Monday 10 August 2015

Microsoft's Cortana assistant can now replace Google Now on Android

Microsoft released a private beta version of its Cortana digital assistant for Android last month. While it includes similar features to the Windows 10 and Windows Phone version, Microsoft is taking its support of Android a step further with an updated app. In the latest beta version you can now replace the Google Now shortcut (pressing and holding the home button) to activate Cortana instead.
It's a much-needed addition that lets Microsoft take over a common way of launching Google Now on Android handsets. There are still other ways to access Google Now features, but Microsoft is clearly hoping that most Android users will experiment with Cortana or set it as the default home button setting. The update version still doesn't include "Hey Cortana" support, largely because of hardware limitations that prevent Cortana from always listening for the command. If you're interested in testing Cortana for Android then Microsoft has a sign-up process for potential beta testers.
Cortana Android prompt

Sway: Microsoft Offers New Free Alternative To PowerPoint, But Is It Better?


Accompanying the release of Windows 10 from Microsoft is Sway. Sway is similar to Microsoft’s PowerPoint program, with a few key differences.
Sway really keys in on social media compatibility. Like PowerPoint, Sway allows users to build slide show presentations and enhances them with photos and videos, but Sway encourages those photos and videos to be brought in from platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Additionally, users can import videos from YouTube and Vine, and use music from Soundcloud. While none of that may sound out of this world amazing, it is a good sign of cooperation within the computing world, as it signals that Microsoft is ready and willing to play with Google and Twitter’s extended universe of platforms. Cooperation between software companies always benefits the user. In fact, Microsoft actually not only beta tested the new Sway program on various web browsers, but also on the iPad and iPhone to make sure it was compatible with ultra-popular Apple products. Microsoft’s ego seems to have been tempered a bit in favor of common sense. Another win for users.
Sway has an intuitive storytelling interaction that conceives logical design options on the fly. Things like slide color and photo placement is automatically suggested to the user, saving time and making the program easier to use than its predecessor.
Microsoft revealed on Wednesday that Sway is now available for free to use with its Windows 10 operating system, which was just released a week-and-a-half ago.
Microsoft seems intent on wiping away the old and bringing in the new with the Windows 10 operating system. They’ve replaced their long-dogged Internet Explorer with a newEdge internet browser, and Sway seems to be the program that will replace PowerPoint in the realm of programs of the past.
The ability of users to get Sway for free indicates another positive shift in Microsoft’s business model. No app subscription is required for users to utilize Sway and its benefits. For the past 18 months, Microsoft has reportedly been busy reworking its entire business structure in the way it offers its products to consumers and in how they ultimately use them.

