Grown tired of staring at the same old browser(s) every day? If you want to shake things up and aren't put off by potentially buggy code, Mozilla has made available the first Firefox 4 Beta Candidate build.
By Mozilla's own admission, the Firefox 4 Beta isn't quite ready yet, but you can snag a copy all the same from Mozilla's directory of nightly builds. No release notes accompany the early beta build, and that's probably because there aren't a whole lot of changes from the latest Alpha release of Firefox 3.7.
Still want to give it a spin? Download a copy here (scroll down) and be sure to backup your profile before making the leap, you know, just in case things go horribly wrong.
It won't be long before Nvidia releases its next set of WHQL-certified drivers for its GeForce family of graphics cards, but if you simply can't wait, or want to get a sneak peek at what lies ahead, beta drivers are now available for download.
The beta 258.69 drivers usher in support for Nvidia's 3D Vision Surround technology, "which works with SLI and PhysX controls to combine multiple displays to act as one larger display, allowing a panoramic view of full-screen games or your desktop." Think of it as Nvidia's take on Eyefinity, though it's not exactly the same thing.
Other changes include:
Added support for GeForcet GTX 400M series of notebook GPUs
Updates PhysX System Software to v9.10.0223
Updates the HD audio driver to version 18.104.22.168
There are some limitations in the beta release. Surround gaming with 3-way SLI doesn't work, and the Graph tab on the Adjust Desktop Color Settings page in the Nvidia Control Panel Display Category isn't available.
After revealing tantalizing details of its new release of Windows Live Essentials for Windows 7 (and Vista) earlier this month, Microsoft took the wraps off the public beta today.
Windows Live Essentials is a free collection of web-enabled programs for blogging (Writer), photo editing and management (Photo Gallery), video editing (Movie Maker), instant messaging (Messenger), email client (Mail), parental controls (Family Safety), and a new component for file synchronization and remote access (Sync). In this new version, originally known as Windows Live Essentials Wave 4, Windows Live Essentials loses Windows XP compatibility, but gains new features and better usability. For more screen shots and information, join us after the jump.
It’s rare for a sequel to be surrounded by even more uncertainty than the first game in a series, but Crysis 2 has managed to pull off just such a hat trick. For one, the game is having something of an identity crisis itself, attempting to walk the line – or gulf, really – between lowest-common-denominator console games and bleeding-edge PC titles. And how about the new setting? Concrete jungle though it may be, New York’s not exactly a tropical island.
Fortunately, you’ll have a chance to answer those burning questions without burning right through your paycheck. Through the relaunch of its MyCrysis service, Crytek’s confirmed that Crysis 2’s getting a beta test.
“Looking to get your hands on Crysis 2 early? Now is your chance! Early registrations will be tracked, and our first wave of users will have a chance to win a key as and when the Crysis 2 beta takes place. All you need to do is sign up early and one day in the near future you may be receiving a mail with an invite to the game,” reads a post on MyCrysis.
Meanwhile, a recent trade press ad from EA carries word that the supersuit-centric shooter is gunning for an “autumn” release date. So, odds are, you can expect the beta test to take place sometime this summer.
Enjoying the StarCraft II beta? Well, you’d better get your fill while you still can, because come May 31, you’ll have to get your spacefaring RTS fix elsewhere. That’s right: beginning in less than two weeks, you’ll have to go without StarCraft II for nearly two months.
“We’d like to thank all of our beta-test participants for your enthusiasm, dedication, and valuable feedback during the beta test, and we look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on the StarCraft II beta test as the game’s July 27 launch approaches,” Blizzard said.
The beta will, however, have one last hurrah in July, a couple weeks before StarCraft II officially launches. In the meantime, Blizzard will be making “some hardware and software configuration changes in preparation for the final phase of the beta test and the release of the game.”
Dumb Blizzard and your obsessive perfectionism. Maybe, if your games weren’t so polished and fun to play, we wouldn’t forget we were playing a beta and end up disappointed when it comes to an end. Seriously, did you ever think of our feelings?
In an official blog post on Thursday, Skype announced it is previewing a brand new version of its VoIP software which, among other things, supports group video calling for up to 5 people.
"With the latest version, you'll be able to bring the whole family together for a chat, for lunch, or even a birthday," Skype wrote. "You'll be able to spend quality time with your best friends, planning a trip, or even hosting a book club. And you'll be able to meet with colleagues from across the world without leaving your desk."
Skype made sure to emphasize that its video calling is currently in beta, meaning "there might be a few rough edges, and that it might not work perfectly every time." And to take advantage of group video calls, everyone in your party has to be running the new version.
Opera Software on Tuesday released the first beta for version 10.53 of its Opera browser for Linux and FreeBSD. The latest beta release uses its own toolkit called Quick, and as such, there are no dependencies on GTK or Qt/KDE, so it can run on just about any version of Linux.
"If you've been waiting for Opera 10.5 to stabilize before trying it on your Linux or FreeBSD system, now is your chance," Opera wrote in a blog post. "Try it and keep reporting any issues you have, help us make this the best release for Unix ever!"
Codenamed "Evenes," Opera 10.53 features the new Vega graphics engine and support for HTML5 video courtesy of the free and open Ogg Theora codec. What you won't find, however, is support for Solaris.
"In order to ensure a consistently high quality browser across our most popular desktop platforms, we have reluctantly decided to drop support for Solaris," Opera said.
This only applies to the developers build, not the beta or stable releases. If you're new to geolocation, what this does is tell a website exactly where it is your PC is located once you've given permission. There are different ways of going about this, and the one Google uses involves scanning mobile phone and wireless network information, along with your IP address, to pinpoint your location.
If you want to try this out for yourself, grab the latest developer build from here. Once installed, head over to Google Maps and click the white circle in the upper left corner. You should then see a pop-up bar asking permission to track your location.
Hey you. Yeah, you. The one who has “I love StarCraft II so much that I’d do anything to get a beta key” written all over your features. We’ve got a proposition for you. Now, we’re not gonna lie: it’s not glamorous. For instance, if you’ve taken to rampant prostitution in order to scrounge up enough dough to afford a beta key off eBay, you probably oughta just keep doing that. But if you’re truly willing to sink to the absolute depths of depravity, you could always grab your keys and head over to GameStop. You poor soul.
Just stroll into the store, hope your body doesn’t spontaneously burst into flames or – worse – get accosted by an employee who wants you to trade your entire videogame collection for a used toothpick, and then reserve StarCraft II. With that harrowing experience out of the way, you’ll have yourself a beta key. But at what cost?
IT software specialist Compuware made the most out of the Cloud Expo 2010 by unveiling its CloudSleuth beta technology, essentially a Web portal for users to collaborate.
"CloudSleuth’s approach is conceptually very simple," Compuware explains. "We deploy an identical 'target' application to each cloud platform. The Gomez Performance Network (GPN) is used to run test transactions on the deployed target applications and monitor the response time and availability from various points around the globe. Hundreds of data points from each successive test run are collected and aggregated into a cloud performance database. CloudSleuth’s visualization tools enable users to visually interact with the data from the cloud performance database."
In its current form, CloudSleuth mainly features near real-time performance benchmarks for some of the bigger cloud providers. Richard Stone, Compuware's cloud computing solutions manager, says you can register and request statistics on your own local hosting providers for free.