Tag Archives: built

For Sale – Ryzen 3700X, NVidia RTX 2070 Super, ADATA 1TB NVME, EVGA 750W PSU, Noctua Cooler, Noctua Case Fans, Meshify C Case, Samsung SSD

Built a gaming PC in September, but I’m just not using it enough to justify keeping it, so I’m selling all the parts from it. Everything apart from the Samsung SSD was only bought 4 months ago, and the PC itself wasn’t built until the middle of September, so the parts have only been used for effectively 3 months and are in excellent condition, wasn’t even any dust on most of the internals

. I will include PDFs or screenshots of all order invoices for all goods (again, aside from the Samsung SSD), for warranty purposes. As far as I’m aware, nothing has less than 7-8 months warranty, more in many cases, which will be detailed for each specific item.

Delivery – SD=Special Delivery, SF=Signed For, PF=Parcelforce, DPD =…DPD

Parts for sale

£258 (+£7 SD) – AMD Ryzen 3700X – CPU only, no Cooler. Comes in the original AMD Plastic holder and AMD Box (I can include the original Air Cooler box as well, but it will have to be flat-packed), also comes with remainder of 3-year Warranty.

£35 (+£5 SF1st) – 2x Noctua NF-A14 PWM Chromax 140mm Case Fans – Come in all the original packaging, and remainder of 6-year warranties.

£80 (+£10 DPD) – EVGA 750W G3 80+ Gold Modular PSU – Comes with all the original cables, bags and manual and remainder of 10-year Warranty.

£60 (+£10 DPD) – FractalDesign Meshify C Case with Tempered Glass Side Window (Black) – Comes with all the original screws, hard drive caddy has been re-attached for delivery, but will most likely need to be relocated slightly. The magnets attached to the dust filter on the top of the case were very flimsy and came off, so I re-attached them with gorilla glue and some black tape above to tidy it up. Not quite as aesthetically-appealing as it was originally, but much stronger. Includes 2 Fractal 120mm Case Fans.

Please be sure to ask any questions you may have, I’ve tried to take plenty of photos to include everything, so if there’s anything you can’t see included with a certain item that you expect there to be, ask about it before agreeing to purchase anything.

IMG_20191202_105507.jpg IMG_20191202_105519.jpg IMG_20191202_111340.jpg IMG_20191203_105606.jpg

** SOLD **

£85 (+£12 PF48hr) – MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC (Wi-fi model) Motherboard – BIOS has been updated obviously to ensure immediate support for latest Ryzen CPUs. Comes with all the original accessories and manual/sticker/quick-start guide etc. I believe MSI cover motherboards for 3-Year warranty, so you should get the remainder of this. I have not registered it myself. Sold to ciderspace

£55 (+£3 SF1st) – Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 3200Mhz C16 RAM – 2x8GB – Comes in original Corsair packaging. Limited Lifetime warranty. Sold to ciderspace

£30 (+£2 1stClass) – Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD Taken from my i6700HQ laptop, comes unpackaged with 4 screws. SOLD via ebay

£410 (+£25 SD) – Nvidia RTX 2070 Super – Purchased directly from Nvidia, comes with the remainder of a 3-year warranty. Comes with all the original packaging other than plastic wrapper that Card itself was wrapped in. SOLD via ebay

£15 (+£3 2nd/£4 SF2nd) – Club3D 3M DisplayPort 1.4 MBR3 8K Cable – Brand new and unused. SOLD via ebay

£85 (+£7 SD) – ADATA XPG SX8200 PRO 1TB M.2 NVME SSD – SSD and unused heatsink included along with ADATA packaging. Comes with remainder of 5-year Warranty. SOLD via ebay

£63 (+£10 DPD) – Noctua D15S Premium CPU Cooler – Comes with 2x NF-A15 PWM 140mm Chromax/Black Fans (effectively this is a Noctua D15 Cooler setup with two fans rather than one, halfway between the £75 standard D15 with ugly brown fans and the £88 Chromax edition, but Chrome/silver cooler not black). Includes Intel/AMD fittings. Also comes with Noctua NA-SYC1 (2x 4-Pin Y-Cables (£9 originally), each one for connecting two fans to one Fan slot on your motherboard). Come with remainder of 6-year Warranty. May be an extra day’s wait as I may have to source a box to put all these items in together. SOLD via ebay

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KPMG expects to invest US$5 billion in digital strategy and expand Microsoft alliance to accelerate professional services transformation – Stories

New innovations built on Microsoft cloud and AI technologies help clients achieve greater accuracy and decision-making capabilities, increased productivity, and cost efficiencies.

