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windows 8

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The launch of Windows 8.1 is finally here! Today is the day you’re able to download the final version of Windows 8.1 for the very first time through the Windows Store. You’re able to go and grab it right now, for free if you’re a current Windows 8 user.

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As Windows 8.1 is set to roll out around the world, Facebook has released their very first app for the new OS marking the first time they have supported it with a native application.

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Exciting news! The day is almost upon us: Windows 8.1 is being released to the public tomorrow around the world. Starting with New Zealand at Midnight (which is 4 AM Pacific Time) the free update for Windows 8 will begin appearing in the Windows Store for end users.

Perhaps unluckily, it will be a staged roll out and people around the world may not actually see the code appear at 4 AM PT.

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Microsoft has today unveiled the next minor update to Windows Phone 8 hot on the heels of AT&T finally getting around to releasing GDR2 for devices on their network. If you’re not familiar with the GDR releases, they stand for General Distribution Release and are similar to service packs or minor feature updates for the platform.

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Everyone has run into this at least once before: Skype’s infuriating inability to synchronize messages across devices means that you get multiple alerts about the same message.

One on your phone, then your tablet, laptop and desktop to clear manually. It’s frustrating and ruins the entire experience, but we have good news: Microsoft has announced that Skype will get message synchronization in a future update.

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It’s not entirely clear why this wasn’t Microsoft’s strategy from the start, but a report from The Verge today suggests that the company is working to build a unified app store that works consistently across Windows Phone and the Windows desktop.

According to the report Terry Myerson, head of the operating systems group at Microsoft made the announcement at an internal company meeting today.

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Love photography? If you’re not already using 500px then you’re missing out on one of the best photo experiences of the web. Today, 500px has released a beautiful desktop companion for Windows 8′s Modern UI.

500px is essentially a Flickr competitor that has an emphasis on beautiful, professional photography and the ability to show that off online in a hosted portfolio. It allows you to share photography with a large community and get critique from them as well as having the ability to join discussions with like-minded photographers.

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Over the last year we’ve seen the quality of Windows 8 applications gradually increase and now that Windows 8.1 is on the horizon, we’re starting to see some unique apps that really set the platform apart.

Newseen is one of these apps, which has a unique view on how to read news and does the job much better than many fully-fledged RSS readers on the internet.

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The Surface Pro may only have been on the market for eight months, but it’s already getting a refresh. The device was released at an interesting time — between Intel chip refreshes — which meant the device wasn’t so great on battery life and was a little on the chubby side. The good news is that it’s getting a refresh, which could make it the best PC on the market.

Today, Neowin reports that Microsoft is about to release a refresh to the Surface Pro device, something they believe will be called the “Surface 2.” Information given to Appstorm indicates that it may simply keep the “Surface Pro” moniker and follow a similar trend to Apple devices, simply calling it the “new” Surface Pro.

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You’d think it would be easy to make a good to-do app for a platform. After all, paper and pencil have been doing the job for years on end already, haven’t they? Still, it’s proven to be surprisingly hard to find a simple, functional to-do list app for Windows 8. Like Goldilocks, they’re either too clunky to use, too chock-full of features, or too sparse.

My gold standard, as with most PIM apps, is the Tasks app for Palm OS. Though it’s over a decade old, the Palm OS got a lot of things right. The right balance of simple with being full-featured enough to use daily is a terribly hard balance to strike. Minimalist for Windows 8 gets a lot of the balancing right, though.

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