Software en Next Windows 10 Technical Preview Update for Phones Supports More Devices <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lumia_1020_1.jpg" alt="Lumia 1020" title="Lumia 1020" width="228" height="161" style="float: right;" />From half a dozen to several dozen support Lumia phones</h3> <p>When Microsoft made available its first Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones, it only officially supported six Lumia handsets (630, 635, 636, 638, 730, and 830). The reason? Microsoft had to select from a set of phones that had sufficient system partition sizes configured by the manufacturer in order to do in-place upgrades. Well, <strong>with the next Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones, the mobile operating system will support a total of 36 Lumia devices</strong>, Microsoft stated in a blog post.</p> <p>The six-fold increase in supported devices is the result of a "partition stitching" feature that allows Microsoft to dynamically re-size the system partition of phones running Windows. This is a recent development, with partition stitching code coming into Microsoft's main code branch late last week. It's since passed all quality evaluations.</p> <p>Microsoft said it spent the last week testing the next build on individual devices.</p> <p>"This testing will allow us to support A LOT more phones for the next flight. I get a ton of questions every day on Twitter about when your favorite phones will be usable, and I’m happy to report that the vast majority will be supported with the next flight," <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft said</a>.</p> <p>Here's a look at the current set of devices Microsoft expects to work:</p> <ul> <li>Lumia 430, 435, 435 Dual DIM, 435 Dual SIM DTV</li> <li>Lumia 520, 525, 526, 530, 530 Dual Sim, 532, 532 Dual SIM, 535, 535 Dual SIM</li> <li>Lumia 620, 625, 630, 630 Dual Sim, 635, 636, 638, 640 Dual SIM</li> <li>Lumia 720, 730, 730 Dual Sim, 735</li> <li>Lumia 810, 820, 822, 830</li> <li>Lumia 920, 925, 928</li> <li>Lumia 1020, 1320, 1520</li> <li>Lumia ICON</li> </ul> <p>This isn't necessarily a full list. Microsoft says some devices aren't listed because of the presence of a bug, which could get fixed in time for the next release. Likewise, a bug on any of the existing device could be cause for its removal.</p> <p>Microsoft isn't ready to announce a release date for the next build.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> mobile operating system OS smartphones Software windows 10 News Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:58:15 +0000 Paul Lilly 29657 at Microsoft Decides Against Sharing Rendering Engines Between Project Spartan and IE11 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/project_spartan.jpg" alt="Project Spartan" title="Project Spartan" width="228" height="193" style="float: right;" />Lines have been drawn</h3> <p><strong>Some changes are coming to the way Microsoft's Project Spartan and Internet Explorer browsers will handle the web</strong> once Windows 10 ships. As originally conceived, both browsers would use the new rendering engine built for Project Spartan, and both would be capable of switching back to the legacy Trident engine to load certain sites that use dated technologies, and also to ensure compatibility among specific enterprise sites. Not anymore.</p> <p>In a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a> this week, Microsoft said it decided against its original browser strategy after taking into considering "strong feedback" from its Windows Insiders and customers. So instead of sharing engines on Windows 10, Project Spartan will exclusively use the new engine, while IE11 will stay unchanged from Windows 8.1, using just the legacy Trident engine.</p> <p>"We feel this change simplifies the role of each browser. Project Spartan is our future: it is the default browser for all Windows 10 customers and will provide unique user experiences including the ability to annotate on web pages, a distraction-free reading experience, and integration of Cortana for finding and doing things online faster," Microsoft said. "Web developers can expect Project Spartan’s new engine to be interoperable with the modern Web and remain 'evergreen' with no document modes or compatibility views introduced going forward."</p> <p>This should make things easier on users in deciding on what kind of experience they want -- Project Spartan will have all the bells and whistles for a modern web (Cortana integration, annotations, reader modes, etc), while IE11 will support legacy sites and technologies. And by clearly separating the two browsers, Microsoft can focus on its vision for Project Spartan as the web evolves without juggling multiple engines.