Software en Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Discusses Company's Future in Open Email to Employees <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/satya_nadella_1.jpg" alt="Satya Nadella" title="Satya Nadella" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Email provides a glimpse into Microsoft's future</h3> <p>In some ways, you could argue that Microsoft's spinning in circles chasing its tail. So are a lot of companies during this transitional period into mobile, which is one that seemed to catch a number of tech firms off guard. Recognizing that Microsoft could benefit from some new blood, former CEO Steve Ballmer voluntarily stepped down and eventually handed the reins to Satya Nadella. So, what does the future hold? <strong>Nadella issued an open email to employees calling for a return to Microsoft's core</strong>.</p> <p>"More recently, we have described ourselves as a 'devices and services' company. While the devices and services description was helpful in starting our transformation, we now need to hone in on our unique strategy," Nadella said. "At our core, Microsoft is a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more."</p> <p>Nadella goes on to explain that productivity goes far beyond just documents, spreadsheets, and slides. He wants to "shift the meaning of productivity" by building brand new tools, ones that will be more predictive, personal, and helpful. Nadella also wants to ensure harmony between its cloud OS infrastructure and device OS and first-party hardware.</p> <p>In the past, there's been some doubt as to whether Microsoft will continue to promote its Xbox platform. Rest assured, "Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox," Nadella stated.</p> <p>You can read the entire email <a href="" target="_blank">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> microsoft productivity satya nadella Software News Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:31:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 28142 at Double Fine Confirms Grim Fandango Remake is Headed to PC <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/grim_fandango.jpg" alt="Grim Fandango" title="Grim Fandango" width="228" height="157" style="float: right;" />Classic rises from the dead</h3> <p>A virtual high-five is in order for Double Fine Productions, which confirmed via Twitter and on its website that <strong>Manuel "Manny" Calavera and the rest of the gang from Grim Fandango will appear on the PC in remastered form</strong>. The remade classic will also launch to Mac and Linux, along with console exclusives PlayStation 4 and Vita. It was announced back in June that Grim Fandango would launch to Sony's game console and handheld, but until now, it was only rumored that PC platforms would also be in the mix.</p> <p>"And that’s not all, folks! All versions will be launching simultaneously, so everyone can play on day one and not have to worry about those spoilers you’ve been successfully avoiding for the past fifteen years. (Pro-tip: stay off Twitter.)," Double Fine <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> on its website.</p> <p>According to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Joystiq</em></a>, Grim Fandango's resurgence came about when Tim Schafer, the game's original product leader and founder of Double Fine Productions, found out that Adam Boyes, PlayStation VP of Publisher Relations, was poking around his old intellectual property. Schafer made a phone call to Boyes, and it was from that conversation that the idea of bringing back Grim Fandango was born.</p> <p>Grim Fandango is set in the Land of the Dead where souls of the deceased head to the Ninth Underworld. The better a person lived, the more enjoyable his or her soul's travel will be, culminating in Number Nine, a train that takes just four minutes to reach the gate of the Ninth Underworld. You play the part of Manny, a travel agent at the Department of Death.</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> Double Fine games graphic adventure grim fandango Software News Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:02:09 +0000 Paul Lilly 28141 at PC Gamer's Giving Away One Million 'Really Big Sky' Steam Keys <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/pc_gamer_logo.jpg" alt="PC Gamer Logo" title="PC Gamer Logo" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />The latest free game as part of a five week, five million Steam key giveaway</h3> <p>Hey, we're all sitting on a mountain of unplayed Steam games purchased through various sales, yet we can't help but add to our libraries when the deals are too good to pass up. That usually means a significant discount as part of some super summer holiday sale bonanza, but even better is what our sister sister <em>PC Gamer</em> is doing.<strong> In collaboration with Bundle Stars, <em>PC Gamer</em> is giving away five million Steam keys through a five week period</strong>. We're now in week 3, which means there are a million Steam keys for Really Big Sky up for grabs.