Build 7232 of Windows 7 was recently leaked onto the Internet, and many believe that this is one of the last builds before Microsoft gets ready to give the operating system Release To Manufacturing status.
The new build features plenty of improvements since the last, most notably in the realm of driver support and application compatibility. More importantly though, Microsoft has included a brand new wallpaper which takes the place of the betta fish, and shows off a stylized new Windows logo.
The new build is primarily available through torrents, and there’s no official word as to when Microsoft plans to release it to the public.
UPDATE: After only a few hours, it looks like 7260 is the latest build to make its way to the public via a leak, this time thanks to Russian site Wzor. Still though, the new background screen remains. By bye betta.
Or at least, we’re fairly sure the beta’s nearly jacked up and good to go – if a Blizzard email sent out to a number of press outlets is any indication.
The email prompts members of the press to make sure they’ve signed up for Blizzard’s sparkly new version of Battle.Net and requested a spot in line for StarCraft II’s beta. All pertinent info must be in Blizzard’s hands by June 19.
Based on this information, we’re thinking beta keys will start gracing the mailboxes of outrageously lucky non-press people soon as well. You will hate these people, and you’ll call them names, give them swirlies, and pick them last for the dodgeball team out of jealousy. Do not be alarmed; this is the way things are meant to be.
So, did you enlist in the beta? If not, you’d better hop to it. Really, this could be your only shot at building up some confidence in your StarCraft II abilities. And trust us -- you’ll need it for the game’s retail release, when players from a certain StarCraft-obsessed nation flock to the game in droves and remind you that your happiness was only a brittle illusion.
On Wednesday, Google officially unveiled its newest lab project called Google Squared, which attempts to organize search results into a spreadsheet style layout.Although it might appear at first glance that this is a Wolfram Alpha competitor, Google is quick to defend the original aspects of the service. Unlike Wolfram Alpha, Google isn’t actually performing any calculations, and they will simply continue to do what they do best, present information that has been cached from the web. The idea behind squared is to help organize your search results so that you get all of the relevant information you’re looking for in one shot. It is hoped that this will minimize the amount of times users will need to refine their original search terms in order to get the results they are looking for.
The system isn’t quite perfect however, and ARS Technica was able to achieve some pretty humorous results by searching for the term “NYC population”. While reviewing the results, I noticed that Google populated a column named “status”, and listed Queens as “hospitalized”. Another column is titled “white” and the associated image is a heard of deer wandering around an army base. That’s not to say the system is totally broken however, and when it works, it works extremely well. A quick search for the term “Palm Pre” for example, turned up categories such as memory, weight, dimensions, display, etc. They clearly have some work to do on making the columns more relevant, but it certainly is an encouraging start.
Available in alpha form for some time now, Opera Software has just released its upcoming Opera 10 browser as a beta 1 download.
Speed appears to be the main focus for Opera 10, which sports a new compression technology called Opera Turbo. According to Opera, this will provide "significant improvements in browsing speeds over limited-bandwidth connections." In general, the company claims up to a 40 percent performance boost in Opera 10 with its Presto 2.2 rendering engine.
Other new features include a customizable Speed Dial for storing 4 to 25 websites, a resizable search field, new visual tabs and sleeker design, an inline spell checker, and a boatload more.
Opera 10 is expected to be released in final form before the end of the year. In the meantime, you can read more about the new browser here, and grab the beta here.
It’s true. If you missed out on Blizzcon ’08 or hawked your beta code because you (wisely) anticipated that Blizzard might pull something like this, now’s your chance to register for StarCraft II’s upcoming beta test.
“The StarCraft II beta-test period is coming in the months ahead! If you’d like a chance to participate, now’s the time to let us know,” reads the World of Warcraft website.
Just sign-in over at Battle.net, wow Blizzard with your PC’s bleeding-edge specs (or even middle-of-the-road specs; really – this is Blizzard we’re talking about), and start F5-ing your inbox. Better still, even if Blizzard doesn’t deem you worthy of participating in this beta, the opt-in process still nabs you a spot in line for future Blizzard betas. Opportunity is knocking. Are you just gonna stand it up? Go on now. Go!
One semi-major stipulation, though: You must have at least one game registered under your Battle.net account in order to opt-in for StarCraft II’s beta. But hey, it could be worse. At least you didn’t have to fly out to California for a geek-tastic weekend of game-filled fun like those other suckers. Who in their right mind would want that?
We don't typically expect much from a $50 case, but NZXT may change how we view budget enclosures if its Beta mid-tower chassis manages to look as good in person as it does in pictures. And it doesn't look to sacrifice a whole lot in terms of features, either.
As we're starting to see more of lately (and we couldn't be happier about it), the Beta comes with an all black interior rather than unfinished steel. From a feature standpoint, the budget enclosure includes four external 5.25-inch and five internal 3.5-inch drive bays, all of which support tool-less installation. Cooling duties are served by four 120mm fans (one each on the front and rear, and two and on the side), as well as what looks to be plenty of cut-outs for cable management.
"Given the current economic conditions, we wanted to offer gamers a sleek sturdy case built for performance and maximum expandability without breaking the bank," said Johhn Hou, Chief Designer at NZXT. "Beta provides the perfect solution for a sub $1,000 PC and will give gamers multiple options when configuring a rig with phenomenal value."
NZXT says the Beta will be available this month with an MSRP of $50.
Tuesday, Microsoft clarified exactly what Windows 7 users will need if they want to run XP Mode (officially known as XP Virtual Machine). Although it appeared initially that XP Mode would include Windows XP SP3, Cnet's Ina Fried reports that users will need to supply their own licensed copies of Windows XP SP3 to go along with the free XP Mode download for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions.
As we reported Monday, XP Mode will indeed require hardware virtualization support in the processor, meaning that low-end processors as well as some older mid-range and high-end processors from Intel and AMD won't support XP Mode. Microsoft also states that computers will need at least 2GB of memory to run XP Mode. Thankfully, potential XP Mode users won't need to wait until after Windows 7 ships to see if XP Mode works for them: Fried states that Microsoft will roll out a beta of XP Mode at the same time as Windows 7 RC - May 5th for most of us.
To find out who will be happiest with XP Mode, and how to manage it, join us after the jump.
Mozilla yesterday made available its fourth beta release of the upcoming Firefox 3.5 browser, which the company says represents the sixth development milestone. As covered in our Browser Battle feature, Firefox 3.5 (formerly referred to as Firefox 3.1) is built around the Gecko 1.9.1 rendering platform, which Mozilla claims has been in development for the past 10 months.
Minus a handful of known issues -- choppy OGG video/audio playback on older computers to name just one -- Mozilla says the beta 4 release is considered stable, however still intended for developers and members of its testing community.
Fedora fans looking to take a sneak peek at the open-source Linux distro's next release can now download the Fedora 11 (Leonidas) beta, which includes new security, desktop, and developer features. This may also serve as an indication of where Red Hat could take its enterprise Linux distribution, though not all features of Fedora end up in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).
According to the release notes, changes in Fedora 11 include a new volume control in GNOME with a simplified interface, guest user or kiosk mode now defaults in the Desktop Live CD, enhanced DNS security extensions, ext4 file system is now the default, support for the Btrfs file system, virtualization improvements, and a whole bunch more.
Fedora 11 is expected to be available in final form by the end of May.
For those that are looking to help the folks at Mozilla test out the latest version of their popular Firefox browser, you’re in luck! At long last, Beta 3 of Firefox 3.1 is up for download, and you can get it here.
The new version is, as usual, a free download and is available for Windows and Linux. So, be sure to give this a test and let us (and Mozilla) know what you think!