Microsoft has set aside sales of retail versions of Windows 7 and 8, with 8.1 now the only packaged software that can be found on store shelves. Consumers cannot purchase retail copies of Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium or Ultimate, and Windows 8 has also been pulled - new PCs and laptops will have Windows 8.1 pre-installed.
Windows 10, which Microsoft hopes can convince users to put full faith back into the Windows OS, is scheduled for release in late 2015.
Some manufacturers will allow customers to downgrade from Windows 8.1 down to Windows 7 Professional - and indicates Microsoft is desperate to get consumers to forget about Windows 8, even though it's just two years old.
Apple will reportedly launch its Apple Watch in spring 2015, which is unfortunately later than originally hoped for by consumers and analysts. However, Angela Ahrendts, Apple Senior VP of Retail and Online Stores, wants Apple Store employees to be prepared for what could be an extremely busy spring.
Here is what Ahrendts said in the voicemail: "You guys were hired because you're the best people in the world. And you know how to service customers. But we're sprinting a marathon right now, and it's not going to stop."
Apple previously said the Apple Watch would ship in early 2015, but never confirmed an exact launch date - however, it was believed Valentine's Day would be too early, with some analysts predicting a May-June launch.
The public launch of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare didn't go as well as some would have hoped, with an unknown number of Microsoft Xbox One gamers reporting problems with the digital download.
Here is what Microsoft said: "We've received reports that some users are having issues getting their pre-ordered copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. We're happy to say that our team has fixed the problem, but if you are still experiencing any issues, delete the game and re-download it. Thanks for your patience while we got this issue worked out. Have fun!"
Interested gamers can download the Day Zero edition of Advanced Warfare for the Xbox One today, even if it wasn't pre-ordered. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare officially launches on November 4 for the PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.
Sage Microelectronics has released the Sage S681, a 10-channel controller that will allow SATA SSDs up to 5TB of capacity. Current SATA SSDs max out at 2TB, and there aren't any future products announced that will break the 2TB barrier. Sage Microelectronics intends to bust past the 2TB barrier by utilizing eMMC, SD, or MMC. The S681 will utilize the low cost structure of these devices to keep cost down. Each channel will support up to 512GB of memory via a 10 X 4 X 128GB layout of typical flash memory cards.
The new controller supports a SATA II interface, which denotes lower performance than the typical SATA III connection favored by today's top-flight SSDs. This limits maximum read/write speed to a paltry 260/225 MB/s. The S681 features a RISC CPU core to manage the bus, plus extra cores that support two memory card channels. Five-channel and four-channel variants, the S682 and S685, are also available.
"Of the roughly 900 arcade games (yes, nine hundred arcade games) up there, some are in pretty weird shape - vector games are an issue, scaling is broken for some, and some have control mechanisms that are just not going to translate to a keyboard or even a joypad," said Jason Scott, the programmer behind the online arcade. "But damn if so many are good enough. More than good enough. In the right browser, on a speedy machine, it almost feels perfect. The usual debates about the 'realness' of emulation come into play, but it works."
Interested gamers can see a full list of available games here.
Samsung has formally announced their purchase of Proximal Data for their innovative server-side caching software. As enterprise SSD manufacturers continue to mature we have witnessed a string of acquisitions of various caching companies. Caching technology provides HDD capacity and the speed of flash, and also provide companies with a clear differentiator for their products. Samsung originally purchased NVELO in 2012, and their caching solution was quickly merged into Samsung's client offerings as RAPID caching technology.
Proximal Data is geared for virtualized environments. Their award-winning AutoCache software embeds I/O intelligence inside the hypervisor to cache hot I/O onto server-side flash. It's intelligent and selective caching removes the I/O bottleneck and improves VM density and efficiency. As with all caching software your mileage may vary, but typical AutoCache implementations sport 2x to 3x performance improvements.
Engineers in China successfully created a new laser weapon system capable of shooting down low-altitude light drones, able to lock on and engage a target within five seconds. The machine can engage "various small aircraft" and has a two-kilometer range against targets flying up to 112 mph.
The US Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) recently made flying drones near large sports stadiums and race tracks illegal, but trying to enforce the airspace restriction could be problematic. However, this new laser technology will allow the Chinese to better protect large venues.
"Intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage," said Yi Jinsong, China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment manager.
Companies are suffering from third party hacks as employees are being targeted by savvy cybercriminals, with employees from 221 Fortune 500 companies having credentials exposed, according to a recent study from Recorded Future. Third party hacks are when cybercriminals attack outside sources - often a partner company or software/hardware vendor - and once compromised, can more easily gain access to data.
"Most corporate IT security departments and personnel seem to have blinders on when it comes to hacking events that occur outside the realm of their immediate responsibility," said Joe Caruso, Global Digital Forensics (GDF) CEO, "but what happens to their employees on the outside can certainly come back to bite them if those attitudes don't change in a hurry.
Cyberattacks targeting private businesses continue to increase, forcing companies to be more vigilant - and recent incidents that targeted Snapchat, Dropbox, and others show how real this problem can be.
3D printers have shown great potential, and will reach 217,350 units shipped in 2015, rising drastically from 108,151 in 2014, according to the Gartner research group. Gartner said the 3D printer industry is currently at an inflection point, and will see a drastic increase in shipments starting in early 2015.
"This trend will accelerate as the market consisting primarily of early adopters who grew up with an open-source approach without lock-ins evolves into a market in which average consumers dominate," said Pete Basiliere, Gartner research vice president, in a press statement. "While the early adopters will rage at the perversion of the 3D printer open-source ethos, the vast majority of mainstream consumers will demand the simple and consistent operation that 'plug and print' can provide them."
The 3D printer market will be led by increased material extrusion, as consumers and companies both begin to adopt an increasing number of products. The overall price tag of new 3D printers are still relatively high, but tech breakthroughs are helping drive the price down.
Despite a catastrophic test flight of the SpaceShipTwo that left one pilot dead and another seriously injured, Virgin Galactic plans to move ahead to complete a second rocket plane before the end of 2014. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) needs a few more days to finish an initial investigation, and a full report could take up to one year.
SpaceShipTwo exploded during a test flight - marking the first test of a new plastic-based fuel mixed with nitrous oxide - and early indications using a different motor could have played a role in the incident.
"The second spaceship is very advanced in its construction," said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic chief executive. "We need to work closely with the NTSB... to work out as rapidly as we can what happened, and then to move forward. We're hopeful we can make rapid progress."