With the move to cloud and digital content that's taken the world by storm, older technologies have fallen by the wayside. The problem, though, is that there are still plenty of great pieces of content that are relegated to VHS, film reels, cassette tapes, and records. Today in my Ask Andru column, we have a question from Janine, a kindergarten teacher who wants to know how to convert her books on cassette over to a digital format. Let's jump into it.
Q: I listen to your show and really enjoy all your tips. I teach Kindergarten and have many books on cassettes that my students love listening to. Some of the cassettes are getting a bit worn. So I thought I could convert them over to CDs instead of buying new books with CDs. Do you have any suggestions on what would be the best way to do this that is affordable?
When Microsoft revealed Surface to the world, we were pretty impressed. It looked like a highly-capable platform that, if it lived up to its promises, would be a major player in the tablet space. However, we also know that the iPad rules the roost. In fact, most consumers don't want tablets so much as they want iPads. What would Microsoft do with Surface to gain attention as a solid differentiator? It looks like it's gonna compete on price.
Read More | Engadget
If you though that Apple had the exclusive on announcing a major smartphone in September, think again. Word is coming out that Nokia is also looking to announce its next-generation Windows Phone 8 smartphones in September at Nokia World. Bloomberg reports that someone "with knowledge of the matter" has said that the unveiling of the new line of Windows 8 Nokia Lumia smartphones will happen on September 5, one week before Apple is scheduled to show off the new iPhone 5. Pretty smart, if you ask us.
Read More | Bloomberg
Mary Jo Foley over at ZDnet is reporting that she's heard that Windows Phone 8 devices will be launching in November. We've previously heard that it would be "this fall," but that's pretty vague. Foley is trustworthy though. According to her sources, the finished product will be sent to Windows Phone manufacturers in September, with the devices hitting retail the following month. Remember, none of the current Windows Phone 7 devices will be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8, so in order to get in on the action, you'll have to buy a new device.
Read More | ZDNet
Microsoft has just announced that Windows 8, the next major update to its flagship operating system, will go on sale on October 26, 2012. The announcement was made my Steven Sinofsky during Microsoft's annual sales meeting. We're guessing that we'll see the Microsoft Surface tablet launch the same day.
Read More | Windows Team Blog
The launch of Windows 8 is just around the corner, and Microsoft has finally confirmed upgrade pricing. Users runing Windows XP, Windows Vista, and/or Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99. That's a big change for Microsoft, as upgrade pricing was previously $99 for Pro OS upgrades, and is a welcome change for consumers. Apple has been releasing major OS updates for under $30 for years now, with Mountain Lion launching later this month for $19.99, and we'd been hoping Microsoft would follow suit and drop the price.
The $40 upgrade fee applies to the digital download. If you prefer a DVD, that'ss run you $69.99 in stores. Also, both of those prices are just for a limited time, running through January 31, 2013. After that, we expect Windows 8 upgrade pricing to double.
Read More | Windows Blog
Microsoft has released a preview showing how the next version of Windows Phone 7, 7.8, will visually look. As you might recall, when the company showed off Windows Phone 8, it also announced that there would be no upgrade path for any Windows Phone 7 devices. However, they also let us know that those users would be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 7.8 in order to get the most obvious and visual feature--the new Windows Phone home screen. Once upgraded to 7.8, users will be able to resize all of their tiles as easily as Windows Phone 8 users can, and in the video above Microsoft's Ben Rudolph walks us through the experience.
We knew Microsoft was planing to do away with the Zune brand, and today the company revealed its new music service during its E3 Media Breifing. Xbox Music will soon be released for the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. During the presentation, we were able to see that the service takes on the Metro UI, staying consistent with the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows branding. Expect over 30 million tracks to be available at launch, with the Smart DJ feature that was popular with Zune users to stick around. Microsoft also mentioned that Xbox Music will give you access to your music collection from "any screen," but we don't know if that means we should expect iOS and Android apps like they'll be released for Xbox SmartGlass, or if it just means that you'll be able to access your music from a web browser, similar to Zune. Xbox Music is set to launch later this year.
That Xbox SmartGlass rumor that we posted at the eleventh-hour has turned out to be true. During the Microsoft E3 Media Briefing this morning, the company gave all the details of the ambitious Xbox SmartGlass feature. SmartGlass is an app that will be available on Windows 8, smartphones, and tablets that will allow the user to view and use content that is tied to the game or video you're currently enjoying. SmartGlass is meant to be used as a second screen, and a great example was given using Game of Thrones. While watching the show on HBO Go on the Xbox 360, you can use the SmartGlass app to view an interactive map that shows where the action in each scene is taking place, offering content and more informational metadata about the show.
Microsoft has just revealed some major changes as it pertains to the user interface of Windows 8. Gone is the popular Aero Glass theme that shipped with Windows Vista and Windows 7. It's being replaced with a flatter design that seems to match the boxy shapes that we've been seeing on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and the Windows RT Metro UI. It does seem to make sense, although we always thought that Aero Glass was certainly visually appealing. Microsoft says it's confident that users will find the new UI less distracting.
Within the same announcement, the company takes you back in time with a tour through various Windows interfaces, starting with the original Windows 1. Good stuff.
Read More | Building Windows 8