Windows 8.1: Everything You Need to Know

Microsoft continues to reveal details about the update to Windows 8, now known as Windows 8.1 and formerly known as Windows Blue.
Windows 8.1 shown off at the Microsoft Build developer conference in June and the final version will be available as a free downloadable Windows 8 update.
Microsoft also said in early May that there would be a preview version available before full release which we'll get on June 26

The "first look" blog post by Microsoft's Antoine Leblond doesn't talk about a Start button. It does, however, say that the Start "tip" will change to "be the familiar Windows logo".

That's pretty much the same as before - so, sorry people, you won't be getting a proper Start menu. "The new tip appears anytime you move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, and is always visible on the taskbar when on the desktop," says Leblond.

Windows 8.1 will bring greater personalisation

earlier this year: "Not only will Windows 8.1 respond to customer feedback, but it will add new features and functionality that advance the touch experience and mobile computing's potential." The feedback he's talking about is surely the mellowing of the Start screen dream and the reintroduction of a Start button of some sort.

Windows 8.1 security: what's been improved

"We're only a bit more than seven months into a new, bold approach to computing," continues Leblond. 
"The response to Windows 8 has been substantial - from new devices to strong app growth to key enhancements to the OS and apps. We've learned from customers in how they are using the product and have received a lot of feedback. We've delivered hundreds of updates to the product and to apps. We're just getting started, and the potential ahead is tremendous."
"We've been watching, we've been listening"

We've picked out the top 10 enhancements in Windows 8.1 along with some quotes from Leblond about each one.

1. Lock screen slideshow

"As people started using Windows 8, we found that people were using their Lock screens to show pictures of their families," Leblond says. So in Windows 8.1, you can turn your PC or tablet into a picture frame by making your Lock screen a slide show of your pictures - either locally on the device or photos from Microsoft SkyDrive. "We also added the ability to take pictures with the built-in camera right from the Lock screen without having to log in."

2. More backgrounds

Windows 8.1 offers more colours and backgrounds for the Start screen - including some with motion. You can also choose your desktop background as your Start screen background.

3. Different tile sizes

As in Windows Phone 8, the Windows 8.1 Start screen features a variety of tile sizes including a new large and new small tile. It's also even easier to name groups and rearrange tiles, says Leblond: "We found people were accidentally moving tiles on their Start screen so in Windows 8.1, you press and hold (or right click) to move things around." You can now select multiple apps all at once, resize them, uninstall them, or rearrange them: 

"View all apps just by swiping from the bottom to view all apps, and we've added the ability to filter your apps by name, date installed, most used, or by category. You want the Start screen to be about all the things you love. 

So when you install a new app from the Windows Store, we no longer put that app on your Start screen. Instead, 

you'll find these apps under apps view as mentioned above and marked as 'new' where you can choose to pin the apps you want to your Start screen." Tiles can be even smaller

4. Aggregated search

Instead of having to select an app and then search when you go to the Search charm, Bing now powers an aggregated search system from the web, your files, SkyDrive and elsewhere. Leblond says: "We think this will really change the way you interact with the Web and with Windows making it quicker and easier to get things done. It is the modern version of the command line! Results from local files, apps, and settings are easily accessed in the same convenient view by scrolling to the left."

5. Enhanced apps

New app enhancements are also promised to all the built-in apps. According to Leblond: "The Photos app now has some new editing features that let you quickly edit or adjust photos when you view them in the Photos app or open them from other places like the Mail, SkyDrive, and Camera apps. And our Music app has been completely redesigned to help pick and play music from your collection. We plan to talk more about updates to the built in apps in 

Windows 8.1 and some brand new apps we will be introducing in the future. We're also making improvements for using multiple apps at once in Windows 8.1."

6. More snap views

If, like us, you use Windows 8 a lot, you'll have been frustrated by the lack of 50:50 split snap views. This is the game-changer for Windows 8 apps. "You will have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at the same time," says Leblond. "You can resize apps to any size you want, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each screen if you have a multiple displays connected, you can have different Windows Store apps running on all the displays at the same time and the Start Screen can stay open on one monitor (yes!). This makes multitasking even easier. Also in Windows 8.1, you can have multiple windows of the same app snapped together - such as two Internet Explorer windows." We're really looking forward to that.

