Software en DFC Intelligence: Nearly All PC Game Sales are Digital Downloads <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/steam_games.jpg" alt="Steam Games" title="Steam Games" width="228" height="169" style="float: right;" />Physical media in the PC gaming sector is nearly dead</h3> <p>Think for a moment about the last 10 PC games you purchased. If the statistics presented by analyst DFC Intelligence are correct, than at least nine of those games were digitally downloaded as opposed to physical copies. Long gone are the days when you'd walk into Software Etc. and emerge with a bag full of game boxes containing floppy disks, and later CDs. <strong>According to DFI Intelligence, 92 percent of all PC game sales around the world in 2013 were digital</strong>.</p> <p>DFC Intelligence provided that tidbit to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>PCR</em></a>, though it didn't say what the outlook for 2014 looks like. However, there's no reason to believe that trend is reversing, especially if you've walked into a GameStop lately -- the PC section has been reduced in most stores to a sad little rack that would normally hold a few accessories.</p> <p>Going digital isn't a bad thing, nor has it hurt developers and publishers. DFC said earlier this year that the <a href="" target="_blank">PC games market leapfrogged console gaming</a> in revenue for the first time.</p> <p>"Among core gamers there is a heavy overlap with most console gamers also playing on a PC. The big difference is that consoles are now the luxury item and PCs are the necessity. Just a few years ago the reverse was true. This means PCs have the broader audience," DFI Intelligence owner David Cole explained at the time.</p> <p>It's not hard to believe. As our sister site <a href="" target="_blank"><em>PC Gamer</em> points out</a>, EA <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> in its Q1 financial results for fiscal year 2013 that it made more money from PC sales than PlayStation 3, and it credited digital sales as the reason why.</p> <p>Welcome to the future.</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> DFC Intelligence digital downloads games Software News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:15:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28387 at Broken Age Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>Two stories, tons of creativity, yummy ice cream, no grog</h3> <p>That’s fair advice for the half of you who will start out Broken Age in a miserable funk instead of a monster-filled fairy tale. At least, that’s how we felt when we initially began our trip through Tim Schafer’s imaginative title—the first half of a two-part, point-and-click adventure from the industry veteran whose previous credits stand well on their own within the genre: Day of the Tentacle, The Secret of Monkey Island, Full Throttle, et cetera.</p> <p>The game splits the two protagonists’ (seemingly) separate story lines right from the start. We started our journey with the boy, Shay, but found the initial ramp-up to his adventure a bit too convincing.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/2_small_26.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/2_small_25.jpg" alt="It’s no Mystery Science Theater movie warning, that’s for sure." title="Broken Age" width="620" height="388" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>It’s no Mystery Science Theater movie warning, that’s for sure.</strong></p> <p>Without spoiling too much of the plot, Shay is trapped on a spaceship that goes above and beyond to protect him from the harshness of growing up. Shay could not be any more apathetic to the idea of daily life with his “mother,” a benevolent, computerized AI of sorts, who washes him, feeds him his daily cereal, and sends him on “adventures” that end in hugs, piles of ice cream, and, most likely, a bout of depression.</p> <p>The other protagonist of this half-game, Vella, presents a more compelling story line. In this case, you’re playing the classic damsel in distress. Rather than being eaten by a giant monster as part of her town’s sacrificial ritual to avoid destruction, she decides to go on a one-woman crusade to slay said monster herself.</p> <p>While Vella’s story line is a bit more action-packed—or at least, feels more so as a result of its classic slay-the-dragon-like premise—we actually found ourselves more proud of our experience in Shay’s adventure. Our favorite moment involved trying to find a way to “kill” our character, for lack of a better way to say it, in order to see if his daily monotony could be averted somehow. Spoiler: It can.</p> <p>That’s the most challenging example of the game’s puzzles that we could come up with, as Broken Age feels perfectly balanced between “breeze on by” and “consult game FAQs” for its overall difficulty. You get just enough quirky items to keep you thinking about what goes where without feeling overwhelmed with options—this isn’t a 20-item-inventory, combine-every-gizmo kind of adventure title.