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Microsoft Announces Availability of Windows 8 Release Preview

Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Windows 8 Release Preview, the next milestone of the highly anticipated Windows 8 operating system. Available for download today in 14 languages at here, the Windows 8 Release Preview delivers a fast and fluid experience, along with a new user interface that responds equally well to touch as it does to keyboard and mouse. Since the February release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which was downloaded more than 1 million times in the first 24 hours, Windows 8 has become the most tested Microsoft operating system of all time, and with today's release, it enters its final phase of development before it releases to manufacturing.

We're thrilled to be at this milestone with the Windows 8 Release Preview," said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft.

Latest Windows 8 Screenshots Reveal Ouster of Aero Glass UI

In June, Microsoft will unveil the first Release Preview of Windows 8, its next major version of the Windows (client). Some of the latest screenshots of the teething operating system made it to the web, and reveal some significant changes to the UI, apart from the Metro UI. With its Desktop workspace, Windows 8 embraces a new UI design, that does away with the glassy Aero design that was introduced with Windows Vista. What we have instead, are minimalist titlebars with centered window titles, flat window control buttons, and a blending of the titlebar's color with that of the other menubars. Microsoft justifies the design change by calling the older Aero UI "dated and cheesy." Microsoft assured users that it will assist in the transition between the two UIs, apart from the major change that Metro is.

Sources: MSDN Blogs, Engadget

QNAP Targets the High-end SMBs with Two 16-Drive Turbo NAS Models

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced its new additions for the high-end SMB market segment with two 16-drive 3U rackmount Turbo NAS models with up to 64TB storage capacity using 4 TB drives. The TS-EC1679U-RP and TS-1679U-RP, powered by the Intel Xeon processor and the Intel Core i3 processor respectively, are the highest capacity and highest performing NAS products ever developed by QNAP. Both models feature optional 10GbE networking and 6Gb/sec SATA interfaces, achieving incredible 2,000 MB/sec and 200,000 IOPS throughput; delivering sustained ultra-high performance suitable for demanding data center & high-end SMB environments. The new models feature cable-less disk drive backplanes, hot-swappable power supply, and cooling fan modules for maximum reliability and uptime.

AMD Embedded G-Series Platform Supports Windows Embedded Compact 7 Real-Time OS

AMD today announced that its AMD Embedded G-Series platform now supports Windows Embedded Compact 7, the next generation of the Windows Embedded CE real-time operating system. Windows Embedded Compact 7, paired with AMD Embedded G-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APU) is optimized to deliver feature-rich applications on small, specialized devices for industries such as medical, retail and industrial automation. This enables board, module and system OEMs, among others, to develop a wide range of applications requiring high performance and integrated graphics processing with minimal size, power and cooling constraints.

"AMD is committed to providing our customers with the broadest possible range of operating system support to help them bring devices to market quickly and cost effectively," said Buddy Broeker, director, AMD Embedded Solutions. "Seamless support for Windows Embedded Compact 7 helps ensure that AMD Embedded G-Series customers are equipped to take full advantage of the many benefits afforded via the combination of these leading technologies."

Apple 10 Years Behind Microsoft on Security: Kaspersky Lab

A Flashback trojan that affected over 600,000 OS X machines with relative ease, earlier this month, exposed gaping holes in the OS X software architecture and got industry experts discussing how competent Apple is at dealing with the threat of malware, on its end. Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of security company Kaspersky Lab, believes that Apple is "10 years behind Microsoft in terms of security," and the ease with which scores of OS X machines could be compromised by malware in the recent times formed the basis of his assertion.

"For many years I've been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows. It's always been possible to develop Mac malware, but this one was a bit different. For example it was asking questions about being installed on the system and, using vulnerabilities, it was able to get to the user mode without any alarms," Kaspersky commented. Increase in malware and cybercrime against OS X machines, according to him are "just a question of time and market share. Cyber criminals have now recognised that Mac is an interesting area. Now we have more, it's not just Flashback or Flashfake. Welcome to Microsoft's world, Mac. It's full of malware."

