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The Visual Microphone: Passive Recovery of Sound from Video

Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Microsoft Research, and Adobe Research have presented a technique for reconstructing an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. For example, the method can be used to extract intelligible speech from video of a bag of potato chips filmed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Aug 4, 2014 - 78 comments

Stimulating cross-border Cupertino sea sponge

The History of Autocorrect
...some of the calls were quite tricky, and one of the trickiest involved the issue of obscenity. On one hand, Word didn't want to seem priggish; on the other, it couldn't very well go around recommending the correct spelling of mothrefukcer. Microsoft was sensitive to these issues. The solution lay in expanding one of spell-check's most special lists, bearing the understated title: “Words which should neither be flagged nor suggested.”

posted by frimble on Jul 23, 2014 - 78 comments

Last week in my email to you I synthesized our strategic direction

Microsoft Just Laid Off Thousands of Employees With a Hilariously Bad Memo, Robotic letter is an unfortunately normal example of how companies talk to employees.
posted by KokuRyu on Jul 17, 2014 - 95 comments

Laaaarge collection of Legally Free Microsoft Books.

FREE Microsoft eBooks! Who doesn’t love FREE Microsoft eBooks? Ymmv - but, Did I mention FREE! MSDN (Microsoft Developer network) writer Eric Lightman provides links to approximately 150 free ebooks, that anyone interested in MSDN matters might find useful. [more inside]
posted by Faintdreams on Jul 8, 2014 - 34 comments

There are those who said this day would never come...

A year ago, Microsoft was crucified in the press for the PR fiasco of the Xbox One, with rival Sony winning thunderous applause for its PS4 by simply maintaining the status quo. But after doing a 360 180 on its hated policies, Redmond is attempting to close the gap with the most valuable package deal since The Orange Box. A remarkable feat of engineering, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will feature on a single disc the complete HD-remastered campaigns of Halos 1-4 alongside Ridley Scott's Nightfall, the Halo 5 beta, and the holy grail of Xbox gaming: every last one of the series' 100+ multiplayer maps in a single unified matchmaking system incorporating the original engines, gameplay mechanics, and idiosyncrasies of each. Ten years after Halo 2 (and four years after MS shut the taps), IGN suspects a plan by 343 to rekindle (and data-mine) Bungie's magic for an uncertain Halo 5, while Eurogamer welcomes the return of what it calls online FPS's peak. [More reaction: NeoGAF - Ars Technica - Reddit] Bungie, meanwhile, stood with Sony to showcase its upcoming Destiny, the vaunted space epic that will beta this summer before facing its revamped forerunners later this year. More E3 coverage: Microsoft (5min) - Sony (5min) - Nintendo (airing noon EST) - SW: Battlefront - AC: Unity - MGS5: The Phantom Pain - Evolve - No Man's Sky - The Order: 1886 - Sunset Overdrive - Grim Fandango - Bloodborne - Arkham Knight - Scalebound - Mortal Kombat X - The Division - LittleBigPlanet 3 - Inside - Uncharted 4 - Crackdown
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 10, 2014 - 176 comments

Ding Dong the Bits Are Dead

Internet Explorer 6, listed by PC World as the eight worst tech product of all time has finally been inhumed.
posted by jenkinsEar on Apr 8, 2014 - 66 comments

"The Techtopus": Much bigger than we realized

Mark Ames follows up on The Techtopus (previously) with a new report showing a much larger conspiracy than has been previously reported: [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Mar 22, 2014 - 74 comments

Microsoft names Satya Nadella CEO

Satya Nadella, a 22 year veteran of Microsoft, is the company's new CEO. Founder Bill Gates will step down as Chairman. [more inside]
posted by gwint on Feb 4, 2014 - 64 comments

Hello Influencers!