</p> <p>Last week <em>PC Gamer</em> gave away a <a href="" target="_blank">million keys for Dino D-Day</a>, and prior to that, the five week promotion <a href="" target="_blank">kicked off with SpaceChem</a>. Now it's Really Big Sky, "a super fast, twin analogue shooter for the modern age" that's yours for the taking, at no cost!</p> <p>You'll face off against of waves of enemies, bosses, giant laser planets, blackholes, wormholes and a lot more though a dozen different game modes. And if you have an Xbox 360 controller, plug it and get blasting.</p> <p>Interested? Head over to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>PC Gamer</em> for details</a> on how to claim your key!</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> bundle stars games PC Gamer really big sky Software Steam News Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:23:11 +0000 Paul Lilly 28136 at Don't Fret Over Microsoft Ending Mainstream Support for Windows 7 in January 2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/Windows_7_Boxes.png" alt="Windows 7" title="Windows 7" width="228" height="188" style="float: right;" />Microsoft updates end of support deadlines for various software</h3> <p>Now that we're well into July, Microsoft felt it was a good time to update its list of products reaching end of support in the next 6 months. One entry that's gaining a lot of media attention is Windows 7. According to the list, <strong>Mainstream Support for several versions of Windows 7 will end on January 13, 2015</strong>, though that doesn't mean you need to rush out and grab a copy of Windows 8. Here's why.</p> <p>After "Mainstream Support" comes another cycle known as "Extended Support," which <a href="" target="_blank">lasts 5 years</a> (January 14, 2020) and includes "security updates at no cost, and paid hotfix support." In other words, as the January 13, 2015 deadline comes and goes, it will be of little consequence to most home users.</p> <p>As for hotfixes, you'll receive those as well, as long as they're security related. It's only the non-security hotfixes that require an extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending. It's something for IT admins and businesses to consider, but again, nothing of relevance to home users.</p> <p>You can check out Microsoft's <a href="" target="_blank">Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ</a> for more on the differences between Mainstream Support and Extended Support.</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 support windows 7 News Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:41:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 28134 at Report: Pre-Release Testing of Office for Android Tablets to Commence Soon <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Office for Android Tablets" title="Office for Android Tablets" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Microsoft is on the lookout for private beta testers</h3> <p>The lack of tablet-optimized apps has for long been a major source of frustration among Android tablet owners. What’s worse, even Android’s emergence as the overwhelming leader in the tablet market has done little to alleviate this shortcoming, with even some big-name developers refusing to offer tablet-optimized versions of their apps for the platform. Well, Microsoft is willing to help.</p> <p>The Redmond-based software company, which earlier this year released a dedicated version of its highly lucrative Office productivity suite for the Apple iPad, is <strong>currently busy building a dedicated version of Office for Android tablets</strong>. According to <a href="" target="_blank">The Verge</a>, the company is now on the lookout for private beta testers to put Office for Android tablets through its paces. Interested companies and individuals can apprise Microsoft of their interest in joining the program through the company’s <a href="" target="_blank">SharePoint site.</a></p> <p>If recent reports are to be believed, Office for Android tablets could end up releasing ahead of a similar touch-friendly version for Windows, which is expected to release sometime during early 2014.</p> <p><em>Image Credit: oketekno</em></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> Android Tablet apps microsoft office for android productivity suite Software News Mon, 07 Jul 2014 05:56:03 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28120 at Lindsay Lohan Smacks Take-Two with Lawsuit Over Character in Grand Theft Auto V <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lindsay_lohan.jpg" alt="Lindsay Lohan" title="Lindsay Lohan" width="228" height="215" style="float: right;" />Lohan takes exception to a character in GTA V that bears her likeness</h3> <p>At only age 28 years old, Lindsay Lohan has gone from that adorable child actress who starred in Disney's remake of The Parent Trap to an adult who's been in trouble with the law on more than one occasion. She's had her share of legal issues, but this time she's the one suing -- <strong>Lohan is taking Take-Two Interactive and subsidiary Rockstar Games to court for allegedly using her likeness for an in-game character in Grand Theft Auto V</strong>.