Best of the Web for Windows Users – 11 - 17 May 2014

This week there was good news about Windows 8.1,, Office Touch for Windows and plenty of exciting news about Xbox One. To learn more about what happened this week in Microsoft's consumer ecosystem, read this roundup. You will not regret it.

The Best Tech Related News

As always, we will start with the most important news of the week in Microsoft's consumer ecosystem:

Windows 8.1 Update Gets Brand New Windows Store Design - Windows 8.1 has received an important update to the Windows Store experience, which makes it easier to discover new apps. Take a look at the new Windows Store and let us know what you think. introduces the most sophisticated rules in webmail - Microsoft has released Advanced Rules and three other features for in-line replies, improved messaging and an Undo button. They are all very welcome features and they will be slowly rolled out to all users worldwide. Some of you may not have these features yet, so be patient. In a week or so, they should be available for everybody.

Is This Office Touch for Windows? - Several screenshots have leaked from what it appears to be the upcoming Office Touch for Windows. It seems that Microsoft is doing great work on it and we can't wait to see Office Touch being released for Windows.

Microsoft gets into the home automation game with Insteon partnership - Microsoft has announced a partnership with Insteon - a company that sells home automation networks. As of June, Insteon will provide apps with exclusive features for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 devices, which will help their users manage their home automation systems. It's great to see Microsoft getting into the home automation space.

Microsoft Infinity Room - In collaboration with data journalist Simon Rogers, Universal Everything and Microsoft have created an immersive data narrative experience which explores the power of big data. You can view this experience in the video embedded below.

Microsoft / Infinity Room from Freefarm - Sound Design & Music on Vimeo.

Head of Xbox says plans to decouple Kinect from Xbox One began in April - Big changes are coming to Xbox One: a new version without Kinect that will be sold for $399, the removal of the Xbox Live Gold paywall for media apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Internet Explorer and the expansion of Xbox 360's Games for Gold freebie program to Xbox One. Finally!

Microsoft Offering Xbox Live Refund Ahead of Massive Changes - Further good news for Xbox One users: Microsoft is offering refunds to Xbox Live Gold subscribers who want out of their memberships ahead of drastic changes to the service. Learn more about how to get a refund from this news article.

Microsoft readying locker service for Xbox Music - Microsoft is working on combining OneDrive with Xbox Music to create a music locker in the cloud. With the help of OneDrive Music folder, you will be able upload your music files to this folder, so that you can play it via Xbox Music from any of your devices. It is an exciting feature and we hope that it will be made available as soon as possible.

The Best Tech Tips & Guides

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

How to Stop Caring About Trolls and Get On With Your Life - If you are an active blogger or member of any online community, you will learn a lot from reading this guide on how to stop caring about trolls. The good news is that it is easier than you think! :)

What is the purpose of Chrome apps that duplicate a website? - This question is relevant for many Google Chrome users, including myself. Why apps when websites do the same thing?

10 Must-Know Microsoft Excel Date Functions - A collection of simple date functions that will be useful to any begginer in Microsoft Excel.

I hope that you have enjoyed this week's roundup. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to use the form below.