Software en Will Windows 10 Spur PC Replacement Demand? <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_pcs.jpg" alt="Windows 10 PCs" title="Windows 10 PCs" width="228" height="178" style="float: right;" />PC vendors are not sure what to expect from Windows 10</h3> <p>Trying to predict the PC market is like to trying to forecast the weather a month in advance -- it's a crapshoot, basically. So, we're taking it with several grains of salt that <strong>PC vendors are reportedly doubtful that the Windows 10 launch next year will stimulate demand for replacement systems</strong>. One reason they feel that way is because of the lingering rumor that Microsoft may make Windows 10 a free update.</p> <p>We haven't heard much on that front lately, but with Microsoft making such a big deal about the changes in Windows 10 and even skipping a number due to the massive overhaul, we'd be mildy surprised (not downright shocked) if Redmond doled it out as a free update to Windows 8.1.</p> <p>Players within the Taiwan-based supply chain point out to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes</em></a> that brand vendors usually launch new notebook models to pair with a new OS release, though they don't know if that will be the case if Microsoft does indeed make Windows 10 a free update.</p> <p>Market research firm Gartner is a bit more optimistic, or at least it was earlier in the year. Back in July, Gartner predicted that PC shipments could reach 317 million units in 2015, up from 308 million units expected to ship this year. The reason? A "revival" of the PC market due to business PC upgrades, especially as more companies replace their XP systems.</p> <p>What effect do you think Windows 10 will have on PC sales? Sound off in the comments section below!</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> Hardware microsoft operating system OS pc Software windows 10 News Wed, 24 Dec 2014 15:59:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 29147 at Heads Up: Nvidia GeForce 347.09 WHQL Driver is Available to Download <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_geforce_gtx_980_closeup.jpg" alt="GeForce GTX 980 Closeup" title="GeForce GTX 980 Closeup" width="228" height="184" style="float: right;" />GeForce GTX 980M SLI and GTX 970M SLI notebook users steer clear of this one</h3> <p><strong>Nvidia today made available its latest GeForce Game Ready driver, release 347.09 WHQL</strong>, which the company claims will give users the best possible gaming experience for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Elite: Dangerous. Otherwise, there's not a ton to cover in the new driver update -- it includes the usual round of 3D Vision Profile updates, along with the addition of 3D Compatibility Mode for select titles. There's also a warning.</p> <p>"GeForce GTX 980M SLI and GTX 970M SLI notebooks are not supported with this driver. With SLI enabled on these notebooks, a black screen will occur upon uninstalling this driver. To workaround this issue, disable SLI before uninstalling the driver," Nvidia states in its <a href="" target="_blank">release notes (PDF)</a>.</p> <p>Our advice for GTX 980M SLI and GTX 970M SLI is to stay away from the driver update unless you have a really compelling reason to install it, and give Nvidia time to work out the issue.</p> <p>As for 3D Compatibility Mode support, Nvidia gave "Excellent" ratings to Alien: Isolation, Elite: Dangerous, Escape Dead Island, and Far Cry 4, while tagging Middle-Earth - Shadow of Mordor with a "Good" rating.</p> <p>You can download the <a href="" target="_blank">new driver 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> driver geforce 347.09 nvidia Software whql News Tue, 23 Dec 2014 18:57:10 +0000 Paul Lilly 29145 at System-wide “Ok Google” Voice Search Comes to Chromebooks <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="New Ok Google Voice Search " title="New Ok Google Voice Search " width="228" height="191" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Available in the Dev channel</h3> <p>Google’s <strong>hotword-activated voice search</strong> has been available on Chrome OS for a while now, but in its current form the feature is somewhat limited on Chromebooks. As of now, you can only search in this way from the App Launcher or when you open a new tab. Well, that is unless you like to live on the bleeding edge of technology and have switched your Chromebook to the Dev channel.</p> <p>The latest Chrome OS Dev channel update contains a new “Ok Google” search experience, Google’s <a href=";oid=100132233764003563318" target="_blank">François Beaufort announced on Google+ Friday</a>. As long as you are running the Dev channel version of Chrome OS and have enabled the chrome://flags/#enable-hotword-hardware flag, you can now search using the “Ok Google” hotword from any screen. (Note: The device must be on and unlocked.)