Source: CBROnline

Firefox 12 Officially Released

Open source supporter Mozilla has today announced the arrival of its latest Firefox release, Firefox 12. This build brings a stealthier update system on Windows (it removes the user account control dialog pop-up), multiple security fixes, better WebGL performance on Mac OS X, automatic downloads for URLs pasted into the download manager window, support for the text-align-last CSS property and for the ECMAScript 6 Map and Set objects, and a few more tweaks and improvements.

Firefox 12 is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux and can be downloaded via this page.

MSI Launches GE60 and GE70 Gaming Notebooks

MSI has received high marks from all quarters for its high-end gaming laptops, including being selected for Innovations Honorees at the CES 2012, the IT industry's equivalent of an Oscar. Now, MSI is introducing the GE60 and GE70—the ultimate in next generation gaming notebooks. They feature Intel's latest quad core processor and new generation NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics card. Specially designed to meet the extreme demands of extreme gamers around the world. These killer notebooks also boast awesome peripherals.

Microsoft Reports Record Third-Quarter Revenue

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $17.41 billion for the quarter ended Mar. 31, 2012, a 6% increase from the prior year period. Operating income was $6.37 billion, up 12% from the prior year period.

Net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $5.11 billion and $0.60 per share, compared with $5.23 billion and $0.61 per share, respectively, in the prior year period. Prior year net income and diluted earnings per share included a $461 million or $0.05 per share tax benefit primarily related to a tax settlement with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Customers Find Success With Microsoft Private Cloud

At the sold-out Microsoft Management Summit, Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson spoke to nearly 5,000 IT professionals about their opportunity to deliver fast, reliable services with cloud computing. His keynote speech highlighted how customers around the world are already using Microsoft System Center 2012, available today for evaluation and purchase, to create private clouds. Anderson also discussed how IT professionals can evolve their roles with cloud computing to help their businesses be more competitive.

"Cloud computing gives IT professionals an opportunity to increase their strategic value to their businesses while building new skills," Anderson said. "Microsoft's private cloud solutions help IT professionals become cloud innovators for their companies, managing and delivering the applications people need to be productive across private, hybrid and public clouds."

Hauppauge Launches High Definition Video Streamer

Hauppauge Digital, Inc. has announced ‘StreamEez’, a high definition video streamer designed for organisations who want a simple to use, high quality video streamer to broadcast live events on the Internet.

The StreamEez ‘box’ connects to an HD video camera using either HDMI or Component Video, compresses the camera’s video using a built-in high quality H.264 encoder into a form which is compatible with many common streaming video sites such as Ustream and Justin.TV. StreamEez then connects to a laptop computer over USB. The computer has the Hauppauge StreamEez control application installed, which makes a connection to the streaming Internet web site.

I-O Data Unveils USB 3.0 Host Card for Servers

I-O Data unveiled a new USB 3.0 host card (model: USB3-PEX2S), which is designed to be server-grade, with out of the box support for Windows Server, including USB 3.0 SuperSpeed support for Windows 2003, 2003 R2 64-bit/32-bit; Windows 2008, and 2008 R2 64-bit/32-bit. The low-profile capable card provides two USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports, and appears to be driven by a Renesas-made chipset. It connects to the system bus over PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and draws auxiliary power from a SATA power connector. Slated for market launch in late-April, the USB3-PEX2S from I-O Data is priced at 3,885 JPY (US $48).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Microsoft Ends Mainstream Support for Vista Today, End of Support for XP in 2014

Microsoft Windows Vista is out of its "mainstream support" from today. Users will continue to have free access to security updates, but those without a commercial support contract will have to pay for bug fixes or other patches. This phase between end of mainstream support and end of support is called "extended support", and for Vista, it will last till 2017. The decade-old Windows XP, on the other hand, will see Microsoft pull the plug on its support no later than in 2014.

Source: Microsoft

Synology Unveils RackStation RS2212+ and RS2212RP+ NAS Servers

Synology Inc. today launched RackStation RS2212+ and RS2212RP+, the reliable 10-bay rack mount NAS servers designed with seamless scalability for small and medium businesses.