AMSTELVEEN, Netherlands and REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 5, 2019 — KPMG and Microsoft Corp. are strengthening their global relationship through a five-year agreement to accelerate digital transformation for KPMG member firms and mutual clients. As part of its announcement to significantly invest in technology, people and innovation,, KPMG is modernizing its workplace using the Microsoft 365 suite of cloud-based collaboration and productivity tools, including Microsoft Teams. KPMG is also utilizing Microsoft Azure and its AI capabilities as the backbone for a new common, global cloud-based platform. The platform will strengthen KPMG’s range of digital offerings with new innovations in cloud-based audit capabilities, tax solutions and risk management. Clients in all sectors, including those in highly regulated industries, benefit from globally consistent and continuous service delivery that enables greater speed of deployment while adhering to industry-leading compliance and security standards.

“Together with KPMG, we’re accelerating digital transformation across industries by bringing the latest advances in cloud, AI and security to highly regulated workloads in tax, audit and advisory,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “KPMG’s deep industry and process expertise, combined with the power of our trusted cloud — spanning Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 — will bring the best of both organizations together to help customers around the world become more agile in an increasingly complex business environment.”

New business-critical solutions

As organizations expand to new geographies, develop new products and recruit new talent, processes can become increasingly complex and harder to scale. Market forces, such as evolving data protection laws, currency fluctuations and geopolitical tensions, increase the complexity and require a greater responsiveness for systems and tools.

The strong portfolio of KPMG and Microsoft alliance offerings can help address these challenges more quickly by building applications on demand, automating manual processes, and continuously analyzing information to minimize the risk of errors and increase the ability to make smart decisions.

“Our alliance with Microsoft has become a critical component in helping us deliver industry-leading solutions and services to clients. Our significant multiyear investment continues to empower our people to work more efficiently and collaboratively while maximizing the power of a workforce that blends people and technology,” said Bill Thomas, Global Chairman, KPMG International. “By harnessing Microsoft’s intelligent and trusted cloud, we aim to help clients be at the forefront of change and better prepared for a digital-first future.”

Combining industry expertise with advanced technology

Through a jointly funded incubator, KPMG and Microsoft are co-developing a robust portfolio of solutions and managed services in the areas of cloud business transformation, intelligent business applications and smart workplace solutions.

For example, KPMG in the U.S. and Microsoft are working together to bring the power of Azure to the healthcare and life sciences industries. This collaboration is enabling organizations within this highly regulated sector to maximize their clinical, operational and financial performance with an easily scalable solution that helps improve deployment speed, accelerate ROI and increase data-driven insights.

In addition, KPMG in the Netherlands has developed risk management, compliance and internal audit solutions that leverage discovery tools to enable the digitization of risk and compliance processes across domains such as finance, legal and IT. Designed by KPMG and built on Microsoft Azure, the solutions provide seamless and cost-efficient policy and controls automation, putting smart analytics directly in the hands of business and IT operators so they can make timely, corrective actions when deviations occur.

Smart audit platform

KPMG, with the launch of its smart audit platform KPMG Clara in 2017, became the first of the Big Four to take its audit workflow to the cloud. Based on Microsoft Azure, KPMG Clara is an automated, agile, intelligent and scalable platform that allows KPMG professionals to work smarter, bringing powerful data and analytics capabilities into one interface, while allowing clients to interact on a real-time basis with the audit process.

By enriching the audit mandate with AI, KPMG enables its professionals to make decisions based on real-time data. This further reinforces KPMG’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing audit quality and building a future where technology continually enriches the audit through the introduction of new digital advancements.

