Good luck getting Microsoft’s ugly Christmas sweater for 2023 – it stars Windows XP and is almost sold out already

Microsoft has revealed its ugly sweater for this year’s holiday season – and it’s going to be a real crowd-pleaser for fans of Windows XP.

And there are plenty of folks who regard this operating system as one of the best versions of Windows ever – after all, it’s the operating system that refused to die – so it turns out there’s been quite some demand for the sweater.

See more

The cotton garment (well, 55% cotton, 45% acrylic) shows a stylized version of the Bliss (default) wallpaper for Windows XP, and it’s labeled as ‘Merry Blissmas’ in the product listing.

The design features the iconic fluffy clouds in a blue sky, with a green landscape underneath, and the addition of an oversized mouse cursor (you wouldn’t want anyone to miss the point of the sweater, now, would you?).

It’s yours via the Xbox Gear Shop for $ 70 (£56 in the UK, and around AU$ 105).

The sweater can be shipped internationally, across the globe, but if you want the bad news, it’s already sold out in the most common sizes.

Small, medium, large, and extra-large have all gone, with only the 2XL and 3XL sizes remaining. You can still request a notification for one of the sizes that’s currently out of stock, mind, so Microsoft will let you know when (or if) more inventory comes in.

Microsoft advises: “Machine wash cold, tumble dry low, and never take off.”

As an added bonus, some of the money goes to charity – namely The Nature Conservancy, which aims to protect our environment and combat climate change.

Windows XP Sweater

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Analysis: Do sweat it

Microsoft’s holiday sweaters have become pretty famous at this point. In the past we’ve had the likes of Clippy last year (maybe a retired Copilot could be on a future sweater, though Microsoft better hope not, with the amount of eggs it has in that particular basket), and a Windows 95 sweater.

Indeed, there was a Windows XP sweater back in 2019 (which was also available in 2020, when Microsoft resurrected some past designs), covered with the ‘XP’ logo, but this take is a bit more subtle – aside from the stupidly supersized mouse pointer, anyway.

If there’s one point of criticism here, it’s that Microsoft should be making more of these garments. They’re clearly popular sweaters, and to be sold out of most sizes already is obviously going to be disappointing for those keen to get a slice of ‘bliss’ for the festive period.

We’re still waiting for the BSoD, frankly (that's the 'Blue Sweater of Death').

Via Tom’s Hardware

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 gets more AI – but is Microsoft pushing its luck?

Some Windows 11 users are getting a new AI Hub in the Microsoft Store, a section that picks out apps that, as you might guess, are powered by AI in some way.

Windows Latest spotted that the AI Hub feature is now rolling out to the Microsoft Store in the US, so will only be available for a limited number of users to begin with, no doubt.

We’re told it’s present in version 22306.1401.1.0 of the Microsoft Store or newer (for US users).

Windows Latest has been playing with the feature, which highlights apps offering top-notch AI experiences (in Microsoft’s opinion), including the likes of Luminar Neo,  Descript, and naturally enough, Edge with Bing Chat.

Microsoft introduced the idea of doing more with AI in its Windows 11 store in a blog post in late May, so this represents the first move in letting people actually use this AI Hub.

Analysis: The broader danger for Microsoft

The AI Hub is not the end of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence-fueled ambitions in the store. In fact, the next move – one that’s due imminently – is AI-generated review summaries.

User reviews can be a useful barometer of whether any given app is good or not, taken with an appropriate pinch of salt or two, but especially when there are lots of reviews, it can be quite a task to wade through them.

That’s where these AI summaries will step in, combing through a potential mountain of reviews and picking out matching sentiments to form an overarching opinion of the app in question.

Back in May, Microsoft told us that: “AI-Generated review summaries will soon be available in the Microsoft Store.”

So we’re hoping that now the AI Hub has gone live, at least in the US, those review summaries are very close to being implemented as well. They should be quite useful (fingers crossed).

As you may be aware, Microsoft recently introduced AI to Windows 11 elsewhere, with its Copilot assistant now present in preview versions of the OS for testers to try out.

And with all this going on, looking at a broader level, there remains a question of whether Microsoft is doing too much, too soon, with AI.

For example, the initial incarnation of Copilot is very limited and basically boils down to integration for the Bing chatbot along with a few basic bits of Windows 11 settings functionality (not much). It’s unlikely to impress anyone (yet), and with AI now being pushed to the store as well, the danger for Microsoft is some people starting to get fed up with seeing AI shoved into every corner of the OS. Complete with, as we observed above, the obligatory plugs for the Edge browser and Bing chatbot.

While the temptation may be to rush headlong into a big feature grab, Microsoft must balance that with the need to take a measured and steady approach to AI. Not just to make sure it gets things right when rolling out new AI capabilities to Windows 11 (and other services for that matter), but to give users time to breathe between one artificial intelligence feature drop and the next.

Get any of this finely balanced equation wrong and a combination of fatigue and/or disillusionment with AI could be visited upon its user base.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More