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> browser ie11 internet explorer 11 microsoft project spartan Software windows 10 News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:36:31 +0000 Paul Lilly 29640 at All Four Major Browsers Hacked in Pwn2Own Contest <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hacking_0.jpg" alt="Hacking" title="Hacking" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Not a single browser was left standing</h3> <p>Could the world use yet another browser? Sure, if security is at the forefront of your mind. <strong>At the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest that took place this week, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari all fell prey to remote code execution exploits</strong> by the second day. Not to make a mountain out of a mole hill, this isn't unusual, as every year hackers gather at CanSecWest's conference to show off their skills for prizes.</p> <p>Credit goes to JungHoon Lee (known online as lokihardt) for taking down a 64-bit build of Internet of Explorer with a time-of-check to time-of-use (TOCTOU) vulnerability allowing for read/write privileges, which netted him a prize bounty of $65,000.</p> <p>Lee then took out Chrome with a buffer overflow race condition, followed by an info leak and race condition in two Windows kernel drivers to get SYSTEM access, earning him the biggest payout in Pwn2Own history -- $75,000 for the Chrome bug and an extra $25,000 for the privilege escalation to SYSTEM, plus another $10,000 from Google for a total of $110,000. That worked out to $916 per second for his two-minute demonstration, <a href="" target="_blank">HP reports</a>.</p> <p>Before wrapping up work for the day, Lee hacked Apple's Safari browser using a use-after-free (UAF) vulnerability in an uninitialized stack pointer and bypassed the sandbox for code execution. His reward was $50,000, bringing his total for the day to $225,000.</p> <p>In all, researchers earned $442,500 in bounties over the course of two days.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> apple browser CanSecWest chrome firefox Google Internet Explorer microsoft Mozilla pwn2own safar Security Software News Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:37:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29618 at Here are the Upgrade Paths to Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_laptop_0.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Laptop" title="Windows 10 Laptop" width="228" height="149" style="float: right;" />Some upgrade scenarios will require physical media</h3> <p>Microsoft <a href="">dropped a bombshell</a> yesterday when it revealed that even Windows pirates will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost, though we have a clarification on that, which we'll get to in a moment. The <strong>Redmond outfit also outlined how you'll be able to make the leap to Windows 10</strong> when it becomes available later this year -- if you have a PC or tablet running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 with all the latest updates, you'll be able to upgrade using the Windows Update service. The same goes for Windows Phone 8.1.</p> <p>According to Microsoft's PowerPoint presentation, all Windows 7 and Windows 8.x versions (Windows 7 RTM, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 RTM) will require an ISO image, which you can have on a DVD or USB drive, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>VentureBeat</em> reports</a>. Here's a better look:</p> <ul> <li>Windows 7 RTM: Media (ISO)</li> <li>Windows 7 SP1: Media (ISO) or Windows Update</li> <li>Windows 8: Media (ISO)</li> <li>Windows 8.1 RTM: Media (ISO)</li> <li>Windows 8.1 S14: Media (ISO) or Windows Update</li> <li>Windows RT: N/A</li> <li>Windows Phone 8.0: N/A</li> <li>Windows Phone 8.1: Windows Update</li> </ul> <p>That's a pretty wide range Microsoft is covering, so long as the <strong>minimum hardware requirements</strong> are met. They include:</p> <ul> <li>Processor: 1GHz or faster</li> <li>RAM: 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit)</li> <li>Free HDD: 16GB</li> <li>Graphics card: DirectX 9 with WDDM driver</li> <li>Microsoft account and Internet access</li> </ul> <h3>Clarification on Windows 10 Upgrade for Pirates</h3> <p>There's been a bit of confusion over Microsoft's revelation that it will allow users running non-genuine copies of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost. At first it seemed as though the policy would only apply to users in China where software piracy is a particularly big problem, however a Microsoft spokesperson told <em>Maximum PC</em> in an email that it would apply to users worldwide.</p> <p>That's still true, but there's a significant caveat that Microsoft <a href="" target="_blank">revealed to <em>Polygon</em></a>. Short and to the point, the free upgrade won't changes the status of the non-genuine license. Here's the full statement:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>"The consumer free upgrade offer for Windows 10 applies to qualified new and existing devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. Some editions are excluded from the consumer free upgrade — including Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to other Windows 10 enterprise offerings.