Got 30 seconds of XBox One game footage and absolutely nothing negative to say about it? A tweet from Ron Smith, community director for Machinima UK, announced that if you posted videos for Machinima, you could be making $3 CPM ($3 per thousand video views) on those videos. Only one catch: the agreement specifically forbids you from saying "anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its Games"... in fact, you can't disclose the existence of the agreement. OK, maybe two catches: this may violate FTC rules on endorsements in advertising [PDF]. Smith's tweet was quickly taken down (and the Twitter handle taken by some vituperative anti-Machinima person), but the news spread to NeoGAF before being confirmed by ArsTechinica and by Kotaku. Want to know who nibbled at the bait? Check the Poptent activity panel for Nick Sheets, who according to LinkedIn is the "Manager, Affiliate Activations (Branded Entertainment)" for Machinima's L.A. office.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta on Jan 20, 2014 - 18 comments

Fixing Windows 8

Wow! Microsoft is thinking about bringing back the Start Menu and Modern apps on the Desktop. This is perfect timing! Here you’ll why it’s a good idea and how they should do it.
posted by Artw on Dec 12, 2013 - 174 comments

Tech rivals unite against surveillance

Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn and Aol have all teamed up to oppose widespread government surveillance. In an open letter to the US president and members of congress, the companies urge the government to reform its digital spy apparatus. Live reactions at the Guardian.
posted by brina on Dec 9, 2013 - 126 comments

Warped Big Blues

Like the AmigaOS, TOS, and BeOS, IBM's OS/2 operating system's rise and fall gives insight into the current computing landscape.
posted by juiceCake on Nov 26, 2013 - 39 comments

Microsoft's New CutIE

Blonde hair, skimpy skirt, big blue eyes. Yup, it's ... INTERNET EXPLORER — Get ready for Inori, the 'personification of IE'. Microsoft launches ad campaign in Singapore featuring a new Internet Explorer 11 mascot (mildly NSFW anime, not hentai).
posted by cenoxo on Nov 8, 2013 - 97 comments

Smartphone Wars Go Nuclear

It begins. A consortium of mobile phone makers including Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony have launched a barrage of patent suits against Google and major Android handset makers such as Samsung, Huawei and HTC. Unlike previous patent suits from the major shareholders, these suits are on the rocket docket of Eastern Texas.
posted by Talez on Nov 1, 2013 - 100 comments

It Was Either That Or "I Will Remember You" by Sarah MacLachlan

Steve Ballmer bid farewell to Microsoft employees today after nearly 14 years as CEO, and he did it in his usual understated fashion. [more inside]
posted by entropicamericana on Sep 27, 2013 - 50 comments

There is never a perfect time for this type of transition...

Ballmer Announces Retirement From Microsoft. [more inside]
posted by mazola on Aug 23, 2013 - 194 comments

One Strategy, One Microsoft, One Xbone

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced a reorganization of the company today to focus on devices and services. Ballmer said that the goal was to have "One Microsoft" where "our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most". [more inside]
posted by wcfields on Jul 11, 2013 - 214 comments

How Can Any Company Ever Trust Microsoft Again?

How Can Any Company Ever Trust Microsoft Again?A thoughtful essay about why companies and individuals shouldn't trust Microsoft in light of the recent leaks.
posted by stoneweaver on Jun 28, 2013 - 44 comments

Alternatives to Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, etc.

Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple are being monitored by the FBI and NSA, with Dropbox "coming soon." So what can you do? Use some alternatives. As Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, told NPR: "we made the choice to just not track people so there is nothing to turn over."
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 26, 2013 - 118 comments

And then there was One?

Microsoft has unveiled their new console, and it wants to dominate your living room. How Xbox One plans to fight Sony, Steam, and everything else.
posted by Artw on May 21, 2013 - 495 comments

The enigmatic language of the new Windows 8 ads

"What was most perplexing of all to me was that, although I was certain that the ads contained Chinese phrases and sentences, every Chinese person to whom I showed them emphatically maintained that they could not understand a single word."
posted by roll truck roll on May 18, 2013 - 56 comments

"a watchful eye on technology and marketing"