“Synology RS2212+ and RS2212RP+, the newest addition to the Plus Series line-up, are a highly dependable and scalable solution for small and medium business owners. It delivers high system availability and storage capacity for mission-critical workloads, enabling clients to run business-critical applications with continual service uptime,” said Peter Chen, Product Manager of Synology Inc.

Princeton Intros Bluetooth Virtual KVM

Japanese company Princeton took the concepts of Bluetooth input devices for tablets and smartphones, and turned it around. Its newest creation, the PSC Bluetooth KVM, is a combination of a USB Bluetooth 3.0 dongle, Bluetooth input device driver model, and its own software, that lets you use the input devices that are connected to your PC/laptop (your wired keyboard and mouse), with your Android, iOS, or Windows Mobile smartphone or tablet. This could come particularly handy to those who have their iPads on a stand, next to their PCs on their desks, as you could instantly give input to the iPad, and get things done faster. The PSC Bluetooth virtual KVM, from Princeton, is priced at 4,980 JPY (US $61).

Source: VR-Zone

Microsoft to Deliver Six Patches Next Week

Microsoft has today announced that next week, on this month's 'Patch Tuesday' it will be releasing 6 security bulletins - four rated 'Critical' and two 'Important' - that will tackle 11 vulnerabilities. The issues set to be resolved affect Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Forefront UAG, and .NET Framework, and could lead to remote code execution and information disclosure.

The six patches are scheduled to go live on April 10 at 10 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. GMT). As always, Microsoft recommends that users update as quickly as possible.

Microsoft Fixes Critical RDP Security Hole, Asks Users to Patch or Risk Attacks

Among its usual chunk of updates for Windows, Office, and other products covered by Microsoft Update, Redmond released a key security update for the Remote Desktop Protocol (2671387), and asked all users to apply it as soon as possible. It asked system administrators to give the patch "special priority," given the severity of the security hole. The security hole with RDP spans across all versions of Windows, across all machine architectures. The security hole allows hackers to gain access to RDP hosts and clients. Microsoft gives it 30 days before hackers can develop malware that can exploit the security hole. Find out more about the security hole, and its patch here.

Source: Microsoft

Shuttle Readies X50V3 Fanless All-in-One PC Barebone

Shuttle is working on its newest fanless all-in-one PC, the X50V3. Built with a 15.6-inch touchscreen that feature 1366x768 pixels resolution, the X50V3 measures 39.13 x 32.7 x 4.2 cm, weighing just under 3 kg. It is available in black and white body-color options. It is driven by Intel Atom D2700 dual-core processor (2.13 GHz, HTT), and features two DDR3 SOIMM slots, supporting up to 4 GB of single-channel DDR3-1066 MHz memory. There's provision for one 2.5" SATA SSD/HDD.

Display connectivity is expandable with D-Sub and an HDMI connector, which also gives out multi-channel digital audio. At the helm of graphics is the Intel GMA3650 integrated into the Atom D2700. The chassis embeds a 2 MP web-camera. Other connectivity includes four USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 card reader, gigabit Ethernet, and Wireless b/g/n(150). The X50V3 can be configured to ship with memory, storage, and an OS (Windows or OpenSuSE Linux). There's no word of when the product will officially launch, and at what price.

Source: FanlessTech

Logitec Intros LSV-MS2MWG 2-bay NAS

Japanese company Logitec introduced the LSV-MS2MWG series 2-bay NAS. The LSV-MS2MWG is driven by Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 (WSS) with support for Active Directory. It holds two 3.5-inch SATA hard drives in RAID 1 configuration, lending fault-tolerance. It comes with hard drives in-built, with capacities of 1 TB (500 GB volume), 2 TB (1 TB vol.), and 4 TB (2 TB vol.). It has two gigabit Ethernet interfaces to connect to the network, two USB ports, and one eSATA port, to expand storage and connect devices that can be shared over the network, such as printers.

