xbox

Editorial: 2012 – what a year!

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The year is coming to an end soon, so I wanted to write a short summary of my 2012 with Microsoft and MSicc.net.

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I started the year with a clean install of the Windows 8 preview, and was using it since then as my main PC OS. Everyday I felt more in love with the speed of Windows 8 and the idea of using apps on a PC. Microsoft constantly updated their previews over the year, until the final release.

Also Windows Phone was getting new attraction with the awesome Lumia 900. Nokia and Microsoft started a big ad campaign to support the launch of this device. Surely some of you will remember of “The smartphone beta test is over”.

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Over the year, Microsoft did tease us a few times with Windows Phone Apollo. We all thought in the beginning that our existing devices will be getting the Apollo treatment, until MS unleashes some more details about Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 8 shares a lot of the OS with Windows 8, so naturally there has to be new hardware. Windows Phone 7 will get 7.8, which will bring at least the look of the start screen to older devices.

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Another beta program was launched for the Xbox Dashboard, which had better voice functionality, and of course another big thing: Internet Explorer on Xbox! That is really awesome as we are now able to surf the web with Kinect support as well as the Smart Glass app on your phone/tablet/PC.

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Which leads me to another fantastic release from Microsoft. The Smart Glass apps, no matter on which platform you will use it, extends the experience of films, games and also your Music experience.

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Talking about Music, Microsoft finally launched their Music Pass in Germany. Personally, I was waiting for this since the initial release of Windows Phone 7, and now they finally launched it. I did not wait a second to cancel my Spotify subscription, and switched to the Music Pass. And I love the experience, be it on WP7, WP8 or Windows 8/ Xbox, my collection is synched across all devices. I can choose which Songs I ‘ll keep in the cloud for streaming and which I download, so there is always a growing collection for me now.

I was also attending several developer days from Microsoft, which helped me in some parts of my own dev story. I updated Fishing Knots SE and plus several times this year and created I learn to tie my shoes, which is getting really good reviews all over the web. If you want to take a look at these apps, they all come with a test version, just type MSiccDev in the search, you will get a list with all of my apps.

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Sadly I have a bit trouble with the updated version of MSicc’s Blog for Windows Phone, I hope I can release it in early 2013, so you all can read and discuss or share articles from your phone.

Of course all of my Windows Phone apps will receive a special Windows Phone 8 update while keeping the work on the WP7 version.

I have also started development of a Windows 8 app for MSicc’s Blog, which I will submit in the early 2013 days to Microsoft to get it approved for the Windows 8 store.

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My personal highlight this year was to attend a keynote of Steve Ballmer himself, which was absolutely motivating as user and even more as developer. He really knows how to keep the crowd attending, and I really have to thank Microsoft Germany for this unique experience.

I want to thank Mark and Sean for joining me here on MSicc.net to entertain and inform you all, I bet we will see some awesome articles of both next year!

A big thanks also to the WPDev & Win8Dev community out there (you all know who you are). Keep up your great work and please keep the community alive!

Now I will come to an end with this post, as I want to further play around with my awesome Lumia 920 which Santa (aka my lovely wife) gifted me this year at Xmas.

What were your highlights this year? Leave a comment below!

As here in Germany is said for the new year wishes in advance: “Have a good slide into the new year”, stay safe and enjoy your time!

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 5 comments

Merry Xmas from Msicc’s Blog

MSicc's Blog Team XMAS

We had an amazing year. Microsoft launched Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, updated the Xbox Dashboard and the Xbox Live services. And there are a lot of things that are worth a mention, but this post is a short salute from our small team here at MSicc’s Blog.

A special thanks goes to Mark and Sean, who have started to support me with their own thoughts and articles, which is a huge enrichment..

Now that Xmas is knocking on our doors, we want to salute you, our readers, followers and friends, with a short message of every team member.

 

Mark (BinaerForceOne):

Dear readers and visitors,

 

I have to admit that I’m terribly bad at these things, but I want to wish all of you a merry Christmas, happy holidays and just a beautiful time with those who matter most:

 

your loved ones. Be it your family or close friends. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

See you all next year. 🙂

 

Sean (TheWinPhan):

What’s on your Christmas list…Lumia 920? 8X? Ativ S maybe? Have you been naughty or nice?

 

Myself and the rest of my WinPhan Family want to wish all of you Windows Phone owning readers, the happiest and Merriest of Christmas and may all your wishes and hopes come to fruition!

 

Thank you all for taking the time to follow along as we continue to profess our love, discuss the many nuances, and talk about Windows Phone and Microsoft here. Please be safe, love your family, and take time to appreciate all that is in your life!

 

Good Health, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!!!

 

The WinPhan

 

Marco (MSicc):

Dear reader, visitor, follower and friend,

 

we had a year full of action, with ups and downs, troubles, amazing keynotes, waiting for releases from Microsoft and their OEMs.

 

Now it is time to calm down for a few days, and give all attention to our families and our friends – apart from our technical life.

 

I wish you and your families a merry, merry Christmas. May the Xmas star shine for you and your loved ones and keep you safe.

