It's been a 16-year run for Microsoft and NBC in a joint venture known as MSNBC.com, and that run is coming to a halt. Comcast, the parent company of NBC, has acquired Microsoft's 50 percent stake in the online interactive news site, paying a reported $300 million to gain full control of the digital business. As part of the deal, the site loses its MS tag and is now renamed to NBCNews.com.
Hopefully you don't have anything planned for the next couple of months, because the Steam summer sale is here and chock full of the kind of price cuts that make competitors weep. Each of the next ten days will bring new deals and discounts on a wide variety of blockbuster games, indie games, game packs and more.
Bruhahas between satellite television providers and studio networks rarely deserve a mention in the hallowed e-pages of Maximum PC, but the spat between Viacom and DirecTV recently took a turn for the worse that may interest dedicated cord cutters. Viacom's demand for a $1 billion increase in its contract with DirecTV prompted the satellite company to instead yank Viacom's stations from the air -- Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, more, all gone. In response, Viacom yanked any full, streaming episodes from its properties' various websites. Wait, what?
The e-sky is falling! The e-sky is falling! At least, you'd think so with all the hype the DNSChanger Trojan received in the days leading up to the FBI's disconnection of its servers. It was supposed to spell the end of the Internet for hundreds of thousands of innocent Web goers! Well, the feds flipped the switch yesterday; did the world end? Not so much.
The mystery is over! Up until now, we'd had no idea when Windows 8 was actually going to launch, aside from the incredibly vague "second half of 2012." Does that mean now? Or the holiday season? Halloween, perhaps? Now we know: Windows 8 will be hitting store shelves in October. However, that news breaks right as a report digs into the adoption rates of the various Windows 8 Previews and finds them far, far less used than their Windows 7 counterparts.
Nvidia's engineers sure have been busy recently! Just days after releasing a WHQL-certified driver designed specifically for the Windows 8 Release Preview, a new beta driver has landed in our laps today. The GeForce 304.79 beta drivers are important for a couple of different reasons: they're the first drivers to enable TXAA anti-aliasing as well as the first unified Windows drivers to integrate Windows 8 in with Windows XP, 7 and Vista. The drivers are promised to work with notebooks and desktops alike.
Are you on the fence about upgrading to Windows 8? The new Metro UI and the lack of Windows Media Center have made many Maximum PC readers vow to stockpile Windows 7 OEM discs in a drawer somewhere. Microsoft's countering the worry with a competitive price point: through January 31st, upgrading from Windows 7, XP or Vista will only cost you $39.99 for a digital download. That's to the fancy-schmancy Windows 8 Pro, to boot -- and you can choose to toss in Windows Media Center for free during installation.
Legislators aren't the only ones who can whip together demands for digital equality. A couple of weeks ago, a pair of legislators that were instrumental in stopping SOPA and PIPA released a "Digital Bill of Rights," looking for feedback from you and me. Today, several of the organizations that spearheaded the SOPA/PIPA opposition -- including the EFF, Access Now and Free Press -- launched a "Declaration of Internet Freedom" of their own, and they're looking for both signatures and feedback for the petition.
A sizeable chunk of the August issue of Maximum PC -- which is making its way to your mailbox, e-reader or local newsstand now -- consists of Gordon outlining our new benchmarking suite, as well as laying out some utilities home users (i.e., you) can use to make sure your PC is humming along nicely. Of course, before you can start testing, you need to be sure what you're running: that's where CPU-Z comes in. For more than two years, tinkerers have been turning to CPU-Z to validate their builds, and today, a new version hit the Web with support for the latest hardware and software.
Windows 8's Metro UI has gotten its fair share of negative press since even before the Developer Preview came out, with a lot of the hate directed towards the lack of that oh-so-familiar Windows Start button. Why'd you have to go and remove the Start button, Microsoft? Yesterday, an MS executive delivered one possible answer: People used it a lot less in Windows 7 than in previous versions of the operating system.