</em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>"We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible. With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license. Non-Genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed, or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade. According to industry experts, use of pirated software, including Non-Genuine Windows, results in a higher risk of malware, fraud (identity theft, credit card theft, etc), public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions."</em></p> <p>It's not clear what the ramifications will be, such as nag screens, intermittent reboots, etc. We're also not sure that this approach will do Microsoft much good -- if software pirates were interested in running a legit copy of Windows 10, they'd go out and buy one. It seems like a stretch that upgrading them to Windows 10 with a non-genuine license will be enough incentive to fork over for a proper license.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Thu, 19 Mar 2015 16:40:37 +0000 Paul Lilly 29613 at Microsoft Will Upgrade Non-Genuine Windows PCs to Windows 10 for Free <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_2.jpg" alt="Windows 10" title="Windows 10" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!</h3> <p>Software piracy has been the bane of Microsoft's existence ever since the first copy of Windows was pirated. Since then, it's been a cat and mouse game between Microsoft and software pirates, but when it comes to Windows 10, it looks like Microsoft is willing to call a truce. More specifically, <strong>reports have emerged that Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to all Windows users, even those running non-genuine copies</strong>.</p> <p>The initial report comes from <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Reuters</em></a>, which spoke with Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Executive Vice President of Operating Systems.</p> <p>"We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10," Myerson said, adding that the plans is to "re-engage" with the hundreds of millions of Windows users in China.</p> <p>Windows piracy runs rampant in China, and to deal with the problem, Microsoft is extending an olive branch, so to speak. It will dole out Windows 10 through security outfit Qihoo 360 Technology and Tencent Holdings, China's most popular social networking company with more than 800 million users.</p> <p>The article doesn't mention whether the free upgrade for Windows pirates only applies to users in China or if it will also be valid for users in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Other reports make it sound like it's a global thing, including <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Verge</em></a>, which was told by a Microsoft spokesperson that "anyone with a qualified device can upgrade to Windows 10, including those with pirated copies of Windows."</p> <p>I dropped a line to Microsoft asking for clarification and will post an update when I hear back.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h3>Update</h3> <p>A Microsoft spokesperson provided <em>Maximum PC</em> with the following the statement:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"We are excited to launch Windows 10 this summer. Anyone with a qualified device can upgrade to Window 10, including those with pirated copies of Windows. We believe customers over time will realize the value of properly licensing Windows and we will make it easy for them to move to legitimate copies."</p> <p>It's the same statement that's been floating around the web, however <strong>we were also able to confirm with Microsoft that aforementioned upgrade policy for non-genuine copies of Windows to Windows 10 at no cost is indeed worldwide, not just for China</strong>.</p> <p>This is an interesting turn of events, especially for anyone building a PC now. With Windows 10 right around the corner, and confirmed to be a free upgrade for both genuine and pirated copies of Windows, some may find it tough to pull the trigger on a paid version. I'm not condoning piracy by any means, just pointing out the obvious dilemma.</p> <p>In any event, this is a big deal and more than just an olive branch, it's the entire olive tree Microsoft is extending. If this doesn't buy the company some good will, I'm not sure what will.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> china microsoft operating system OS piracy Software Terry Myerson Windows windows 10 News Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:35:02 +0000 Paul Lilly 29607 at Here's How Microsoft Is Shrinking Windows 10's Footprint <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/storage.jpg" alt="Storage" title="Storage" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />A leaner OS</h3> <p>When Windows 10 launches in its final form to the public later this year, it will come with a smaller footprint than what you might be used to. That's because <strong>Microsoft is making a concerted effort to reduce the storage space necessary for a Windows 10 device</strong>, and there are two ways the Redmond is going about it -- compression and recovery enhancements. Microsoft explains both in a blog post.