Here we are more than a year after the release of Windows 8 and it still remains a hot topic. The points of consternation among its critics are that Microsoft overhauled the user interface with a focus on touch computing, and then added insult to injury by removing the Start button and Start menu (the Start button has since returned, but without the handy menu). Nevertheless, it's a faster and more secure operating system than Windows 7. What's a user to do? Well, if you're buying a rig from boutique builder Puget Systems, you can have the company give Windows 8 a makeover so that it essentially feels like Windows 7.
Support for XP might be ending, but the world is not
Security outfit F-Secure has published its Threat Report for the second half of 2013, which provides a detailed look at the threat landscape as well as trends in malware. It also contains some advice for Windows XP users who aren't planning to upgrade to a newer OS once support ends on April 8, 2014. Whether the decision to stick with XP is based on contractual obligations or other reasons, F-Secure says "all is not lost" for businesses and users who ride it out.
Shares of Symantec tumble after security outfit shows its CEO the door
Security firm Symantec announced that it has terminated Steve Bennett as the company's president and chief executive officer, as well as his resignation from Symantec's board of directors. A special committee has begun the search for a permanent replacement, during which time board member Michael Brown will serve as interim CEO. The decision to let Bennett go didn't sit well with investors, who were caught off guard by his surprise dismissal yesterday.
Yes, Microsoft is within its rights to peek in your Hotmail
A side story that got lost in yesterday's revelation that authorities arrested a former Microsoft employee for allegedly leaking Windows 8 trade secrets to a French blogger is how Microsoft was able to track down its suspect. Simply put, the blogger was using a Hotmail account, so Microsoft granted itself access to his inbox. Based on the emails it read, Microsoft had a culprit, but was this a breach of privacy?
DirectX 12 provides developers with lower level access to hardware
Microsoft unveiled details about its DirectX 12 API at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) today. According to Microsoft, its team of engineers redesigned the API with a focus on speed and efficiency. DX12 will enable richer scenes, more objects, and fully utilize modern GPU hardware. On top of it all, DX12 works across different types of Microsoft devices, including phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and the Xbox One.
In a game of one-upmanship, Crytek undercuts Epic Games on subscription pricing model
Crytek today announced the launch of its "Engine-as-a-Service" (EaaS) program, which is a fancy pants way of saying developers can license its CryEngine technology on a subscription basis. The cost is $9.90 per month, which trumps the $19 per month subscription plan Epic Games rolled out for its Unreal Engine 4. Further upping the ante, developers who subscribe to the EaaS program don't have to make any royalty payments on commercial products they build using CryEngine, whereas Epic Games requires a 5 percent kickback.
It remains to be seen if AMD's Mantle API can be a game changing force, but it at least bodes well that developers are showing interest. The newest member to the Mantle team is Crytek, which entered into a technology partnership with AMD to add native Mantle support to its CryEngine game engine. Make no mistake, this is a big win for AMD, which itself is still figuring out how best to utilize Mantle.
An ex-Microsoft worker is accused of sending confidential Windows information to a French blogger
One of Microsoft's former employees has been arrested and ordered held without bail for allegedly leaking Windows 8 trade secrets to a French blogger, court documents revealed today. His name is Alex Kibkalo and he used to work for the Redmond outfit in Lebanon and Russia. Prosecutors in the case claim that Kibkalo provided the blogger with confidential Microsoft documents, including screenshots of unreleased versions of Windows.
A surprise announcement at the 2014 Game Developers Conference (GDC)
Have you dreamed about making an epic game if only you had access to the right tools? You're in luck. It just so happens that Epic Games is offering anyone and everyone an opportunity to tap into its next generation Unreal Engine 4 for $19 per month. In addition to the monthly subscription fee, you also agree to fork over 5 percent of gross revenue resulting from any commercial products you build using UE4.
If you thought the wearable computing craze was going to simmer down anytime soon, think again. Google is throwing its weight and resources behind the wearable computing movement by announcing Android Wear, a modified version of the company's open source operating system. Android Wear extends Android into wearables starting with the obvious -- smart watches -- though Google has more in mind than being able to tell time and fire off text messages.