Initially said to be making a nuclear strike on our free time in 2009, StarCraft II’s beta test has officially shoved off into the murky, fog-of-war shrouded depths of 2010.
StarCraft II producer Chris Sigaty made the announcement during a presentation at Russian games expo IgroMir, much to the chagrin of the year 2009, which – after providing chronological sanctuary for a global economic crisis and the tragic deaths of multiple beloved celebrities – needed some sort of positive highlight to keep it from going down in history as the worst year ever. When reached for comment, 2010 had only this to say: “Neener-neener-neener.”
For the time being, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is still set to launch in the Spring of 2010. Could another delay be just around the corner, though? We sure hope not – but even if Blizzard decides to take its sweet time putting the finishing touches on its space-faring sequel, it’s not like early 2010 is hurting for majorgamereleases.
Google's minimalistic Chrome browser continues to improve one feature at a time, and the latest release adds the ability to sync bookmarks across multiple machines. There's one caveat, however - it's a beta release, not a stable build.
If you're thinking to yourself that's not much of a caveat, then in your luck, because the new beta also purports to supercharge performance. According to the Chrome devs, you can expect the beta to run up to 30 percent faster than the current stable release, as measured by Mozilla's Dromeao DOM Core tests, and about 400 percent faster than the very first stable Chrome build.
But let's get back to the bookmark syncing, because that's going to be the realy draw for most users. This essentially the same implementation as was previously available through Google's dev channel, which is geared for developers and "can be very unstable at times." And just like before, there's nothing complicated about the feature in the beta build. Just mosey over to the Wrench icon, select 'Synchronize my bookmarks...' and sign in to your Google account. All of your bookmarks will then be uploaded. When you do the same on another PC with a different set of bookmarks, Chrome will offer to merge your bookmarks. Pretty slick.
Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer is reporting that Steve Ballmer, in his keynote address to kick off Microsoft’s SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas, said the Office 2010 beta would be forthcoming, and that anyone will be eligible to give it a try. Up to now Office 2010 beta testing has been confined to a technical preview to a select few thousand.
Office 2010 is a bit of a hybridization, having computer, web browser (Office Web Apps), and smartphone (Office Mobile) components. Up to now only the Office Web Apps have been available for review, and only on Windows Live.
Beta 2 of Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010, along with .NET Framework 4, is being readied for its second round of beta testing. Visual Studio is a development system which Microsoft touts as “a comprehensive suite of tools designed to help software developers create innovative, next-generation applications.” Visual Studio supports development for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Azure, SQL Server, Office 2010 and, in Beta 2, SharePoint 2010 making it, says Microsoft, “the perfect work environment for application developers.”
.NET Framework 4, which is being released at the same time, is said to be 81 percent smaller than earlier versions, allowing it to be downloaded more quickly, and be more easily installed. It adds support the the Microsoft Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR), giving programmers more language choices. And it is better suited for parallel-programming, workflow-centric and service-oriented application development.
Microsoft plans to put Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 into the hands of MSDN members on October 19. An open public beta is will be launched on October 21. The final version of Visual Studio 2010 is expected to be released in March, 2010.
Those of you eager to give Firefox's next browser a release a spin can now do so, however bear in mind that this isn't the official beta launch. Instead, Mozilla today has made available for download an experimental test build of Firefox 3.6.
"A beta is indeed available, but I would like to clarify that the Beta program for Firefox 3.6 has not yet launched, this is a test build, not necessarily Firefox 3.6 Beta 1," Patrick Finch from Mozilla wrote.
What you won't find in this early release is the orientation detection feature Mozilla recently announced. Nevertheless, you can snag a copy of the build right here.
Originally intended as a separate download -- or at least released that way in beta form -- Opera Unite now comes bundled with the release of Opera 10.10 beta as a standard feature.
You can view a corny YouTube video of Unite here, which looks like it took a page from Microsoft's Launch Party video. If you want to give a whirl yourself, grab the download here.
Some clever Google Apps users stumbled across an internal feedback form for seemingly new service to be offered by Google, Cloudboard.
Google released a beta to internal Trix and Writely users hoping to get some feedback on how the services work together. Judging from the feedback survey, it looks like Cloudboard will be an internet based clipboard. It appears to allow copying nearly any content (pictures, text, media, etc.) and pasting it into your “Cloudboard.” The survey asks about integration preferences with Gmail, YouTube, Sketchy, Picasa, Maps in addition to functionality and UI based questions.
Someone snapped a pic of the survey before Google realized someone was peeking up their skirt and removed the page.
Does an internet clipboard sound like something you would use?
Mozilla is prepping for an October 13 release of the FireFox 3.6 beta. This beta for the popular open source browser, built with Gecko 1.9.2, is the first in a series of incremental improvements that will culminate in the planned roll-out of a Google Chrome-like Firefox 4.0 in October 2010.
ArsTechnicapasses along a rumor that the next release of Microsoft's Windows Live, Wave 4, may reach beta status this week. Details are scarce, but Softpediapoints out that Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 Milestone 1, which offers a number of new features, has been live since mid-September.
When will Windows Live Wave 4 Beta shed the beta tag? ArsTechnica has run a Japanese blog entry about Wave 4 through a couple of online translators, with the rather fractured results pointing to a spring to summer 2010 target. Stay clicked to MaximumPC.com for more information.
Google sent out invitations to the new Google Wave beta yesterday and chaos is ensuing. Patrick Runald, senior manager of security and research at Websense, has been keeping an eye on all of the madness.
He has tracked search queries related to Wave invitations that lead you down the dark dirty alleys of the interwebs. Many searches yield results to malware and virus laden sites where it’s always phishing season.
The Wall Street Journal also reported an eBay auction for a Google Wave invite that saw bids get over $100 and side offers in the thousands. EBay quashed the whole thing due to copyright restrictions in its seller policy, but how gadget crazy has the world gone?
Did you get an invite? If you didn’t, are you livid and determined to get one “by any means?” Or are you cool with waiting for your turn to ride the Wave?