</p> <p>Using what Microsoft says is an efficient algorithm, Windows is better able to compress system files in current builds. This method alone gives back around 1.5GB of storage for 32-bit and 2.6GB for 64-bit Windows installs. In addition, Phones running Windows 10 will also make use of the same efficient compression algorithm, though Microsoft didn't say what the net savings would be.</p> <p>The second way Microsoft is cutting back on storage use is by redesigning Windows' Refresh and Reset functions so that a separate recovery image -- the kind that's often installed by OEMs -- is no longer needed to restore Windows to a squeaky clean state. According to Microsoft, this can save anywhere from 4GB to 12GB, depending on the make and model.</p> <p>There's a caveat to the compression scheme. Microsoft says it will only be done if the hit on resources and subsequent performance impact won't be noticeable by humans.</p> <p>"One important factor is the amount of memory (RAM) a device has. The amount of RAM a device has determines how often it retrieves system files from storage. Another important factor is how quickly a device’s CPUs can run the decompression algorithm when retrieving system files. By considering these and other important factors, Windows is able to assess if a device can use compression without reducing human-perceivable responsiveness," Microsoft says.</p> <p>Why bother? The main reason for all this is to ensure that Windows can fit on low storage devices, and fit while still giving the user some storage space of his or her own to play with.</p> <p>You can read more about Microsoft's methods <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Yutaka Tsutano)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Tue, 17 Mar 2015 18:35:54 +0000 Paul Lilly 29604 at Steam for Linux Goes Past 1,000-game Mark <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Steam for Linux" title="Steam for Linux" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />The client was released in February 2013</h3> <p>A couple of years after its official release, <strong>Valve’s Steam for Linux initiative is making steady progress</strong>. It recently notched up a significant milestone when the <a href=";term=test#sort_by=_ASC&amp;category1=998&amp;os=linux&amp;page=1" target="_blank">number of Linux-compatible games on Steam</a> breached the 1,000 mark.</p> <p>Granted, this number still pales in comparison to Windows’ tally of nearly 4,800 compatible games, but we believe both Valve and Linux users would have gladly taken it had someone whispered it to them at the time of Steam’s release on Linux. And for all its worth, the rate at which Linux-compatible games are appearing on Steam is a gallop compared to the crawl of Steam-powered Mac gaming, which has labored its way to just over 1,600 titles in the nearly five years that the Steam for OS X client has been available.</p> <p>The question now is: Can Valve prove the naysayers wrong once again and successfully orchestrate the invasion of Linux into the living room through SteamOS (a Linux distro built around Steam) and <a href="" target="_blank">Steam Machines</a> (pre-built SteamOS-powered gaming PCs)? The success of these two initiatives is Linux users’ best bet of ever seeing a critical mass of AAA titles for their OS of choice.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> games Gaming Software steam for linux steam machines steamos Valve News Mon, 16 Mar 2015 05:26:26 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29584 at Leaked Windows 10 Build Brings Peer-assisted Updates, App Downloads <!--paging_filter--><h3>Build 10036&nbsp; is here</h3> <p>On Monday, Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul (general manager, OSG data and fundamentals team) admitted to the company erring on the side of caution and being <a href="" target="_blank">“conservative” about releasing Windows 10 Technical Preview builds</a>. Five days later, even as Aul and his team were still dithering over whether to speed up the release cadence in deference to public demand, <strong>a new Windows 10 build quietly leaked onto the web</strong>. For those keeping score at home, build 10036 is the third to have become available to the public in this manner and the seventh to have become available at all.