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Microsoft Reacts To Feedback But Did They Get Windows 8.1 Right? 543

MojoKid writes "Microsoft's Windows "Blue" 8.1 update has been long-awaited. Those who've been using the base OS since launch have no doubt been anticipating some of the enhancements that are coming. At the moment, Windows 8.1 is available only as a preview, and if you are looking to give it a try, there are a couple of things to be aware of. The most important is the fact that once you upgrade, you can't easily downgrade — so you may wish to try the update in a virtual machine or on a test machine if possible. In addition, your current product keys will not work, so you'll effectively be turning your activated OS into an evaluation (it's assumed that once 8.1 goes final, we'll be able to update using our original keys). That said, Microsoft's free update offers a slew of enhancements like a new Start Screen, the return of the Start Button, even quicker shutdown and restart, boot to desktop, quicker integrated search and Skydrive enhancements. All told, Microsoft's new OS release is a more than worthy successor for end users but now Microsoft really needs to work on getting developers on board."

Comment Re:two sides to this (Score 1) 433

Android locks the user into a firmware jail, so that he can't interfere with the platform DRM. Android devices that support "rooting" will clear the phone storage before giving the user root access, and applications providing DRM-exclusive content (I don't know about Netflix, but I know that the Sky app behaves this way) will refuse to run on a "rooted" device.

Comment Re:Still need to install something (Score 1) 337

There is no industry standard for DRM in HTML5. The EME proponents didn't agree on any DRM standard. For stupid political reasons, all theirs.

Before: in order to watch Netflix, you needed an HTML browser AND the Flash plugin.
Now: in order to watch Netflix, you need Internet Explorer 11 on Windows. Firefox, Chrome and Linux users need not apply.
Where's the practical, workable value of this evolution?

Comment Re:two sides to this (Score 1) 433

You can't implement DRM in open source, so Firefox and Linux are out of the question. Chrome will probably implement some EME-compliant DRM, since Google are among the main proponents of EME. But you'll probably have to run it under a closed OS, such as Windows or (unrooted) Android in order to make it work.

Comment Re:Isn't this done already? (Score 1) 247

More than 95% of the population actually have a life that goes beyond watching youtube and reading reduced versions of web sites. For example they'll have to work.

They'll want, sooner or later, to use office, to embed a movie clip into a powerpoint slide, to collect the pictures from their digital camera, to open large zipped files, to send a properly formatted email, to read a DVD with video clips from their 2004 holidays, to play a game beyond the limited subset allowed by touch controls, to make a video chat while they're working on a document, to access that web site that requires Flash or even Java.

And even when the stuff they want to do can be done on a tablet, the user experience there is clumsy and the applications are almost always limited - many essential features are outright missing because the "app" designers give for granted that the user will use a desktop PC in order to access them.

Comment Re:Really (Score 1) 229

I can merely walk away or choose not to be around the person wearing Glass...

Not if both of you want to be in the same place.

or perhaps kindly ask them to remove them or otherwise disable it.

And they're free to ignore your request, to lie to you about the thing being disabled, and/or film your reaction and upload it to YouTube.

People are upset not because government agencies are doing the same thing, but mainly because there's not a damn thing citizens can do to stop it, or prevent massive abuse.

On the contrary, people have the right to interrogate the authorities about the images they're collecting and the scope of the collection. They can propose laws regulating, limiting or even preventing the collection. They can elect politicians who are against it, and vote against, or no longer vote for, the politicians who are in favour of it.


Monsanto Executive Wins World Food Prize 271

sfcrazy writes "A top Monsanto executive has won the prestigious World Food Prize. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the award where Robert T. Fraley, the executive vice president and CTO of Monsanto, won the prize along with two other scientists from Belgium and the US. The award was given for devising a method to insert genes from another organism into plant cells, which could produce new genetic lines with highly favorable traits."

Microsoft Kills Xbox One Phone-Home DRM 547

One of the biggest criticisms of Microsoft's recently-announced Xbox One console was that it would require an internet connection once every 24 hours in order to keep playing games. Enough people complained about the DRM, and Microsoft listened. Today, they announced that they're removing the phone-home requirement. "After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360." They've also scrapped the game trading and resale system they'd built, which allowed publishers to set their own rules with regard to used game sales. "There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360." Unfortunately, that also means users won't be able to take advantage of the good parts of the original system, such as trading and gifting games without needing the disc, or sharing games with remote family members. "While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds." Also noteworthy: they've dropped region-locks as well.

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