7. An enhanced Windows Store

App updates will now install automatically in the background as they come through the Store. And search is available in the upper right hand corner for finding the apps you want. Leblond elaborates: "The improved Windows Store is designed to show more info than before in Windows 8 with detailed lists of top free apps, new releases, and picks for you on the homepage. The app listing is more descriptive and informative and includes an area for related apps to help with app discovery."

8. Save direct to SkyDrive, plus offline files

In Windows 8.1 your files can be saved directly to SkyDrive. The SkyDrive app will also get a new update so that files are available even when offline - as in the desktop version.
SkyDrive will get offline support

9. You no longer need the desktop Control Panel

The updated PC Settings in Windows 8.1 gives you access to all your settings on your device without having to go to the Control Panel on the desktop. "You can do things like change your display resolution, set power options, see the make and model of my PC, change the product key, let me do Windows Update, and even join a domain – all from PC Settings," says Leblond. You can also manage SkyDrive from PC Settings as well.

10. A new Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 11 will ship with Windows 8.1. "IE11 will offer even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new features we think you will enjoy," says Leblond. "For example, you can now adjust the appearance of modern IE11 to always show the address bar and you can have as many open tabs as you like. And you can access your open tabs in sync across your other Windows 8.1 devices."

11. Better with a mouse and keyboard

For devices without touch, Windows 8.1 features a number of improvements for easier navigation using a mouse and keyboard. "PCs today are evolving for a world of mobile computing where people interact with their devices through touch, and we designed Windows 8 for this," explains Leblond. "But we also recognize there are many non-touch devices in use today - especially in the commercial setting."

12. A change to the Start 'tip'

You've already heard about this one, right? Leblond adds that there are also options to change what the corners do, and options to boot into alternate screens: "For example, if you prefer to see the Apps view versus all the tiles, you can choose to have the Start screen go directly to Apps view."
Microsoft says it will be releasing more Windows 8.1 details "in the coming weeks. As you've heard before, Windows 8.1 will be available later this year as a free update."
Microsoft also says that it will also be sharing more about Windows Embedded at Build. Embedded will be"updated in the same timeframe as Windows 8.1. We're aligning the platforms even more to bring Windows to form factors of all types, including not only tablets and PCs, but also the growing category of devices such as ATMs, point of service (POS) terminals, and kiosks."

Gmail's New Inbox Gets a Tabbed View - Gives A Way To Auto Organize Your Mails

Google is rolling out a major update for Gmail, adding tabs to the top of your inbox to 
automatically categorize smart labels such as promotions and social updates.

According to the official Gmail blog, you'll be able to select which categories will be enabled as tabs (Social, Promotions, Updates, or Forums, as well as "Primary" for your classic inbox). The tabs will show you how many new emails you have for each category and offer another way to organize your inbox. You'll be able to drag-and-drop messages between tabs and set specific senders to always appear in a certain tab.

Don't worry if this isn't to your liking (it might not be if you prefer the Priority Inbox or other non-default Gmail view, which the tabs won't work with). You'll be able to turn off this tabbed view if you wish.

Here's the demo video published over official gmail blog:


The feature is rolling out gradually on the desktop and is coming to Android and iOS apps as well over the next few weeks (on mobile, the tabs will slide in from the side). If you'd like to enable this sooner, keep an eye on the gear menu for the "Configure Inbox" option in Settings when it's available.

Xbox One: Entertainment First, Gaming Second. A Replacement to TV?

Microsoft may have been the last of the major console makers to announce their next generation system but they certainly didn’t disappoint - that is, depending on whom you ask. Leading up to the reveal, many believed Microsoft would position the next generation system as a device designed to be as much of an entertainment hub as a gaming system.

After watching the Xbox One unveiling, however, we are inclined to believe that most got it wrong. Given the One’s heavy focus on live television, it’s easy to envision how Microsoft may have figured out a way to transform the Xbox from a gaming console that also handles media into a home entertainment hub that just happens to play video games.

The Xbox One is now positioned to become a huge mainstream success if Microsoft plays their cards right and even more so if they can get broadcast executives on board with their vision. There’s still a lot of unknowns, but let’s take a closer look at the facts thus far.

The Xbox One includes HDMI in and out which will be used as a passthrough for your cable or satellite set-top box. That’s huge in and of itself because it means Xbox One users can circumvent the dismal programming guides found on traditional set-top boxes. Instead, users will have access to OneGuide.