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Windows 10 Build 10036" title="Windows 10 Build 10036" width="620" height="318" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong id="docs-internal-guid-1ee190eb-2064-7463-8680-cbe2058c1c3e" style="font-weight:normal;">&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>As pointed out by our friends over at <a href="" target="_blank">Neowin</a>, this build is from a “partner channel” and is therefore missing some of the features that Microsoft is known to be working on for the next public release. This one, for instance, does not have the Project Spartan browser.</p> <p>What it does have are a number of subtle changes from the last officially released build (9926). Some of these include the ability to make the <a href="" target="_blank">Start Menu/Start Screen transparent</a>, a new Task View interface, redesigned login screen, new app management tools, and the option to <a href="" target="_blank">receive OS updates and apps via peer-to-peer (P2P) technology</a>. </p> <p>The last one, which is perhaps the most interesting of the lot, is thought to be powered by the technology Microsoft acquired as part of its <a href="" target="_blank">Feb 2013 acquisition of P2P content delivery provider Pando Networks</a>.</p> <p>An unofficial changelog can be found at this <a href="" target="_blank">link</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> build 10036 leak operating system P2P pando networks Software windows 10 technical preview News Mon, 16 Mar 2015 02:27:58 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29583 at Nvidia's Giving Away Witcher 3 Codes with Select GeForce GTX 900 Series Graphics Cards <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/witcher_3_0.jpg" alt="The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" title="The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" width="228" height="203" style="float: right;" />A little gaming bribery never hurt anyone</h3> <p>After the fiasco with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 970 graphics card and the way it handles the last .5GB of its onboard 4GB of memory, Nvidia could use a bit of positive press. One of the best ways to do that is to dangle something shiney in front of the public, like an anticipated game. So, available now for a limited time, <strong>customers who buy a select GeForce GTX 980, 970, and 960 graphics card, or a GTX 970M or above notebook, will receive a code for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt</strong>, Nvidia announced today.</p> <p>"Over my 10-plus years at Nvidia, I’ve seen, worked with, and played countless games. Few stand out to me as deserving of the term epic. The Witcher: Wild Hunt is one of those titles," Nvidia's Leslie Pirritano stated in a blog post. "Developer CD Projekt Red has provided gamers with an epic story, an epic adventure, and epic graphics. The untamed world of this action-adventure game is a graphics showcase, with stunning vistas and detailed characters. So, it’s exciting to me that we’re offering it to GeForce gamers as part of our new 'Undeniably Epic' bundle."</p> <p>Nvidia was also quick to point out that the upcoming title supports technologies like Nvidia HairWorks and PhysX, the first of which will add a level realism to the fur and hair of more than 50 monsters and characters in the game.</p> <p>The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is currently scheduled to release May 19, 2015. To grab a qualifying card, be sure to start you <a href="" target="_blank">search here</a>, which has links to participating vendors.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC games geforce graphics card Hardware nvidia Software the witcher 3: wild hunt Video Card News Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:57:54 +0000 Paul Lilly 29567 at uTorrent Developer Denies Installing Cryptocurrency Miner Without User Consent <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="uTorrent EpicScale Offer Prompt" title="uTorrent EpicScale Offer Prompt" width="228" height="118" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Be that as is it may, company is not entirely blameless</h3> <p>On Thursday, a uTorrent user going by the handle “Groundrunner” took to the popular torrent client’s official forum to <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGzS-ILN8ZQTYmXtPGbV2nQEfMS-g" target="_blank">report something fishy</a>. Updating to the latest version of the client (3.4.2 build 38913), he complained, <strong>“silently installed a piece of software called EpicScale” (a cryptocurrency miner)</strong> on his machine. He also linked to a <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNG33pc7r2rYJ1UpOYBDwhGNlKWlMA" target="_blank">web page littered with similar complaints</a> — some dating back to early Feb —&nbsp; from angry uTorrent users. As was to be expected so close on the heels of <a href="" target="_blank">Lenovo’s Superfish fiasco</a>, it didn’t take long for a furor to erupt around these sensational claims.