 

We will continue our work between the years, for now enjoy your family time!

 

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 1 comment
Zune/Xbox Music Pass available in Germany (includes a short how-to)

Zune/Xbox Music Pass available in Germany (includes a short how-to)

Yesterday some users reported to wparea.de that the Zune/Xbox Music Pass is available. However, yesterday I was able to activate it, but no usage was possible.

This changed this morning.

Here are is a short view on how to use the Zune/ Xbox Music Pass:

On your Windows Phone:

Just go to the marketplace, search the album you want. You will see the word “Herunterladen” ( German for download) on the album, if it is available to use with the subscription:

 

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Once you clicked that, you only have to wait until the download of the album has finished. If you do not want to download, you can stream the music by clicking on the small “play”-symbol in front of a song, which will start streaming.

On your PC

You will need to use the Zune software. Crazy, isn´t it – it works only with a program that is set to die soon.

Here it is pretty much the same like on your phone, just click on download to listen to an album offline.

 

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If you don´t want to download, just double-click on a song in the album you want to hear, that will stream the whole album.

I wasn’t able to use it on the Windows 8 Music app as well as on my Xbox. I will update this article as soon as I got this working.

If you want to activate a 30 day trial of this awesome features, here is the site to activate it.

Of course, it is still an unofficial thing, as Microsoft stated it will become available at Oct, 26th. It works for now, so enjoy everybody of my fellow readers in Germany!

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments
Xbox SmartGlass available on Windows 8 for some, appears to be an update for existing Xbox Companion

Xbox SmartGlass available on Windows 8 for some, appears to be an update for existing Xbox Companion

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Yesterday I was reading some tweets that Xbox SmartGlass is available on Windows 8. Sadly it is not here in Germany, even changing region and language settings did not help to get it displayed.

Thanks to a Robert McLaws (follow him!) and Bing, I was able to figure out some more information.

First thing I made yesterday, was to check the existing sitemap for the Windows Store. You can search the whole sitemap for xbox or smartglass, you will only find Xbox Games and Xbox Companion:

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The next step was to check if Bing would give me any other results, and I was getting this:

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This search shows that the companion app web link is titled “xbox-smartglass”. However, If you click on that link, you will be redirected to the Xbox Companion website:

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If SmartGlass is available for you, with a click to install the Windows Store should open up the SmartGlass page. If not, you will see the Xbox Companion app.

So it seems that SmartGlass will be in fact an update to the existing Xbox Companion app. It uses the same technology, and will get a ton of new features (as announced during E3).

As soon as it will be available for me, I will keep you informed.

Posted by msicc in Windows, Xbox, 0 comments

Changes to Windows Live and other Microsoft services

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Yesterday Steven Sinofsky blogged about the changes Microsoft is doing on the Windows Live brand name.

Windows Live was launched as brand back in 2005 as “a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.” The services itself have been under continued development since then.

Meanwhile Windows Live services are used by over 500 millions of people. Now Microsoft is starting to streamline the naming.

First, you no longer have a Windows Live-ID. You have now a Microsoft account. With this Microsoft account you can log in to all services like Mail, SkyDrive, Windows Phone Marketplace and others.

Microsoft recalls each single service. All services are losing their “Windows Live”-tag:

  • Windows Live Mail or Hotmail becomes Mail
  • Windows Live Messenger becomes Messaging
  • Windows (Live) Calendar becomes Calendar
  • Windows (Live) Contacts becomes People
  • FolderShare, Windows Live Mesh becomes SkyDrive

All services are still usable like most of us are used to. But with the great cloud integration on Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it only makes sense that Microsoft renames those services to fit the naming of both OS. All services will run as equally named apps. Check out the table below for more info:

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But that were not all changes Microsoft announced. Let us go next to Microsoft´s adCenter.  They recently announced that for Small and Medium businesses the service now is called simply “Bing”. As already stated by LiveSide.net, this is a real strange decision. Why are they calling the adCenter now only Bing? Bing is known as Microsoft´s search (decision) engine- so how does this fit?

Of course as I have a developer account for Microsoft Advertising. But it seems there is no change to it – for now.

Inside Xbox will be discontinued. It is a collection of news, game tips and tutorials, packed into a video series popping up on Xbox. For the moment, it is discontinued only in the US, Canada, Australia as well as New Zealand. In Europe, the future is uncertain, as Major Nelson, first class Xbox promoter from Microsoft, has no news to share from here. Head over to his blog to read more and even let him know how disappointing this decision is.

Change is happening, yes. But not all change is good, as you can see on this news roundup.

sources: Windows 8 Blog, LiveSide.net

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

Microsoft is going to let die Zune

RIP-zune

This week there were several rumors about Zune and the Marketplace. We had also changes on Zune and Marketplace that more or less confirming the upcoming death of Zune as we know.

First, Microsoft removed the Windows Phone app section from Zune. Now we cannot look into the Marketplace for apps anymore (read more at 1800PocketPC).