With OneGuide, users can navigate through programming using voice and gesture commands via Kinect 2.0 which will come standard with every Xbox One. These new input methods are designed to do away with traditional remote controls. What’s more, OneGuide contains fresh features that let users see what’s trending and tune in immediately or even track fantasy sports stats while watching live television as part of an exclusive deal with the NFL.

It wasn’t until 30 minutes into the hour long event that Microsoft finally got around to discuss games – something that’s extremely telling in. It’s understandable, however, as Microsoft needed to save some content to show off at E3 next month.

One of the bigger questions in the overall picture has to do with how devices like the Xbox One will affect the way television programming is broadcast over the long haul. Tech companies have been trying for years to get broadcast behemoths to change their ways and there’s been a good bit of progress. We’re now able to stream pre-recorded movies and television shows from the likes of Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, purchase similar content from iTunes and even stream select channels live to mobile devices.

But it’s not enough. Technology is simply outpacing the traditional broadcast model. Could the Xbox One be the catalyst for change that we have all been hoping for?

People want to be able to watch content when they want, where they want, and from any device they want. Like sports and the latest episode of your favorite sitcom - not some television show that aired more than a week ago. Many consumers wouldn’t have a problem paying for the convenience.

Other tech giants are well aware of this trend, and one in particular, Apple has been long rumored to be taking on television. Reports of Apple courting broadcast executives are well-documented. True enough, a television set that could perform such tasks was something Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said he had finally cracked just before his death.

The Xbox 360 wasn’t designed to be a media powerhouse but it managed to perform those tasks exceedingly well late in its life. Just over a year ago it was noted that the console was used more for watching TV shows, movies and listening to music than playing video games online. With those kind of usage statistics it’s no surprise that Microsoft would build the One from the ground-up to be a media device first. Just imagine what the One and the PlayStation 4 could really do with live streaming television.

There’s little doubt that the Xbox One will be a commercial success just like the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox before it. The media-minded system will appeal to people that aren’t necessarily diehard console gamers – a category of consumer that is much more lucrative than the limited scope of hardcore gamers. We simply hope that Microsoft's new media device and others like it can bring about more rapid change with regards to the television industry.

Leave your reviews about XBOX revolution in comments.

Publicizing Your Website - "Tips" and "Tricks"

Some folks mistakenly think that as soon as they publish their Web site, the world will beat a path to their cyber- door. Unfortunately, getting web surfers to visit your site isn't quite that easy! registering your Website with a bunch of search engines makes it easier for people actively hunting for your site to find you on the Web.But to attract visitors on your site who already do not know who you are and what your site is all about,you must do more than just submit your site to search engines : you must publicize your site. 

Understanding Search Services

Registering your site with search services such as Yahoo! and Google,is the first step for any successful site publicity campaign.To make the most of your search service listing,however you need to make sure that you code your HTML properly - before you submit your site.

Over the last few years, the number of websites has mushroomed to titanic proportions, and search services have reacted by merging with one another and by tweaking the way they examine site submissions.The result? These days,submitting to site services has become both art and science - especially for those hoping to win a coveted high ranking.

Despite all these changes, the following are still three most important things you can do to help search services classify your site properly,in order of importance :

1. Specify a descriptive page title :

Search services first examine the title of your Web page.(By title i mean the text you place between beginning and ending HTML <TITLE> tags, and which appears in the browser window's title bar when your page is loaded.)

2. Include appropriate page content :

After the title, search services look at the text that appears on your webpage.

3. Add meaningful HTML meta tags :

Finally search services scan special HTML tags,called meta tags, to decide how to classify your site.

Although submitting your site to many search services is still free,more and more search services are beginning to charge a fee for listing your Website.

Going Beyond Search Services

Getting your site listed with search services is great first step in any site publicity plan. If you really want to pull in visitors though, you will have to do more.Two of the best ways to publicize your site are :

1. Getting other people to link to your site from theirs.

  • Research the web and come up with sites that are similar in content to yours.
  • Send a note to each site requesting a link.

2. Advertising your site.

  • Add your domain name to your e-mail signature.
  • Participate in newsgroups,lists and chats.

Using Site Statistics

If you are serious about reaching readers with a Website, you need to know what are site statistics and how to use them.

Site statistic software sits on the same web server your Website files sit on.

Every time a reader loads or interacts with your Webpage,statistic software logs the interaction. 

