Timed for the start of the holiday rush, Microsoft is now offering an incredible collection of free digital music and very low-priced digital box sets. And these aren't throw-aways: Virtually anyone should be able to start a well-rounded music collection with just the free offerings. But music lovers will want to spend time examining everything on offer here.
Microsoft says that those testing the Windows Technical Preview on the default slow ring will now be prompted to download Windows 10 build 9879, the third milestone release of the pre-release OS. But here's the weird bit: According to the firm, fully 90 percent of testers are in that slow ring.
While Microsoft has spent much of the past year effectively lowering the price of the Xbox One, it's about to get even less expensive: On Black Friday weekend (November 27-29) and Cyber Monday (December 1, online only), you will be able to purchase the base version of the console with two games for just $329. And there are many other deals to be had.
Microsoft launched a federal lawsuit against the US Internal Revenue Service, accusing the agency of not fulfilling its legal obligations under the Freedom of Information Act. Apparently, the IRS has hired an outside firm that specializes in litigation to examine the software giant's tax returns, and Microsoft had been seeking documentation explaining the terms of its contract with the IRS.
T-Mobile and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced an agreement this week by which the wireless carrier will more transparently communicate accurate information about customers' wireless data speeds. This will be particularly helpful for those customers who hit their monthly data limits and are subjected to slower speeds, the carrier says.
Microsoft improved the latest Windows 10 pre-release build of 2014 in two important ways today. It made the build available via downloadable ISOs, letting testers clean install this build directly to a PC or VM, without having to first install the previous preview builds over each other. And it issued a fix for build 9879 that it says addresses a major BSOD error.
When Microsoft first announced Windows 10 back in early October, it did so at an event that was billed as being focused on businesses. But that wasn't really the case, and most of the short launch event just highlighted some of the user interface tweaks that will make Windows great on traditional PCs again. Since then, however, Microsoft has opened up about its plans a bit more. And one of the big changes coming in Windows 10 is that the firm will allow businesses to customize Windows Store and manage the delivery of apps to their users.
While Microsoft Band will automatically track certain health- and fitness-related data—heart rate, steps/distance traveled, and calories burned—it doesn't really do anything with that data other provide an ongoing summary on the device itself and sync it up to the Microsoft Health cloud. So it's up to you to set your own goals, monitor how you well you're achieving them, and then adjust them—hopefully upward—as you progress.
Microsoft Band can optionally monitor the quality and duration of your sleep overnight, providing a surprisingly detailed range of sleep data, including how long it took you to fall asleep, the total amount of time you were asleep, how much time you spent in restful sleep and light sleep, your resting heart rate while you slept, and graphs of your sleep pattern and heart rate over the duration of that sleep.
While Microsoft Band will track your heartbeat, steps, and calories burned automatically throughout the day, you can also manually log the time you spend exercising. This can be virtually anything—going for a walk, riding an elliptical trainer, playing a sport like basketball, whatever—that you do over a period of time and may wish to compare with previous exercises.
Legislators in the European Parliament on Friday are drafting a resolution calling on Google to be split into two companies so that the Internet giant can no longer unfairly leverage its search dominance to artificially prop up its other, money-losing, businesses and illegally harm its competitors. The parliament does not have the authority to break up Google, nor does it have a formal say in EU antitrust laws or agencies. But this resolution should at least trigger harsher antitrust oversight and penalties against the firm in a variety of cases that are currently underway.
This minor update to the in-progress Microsoft Band Field Guide corrects an error in the Bluetooth settings section: It is indeed possible—and even fairly easy—to unpair your Band from one smart phone and pair it with a new phone without resetting the Band. I'm also messing around with the structure a bit and trying to find a place for setting/adjusting your fitness and health goals.
It may seem like an esoteric subject, but the recent rumors about Microsoft changing the version number of Windows 10 are true: In this release, the software giant will align the name of the product with the version number, the first time it's done so since the mid-1990s. And that could impact application and even web site compatibility in the new OS.