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Microsoft opens up cross-platform Office support for Android apps

Microsoft recently announced that 20 more tablet manufacturers will pre-install Office applications and other Microsoft services on their Google Android-powered tablets. Customers will have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, OneNote, and OneDrive without needing to download and install an update.

 

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"We expect more customers who purchase Android devices directly from the OEM will receive the pre-installed services and applications," a Microsoft spokesperson told PCWorld. "In the event a mobile operator chooses not to pre-install the MS Services and apps, customers still have access to these apps by easily downloading them from Google Play."

 

Microsoft announced the following new partners: Axdia, Cube, DL, General Procurement, Grupo Nucleo, Haier, Inco, Ionik GBMH, Iview, LG, Multilaser, Noblex, Pacific, Philco, Positivo, Prestigio, Sony, Teclast, TMAX Digital, and Wortmann.

Continue reading 'Microsoft opens up cross-platform Office support for Android apps' (full post)

AMD hasn't released a WHQL certified Catalyst driver in over 160 days

Did you know that it has been nearly 6 months since AMD released a WHQL-certified Catalyst driver? With NVIDIA constantly refining and fine tuning its GeForce driver with a constant stream of Game Ready WHQL releases, even for Windows 10 with DirectX 12 support, AMD has fallen behind the ball, big time.

 

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We used to see monthly releases of Catalyst drivers back in the day, which added performance improvements for new games, increased support for features like CrossFire and Eyefinity, and even support for new GPUs as they were released. But it has been over 18 months since AMD released the Radeon R9 290X, and 12 months since the Radeon R9 295X2.

 

The last WHQL-certified Catalyst drivers were released on 9/12/14 in the form of the Catalyst 14.12 Omega WHQL, and since then, AMD has released just two Beta drivers, with the Catalyst 15.4 drivers helping out with Grand Theft Auto V, and adding support for FreeSync. With the impending release of an entire new architecture with HBM memory in the form of the Radeon R9 390X, we should hopefully expect AMD to not just release a kick ass new driver, but to keep up with monthly releases to better compete against NVIDIA in the software side of its products.

Magicka 2 developer: Vulkan API might be 'even better than DX12'

During an interview with WorldsFactory, Pisces Interactive, the developer behind Magicka 2 talked about DirectX 12. The studio said that DX12 will have large improvements over DX11, but teased that the Vulkan API could be even better.

 

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The studio said: "DX12 is a big improvement over DX11, it enables games to move to the next generation of graphics. But we're also eagerly awaiting the official release of OpenGL Vulkan, which might even be better than DX12. Currently we are only experimenting with the API's but we will of course support them eventually".

 

When it comes to the Xbox One version of Magicka 2, Pisces Interactive added: "Paradox has been focusing on PC only for many many years. And this is Paradox first game on the new generation of consoles so we start slow and begin with PlayStation 4. We will see if and when a Xbox one version would be possible. Currently we also have an exclusive deal with Sony".

 

The Vulkan API is exciting, but DirectX 12 is where all of the buzz lies. DX12 will be adopted by far more developers, but we could see some truly interesting things from Vulkan, too.

NVIDIA's 352.84 WHQL drivers are the first WHQL drivers for Windows 10

We only just reported that NVIDIA released its new GeForce Game Ready 352.84 WHQL drivers, but the company has just unleashed its new drivers for Windows 10, too. These new drivers are the world's first WHQL signed drivers for Windows 10, with support for DirectX 12, and the company's GeForce 900, 700 and 600 series video cards.

 

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While there are no games that run in DirectX 12 right now, it's great to see that NVIDIA is not just ready with drivers so early - before Windows 10 is even here - but WHQL signed ones to boot. The company has said: "We're working on DX12 on many fronts. Our engineers are providing drivers, working with game engine providers, and co-developing with Microsoft. We're also helping game developers deploy their DX12 titles".

