Back in early September, Kim Dotcom revealed he was working on an "ultimate" version of his widely popular MegaUpload website, which was brought offline earlier this year. Last week, it was reported Megaupload's successor would launch on January 20, 2013, and it looks like things are going according to plan as Kim Dotcom's successor to MegaUpload, simply called "Mega," has been soft launched today.
The new Mega is completely free of the U.S. as hosters, domains and backbone providers have all been taken overseas, which will make it nearly impossible for it to suffer the same fate as MegaUpload. What also helps is having the burden of hosting unlawful content focused squarely on the user as they're the ones who are in complete control of what content they store in the cloud.
Windows 8 users rejoice! For those of you who feel that little bit missing from the Windows 8 desktop, by which I mean the start button, you now have some choices to replace it with. Win8 StartButton is a free program which replaces the old start menu in the bottom left-hand corner of the Windows 8 desktop view.
Not only does it bring back a familiar interface, it allows for loads more customization. For instance, you can choose many different styles of start menu, such as the classic version, Windows XP version, or Windows 7 version. The application will also allow you to bypass the normal Windows 8 start screen and boot straight to desktop.
Furthermore, you can choose to disable Windows 8's hot corners and many other features. There are also a couple of other programs available that replicate start menu function, though none look quite like the official Microsoft implementation. Pokki for Windows 8, StartMenu7, ViStart, and ClassicShell are all options.
In between all the news of Disney buying Lucasfilm, and the devastating Hurricane Sandy, some news can be lost when walking down the wire - well, this is definitely one of those cases. Apple have said that they're delaying the release of iTunes 11, until sometime in November.
Apple previously talked of iTunes 11's release back in September when they announced the iPhone 5, and was meant to release the updated iTunes app by the end of October. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr has said:
The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right. We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface, and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.
Our Ask the Experts section has a new question, with Julian in Canada wanting to know how to activate Windows 8 with his TechNet MSDN key.
Q: I managed to download my Windows 8 Pro ISO from my MSDN TechNet account, but now that I have the shiny new OS installed, how do I activate it with my MSDN key?
A: You can view the answer to Julian's question right here.
Our Ask the Experts section has a new question, with Bobby in Australia wanting to know how to install Windows 8 from a USB flash drive.
Q: So, I have got my copy of Windows 8 from my TechNet MSDN account in the form of an ISO file, but I want to know how to go about installing from a pen drive. Please help!
A: You can view the answer to Bobby's question right here.
GPU-Z has been updated to version 0.6.6, and with it brings a bunch of stability fixes. Included in the new release is support for NVIDIA's Tesla M2070 GPU compute accelerator.
Things that were fixed include the main window not displaying correctly with non-standard Windows font DPI settings, GPU overclock calculation for pre-Kepler GPUs has been fixed, too. Crashes on systems with broken high-precision event timer implementation (HPET) has also been fixed, along with several memory leaks.
- Fixed GPU-Z window getting cut off on non-standard DPI settings
- Fixed overclock calculation error on NVIDIA non-Kepler GPUs
- Fixed GPU-Z not starting or crashing the machine on systems with broken HPET implementation
- Fixed SLI not getting detected under Windows XP
- Fixed garbled board name on some older Radeon cards
- Fixed several memory leaks
- L6788A voltage controller on HD 7750 and HD 7770 will now display correct default voltage
- Added support for NVIDIA Tesla M2070
We don't do these Download of the Day posts much anymore, but when there's something good enough to download, or an update of an already great program, you can be sure we'll post them up!
Well, today we have AIDA64 updating to version 2.70, and with it comes a bunch of improvements and new features:
- Revamped PhotoWorxx digital photo processing benchmark with AVX, SSE4.1 and XOP optimizations
- Rewritten AES data encryption benchmark with AESNI, SSE4.1 and VIA PadLock optimizations
- Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for AMD FX-Series "Vishera" CPU
- Preliminary support for AMD "Kabini" APU
- Socket FM2 motherboards support
- Support for VirtualBox v4.2 and VMware Workstation v9
- Samsung 840 and 840 Pro SSD support
- GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti, Quadro K-Series, VGX K-Series
AMD might Never Settle, but it doesn't mean NVIDIA will settle, either. NVIDIA have a new batch of beta drivers out which offer up to 15% more performance on certain GPU and software setups, as well as offering some new and updated profiles.