</p> <p>According to the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Associated Press</em></a>, Lohan's lawsuit contends that the character named Lacey Jonas is a dead ringer for the actress who had roles in Herbie: Fully Loaded and Freaky Friday, to name just two of her past films. The suit claims it copied just about everything -- her image, voice, and even her style from her clothes line.</p> <p>The game also features the hotel Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, a place where Lohan lived during the summer in 2012 and was ultimately banned from for allegedly running up an unpaid bill of $46,000.</p> <p>GTA V launched in September of last year and generated over $800 million in sales on the first day. It will ship to the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 this fall.</p> <p>Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons</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 Grand Theft Auto V gta v lawsuit lindsay lohan rockstar games Software take-two interactive News Thu, 03 Jul 2014 16:01:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 28115 at Microsoft Testing Automatic Update to Fix Windows 8.1 Upgrade Woes <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_start_4.jpg" alt="Windows 8.1 Start" title="Windows 8.1 Start" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Let's everyone cross our fingers</h3> <p>Microsoft first offered up its free update to Windows 8.1 (from Windows 8) for the general public back in October of last year, though there are still many users who have been unable to make the leap. If you're one of the unlucky ones pulling your hair out wondering why you can't get the update to install, hang tight, a fix might finally be forthcoming. At long last, <strong>Microsoft has released an automatic update that's supposed to solve the Windows 8.1 upgrade issue</strong>.</p> <p>Hopefully this works better than the original implementation. For whatever reason, Microsoft made the Windows 8.1 upgrade available through the Windows Store. Not everyone was able to install it, however, and this fix Microsoft is rolling out is considered a pilot program.</p> <p>"This (Windows RT) pilot program is an example of ways we're experimenting to help ensure more of our customers benefit from a continuously improving Windows experience," a Microsoft spokesperson said, <a href="" target="_blank">according to Paul Thurrott</a>. "Similar to how the Windows 8.1 Update [1] process works today, the pilot program will automatically update consumer Windows 8 and Windows RT machines for free to Windows 8.1 Update and Windows RT 8.1 Update in select markets."</p> <p>The update is intended to fix whatever issue is preventing PCs from upgrading to Windows 8.1. If you'd rather not wait for it to be rolled out to your system automatically, you can manually <a href="" target="_blank">grab the download</a> and try your luck, at least for the Windows RT version (we're not aware of a manual download link for the x86 version yet). Please note that you must first install <a href="" target="_blank">update 2871389</a> regardless of whether you're running Windows 8.0 or Windows RT 8.0.</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 8 windows 8.1 windows rt News Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:33:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 28107 at PC Gamer's Handing Out a MILLION Dino D-Day Steam Keys! <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/pc_gamer_logo.jpg" alt="PC Gamer Logo" title="PC Gamer Logo" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>You may beat the game, but not the price!</h3> <p>If we had a dollar for every Steam key <em>PC Game</em>r has given or plans to give away this summer, we'd be freaking millionaires <a href="" target="_blank">living it up</a> like Lloyd Christmast and Harry Dunne. More precisely, we'd have five million dollars. That's because <em>PC Gamer</em> has teamed up with <a href="" target="_blank">Bundle Stars</a> to give away <a href="" target="_blank">five million Steam keys in five weeks</a>. Our sister sister kicked off the promotion last week by announcing the availability of <a href="" target="_blank">one million StemChem keys</a>. Now that we're in week number two, <strong><em>PC Gamer</em> announced that it's handing out a million Steam keys for Dino D-Day</strong>.</p> <p>Dino D-Day is a multiplayer team-based shooter set in World War 2. Adolf Hitler and those darn Nazis discovered a way to resurrect dinosaurs, and of course they're being used for nefarious purposes. You can play as a T-Rex and blast your enemies with a jaw-mounted machine gun, to name just one of several dinorsaur scenarios.</p> <p>Even though the game is three years old, it received a pretty big update last week that introduced some much improved graphics throughout the title. There are lots of weapons, dinosaur classes, and human classes to waste an afternoon (or weekend) with, and you won't find a better price on the planet!