Best of the Web for Windows users - March 27th - April 2nd 2016

This week was a very busy one for Microsoft: they had the BUILD conference in San Francisco and, during this event, they announced many interesting things, like what the next update to Windows 10 is going to bring, the launch of HoloLens for developers, major new features coming to Skype and Cortana and more. To learn what is going to happen in Microsoft’s ecosystem by the end of this year, you must read this week’s news recap:

Microsoft: the news of the week

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

Microsoft says Windows 10 is now running on 270 million devices - In the opening keynote for its Build conference in San Francisco, Microsoft's Terry Myerson announced that the number of active devices has risen sharply since the start of the year. But can that pace continue?

Windows 10 Anniversary Update: These are the new features - Microsoft has announced a brand new update for Windows 10 titled “Anniversary Update” that introduces a number of new features and enhancements that both developers and consumers will appreciate. Here is a recap of all the consumer-oriented features announced during the BUILD developer conference.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update lets you mirror Android notifications on your PC - The Windows 10 Anniversary Update, announced during day one of Microsoft Build, will bring about another new feature that should get Android users excited — the ability to mirror notifications on your PC.

Linux command-line tools are coming to Windows 10 - staple feature of Linux (and Unix) is coming to Windows 10. The company is integrating the Bash command-line shell and support for Ubuntu Linux binaries into Windows 10's Anniversary Update.

Hands-on with HoloLens: On the cusp of a revolution - Ars Technica have used HoloLens without any supervision and they said that it's an amazing device that now needs amazing software to go with it. Don’t hesitate to watch the video that they have offered with the article.

Microsoft thinks Skype bots will make your life easier - Skype program manager Lilian Rincon showed off the next generation of the video communications app, which will have users talking to artificial intelligence as much as actual people. One of the primary drivers of non-human interaction is Cortana, Microsoft's voice assistant who has been integrated into just about every nook and cranny of the company's ecosystem.

Microsoft now lets you turn any Xbox One into a development kit - The Xbox One is about to become a far more interesting (and accessible) platform for indie game developers — and regular users will soon be able to use their console to chat with Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant, too.

UWPs on Xbox: Microsoft wants apps, not games - Microsoft already has schemes for creating games on Xbox, with its existing partner program and independent developer scheme, [email protected]

Any developers that want to submit Universal Windows Platform games will have to be a member of [email protected]

While that doesn't cost anything, it's also not open to everyone in the way that Windows developer registration is. Companies have to be approved for [email protected]

and subsequently agree to an NDA.

Microsoft’s new AI tools help developers build smart apps and bots - Microsoft is offering new tools to help developers build interactive bots that understand natural language. There are two key components, which are available in preview and are both part of the larger Cortana Intelligence Suite. "The first, Microsoft Cognitive Services, is a collection of intelligence APIs that allows systems to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret our needs using natural methods of communication," Microsoft said. "The second, the Microsoft Bot Framework, can be used by developers—programming in any language—to build intelligent bots that enable customers to chat using natural language on a wide variety of platforms including text/SMS, Office 365, Skype, Slack, the Web and more." Below you can see a very impressive demo of Microsoft Cognitive Services.

Xamarin is now free for all Visual Studio users - Microsoft’s acquisition of Xamarin last month was a big deal, but now we actually know what the company is actually planning to do with it. The biggest piece of news: Xamarin is now free for Visual Studio users.

Microsoft's new Windows Ink makes stylus input way more useful - Windows Ink is the new name for Microsoft's pen support, and it includes a commitment to let developers easily build the support into their apps. That will help with future apps, but Microsoft is also creating its own Ink Workspace in Windows 10 to serve as a centerpiece for pen-enabled devices.

Amazon, Microsoft look for big data role in self-driving cars - Amazon.com and Microsoft are in talks to supply cloud computing to digital mapping business HERE, owned by a group of German carmakers developing self-driving cars, sources familiar with the matter said

Microsoft: Windows Phone isn't our focus this year - Microsoft kicked off its Build developer conference in San Francisco with a focus on Windows 10, bots, and developer tools, but there was something missing: Windows Phone. The Verge got the chance to speak to Windows chief Terry Myerson and it's clear Microsoft's focus isn't on phones this year.

Lumia Voices, the Microsoft Lumia community, to close its doors - Beginning on April 12, Lumia Voices will cease to exist. The group was formerly known as Lumia Connects and before that, Nokia Connects.

Microsoft AI bot Tay returns to Twitter, goes on spam tirade, then back to sleep - Near a week after being silenced because the internet taught her to be racist, Microsoft’s artificial intelligence bot “Tay” briefly returned to Twitter, whereon she went on a spam tirade and then quickly fell silent again.

Cool tips and guides

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

The Best Time to Buy a Laptop - Nothing causes buyer's remorse quite like seeing the laptop you bought last month for $1,000 go on sale for $750. It's equally unpleasant to buy a pricey new MacBook on March 1 and then watch as Apple unveils a much faster and more technically advanced model on March 9. The price on most laptops drops eventually, and newer models are always coming around the corner. So when is the best time to buy a laptop? The answer depends a great deal on your circumstances.

How to Set Up Amazon Household and Share Prime Benefits, Purchased Content, and More - Having multiple Amazon accounts can get pricey, if you pay for Prime multiple times, buy the same movies, and so on. Thankfully, Amazon Household makes it dead simple to share free shipping, purchases, and other benefits across multiple accounts in your household.

How to Master Microsoft Office OneNote - Microsoft OneNote has been one of our favorite note-taking apps for years, and it keeps getting better. The app is completely free to install on your Mac or Windows desktop and lets you format notes any way you wish in an intuitive digital notebook interface. Here’s how to get started with OneNote and take your notes to the next level.

Digital Citizen: The best articles of the month

We would like to end with the most popular articles that were published on Digital Citizen, in the month of March:

Top 5 annoying practices of security vendors - Here’s what security vendors do in their antivirus products in order to make more money, even though that means lowering your security or your privacy.

Does Windows 10 Mobile stand a chance against Windows Phone 8.1 in terms of performance? - A performance comparison between Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile. Learn how the upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile will impact your smartphone’s performance levels.

How to burn disc images (ISO & IMG) in Windows - Here’s how to burn disc images to CDs, DVDs or Blu-Ray discs using only the tools that are built into Windows.

BONUS: We have a giveaway running these days in which we offer an ad-free copy of a great game for Android smartphones and tablets. Check it it out!