</p> <p>BitTorrent Inc., the company behind uTorrent, was quick to dismiss the whole thing, blaming it on user ignorance. This is what the company had to say in a statement it sent to <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEkQGig7dzouuH9B3XUhoGSXEWQhQ" target="_blank">PCWorld</a>:&nbsp; "We have reviewed the issue closely and can confirm there is no silent install happening. It is in fact impossible for partner software to be installed without user permission. We are continuing to look at the issue. But it is almost certain these users accepted the offer during install. In terms of user complaints in our forums, we always take these claims seriously. We highly value our users, they are a passionate and tech savvy group. In the last 24 hours we have received less than a dozen inquiries out of several million offers. That should put things into perspective."</p> <p>Turns out, the company is <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHZXc8C9L-lsY3q62bKW3aXn4rIew" target="_blank">telling the truth</a> and a section of the tech media may have jumped the gun in raking it over the coals. Many users and media outlets have since confirmed that the&nbsp; uTorrent installer <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEBMGGvYGkNBtyE2NYwuIdMF0vYlA" target="_blank">presents the user with an option to decline the “offer” to install EpicScale</a> and proceed with the rest of the installation. </p> <p>That does not mean that the company is entirely blameless, though. The reason why so many people have no recollection of having green-lighted EpicScale’s installation is because the said offer is <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFfDmpAvNh-HZVZyy6S9PEopX183Q" target="_blank">presented in a way that closely mimics a ToS/EULA dialog box</a>. There’s a lesson for all of us in this: read before you press that Next button.</p> <p>As for EpicScale, it is more than a cryptocurrency miner. Its <a href="" target="_blank">official website</a> claims that the program springs into action when a PC is idle to harness its unused processing power to solve “math problems for weather prediction, physics simulations, cryptography (including cryptocurrency mining) and more.” Apparently, around 75 percent of the proceeds from this activity go to various charities.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> bittorrent crapware epicscale Software utorrent News Mon, 09 Mar 2015 03:55:07 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29557 at GDC 2015: Oxide Games and Stardock Discuss Mantle, DirectX 12, and Vulkan [VIDEO] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/oxide_gdc.jpg" alt="Oxide GDC" title="Oxide GDC" width="228" height="125" style="float: right;" />Take a peek at the first game using Oxide's Nitrous engine</h3> <p>The future of AMD's Mantle is up in the air since AMD recently <a href="">told developers</a> to focus on DirectX 12 instead. However, it doesn't appear as though AMD is ready to completely dismantle its API, which will have a future in Vulkan, the next version of the OpenGL API. You may recall that Oxide Games was a big proponent of Mantle -- check out <a href="">our interview</a> from a year ago. How does Oxide feel today? To find out, <strong>we headed to Oxide's booth at GDC</strong> and talked about a number of things.</p> <p>The first thing Oxide showed us was a forthcoming game called Ashes of the Singularity. It's a massively large RTS game developed with Stardock and the first to use Oxide's Nitrous engine, which the company claims can render 10,000 individual units at the same time. The goal with Ashes of the Singularity (other than to make money, of course) is to bring "an unprecedented scale" to the RTS category.</p> <p>Oxide tells us the Nitrous engine has been ported to DX12. The company is also working with Vulkan to make sure it emerges as a top class API. Unfortunately, Oxide wasn't willing to divulge much about Vulkan at this early stage.</p> <p>One thing gamers with high-end rigs will be happy to know is that Oxide developed Ashes of the Singularity to take advantage of top-shelf hardware, if you have it. The beefier your rig, the more settings you can crank up. On the flipside, owners of lower end hardware can dial things down for a playable experience.</p> <p>Early Access will be available this summer, and if all goes well, the game will release this winter. Here's more.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> amd directx 12 dx12 games GDC 2015 mantle Oxide Games Software Stardock Vulkan News Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:40:50 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29554 at GDC 2015: An Epic Discussion on Unreal Engine and VR Technology [VIDEO] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/epic.jpg" alt="Epic at GDC" title="Epic at GDC" width="228" height="135" style="float: right;" />An Epic perspective on VR</h3> <p>Epic Games earlier this week <a href="">announced</a> that it was dropping its subscription fee to license Unreal Engine 4. Now instead of paying $19 per month on top of any applicable royalties, developers can dive in and get access to UE4's complete C++ source code hosted on GitHub. They can even make a little bit of pocket change without sharing the wealth -- up to $3,000. After that, a 5 percent royalty per quarter applies. Not a bad deal, and <strong>we caught up with Epic at GDC</strong> to talk about this and more.