</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> chrome os chromebooks dev channel ok google Software voice search News Mon, 22 Dec 2014 01:26:29 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29127 at Steam Holiday Sale Kicks Off, Runs Until January 2, 2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/steam_sale_0.jpg" alt="Steam Holiday Sale" title="Steam Holiday Sale" width="228" height="191" style="float: right;" />More discounts than you can shake a Paypal card at</h3> <p>By my conservative calculations, I'll be approximately 419 years old by the time I play through and finish every untouched game sitting in my Steam library. Maybe you're in the same boat, and <strong>perhaps like me, you'll head over to Steam today anyway to take advantage of yet more discounts as part of 2014 Steam Holiday Sale</strong> that runs from now until January 2, 2015 (10 AM PST).</p> <p>Steam sales seem to come and go all the time, though the annual Holiday Sale is typically the biggest one of them all, at least in terms of the number of discounted games. Here's a sampling of what's out there:</p> <ul> <li>Dark Souls II - $14.79 (63 percent off)</li> <li>Metal Gear Solid V - Ground Zeroes - $13.39 (33 percent off)</li> <li>Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - $29.99 (40 percent off)</li> <li>Total War: ROME II - Emperor Edition - $14.98 (75 percent off)</li> <li>Sniper Elite 3 - $24.99 (50 percent off)</li> <li>Euro Truck Simulator 2 - $3.74 (85 percent off)</li> <li>State of Decay - $4.99 (75 percent off)</li> <li>Space Engineers - $9.99 (50 percent off)</li> <li>Rocksmith 2014 - $20.39 (75 percent off)</li> </ul> <p>For those who care, you can earn exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards during the promotion -- collect all 10 to earn the Holiday Sale 2014 Badge, backgrounds, and emoticons.</p> <p>More than 100 games and apps will get marked down from now until January 2, with rotating sales every 24 hours. Not that it matters what I write in this spot, because you're probably already on Steam stocking up on more games. For the few who haven't made your way over yet, I can only assume you're waiting for a link -- <a href="" target="_blank">here you go</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> games holiday sale Software Steam Valve News Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:26:06 +0000 Paul Lilly 29117 at Microsoft Flips Kill Switch on EU Browser Ballot <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_sign_7.jpg" alt="Microsoft Sign" title="Microsoft Sign" width="228" height="138" style="float: right;" />Has it been five years already?</h3> <p>Technology news can make you feel old. To wit, it may not seem like <strong>five years has passed since Microsoft agreed to a five-year deal in which Windows users in Europe would be offered a choice of browser upon first boot</strong>, but that commitment is not behind the Redmond outfit. Having lived up to its end of the deal, Microsoft has yanked the so-called browser ballot, which may not have done much anyway.</p> <p>The browser ballot came about following an investigation by the EU's Competition Commission into Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows. Microsoft agreed to show users in Europe a browser screen with download links to other browsers for a period of five years, though the company still faced a fine -- a technical oversight in Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 inadvertently removed the ballot screen in 2013, resulting in a $732 million penalty for Microsoft.</p> <p>While it's been costly for Microsoft, there's not much evidence that the ballot screen did much good for other browsers. As pointed out by <a href="" target="_blank"><em>ComputerWorld</em></a>, Opera lost 27 percent of its global usage share between December 2009 and November 2014, based on stats by StatCounter. Firefox fell even harder, dropping 42 percent of its share. There's a bit of irony there, as Opera Software and Mozilla were most critical of what they perceived as Microsoft's unfair advantage in the browser wars.</p> <p>What does the EU think? In an email to <em>ComputerWorld</em>, the EU called the browser ballot a "successful remedy," noting that it saw 795 million views resulting in 165 million browser installs.</p> <p>Image Source: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Robert Scoble)</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> browser ballot eu european commission european union microsoft Software Windows News Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:55:05 +0000 Paul Lilly 29116 at Nvidia Releases GeForce 347.09 Beta Driver <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_1.jpg" alt="Nvidia" title="Nvidia" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />For best performance in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes</h3> <p>Standard warning always applies to pre-release software and drivers -- if you'e running a mission critical rig or otherwise need to minimize the risk of buggy behavior, then stay away. Savvy? For everyone else, especially those who want to live on the cutting edge, be advised that <strong>Nvidia just made its GeForce Game Ready driver, release 347.09, available to download in beta form</strong>.