TweakTown NewsRefine News by Category:
Microsoft has debuted new per-minute billing for its Windows Azure cloud computing network. This new rate is just one of several billing-related changes implemented by Microsoft and detailed in a blog post earlier this morning. Other changes include not charging for stopped virtual machines.
- No charge for stopped VMs
- Pay by the minute billing
- MSDN use rights now supported on Windows Azure
- Discounted MSDN dev/test rates
- MSDN monetary credits
- Added portal support for tracking MSDN monetary credit usage
Starting with the headlining change, Microsoft has introduced per-minute billing, a feature that Google already offers on its Google Compute Engine. Amazon Web Services charges by the hour, which is how Microsoft previously billed. This meant that a user would have to pay for the full hour, even if they used the system for just a few minutes.
Another change is Microsoft will no longer charge for stopped VMs, allowing developers to power off a VM over the weekend to save cash. Previously, developers would have been required to pay as Microsoft kept a reserved instance running, unless the deployment was explicitly deleted.
Both NBC Universal and Warner Bros have filed an official request asking Google to de-list Mega.co.nz from its search results, even though Mega's homepage does not list any links or mention any of its content.
This unwarranted action comes hot on the heels of two DMCA request filed by the Hollywood giants that cite copyright infringement on the films Mama and Gangster Squad. While I understand the takedown request for the files, I do not understand the de-list request at all. Mega encrypts every file on its website and has no way of knowing what file is legal and what file is illegal. In my opinion, the request to de-list is just a bully tactic to try and intimidate the site's founder, Kim Dotcom.
"This is in line with the unreasonable content industry behavior we have experienced for years," said Dotcom. "The constant abuse of takedown rules and the ignorance of DMCA obligations by the content industry are based on the confidence that the current U.S. administration is protecting this kind of behavior. The political contract prosecution of Megaupload is the best example."
I use services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive every day, and each one has a specific use case for me. Fox example, Box is my personal cloud storage, while Dropbox is used for syncing files to my phone, PC and tablet, and Drive is my place to collaborate on files with co-workers. For personal storage of files that I share with friends regularly, I have begun to rely on Mega, and today things just got better for Kim Dotcom's file hosting service.
This morning Mega announced that it has launched two new features to its cloud based file locker service. First up is Event Notifications, which collects and shares with you "relevant activity" data on what others are doing with the files you shared with them. Up next is maybe my most wanted feature, Zipped Downloads. That's right, now you can zip and share entire folders with your friends - users can simply select "download as zip" when viewing files, and Mega will package everything up and deliver it in a neatly wrapped package.
The company clarified the Event Notifications feature on its blog:
"MEGA no longer leaves you in the dark about what is happening inside your shared folders. Every user now has an event notification timeline, which shows you, how and when which folders were replaced, moved, accessed and every other conceivable way people can interact with them."
Earlier this week Google announced that it was increasing Drive storage to 15GB and today we are finding out why. At today's Google I/O keynote the company showed off several new and exciting features on how its Google+ social network handles image storage, manipulation and sharing.
In the past, if you uploaded full size images, you had just 5GB of storage, but now with 15GB you can upload all of your images to Google+. Google pointed out that it is the only social network that allows true full resolution image uploads and included a graphic showing the relative resolution of various social networks.
Google also unveiled a sort of intelligent image sorting process that is aimed at reducing the time it takes for a photographer or individual to sort through large image albums. Google can now take your entire vacation photo album and automatically highlight the best. Say there is 600 photos total, it will filter out duplicates, analyze for bad exposure and automatically identify major landmarks. Then it will look for people, and for photos of people smiling.
Microsoft has updated its cloud storage offering with new features. SkyDrive now has a photo timeline that functions much like Faceboook's Timeline function in that pictures are organized by time. This makes it much easier to find that picture you know you took last month.
SkyDrive now allows quick locating of pictures. Users can quickly navigate to a specific month and see all the pictures that were taken during that time period. SkyDrive will also allow users to view all photos in a filmstrip presentation. The filmstrip can also be turned into a slideshow for public display.
Microsoft also notes that performance feedback was taken into consideration. Over the past few months, Microsoft has reworked the server code and SkyDrive desktop app. The result, according to Microsoft, is pictures that upload 2-3x faster than before. Not bad!
Amazon has updated their Cloud Drive service to support file syncing, a step that is desperately needed for the service to become a viable alternative to SkyDrive and Dropbox. Cloud Drive originally launched in May of last year without file syncing capabilities, meaning that files had to be manually placed in the Cloud Drive and updated after editing.
Today's update brings with it the ability for files and folders to sync across all of your linked Cloud Drive devices. Amazon is still offering 5GB of free storage for users, so now may be as good as time as any to switch. You can learn more and download Cloud Drive from Amazon's website.
GDC 2013 - NVIDIA had their Grid technology skipping along at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where our man on the ground Trace Hagan got to check out some cloud-based gaming.
The cloud wasn't far away for the demo, with a huge server array just a foot away from the LG Smart TV the game was being played on. As you can see from the above video, cloud-based gaming is in NVIDIA's future. There's no details on resolution or detail levels just yet, but as Trace says in the video, that'll come down to the variables with consumers' Internet connections and compression methods used by NVIDIA.
AMD are striking while the iron is hot with GPU news today, first we just heard about the dual-GPU Radeon HD 7990, and now we're hearing that AMD are entering the cloud gaming business.
They'll be entering this business with a new range of graphics cards, the Radeon Sky series. These cards will come in three flavors, the Radeon Sky 900, Radeon Sky 700 and Radeon Sky 500. They'll come with varying amounts of stream processors, RAM, and memory bandwidth. These new GPUs are designed to power servers for cloud gaming.
The Radeon Sky 900 will feature two Radeon GPUs, providing it with 3584 stream processors, and 3GB of GDDR5 RAM for each GPU. Its siblings, the Radeon Sky 700 and Radeon Sky 500 will feature 1792 and 1280 stream processors, respectively, as well as 6GB of GDDR5 and 4GB of GDDR5, respectively.
RapidShare will likely upset some of its customers with its latest move. As of March 20, the unlimited storage option will disappear, even for those who have pre-paid for unlimited storage for longer periods. In exchange, RapidShare is expanding its options provided to free users.
Current customers will now be able to pick from a 250GB plan for 10 euros per month and a 500GB plan for 20 euros per month. Unfortunately for some, RapidShare's Terms of Service allow them to change the contents of RapidPro services at anytime. RapidShare had the following to say:
If you're a RapidShare unlimited user with lots of data on the service, you might want to make sure you have it all backed up before you have to start paying. One user with 5 terabytes on RapidShare was offered a custom plan by the company. They wanted to charge 700 euros per month.
Microsoft is launching a campaign to get more students using its Office 365 University cloud service by offering up to six months of service plus 20GB of SkyDrive storage for free.
In addition to the six months free, Microsoft has priced a full four year subscription to Office 365 University at just $80 to any student who has an email address ending in .edu. To further sweeten the deal, students can re-up one time for an additional $80, making an eight year subscription to the service cost a mere $160.
Both offers are designed to get more students using the service, but we are betting that the freebie offer is designed to introduce more students to the SkyDrive service, which is more touchscreen friendly. The campaign was kicked off with a new ad featuring the cast of NBC's Parks and Recreation, which can be seen above.