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Microsoft is launching new gift cards that will be used for purchases on Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone stores. Consumers will be able to purchase games, music, movies, shows, apps and more. We recently looked at a leak that detailed a launch for the gift cards to match Windows 8.1 (October 22nd), but you can already pick them up at a Germany retailer and Amazon UK.

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A new leak has been published on Twitter by the account @Nawzil8. The tweet shows an image detailing what we can expect to see with the upcoming Windows Store gift cards. Said cards have been covered previously, so while we recommend you take this with a grain of salt, it's certainly plausible. Microsoft has added the option in Windows Phone Wallet, signalling to the ability to load said cards onto a Microsoft account, which will then be reflected in the Windows Phone hub.

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The latest thirty second spot for Windows 8.1 highlights the return of the Start Button. A feature that went missing with Windows 8 and caused a bit of a stir amongst the Microsoft faithful.

The video also touches on personalization options for your Start Screen such as the Live Tiles we've all grown rather fond of and Windows ability to multi-task and move between running programs with a simple swipe.

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The disappearance of a Start button and traditional Start Menu from Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, has been controversial. Many users who have been using the software for years feel discombobulated when trying to find their list of installed applications in the new OS. While most OEMs are hoping Windows 8.1’s decision to reintegrate a Start button will clam user frustrations, Lenovo has gone one step farther.

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PuTTY (www.greenend.org.uk) is a popular telnet/SSH client for Windows, enabling those with remote access to servers and devices to connect and perform an array of tasks through the terminal or command line interface. A developer has taken to Reddit to announce that he's currently at work on porting the PuTTY Windows client to Windows Phone.

While numerous apps are already available for Windows Phone that support SSH, it'll be good to see such a popular Windows client be brought across to the mobile world. No ETA has been provided, but a screenshot has been teased and we're stoked to finally be able to use PuTTY while on the move.

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If you are a Windows Phone fan, there is a good chance you are a fan of vibrant colors. I myself am a lover of the color red and keep my vibrant Nokia Lumia 920 on me at all times. Today, Sony has announced a new addition of ruby red Windows PCs. For those wondering, the brightly colored machines are not a part of the (RED) ™ charity.

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Microsoft’s On the Whiteboard” video series is beginning to show us how terrifying the Redmond campus actually is. Last week our host, Pamela Woon, took us on a tour to a place where no one can hear you scream. This week we are touring a building that is described by Surface team member, Ben Reed, as “a medieval dungeon where each room has a device that is a torture chamber.”

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Microsoft has begun prototyping smartwatch devices under the Surface team, according to sources familiar with company plans. Microsoft was previously reported to have been testing a smartwatch prototype by the Xbox accessories team, with the original plan of a "Joule" heart rate monitor. It has been confirmed that prototypes include a variety of removable wrist bands in blue, red, yellow, black, white and grey. 

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Sometimes technology is a collection of circuitry and silicon, sometimes though – it is a magical moment full of feelings and memories. The best experiences are born when technology transcends our knowledge and connects us with what we love. British science fiction writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, once said:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Microsoft has been around for a long time and for those of us who live off of the technology they provide, some of the memories will never seep away.

In 2007, the company released a four minute commercial that has come to be known as “Your Digital Lifestyle”. The ad highlighted the then current hi-tech Microsoft products of the time and how one green shirted hipster used them to party the night away. The commercial is set to a cover of Ash’s Girl from Mars by Canadian group, Magneta Lane.

Buckle up, because we are going on a field trip to six years ago; along the way, we are going to jam with our green shirted friend and revisit some of our past Microsoft technology goodies. Windows Vista will probably be seen along the way, but there will be plenty of other experiences to combat that bad flavor.

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We're live from London's Earls Court exhibition center for Samsung Premiere 2013 -- the Korean manufacturer's big event where it's promising to show off new Galaxy (Android) and Windows (ATIV) devices. So we can expect to see more Galaxy S4 phones -- and on the Windows side, there's the possibility of more tablets and ultrabooks, and maybe some new Windows Phone devices too.

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Microsoft has launched a new web series, “On the Whiteboard”, to take you behind the scenes of where and how technology mixes with culture.

The first episode follows our host, Pamela Woon, speaking to Oscar winner, Randy Thom, about the importance of sound in technology. Randy Thom has contributed to famous films including The Incredibles, Return of the Jedi, and Forest Gump.

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Microsoft and US retail chain Best Buy have both announced today a strategic partnership to create a new Windows Store. The set-up stalls will be featured within 500 Best Buy brick and mortar stores across the US and in more than 100 stores located in Canada. The stores will range in size from 1,500 and 2,200 square foot and will include Windows-based tablets and PCs, as well as Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox and more.

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Windows 8.1 (codenamed "Blue") is the upcoming update for Microsoft's desktop operating system, Windows 8. The company has been pushing out its latest major release of Windows since late last year with bumps in the road and goals ahead to smash. Details as to what consumers can expect to see in Windows 8.1 have been rather vague, but today Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President, Windows Program Management revealed some of the changes.

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At Tuesday’s reveal of the Xbox One, Microsoft showed off their next generation Kinect sensor. Our friends up in Redmond don’t want you to forget that the new Kinect unit will also be heading to Windows.

Microsoft released the original software development kit (SDK) in the spring of 2011 for Windows 7. The goal of the program was to expand Kinect’s usage scenario through 3rd party and indie developers. That being said, we have seen some amazing uses of Kinect in the fields of consumer shopping and medicine.

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Microsoft took the opportunity at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom conference today to talk about Windows 8.1 (or "Windows Blue" as it has been referred as). The update will be dished out to consumers for free, which is music to ears after the heavy discount Microsoft had in place for Windows 8 when the operating system launched last year.

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Samsung has announced that its expanding the ATIV brand to include its Windows based PC products. Originally used for its Windows Phone 8 hardware, Samsung states it will use the brand to represent the convergence of PC and mobile technologies. This will essentially unite all Samsung Windows products under a single umbrella. If you're now looking at Samsung ATIV hardware, it's running a version of Windows.

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Microsoft is set to reintroduce the famous Windows start button in Windows 8, according to sources familiar with company plans. A report over on The Verge points at Windows 8.1 (aka "Blue") as to when consumers will be able to see a start button in desktop mode without utilising third-party software. The only downside is it's noted the button will simply take the user back to the start screen and not fire up a menu.

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