 

Team Green continued: "GeForce has been the GPU of choice for key DX12 demos from Microsoft since the API was announced. Combining the world's fastest GPU hardware with a high-quality graphics driver made for the perfect showcase for the next-generation features of Windows 10 and DirectX 12".

Nevermind... No free Microsoft Windows 10 upgrades for pirates

After unveiling different "editions" of its upcoming Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft has also discussed genuine vs. non-genuine Windows installations. Genuine users will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 that also includes security updates for the device's lifetime - but pirates won't receive the same feature.

 

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"When we can't verify that Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with, we create a desktop watermark to notify the user," Microsoft said in a blog post. "If you ever encounter this watermark on a new machine, I encourage you to return the device immediately to the retailer from whom you purchased it and request a Genuine Windows device."

 

Instead, Microsoft will try to convince users running pirated copies of different "attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers" to switch to Genuine.

NVIDIA says PC sales slowing ahead of Microsoft Windows 10 launch

Consumers and businesses aren't in a big hurry to purchase new hardware or software, as Microsoft prepares to launch the Windows 10 operating system this summer, according to NVIDIA.

 

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"We see a very soft market going into Q2," said Colette Kress, Chief Financial Officer at NVIDIA, while speaking during a financial analysts' call. Previously, the Gartner research group predicted PC prices will increase up to 10 percent in 2015, as the industry is still undergoing a change to fight off mobile products.

 

Windows 10 is expected to receive strong support, especially from disgruntled Windows 8/8.1 users - and Microsoft believes Windows 10 could be the last OS upgrade consumers need, as it will provide a seamless user experience across multiple devices.

Continue reading 'NVIDIA says PC sales slowing ahead of Microsoft Windows 10 launch' (full post)

Hollywood lobbied for UK government to keep movie ripping illegal

Piracy groups in the United States have been resistant to technology, and both music labels and movie studios have shown anger related to ripping technologies. In the UK, however, the government decided to make it legal to rip and copy MP3s and movies for personal use, allowing consumers a bit more freedom.

 

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However, the decision to legalize backups of music and movies was not a popular decision by Hollywood, which Sony Pictures Entertainment and other studios resisted. As revealed following SPE's data breach, Hollywood wanted UK Prime Minister David Cameron to think of Hollywood - especially if a commercially available alternative was available to consumers.

 

"This is because prior interactions with the UK government over the last few months have left us with no certainty that our concerns will be addressed in the proposal that will be presented to Parliament for an up or down vote in February," said Keith Weaver, EVP of the Global Policy and External Affairs at Sony, in a leaked email.

Continue reading 'Hollywood lobbied for UK government to keep movie ripping illegal' (full post)

Microsoft Office 2016 public preview released

A preview has been pushed live by Microsoft pending its release of the Office 2016 desktop productivity suite, with no Office 365 subscription necessary for download.

 

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The technical preview of this edition was reportedly released back in February 2015 surrounded by strict non-disclosure agreements for all involved.

 

Now Microsoft is ready to open it up to the masses with their general manage of Office marketing, Jared Spataro, commenting that he's looking forward to feedback from a large public audience before full release later in 2015. Reportedly similar to Office 2013 in the looks department, Office 2016 pledges to offer better cloud storage options, collaboration opportunities and more.

Continue reading 'Microsoft Office 2016 public preview released' (full post)

Boeing 787 Dreamliner glitch can make it lose power, FAA reports

In a bid to make skies safer, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned that a software fault could result in loss of power mid-flight on the gigantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

 

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Discovered by Boeing themselves in private testing circumstances (not real flight), this issue can occur if the aircraft is not powered down between trips, resulting in the generator systems on board switching to fail-safe mode and seeing all AC power cut - mid air or not.

 

This issue is said to take 248 days of usage for the fault to occur, rendering it as an unlikely thing to happen in real-world circumstances. However, this model of aircraft has reportedly experienced some other issues resulting in extended boot up times.

Continue reading 'Boeing 787 Dreamliner glitch can make it lose power, FAA reports' (full post)

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