KPMG Clara will integrate with Microsoft Teams, providing a platform for audit professionals to centrally manage and securely share audit files, track audit-related activities, and communicate using chat, voice and video meetings. This helps simplify the auditors’ workflow, enabling them to stay in sync throughout the entire process and drive continuous communication with the client.

Empowering workforce transformation

Through its common, global cloud platform, KPMG will create a set of cloud-based capabilities ranging from hosting infrastructure based on Microsoft Azure to more than 50 advanced solutions, such as AI, cyber and robotic process automation (RPA). KPMG will further empower its global workforce of over 207,000 employees across 153 countries with Microsoft 365, including Teams, to better meet the needs of clients through increased collaboration, improved productivity and data-driven insights. In addition, more than 30,000 KPMG professionals across 17 member firms have been equipped with Dynamics 365, a suite of powerful customer relationship applications.

To read more about the KPMG and Microsoft alliance, visit the Microsoft Transform blog.

About KPMG International 

KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 153 countries and territories and have 207,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:
Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777,
[email protected]
Mark Walters, KPMG International, (646) 943-2115, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – Budget Gaming PC (Collection, Nottingham)

I’m selling my pc I built in 2015. It’s been wiped to factory reset. Not sure about the operating system as when I wiped the pc it booted to windows. You may need a code (can find one for few £ online) or may not.

The cable management is very poor, but doesn’t affect performance.

As components can be damaged easily in transit, and because I lack the specific packaging to keep it safe, This will be collection only

Asus h81m-plus motherboard (micro ATX)
Intel core i5 4460 (quad core)
Asus strix Nvidia gtx 960 GPU
Cooler master cm storm enforcer case (front glows red) also have 200mm red LED ceiling fan
Samsung 840 pro ssd 240gb
Seagate 2tb hard drive
Novatech 700w power supply
8gb ram (single channel) I believe it’s hyperx black
Lg blu ray drive

Comes with power cable

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For Sale – Ryzen 5 3600X, RTX 2060, 16GB RAM, 2.5TB Storage, Arctic Cooler & fans, warranty

For sale is my Gaming PC. Built early August this year with all new parts from Amazon and the like. Everything has warranty – from the balance of 1 year right up to 10 years for the fans. Have kept all the boxes, manuals, spare cabling etc. Happy to help with any warranty claims in the future, although how practical that would be I’m not sure but the offer is there. Will not split.

Simple reason for sale – I’ve caught the build bug and want to start from scratch again!

Case – NZXT H500 Mid tower ATX, Black with Blue bar, tempered glass side panel.
MOBO – MSI B450 PRO-VDH-PLUS M-ATX, running BIOS AGESA (Beta). No WiFi/Bluetooth but there is a spare PCIe slot. I use a Powerline adapter.
CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 3600X (6 cores, 12 threads) plus unused stock cooler (Wraith Spire) – 3.8GHz/4.4GHz Boost.
Cooler – Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo, black with white fans, fitted using Arctic MX-4 thermal compound.
RAM – Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz C16 – Black.
PSU – Corsair TX550W 80+ Gold, semi-modular, black.
Storage (boot) – Crucial P1 512GB SSD NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD (located below GPU)
Storage (games) – Seagate Barracuda 3.5″ 2TB 7200rpm (located in the PSU shroud)
GPU – ZOTAC Geforce RTX 2060 – twin fans but not the “Twin fan” model if that makes sense, unless it is the same thing and I’ve misunderstood
Rear/Top exhaust fans (black/white) – 1 x 120mm Arctic F12 PWM PST + 1 x 120mm Arctic F12 PMW, replacing the stock 1x120mm NZXT exhaust fan (black), which I’ll also include.
Front intake fans (black/white) – 1 x 140mm Arctic F14 PWM PST + 1 x 140mm Arctic F14 PMW. Excellent air flow.
Lighting – 1 x non addressable RGB (12V) light strip magnetically fitted inside case roof. Use Mystic Light to change solid colour/effect – subtle and effective. Can easily be moved around the case or removed entirely. Subtle and effective – Im not into the RGB thing.
OS – Windows 10 Pro 64bit v1909. This is registered to me so I’d need to fully reset and install a clean, deactivated copy.