</p> <p>According to Nvidia, 347.09 offers the best possible gaming experience for Metal Gear Solid: V Ground Zeroes and Elite: Dangerous. Otherwise, it's a pretty straightforward driver update with new and updated application and 3D Vision profiles, and updates to 3D compatibility mode in certain games.</p> <p>Specifically, Nvidia added an application profile for Project CARS, along with the following 3D Vision Profile updates:</p> <ul> <li>Alien: Isolation - Not recommended</li> <li>Elite: Dangerous - Not recommended</li> <li>Escape Dead Island - rated as Fair</li> <li>Far Cry 4 - Not recommended</li> <li>Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes - Not recommended</li> <li>Middle-EArth - Shadow of Mordor - Not recommended</li> <li>Reisdent Evil Revelations 2 - Disabled</li> <li>The Vanishing of Ethan Carter - rated as Fair</li> </ul> <p>You can download the <a href="" target="_blank">driver here</a> and check out the <a href="" target="_blank">release notes here (PDF)</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> Drivers elite: dangerous geforce 347.09 beta metal gear solid v: ground zeroes nvidia Software News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:54:37 +0000 Paul Lilly 29108 at Microsoft Issues Hotfix for Windows 10 Update Issue, 12 Percent of Users Rejoice <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_fix.jpg" alt="Windows Fix" title="Windows Fix" width="228" height="208" style="float: right;" />All is good again</h3> <p>Around one out of 10 Windows 10 users ran into trouble when trying to install a update intended to fix a problem that was causing Explorer.exe to frequently crash following an upgrade to Windows 10 Build 9879. The problem was further exacerbated by the fact that Microsoft said it didn't have a new build planned until early 2015. If you're one of the people who ran into trouble, here's a heads up that <strong>Microsoft has released a hotfix</strong> to address the issue.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to Microsoft</a>, the problem affected about 12 percent of PCs when installing the update. In those instances, the update would fail to install, and after doing some digging, Microsoft determined there were two underlying bugs that needed squashed.</p> <p>The first is that in Build 9879, Microsoft introduced some new System Compression code that systems with SSDs can take advantage of to reduce disk usage by the OS. However, the logic for low-space detection would get inverted in some instances, and Windows compresses automatically as a background operation.</p> <p>A second bug appeared on PCs that had system compression enabled. It would muck with how the file system tracks deletes, causing the installer to think the temp files failed to extract correctly.</p> <p>There was a workaround for the problem, though now the easiest solution is to apply the new hotfix that's now available through Windows Update, according to Microsoft's <a href="" target="_blank">Gabriel Aul</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> hotfix microsoft operating system OS patch Security Software windows 10 News Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:27:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 29098 at Xbox App Pops Up in Leaked Windows 10 Build <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/xbox_logo.jpg" alt="Xbox Logo" title="Xbox Logo" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />Yes console games, we can all get along</h3> <p>There are several interesting things taking place in the <a href="">leaked Windows 10 build</a>, the one that Microsoft is apparently <a href="">super calm</a> about making the rounds. One that we wanted to touch a bit more on is a <strong>new Xbox app</strong>. This is something that Microsoft is still working on, as the app clearly states when it's fired up, but the Redmond outfit is so excited about it that it wanted to give early users a sneak peek.</p> <p>The folks over at <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Verge</em></a> have been playing around with Xbox app. They say it appears to act as a gateway into the entire Xbox ecosystem -- you'll have access to achievements, your friends list, activity feeds, and the Store. And since it's an extremely early version, there's speculation that the final release might include SmartGlass integration as well.