Machine Gun Kelly Performs at Microsoft Store, Gets Escorted Out By Police

Microsoft Stores are often associated with performances by artists as the company usually gives away tickets to such events to accompany new store launches. However, when a Microsoft Store in Atlanta served as an event hosted by The Source which featured Machine Gun Kelly — an upcoming rapper — things got a bit crazy.

After shouting profanities like “fuck these computers…” and flicking off the audience, he refused to stop performing when Microsoft Store employees urged him to stop performing. He then proceeded to stomp on at least five computers, at which point the staff cut off his mic and the music. He told the staff that he refuses to get down, and demanded that they “play that shit.” The Microsoft Store employees then called the police, who escorted him to a private area at the back of the store.

He tweeted about what happened after the fact, proudly touting an Instagram photo captioned “Who gon’ stop me? You gon’ stop me?” While initially, there was speculation that Microsoft was the one behind the event, they issued a comment earlier today to The Verge revealing that they were simply offering their store as a venue to use, calling the behavior inappropriate for a store environment:

Microsoft tells us that The Source held a private event at the Microsoft Lenox Square Store. “We offer our stores as a venue for the community to use, and this event was not sponsored by Microsoft,” says a spokesperson. “While the artist’s behavior was appropriate for a concert, some of it was not appropriate in a store environment.”

Here’s a video of part of the performance:

Microsoft Answers Rebranded as Microsoft Community

Microsoft Answers has got a new look and feel as well as a new name starting today. If you head to answers.microsoft.com, you would notice the clean white design, quite a change from the prominently green design before this, and a new name – Microsoft Community – integrating the new Microsoft logo.

Microsoft Answers is now Microsoft Community!

We’ve got a new name and a new look, but the Microsoft Community will continue to provide the same great questions and answers that you rely on to get the most out of your technology.

Microsoft Community are community-supported forums where Microsoft users and customer support agents from around the world connect to share ideas and solve problems. The site allows users to find answers, ask questions, and share their expertise. Users can submit their questions, and other users and agents post helpful replies and step-by-step instructions or add on to the common issues. The support agents moderate the discussions and mark useful replies as answers.

The community is structured in to eight categories based on products and technology: Hotmail, Messenger & SkyDrive, Internet Explorer, Office, Office for Mac. Virus and Malware, Windows, Windows Phone, and Zune.

While the design is neat and visually appealing, this looks like a quick rebranding exercise only. The URL is still answers.microsoft.com. At the moment, community.microsoft.com directs to Microsoft homepage and Microsoft may want to leverage the same. The categories are simply migrated and there has been no effort to refresh the same. For example, ‘Hotmail’ is not replaced by ‘Outlook’ and the URL of this category says ‘windowslive’. Ouch!

Microsoft Announces 10 Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure Startup Finalists

Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie has announced the finalists of the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure program for startups, where they will become a part of a three-month program in which they build new products and businesses that utilize the Azure platform.

Here’s a list of the ten announced finalists:

  • Advertory – Berlin, Germany. Advertory helps local businesses increase revenue and build customer loyalty.
  • Appetas  Seattle, WA. Appetas’ mission is to make restaurants look as beautiful online as they do on the plate!
  • BagsUp – Sydney, Australia. Find great places from people you trust.
  • Embarke – San Diego, CA. Embarke allows developers and companies the ability to integrate with any human communication channel (Facebook, Email, Text Message, Twitter) without having to learn the specifics, write code, or spend time on any of them.
  • Fanzo – Seattle, WA. Fanzo puts sports fans in the spotlight. Find other fans, show off your fanswagger and get rewarded for your passion.
  • MetricsHub – Bellevue, WA. A service providing cloud monitoring with incident detection and prebuilt workflows for remedying common problems.
  • Mobilligy – Bellevue, WA. Mobilligy revolutionizes how people pay their bills by bringing convenient, secure, and instant bill payment support to mobile devices.
  • Realty Mogul – Los Angeles, CA. Realty Mogul is a crowdfunding platform for real estate where accredited investors pool capital and invest in properties that are acquired, managed and eventually resold by professional private real estate companies and their management teams.
  • Staq – San Francisco, CA. Back-end as a service for APIs.
  • Socedo – Bellevue, WA. A simple and effective web application for lead generation and relationship management on Twitter.

Each startup will be seattle-based, and mentored by entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and “leaders” from Azure and other Microsoft organizations. The first month in the program will be spend mulling over ideas and refining their business concepts with input from these experts and other Microsoft customers, and the final two months will be spent designing and developing their products.

All of their ideas will then be presented to investors and Microsoft partners at an event in mid-January.

This isn’t the only program for startups offered by the tech giant. Microsoft also has other programs to help budding companies get off the ground, such as the Bing Fund, BizSpark, and the Kinect Accelerator Program, among others.