I have deliberately disabled (via BIOS) all boosting options – specifically MSI’s Game Boost and AMD’s Precision Boost 2/PBO, never overclocked.

Bearing this in mind and that I run at 1440p/144Hz at Very High/Ultra detail, I get well over 60FPS on anything eg. Doom 2016 @200FPS, Gears 5 @80-100FPS, BeamNG.drive @100+fps, latest COD MW @70-100FPS. Idles at <35dB and 35degrees, boots up in under 25 seconds. Absolutely no issues - would make a perfect PC for the gamer in your life, especially with Christmas approaching

Collection only – too much hassle/risk using a courier. Happy to demo but I’d then need time to fully reset.

Happy to answer any questions.

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For Sale – Compact & Upgradable Custom Windows 10 Gaming PC with GPU Options *Bristol Area*

Hi Guys,

I have here an excellent custom built gaming computer, this compact, upgradable and attractive system ideal for games like Fortnite, Counter Strike, Rainbow Six Siege and PUBG.

This system is ideal for someone who wants to get into PC gaming with a platform that is upgradable in the future with a more powerful GPU. I’ve also got a few spare GPUs so if you have a little more spare cash and want a higher performance system please see the bottom of the description.

This gaming system is fast and responsive thanks to the Intel i5 Quad Core 3.5GHz CPU, 500GB Samsung Sold State Drive and 16GB of DDR4. The case rates very highly in reviews and offers great airflow in a compact and attractive package with the tempered glass side panel. With a 650W PSU you have plenty of room for upgrades in the future with higher end GPUs.

Professionally assembled and tested with a fresh install of Windows 10 Professional x64 with key, so it is ready to use out of the box. Many of the parts are brand new and most have plenty of warranty remaining. The case is brand new and still has the protective wrap on the tinted tempered glass window. The tinted glass isn’t pictured as its quite reflective and photos don’t do it justice so there is a stock image included.



Intel Core i5 6600K 3.5GHz Quad Core CPU
MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon Motherboard
Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3000MHz Ballistix Sport LT RAM
Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Graphics Card
Samsung 860 Evo 500GB SATA 2.5″ SSD
Thermalright Macho 120 SBM CPU Cooler with 150mm Quiet Fan
EVGA Supernova NEX650G 650W PSU
Fractal Design Meshify C Dark TG ATX Mid Tower Case with Tinted Tempered Glass Window
Windows 10 Professional x64 – Fresh Install

As it stands above I’m looking for Only £475 Collected from Yate near Bristol. Can be seen working. Postage available for around £25 depending on location. Postage is always charged at cost price, so if I’m able to ship it insured for less, I’ll refund the difference.

If you would like a more powerful GPU installed please see below:

Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Windforce OC 6GB + £75
Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming 8GB + £135
Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Gaming 8GB + £185



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For Sale – {{GAMING PC}} / RYZEN 1700 / 16GB DDR4 / R9 390 8GB / AB350-GAMING 3/ 500GB SSD / ITB HD.


I am selling a top gaming PC already built and ready to go. This is my gaming pc but I do not game anymore and I am moving to a laptop.

Full Specs:

>Phantek ECLIPSE P300 GLASS MIDI TOWER CASE with 3 x Arctic F9 fans – very quiet when idle.
>Gigabyte AB350-GAMING 3 Motherboard.
>AMD Ryzen 7 1700 Processor with Wraith Spire RGB LED Cooler – 8 cores / 16 threads.
>Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3000 MHz
>PowerColor PCS+ RADEON R9 390 8GB Graphics Card.
>Crucial MX500 500GB SSD
>Western Digital 1TB 3.5 inch 7200RPM HD
>TPLINK 150mbs Wifi Card.
>Freshly Installed Windows 10 Home OS making the PC ready to use straight away.

I am looking for £550.