</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Hit the link</a> and claim your copy!</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> bundle stars dino d-day games PC Gamer Software Steam News Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:04:18 +0000 Paul Lilly 28106 at Microsoft Hopes Windows 9 Will Win Over Desktop Users <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_9_1.jpg" alt="Windows 9" title="Windows 9" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" />Are you ready for a new OS?</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft is reportedly aiming to win back its core desktop audience with the release of Windows Threshold</strong> next year. These are the same users clinging to Windows XP and Windows 7, or perhaps even made the jump to Linux in order to avoid Windows 8/8.1. Microsoft has a chance to atone for the usability mistakes it made in Windows 8/8.1 with Windows 9, and you can expect a whole bunch of new features aimed at desktop users.</p> <p>So says Mary Jo Foley over at <a href="" target="_blank"><em>ZDNet</em></a>. Based on the sources Foley has been speaking with, Windows 9 will look and work different based on the hardware it's installed on. If you install the OS on a desktop or laptop machine, it will focus on the Windows Desktop experience. And if you run a two-in-one hybrid device, Windows 9 will support switching between the Start screen and Windows mode.</p> <p>The desktop SKU of Windows 9 will reportedly include a customizable mini Start menu. You'll also have the ability to run Windows Store apps in windows on the desktop, and you may even be able to turn off the Metro-esque Start screen completely.</p> <p>Windows 9 is still months down the road -- think spring of 2015. In the meantime, Microsoft will reportedly deliver a second and final update for Windows 8.1.</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 Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:16:59 +0000 Paul Lilly 28101 at Google Puts Quickoffice Apps Out to Pasture <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/quickoffice_0.jpg" alt="Quickoffice" title="Quickoffice" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />Getting rid of redundancies</h3> <p>If you're a fan of Google's Quickoffice apps, download them now while you still can. <strong>Google's planning to pull its Quickoffice apps from Google Play and iTunes</strong> over the course of the next few weeks, as the company feels they're no longer needed after recently overhauling its Docs, Sheets, and Slides, which are now available as standalone apps rather than being lumped together.</p> <p>"With the integration of Quickoffice into the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, the Quickoffice app will be unpublished from Google Play and the App Store in the coming weeks," Google announced in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>. "Existing users with the app can continue to use it, but no features will be added and new users will not be able to install the app."</p> <p>Google acquired Quickoffice two short years ago. Android and iOS users could use Quickoffice to view, edit, and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files from their mobile devices, and it even came preloaded on several devices that shipped with Android 4.4 KitKat.</p> <p>However, Quickoffice quickly became expendable when Google separated its Docs, Sheets, and Slides into separate apps and attached them to Google Drive. Using Google Drive, users can access each one from their mobile device.</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 Google mobile productivity quickoffice Software News Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:02:42 +0000 Paul Lilly 28094 at Windows 8.1 Sleep Study: A Tool for Analyzing Standby Mode Battery Usage Patterns <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Windows 8.1 Sleep Study" title="Windows 8.1 Sleep Study" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>See what’s draining your Windows 8.1 PC’s battery in 'InstantGo' standby mode</h3> <p>Windows 8.1 devices, as long as they’ve the right hardware, can be put into a network-connected standby state called <a href="">InstantGo (known as Connected Standby in Windows 8 and Windows RT)</a>, allowing for apps and tiles to retain Internet connectivity and remain updated even when the system is in standby mode. It’s undoubtedly a great feature, but it’s easy to see how a few battery-hogging apps and system activities could combine to ruin its usefulness. Enter <strong>Windows 8.1 Sleep Study, a diagnostic tool for analyzing battery usage during InstanGo sessions.