The Top 10 Features Of Microsoft Windows 10

1. The New Start Menu
Microsoft has (thankfully) returned the Start menu to the lower left-hand corner of the user interface, and this time, the menu doesn't focus exclusively on desktop apps. There's a host of information that can be found in the Start menu, with Microsoft having added a metro-style dash, which incorporates Windows 8-style tiles into the menu. For those who don't want live tiles, they can be turned off.
2. Windowed Apps
Windows Store apps have been given a refreshed look. Instead of being immediately dumped into a full-screen style app, they will be windowed, offering a mouse-friendly toolbar. These apps will also alter their interface to best fit the size of the user's display.
3. Cortana
Some might not be ready to delve into the use of a personal assistant, however, Cortana is really convincing for those on the fence. This is the first time we have seen Cortana on desktop, and it's a very nice addition to the software. Cortana will ask for access to your personal information, after which it will use that information, coupled with cloud-based intelligence, to provide you with the information you seek.
4. Hello
Hello will help users log into their systems without having to type in a password. Instead, users simply sit in front of their computer — and the computer will recognize them and log in. Android has had a similar feature for a number of years now, but Microsoft suggests that its tech is more advanced, with special camera requirements and infrared use. Not many computers can use Hello just yet, but it's sure to appear on more computers as time goes on.
5. Edge
There will certainly be skeptics for any Internet browser from Microsoft – given Internet Explorer's past – but early reviews suggest that Edge is actually a pretty neat browser. It's been completely overhauled, including Cortana support and a note-taking mode that allows users to draw on web pages. It's important to mention that Edge does not support plugins at this time, but the feature is on the way.
6. Action Center
Action Center takes the notification panel in Windows 8.1 to a new level. The Action Center is accessible through a simple swipe from the right of the screen, or by clicking on the Action Center icon in the taskbar. It essentially organizes all notifications from apps and provides access to a number of settings that are often used.
7. Virtual Desktops
Virtual desktops have long been a feature that users have asked for, and at last, Microsoft has answered them with Windows 10. Virtual desktops basically allow users to organized full-screen apps or other "desktops" as they like, enabling them to switch between these desktops whenever they want.
8. Xbox Streaming
Many Windows users are also Xbox users, making this feature a huge step forward. This is especially important for those with multiple people in one household, as it allows Xbox players to play even when the TV is in use. The feature is currently still in beta, but it works pretty well over Wi-Fi and allows users to utilize the Xbox USB controller. Users can also record up to two hours of their playing to their computer's hard drive.
9. Continuum
One of the biggest features in Windows 10 is Continuum. It allows users to seamlessly utilize devices that have both desktop and tablet modes, without having to change the layout of their desktop. On the Surface Pro 3, disconnecting the keyboard will cause apps and the start menu to go into full-screen mode.
The feature will also allow smartphones to be used as desktop computers when connected to the right display.
10. Core Windows Apps
Maps such as Mail, Calendar, Photos and Maps have all been revamped, and this time around, the apps are good enough that people may actually want to use them. Apart from the new interfaces, the apps also feature Cortana integration, allowing the personal assistant to feed the user information based on their emails and calendar.

Xbox One Halo Bundle With 40-Inch HDTV for $500

Best Buy rolls out a pretty nice deal if you're looking for a new console and TV.

You can get a new Xbox One (the Master Chief Collection bundle) with a Samsung 40-inch 1080p Smart HDTV for just $500. Purchased separately, you'd pay $780, so the bundle saves you $280.

As of Monday morning, units remain available in stock. The one catch is that shipping is not available; you'll have to choose the Store Pickup option.

Best Buy is aiming this deal at college students.

"It's the perfect college student deal, as a gaming console like the Xbox One is a college essential and a 40-inch TV is a great size for a dorm room," the retailer said in a statement.

The deal expires Saturday, August 15.

Chart-Topping 'Rare Replay' Is Xbox One's Surprise Summer Hit

rare replay
July and August have been mostly devoid of big-name game releases, larger publishers content to leave a large void in their schedules right before the craziness of fall kicks in (starting literally September 1st with the release of both Metal Gear Solid V and Mad Max). But there’s been one exception that has risen up the charts and delighted critics and fans alike.
That would Rare Replay, the 30-pack of classic remastered games from Microsoft-owned Rare. It’s an Xbox One exclusive, and has just debuted at number one on the UK charts. That’s significant because not only is it Xbox One’s first exclusive to grab first place there, but it’s also Rare’s first number one since N64′s Banjo-Kazooie in 1998.
Rare Replay boasts an impressive 85 Metascore with a (trust me it’s good) 7.9 user rating, an example of a remaster done right. But it’s a lot different than last-gen-to-this-gen remasters we see all the time now, as Rare has managed to pull even ancient games back into the limelight. Battletoads, anyone?
It’s been interesting to note that somehow, Xbox One now has more classic N64 games playable for it than Nintendo’s virtual console.Rare Replay allows hits like Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day to be playable on Xbox One, while they remain absent from Nintendo’s catalog due to Microsoft’s purchase of the studio. The only sad footnote about Rare Replay is that they’re missing games like Donkey Kong Country and perhaps their most famous game, Goldeneye 007, due to licensing issues, the first with Nintendo themselves, the second with…I’m not sure actually. MGM?
rare replay2