When compared to the GeForce 306.89 WHQL drivers, the new GeForce 310.33 beta drivers offer some improvements in most of the latest games, as shown in the table above. On top of these performance improvements, the new 310.33 beta drivers also include new or improved ambient occlusion support for Cross Fire, Dragon Nest, Meng San Guo, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Darksiders 2, and MechWarrior Online.
New or updated SLI and 3D Vision profiles are also included with GeForce 310.33 beta including Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Dishonored, FIFA 13, Hitman: Absolution, Need for Speed: Most Wanted XCOM: Enemy Unknown and more. The new beta drivers also include some Windows 8-specific fixes, the first of which caused a forced reboot on pre-release versions of Windows 8, with the other causing a "Hardware Test Failed" error when running the 3D Vision Setup Wizard on Mitsubishi's WD-6039 monitor.
AMD aren't taking the graphics war sitting on their hands, with the release of their Catalyst 12.11 driver set which the company are calling the "Never Settle" driver, and rightly so by the looks of things.
These new drivers carry support for the AMD Radeon 7000 series of GPUs, with specific GPUs in mind based on the Graphics CoreNext architecture, such as HD 7750, HD 7770 GHz Ed., HD 7850, HD 7870 GHz Ed., HD 7950, HD 7950 BE, HD 7970, HD 7970 GHz Ed., and HD 7990; and mobile Radeon HD 7700M series, HD 7800M series, and HD 7900M series.
The new Never Settle drivers sport performance improvements of up to 15% in most of the latest games including Battlefield 3, DiRT Showdown, Sleeping Dogs, Medal of Honor: Warfighter and much more. AMD is now able to claim the performance lead for all of their top-end products, with the HD 7970 GHz Edition seeing a 20% performance gain over NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 680.
WinZip 17 launches, includes cloud storage support with Google Drive, Dropbox, Facebook, SkyDrive and more
I remember the days of the original versions of WinZip, I was a huge, huge user of the software and I still use it to this day. Well, WinZip Computing have just launched WinZip 17, which is the industry's first singel application that is designer to "give users a better way to manage, protect and share files across all the ways we connect today - the cloud, social media and email".
WinZip 17 now features direct integration with cloud-based storage options like SkyDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive. This is great as you can zip your files up, saving space on your cloud storage, as well as offering 128- or 256-bit AES encryption making your files safer than ever in the cloud. WinZip 17 also allows you to both manage and share your files directly from the slow, where WinZip 17 can automatically create links to the files you want to send to friends or family over email.
Adobe debuts a new version of Reader and Acrobat, brings with it better commenting and Protected Mode features
A couple of pieces of software that business users cannot live without have been updated. Adobe has released new versions of their Reader and Acrobat software, both of which deal with the portable document format (pdf) file type. Both come with great new features, though Reader definitely got the better end of the deal in this update.
Reader XI gains a better commenting feature. This will allow users using the free Reader program to add stamps, file attachments, audio recordings, and many other items to PDF files. Reader is also coming with better security, as in the past it has been targeted time and time again. Now, it features a beefed up Protected Mode, which is designed to sandbox the program to prevent execution in the system.
Acrobat XI, the paid version of Reader that allows users to create PDFs, has also been updated. Something that has frustrated users has finally been updated: text editing. Text will now automatically wrap to a new line when editing. Users can also now find and replace text in the PDF using the built-in utility.
NVIDIA have released their latest WHQL-certified drivers which include support for not only the budget-based GTX 650 Ti GPU, but Windows 8. The new drivers also offer a few enhancements over the last 306.23 WHQL release, including an improved SLI profile for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier.
