Experimenting with beta drivers isn't for the faint of heart, especially when it comes to videocards. After all, this is your pricey GPU we're talking about, and a poorly coded driver can wreak all kinds of havoc, from instability to artifacting, to even overheating if the fan doesn't kick on when it's supposed to. That said, if you're down for playing with pre-release drivers, Nvidia has made available its GeForce 270.51 driver set in beta form.
The Opera Software team on Thursday made available its next generation browser in beta form. Opera 11.10, or "Barracuda," as it's codenamed, jumps on the minimalistic UI bandwagon by introducing a streamlined interface. The Opera team is also talking up an enhanced Speed Dial that provides clearer previews and can dynamically show live content for websites.
In the gaming world it’s quite typical for a developer to tell the media they will ship “when it’s ready”, but another delay over at the Mozilla campus has pushed the Firefox 4 release out at least another month, and will likely pit the new browser up against some stiff competition from Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome 10 by the time it’s released. According to Christian Legnittom, Manager of Firefox releases, the final planned beta probably won’t ship for several more days while they try to iron out at least five major bugs on their “hard” blocker list.
Playing with beta drivers comes with certain risks -- like instability -- but can also be rewarding in not always obvious ways. Those who went and snagged Nvidia's 266.7x beta driver for GeForce videocards, for example, uncovered a couple of interesting lines that seem to indicate Nvidia is on the verge of releasing at least two new graphics cards, including a dual-GPU model. More details after the jump.
Mozilla continues to iron out bugs and tweak the underlying code of its upcoming Firefox 4 browser, and if you want to see where things are at, you can now download Firefox 4 beta 10. This 10th beta focuses mainly on stability and includes the following handful of changes:
Compatibility and stability improvements when using Adobe Flash on Mac OS X
Improvements in memory usage
Support for a graphics driver blacklist to improve stability
See here for a complete list of changes and bug fixes since the last beta, and if you're brand new to Firefox 4, see here for the complete feature-set.
Mozilla's getting close to unleashing a Release Candidate version of Firefox 4, but in the meantime, you can play around with the latest beta version, the browser maker announced in a blog post.
"The latest Firefox 4 Beta is available to test the cool features and improvements in the next version of Firefox," Mozilla said. "As we continue to refine features and performance in Firefox 4 Beta, this release includes faster start-up time, bookmarking, and makes complex animations smoother."
The beta also gives longtime Firefox users some time to get used to the new look, which now bears a strong resemblance to Google's Chrome browser. Underneath the hood, Firefox 4 boasts a boatload of changes and additions, including HTML5 support, multi-touch support, WebM and HD video, full hardware acceleration, and more.
After failing to keep up with the original Firefox 4 release schedule due to “regressions and sources of instability,” Mozilla had to revise its initial estimates and push back the launch of the stable version to 2011. The open source outfit on Wednesday shipped Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta 8. The actual release of the latest beta comes nearly a month later than originally anticipated.
According to the release notes, the latest build boasts a vastly improved Firefox Sync setup experience across desktop and mobile devices; speed, compatibility and functionality enhancements to WebGL; and a much more polished Add-Ons Manager, which now updates extensions automatically. Furthermore, Mozilla has fixed more than 1,400 bugs.
If you kicked yourself for missing it the first time around, act fast and go grab the Swype Beta software for Android, which is once again open for a limited time, Swype announced in a forum post.
This is actually a new version of Swype, so even if you're already participating in the beta program, you may want to snag the latest release. Now in version 126.96.36.19970, this latest release adds a new Double-Tap-to-Edit mode, in which a user can tap a word twice to bring up the word choice window, as well as other feature enhancements and bug fixes.
Swype doesn't open its beta very often, so if you're even remotely interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, start clicking:
Instead, the company has restricted the Intel Atom-based device to Google employees and those accepted into the Chrome OS Pilot Program, implying that the Cr-48 is just a pilot device. According to the internet titan, Chrome OS is still not a finished product and that user feedback is needed to lend finishing touches to the software.
“Some of the features of Chrome OS require new hardware, but we didn’t want to sell pre-beta computers. Instead we’re launching a pilot program where we will give test notebooks to qualified users, developers, schools and businesses. We're starting with the U.S. and will expand to other countries once we get the necessary certifications,” the Google Chrome team said in a blog post.
The Cr-48 features a 12.1-inch screen, integrated 3G from Verizon, Wi-Fi, and a full-sized keyboard and touch pad. The pilot program will also include 100MB of free data per day for two years, with the option of additional data through paid plans starting at $9.99. The pilot program is currently only restricted to applicants from the United States, but will gradually be expanded to other countries.
According to Taiwanese site Digitimes, the Cr-48 is being manufactured by Inventec, which has already shipped 60,000 units of the device to Google. The first mass market Chrome OS devices will be available in the first half of next year.