</p> <p>While Broken Age features no hint system, which might frustrate those looking for an extra boost or two in some head-scratching moments, you do have the option to switch between the two separate”story lines at a moment’s notice. Think Day of the Tentacle, only, your actions in the two stories don’t affect each other—a somewhat curious oversight that we hope developer Double Fine Productions changes up in the game’s second half.</p> <p>There’s no real point to spending much time talking about the game’s graphics, as you’ll fall in love with the beautiful visuals the moment you start adventuring. Kudos to Broken Age’s original orchestration as well—it’s the bread keeping the delicious presentation together. Sharp writing, endless wit, and excellent characterization (with similarly awesome voice talent) all work in tandem to deliver a welcome arrival to a genre whose blockbuster titles are not always at the forefront of gamers’ minds.</p> <p>You won’t forget Broken Age; in fact, we think you’ll be clamoring for quite a while to see how chapter one’s big cliffhanger ends up. More, Tim Schafer! More!</p> <p><strong>$25,</strong> <a href=""></a><strong><a href="">,</a> ESRB: n/a</strong></p> Broken Age maximum pc May issues 2014 Software Software Reviews Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:57:20 +0000 David Murphy 28383 at Audacity Crash Course <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/audacity-logo_0.png" alt="Audacity Logo" title="Audacity Logo" width="200" height="200" style="float: right;" />Turn your PC into a music computer with the best free audio editor</span></h3> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Audacity</a></strong>’s been around for a long time—since mid-2000—and for good reason. It’s a relatively lightweight, open-source, and completely free audio editor that can handle pretty much every task you throw at it. Need to edit together a podcast? No problem. Looking to do some simple noise reduction? Looking to turn your PC into a <strong>music computer</strong>? Audacity’s got you covered.</p> <p>Although it’s available for free, it’s not exactly the most intuitive program. The interface isn’t necessarily dated, but it does look pretty spartan alongside programs like Adobe Photoshop and even Microsoft Office. Getting up and running with Audacity isn’t hard, but it does take a little know-how.&nbsp;</p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">The Toolbar</span></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/toolbar.jpg" alt="Audacity Toolbar" title="Audacity Toolbar" width="600" height="109" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The toolbar of Audacity is home to all of the app’s basic tools.</strong></p> <p>The first thing you’ll want to get familiar with is Audacity’s packed toolbar. It’s filled with tools, and fortunately, they’re all labeled. Hover over a button, slider, or drop-down box, and you should see a text label pop-up with the name of the tool. There are a lot of tools, but you really only need a small subset of them for all but the most demanding projects.&nbsp;</p> <p>Make note of the playback controls—play, pause, record, et cetera. They’re essential to all audio editing since you’ll want to constantly be reviewing your work as you go along. Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your output and input devices set correctly. Both should be set to your Windows default devices—if they aren’t, make sure you select the correct ones in the dropdown. Once you get your audio into Audacity—we’ll cover that in a second—you can monitor your levels in the output and input level monitors (usually somewhere near the center of the toolbar).&nbsp;</p> <p>You’ll also want to make sure that you’re always aware of which cursor tool is currently selected. The standard Selection Tool is exactly what you’d expect; it’s a cursor that lets you mark your position on a track and highlight specific sections. The other essential tool is the Time Shift Tool which lets you move clips along the timeline.</p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Getting Audio Into Audacity</span></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/import.jpg" alt="Audacity Import" title="Audacity Import" width="600" height="439" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Importing is a cinch.</strong></p> <p>If you’re working with pre-recorded audio, getting it into Audacity is just a matter of jumping into the File menu and selecting Import &gt; Audio—hit Ctrl+Shift+I if you’re feeling fancy. Find your audio files and they should pop into Audacity as separate tracks.</p> <p>If, on the other hand, you want to record a voiceover or instrumental track directly into Audacity, all you have to do is check to make sure that your input levels are set appropriately (a maxed out slider is usually fine) and click the record button. Clicking stop will end the recording whereas clicking pause will let you continue recording on the same track.&nbsp;</p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Editing Your Audio</span></h3> <p>Now you can get down to the fun part: actually editing your audio. The tools and effects you’ll use will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish, but we’ll run through some basic tasks that most projects will require.