Back in the day, Ken Segall helped create Apple's Think Different campaign and helped name the iMac. More recently he worked on JC Penney's Yours Truly, commercial, before JCP ousted Ron Johnson as its CEO. He writes a sharp, entertaining blog called Ken Segall's Observatory, where he offers opinions on advertising and design geekery. His take on Ron Johnson's failure is interesting, as is this post on what it takes for an advertisement to stand out in a crowd. He calls attention to surprisingly decent ads from Microsoft and Dell, critiques terrible ads (from Microsoft and JC Penney and even Apple, and comments on whether skeuomorphism has its advantages. He's also fond of discussing product names. Give this one a skip if advertising gives you hives, but for those of you who're interested in things like this Segall's blog is especially choice stuff.
posted by Rory Marinich on May 3, 2013 - 26 comments

Environment mapping for the masses

Microsoft's IllumiRoom takes gaming visuals outside the box and onto the living room. Basically projection mapping for your living room, based on a 3D scan using Kinect, Microsoft Research's IllumiRoom lets you show either all of a game's environment, or only certain parts, projected on your living room walls.
posted by Joakim Ziegler on May 2, 2013 - 24 comments

The day the irony detectors died...

Fairsearch (a group led by Microsoft, Oracle and Expedia) has filed a complaint [PDF] with the EU claiming that Google has a monopoly in the mobile market and is using its mobile position to force its other products on users.
posted by sodium lights the horizon on Apr 9, 2013 - 53 comments

The unsaid subtext was "millions of Gamers JUST LIKE US."

"Today I donated my Xbox 360 Elite to Goodwill. It represented a time in my life as a developer that I'm not overly proud about living." A former Microsoft game designer reflects on how his ex-company turned gaming into a bro thing and perfected a formula for the modern console title.
posted by Rory Marinich on Apr 7, 2013 - 128 comments

It is a roleplaying game made in excel.

Arena.Xlsm is the fever dream of a Canadian Chartered Accountant with a love of roleplaying games (Hat tip to Special K over at mefightclub!)
posted by boo_radley on Mar 26, 2013 - 27 comments

Does any of this seem familiar to anyone else?

Michael Dell, with the help of a $2 billion dollar investment from Microsoft, is taking Dell private. Dell was once a $100 billion company, but has fallen behind HP and Lenovo in marketshare in the post-PC era. This is the largest leveraged buyout since 2007. [more inside]
posted by entropicamericana on Feb 5, 2013 - 70 comments

CES 2013

The International Consumer Electronics Show has been hosted in some form or fashion since 1967. But with the absence of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, journalists are asking if the show is still relevant.
posted by zabuni on Jan 8, 2013 - 74 comments

Not the Borg After all...

Ballmer, Sinofsky and the struggle for the soul of Microsoft
posted by Artw on Dec 11, 2012 - 52 comments

Fixing Windows 8

Classic Shell is an open-source program that fixes two of the biggest problems users perceive with the newly-released Windows 8: it brings back the Start Menu, and it allows users to log-in directly to the Desktop instead of the Start Screen. (8.4 MB WINDOWS DOWNLOAD)
posted by JHarris on Oct 29, 2012 - 154 comments

Benn Jordan tries using the DMCA

“These companies are willing to shove 1,000 attorneys down your throat if you share music, but won’t even respond to a legal order about actual music theft and piracy.” -Benn Jordan [via] [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 17, 2012 - 23 comments

In the Clizzoud

Microsoft is pushing hard to win adoption and support for Windows Azure Cloud services. How hard? Nerdcore hard. When you think "cloud", do you think rap? Someone at Microsoft does, apparently.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso on Oct 12, 2012 - 55 comments

Nokia MeeGon tarina

The Story of Nokia MeeGo
posted by Ad hominem on Oct 10, 2012 - 34 comments

You got your type annotations in my javascript!

TypeScript is Microsoft's new open source programming language. [more inside]
posted by Jpfed on Oct 3, 2012 - 69 comments

To Design a Microsoft(.com)

A first-hand account of the creation of the new Microsoft home page.
posted by gilrain on Oct 2, 2012 - 44 comments

The Work Anywhere Theory, in Practice

A year ago, programmer Mark O'Connor decided to swap his MacBook for an iPad and a Linode VPS (Virtual Private Server) development environment. Today, he discusses the success of his experiment.
posted by gilrain on Sep 19, 2012 - 79 comments

Is it curtains for Windows 8?

