Nobody expected Steve Ballmer to go quietly, and he didn't
Having announced his impending retirement at the conclusion of a 12-month (at the latest) search for a replacement chief, Steve Ballmer finds himself savoring several last moments. The most recent and so far the most emotional of those moments came during what is in all likelihood his last annual meeting with employees. It was essentially a farewell meeting, and it left Ballmer in tears.
Just stop what you're doing (that TPS report can wait) and go download Catzilla v1.0. What is Catzilla, you ask? Catzilla is only one of the coolest benchmarks you can run, provided you're a fan of cats. And Godzilla. And goofy destruction. An appreciation of techno music doesn't hurt either (don't worry, it's not overbearing, and it fits the theme of the benchmark). While it's entertaining, it's actually useful, too.
Expected to hit the release channel in late January
Over the weekend, Mozilla pushed a new build of Firefox to the Aurora channel. Built from the ground up for Microsoft’s Windows 8 Modern UI, this pre-beta build brings with it, among other things, a tile-based Firefox Start experience.
Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has been very outspoken in his criticism of Windows 8. He viewed the OS as the beginning of the end of PC gaming, in particular because he feared Microsoft's walled garden approach could eventually be used to shut out the competition. It's not really surprising, then, that the first of Steam's big three announcements this week is the introduction of a Linux-based SteamOS.
“We don’t have our heads in the sand,” outgoing CEO tells the financial community
As we reported earlier today, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Thursday accused Google of being a monopoly and even admitted to having “discussed” the matter with competition authorities. But that wasn’t the only newsworthy bit to come out of Thursday’s event — Microsoft’s annual meeting with the financial community.
Valve co-founder Gabe Newell turned a few heads earlier in the week at the LinuxCon 2013 conference by saying the next step for his company is to release some work it's been doing on the hardware side of things. Many speculated he could be referring to an official Steambox, though even if that's the case, it won't be the only thing Steam is cooking up for next year. Valve will make three announcements next week.
Google is determined to win the cloud wars, and to prove it, the company announced that its document editing software QuickOffice is now free for both Android and iOS platforms. Prior to Google's pro bono change of heart, this was a $20 program, which is popular for its ability to let you edit Microsoft Office documents on your smartphone or tablet. Not only is it now free, but Google is giving away online storage, too.
An "essential update for all GeForce GTX users," Nvidia says
This has been a good week for gamers. Intel, AMD, and now Nvidia have all released new graphics drivers, the latter of which is saying its GeForce 327.27 WHQL-certified drivers represent an "essential update" no matter which GeForce GTX GPU you own, as it delivers maximum stability and gets you ready for upcoming games like Batman: Arkham Origins. It's also the first WHQL-certified updated from Nvidia since July.
Heads up all you Radeon HD graphics card owners, AMD has released a new batch of WHQL certified Catalyst drivers, version 13.9. These are the first logo certified drivers for Windows 8.1, which Microsoft is planning to make available to download on October 18th (free for existing Windows 8 owners, $120 and up for the full retail version). Catalyst 13.9 supports both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. Here's what else you need to know.
Iolo's System Mechanic software for Windows is now in version 12, and among the changes introduced in the latest release is improved performance in Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8.1 update. According to Iolo, System Mechanic 12 has been designed to leverage Windows 8.1's latest architectural changes, resulting in even faster startup speeds, overall responsiveness, and increased stability.