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/remove_audio_menu.jpg" alt="Audacity Remove Audio" title="Audacity Remove Audio" width="600" height="331" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Remove Audio dropdown in the Edit menu will be your audio-editing brother-in-arms.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Most audio editing projects requires a fair bit of cutting, splitting, and rearranging sections of a track—or multiple separate tracks. Cutting, splitting, silencing, trimming, and deleting is all handled in the Remove Audio section of the Edit menu. The shortcuts are simple and worth learning since these are common tasks in any editing endeavour. Highlight the section of the track you want to manipulate and select the action you want completed. Trimming removes everything but the highlighted area on any continuous piece of audio. Cutting moves the selected clip to your clipboard, and shifts the remaining pieces over. A split cut or delete removes the selected audio, and preserves the empty space between the two remaining clips.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/effects_menu.jpg" alt="Audacity Effects" title="Audacity Effects" width="600" height="390" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Like a kid in a effects store?</strong></p> <p>Most of the other things you’d want to do to an audio track is under the Effects menu. Here you can amplify, bass boost, change pitch, fade in and out, and normalize audio. Most of the effects are self explanatory and work as you’d expect. Some of the commands lets you select specific settings when you click on the effect.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/bass_boost.jpg" alt="Audacity Bass Boost" title="Audacity Bass Boost" width="321" height="178" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Pump up the bass!</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Bass boost gives you control over Frequency and the amount of Boost. Other effects like Fade In and Fade Out simply alter the audio without any confirmation. Pay attention the waveform and you’ll see it turn into a gradual fade. The expansive effects menu is one of Audacity’s greatest features. It’s the reason why the program has been a freeware staple since it's release.</p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Exporting the Finished Product</span></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/export_menu.jpg" alt="Audacity Export" title="Audacity Export" width="600" height="429" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Where and how you want it are your choice.</strong></p> <p>Once you’re done editing, you’ll want to get your audio out of Audacity into a format that works for your project. Audacity supports a pretty large number of formats, although exporting as an MP3 requires an external codec. If all you want to do is get your file out as a WAV, FLAC, or any of the other available formats, you just have to go to File &gt; Export and select where you want it to be saved and the format you want it in.</p> <p>MP3 file exports are available after downloading the LAME MP3 encoder. It’s completely free, but can’t be distributed with Audacity directly because of software patents. Head over to the LAME download page and download the “Lame v.399.3 for Windows.exe” installer. Start up the installer and don’t change the default destination of the program. Once it’s finished, try to export your Audacity project as an MP3 and you should be asked to find “lame_enc.dll”. Go to “C:\Program Files\Lame for Audacity” and select the dll. Your project should export as an MP3 file and you’re ready to enjoy your finished product in an audio player of your choice.</p> <p>You probably aren’t an audio editing expert yet, but hopefully you’re well on your way to editing out unwanted noise, adding fades to clips, and editing homebrew podcasts with Audacity.</p> <p><em>Follow Ben on <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>.</em></p> audacity audio editor beginners crash course freeware music computer Software tutorial Features Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:02:33 +0000 Ben Kim 27534 at Rebooted King's Quest Adventure Game Won't Be a Point and Click <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/kingsquest.jpg" alt="King's Quest" title="King's Quest" width="228" height="144" style="float: right;" />King's Quest is coming back in a different way</h3> <p>News broke last week at Gamescom that Activision is bringing back the Sierra brand, which it will use as a launching ground for different indie developed titles. One of the first will be a reimagined version of <em>King's Quest</em> developed by The Odd Gentlemen, a small game studio known for <em>The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom</em>. There aren't a lot of details to share just yet, but one thing we do know is that the <strong>reimagined King's Quest won't be a point-and-click game</strong>.