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Microsoft Shutting Down its Developer-Focused MSDN Magazine

In addition to the new online resources, Microsoft plans to archive all previous issues of MSDN Magazine and make them available online

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The move comes after the software giant has migrated all of the magazine's technical resources to websites including docs.microsoft.com, the Visual Studio Subscriptions portal and The Visual Studio Blog. Pixabay

After over three decades of publication, Microsoft is shutting down its developer-focused MSDN Magazine.

The move comes after the software giant has migrated all of the magazine’s technical resources to websites including docs.microsoft. com, the Visual Studio Subscriptions portal and The Visual Studio Blog, The Verge reported on Wednesday.

In addition to the new online resources, Microsoft plans to archive all previous issues of MSDN Magazine and make them available online.

Microsoft would refund users the remainder of their subscription after the last issue of MSDN Magazine is released in November.

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After over three decades of publication, Microsoft is shutting down its developer-focused MSDN Magazine. Pixabay

Although MSDN Magazine has a legacy that stretches back over three decades, it only actually started getting produced under its current name since 2000.

At the time, Microsoft merged its Microsoft Systems Journal and Microsoft Internet Developer magazines into a single publication.

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Microsoft Systems Journal started way back in 1986 as Microsoft’s first programming publication. (IANS)

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Microsoft Contractors can Listen to Xbox Players’ Chats: Report

Apple, Google and Amazon recently suspended human review of user audio recordings after reports said the companies used third-party contractors to listen to users’ voice recordings

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Do you have a Microsoft video gaming console Xbox at home? It is possible that third-party contractors working for the tech giant are listening to your living room talks.

After revealing that contractors listened to sensitive and personal conversations of users via Skype and virtual assistant Cortana — which Microsoft has admitted — Motherboard now claims the third-party vendors working for the company also “listened to the audio of Xbox users speaking in their homes in order to improve the console’s voice command features”.

The audio — mostly of children as they played video games — was captured by Xbox consoles “by mistake”, the contractors were quoted as saying.

“Xbox commands came up first as a bit of an outlier and then became about half of what we did before becoming most of what we did,” one former contractor was quoted as saying.

The contractors worked on Xbox audio data from 2014 to 2015 before Cortana was implemented into the console in 2016.

“Listening continued as the Xbox moved from using Kinect for voice commands over to Cortana,” the report said on Wednesday.

Microsoft last month announced it plans to remove Cortana from the Xbox but the gaming console can still be controlled through voice commands with either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant on external smart speakers.

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FILE – A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

The company said in a statement: “We’ve long been clear that we collect voice data to improve voice-enabled services and that this data is sometimes reviewed by vendors”.

Last week, Microsoft admitted that third-party contractors were listening to voice conversations on Skype and virtual assistant Cortana.

“We’ve updated our privacy statement and product FAQs to add greater clarity and will continue to examine further opportunities to improve,” the company said.

The updated privacy statement said that human review is used to help build, train and improve the accuracy of its Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems.

Microsoft has joined the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook who are in the dock for letting third-party contractors listen to users’ talks.

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Apple, Google and Amazon recently suspended human review of user audio recordings after reports said the companies used third-party contractors to listen to users’ voice recordings.

While Apple suspended the programme that let its virtual assistant ‘Siri’ listen to users’ recordings for “quality control”, Google stopped listening and transcribing Google Assistant recordings in Europe. (IANS)