</strong></p> <p>A few days back, Microsoft detailed this feature in a post on the <a href="" target="_blank">Windows Experience blog</a>. Available only on Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 systems with InstantGo support — to check, enter “powercfg/a” into a CMD window and look for “Standby (Connected)” — Sleep Study can be invoked from an elevated command prompt by entering “powercfg sleepstudy.” The report itself is an HTML file that can be found inside the current directory. It includes battery drainage info of all connected standby sessions lasting more than 10 minutes over a 3-day period.</p> <p>“Sleep Study tells you how well the system slept and how much activity it experienced during that time. While in the sleep state, the system is still doing some work, albeit at a lower frequency,” the company said in a blog post Thursday. “Because the resulting battery drain is not easily perceptible (you can’t see it draining), we built the Sleep Study tool in Windows 8.1 to allow you to track what is happening. We thought of simply using traditional logging to do this, but ironically, the logging itself would drain the battery. With this in mind, we designed the Sleep Study tool to minimize its own impact on battery life, while tracking the battery draining activities.”</p> <p>“You can use Sleep Study to see which apps and devices are most active during a sleep session. Sleep Study reviews all the sleep sessions longer than 10 minutes and provides you with a report that color codes each session according to its power consumption.&nbsp; A session is defined as the period from Screen Off to Screen On. In cases when the system is plugged into AC power, the policies are less stringent than when on battery power. While the tool still tracks connected standby activity on AC power, it is more useful to identify unexpected drains on battery, or DC power.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> connected standby mode how to instantgo sleep study Software windows 8.1 windows rt 8.1 News Mon, 30 Jun 2014 05:48:52 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28087 at Adobe Photoshop Express Lands on Windows Phone <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/photoshop_express.jpg" alt="Adobe Photoshop Express" title="Adobe Photoshop Express" width="228" height="186" style="float: right;" />On the go photo editing</h3> <p>Little by little, the Windows Phone platform is being fleshed out with a bigger and wider variety of apps. For you photography fans, <strong>Adobe Photoshop Express is now available for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices</strong> as a free download. For casual edits, this means you no longer have to export your photos to your PC for Photoshop-style touchups and the like -- just use your Lumia device instead.</p> <p>The basics are there, like cropping and being able to straighten, rotate, and flip photos. There's also a red-eye removal option. Beyond that, you can use the one-touch "Auto-Fix" tool in Photoshop Express to correct for brightness, exposure, and shadows.</p> <p>Other free options include slider controls for exposure, contrast, clarity, vibrance, and more; one-touch filters (over 20 effects to choose from), and easy sharing to sites Facebook and Instagram.</p> <p>Of course, there are in-app purchases too. You can add a Looks Pack and a Noise Reduction Pack for even more options.</p> <p>You can download Photoshop Express <a href="" target="_blank">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> Adobe lumia mobile Nokia photography Photoshop Express Software windows phone News Fri, 27 Jun 2014 18:14:11 +0000 Paul Lilly 28085 at Maxthon Browser Lets You Fast Forward Through Forced Advertisements <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/maxthon_0.jpg" alt="Maxthon Browser" title="Maxthon Browser" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />New version of Maxthon focuses on video performance</h3> <p>Are you looking to try out a new browser? The latest release of <strong>Maxthon comes with a few tricks up its sleeve, including the ability to fast forward through any part of any video</strong>, even advertisements that you might be forced to watch. Maxthon makes this possible through what it calls Ad Skipper technology, which uses a combination of smart pre-fetching and a new approach to managing the browser runtime environment.</p> <p>"The growth of video streaming sites that are easily accessible on desktop and mobile is fueling the current wave of internet usage. Maxthon is focused on delivering superior features that address the changing habits of our users to ultimately enhance their online experience. Ad Skipper for Maxthon PC is our latest contribution to that effort," said Jeff Chen, founder and CEO of Maxthon.</p> <p>The new version of Maxthon is also supposed to do a better job with CPU and RAM management, especially compared to other browsers when watching video. It offers broad video codec support -- H.264, VP8, OggTheora, and WebM -- has a sharing option, and a boss key option in case Bill Lumbergh happens to wander by.