The kinds of statistics typically logged include :

  1.  How many hits each page of your site gets, and when.
  2.  Which site referred the visitor to your site.
  3.  How many times surfers tried to view your site, but couldn't (and why).
  4.  What country your site visitors are from.
  5.  Which make and model of browser surfers are using to view your site.

    Accessing Site Statistics :

    Site statistic software must be installed on a Web-server; it doesn't work if its installed on your computer. The company that hosts your Web site controls which statistics package you have access to and how you access it.

    Google Goggles - Virtual Search Application

    Goggles Logo

    Until now the only option for web search was typing or speaking but now you can search by taking a picture.
    For all those who do not know yet, Google Goggles is a virtual search application for Android and iOS.
    So when and where are we going to use this application ?
    Well there must be times when seeing a landmark you should have  wondered if you know what this landmark is or knowing details about an artwork by just seeing it is not at all easy until and unless you are an art-lover.Searching them by typing random words is not just a good option.

    Now with Google Goggles all you need to do is just open the app,fill as much of the screen as possible with the object and take a picture.

    Here is what you get.You just captured the landmark in Google Goggles and it do the rest for you.It even shows all the related information links about the landmark.

    Here Google Goggles figured out not just the title of this artistic piece but also its history and all other related links too.

    Wine Bottles
    Oh see what we got here. Google goggles identifies the wine bottles too.

    Here you got exact book match without typing or saying a word.


    Google Goggles identifies almost all logos and tells its brand or company name. Well it can also help you for cheating in a logo quiz.

    Business Card

    Another good use of this app is on a business card. You can easily save the contact number or copy the whole information.

    Translating Text
    When traveling places where you do not know the language,Google Goggles can translate text for you.

    Bar-code Scanner
    Surprisingly Google Goggles works amazing as a bar-code scanner too.As you can see in the picture above.

    Though Google Goggles is a really cool and helpful app but virtual search technology is still in its early stage.
    As for now it only searches things like landmarks,logos,books,contact, bar-codes.

    But for now it can not search food,plants,animals,cars.

    If this technology advances it will be able to do more cool things like filling answers of Sudoku,solving puzzles,suggesting move in chess game or taking picture of leaf and identify the plant.

    Microsoft Xbox One - One Size that Fits All Your Entertainment

    It's been a long time since Microsoft released a new gaming console, but it isn't surprising that a new console was needed to match the needs of gamers and to bring a perfect rival to Sony's PlayStation and Nitendo's Wii consoles

    "Microsoft unveiled the new console, called Xbox One. Featuring an all in one entertainment system that completely fills up anyone's living room desires"

    Microsoft has unveiled the new Xbox, and it's called Xbox One. It's Microsoft's first new console in more than seven years. Yes, we've had many expectations for this console, especially since Sony and Nintendo have already taken their first steps in the next-gen landscape. Here's what you need to know that was announced at Microsoft's event in Redmond, Washington.

    The Xbox One

    The original Xbox debuted in the fall of 2005, which feels like a million years ago.. even if it's only seven and a half. It's high time for a new console, even if some tech pundits are questioning the value of gaming hardware platforms in the current age.


    The Xbox One is large, sleek, and black, and looks like a piece of AV equipment. The controller and Kinect unit are redesigned, too: the Kinect and Xbox One, in particular, sport sharp-angled, glossy-black boxy looks. As a set, the Xbox One really does feel like some elaborate piece of home theater gear...and considering its mission to knit entertainment together into a modern all-in-one package, that's clearly intentional. It also looks awfully big, compared with current-gen consoles and how they've slimmed down.

    The name "Xbox One" suggests a reboot, a fresh start. Maybe from this day forward, Microsoft's connected living-room PC strategies will spring from the Xbox One. Or, it'll just a be a very good gaming console.

    Home entertainment
    Microsoft promises that this is a better-connected way of linking TV, games, and entertainment in one unit -- something the Xbox 360 already does, but will do more via commands like "Xbox, on." As was said during the initial presser, you're "going to have a relationship with your TV." The elevator pitch: take on a living room that has become "too complex," and make a system that knits games, TV, and entertainment.

    So, how will that happen?

    There are universal gestures such as grab-and-pan and swipe up; watching live TV will involve maximizing and minimizing the screen in a top corner. Live TV will be part of the Xbox One experience, via HDMI-in. Yes, cable TV looks like part of the package.