</p> <p>"There's not much I can say about King's Quest," Activision's MacLean Marshall posted to Twitter. "All I can say is that I've seen it, and it's not a point-and-click game. But it looks awesome."</p> <p>The Odd Gentlemen later took to Twitter to clarify that even though it won't be a point-and-click title like the original, "the game is very much an adventure game. It doesn't only use the mouse."</p> <p>Marshall had a lot more to say to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>GameInformer</em></a> about the sudden Sierra movement,<a href="" target="_blank"><em></em></a> though nothing too specific about King's Quest, other than Activision might allow more than one studio to use the same characters and universe. Color us intrigued.</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> adventure game king's quest point-and-click Sierra Software News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:49:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 28370 at Microsoft Yanks Patch Tuesday Kernel Update Containing a BSOD Bug <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bsod.jpg" alt="BSOD" title="BSOD" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Just when you thought that BSODs were a thing of the past</h3> <p>After installing Microsoft's August 2014 Patch Tuesday updates, you may have noticed some wonky behavior in Windows. If you're especially unluckly, you may have even been experiencing those dreaded Blue Screen of Death errors that have largely been eradicated in recent years. It turns out <strong>there's some potentially buggy code that could cause BSODs after installing the updates</strong>, which prompted Microsoft to pull the patch offline while it investigates the issue.</p> <p>"Microsoft is investigating the behavior in which systems may crash with a 0x50 Stop error message (bugcheck) after any of the following updates are installed:</p> <ul> <li>2987291: MS14-045: Description of the security update for kernel-mode drivers: August 12, 2014</li> <li>2970228: Update to support the new currency symbol for the Russian ruble in Windows</li> <li>2975719: August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2</li> <li>2975331: August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012</li> </ul> <p>This condition may be persistent and may prevent the system starting correctly," Microsoft says.</p> <p>There are a couple of other known issues associated with the update, both of which relate to fonts, though the BSOD problem is by far the most concerning. If you're negatively affected by the update, or simply don't want to risk that something will go wrong, Microsoft details a <a href="" target="_blank">step-by-step instructions</a> to get things working again.</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> blue screen of death BSOD microsoft Patch Tuesday Security Software News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:20:33 +0000 Paul Lilly 28369 at Blizzard's Bumping Up the Price of World of Warcraft Subscriptions in the U.K. <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/wow_2.jpg" alt="WoW" title="WoW" width="228" height="165" style="float: right;" />As subscribers flee, subscription pricing goes up</h3> <p>Gravity ensures that most of what goes up must also come down (even that helium filled balloon will return to Earth one day, minus the helium inside), but when it comes to World of Warcraft, the world's most popular MMORPG, the opposite is true. That's to say that hot on the heels of Blizzard Activision announcing that <strong>WoW's number of subscribers have gone down, the price of a subscription is going up. </strong></p> <p>"We regularly look at our pricing around the world and from time to time we make changes in light of local and regional market conditions. As such, we want to give everyone a heads-up that we will shortly be adjusting the pound sterling subscription price of World of Warcraft," Blizzard Activision <a href="" target="_blank">announced on</a>.</p> <p>Beginning November 13, a monthly sub will rise to £9.99 for 30 days (up from £8.99), to £28.17 for 90 days (up from £25.17), and £52.14 for 180 days (up from £46.14). The suggested retail price of the 60-day prepaid time card will be £20.99.</p> <p>Players with recurring/auto-renewing subscriptions at the time of the price change will keep their current price for two years, as long as there are no interruptions.</p> <p>Some 800,000 players fled World of Warcraft in the last quarter, bringing the total number of subscribers to 6.8 million. That still qualifies WoW as biggest MMORPG in the world, though it's a far cry from its peak of 12 million in 2010.</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> activision blizzard Draenor games MMORPG Software world of warcraft News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:53:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 28368 at Microsoft Releases Hotfix for Recent Internet Explorer Speed Issues <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="IE Hotfix" title="IE Hotfix" width="228" height="195" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Couple of recent security updates to blame</h3> <p>When a Microsoft exec revealed that company currently has no plans of porting Internet Explorer over to Android and iOS during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, we were left scratching our heads as to why that might be. Here’s a possible explanation: It could be that the <strong>Internet Explorer team is too busy fixing IE for Windows</strong> to build entirely new versions of the browser.