</p> <p>If you want to give Maxthon a spin, you can download it <a href="" target="_blank">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> browser Internet maxthon online Software News Thu, 26 Jun 2014 15:22:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 28074 at Google Talks Android L, Set-Top Box, and More at I/O Developer Conference <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/google_io_1.jpg" alt="Google I/O" title="Google I/O" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />It's shaping up to an Android world</h3> <p><strong>Google's I/O developer conference kicked off today</strong> and much of the talk so far has been about Android, Android, and more Android. That's not surprising, or even a bad thing, especially if you're a fan of the open-source platform. Based on the keynote, Google wants to expand Android into just about every facet of your life, from your living room to your car and everywhere in between.</p> <h3>Android L</h3> <p>One of the most exciting developments is that of Android "L," the next version of Android (it may still end up being called Lollipop), and its underlying Android Runtime (ART) software layer. Through ART, Google claims Android apps will run roughly twice as fast as they do currently. The best part about that is developers don't have to do anything different with existing apps.</p> <p>"All your app code gets the performance for free," Android Engineering Dave Burke said, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>CNET</em></a>.</p> <p>ART also works on 64-bit chips, though not just ARM-based processors that are so prevalent in mobile today -- it also supports 64-bit x86-64 parts from Intel and AMD, along with the MIPS64 architecture from MIPS.</p> <p>Just as iOS recently underwent a major design change, so too will Android with its "L" release. You can expect a flatter aesthetic, rounder elements, softer edges, simplified shapes, smooth transition animations, the illusion of depth through elevation and shadows, and more.</p> <p>On the feature end, you'll be able to interact with notifications from the Lock screen, which will be sorted by relevance and importance rather than chronologically. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Endgadget</em> has more</a> on what you can expect.</p> <h3>Android TV (Set-Top Box)</h3> <p>Google has some unfinished business in the living room. As was previously rumored, Google is releasing a set-top box to compete with the likes of Apple TV and Roku. It's called Android TV but unlike the company's failed Google TV platform, it will have an added focus on gaming.</p> <p>According to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Verge</em></a>, search is baked into the Android TV experience, as is content from the Google Play Store. It will provide recommendations based on what you watch, and you'll even be able to control the software with an Android Wear-enabled smartwatch.</p> <h3>Android Auto</h3> <p>With your living room and mobile devices covered, Google switched gears to automobiles and discussed Android Auto with a redesigned interface built specifically for cars.</p> <p>"Android Auto will make it easier and safer to use the connected services drivers want in a card," Google's Patrick Brady said, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>ArsTechnica</em></a>.</p> <p>Things like navigation, communication, and music will be front and center so you don't have to fiddle around looking for the appropriate app. It's also voice enabled, allowing you to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes where they should be -- on the road.</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> android android l Google google I/O open source Software News Wed, 25 Jun 2014 18:34:15 +0000 Paul Lilly 28071 at AMD Catalyst 14.6 Release Candidate Drivers Now Available to Download <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/watch_dogs_2.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs" title="Watch Dogs" width="228" height="133" style="float: right;" />Improves frame pacing in Watch Dogs</h3> <p><strong>AMD has made available its Catalyst 14.6 graphics card drivers in Release Candidate form</strong>. There's not a ton to cover with this latest release, though there are a handful of performance improvements, including better frame pacing in Watch Dogs when running a CrossFire configuration. AMD's also promoting performance improvements in Plants vs. Zombies (Direct3D) with its Radeon R9 290X graphics card.</p> <p>At 1920x1080 with Ultra settings, you can expect up to an 11 percent performance gain in PvZ. At 2560x1600 (typical resolution for most 30-inch panels), gains creep up to 15 percent, and at 3840x2160 with Ultra settings and running CrossFire, AMD says performance is improved by as much as 92 percent.</p> <p>There are some new CrossFire profiles, as well. These include profiles for Battlefield Hardline beta, Wildstar, and Grid Auto Sport.</p> <p>You can find out more <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> and download the drivers for Windows <a href="" target="_blank">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> amd catalyst 14.6 Drivers Release Candidate Software News Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:40:02 +0000 Paul Lilly 28070 at