Whatever the case, Rare Replay is a breath of fresh air for Rare themselves, and also for Xbox One, who is looking ahead toward what should be a strong fall for them. I’ve said repeatedly that fall 2015 will be the best chance Xbox One will ever have to make up ground on its competition, the PS4, due to the major releases of exclusives like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Halo 5, while Sony has delayed their biggest game, Uncharted 4, to 2016, and has little else to replace it. But it’s a pleasant surprise that August has brought two remasters that might kick off the trend early, Rare Replay, and later Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, which comes bundled with every Gears game in addition to remastering the first one in the series. Though I will say PS4 has scored a pretty big win with the unexpected success of Rocket League this summer, the competitive car soccer game that’s as addicting as it is innovative (though the game is also on PC).
It’s tough in this day and age for an exclusive game to top the release charts, but Rare Replay has a few advantages with relatively week competition these past two months (other games in the list include older titles like Arkham Knight, The Elder Scrolls Online and even GTA 5). It also is essentially a half-priced game, with the 30 remastered titles on sale for $29.99 in the US, and £19.99 in the UK. So some may discount the sales due to the base price, but if the profit margin is the same, it shouldn’t matter.
Rare seems to be poised for something of a renaissance. After years of being underused and forced to make Kinect-focused games, Microsoft seems ready to employ them to get back to what they do best, building fun, family-friendly games. Many expected Rare to debut a new Banjo-Kajooie sequel at E3 this year, but instead we got Sea of Thieves, what appears to be a cartoony pirate MMO. It’s certainly not what anyone was expecting, but a modern day, original Rare IP with presumably more creative freedom than they’ve had for years is definitely something to get excited about all the same.
In a few weeks we’ll head into the fall and Rare Replay will probably be forced down quite a few spots on the charts, but this is a very impressive debut, and a not-insignificant tool in Microsoft’s exclusive arsenal in a time when they desperately need it.

Watch Taylor Swift Sing ‘Trap Queen’ With Fetty Wap in Seattle

At last night’s 1989 tour stop in Seattle, Taylor Swift brought out Fetty Wap for a rousing duet of the summer’s unstoppable single “Trap Queen.” Posting the moment to Instagram, Swift wrote, “Unable to find my chill because of @fettywap1738 singing ‘Trap Queen’ for 60,000 people in Seattle. Amazing night!!!”
Also during her set, Swift welcomed Ciara and her boyfriend, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, while asking the audience: “Will you please say hi to Russell?” Gotta hand it to Swift: She certainly knows how to curate a city-appropriate cameo. Watch a fan-shot video of each guest appearance below.
Unable to find my chill because of @fettywap1738 singing ‘Trap Queen’ for 60,000 people in Seattle. Amazing night!!

Google to Launch Sub-Rs. 3,000 Android One Smartphone

Google plans to reboot its Android One project in India. The Android-maker, which debuted the initiative in the country last September with sub-Rs. 6,500 handsets, will soon resurface with a sub-Rs. 3,000 Android handset as part of Google's 'massive' investment push in the country.
In an interview with The Financial Times, Rajan Anandan, Google Managing Director, India and Southeast Asia, reassured that the company is very committed to the project and intends to launch even more affordable handsets. Anandan said Google wants to target the "sweet spot" in the cost conscious Indian market by launching a smartphone that costs between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 3,000.
Announced at Google I/O developer conference last yearAndroid One is the company's project that aims to improve the user experience of affordable Android handsets. The company partnered with several OEMs including India's KarbonnSpiceMicromax, and most recently Lava to launch low-cost Android handsets with modest specifications.
But software is what makes Android One smartphones even more enticing. These devices run stockAndroid (no bloatware) and get updates directly from Google instead of relying on the manufacturer and carrier, a change from the usual process that means most Android phones never receive an update.
Since the debut in India, Google has expanded the Android One project to several other regions including IndonesiaBangladeshNepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. But despite its gradual expansion, the initiative hasn't seen much traction.
One of the issues which has crippled the success of Android One is the unavailability of decent bandwidth in the aforementioned regions. In the new batch, the company plans to address that by introducing offline versions of some of its apps, the report adds. The company introduced offline playback feature in YouTube in India last year.
Besides the limited bandwidth issue, the company also acknowledges that its local search feeds could use some improvement. "There are several battlegrounds where we are not winning [and] local search is clearly the one where it's most apparent," Anandan told the paper.
"Strategically [India] is very, very important. Don't get me wrong, the revenue is interesting, but [...] we're here really because 10 years from now a billion Indians will be online and when we have a billion Indians online we think that's going to make a huge difference to the global internet economy."
With an Android One handset priced between Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 3,000, Google will be able to target a larger pool of market. The country, which is the home for more than a billion people, only has about200 million smartphone users. The company realises that there are plenty of users who will be purchasing their first smartphone in coming months.