The second news is regarding the music marketplace, which is realized via Zune. Microsoft is rumored to deactivate it, too. Instead of this, Microsoft will launch a new music service, codenamed “Woodstock”. The Woodstock festival was part of a revolution back in time, and the codename suggests there are big changes.

This is what we know right now, regarding to the verge:

  • the service will not require any browser plugins
  • deep Facebook integration with sharing and group playlists.
  • scan and match function, based on your existing music collection.

Microsoft is said to give us a preview at this year´s E3. Microsoft will launch this service on all of their upcoming platforms, including Xbox, Windows Phone (Apollo) and Windows 8. The verge states also that the service will be extended to the rivaling platforms.

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Yesterday, just one day after the news were showing up, MS_nerd told us via twitter that Microsoft and Spotify are “sitting in a tree”. This makes me believe that the upcoming service will use Spotify as content provider (Spotify lets third party apps easily use their service via an API). I guess there will be a special announcement regarding this.

As we still do not know more details, I can´t tell you whether Zune Pass subscribers will be able to use their service any longer as well whether current Spotify can profit from this.

Only one thing is for sure: Zune Pass will definitely not come to us German users.

source: the verge

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

Skype is also coming to Xbox!

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Microsoft runs a strategy: “three screens, one experience”. One of those screens is of course Xbox.

Last year, Microsoft bought Skype. Naturally, we expect Microsoft to release Skype on all platforms. Recently we learnt that Skype is coming to the Web and also Windows 8. Today we received news that they also will port Skype to Xbox Live.

According to their job posting, Microsoft has just founded the London Skype office as well as the team. So we all will have to wait a good time until Skype is available on Xbox.

If you know how to develop for Xbox, this might be your great chance to enter at Microsoft.

I will keep you informed as soon as I got new information.

source: enConnected

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Xbox, 0 comments

New rumors about the next Xbox generation

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Today some new rumors have been leaked how the next could be equipped.

The gamer news site VG24/7 has learned from their sources that the Xbox 720 has been confirmed for a Christmas 2013 release.

The site reports further that the next Xbox will have a Blue-ray drive.

Xbox 720 graphics will be powered by two GPU´s.  VG24/7 thinks it will be an equivalent to AMD´s 7000 series GPU. The GPUs will be set up to work independently from each other.

When it comes to the CPU, the rumors were not as exact as the data before. It will be a four or six core CPU. One of the cores is exclusive to the Kinect and one to the Xbox OS.

The Kinect is rumored to be built into the console instead of an extra device. To protect content from  piracy, a permanent internet connection is needed.

The above information were collected at the Durango summit in London, which was held at the end of February.

Durango is the codename for the next Xbox generation.

As always, I take this information for what they are: rumors. They sure sound like an incredible piece of hardware.

Posted by msicc in Xbox, 0 comments
Help Microsoft to improve voice control on your Xbox

Help Microsoft to improve voice control on your Xbox

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Yesterday Microsoft released another Xbox app. It seems this app has been launched worldwide.

The app is named “Voice Studio”, and its goal is to improve the voice recognition and control of our Xbox.

Microsoft is rewarding you

Nice: Microsoft is rewarding you for your help with some Game Points. Check the achievements below:

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A walk through the app:

Before we are starting our little tour, I have to say the text in the screens is German (as my Xbox´s default language is German). I will explain all screens to you, so please don’t mind this. First I want to show you the  startup screen:

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After loading has finished, you have to choose between a new or an existing profile. If you (of course on the first start) make a new profile, you have to declare some details about your person:

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The name of the player cannot be changed. This is a good move, as it keeps the results anonymous. You have to declare: age, gender, country, state and your own language. Second step is to tell the app something about the room: WP_000481

You have to declare: type of speakers, size of the room, which kind of room (in my case it is the living room) an which kind of flooring you have. Now your Xbox will do some sound tests based on the settings you made. Once this is done (about one minute), you will be able to choose one of the 8 text sets:

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After choosing a category, Xbox tells you where your have to go to in your room to speak the test. During the whole test there are some background sounds. The app is now showing you some sentences and words you have to speak:

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This sentence means: “crabs can achieve an age of three up to twelve years.” The red lights on the side are signalizing you, that your speech is recognized by the app. Once you finished all sets, your track will be saved. This takes some time:

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Once the saving is done, your track will be uploaded to a Microsoft server:

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Depending on you internet connection, this may take several time.

Now it is your turn!

The more users are helping with this little app, the more improvements can be done by Microsoft. So download the app, and help Microsoft by only speaking with your Xbox!

Posted by msicc in Xbox, 0 comments
Happy Birthday, Xbox!

Happy Birthday, Xbox!

Today Microsoft´s gaming console, the Xbox, turns 10 in Europe!
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To celebrate this anniversary, Microsoft launched an interactive timeline on their British Internet page.

After you added your birthday (works also without being logged in), you can take a virtual tour through Xbox´s history:

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As you can see above, there are several statistics at the bottom of the page:

  • Total Gamerscore
  • Total Consoles sold
  • Live community size

You can have a look for yourself here: http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/xbox2001-2011

Posted by msicc in Xbox, 0 comments