Collection only from Southport (near Liverpool)

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For Sale – {{GAMING PC}} / RYZEN 1700 / 16GB DDR4 / R9 390 8GB / AB350-GAMING 3/ 500GB SSD / ITB HD.


I am selling a top gaming PC already built and ready to go. This is my gaming pc but I do not game anymore and I am moving to a laptop.

Full Specs:

>Phantek ECLIPSE P300 GLASS MIDI TOWER CASE with 3 x Arctic F9 fans – very quiet when idle.
>Gigabyte AB350-GAMING 3 Motherboard.
>AMD Ryzen 7 1700 Processor with Wraith Spire RGB LED Cooler – 8 cores / 16 threads.
>Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3000 MHz
>PowerColor PCS+ RADEON R9 390 8GB Graphics Card.
>Crucial MX500 500GB SSD
>Western Digital 1TB 3.5 inch 7200RPM HD
>TPLINK 150mbs Wifi Card.
>Freshly Installed Windows 10 Home OS making the PC ready to use straight away.

I am looking for £550.

Collection only from Southport (near Liverpool)

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For Sale – {{GAMING PC}} / RYZEN 1700 / 16GB DDR4 / R9 390 8GB / AB350-GAMING 3/ 500GB SSD / ITB HD.


I am selling a top gaming PC already built and ready to go. This is my gaming pc but I do not game anymore and I am moving to a laptop.

Full Specs:

>Phantek ECLIPSE P300 GLASS MIDI TOWER CASE with 3 x Arctic F9 fans – very quiet when idle.
>Gigabyte AB350-GAMING 3 Motherboard.
>AMD Ryzen 7 1700 Processor with Wraith Spire RGB LED Cooler – 8 cores / 16 threads.
>Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3000 MHz
>PowerColor PCS+ RADEON R9 390 8GB Graphics Card.
>Crucial MX500 500GB SSD
>Western Digital 1TB 3.5 inch 7200RPM HD
>TPLINK 150mbs Wifi Card.
>Freshly Installed Windows 10 Home OS making the PC ready to use straight away.

I am looking for £550.

Collection only from Southport (near Liverpool)

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Behind the Design: Surface Headphones

Meet the Surface design team who built our first smart headphones

Vivian Nguyen

It’s 2 PM, and you need to finish a project by end of day. Coworkers in your open office space are chatting about the newest ramen spot. While you’d like to expound on the difference between Hokkaido- versus Tokyo-style noodles, you need to focus. You put on your Surface Headphones, and Cortana greets you with a quick update:

“Hi, you’ve got about 8 hours of battery left. You’re connected to [your device name].”

As your favorite Odesza song plays, you start work immediately.


Composed with the design trinity of audio quality, comfort, and seamless integration, the Surface Headphones help you create a personal space in the modern workplace and in your modern life. The idea that, when you wear them, you escape into another world that lets you focus on you and what you need to get done. The Surface design team wanted to give you — the actual user — control over how plugged in (or not!) you want to be to your immediate environment. Check out the tech specs here.

And you can see that thoughtful approach in the hardware. Designing comfortable earmuffs was paramount because it’s the one part that touches you all the time. They initially considered a traditional donut shape, but with inclusive design at the heart of everything we do, we wanted to accommodate a diverse set of ear shapes. The earmuffs now fit ears of all shapes and sizes comfortably with even pressure points for a secure fit.

Tactile design wasn’t the only consideration. They set out to craft a device that’s both functional and beautiful. Creating a smooth seam on the earmuff, for example, was surprisingly difficult. See how the team wouldn’t take no for an answer in the video below:

See how the Surface design team wove together elegant hardware design, rich audio, and an intelligent assistant. Click here for the audio description version.

Every decision about the Surface Headphones keeps real people in mind — including the writing they don’t see or touch.

To create a holistic and seamless voice experience, Senior Writer Matt Lichtenberg, who focuses on hardware, and Senior Personality Lead for AI Chris O’Connor, who shapes the voice for intelligent experiences, fused their complementary skills. Because Cortana delivers the instructions, Matt and Chris needed to collaborate and bring together the what (instructions) and the how (Cortana).