</p> <p>No sooner had Microsoft finished patching 26 Internet Explorer vulnerabilities as part of its August Patch Tuesday update than it realized Internet Explorer was a tad slow as a result of all the recent patching and that the issue was serious enough to warrant an out-of-band fix.</p> <p>“After you apply the MS14-037 (July 8, 2014) or MS14-051 (August 12, 2014) cumulative security update for Internet Explorer, web applications that implement consecutive modal dialog boxes may cause Internet Explorer to become slow and unresponsive over time. This issue occurs in Internet Explorer versions 7 through 11,” Microsoft wrote in it security advisory. </p> <p>In case you’ve the security updates that are to blame for this issue, all you need to do is to download the appropriate hotfix file based on your operating system and browser combination from this <a href="" target="_blank">link</a>.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> browser hotfix Internet Explorer microsoft patch Software update News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 05:40:36 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28362 at Play 'Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare' Free for 72 Hours <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/pvzgardenwarfare.jpg" alt="Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare" title="Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare sprouts on EA's GameTime</h3> <p>The original Plants vs. Zombies hooked gamers on its unique and quirky style of tower defense, and to this day it's a fun time waster, especially if you've never played it before. It was even great (and arguably better) on tablets, though that's a discussion for a different day. Today's topic is <strong>Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, a $30 third-person online shooter that's free through EA's Game Time program</strong> for a limited time.</p> <p>In case you're not familiar with it, Game Time is EA's way of offering gamers an extended trial of games, and to promote its Origin digital distribution service. At present, you can download the full version of PvZ Garden Warfare at no cost and play it for 72 hours. Should you decide to buy the game when the timer runs out, you'll retain all your progress, saved games, unlocked characters and weapons, and other goodies.</p> <p>Not all gamers are fans of EA's Origin service, and for some, that might be a deal killer. However, we have to give props to EA for offering promotions like this, which is probably a necessity if it's going to try and compete with Valve's Steam platform, which also frequently runs promotions and tantalizing sales.</p> <p>If you want to give PvZ Garden Warfare a spin this weekend, <a href="" target="_blank">head over to Origin</a> and claim your extended trial.</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> EA Electronic Arts games gametime origin plants vs. zombies garden warfare pvz Software News Fri, 15 Aug 2014 19:06:11 +0000 Paul Lilly 28357 at Get a Sneak Peek of Window 9 in September or October <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_9_1.jpg" alt="Windows 9" title="Windows 9" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" />Microsoft is planning a technology preview of Threshold next month</h3> <p>Now that Microsoft is no longer bothering itself with major updates for Windows 8.1, the company can switch focus to its next operating system codenamed "Threshold," or Windows 9 if you think Microsoft will keep the numbering scheme going. What will Windows 9 bring to the table? If that's a question you'd like answered, stay tuned -- <strong>Microsoft is reportedly planning a "technology preview" of Windows 9</strong> either late next month or early October.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>CNET</em></a> and the multiple sources it spoke with who wish not to be named, anyone who installs the technology preview of Windows 9 will be required to accept subsequent monthly updates that are automatically pushed out. One of the sources "who has provided accurate information on Windows in the past" added that the tech preview will be available to anyone interested.</p> <p>Microsoft hasn't said much about Threshold or confirmed any features, though there have been a number of supposed leaks showing off different aspects of Windows 9, including a new mini Start Menu. If the leaked content is true, there will also be windowed Metro-style applications on the Desktop, virtual desktops, and no more Charms bar (except on tablets).