Kinect was always touted by Microsoft to have many different uses ever since it was unveiling at E3 five years ago. While most of those haven’t materialised and it is primarily using it as an extension of the gaming experience, Microsoft is not giving up on its technology. They actually have many patents linked to the Kinect just laying around the office, but not this one.
Microsoft Research Asia recently showed off software that allows the Kinect to read almost every American Sign Language gesture via hand tracking, even at conversational speeds. In addition to converting signs to text or speech, the software can also let a hearing person input text and “sign” it using an on-screen avatar. All of this is still confined to a lab so far, but the researchers hope that one day it’ll open up new lines of communication between the hearing and deaf. We can really get behind this innovative idea, as it can make a big difference to many people’s lives. Check out the demo after the break. (more…)
Get ready for the nostalgia train! If you remember this strategy classic and you want to give it another whirl that could happen soon. That’s right; Microsoft is bringing its games to iOS and Android, starting with Age of Empires sometime in 2013.
The news comes from mobile developer KLab, which licences games from Microsoft for global distribution. According to sources, this could be a turning point in the gaming market, as the move could possibly affect the mobile strategies of other gaming giants Sony and Nintendo. (more…)
Boy is this good news for gamers. The Xbox One was officially unveiled recently – and despite brilliant features and excellent hardware, the device got hammered in the media for two reasons.
First off, the Xbox One needed a daily check-in through the internet to ensure you are licensed for the games you are playing. This means that if your internet was down that day you simply could not play any games. Ridiculous.
Secondly, Microsoft wanted to control licensing of games through digital rights management. This meant that you could not simply go and buy a second hand game from a store like BT Games. You had to have the “license” transferred to your console, just like say, a piece of software. Once again, no internet, no go.
The backlash was so big that many Xbox fans simply stated they would switch to Playstation 4 due to these policies (and who could blame them?).
Sony was very quick to point out their upcoming PS4 will not force publishers to use the license transfer system, and gamers could simply go ahead and swap and buy second hand games as always. Needless to say, the sentiment of the Xbox One quickly fell out of favour with the general public. (See our comparison of Xbox One vs PS4 here)
So here is the the good news: Microsoft has stepped back from these ridiculous policies. Microsoft’s president of interactive entertainment made a lengthy blog post about this very issue, and had the following to say: (more…)
The next generation of consoles will be among us by the end of this year, with the Xbox One and the PS4 both being released in the holiday season of 2013. The new Xbox has been confirmed as a November release, whereas we don’t yet have the exact date for the PS4.
Gaming has truly evolved since the previous generation of consoles though, and these giants of the gaming world are also now becoming all-encompassing entertainment systems rather than just a vehicle for big budget games.
E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) 2013 started on Monday, 10 June and we finally saw what the PS4 looks like, with many other morsels of news being announced for both the consoles. Both Microsoft and Sony are preparing for a mammoth battle, so let’s see how things are shaping up. (more…)
Microsoft South Africa today kicked off a partnership with Government’s Jobs Fund that will train more than 3000 unemployed graduates to get permanent jobs in the technology sector in the next three years.
Launching the initiative in Newtown today, Jean-Phillippe Courtois, the president of Microsoft International, said the initiative would dramatically expand Microsoft’s existing skills development programmes through funding from the Jobs Fund and the company’s own 4Afrika initiative.
“The Government’s top priority is to get young South Africans working. As a company, we have long invested in South Africa and understand the need for us all to continue to develop solutions to this challenge. We remain committed to helping address the issue of youth unemployment, as we cannot let an entire generation of young people become long-term unemployed,” said Courtois.
Patrick Dlamini, chief executive of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), which administers the Jobs Fund, hailed the partnership with Microsoft as a major breakthrough in creating jobs in South Africa’s IT sector.
“We’ve been extremely encouraged by the way the private sector has risen to the challenge of helping create jobs in South Africa. Indeed, these types of partnerships between the private and public sector will be significant contributors to the more than 100 524 new permanent jobs which our current portfolio of approved projects aims to create by 2015. These projects will also place another 56 194 unemployed people in vacant positions,” he said. (more…)
Nokia today introduced the Nokia Lumia 925, a new interpretation of its award-winning flagship, the Nokia Lumia 920 (one of our favourite phones of 2012). The Nokia Lumia 925 introduces a metal design and showcases the latest PureView camera innovation, new features and third party applications coming to the Nokia Lumia range.
The Nokia Lumia 925 includes the most advanced lens technology and next generation imaging software to capture clearer, sharper pictures and video, including the best low light images. The Nokia Lumia 925 also introduces the new Nokia Smart Camera mode, coming as an update to all Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones. Nokia Smart Camera offers an easy way to capture ten images at once and edit the pictures with options like Best Shot, Action Shot, and Motion Focus for creating better images. (more…)
One in every four computers in South Africa is running unprotected, without up-to-date real-time anti-virus or anti-malware protection – and without this vital protection layer, these systems are 5 times more likely to be infected with malware.
That was one of the key findings of Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report volume 14 (SIRv14), which was released this week at the company’s TechEd 2013 conference at Durban’s ICC. According to the report, network worms are on the decline and web-based attacks have risen to become the number one threat facing enterprises today.
The proportion of Autorun threats reported by enterprise computers decreased by 37% from 2011 to 2012 – but seven out of the top 10 threats affecting enterprises were associated with malicious or compromised websites, said Dr Khomotso Kganyago, chief security adviser at Microsoft South Africa.
The report found that enterprises were more likely to encounter the iFrame redirection technique than any other malware family tracked in Q4 2012. One specific iFrame redirection family called IframeRef, increased fivefold in the fourth quarter of 2012 to become the number one malicious technique encountered by enterprises worldwide. IframeRef was detected nearly 3.3 million times in the fourth quarter of 2012.
“People intuitively understand the importance of locking their front door to prevent their homes from being broken into. Computer security is no different. Surfing the Internet without up-to-date anti-virus is like leaving your front door open to criminals,” said Dr Kganyago.
SIRv14 explains some of the most prevalent threats facing consumers online: (more…)
The big news from today at TechEd Africa 2013 is that Microsoft SA can finally confirm that the Surface tablet will indeed come to South Africa.
Until now Microsoft’s first PC has not actually reached our shores, and there is quite a following of fans who want these machines in SA. The Surface comes in two flavours – a ARM based Windows RT version, and a “Pro” version running Intel Core i5 hardware.
The Surface has been praised for forward thinking design, but so far has not set any records in terms of sales. During a session on Consumerization of IT in Enterprise, Colin Erasmus mentioned that the Surface tablet will “hopefully” reach SA within the next few months.
Just after this presentation, SA’s Microsoft MD, Mteto Nyati, confirmed it:
@microsoftsa will launch Surface in the 2nd half of 2013 – responding to our customers.
— Mteto Nyati (@mteton) April 17, 2013