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Microsoft's Windows 8 should arrive in October, just in time for the holiday season

Anthony Garreffa | Operating Systems | Mar 21, 2012 at 3:26 am CDT

We should be expecting Microsoft to release their next-generation Windows 8 OS in October, where we could see both the x86 and ARM-based versions dropping simultaneously. This would give Microsoft a head start for the holiday season, letting tablet, notebook and other device makers ample time to get products ready for holiday consumption.

Microsoft's Windows 8 should arrive in October, just in time for the holiday season |

Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft want to claw back some of the lost sales they've experienced because of the iPad, and reinvigorate the sluggish PC market. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Garter Inc. has said:

If they miss the September-October time frame, they're going to be stuck without being able to ship anything in 2012. The last thing Microsoft wants to have is a situation where there are no compelling Windows tablets at a time when the new iPad looks like it's going to be a good seller for the holidays.

According to Bloomberg, who cite sources with "knowledge of the schedule", we should expect an event hosted by Microsoft next month where the company will unveil their release strategy for Windows 8, where they'll provide more details on timing and marketing. The same sources have said that there will be less ARM-based devices in the rollout, because Microsoft have tightly controlled the number and set rigorous quality-control

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RumorTT: Microsoft ban certain staff members from purchasing Macs, iPads

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Mar 21, 2012 at 2:28 am CDT

Bit of a strange one here, but I guess it can make sense, too. According to a leaked e-mail from Alain Crozier, the chief financial officer of Microsoft's Sales, Marketing, Services, IT, & Operations Group (SMSG), Microsoft may install a policy that prevents employees from using corporate funds to purchase Macs and iPads.

RumorTT: Microsoft ban certain staff members from purchasing Macs, iPads |

The e-mail was passed onto a ZDNet writer, in its entirety below:

From: Alain Crozier

Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1:17 PM

Subject: Apple Purchases

Within SMSG we are putting in place a new policy that says that Apple products (Mac & iPad) should not be purchased with company funds.

In the US we will be turning off the Apple products from the Zones Catalog next week, which is the standard purchasing mechanism for these products.

Outside of the US - we will work with your finance and procurement teams to send the right message and put the right processes in place.

The current purchase levels are low, however we recognize there will be a bit of transition work associated with this. Details of historical purchases in the US are provided in the attachment to help understand the changes that will be needed.Thank you for your support and leadership on this...

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Virgin Mobile customers nationwide unable to use data and texting

Trace Hagan | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Mar 21, 2012 at 1:48 am CDT

For all the Virgin Mobile customers out there, we hope to bring you an important service announcement regarding your cell phone. Virgin Mobile is currently experiencing a nationwide data and texting outage, as confirmed by many users and Virgin Mobile's official Twitter feed. A representative for the company posted "We're currently experiencing a national data & text messaging outage. Our engineers are working to resolve it. Thank you for your patience," on the Twitter feed around 4 p.m. Pacific time.

Virgin Mobile customers nationwide unable to use data and texting |

Curiously enough, Sprint, who owns the company, and its users have reported no issues on the Sprint Network. Virgin Mobile officials have been oddly silent on the cause of the issue. It could possibly be in relation to the upcoming data throttling changes that go into effect in 3 days. Do you have Virgin Mobile? Are you experiencing the outage? Let us know regarding that and your thoughts regarding the changes to unlimited data.

Telltale Games show off 'The Walking Dead' game trailer

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Mar 21, 2012 at 1:28 am CDT

AMC's 'The Walking Dead' has been a smash hit thus far, and I personally enjoy it. The series was inspired by Robert Kirkman's award-winning comic series, and now Telltale Games have released their trailer for the upcoming game based on the same original series.

The Walking Dead's lead designer Sean Vanaman says that the game is more along the lines of the comic book than the television series. Where within the game universe of The Walking Dead, a new set of characters is introduced, led by Lee Everett, but the same zombie apocalypse timeline remains roughly the same. What makes this game stand out is that players will be given the the decision to make difficult moral decisions that will affect gameplay across the entier series.

Graphics-wise, we should expect a blend of 2D and 3D models, which are said to be presented in a way that it pays homage to the original comic book artwork. Kirkman has said:

Telltale has done a phenomenal job in making a game that meets the expectations of fans. Running around with a gun isn't what The Walking Dead is about; it's about how people caught in an apocalypse deal with facing their own death every day, and the horrible choices they have to make to survive. Telltale's game series has captured the spirit of the comic books perfectly.

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Hard Reset players get free upgrade to Extended Edition

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Mar 21, 2012 at 12:26 am CDT

Hard Reset's parents, Flying Wild Hog, have confirmed that the upcoming expansion content will be free to those who have already purchased the game. Retail shelves saw the release "Hard Reset: Extended Edition", which sports extra content. This version will replace the current Steam version, and will replace it in late-April or early-May, where the price should increase from $19.99 to $29.99.

The game launched at $29.99, but with all of the extra content, that's still not bad considering most AAA+ titles are nearly $100 here in Australia. But, where things are different for this game is that whoever owns an original copy, will be upgraded to the new Extended Edition for free.