    But we haven't seen, other than some picture-in-picture overlays, how exactly TV is piped in and more deeply interacted with...and who the partners are. Comcast was mentioned, but what other companies will contribute to letting the Xbox One hook in and become a true TV accessory? That was the challenge that daunted Google TV and the Wii U. Right now, it doesn't look like the Xbox One replaces your cable box or your DVR, even though it's large enough to be both.

    The Xbox One does knit together new voice commands to do some PC-like stuff: you can order movie tickets, for instance, engage in Skype, or pull up fantasy sports stats while watching a game. The conversational, Siri-meets-Google Now-like voice commands hopefully will have clear menu representation on the console, as otherwise it could get confusing.

    "It's an all-in-one entertainment console" is a pitch we've heard before, dating back to the PlayStation 3 and before that -- really, going back all the way to the 3DO. It hasn't always worked, but the Xbox One is better positioned because the Xbox 360's already pretty successful at being an excellent streaming-video device.

    (Credit: Microsoft)


    Under the hood, details so far include an eight-core processor and graphics made by AMD, 8GB of RAM, Blu-ray, USB 3.0, HDMI in/out, and a 500GB hard drive. Besides all of this, Microsoft is promising a new operating system fusing Xbox and Windows.

    Xbox One architecture has "three operating systems in one": Xbox, a kernel of Windows (perhaps like Windows RT), and a multitasking interface. The idea seems to be that this console will be a multitasker at heart. Check out a head-to-head comparison with the PlayStation 4 specs known so far, however, and you can see that the distance between Sony and Microsoft, in terms of hardware, will be shorter than ever.

    The Xbox One's Kinect.

    A new Kinect comes with the Xbox One, complete with improved accuracy. It has a 1080p camera, Skype connectivity, and understanding of rotational movement in a structure like a skeleton. Microsoft even claims the new Kinect can read your heartbeat. It can also recognize your controller, not just your hands -- suggesting uses that sound a little like the ones for PlayStation Move's wand.

    The Xbox One controller

    New controller

    The Xbox controller's gotten a revamp with an integrated battery, improved ergonomics, a better D-pad, and improved response triggers. It looks similar but has gotten a bunch of gamer-oriented tweaks.


    The tablet-based SmartGlass experience will center on Xbox One, and will work as before with a variety of phones and tablets. Baked-in Wi-Fi Direct on the Xbox One will allow Bluetooth-like direct communication between external devices, which could come in handy for other future peripherals, too. Second screens will be a major method of interacting with the Xbox One, but details were scarce at the Xbox event -- how will it be better than, and more profound than, SmartGlass as it currently exists?

    Xbox Live

    Built on the existing service and usernames, the new Xbox Live promises 300,000 servers for Xbox One, a whopping number. Matchmaking services will work while you're doing other tasks like watching movies or Web browsing, and bigger, more quickly connecting matches are promised, too. Microsoft has discussed some cloud services on the Xbox One that seem promising: user-based cloud game saves, uploaded game recording, and even the potential for cloud-processing-enhanced games. How that will play out isn't clear.


    Microsoft plans eight new franchises for the Xbox One in the first year, a hopeful sign for a platform that's become too sequel-dependent. Of course, Forza 5 was shown off, but a new game called Quantum Break from the developers of Alan Wake looks like the sort of game we're more used to seeing from PlayStation, with a big-studio design and cinematic feel. But there is some bad news: like the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One isn't backward-compatible with Xbox 360 games.

    TV on Xbox

    "Xbox is going to be the next water cooler." That was said during the event to suggest the Xbox One's role as a social-TV platform. To that end, it sounds like Microsoft is developing TV shows and original programming for the Xbox One, making a greater leap into Netflix-like original programming. Steven Spielberg announced a new TV series based on Halo, and the NFL demonstrated some level of interaction with fantasy stats and Skyping with NFL broadcasts.


    The Xbox One will be available "later this year," so that means 2013 after all. Price and a specific date will have to wait...after all, E3 is just weeks away. In short, there are still several things about the Xbox One we don't know...and would like to.

    Early Availability notification signups:

    Microsoft is also accepting early notification signups for the availability of Xbox One.

    Now its time to know what you all think. You can leave a review over the poll (till its open) and also give us review over the new Xbox One in comments

    Will Xbox One match the Entertainment needs of its audience?

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