Also included are updated 3D Vision profiles for a heap of games:
- Check vs. Mate - Rated Excellent
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - Rated Good
- Doom 3: BFG Edition - Rated Excellent
- English Country Tune - Rated Good
- F1 2012 - Rated Good
- Iron Brigade - Rated Fair
- Jagged Alliance: Crossfire - Rated Good
- Orcs Must Die 2! - Rated Good
- Planetside 2 - Rated Not Recommended
- Prototype 2 - Rated Poor
- Sleeping Dogs - Rated Good
- Spec Ops: The Line - Rated Good
- Tiny Troopers - Rated Fair
- Torchlight 2 - Rated Good
- Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - Rated Fair
NVIDIA have said there's any performance increases over their previous 306.23 drivers, but they have stated that this release is the best driver for just-released games like Borderlands 2 and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. You can get the new drivers here.
Samsung has submitted a new "flash-friendly" file system to the Linux Kernel tree thanks to their codesmith Jaegeuk Kim. The new file system has been dubbed F2FS (flash-friendly file system) and is an open source design, and is the results of the South Korean company's efforts to our modern day flash storage tech.
The most used "universal" file systems are FAT16 and FAT32, but are getting quite old now, so old that they predate huge, rewriteable flash-based devices. Most file systems don't actually suit flash media, which is where Samsung has entered the game, offering up a new file system for a new breed of devices.
F2FS is a log-based system, which is set to go down a different path than current file systems, as explained below:
F2FS is a new file system carefully designed for the NAND flash memory-based storage devices. We chose a log structure file system approach, but we tried to adapt it to the new form of storage. Also we remedy some known issues of the very old log structured file system, such as snowball effect of wandering tree and high cleaning overhead.
Because a NAND-based storage device shows different characteristics according to its internal geometry or flash memory management scheme aka FTL, we add various parameters not only for configuring on-disk layout, but also for selecting allocation and cleaning algorithms.
Fans of the content distribution system better known as Steam will be delighted to hear that Steam's software store has launched and now has software available, including the ever-popular 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11. Right now, the store only has seven pieces of software up for sale, but that is sure to grow in the coming days and weeks.
The titles in the store are ArtRage Studio Pro, CameraBag 2, GameMaker: Studio, 3D-Coat, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11, and Source Filmmaker. The prices on these titles range from free to $89.10, with the 10 percent discount that is currently being offered in celebration of the launch of the new Steam-powered store.
You can check out the new Steam Software store on their website. Publishers will likely take advantage of Steam's proven sales model to bring unknown or older titles to market. What do you think about the new store? Is it the future of content delivery? Wish Steam would focus on games? Let us know in the comments!
I sync everything to my Google account, if I could sync my heart beat to it, I would - but I can't, so I hope Google are working on that. But today, the Mountain View-based company have announced that they're introducing CardDAV - which is an open protocol for contacts.
CardDAV allows third-party clients, such as iOS contacts app, to sync up to your Google contacts. By supporting IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, Google make syncing your Google Account, and its contacts, an easy, and painless procedure.
If you'd like to get going and do this right now, Google have even been kind enough to provide some instructions. Isn't this nice? Google actually helping Apple out with something - something we don't see much on the other side of things. The grass is always Googler, I guess.
Valve are hard at work on porting Steam over to Linux, but it looks like the company is doing well enough with the software to release a beta version of the app on the open-source operating system. Valve are looking to release an internal beta sometime next week, and after that, we're looking at an external beta limited to just 1,000 people as soon as next month.
The limited beta will sport support for Ubuntu 12.04 and above, with access to a single Valve game. There's been no word on which game it would be, but we're probably going to see it manifest into Left 4 Dead 2, which is something that the company has talked about using so far. The results of Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam saw it running a tad faster on Linux under OpenGL versus Windows on either OpenGL or DirectX.
Valve will open up a sign-up page for the external beta in the next couple of weeks, where they'll select beta testers based on the hardware they're running. Valve are wanting to test Steam for Linux on a variety of different setups.