“Words contribute to the whole experience,” said Matt, “and we wanted the headphones to be almost invisible to people while they’re wearing them. They shouldn’t have to think about them much.”

“I like to think of it as, we’re helping people achieve more with less energy,” said Chris. “How do they get the most out of this device with the least amount of effort? It’s the idea that design stays out of your way — it’s minimal and there to help you get stuff done.”


From the onset, the design team wanted to understand how people naturally use headphones in a variety of vignettes. They developed a series of scenarios to answer key questions about how people interacted with the headphones.

For instance, when customers initially turn on the headphones, would they want to pair and go? Or would they download the Cortana app first?

As it turns out, most want to pair and go.

When you turn on other Bluetooth devices for the first time, you’ll need to put the device in pairing mode. With the Surface Headphones, they’re immediately in pairing mode and Cortana greets you with, “Hello, you’re ready to pair.”

You connect your device, and Cortana confirms with, “You’re paired to [device name].”

“It’s a challenge to create a rich and enjoyable out-of-the-box experience,” said Chris. “If it’s boring and tedious, people blow right through it. But if it’s enjoyable and people understand the value, they’ll reach an optimal state before carrying on.”

Design is an iterative process, and we’re constantly listening to feedback. We’ve heard customers ask for more device control to turn settings on or off, including the “Hey, Cortana” voice activation, touch controls, and voice prompts. So, we delivered.

The latest firmware update on the Cortana app can help you personalize your headphone settings, like reducing the number or duration of voice prompts. That means you can change your settings so a simple “Hello” plays when you initially turn on your headphones. The app gives you more control of your device, ensuring you get the best experience possible.

“It’s amazing how long it feels to say a few words, so you need to make them count,” said Matt.

Unlike computers, which require constant interaction, the Surface Headphones almost disappear into the background while you work, helping you focus while eliminating outside distractions. To help people achieve this, the voice writing team designed the voice prompts to avoid interruptions unless they’re critical, like letting you know when your battery is low.

“How do you thread the needle between being a voice prompt, a robot, and a conversational entity, but still get out of the way?” asked Chris. “This was one of the first areas where we had to practice design differently and pull back on personality to allow things to be shorter and faster.”


Some interactions don’t even need words.

When the headphones are charging, for example, the LED light flashes. In this context, a visual cue is more intuitive. You don’t need to pick them up or put them on to know what’s happening.

In times when words feel unnatural, sound itself can communicate information. When you turn the left dial on the Surface Headphones forward, you hear a low-pitched beep to indicate maximum noise cancellation. Conversely, a high-pitched beep plays when you turn the dial in the opposite direction. This confirms the headphones are now amplifying ambient sound.

Inspired by the volume knobs of hi-fi stereos, which turn with a certain slowness, the hardware design team added headset dials to adjust volume, noise cancellation, or sound amplification. Rotating the dial is an intuitive motion that lets people choose the precise level of sound they want (or don’t want).

Our design anticipates different modes of communication contingent on how someone wants to use or interact with the headphones. But whether it’s audio or visual, each interaction remains succinct.


The Surface Headphones are the first ambient device from Microsoft with an assistant. The Surface design team had a groundbreaking opportunity to radically reimagine headphones as more than just headphones.

In the past, people often confused or conflated digital assistants with voice control. But with increased investments in personality design and the future of interaction, Microsoft is experimenting with giving Cortana added dimension and awareness to help customers get the most out of a digital assistant.

“We decided to use the human metaphor for a digital assistant, because a real-life assistant isn’t just voice control. They don’t just take dictation. They understand what’s important to you, your family, your priorities, your goals,” explained Chris.

As we continue to infuse intelligence across our products and services, teams throughout the company are beginning to explore the potential for what a digital assistant could be.

“The headphones sparked a whole new area of thinking — one that we’re using to think through the same problem from other endpoints as we move on to work for the Office 365 apps,” said Chris.

