybody making a Surface these days?

Dell’s XPS 12 was unearthed by German site Giga.de, which claims to have come across marketing materials used by Dell. Those materials claim that the tablet will be released in October, the same month that Microsoft reportedly will launch the Surface Pro 4.

The site wasn’t able to track down a price, but claims that the tablet will include a 3840×2160 4K display, far superior than what’s offered by the Surface Pro 3. Somewhat surprisingly, the materials also claim that the Dell XPS 12 will have over 10 hours of battery life. Instead of USB 3.0, there’s a Thunderbolt 3 connector, plus an 8-megapixel camera on the rear of the tablet, and a 5MP camera on the front.

If what Giga.de has dug up is true, however, two more details peg the Dell XPS 12 as a Surface clone: the kickstand, and what apparently is called the Dell Active Stylus. “Write on your Web page, one click to One Note, and casual sketching with Bamboo Paper,” the materials say. Of course, a click-to-launch OneNote is one of the features of the Surface Pen.

What we don’t know about the Dell XPS 12 (in addition to the price) is the processor that’s powering it, the amount of memory, and other key details. What can we speculate, of course, is that if we have multiple devices with the same look and feel—the Microsoft Surface 3, the Surface Pro 3, the recently announced Lenovo Miix 700, as well as the expected Surface 4 and Surface Pro 4, plus the XPS 12—competition should bring prices crashing to earth. And if there’s been one criticism of the Surface Pro 3 line, it’s been that it’s too expensive.

What Giga.de’s illustrations hopefully hint at as well is a 2-in-1 with a rigid, firm keyboard. The XPS 12 illustrations appear to show keys with some spacing in between, more similar to the Miix rather than the nearly side-by-side Surface keys.

Unfortunately, Dell representatives could not be reached for comment.

Why this matters: In March, we predicted that the Surface Pro 4 would be released this fall, boasting a Skylake processor and a RealSense depth camera. Increasingly, it looks like we could be right. The Miix includes an optional RealSense camera on the back of the tablet, with a Skylake processor (a Core M) inside. What we didn’t expect was the freedom that Microsoft would grant its customers to copy the Surface. We know that Microsoft sees itself as a trailblazer, letting its customers follow behind. But with Microsoft, Lenovo, and now (apparently) Dell, can the rest of the PC industry be far behind?