Microsoft's Windows 8.1 upgrade is way more than a service pack, even though it's a free update for Windows 8 users through the Windows Store (available as a preview today). And, let's be frank, even the operating system's most vocal supporters will probably agree that Microsoft needs an update bigger than a service pack to change Windows 8's somewhat rocky narrative. Windows 8.1 brings literally hundreds of updates, fixes, and tweaks for both home and business users, as well as for form factors from small tablets to large screen workstations – more than is possible to cover even in a long-format review, let alone in a quick cheat sheet of top new features. That said, below we've highlighted the top new features that we think will affect the largest number of Windows 8 users, including the Start button, more windowing options and boot to desktop. Will this 0.1 update be enough to convince the doubters when it's finally released this autumn? Only time will tell, but the preview looks like a good start.
With threats to national security continuing to mount in the cyber-sphere, the US is ramping up its digital arsenal via a restructuring programme within the Department of Defense (DoD). It is the first time the States has revised its rules of engagement in this realm for seven years, and further demonstrates how seriously the Obama administration is taking issues around cyber-conflict. The news arrives in the same week hackers leaked the personal details of 40,000 US military staff and a report from the Council of Foreign Relations warned that America's oil and natural gas operations were under serious threat from cyber-attacks. The shake-up will see around 4,000 cyber-security experts join the DoD over the next four years, with some $23 billion (£15 billion) in extra funds committed to tackling cyber-threats. The department's 'Cybercom' unit will now be split into three divisions: one for countering enemy attacks, another offering regional support, and a third for protecting the USA's 15,000 or so military computer networks.
The campaign to turn a disused property in the heart of Tech City into a Village Hall for use by local startups and community groups has hit a snag, after the organisation overseeing the conversion was outbid for the building lease on 154 Shoreditch High Street. Shoreditch Works confirmed on its blog that it would have to hunt for a new location to build a community hub and event space, but said that most aspects of the project were going ahead as originally planned. "To say that we're disappointed is an understatement. We've put an enormous amount of work into planning this project over the last year, and last month's Kickstarter campaign revealed just how much support there is in the community for this project," Shoreditch Works commented. The 'Open the Shoreditch Village Hall' project finished its Kickstarter run on 8 June having smashed an initial funding goal of £25,000 - it left the crowdfunding platform with just shy of £100,000.
Finally, Intel has confirmed the end of Justin Rattner's reign as Chief Technology Officer, after he surpassed the 65-year-old age limit the company places on corporate officers. Rattner joined Intel way back in 1973 and rose through the ranks to become one of its first four Senior Fellows in 2001. He vacates the CTO position immediately "to deal with a pressing family matter," but the firm expects him to return "at a later date in a role to be determined." In a gushing blog post, Intel paid tribute to Rattner's achievements over the past four decades. "Because of Justin, we are now recognized as one of the leading research labs in the high-tech industry. He has not only built a legacy of significant individual achievements, but has also challenged us to achieve great things for Intel," it reads. Intel continues to press forward with plans to modernise its portfolio for the post-Rattner era, with recent quotes pointing to the development of a smartwatch.