Naruto Hokage One-Shot Manga Full English Version Release: The Day Naruto Becomes Hokage

Naruto Hokage

After days of speculating whether Himawari really awakened the Byakugan or it was just one bad dream for Naruto, the full English version of the Naruto Hokage One-Shot Manga is now available online on Tumblr (Part 1 Part 2) to answer everybody's question.
On the day Naruto was about to be officially introduced as the 7th Hokage of Konoha, the legendary shinobi couldn't make it in his big day, and his then four-year old daughter has to be blamed for that.
Himawari indeed activated the Hyuga clan's powerful dojutso, the Byakugan, after Boruto drove her to complete madness for ripping off her stuffed toy's head. Himawari, blinded by her rage, launched a gentle fist attack towards his brother but hit an intervening Naruto instead, knocking his father unconscious with one single blow in his chakra points.
With the 7th Hokage's inauguration in jeopardy following Naruto's fate at the hands of his daughter, Kakashi and Shikamaru hatched a plan by asking Konahomaru to use his transformation jutsu and disguise as Naruto at the event.
The plan worked as Konahamaru pulled off a detailed transformation that left no one in suspicion, except his senpais. Back at Naruto's residence, Hinata found his husband lying on the ground while Himawari continued her pursuit of Boruto, who learned the terrifying side of his sister the hard way.
Naruto may have missed the biggest moment of his life as he has always been dreaming of becoming a Hokage since he was a child, but he nevertheless got pretty good consolation from all of that: his daughter now has a Byakugan.

‘Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F’ In Top 10 Highest-Grossing Anime Titles Domestically In Record Time


Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F grossed another $1.36M on Saturday to bring its five-day total to $5.58M in North America, easily jumping past the total domestic grosses of Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle ($4.7M) and The Wind Rises to become the first indie in the Top 10 highest grossing Anime films domestic. In fact, it bleated out the Shaun the Sheep Movie which was playing in major chains across the country and on many more screens (2,320 theaters) to gross $4M since bowing on Wednesday. Resurrection F, from FUNimation, opened on Tuesday and was in a smattering of theaters in a sporadic run. It now becomes No. 9 of Top Anime domestic grossers and Wind Rises (with $5.2M) is now No. 10.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F
To reach that spot is even more noteworthy because both of Miyazaki’s films were released by Disney and had to play for weeks to get their grosses. Not so, with Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F which has been on a rollercoaster event release schedule and playing for only one week.
“Due to overwhelming response from our fans, we have over 200 theaters coming back on for tomorrow,” said Michael DuBoise, exec VP and chief operating officer of FUNimation who oversees marketing and distribution for the pic. “And we now have 250 for Tuesday so that will be 450 locations for those two days that we didn’t have in our initial plan. Our fan base has really embraced the film, and it’s going push (the gross) even higher in the week.” Wednesday the film will stay in a number of theaters (367) so the final gross will be reported then.
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F already grossed $51.6M overseas. It scored the biggest opening in Japan of 2015 and it had some stiff competition with Universal’s Fast & Furious 7 (as it was titled internationally). It was released by Fox in Japan and took No. 1 to mark a 40% higher opening than its predecessor, Dragonball Z: Battle Of Gods in 2013.
Interestingly, Kelli Crain, VP of marketing who (like DuBoise) came from the Home Video unit at Universal, worked on Battle of the Gods so was very familiar with the fan base and exactly how to reach them. By the way, Battle of Gods grossed $2.5 million for its entire run but on its first day, Resurrection F took in 67% of that gross.
To reach those fans, Crain oversaw a grassroots campaign on the Internet and social media fan sites because there was little money for marketing. Because of that, they bought very little TV and only spent media for the Toonami block of Adult Swim. They grabbed retail partner Hot Topic to launch  in-store promotions as they promoted the anime film at Comic-Com and anime fan conventions.  To add excitement and drive fans into the theater, they also produced a special 15-minute Dragon Ball Z themed pre-show to play before the film.
The result was a highly successful week-long box office run that the industry won’t soon forget.