Hard Reset players get free upgrade to Extended Edition |

The game launched to a mixed reaction, where some loved the feel of the game and compared it to old school first-person shooters, where others hated it citing it was too short and too few enemies. The new Extended Edition hopes to shake things up introducing new weapons, enemies (including a boss), five more campaign levels, and two new survival mode levels.

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange will run for the Australian Senate

Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Mar 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm CDT

WikiLeaks have just announced that its founder, and leader, Julian Assange, will be running for a seat in the Australian Senate, reports the ABC. At the moment, Assange is in England head of a possible extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in 2010.

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange will run for the Australian Senate |

Assange is currently on bail waiting for a British Supreme Court decision on his appeal against the extradition. Although Assange is going through all of this legal drama, WikiLeaks has announced that Assange is eligible to run for the Upper House. WikiLeaks said on Twitter:

We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained.

Julian has decided to run.

The name of the Lalor candidate and the state Julian will run for will be announced at the appropriate time.

I'll vote for you, Julian.

Red Bull Stratos: gives man wings, will send him 120,000 feet into the stratosphere

Anthony Garreffa | Science, Space & Robotics | Mar 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm CDT

OK, I'll admit it: I'm scared of heights. I live in a two-storey house and can barely look over my balcony without feeling scared. But this, this is just absolutely insane! Enter "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner, who has jumped 2,500 times from planes, and helicopters as well as some of the world's highest landmarks and skyscrapers, such as the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the Millau Viaduct in southern France, and the 101-story Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan.

Red Bull Stratos: gives man wings, will send him 120,000 feet into the stratosphere |

This summer, Baumgartner hopes to fly toward the Earth at supersonic speeds from a record 23 miles above the Earth, breaking the sound barrier... with only his body. During a dress rehearsal last Thursday, he made it more than half-way, ascending from the New Mexico desert in a helium balloon, and jumping from more than 13 miles up. It's said that he is one of only three people who have jumped from such a height and free-fall to a safe landing. He's also the first to do so in 50 years.

He's even caught the attention of NASA, where engineers working on astronaut escape systems for future spacecraft keeping an eye on the skydiver. Here's where things get insane: Baumgartner took a 100-foot helium balloon and pressurized capsule which lifted from Roswell, New Mexico last Thursday morning. He then jumped at 71,581 feet - 13.6 miles - and landed safely just 8 minutes and 8 seconds later.

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Google will now add spam explanation to Gmail

Anthony Garreffa | Internet & Websites | Mar 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm CDT

The amount of people who fall for spam e-mail is enormous, I personally don't know why - because 99.9-percent of the time it's so blindingly obvious, but there are still quite a few who fall to the trick of "you've just inherited $4.5 million from an Uncle you've never heard of, in a country you've never heard of".

Google will now add spam explanation to Gmail 08 |
Google will now add spam explanation to Gmail 06 |

Google now want you to know why the messages they mark as spam, and will be, starting as of today, showing a brief explanation at the top of each spam message. All you have to do is look at any message in your spam folder to find out why it was put there, and to learn of any potential harmful content within the message itself.

Google will now add spam explanation to Gmail 07 |

Google hope this is not only interesting, but helps you learn just how they filter out those bad e-mails. You can leave the spam folder untouched (like most people do), or if you want to get into the educational side of things, the information is there for your help. I don't think I'll bother, I'll let Google sort out my spam, thanks, Google.

New BioShock Infinite trailer reveals the Boys of Silence

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Mar 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm CDT

The latest trailer for BioShock Infinite has hit the Internet, showing off some of the new enemies, the "Boys of Silence". These characters just look downright terrible, in a good way. Their faces are hidden behind a huge helmet-like object on their head that resembles a bell.

Their ears are super-powerful, which makes up for them being blind. So they cannot see you, but their super-powerful ears will pick up noises to track you. Within the game, you can make two decisions when you come across them: firstly, tip-toe around them and try to dodge them without them hearing you, or secondly, full on confrontation, where they'll call out for backup and you better be ready to fight!

New BioShock Infinite trailer reveals the Boys of Silence |

These new enemies definitely look cool and will give BioShock Infinite the edge to the run-of-the-mill first-person shooters that we've been experiencing for the past few years. I wasn't too excited about this game at first, but the more I see, the more I love. These new enemies are unique - which is great in a bland FPS world.

HTC One S smashes Basemark ES 2.0 Taiji benchmark, is number one

Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Mar 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm CDT

I'm beginning to think that HTC named their latest smartphone One S for a reason, it has just smashed every single other smartphone in Basemark ES 2.0 Taiji, cementing themselves into the number one position with the best scores for the benchmark.

HTC One S smashes Basemark ES 2.0 Taiji benchmark, is number one |

If we look at the top 10 devices, 7 of them are Samsung-built devices, with the Pantech Burst sliding into #8, and OPPO Find 3 with #10. Samsung fill out everything else but #1. The closest device is Samsung's Galaxy S II I777 which scores a minimum, maximum and average frame rate of 41, 44 and 43, respectively. HTC One S scores 49, 49, and 49, respectively.

Kicking the shiny butt off Samsung's closest smartphone. This is a sure win for HTC, something that people should definitely be checking out when they want to purchase a new smartphone. Considering that HTC's next phone to be listed in the benchmark is their Velocity 4G at #17, this is a huge win for HTC.