</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 threshold windows 9 News Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:38:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 28356 at 11 Awesome Tips and Tricks to Become a Google Maps Guru <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/google_maps_guru.jpg" alt="Google Maps Ninja" title="Google Maps Ninja" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" /></p> <h3>Never get lost again with Google Maps</h3> <p>Assuming you have an Internet connection and can read this -- and who doesn't these days? -- then there's a strong possibility you're at least a little bit familiar with Google Maps. Maybe you use it to look up driving directions before heading to a concert at the other end of the state, or fire it up to find a gas station when the needle creeps uncomfortably close to E. But did you know you can use Google Maps for suggestions on what to do when you're in a new area? Or zoom in or out with one hand?</p> <p>Google Maps is constantly changing (for the better), with new and enhanced features being added at an almost breakneck pace. It's pretty mature at this point, but if all you're doing is typing in directions, you're missing out on just how slick this piece of software is.</p> <p>The good news is, you've come to the right place. <strong>We've put together a gallery of 10 gnarly tips and tricks that will level up your Google Maps-fu to Guru status</strong>. Let's get started!</p> directions gallery google maps navigation Software tips tricks Features Thu, 14 Aug 2014 22:07:55 +0000 Paul Lilly and Jimmy Thang 28226 at Internet Explorer 8 Support to End in Early 2016 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Internet Explorer 8" title="Internet Explorer 8" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Per one estimate, IE 8 still accounts for over one-fifth of the PC browser market</h3> <p>Microsoft detailed its browser support plans in a post on the Internet Explorer Team Blog on Thursday. In its post, the company included a <strong>list of operating systems and browser version combinations that will continue to be supported beyond January 12, 2016</strong>, and the five-year-old Internet Explorer 8, currently the most popular version of the browser, is not on the list.</p> <p>“After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates,” Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer, wrote in the <a href=";utm_source=pulsenews" target="_blank">blog post</a>, urging all users to enable automatic updates. “For example, customers using Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, or Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 SP1 should migrate to Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.”</p> <p>Apart from Windows 7 SP1, Microsoft will continue to support Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 beyond the said date. <br />The other versions to which support will continue to flow are IE 9 on Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2, and IE 10 on Windows Server 2012.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> browser end of life Internet Explorer 8 microsoft security updates Software Windows News Mon, 11 Aug 2014 05:21:31 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28321 at Hey Look, Windows Phone Store Now Features Over 300,000 Apps <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_phone_apps.jpg" alt="Windows Phone Apps" title="Windows Phone Apps" width="228" height="168" style="float: right;" />Windows Phone Store is growing up</h3> <p>In case you haven't been paying attention, the Windows Phone Store is growing and expanding into a legitimate contender right before our very eyes. By Microsoft's count, the Windows Phone Store now boasts over 300,000 apps and games, with over 2 billion app downloads to date. Sure, that's only a fraction of the available apps on Android and iOS, but it's a big fraction.</p> <p>For the sake of comparison, Android is home to over 1 million apps and 50 billion downloads to date, while iOS has over 1.2 million apps and can brag about serving up 75 billion downloads in the past 6 years.</p> <p>Judged by itself, Microsoft's Windows Phone Store is doing just fine and <a href="" target="_blank">growing at a decent clip</a> -- back in December 2013, it had 200,000 apps, so it's added 100,000 in the past 8 months. Not too shabby.</p> <p>Despite the number of apps and downloads, Microsoft has its work cut out in the mobile space. At last count, comScore pegged the Windows Phone platform as having a <a href="" target="_blank">3.4 percent share</a> of the smartphone market in the U.S., versus 52.1 percent for Android and 41.9 percent for iOS.</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> apps mobile Software windows phone windows store News Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:55:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 28318 at Moving On: Microsoft Confirms No More Major Updates for Windows 8 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_0.jpg" alt="Windows 8" title="Windows 8" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Bring on Windows 9!