Image Credit: Carlos Gutiérrez G. (Flickr)

Microsoft Announces an All New MSN for Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10

Microsoft has announced a radical refresh of MSN, one of the most popular media destinations on the Internet, with the launch of Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10. Microsoft’s flagship website gets about 480 million visitors per month worldwide and is one of the biggest portals on the Internet. The new version is built from the ground up to harness the capabilities that Windows 8 and IE10 offer and built for touch.

The new MSN is a full-screen experience and the user experience is clean and intuitive. Because Internet Explorer 10 was designed to take advantage of the system architecture of Windows 8, Microsoft promises blazing fast speed along with the consistent visual layout providing instant access to the information you want.

Microsoft also intends to establish itself as a small media operation creating its own content. While MSN would aggregate news from premier sources like Reuters and Associated Press, it has been building up a news team on its own. Microsoft sold its 50% stake in news website MSNBC.com in July to NBCUniversal, and hence would focus all the capabilities in content creation and aggregation here.

The updated site would be available from October 26, the official launch date of Windows 8. Here are a few expectations that I’d have from the rollout:

  • The design is rolled out to all MSN sites globally simultaneously. Several worldwide MSN sites are slow to adapt a design update.
  • The design is consistent across all sections and sub-sites. Even after the last design refresh, few sections of MSN continue to live with the older design.
  • While Reuters and Associated Press are as good as news sources can get, I’d like to see more content partnerships for lifestyle and other channels; something like MSN Health.

Microsoft Makes Strategic Investment in Klout, Announces Bing Integration

Microsoft announced today that it has made a strategic investment in Klout, the controversial service that aims to monitor one’s influence on social networks. And, as is the case with its strategic investment in Facebook, there will be a technical partnership between the two companies; Klout scores will crop up in Bing search results, and the amount of times that you’ve been searched for on Bing will be yet another factor in just how influential Klout thinks you are.

On Bing, Klout scores and topics will be displayed next to the experts in the “People Who Know” section of its social sidebar. There will also be a link to each person’s Klout profile in an attempt to provide more context into why these people are experts in their respective fields.

In an attempt to broaden Klout’s scope of data used to determine an individual’s influence, Bing search data will now be factored into how one’s influence is measured on the service. The “experts” who show up in Bing’s “People Who Know” sidebar will be recognized on Klout, and those with a Wikipedia account associated with their profile will be rated based on how often they are searched for on Bing.

 

Microsoft’s Developer Marathon in India Sets Guinness World Record

Microsoft’s Windows AppFest held at KTPO, Bangalore, has set the Guinness World Record for “Most Participants in a Software Development Marathon in One Location”. A little more than two and a half thousand (2567 to be precise) developers poured their heart and soul for eighteen hours to design, build, and test new Windows 8 apps.

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Microsoft has been holding developer events across the world in an attempt to energize the developer ecosystem for Windows 8 ahead of its launch. Windows 8 features an entirely new class of touch-screen friendly apps that leverage web technologies. While Windows 8 makes developing Windows apps easier than ever before, it also eschews backward compatibility. Old apps will still run on desktops, but only in the classic mode, and in ARM tablets, they won’t run at all. Microsoft is making a bold move by redefining what we mean by Windows Apps, and its success hinges on developer participation.

AppFest is an initiative to get developers familiarized and involved with Windows 8, as well as to raise awareness about the opportunities offered by Windows 8. The Bangalore event was filled with activities throughout the day and night including performances from DJRink, rock band Swarathma and morning yoga sessions. Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, remarked “The spectacle of thousands of developers toiling through the night has demonstrated great commitment to their work.”

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[ Photos courtesy of Abhishek Baxi and Microsoft ]

Microsoft YouthSpark to Connect 300 Million Youth to Opportunity

Microsoft launched a massive campaign today to empower, educate, and provide opportunities for millions of young people on a global scale. As part of its campaign to be a good global citizen, Microsoft has introduced a new program called YouthSpark. The program will cooperate with businesses, governments, and nonprofits to create opportunities for young people worldwide.

YouthSpark Logo

In a live event hosted online today, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, talked about the initiative. Ballmer said, “Through Microsoft YouthSpark we are making a commitment to help 300 million young people around the world achieve their dreams by focusing our citizenship efforts and other company resources on connecting young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. We believe that working with our partners we can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time and resources to do that.” Noting the global economic downturn and lack of trained workforce Brad Smith, Executive Vice President of Microsoft said, “Our next generation of citizenship will focus on the next generation of people. The global unemployment rate for workers younger than 25 is 12.7 percent, which is double the rate for the world as a whole. This is indicative of a growing opportunity divide between young people who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. We must work together to close the opportunity divide for youth and help secure the future of this generation and the future of our global economy.”

