Best of the Web for Windows users - 13 - 19 March 2016

This week, Microsoft has finally released the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade for existing Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones. Unfortunately , they did not release it for all Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones and they have ditched their plans to do so in two waves, as they promised last year. Talk about not keeping your promises! On a more positive note, we have learned that M icrosoft will allow Xbox gamers to play against PS4 and PC players and that it is testing internally TV DVR (digital video recording) for Xbox One. To learn more details about these events, as well as other interesting news, read this week’s recap:

Microsoft: the news of the week

These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:

Windows 10 Mobile upgrade now available for (some) Windows Phone 8.1 handsets - Four months after the first phones with Windows 10 Mobile preinstalled shipped, Windows Phone 8.1 devices can now officially be upgraded to Windows 10 without the use of Insider/Preview builds.

Nearly 40 Percent of Windows Phone Devices Not Getting Windows 10 Mobile Upgrade - The release of Windows 10 Mobile was received with mixed feelings by the Windows Phone community, and while some users were very pleased to finally get the upgrade, others were extremely disappointed that so many devices were left behind.

There will be no second wave of Windows 10 Mobile upgrades for Lumia devices - It seems that Microsoft has changed its plans again: don't expect to ever see Windows 10 Mobile if you have a device with a Snapdragon S4 Plus and 512 MB RAM.

Edge browser now has extensions in the latest Windows 10 preview - The latest build for Windows 10, version 14291, includes the first preview of the extension support in Microsoft Edge. Microsoft has three extensions so far: two it developed itself (one to perform automatic translation of foreign language pages, another to enable mouse gestures), and a ported version of the popular Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES).

Microsoft teaches AI how to climb hills and understand our world, using Minecraft - Microsoft has quietly launched a new testing platform for artificial intelligence, that relies on Minecraft as the testbed for the algorithms. In other words, “young artificial intelligence” will learn how to do things inside the worlds created in Minecraft.

Twitter updated for all Windows 10 devices, includes beautiful new mobile app - Twitter has pushed out an update for their Windows apps on both PC and mobile, and it’s a relatively big one.

A simpler sharing experience at OneDrive.com - Microsoft has unveiled a new, simpler sharing experience for OneDrive.com. The new experience gets rid of the old "Invite People" and "Get a link" options and replaces them with two icons with the options to "Get a link" or "Email".

Here Maps drops support for Windows Phone and Windows 10 - HERE M aps has been a strong part of Microsoft's Windows Phone offering for years, but that's coming to an end later this month.

Why it matters when popular brands like HERE ditch their Windows Phone apps - A solid editorial from Neowin on the importance of the HERE apps disappearing from the Windows Store.

Microsoft plans to improve the Windows Maps experience with new update soon - Microsoft employee and avid Redditor Dave_MSFT has spoken up about some upcoming improvements planned for Windows Maps that include a “better drive UI” and the potential for conducting subsequent searches along a selected route.

Skype for Web – now call mobile phones and landlines, plus so much more - Microsoft delivered a significant update to its Skype for Web experience, bringing a range of features that it says its users have been asking for.

Sticking with Windows 7? The forecast calls for pain - For small businesses and consumers without enterprise deployment tools, a clean install of the aging Windows 7 can take a full day. And the problem's getting worse. Ed Bott clarifies why.

Microsoft will allow Xbox gamers to play against PS4 and PC players - M icrosoft is announcing a big new feature for Xbox owners: cross-network play. It's something the software giant has hinted at for years, and now it seems the reality of PS4, Xbox One, and PC players playing the same game together might finally happen.

Why Microsoft is finally pushing for cross-platform online gaming - The question is, why now? Microsoft has been running Xbox Live since 2002, and it's been nearly a decade since the similar PlayStation Network launched on Sony's PlayStation 3 (not to mention PC-based networks like Steam). Why hasn't Microsoft made public overtures to connect these disparate networks before now?

Microsoft is mashing Windows and the Xbox together to win over its most critical market - By smashing together platforms like the Xbox One and Windows P hone together with Windows 10, Microsoft says that it's opening up all kinds of doors to help developers make a lot more cash and win more fans.

Microsoft Is Now Testing TV DVR for Xbox One - A source very close to Microsoft says that the software giant is now internally testing TV DVR (digital video recording) capabil ity for Xbox One, meaning that customers will soon be able to record live TV shows from the console.

Xbox chief: Company party’s hired dancers “not consistent with our values" - Microsoft hosted a private, Xbox-branded party that included a number of women provocatively dressed in cleavage- and midriff-baring shirts, thigh-high stockings, and short, Xbox-green skirts, all dancing on pedestals to electronic music. The scene, which was filmed by a partygoer and posted to Twitter, resembled something from an average Tales From The Crypt nightclub scene.

Cool tips and guides

We would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:

How to Broadcast Your Games Online with Steam - Twitch.tv is quickly becoming one of the top destinations for game streaming on the web, with video sites like YouTube following close behind. But you probably already have a decent streaming program on your computer: Steam.

How to Disable Malfunctioning Physical Buttons on Android Phones - Has your phone’s volume button gone mad? I mean does it keep increasing or decreasing the volume on its own? Or has it just gotten smashed inside the chassis and it won’t stop turning down the volume?

This Massive VPN Comparison Spreadsheet Helps You Choose the Best for You - Choosing a trustworthy, reliable VPN service provider is hard, but over on Reddit, user That One Privacy Guy collected virtually everything there is to know about most large (and many small) VPNs and put them into a single color-coded Google Sheet that’s easy to read and understand.