Items tagged with Skype

Our illusion of privacy was shattered when it came to light that our government is plugged into just about every form of communication that exists. To give users back some measure of privacy, Silent Circle has launched a fixed price, global encrypted calling service that allows customers to make and receive truly private phone calls without Uncle Sam listening in. According to Reuters, the secure voice and data calling plan will work on iOS and Android devices at the outset, with plans to port a version over to Windows Phone sometime down the line. Customers will be able to place secure phone calls... Read more...
Recently appointed Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella had an onstage conversation that lasted more than an hour at the inaugural Code Conferences in Ranco Palos Verdes, California, and among the topics that came up is language translation. Not by coincidence, the planned topic allowed Nadella to demo a new capability Microsoft is developing for Skype. The capability is called "Skype Translator," which will allow users who speak different languages to communicate with each other. During the demonstration, Skype showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and German... Read more...
Earlier this week, Apple released an updated set of legal guidelines spelling out exactly what it can and cannot access on your iDevice, what material it will turn over to the police, and under which circumstances it will surrender it. What's particularly interesting is the split response we've seen from different corners of the Internet. Everything Apple does tends to generate attention, but this particular set of announcements is getting a great deal of press -- and two very different narratives have emerged over what it means. Some readers and authors have reacted rather poorly to news that... Read more...
You know how Microsoft has gradually started pre-loading Windows 8 with a glut of apps? Sure, it’s kind of convenient--emphasis on the “kind of”--and having certain apps such as Skype ready to roll as soon as you install the OS is indeed rather handy, but a lot of it just feels like bloatware. (Cough, Bing, cough.) There’s an app for that (sorry, couldn’t resist) called Windows 8 App Remover. According to Betanews, it’s a portable program that’s designed for fresh installs of Windows 8, and it’s actually just a GUI front end for a tool called dism.EXE.... Read more...
Microsoft's newly appointed CEO may have received near-universal praise, but that doesn't mean that things are completely rosy internally. As these events always tend to do, there are at least a few folks who aren't exactly thrilled with the way the decision went down. Due to that, a few key executives are heading for the exits at Microsoft, with Tony Bates and Tami Reller leaving the firm in short order. A similar exit happened at Yahoo once Marissa Mayer was installed as CEO. Word on the street has it that Mr. Bates was a contender for the Microsoft CEO title, and once he was skipped over, he... Read more...
Hackers claiming to represent the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) decided to deface Skype's social media pages with disparaging messages about Microsoft and its digital properties. On Skype's Twitter page, for example, the hackers posted a status update telling followers not to use Microsoft's email services (Hotmail and Outlook) because "they are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments." Skype eventually regained control of its Twitter account, but not before the restless bunch of hackers posted Steve Ballmer's contact information. It was followed by a message that read,... Read more...
Ever since Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement in August, the company has been busily hunting for a new head honcho, and according to a Reuters report, among those on the shortlist are Nokia’s Stephen Elop, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, and three other external candidates whose names could not be determined. In addition to those five, there are at least three names from within Microsoft’s own ranks that are options for the big chair, including Tony Bates, former Skype CEO who is now in charge of Microsoft’s business development, and Satya Nadella, who runs Microsoft’s... Read more...
Among the various SNAFUs and PR misfires related to the Xbox One release earlier this year, one item that had people upset was that Kinect would be used for advertising--or worse, that the Xbox One Kinect was actually designed with advertising in mind. The source was a UI designer who was expounding the capabilities of the Kinect and how it could be used to deliver interactive ads and used for native advertising (i.e., ads built directly into the content). There was a great fear that Kinect was gathering biometric information, reading people’s emotions, gathering data about how many and what... Read more...
If there’s anything positive to take away from this summer’s NSA spying scandal, it might be the increased transparency of major tech companies, as Microsoft has its latest Law Enforcement Requests report for the first 6 months of 2013. Of course, a downside is that these companies still aren’t allowed to report requests from the FISA shadow court, so we have no way of knowing what agencies like the NSA are culling from Microsoft’s vast user base. But for what it’s worth, here are the numbers, sans FISA data: Microsoft received 37,196 requests in the first half of... Read more...
Let's stop harping on it. We've already discussed Microsoft's failures and shortcomings with their first generation of Surface and Surface RT devices. The company's $900 million dollar mistake has been bounced around along with Steve Ballmer's tenure ad nauseam and so it's probably no surprise that more than a few pundits and analysts are sounding off so negatively regarding Microsoft's recent Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 unveiling earlier this week.  They're too big, too expensive, not retina, too "Windows RT," whatever.  What is it about Microsoft that seemingly draws such a critical... Read more...
In the hardware world, even the best-selling devices eventually reach EOL (end-of-life) status. And, as fate would have it, it seems that the software world follows suit. But every now and again, a product is killed that leaves us scratching our heads. While Windows Phone 8 is clearly the premier mobile product for Microsoft, it sure doesn't feel as if Windows Phone 7 is that old. Plus, Microsoft owes what little success it has seen in the mobile realm to the early adopters who took a chance with WP7. Nevertheless, the company is axing support of its flagship VoIP app, Skype, on Windows Phone 7.... Read more...
Lest you forget that Microsoft has a new gaming console on the horizon, the company has been trickling out details surrounding it in the past few weeks. Next up? The audio side, and it's pretty impressive. Thanks to integration with Skype’s audio codec, Xbox One offers higher quality voice chat with the Xbox One Chat Headset compared to Xbox 360—whether you’re chatting in-game or through party chat with Skype on Xbox One. Microsoft claims that the console uses dedicated audio processing to handle Xbox One conversations via Skype and multiplayer party chats. On the controller side,... Read more...
If talking to someone on the other side of the world in 2D has got you down, you'll be happy to know that Microsoft has some big plans to change that in the future - and yes, Skype is involved. The idea is that with a 3D chat, it should feel more like you're actually "there", or at least give you an enhanced perception that you are. Microsoft notes that pulling this off isn't going to be easy, and hardware is almost entirely to blame. While 3D monitors and televisions are a dime a dozen (alright, not quite), 3D capture devices certainly are not. It's clear that we will see these creep up more and... Read more...
Gmail users have had access to built-in Google Voice calling (in North America, at least) for years now. With Microsoft exerting a renewed push on the Outlook.com, it's no real surprise to see Skype making the transition this week. A few months back, Microsoft announced that a preview of Skype video calling + messaging was arriving in Outlook.com windows, and now, it's going global. Well, almost. Skype for Outlook.com is now fully available in several countries around the globe including the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, France, Canada, and the United States. For those who reside outside of... Read more...
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