</p> <p>General Manager Ray Davis was manning Epic's booth. He explained that the subscription removal and 5 percent royalty above $3,000 is designed to remove any barriers that developers might have from using UE4. Not all projects are going to be hits, and so Epic set up a model where it succeeds when and only if developers succeed.</p> <p>"These days there's a wide diversity of developers and the types of products we're going for and so we want to make sure that there's no friction for people to get started, to pick up the tools and start actually building whatever their idea may be," Davis explained.</p> <p>Davis also touched on UE4 supporting multiple VR technologies, including the new Steam VR hardware, Oculus Rift, and others. With so many hardware options, we asked if he was concerned about a standards war. For right now the answer is no, as Davis noted that until there's a clear de facto standard, they're all helping to push VR forward.</p> <p>Here's more:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>We also have some footage of Epic's Crescent Bay Unreal Engine demo. Here it is:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> crescent bay Epic GDC 2015 Hardware Software Unreal Engine virtual reality vr News Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:12:05 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29553 at AMD to Developers: Focus Your Efforts on DirectX 12, Not Mantle <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mantle_rip.jpg" alt="Mantle R.I.P." title="Mantle R.I.P." width="228" height="159" style="float: right;" />Goodbye Mantle, we hardly knew ye</h3> <p>In a blog post on Monday, AMD's Raja Koduri waxed nostalgic on Mantle and how it "revolutionized the industry's thinking on low-overhead/high-throughput graphics," among other things. But at the end of what reads like a reluctant death sentence, <strong>AMD told developers that if they're interested in Mantle 1.0's functionality, they should focus their attention on DirectX 12 or GLnext</strong>.</p> <p>AMD never outright declares that Mantle is dead, and it even vowed to support its partners that have committed to Mantle in future projects, such as Battlefield Hardline. Likewise, <a href="" target="_blank">AMD talked</a> about a need for Mantle to take on new capabilities, to "evolve beyond mastery of the draw call," and that it will continue to serve the company as a graphics innovation platform available to select partners with custom needs.</p> <p>So technically, Mantle isn't dead, it's just largely been rendered expendable with DirectX 12 in the wings. Rather than fight it, AMD is encouraging developers to move one, save for those with very specific needs. Or at least that's how we're reading the blog post.</p> <p>Koduri also said that AMD no longer plans to release Mantle as a public SDK. Instead, the company is making available Mantle's 450-page programming guide and API reference, which developers will be able to download sometime later this month.</p> <p>It's a very odd announcement, as Koduri tells developers interested in Mantle to focus on DX12 instead, and then ends things by saying, "Join AMD this week at Game Developer Conference 2015 to see not just the future of Mantle, but the future of PC graphics as well."</p> <p>We'll have more details later this week as they emerge.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd api directx 12 GLnext mantle Software News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:45:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29526 at Epic Ditches Subscription Fee for Unreal Engine <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ue4.jpg" alt="Unreal Engine 4" title="Unreal Engine 4" width="228" height="146" style="float: right;" />Five percent royalty rate still applies to commercial projects</h3> <p>At last year's Game Developers Conference (GDC), Epic Games <a href="">made the decision</a> to license its next generation Unreal Engine 4 to anyone and everyone for $19 per month, giving subscribers unfettered access to its complete C++ source code hosted in GitHub. If you sold and/or made money from your creation, you'd end up paying Epic a 5 percent royalty on top of the subscription fee. Nearly a year later, the 5 percent royalty remains in play, but <strong>Epic has now removed the $19 per month subscription for Unreal Engine 4</strong>.</p> <p>Future updates will be free as well, though we want to be careful not to haphazardly throw around the F-word. As it stands now, the 5 percent royalty applies to gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. So if you code an awesome game, sell it online, and gross $1 million next quarter, you'd owe Epic $49,850 by our fuzzy math (5 percent of $997,000), leaving you with $950,150.