It also packs energy-saving modes, and a programmable stand-by timer, which ensures the NAS draws full power (30W) only during work hours. Slated for mid-March, the LSV-MS2MWG is priced at 126,000 JPY (US $1,550) for the 1 TB model, 136,500 JPY (US $1,672) for 2 TB, and 155,400 JPY (US $1,911) for the 4 TB one.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

ECS Introduces G24 All-In-One PC Series

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), the world’s leading motherboard, graphics card, barebone system, notebook and mobile device manufacturer is honored to launch the brand new G24 All-In-One computer. The smart and stylish G24 enables you connect to the Internet and media directly, making your digital experience extremely versatile.

Equipped with a larger, but thinner, elegant edge-to-edge 23.6’ touch panel, Full HD 1080p display. Supporting HDMI-IN compatibility and with a high BTO (Build-To-Order) capability, the Thin Mini-ITX motherboard can be interchanged with Intel H61 Express Chipset and is also compatible to support next generation processors.

BioShock Infinite Release Date Announced

We finally have a concrete release date for BioShock Infinite. Irrational Games has announced that BioShock Infinite will be released on October 16, 2012. “After BioShock, we had a vision for a follow up that dwarfed the original in scope and ambition,” said Ken Levine. “BioShock Infinite has been our sole focus for the last four years, and we can’t wait for fans to get their hands on it.”

BioShock Infinite will be available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC with an international release of October 19, 2012.

Source: Irrational Games

Microsoft Closing Down Windows Live and Zune Brands

Microsoft is reportedly killing off two of its service brands, Windows Live and Zune. The two will be restructured and amalgamated with Windows 8 and its store. Windows Live has been a collection of optional services bound to the MSN/Live ID for Windows 7 that provides communication (Windows Live Messenger), calendar/planner (Windows Live Calendar), contacts, photo-organizer; Zune Music and Video player join them on the chopping block. These services will be instead come to be known as:
  • Microsoft Account (Windows Live ID)
  • Mail (Windows Live Mail)
  • Calendar (Windows Live Calendar)
  • People (Windows Live Contacts)
  • Photos (Windows Live Photo Gallery)
  • Music (Zune Music Player)
  • Video (Zune Video Player)

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Increases Windows Vista & 7 Consumer Support to Ten Years

Redmond-based software giant Microsoft Corp. has recently updated its support policy for both Windows Vista and Windows 7 and will be offering extended support to the consumer versions of the two operating systems.

Previously, Microsoft provided 5 years worth of 'mainstream support' for consumers while only businesses got an extra 5 years of extended support. Now, all Windows users will be able to get security updates for 10 years after the operating system's release.

As a result of the policy change, Windows Vista's consumer support was extended to April 11th, 2017. Windows 7 support will end on January 14, 2020.

Source: ZDNet

VLC Media Player Reaches Version 2.0.0

The VideoLAN team has this weekend released the 2.0.0 version (codename Twoflower) of their VLC open source media player. This build includes a heap of updates including reworked Mac and Web interfaces, a new rendering pipeline for video, multi-threaded decoding for H.264, MPEG-4/Xvid and WebM, new filters, support for 10 bits codecs and two new languages (Telugu and Kurmanji), subtitles improvements, (experimental) support for Blu-ray discs, and hundreds of bug fixes.

VLC 2.0.0 is available here for Windows and Mac OS X (or just OS X).

Windows Flag Logo Gets a Facelift, Not A Flag Anymore

The waving flag logo of Microsoft's Windows trademark has reportedly undergone a facelift to keep up with the radically new user interface called "Metro". The new logo will take effect with the next major version of Windows. Metro is Microsoft's most drastic user interface change since Windows 95, and consists of organizing interactive information (smart application shortcuts, gadgets, images, and slideshows), in rectangular slices of the screen-space. The Windows flag logo is redesigned to reflect this change, it's now flat, angled, with all four rectangles in the same plane. CNBeta scored a 1-color version of the logo, and made mock-ups of what it could look like on devices (such as tablets and keyboards).

Source: CNBeta
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