AMD love to push out their beta versions of Catalyst drivers, with the release of the Catalyst 12.9 beta drivers now available. This release is a bit different to the usual beta releases, as it includes support for AMD's Enduro technology.
Enduro is AMD's version of NVIDIA Optimus, which will allow dynamic switching between a system's integrated, and discrete graphics which will in turn provide better battery life. AMD have also added an Optimus-like application profile set within the Catalyst Control Center, where users can select which applications run on either integrated, or discrete graphics.
The Catalyst 12.9 beta drivers also offer improved performance in Lost Planet 2 - with an up to 10% increase in performance on single-GPU setups. There are also some Catalyst application profiles included:
- World of Warcraft - Mist of Pandaria (DX11, DX9): Fixes texture flickering observed when enabling high graphics settings with CrossFire enabled
- World of Warcraft - Mist of Pandaria (DX9): Resolve corruption when enabling Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center
- World of Warcraft - (DX9): Resolves performance issues observed with the 64-bit variant of the client
- Tribes Ascend: Improves CrossFire performance
- F1 2012: Improves CrossFire performance, resolves texture flickering in reflections
Ashampoo have released the latest version of UnInstaller, reaching version 5.00.00. If you haven't heard of Ashampoo UnInstaller 5, it is their "premier solution to remove all traces of no longer needed applications, clean your system from residuals and maintain peak performance".
Better yet, Ashampoo offer a free 30-day trial of UnInstaller 5 - meaning you can try it out and if you like it, buy it. Not bad at all.
How does it work?
Ashampoo UnInstaller 5 uses clever real-time technology to monitor system changes during program installations. This way, Ashampoo UnInstaller 5 can completely remove monitored installations including otherwise orphaned files and registry entries. For even better results, Ashampoo UnInstaller 5 comes with additional cleaning tools to remove redundant registry entries and clean your drives.
Your system is ever-changing
Every application you install makes changes to your system. Data gets copied to your hard disk, values are added to your Windows Registry database. Most programs also create temporary files during operation.
Microsoft have finally unveiled the pricing for their Office 2013 and Office 365 productivity suites, where we'll see three editions of Office 2013 - Home & Student, Home & Business, and Professional, which will be priced at $139.99, $219.99 and $399.99, respectively. Each of the editions are for the locally-installed version of Office, with the license valid for just a single PC, or Mac.
Businesses and consumers can also look at the subscription-based offerings, with Office 365 Home Premium just $99.99 per year, or $8.33 per month, or Office 365 Small Business Premium for $149.99 per year, per year, or $12.50 per month, per user. Not too bad at all, and I'm loving the subscription-based model, by the way - sounds like its the goods!
The subscription-based model also comes with some benefits, as the Office 365 Home Premium can be used across five different users and/or devices, with the Office 365 Small Business Premium capable of enabling each user of using the software on five different devices simultaneously.
AMD are expected to release their Catalyst 12.9 beta drivers next week, but just before that it looks like we're getting access to their Catalyst 12.8 CAP 3 drivers. The updated Catalyst Application Profiles include a bunch of fixes, as well as a new CrossFire profile for the soon-to-be released Borderlands 2.
- Borderlands 2 - New CrossFire profile
- Guild War 2: Resolves grass texture corruption observed when changing graphics settings in a CrossFire configuration
- World of Warcraft(DX9): Fix the flickering observed when view distance is changed to fair in graphics settings when CrossFire is enabled
- Depth Hunter: Resolves shadow flickering seen when running in CrossFire mode
- Dirt Showdown - Resolves flickering seen in CrossFire mode
- Stalker Call of Pripyat - Resolves flickering seen in CrossFire mode
- War of Roses - Fixes flickering seen in CrossFire mode
You can download AMD's Catalyst 12.8 CAP 3 right here.
iTunes is now featuring an edge-to-edge design. Clicking on albums results in an expansion like folders on iOS. Inside that album is a feature called 'in the store' which shows top songs and albums.
Artists can now share photos through iTunes. Currently playing now shows what's coming next, a cool feature, albeit a bit unneeded.