</h3> <p>As Kenny Rogers famously advised a legion of country music fans, "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, known when to run." Microsoft isn't quite to the point of running away from Windows 8, though it is ready to walk away from putting time and resources into major updates. <strong>There will be no Windows 8.1 Update 2</strong>, which seemingly suggest Microsoft is now looking ahead to Windows 9.</p> <p>Microsoft tried to address consumer complaints in Windows 8 with Windows 8.1, and then again with its first major update for Windows 8.1. However, Windows 8/8.1 isn't grabbing market share the way Microsoft hoped it would, even with Windows XP taken behind the shed.</p> <p>That reality must have finally hit Microsoft like a ton of bricks, and now the firm is changing gears -- rather than release another major update to Windows 8.1, it's going to add any upcoming changes to its monthly update schedule, better known as Patch Tuesday.</p> <p>"Rather than waiting for months and bundling together a bunch of improvements into a larger update as we did for the Windows 8.1 Update, customers can expect that we’ll use our already existing monthly update process to deliver more frequent improvements along with the security updates normally provided as part of 'Update Tuesday.' So despite rumors and speculation, we are not planning to deliver a Windows 8.1 'Update 2,'" Microsoft stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>That means the next truly major update to Windows will be a brand new version. It's currently codenamed Threshold and is expected to be called Windows 9.</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 Software threshold windows 8 windows 8.1 windows 9 News Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:30:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 28317 at Heads Up: EA Tosses Battlefield 4 on Game Time, Play Free for a Week <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bf4_screenie_0.jpg" alt="Battlefield 4" title="Battlefield 4" width="228" height="145" style="float: right;" />Try BF4 free for up to a week</h3> <p>Have you heard both good and bad things about Battlefield 4 and now can't decide if you want to grab a copy? Don't sweat it -- <strong>Electronic Arts just made BF4 its newest "Game Time" title, meaning you can play the full version for free for a limited time (up to 7 days in this case)</strong>. Yes, that entails going through Origin, EA's digital distribution platform, but if you're okay with that, you can download the title and hop right into the action.</p> <p>"Go ahead and try it on. Take a bite. Look under the hood. This is the full game so check out every feature and every option, and play for as long as the Game Time clock runs," EA says.</p> <p>If you play out the full week (or just a portion) and decide to buy the game, your progress will be saved so you can pick up right where you left off, EA says.</p> <p>Not your cup of tea? EA is also serving up Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning on Game Time, giving you 48 hours of free play time.</p> <p>You can find out more information about either one by <a href="" target="_blank">going here</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> battlefield 4 bf4 game time games origin Software News Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:08:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 28316 at Microsoft May Ditch the Charms Bar in Windows 9 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/charms_bar.jpg" alt="Charms Bar" title="Charms Bar" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Will you miss the Charms Bar?</h3> <p>It's only a matter of time before we see how much Microsoft learned fom Windows 8/8.1 and the feedback it received from users. Windows 9, otherwise known as Threshold, will usher in a new era of Windows, and early indications point to a different design philosophy than the one that drew criticism in the current version of Windows. For example, one of the rumors floating around is that <strong>Windows 9 will get rid of the Charms Bar</strong>.</p> <p>According to <em></em>, Windows 9 will be very different from Windows 8/8.1 with the desktop taking center stage once again. Part of that entails getting rid of the Charms Bar, at least for the desktop version -- there's a chance Microsoft will retain the Charms Bar for tablets.</p> <p>"We can confirm that Microsoft have been toying with multiple different ways they could implement a new charms menu which is fluent and makes sense for mouse users. One method that we heard about that stands out is having a button up near the window controls that once pressed, would reveal the Search, Share, Devices and Settings charms from the top of the window (there's no need for a Start Button for desktop users in the charms)," <a href="" target="_blank"><em></em> says</a>.</p> <p>Microsoft may also remove Charms altogether, though it gets a little complicated since a bunch of Modern UI apps depend on it for certain features and functions.</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 threshold windows 9 News Thu, 07 Aug 2014 18:00:10 +0000 Paul Lilly 28310 at