In case you're still confused (because it is confusing): the Microsoft Surface we've been talking about lately is the Surface RT, which is basically like a tablet. The Surface Pro, though it looks pretty much like the Surface RT, has full laptop capabilities, just like any other Windows 8 computer. And Microsoft just announced today that the Surface Pro will cost $900 for the 64GB version and $1000 for the 128GB version--though neither comes with the Touch Cover keyboard, which is pretty much essential, so you can add another $120 to that price. That'll make it more expensive than a Macbook Air. [Microsoft]
The New York Times is taking data centers and those who build them to task today in two different pieces, one of which paints Microsoft as an energy-hungry bully to a small Washington state community. The Times reports that Microsoft wasted millions of watts of energy in December of last year by unnecessarily running huge heating units and threatened to waste millions more if a $210,000 penalty for overestimating its energy use was not rescinded by the local utility.
New flagship smartphones, if they're good, and the just-announced Nokia Lumia 920 looks very good, are 95 percent boring stuff and 5 percent actually interesting stuff. The Lumia 920 has a giant (sigh) screen, fast LTE 4G, a better camera, a screen with an elaborate name full of symbols (PureView ClearBlack+*+ technology!), faster processor, a new version of its OS (the excellent and under-appreciated Windows Phone), all that kinda stuff. But that's expected.
The project that ended up winning the software design category of the Microsoft Imagine Cup worldwide finals in Sydney, Australia, and, consequently, the honor of taking home the shiny silver Cup itself, started innocently enough. A group of students from Ukraine noticed that several athletes at their school were hearing impaired, and they wanted to help them be able to communicate better. That desire turned into a pair of gloves, absolutely loaded with sensors, that can understand sign language gestures and translate them into text-based and audio speech with 90 percent accuracy.
This year's Imagine Cup, a dream-of-the-future student competition in which "technology helps solve the world's toughest questions," was held in Sydney. The opening ceremonies were the mixture of ostentatious congratulation and childlike enthusiasm I have come to expect from the Imagine Cup. For a while, it was like Oprah's Favorite Things in there: "Everybody gets a new Nokia phone! Four of you get to go to a Microsoft developer's conference! Everybody gets Bill Gates's signature on a certificate!" The phrase "change the world" was used 10 times. I counted. And then four confetti cannons went off.