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Windows 8.1 announcements at Build 2014

Today Microsoft officially announced upcoming features for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 at the Build developer conference in San Francisco.

The Windows Phone 8.1 update introduces the Action Center, a slide-down panel for notifications and phone activity similar to what's available for iOS and Android. The update brings customizable notification settings for developers, including app-specific triggers for vibration and sound.

Another big update is the introduction of Cortana, Microsoft's personal assistant powered by the Bing search engine. Though the keynote demo had some hiccups, Cortana's voice recognition shows a lot of progress and … Read more

Office for iPad rumors give Microsoft's stock a boost

Microsoft's share price hit levels Tuesday not seen since the dot-com boom days, with analysts attributing the rise to a report on Monday of Office finally landing on the iPad.

Microsoft's shares rose as much as 5 percent to $39.90 on Tuesday, adding $15 billion to the company's value, Reuters reported. The last time the software giant's shares flirted with $40 was in July 2000.

ZDNet, Reuters, and others reported on Monday that Microsoft has scheduled a March 27 press briefing in San Francisco where Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella will introduce the Microsoft … Read more

Build with Chrome is a virtual Lego time-suck, but worth it

You really, really want to build something out of little plastic bricks, but you're stuck in your office, far away from your Lego stash. Lucky for you, Google has just unveiled Build with Chrome, a virtual Lego playground that gives you access to all sorts of pieces for building online.

You can jump right in, or take some lessons first. The Build Academy sets you against a series of challenges to train you to be a master builder. You're guided along by a virtual hippy-wizard Lego minifig, a character that ties in marketing-wise with the upcoming Lego movie. It starts off basic with learning how to rotate your baseplate and gets increasingly more complex as you hone your skills.… Read more

Is 3D printing the future of home building?

Building a 2,500-square-foot house in less than 20 hours? It sounds like a tall tale, but a professor at the University of Southern California says it is absolutely possible. He would toss out traditional building practices and replace them with a single 3D printer.

It's called contour crafting, creator Behrokh Khoshnevis, the director of the manufacturing engineering graduate program USC, tells CBS News.

"Construction the way it's done today is very wasteful," he explained in a presentation at TEDxOjai. "Our solution benefits from advanced technology...It is essentially a way of streamlining the process … Read more

Review: Photo Go lets you import, edit, organize, and share your photos

Photo Go is a powerful photo editing program with many convenient features and an intuitive interface. The app lets you import photos from a digital camera or directly from your computer. Once they've been imported, you can edit, organize, and share them with ease. Add effects and filters to make pictures more special or reduce red-eye to make your photos look more professional.

Installing Photo Go takes a bit longer than some other apps, but it is a straightforward process. You do have to register the software online before using it, but this takes only a minute or two. … Read more

Review: Mellel is a powerful word processor for Mac

Mellel looks no different from other word processors on Mac OS X at first glance, but offers a robust array of tools designed specifically for its target audience. Buried beneath the surface are numerous tools for crafting live bibliographies, formatting documents actively, and managing an outline of your document as you develop it -- all perfect for scholars, technical writers, and others with heavy citation and annotation needs.

Mellel is a big file so it takes some time to download, install, and open for the first time. Once it does, however, it runs smoothly. Everything looks sleek and modern, and … Read more

10 must-see videos of the week

Happy Friday! Here you'll find a recap of some of the best moments of the week in video format.

Apple finally sent out invites to their October 22nd event in San Francisco and speculation on what will be announced is mounting. Brian Tong breaks down everything you need to know beforehand, including what we expect to see and more in this week's Apple Byte.

For those of you who crave a challenging home project, CNET's How-To expert, Dan Graziano walks you through the entire process of building your own custom computer. But that's not all DIYers! … Read more

How to build your own computer

This is the third and final part of CNET's guide to building your own computer. Make sure you have read part one and part two before proceeding.

Having all these small and expensive parts sitting in front of you may look like a daunting task, but in reality the setup process, while long, is relatively simple. Having tools like a box cutter, scissors, zip ties, and a screwdriver by your side will only make the process that much quicker.

The most important task, and I cannot stress this enough, is to ground yourself. This can be done by touching … Read more

What you need to know before building your own computer

This is the second part of CNET's guide to building your own computer. Make sure you read part one before proceeding.

Now that you have decided to build your own computer, you must have a basic understanding of what each component does. You didn't really think we would just jump right into building it, did you? These are the components that are found inside today's desktop computers:

Storage

The operating system and all your files are stored on your computer's internal storage. There are two different kinds of storage options available: hard disk or solid-state. The … Read more

The pros and cons of building your own computer

We may be entering into a post-PC world, but that doesn't mean the desktop computer is dead. Smartphones and tablets can be great for basic gaming, checking your email, and keeping in touch with friends and family, however you can still get more functionality out of a traditional PC.

Despite the push towards touch screens in recent years, nothing beats having a mouse and keyboard. Typing is quicker, navigating the interface is seamless, and the user experience is far more enjoyable, at least in my opinion.

Laptops are in a weird transitional phase, with companies now beginning to push … Read more