Microsoft plans to partner with nonprofits worldwide including GlobalGiving Foundation, TakingITGlobal, Telecentre.org Foundation and the International Youth Foundation, as well as regional nonprofits such as Silatech in the Middle East, The Trust for Americas in Latin America, AIESEC International in Europe, and the ASEAN Foundation in Asia. In the U.S. it plans to work with 5 charities including Boys & Girls Clubs of AmericaCity YearJunior Achievement USANetwork for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Year Up Inc. YouthSpark will offer students and teachers access to Office 365 for Education and Skype in the classroom, as well as other tools for teachers. To be honest, the programs they outlined today are so vast, it is truly hard to take it all in. On top of all the previous things mentioned, YouthSpark will also be offering the following:

• Partners in Learning. A professional development program for government officials, school leaders and educators to help them with new approaches to teaching and learning, using technology to help students develop 21st century skills.

• Microsoft IT Academy. A career-ready education program available to all accredited academic institutions, providing students with 21st century technology.

• DreamSpark. Free access to Microsoft designer and developer tools for students and educators, helping advance key technical skills during the high school and college years, a critical time in a student’s development.

• Imagine Cup. The world’s premier youth technology competition, which challenges students to apply their knowledge and passion to develop technical solutions for social impact, to develop engaging games, and to demonstrate innovation that can benefit others, local communities and the world.

• Students to Business. A program that matches university students with jobs or internships in the technology industry.

• BizSpark. A software startup program, providing young entrepreneurs with access to Microsoft software development tools and connections with key industry players, including investors, to help them start a new business.

Microsoft is also focusing on other citizenship efforts. Here are 3 initiatives they outlined in their press release today:

• Give for Youth, a global microgiving marketplace focused on raising funds for nonprofits that support youth causes around the world.

• Microsoft YouthSpark Hub, an online space where people can explore and access all the youth services, programs and resources provided by Microsoft and its nonprofit partners.

• Microsoft Innovate for Good, a global online community enabling youth to collaborate, inspire and support one another while using technology to make a difference in their communities.

Microsoft has definitely taken on a huge undertaking with these programs. Hopefully, word will spread and those who could benefit the most from this program will find the resource best suited for them. If you or someone you know would like more information, visit Microsoft’s website at http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/youthspark/.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Updated for MacBook Pro Retina Display

Today has been a day filled with new update releases. Apple released iOS 6 to the public today and OS X 10.8.2. Microsoft also released Office for Mac 2011 version 14.2., which adds support for the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro released in June. This update makes text more crisp and all key areas of the interface sharper than ever, Microsoft said in a post in its official Office for Mac blog. The update should be available via AutoUpdate.

We’re happy to announce that Office for Mac 2011 (version 14.2.4) now supports Retina display for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Text everywhere is incredibly crisp and all key areas of the interface are now sharper than ever. We hope you enjoy this fantastic software experience!

In addition, the new update brought a number of enhancements for Outlook including calendar event reminders, Mountain Lion compatibility for signatures, and fixes for several other issues. Microsoft also promised that its team is “going back to work on even more great features” for Office for Mac.

 

Microsoft Issues Fix It for Internet Explorer Zero Day Vulnerability

A few days ago, we reported a new vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer that could allow an attacker to execute code remotely on an affected PC. The vulnerability had been spreading fast and had been added to free attack tools used by hackers.

Microsoft has now issued an interim solution in the form of a Fix It tool which can be downloaded from here. In a blog post published today, Microsoft’s Yunsun Wee says that the tool is a one click solution that will protect users right away and that it will not hinder user’s web browsing in any way. You wont have to reboot your computer as well.

Microsoft will be releasing an out-of-band security update, MS12-063 this Friday to close the vulnerability. The update will be rated critical and will address the zero day vulnerability (Security Advisory 2757760) along with four other remote code execution issues. Users who downloaded the FixIt solution need not uninstall it before installing the update.

If you have automatic updates enabled, the update will be installed automatically and if you don’t, make sure that you install the update so that your computers are not vulnerable. Also, I highly recommend installing the FixIt solution right now to prevent any zero day attacks.

New Critical 0-day Internet Explorer Vulnerability Being Used to Deliver Poison Ivy Trojan

If you are still using Internet Explorer 9 or below, here is one more reason to upgrade to Internet Explorer 10, or perhaps take a look at one of the many excellent free alternatives. A critical zero-day vulnerability has been uncovered in Internet Explorer that could allow a remote hacker to execute arbitrary code on your system even if you simply browse to an infected page. The vulnerability is already being actively exploited in the wild. Affected versions include Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, and 9.

Eric Romang was the first to report the vulnerability, which has since been confirmed by Microsoft. The exploit has four main components: the Exploit.html file which acts as the starting point, the Moh2010.swf flash file that is responsible for spraying the heap with the payload that will be executed, the Protect.html file that is the actual trigger for the vulnerability, and additional malicious components that are downloaded and executed on the compromised system by the payload. The payload being dropped by the flash file has been identified to be the infamous Poison Ivy trojan.

If Internet Explorer 10 is not supported on your system and you don’t want to move to an alternate browser, Microsoft is recommending that you add Internet Explorer to the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, or set Internet and Local intranet security zone settings to “High” to block ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting. Detailed workaround instructions are available in Microsoft’s Security Advisory.