Are you enrolled in college? If so, you have enough expenses already -- tuition, books, parking, beer, and so forth. The last thing you want to do is spend even more money on software, hence why your PC is filled with open source software. That's one option, though if you'd prefer to roll with Office, it might not cost you a dime. Microsoft just introduced a self-serve model for students and teachers that lets them claim Office 356 at no cost.
If we're being totally, completely, 100 percent honest, we settled for Windows 8. That's not easy to admit, especially after applying some well needed Updates (previously known as Service Packs) that zapped some of our original complaints. Don't get us wrong, it never was, nor is it still a terrible operating system -- the comparisons to Windows ME or even Windows Vista's early days are off base -- but certainly Microsoft didn't have our best interests in mind. By "our interests," we're talking about power users, enthusiasts, and generally anyone tech savvy enough to know the difference between RAM and a hard drive. Hell, Windows 8 designer Jacob Miller admitted as much several months ago (Microsoft's good at coming clean after the fact).
Truth be told, Microsoft catered to the lowest common denominator -- the ones who call you up every 3-4 weeks because their PC is riddled with pop-up ads again -- and attempted to hold their hands as Redmond walked them through its vision of what would one day become a beautiful walled garden where new and experienced users frolicked happily among the colorful tiles singing songs of praise. Our apologies if you just threw up in your mouth a little bit.
Here's the thing -- we've grown accustomed to Windows 8, and having spent copious time with it, we no longer feel the rage we once did every time the Start screen would load. That's partially because we're now able to boot directly into the Desktop, but the bigger reason is the one we stated above. We settled, plain and simple.
With that said, Windows 9 is on the horizon, and this is Microsoft's chance to atone for Windows 8 and earn back some street cred with power users. It's a do-over, and no, it's not too late. If Windows 9 comes out and blows our minds with levels of awesome we've never seen before, all will be forgiven (just as we've done before). But in order for that to happen, Microsoft has to get it right.
That's no easy task, so to help our friends at Microsoft, we came up with a list of 9 things we want to see in Windows 9. Are you reading this, Redmond? Good, because these 9 wishlist items conveniently assembled into a photo gallery collectively represent your golden ticket back into our good graces. Hit the jump to see what they are.
Why pay for a game when you get it for free? That's not an invitation to go pirate a PC title via BitTorrent or any other method, we're just wondering if you like free stuff. The answer? Of course you do! The reason we ask is because if you act fast, you can grab Tropico 3 for free from the Humble Bundle Store. The deal is good for one day only and is set to expire tomorrow at 10AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern.
When Google first announced Chrome OS in 2009, among the few people who were polite enough to not dismiss it outright, and predict for it either a stillbirth or an early demise, were those who saw a merger with Android as its ultimate fate. Of course, let alone a full-blown merger, we have yet to see substantial interplay between the two platforms. The best we have seen, all these years down the line, is the ability to run a grand total of four Android apps on Chrome OS — and that too is a very recent development. Even now, Google is only working with “a select group of Android developers” and is unlikely to bring more than a handful of mobile apps to Chrome OS in the near future. Well, that’s what hacks are for, right?
"Fun Fact: Elephants crave the taste of human blood!"
The newest trailer for Ubisoft's forthcoming Far Cry 4 game plays out like a horrific documentary on elephants, one in which you learn the purported "fun fact" that elephants crave the taste of your blood. That probably isn't true in the real world (we certainly hope it isn't!), but in Kyrat, the fictional Himalayan region that serves as the setting in Far Cry 4, you better believe it's true.
Microsoft is finally ready to talk about its next version of Windows
Up to this point, we've mostly had to rely on leaked photos and videos of Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, to understand what Microsoft has in store for us beyond Windows 8. Well, the wait for official information is almost over. Microsoft has begun sending out invitations to members of the press for a "Windows event" it plans to hold on September 30, 2014, in San Francisco.
If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that your PC is a fine-tuned piece of 64-bit technology, customized to the hilt and purring like a kitten with a belly full of formula. Yup, she’s a beaut, and attacks your daily tasks like a Belgian Police Dog going after a fleeing perp. All is well in the world, until one day when you sit down, fire it up, and realize something is different. That extra bit of snap when programs open is missing, and encoding video seems to take longer than it used to. Even downloading files seems to require more patience than you’re accustomed to exhibiting. It’s at this very moment that you silently say to yourself, “What the FRACK???”
Note: This article was originally featured in the May 2014 issue of the magazine.
Maxthon developers claim Nitro is the fastest PC browser in the world
Growing tired of the same collection of browsers? If you're looking to try something new and aren't already familiar with Maxthon's offerings, you can download the beta of Maxthon Nitro (MxNitro), supposedly the fastest browser available for the PC, according to the developers. Compared to the previous version, it loads three times faster, and compared to whichever browser you're using now, the developers say it fetches and loads webpages "considerably quicker."
See Windows 9’s Notification Center, Start Menu and multiple desktops in action
Microsoft may not have officially lifted the curtain on Windows 9 (a.k.a “Threshold”) but if sites like WinFuture continue to have their way, the Redmond-based company will have very little new to show us when it finally does get down to unveiling its next desktop operating system. (We don’t have an issue with these leaks, though.) The German site, which recently posted a bunch of allegedly leaked screenshots of the rumored-to-be-upcoming Windows 9 Technical Preview, has now taken to posting videos that showcase some of the upcoming OS’s features.
With all due respect to the PC gamers who, after waiting so long for Grand Theft Auto V to be ported to Windows with nary a peep from Rockstar Games, have understandably lost interest, this is a big day. At long last, Rockstar has finally picked a release date for GTA V on PC -- January 27, 2015 -- and I couldn't be more excited. Why? Partially because I've played the game with delight on the Xbox 360 and was totally drawn in, and also because I'm anxious to see the improved graphics and new features.