Some early reviews of Windows 8: "The worst computing experience I've ever had." "A technological, ideological and functional failure." "I’ve felt almost totally at sea — confused, paralyzed, angry, and ultimately resigned to the pain of having to alter the way I do most of my work." (previously) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 23, 2012 - 281 comments

Microsoft announces support for its open document format

... Microsoft made an unobtrusive announcement that brings a degree of closure to a seven year long epic battle between some of the largest technology companies in the world. The same saga pitted open source advocates against proprietary vendors, and for the first time brought the importance of technical standards to the attention of millions of people around the world... [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 15, 2012 - 98 comments

Goodbye, Hotmail

Bored of Gmail? Why don't you try Outlook?
posted by vidur on Jul 31, 2012 - 236 comments

How Microsoft blew it

Microsoft’s low-octane swan song was nothing if not symbolic of more than a decade littered with errors, missed opportunities, and the devolution of one of the industry’s innovators into a “me too” purveyor of other companies’ consumer products. ... How did this jaw-dropping role reversal happen? How could a company that stands among the most cash-rich in the world, the onetime icon of cool that broke IBM’s iron grip on the computer industry, have stumbled so badly in a race it was winning? [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Jul 26, 2012 - 124 comments

The AIDS Quilt Online

Microsoft has posted the entire AIDS quilt online in a zoomable format. [AIDS quilt previously: 1,2]
posted by Lutoslawski on Jul 26, 2012 - 35 comments

The Next Microsoft

The Next Microsoft - A 3 day experiment in rebranding Microsoft by art student Andrew Kim.
posted by Artw on Jul 6, 2012 - 76 comments

Gates on tech and ed

A Conversation With Bill Gates About the Future of Higher Education at the Chronicle of Higher Education. As always, Bill is honest and interesting as he talks about new developments and how they fit into a realistic view of the next 10-20 years of higher ed.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jun 27, 2012 - 41 comments

You can do anything with on{X}. Anything at all.

on{X} is an automation framework that allows you to program and customize various aspects of your Android Smartphone using JavaScript. The developers at Microsoft have also provided a set of customizable pre-baked recipes for the JavaScriptially-challenged. [more inside]
posted by schmod on Jun 22, 2012 - 25 comments

Surface to Air

Borrowing a name from another product, Microsoft today announced it's first ever hardware products running a mainstream version of Windows, and the first designed for Windows 8: The Microsoft Surface, in ARM and Intel flaovours. Hands on. Video highlighting the stand and covers.
posted by Artw on Jun 18, 2012 - 404 comments

Candid lines from a teleprompter like "wow, this is pretty sweet".

Microsoft at E3. "Microsoft’s new strategy is to pump and smear, like someone squeezing ketchup onto a hamburger bun. They plan to pump the Xbox full of more television, more movies, more music—and then smear all of that content around, across multiple devices. But Microsoft isn’t thinking about “why.” It’s pumping and smearing, pumping and smearing, in the deranged hope that the result will be a delicious hamburger, rather than a soggy mess."
posted by Sebmojo on Jun 6, 2012 - 77 comments

Why Windows 8 Scares Me - and Should Scare You Too

Why Windows 8 Scares Me - and Should Scare You Too [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jun 1, 2012 - 318 comments

Taking a ride on the Metro

Creating the Windows 8 user experience — an inside look from the Windows engineering team, with a brief history of the Windows user interface.
posted by cenoxo on May 19, 2012 - 98 comments

Nook finds it's niche

Barnes and Noble is spinning off Nook into a subsidiary business after a $300M deal with Microsoft which gives the Redmond company a 17% stake, bringing an end to a patent dispute between the two companies and sending shares skyrocketing. Commentary from John Scalzi and Tobias Buckell. Meanwhile the Kindle Fire, Amazon's competitor to the Nook tablet, has grabbed over 50% of the Android tablet market.
posted by Artw on May 1, 2012 - 91 comments

These devices teach me humility

Engadget's Distro talks to UI guru, Xerox PARC alumni, gadget collector (previously) and Microsoft Research Principal Researcher Bill Buxton about the future of natural interfaces.
posted by Artw on Apr 24, 2012 - 9 comments

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