</p> <p>As our sister site <a href="" target="_blank"><em>PC Gamer</em> points out</a>, there's a chance this could be what Microsoft's Phil Spencer was referring to a week ago when he said it was "time for us to talk about gaming on Windows." We're crossing our fingers that Spencer was hinting at something more than an Xbox app -- as cool as that is, accessing our Xbox achievements on our Windows rigs isn't exactly game changing.</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> app Gaming microsoft operating system OS Software Windows windows 10 xbox News Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:30:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 29095 at Skype Will Begin Translating Your Speech Today <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/skype_translator.jpg" alt="Skype Translator" title="Skype Translator" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />¿Cómo estás?</h3> <p>Voice over IP communication is entering a new era, one that will hopefully help break down language barriers. Or so that's the plan. <strong>Using innovations from Microsoft Research, the first phase of the Skype Translator preview program is kicking off today with two spoken languages</strong> -- Spanish and English. It will also feature over 40 instant messaging languages for Skype customers who have signed up via the Skype Translator sign-up page and are using Windows 8.1.</p> <p>It also works on preview copies of Windows 10. What it does is translate voice input from someone speaking English or Spanish into text or voice. The technology relies on <a href="" target="_blank">machine learning</a>, so the more it gets used, the better it will be at translating audio and text.</p> <p>"This is just the beginning of a journey that will transform the way we communicate with people around the world. Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible and deliver the best Skype Translator experience on each individual platform for our more than 300 million connected users," Skype stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>Translations occur in "near real-time," Microsoft says. In addition, there's an on-screen transcript of your call. Given the many nuances of various languages and the pace at which communication changes, this is a pretty remarkable feat that Microsoft's attempting to pull off. There's ton of upside as well, from the business world to use in classrooms.</p> <p>If you want to test it out yourself -- and Microsoft hopes you do, as it's looking for feedback at this early stage -- you can register for the program by <a href="" target="_blank">going here</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></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 Skype Software Translation VOIP News Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:57:41 +0000 Paul Lilly 29092 at Microsoft Turns New Leaf, Isn't Bothered By Windows 10 Leaks <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_1.jpg" alt="Windows 10" title="Windows 10" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />It's all good in Redmond's hood</h3> <p>Excuse us as we do a double take, the only normal reaction to <strong>Microsoft being totally chill with a new build of Windows 10 being leaked to the public</strong> before its intended release. We're referring to Build 9901, which contains a whole bunch of consumer-specific features and improvements, not all of them working. It <a href="" target="_blank">leaked to the web over the weekend</a>, and Microsoft's response is refreshingly relaxed.</p> <p>"@GabeAul Im really enjoying your MS/'s attitude regarding preview/leaked builds. It's refreshing," Twitter user Brian Haslip <a href="" target="_blank">posted</a> to the microblogging site.</p> <p>In response, the longtime Microsoft veteran <a href="" target="_blank">tweeted back</a>, "How could we be upset about lots of people wanting to try our new stuff? We'd prefer you stick to official builds though," followed by a smiling emoticon.</p> <p>That's a different type of response than we're used to hearing from Microsoft. Consider that in the past, Microsoft would warn users that pre-release versions of Windows 7 could contain malware, an honest statement but also one that was intended to scare users away from playing with leaked builds.</p> <p>This time around, Microsoft seems fine with the curiosity, perhaps because it needs Windows 10 to be a smashing success. The only thing Aul warns is that "If you install 9901, the next build will notcome to you automatically. You'll have to install it via ISO."</p> <p>Duly noted.</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> Gabriel Aul microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:19:20 +0000 Paul Lilly 29091 at Dropbox Releases MS Office Collaboration Tool; Available Through Early Access Program <!