</p> <p>This is same Unreal Engine 4 the big boys and girls use when developing blockbuster titles; it's not gimped for casual or curious programmers or hobbyists. And beyond the tools, you have access to an entire ecosystem.</p> <p>"Chat in the forums, add to the wiki, participate in the AnswerHub Q&amp;A, and join collaborative development projects via GitHub. Buy content in the Marketplace, or build your own and sell it there," Epic stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>For current subscribers to the defunct paid plan, Epic will be issuing a pro-rated refund for their most recent month's payment. On top of that, anyone who has ever paid for a UE4 subscription will receive a $30 credit line that can be spent in the UE Marketplace.</p> <p>We'll have to wait and see if this has any effect on Crytek, which <a href="" target="_blank">licenses its CryEngine</a> for $9.90 per month with no royalty commitments. The difference there is Crytek doesn't include the full source code -- there's a separate license model for that.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Epic games Software tim sweeney Unreal Engine unreal engine 4 News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:55:07 +0000 Paul Lilly 29516 at Lenovo Promises No More Bloatware Starting with Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lenovo_yoga.jpg" alt="Lenovo Yoga" title="Lenovo Yoga" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" />Moving on from Superfish</h3> <p>What a month it's been for Lenovo, the world's top supplier of PCs and generally a well liked company. The OEM put both of those traits <a href="">at risk</a> by <a href="">pre-loading adware</a> onto its consumer laptops and desktops, adware that was later discovered to be a serious security threat. We might never know for sure how savvy Lenovo was to the software's nefarious methods of serving up ads, but in the wake of it all, there have been <a href="">apologies</a>, explanations, a software tool to remove Superfish, a <a href="">class action lawsuit</a>, and now a promise -- <strong>Lenovo wants to be the leader of clean PCs</strong>.</p> <p>In yet another statement, Lenovo again waxed remorse for the Superfish situation. This time, however, the OEM also said it was offering its customers affected by the issue a free 6-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe service, or a 6-month extension to existing subscribers. More details will be made available within the next week, but McAfee? Yeah, that's not going to smooth things over.</p> <p>What might, however, is Lenovo's promise to stop installing bloatware and only including software that's necessary for included hardware, like a webcam application.</p> <p>"The events of last week reinforce the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities," Lenovo said in a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a>. "With this in mind, we will significantly reduce preloaded applications. Our goal is clear: To become the leader in providing <strong>cleaner, safer PCs.</strong></p> <p>"We are starting immediately, and by the time we launch our Windows 10 products, our standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software required to make hardware work well (for example, when we include unique hardware in our devices, like a 3D camera), security software and Lenovo applications. This should eliminate what our industry calls 'adware' and 'bloatware.' For some countries, certain applications customarily expected by users will also be included."</p> <p>The bolded text for emphasis was done by Lenovo to drive the point home. In addition to eliminating crapware, Lenovo said it will begin posting information about any and all software that comes preloaded on its machines and clearly explain what each one does.</p> <p>"We view these actions as a starting point. We believe that these steps will make our technology better, safer, and more secure," Lenovo said.</p> <p>This is all well and good by Lenovo, and now it needs to follow through. It will be critical for the company to avoid another situation like this, not just because of the "fool me once" saying, but also because it's flat out saying this won't happen again.</p> <p>The good news for Lenovo is that it has an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. What started off as a sour situation could take a sweet turn of events, if in fact Lenovo follows through and becomes a leader in clean PCs. It will have competition, of course, mainly from boutique vendors like Maingear that tout zero bloatware. Where Lenovo has the advantage is in price, assuming it can continue to keep costs down without the aid of third-party software.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> adware bloatware Hardware lenovo LifeSafe Mcafee OEM rigs Software Superfish News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:49:34 +0000 Paul Lilly 29488 at