For most of the last decade, improving 3D performance has been the primary goal of operating system, application (read gaming) developers, and hardware developers. However, when you're at work, trying hard to make the money you need to buy a new HDTV and über-gaming PC, you're probably working in a 2D world that's being managed by the creaky GDI/GDI+ APIs which were first developed back to the 1990s.
This week, Microsoft introduced a replacement for GDI/GDI+ called Direct2D. Microsoft's Thomas Olsen, a Dev Lead in the Windows Desktop Graphics organization, uses his new blog to bring us up to speed on why we need the new Direct2D API and how it will make PCs work better.
To learn more about Direct2D, join us after the jump.
Here’s one more reason to be glad that there’s not a big overlap between the “computer scientists” and “burglars” demographics: UC San Diego scientists have developed a program that can duplicate a key from a single photograph.
The software’s more powerful than you might think, too. It can copy keys seen from almost any angle, not just those seen in profile, and it can copy keys from a source as low-res as a cell phone camera picture. With a telephoto lens, the group was able to copy a whole ring of keys sitting on a table from a rooftop 195 feet away.
The group is not releasing the program to the public, but they are hoping the exposure will help raise awareness of the shortcomings of traditional keys. Stefan Savage, the program leader said "We argue that the threat has turned a corner--cheap image sensors have made digital cameras pervasive and basic computer vision techniques can automatically extract a key's information without requiring any expertise.”
Leaked screenshots of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 OS are nothing new, and we expect even more frequent peeks with beta releases floating around the web. That's the case with GottaBeMobile.com, who is currently participating in the Windows 7 beta and is showing off several screenies of the new OS running on a Tablet PC.
As would be expected, much of the focus remains on the Tablet Input Panel (TIP) and how the TIP tab operates. This includes how-to animations that display when clicked and show how to correct a word, how to delete, split a word, how to join, and an option to hide the videos. And in a departure from Vista, handwriting to the TIP is auto recognized inline instead of displaying the recognition results in a bubble below the word.
GottaBeMobile promises that there are more screenshots to come, so if this is your bag of tea, consider adding the site to your favorites.
He heavily extolled Blu-ray, which he believes is a huge asset for media editing professionals and enterprises - a demographic that Psystar can now serve.
Psystar is certainly trying its best to get under the skin of Apple whose patience must be wearing thin. Around a fortnight ago, Apple and Psystar agreed to an “Alternative Dispute Resolution”. Prior to that, in July, Apple had slapped a lawsuit against Psystar. The latter soon returned the favor by filing a lawsuit of its own against Apple.
How cool would it be if you could tidy up your long-to-the-point-of-swaying-in-the-breeze toe nails and save $50 million? Because that's essentially what EA did today in the process of announcing its quarterly earnings.
Everyone's favorite 37.5% of the industry laid-off 600 employees -- a mere 6% of its workforce. Apparently, that'll save the company a whopping $50 million.
"These are challenging economic times around the world, and it's impossible for any business leaders to predict the future," said spokesperson Mariam Sughayer. "However, EA has made good progress in improving product quality, building a holiday lineup of titles that is extremely strong, filling our new IP pipeline, and expanding our Direct-To-Consumer and online businesses. As well, our talent remains the best in the industry."
If nothing else, Spore was a major success -- serving 2 million marginally happy customers over the course of three weeks.
Check out the full press release on EA's investors' site, if you'd like to overwrite your childhood memories with numbers. So many numbers.
We love our moms. They're really super great. Hell, we love moms in general (especially yours). But moms loving StarCraft II? Two hobbies will become one, if producer Chris Sigaty has his way.
“We’ve trying to make sure that it’s perfectly balanced for e-sport, but look — I’m going to try to get my mom to play this game," he told MTV Multiplayer. "I mean, I know she can’t [micromanage] at the level that these pro gamers can, so we’re actually experimenting back in the opposite direction… so that even the layman can come in and get a grasp of these cool things in the game.”
So how will Blizzard snap some of the sharper edges off StarCraft's fire-trail fast gameplay? Sigaty wouldn't elaborate beyond wanting to "make it much easier for [non-gamers] to explore whether it would interest them.”
While this new disproportionately large quadrant of Blizzard's target audience certainly has the potential to wreck things for everyone else, we choose to remember WoW. If anyone can take a tiny, hole-the-wall niche and stretch it into a Grand Canyon -- while still keeping gameplay deep and challenging -- it's Blizzard.
As the UK's PC Pro website puts it, SecondLight is like "Surface on steroids." A product of Microsoft's Cambridge, England research labs, SecondLight projects an image through the table, enabling a translucent surface placed on top of the Surface tabletop to display additional information, such as place names, an interior view of an object, and much more.
To learn more about how SecondLight works, join us after the jump.
Are you sick of using iTunes? We don't blame you. The program eats up resources and makes us scratch our heads with its "Genius" recommendations, and we're ready to throw out display through the wall every time the Apple Software Updater tells us that there's a new version of Safari out. Arrgh!
Before our inner Hulk gets both mad and strong, we've taken a look at alternatives to the popular music library software. As luck would have it, we stumbled across an open-source solution that's every bit as good (and functional!) as iTunes. Better still, it comes without all of the clutter! You might have heard of the application before--it's called Songbird, an open-source music library application straight from Mozilla itself. But what you might not be aware of is the sheer depth of functionality (and dare we say it, iTunes replication) inherent in the program itself. And we're going to show you the top nine ways to tweak this application to bits and make it do exactly what you want, including features you'll never find in iTunes!
Throw on your headphones and check our out big list behind the jump!
When most people think of Logitech the first thing that comes to mind is hardware. Webcams, mice, keyboards, just about anything that you can consider a peripheral. But all that is about to change thanks to their latest acquisition, SightSpeed, which they hope will take them right into the software game.
So what’s it cost to for a hardware giant, such as Logitech, to get their fingers deep into the software game? As it turns out, only $30 million in cash (the deal is expected to close in early November). The addition of the 25-person company to Logitech’s roster comes with the goal of creating solid video communication software to go along with their extremely popular webcams. Current users of SightSpeed are open to use a free version of their software, or a premium version that costs either $9.95 per month or $99.95 a year.
As of right now there’s no telling if the software of the fancy new acquisition will cost anything to use, or if it’ll be an upgrade on the software bundled with the cameras, but with any luck more details will emerge soon.
Google has already begun rolling out the next update to its recently released Chrome browser. Chrome program manager Mark Larson said in a mailing list post this week that "You will automatically get updated in the next few days," but for the impatient, many users can grab the updated version right away by selecting 'About Google Chrome' from the wrench menu.
The update takes Chrome to version 0.3.154.9 and addresses a variety of bug fixes, performance tweaks, and security vulnerabilities. One such vulnerability includes a scenario where, once a user opens a pop-up window, the site could show a different web address than the one that supplied the information. Larson warns that such a flaw could be used to trick users into giving up sensitive information.
Other changes include the ability to sort columns in the password manager, adding a command line switch to the start the browser in incognito mode, better support for Windows Media Player, crash fixes, and more, as outlined in the release notes. Note to Google: We want extension support!