--paging_filter--><p><strong><strong><img src="" alt="Dropbox Badge" title="Dropbox Badge" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" /></strong>Supports Excel, PowerPoint and Word desktop apps</strong></p> <p>Dropbox recently announced the launch of a new collaboration tool for Microsoft Office desktop apps. Now available through the Dropbox for Business early access program, the “Dropbox badge” Office plugin is the <strong>first tool to be rolled out by the company as part of the “<a href="" target="_blank">Project Harmony</a>” initiative</strong> that it announced back in April.</p> <p>First things first: Make sure you are part of the early access program. If you are not, ask your team’s Dropbox for Business admin to sign up for the early access program. Now, as long as you have the Dropbox desktop app installed on your Windows or Mac machine and are connected to the internet, you should be able to see the Dropbox badge, which <a href="" target="_blank">will let you view other collaborators</a>, update to the latest version with a single click, and generate a link for sharing the file with others.</p> <p>“Now collaborating on your files doesn’t have to mean endless emails back and forth, worrying about who else is editing your file while you’re working on it, or uploading the doc into a different format just so you can work with others,” the company said in a post on the <a href="" target="_blank">Dropbox for Business blog</a> Thursday. “With the Dropbox badge, you can see important information right from within the image-rich PowerPoint files or function-filled Excel spreadsheets you already work in, so you can rest assured your team always works in sync.”</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="320" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> cloud storage collaboration dropbox dropbox badge dropbox for business early access program office project horizon Software News Mon, 15 Dec 2014 07:01:23 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29087 at Leaked Windows 10 Build (9901) Packs Slew of UI Changes <!--paging_filter--><h3>A precursor to the Windows 10 Consumer Preview</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft plans to shed light on the consumer side of Windows 10 at a special event on January 21, 2015</strong>. If the release of the consumer preview can’t come soon enough for you, there is now a new leaked preview build that you can turn to for some valuable clues as to the kind of consumer experience that the Redmond-based company has in mind with the upcoming operating system.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Build 9901</a>, which began circulating the web earlier today, is the <a href="" target="_blank">third Windows 10 test build to have leaked onto the internet this month</a>. Even though it is technically a “technical preview”, it is notable because it <a href="" target="_blank">contains a number of new consumer-specific features and improvements (video)</a>, not all of which appear to be functional.</p> <h3><img src="" alt="Windows 10 Build 9901" title="Windows 10 Build 9901" width="620" height="407" /></h3> <p>Just to the right of the Start Button on the taskbar, there is a search bar that can be used to summon Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana. App settings can now be accessed from within the Modern apps themselves instead of the Charms bar, which no longer includes a settings option. Further, Modern apps also include an improved task bar with new-look minimize, maximize, menu (“hamburger” instead of window) and close buttons.</p> <p>This build also includes a bunch of new apps. Chief among them are a new Xbox app and overhauled Windows Store (beta) app that includes music, video, games and apps all in one place.</p> <p><em>Image Credit: Collection Book <br /></em></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> consumer preview cortana microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 windows 10 technical preview build 9901 xbox News Mon, 15 Dec 2014 00:31:10 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29085 at Microsoft Yanks Two Patch Tuesday Updates After Problems Arise <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_bug.jpg" alt="Windows Bug" title="Windows Bug" width="228" height="225" style="float: right;" />Buggy updates caused problems with some Windows rigs</h3> <p>It's been a bit of a rough month for Microsoft and various Windows users, at least in terms of software updates. It started with Microsoft telling Windows 10 Preview users to <a href="">uninstall Office</a> prior to applying Patch Tuesday updates or else the installer would fail. However, it's not only uses of pre-release software who ran into trouble. <strong>Microsoft has gone and pulled two security patches because they were causing problems for some users</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>InfoSecurity</em></a>, the first incident involves KB 3004394, a patch that prevented some Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 machines from being able to install future updates. Those affected are advised to install an update title KB 3024777, which will remove the original patch from their systems.