And who knows? Maybe one day, when you slip on your Surface Headphones, Cortana can chime in with her favorite kind of ramen, too.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

HiQ Labs vs LinkedIn case OKs robot monitoring of employees

HiQ Labs Inc. has built a business of scraping and analyzing public data on LinkedIn Corp., a business networking site owned by Microsoft. LinkedIn wanted HiQ to stop, and the two ended up in federal court.

So far, LinkedIn is losing. The U.S. Court of Appeals in the Northern District of California ruled this week that San Francisco-based HiQ can keep using its software bots to collect that data. But even if LinkedIn drops its court effort, the issue is far from settled

LinkedIn data is public, and anyone can view it. The lawsuit raises concerns about the use of software bots to automate social media monitoring. HiQ can watch for profile changes through the bots, which have gained interest from the HR community. One of its tools, Keeper, can identify employees who are a potential flight risk. HR users of the service learn of flight risk through individual risk scores.

The appeals court reaffirmed that public data on LinkedIn is not private. “There is little evidence that LinkedIn users who choose to make their profiles public actually maintain an expectation of privacy,” the court said. 

In a statement, LinkedIn said it is “disappointed in the court’s decision, and we are evaluating our options following this appeal.” It also said that it “will continue to fight to protect our members and the information they entrust to LinkedIn.” HiQ declined to comment.

What’s wholly public — and what isn’t

LinkedIn told the court that the data scraping is done without the consent of its members and is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), an anti-hacking law. HiQ argued the information was “wholly public” and accessible to anyone.

What authority and authorization powers should be left to the owners of the data?
Shain KhoshbinAttorney, Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP

Shain Khoshbin, an attorney at Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP in Dallas, described the court’s decision as troubling. He used a physical locker as an analogy to explain why. A person could look through a locker’s vents “take pictures of its contents, and analyze and sell some version of that information to others — arguably whether or not the locker has a padlock, and even if the locker’s owner sends a cease and desist letter saying stop it.”

The owner of the contents of this locker “has no serious privacy expectation as to the contents of the locker,” Khoshbin said.

What seems lost in all the court decisions, “is what authority and authorization powers should be left to the owners of the data?” Khoshbin said.

It’s privacy vs freedom 

The case has split the opinion of Internet advocacy groups. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a brief arguing that the lower court erred. “Regrettably, the lower court discounted the privacy interests of users and required LinkedIn to make the personal data of LinkedIn users available to data aggregators for whatever purpose they wish. That cannot be correct.”

But the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which also filed a brief, is pleased with the outcome. It said the CFAA law was designed to target people who hack into a computer. Allowing the LinkedIn position to prevail would give precedent for any website to bar any software bot, a move that would hurt journalists, researchers and others.

LinkedIn has the technology to stop automated software bots from collecting its member data. It has instructions in its “robots.txt” file to prohibit access to its servers via automated bots, except for the ones it wants, such as the Google search engine, which has permission from LinkedIn. Robots.txt is used to determine what bots can crawl a site. LinkedIn also had security tools to stop software bots. HiQ was fighting to keep LinkedIn from blocking access of its bots to LinkedIn’s public information.

Protecting an information monopoly

Bryan Harper, manager of Schellman & Company, LLC, a global independent security and privacy compliance assessor in Tampa, Fla., said the ruling doesn’t change the ability of firms to protect themselves.

“In practical terms, companies basically continue business as usual,” Harper said. “If there is a malicious actor or a threat event that is captured by a monitoring tool, then a company should and has a duty to respond with their standard incident response procedures.” 

But “companies should not selectively target those scraping efforts simply to protect an information monopoly,” Harper said. It’s also impractical to block all bots, he said.

The takeaway is “you can’t target competitors” if the services rely on public data that isn’t considered private by its users, Harper said.

Still, the issues may be flushed out with other lawsuits, “since this appeal involved an interim ruling on a preliminary injunction,” Khoshbin said.

The appeals court made it clear that even if the CFAA does not apply, entities that view themselves as victims may still be able to raise claims under state laws, copyright infringement, misappropriation, unjust enrichment or breach of privacy, among other avenues, according to Khoshbin.

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