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Microsoft just released the "final" version of Internet Explorer 9, the Browser That Started It All. Sort of.
Though there are bound to be bugs nonetheless, Microsoft is touting some pretty impressive features. Though the browser comparison on their website is a bit outdated, here are some of the options that a user just won't be able to find in Firefox 4 or Chrome 9 (Betas):
- Full hardware acceleration for text, graphics, and video provided by default
(IE9 utilizes your computer's CPU and GPU to optimize performance)
-Notification when add-ons slow browser performance
(this would be very useful with all the plug-ins and add-ons available for any browser
-Visual search suggestions as you type
(don't Google and Bing just..already do this, in any browser?)
-Jump Lists and thumbnail preview controls for pinned sites
(Mirrors Firefox's Panorama in function, re: a better bookmarking/tabbing system. Also the added feature that you can set the "pinned" sites to notify you when content changes- sort of like an RSS feed, but controlled by the Browser rather than the host site. Pretty cool)
-Accelerators for quick access to web services without leaving the page
-Most protection against socially engineered malware
Futuremark have surprisingly released a new version of 3DMark Vantage, v1.1.0 - included in the update are some significant changes. The Basic Edition, which used to cost $6.95 is now free. Users are open to put their GPUs through all four of the main tests, view their scores online and compare their scores with others on the ORB.
Other changes include display scaling which has been added to improve display compatibility. By default a PhysX processor won't accelerate Cpu tests. The Futuremark SystemInfo component has been updated to detect the latest hardware - be it, CPUs, GPUs, etc.
A release candidate of Mozilla Firefox 4 is now available for Mac, Windows & Linux. The new version of the open-source browser had previously been in Beta for the past month and a half, but no worries- Firefox 4 Beta users' browsers will update automatically.
Mozilla is reporting that around 70% of their existing plug-ins and "add-ons" are functioning with the RC, including my personal favorite, Panorama, formerly known as Tab Candy. This is a fantastic feature for tab-addicts like myself who commonly have +20 tabs open at any given time. Panorma allows you to organize and aggregate tabs into themed or customized arrangements away from your browser window, so it's easy to see them. A large improvement to cycling 45 tabs who's title heading is one letter long.
Much like the recent Safari and Chrome updates, this update should improve Firefox's speed substantially from its previous version. And according to Mozilla, they've fixed over 8,000 bugs (wow).
If you're a developer or a tester, don't forget to check out Mozilla's Web O' Wonder.
Microsoft is using SXSW to launch the final version of Internet Explorer 9 to the masses, twelve months after the first Platform Preview of IE9 came out. Supposedly there are still some surprises left in store for IE fans.
You'll have to wait until Monday the 14th of March to find out what those surprises are but MS will be joined by some special guests such as Ze Frank and will feature live music from Yeasayer, The Head and the Heart and Fences which will be live at Austin City Limits Live on the 14th of March. until then feel free to salivate over downloading the latest version of Internet Explorer!
After three months in beta testing, WinRAR 4.00 is fully-baked and ready for consumption. It is now available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The biggest improvement over the previous WinRAR versions is the decompression, which is now 30-percent faster depending on the file format used.
Additional features include a password manager for regular compression jobs, although passwords are not encrypted. When extracting multiple archives you are now able to set WinRAR to use the same password for all of them. Something worth knowing is that WinRAR 4.00 does not work on older Windows OS's such as 98, ME and NT. The Minimum requirement for WinRAR 4.00 is now Windows 2000.
Our Download of the Day today is uTorrent 2.2.1 RC2.
µTorrent is a small and incredibly popular BitTorrent client.
Micro-Sized Yet Feature Filled
Most of the features present in other BitTorrent clients are present in µTorrent, including bandwidth prioritization, scheduling, RSS auto-downloading and Mainline DHT (compatible with BitComet). Additionally, µTorrent supports the Protocol Encryption joint specification (compatible with Azureus 18.104.22.168 and above, BitComet 0.63 and above) and peer exchange.
µTorrent was written with efficiency in mind. Unlike many torrent clients, it does not hog valuable system resources - typically using less than 6MB of memory, allowing you to use the computer as if it weren't there at all. Additionally, the program itself is contained within a single executable less than 220 KB in size.
Skinnable and Localized
Various icon, toolbar graphic and status icon replacements are available, and creating your own is very simple. µTorrent also has support for localization, and with a language file present, will automatically switch to your system language. If your language isn't available, you can easily add your own, or edit other existing translations to improve them!
Our Download of the Day today is Picasa 3.8 Build 117.38.
Picasa is software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you will recognize. You can drag and drop to arrange your albums and make labels to create new groups. Picasa makes sure your pictures are always organized.
Picasa also makes advanced editing simple by putting one-click fixes and powerful effects at your fingertips. And Picasa makes it a snap to share your pictures, you can email, print photos home, make gift CDs, instantly share your images and albums, and even post pictures on your own blog.
The latest version includes Web Albums (along with other improvements), but requires that you request an account from Google.
Valve have today announced Steam Guard, a new Steam and Steamworks feature designed to provide increased security for gamers. Steam Guard allows users to link account management options to a specific machine, an extra measure to prevent unauthorized access. Steam guard can be set up to notify you if any PCs attempt to log into your account.
Steam Guard will also take advantage of upcoming Intel® Identity Protection Technology (Intel® IPT), an encrypted, hardware-based feature available with the new 2nd Generation Intel® CoreT and Intel® CoreT vProT processors. Gabe Newell, president of Valve has said "Account phishing and hijacking are our #1 support issues. With Intel's IPT and Steam Guard, we've taken a big step towards giving customers the account security they need as they purchase more and more digital goods."
Unigine have been hard at work lately and are finally back to release the latest version of their benchmarking suite, Unigine Heaven. One of the industry's first DirectX 11 compliant 3D graphics benchmark applications.
Version 2.5 of Unigine Heaven includes a few new tricks - it's split into two variants: a free "basic edition" that gives most of Unigine Heaven's functionality to customers, overclockers and gamers; and a paid "professional edition" that gives data-logging, specific-functionality to aid professionals such as analysts and reviewers, priced at US$495. The professional outing also includes technical support.
Our Download of the Day today is Xfire 1.132 Build 44036.
Xfire is a free tool that automatically keeps track of when and where gamers are playing PC games online and lets their friends join them easily. It works regardless of game type, server browser, or gaming service that a player is using.
Xfire combines instant messaging, a server browser, peer-to-peer file downloads, in-game messaging, screenshot and video capture and one of the most active gaming communities in the world into a small, simple package. Best of all, it's free!
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 1.132 Build 44036
* Fixed several issues with notifications
* Fixed text color display problem in chat window