</p> <p>The second issue involves Exchange Server 2010 SP3 Update Rollup 8. A day after it was released, Microsoft had to pull it offline while it works on putting out a new version.</p> <p>"The issue impacts the ability of Outlook to connect to Exchange, thus we are taking the action to recall the RU8 to resolve this problem," Microsoft said. "We will deliver a revised RU8 package as soon as the issue can be isolated, corrected, and validated."</p> <p>Microsoft bundles security fixes and bug patches into a monthly roll out on the second Tuesday of every month known as Patch Tuesday. Typically they fix a bunch of issues, but every so often, they cause trouble themselves, as is the case here.</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 Patch Tuesday Software windows 7 News Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:24:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 29084 at Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Free to Play This Weekend on Steam <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/codaw_0.jpg" alt="Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" title="Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" width="228" height="138" style="float: right;" />Steam gives gamers a taste of CoD:AW and knocks 25 percent off the price</h3> <p>It seems Steam is always cooking up a sale, and come next week, rumor has it the Winter Sale will kick off. In the meantime, you can still find discounts all over the place, though if you'd rather not spend any money at all, be advised that <strong>Steam is making Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer free to play</strong> for the next couple of days as part of its weekend deal. If you end up getting hooked, you can purchase the title for 25 percent off ($44.99, or $79.99 for the Digital Pro Edition).</p> <p>Free multiplayer ends on Sunday, December 14 at 1PM Pacific (4PM Eastern), while the <a href="" target="_blank">25 percent discount</a> will disappear on Monday, December 15 at 10AM Pacific (1PM Eastern), <a href="" target="_blank">Valve announced</a>.</p> <p>Not a bad deal all around, and a good warmup to the Winter Sale that will presumably kick off on December 18th. As our sister site <a href="" target="_blank"><em>PC Gamer</em> points out</a>, this isn't confirmed -- it's based on a <a href="" target="_blank">supposed email</a> from PayPal Japan to a <em>Reddi</em>t user. However, Steam's Winter Sale started on the Thursday before Christmas last year, which was the 19th. This year, that day falls on the 18th.</p> <p>You may not care after what's been a busy holiday shopping season up to this point -- there have been lots of sales, including game discounts through GOG and Steam. Of course, the Winter Sale is typically bigger with more games being added to the mix compared to previous sales. The hard part is finding time to play them all.</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> call of duty: advanced warfare cod games Software Steam Valve News Fri, 12 Dec 2014 17:57:08 +0000 Paul Lilly 29083 at Microsoft Tells Windows 10 Users to Uninstall Office Prior to Applying Patch Tuesday Updates <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Windows 10" title="Windows 10" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />The pitfalls of pre-release software</h3> <p>Microsoft's Gabriel Aul of the Windows Preview team tweeted out some inconvenient news to Windows 10 users who have Office installed.<strong> In order to install the crop of updates for this month's Patch Tuesday, Windows 10 users will have to first uninstall Office</strong>, or the installer will fail. Once all the security patches are applied, users are free to then reinstall Office on their Windows 10 rigs.</p> <p>Alternately, Microsoft could have worked on a fix, though "rather than rolling a new fix (losing several days in the process) we're going to publish as-is," Aul said on Twitter. You can view the series of tweets at <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Inquirer</em></a>.</p> <p>Times like this underscore one of the drawbacks to working with pre-release software. Windows 10 is in Preview form, meaning it's not yet finished and still needs polishing. That's not to say something like this couldn't also occur with finished software, it's just more likely when working with an early build that isn't yet ready for prime time.</p> <p>December's Patch Tuesday contains seven updates with fixes for two dozen vulnerabilities, four of which are rated Critical and three others rated Important.</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 office operating system OS Patch Tuesday Software windows 10 News Wed, 10 Dec 2014 19:11:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 29070 at