Microsoft's Build 2013 keynote: Join us Wednesday (live blog)

Microsoft will gather thousands of developers in San Francisco this week for its Build conference, with much of this year's event focused on generating excitement about updates to its Windows 8 operating system.

CNET will be there live on Wednesday, giving you the blow by blow of the opening keynote, with photos and running commentary as well. The keynote, which will offer a look at the Windows 8.1 update, starts at 9 a.m. PT at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco.

You can tune in here:

CNET's live coverage of Microsoft Build 2013 keynote

The … Read more

Microsoft unifies programs to boost startups

Just a day ahead of the kick-off of its Build 2013 conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced on Tuesday the consolidation of a number of its startup outreach programs into a single Microsoft Ventures unit.

Microsoft Ventures will offer mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding, joint selling opportunities and other benefits globally. The new unit will incorporate the BizSpark accelerator program, the Bing Fund, and other existing "accelerators" Microsoft has been operating in various countries.

Microsoft's message, as it prepares to host its first major developer conference in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area since 1997, is it … Read more

Now it's Microsoft's turn to rally developers

When Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer took the stage at the company's Build conference for developers last October, the software giant was buzzing from the Windows 8 launch the prior week.

The big news for the first day of that Build: Microsoft had sold 4 million copies of the new operating system in just four days.

This year's Build, which starts Wednesday in San Francisco, will be a bit of a reset for Windows 8. The Windows 8 buzz has long since dissipated, replaced by concerns that the operating system isn't sparking PC sales the way analysts, … Read more

Review: Polarity combines two Web layout engines in one free browser

Web browser aficionados will want to check out Polarity, which integrates Google's Chromium and Internet Explorer's Trident Web rendering engines in one program. Polarity packs most of the features users expect in an up-to-date Web browser, such as tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking, plus some new tools like speech recognition. It's easy to set up, too. Polarity grew out of the Simplicity browser project, and its motto is, "Browse the Web without clutter." However, it really doesn't offer anything special or unique enough to turn heads, and its emphasis on simplicity also means limited … Read more

Microsoft to open up more tickets to Build conference

Those of you who failed to score a ticket for Microsoft's Build conference the first time will now get another chance.

A limited number of additional tickets to Build will go on sale starting Wednesday, May 15, at 9 a.m. PT. Scheduled to take place from June 26 to 28 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the conference costs $2,095 for a full-price ticket. "Academic" tickets, which are still available in short supply, go for $995 a piece.

Tickets for the popular event initially went on sale on April 2 and apparently sold out … Read more

Review: Discover powerful terminal application, MacTerm for Mac

Looking for the most sophisticated terminal software with Unix-like options to access your Mac's system? MacTerm for Mac is a very powerful application, with tons of features, customization options, and a basic interface.

MacTerm for Mac is a free application that is currently in beta. This application doesn't have a native installer, but nevertheless it downloaded and installed quickly. If you are used to Apple's OS X Terminal application, after initiating the program you will be greeted with a very familiar interface, only with new icons and features on the toolbar. The application is basically a more … Read more

Efficient Sticky Notes Portable 3.50 Build 333 Review

Efficient Sticky Notes has been a go-to recommendation for a free sticky notes app, but shareware upgrades are available: Efficient Sticky Notes Pro and Efficient Sticky Notes Pro Portable. They're basically identical, including their modest price, except the portable version can run from a USB drive, and all its "stuff" is inside its program folder instead of roaming throughout Windows. Both versions of Efficient Sticky Notes Pro do everything the free version does and more, including the ability to add attachments to notes. We tried Efficient Sticky Notes Pro Portable Edition in Windows 7.

Instead of skipping … Read more

BIQ House: World's first building powered by algae

There's long been speculation and research about algae's potential as a power source. The fast-growing plants waste three-quarters of the sunlight they absorb, so what if that energy could be captured and converted?

That's the premise behind BIQ House, designed by architectural firm Splitterwerk. It's a new algae-powered building that's opening on April 25 as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Hamburg, Germany. The building's east and south facades are covered in a system of louvres. Filled with microalgae, these louvres form 200 square meters of panels to power the building. … Read more

PerformanceTest 8.0.Build 1018 Review

PassMark's PerformanceTest makes it easy to test your computer and compare its performance against baseline statistics and other users' PCs. Benchmarking your PC is important for tweaking its performance, and it's critical for overclocking. PerformanceTest runs a battery of sophisticated benchmarking tests and returns some expert-level data. With six suites comprising 28 unique tests, it benchmarks the performance of your CPU, RAM, 2D and 3D graphics, disk speed, and more. Recent updates include improved 32-bit performance in Windows 7 and compatibility with Windows 8. PerformanceTest is free to try for 30 days and costs $26. We tried it … Read more

Block building, tower defense, and first-person mayhem in one game

Block Fortress is a great mix of tower defense and first-person shooter that lets you build a home base with turrets and other defenses, then play in first person while you help defend your blocky base. It's an incredibly deep game, but the way the developers named the game types is a bit confusing on first play.

The graphics in the game are almost exactly like those in the hit game Minecraft, with tons of different block types to unlock and use to defend your fortress. Fans of Minecraft will feel right at home during the building phase of … Read more