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After years of waiting, and months of rumors, Netflix has announced that it is launching its content streaming service in Australia, starting in March 2015.
Netflix will also be offering its streaming goodness to New Zealand in March 2015 too, and has teased that it will be offering Australians and New Zealanders HD content, as well as "4K [content] where available". There's not much more to know right now, but you can be sure we'll deliver you more news as it happens - and as an Australian, I'm very excited about this.
Not only is it great that Australians finally have access to Netflix, but it is going to disrupt the very, very controlled media market we have here. The rest of the world has so many options for content, especially in the US, but Australia is so tightly controlled, Netflix is really going to shake things up - let's just hope it doesn't have localized content to the point where it is better for people to VPN their Netflix accounts to the US.
During the NVIDIA's Editors Day 2014 in Monterey Bay, California just a couple of months ago (man, I miss that place) the company showed off its new second-generation Maxwell architecture, and gave birth to the GeForce GTX 900 series. But one of the cooler things shown off during the event, was VXGI, or Voxel Global Illumination.
NVIDIA used VXGI to recreate the infamous photo from the Lunar landing in 1969, attempting to debunk conspiracy theories on whether it happened - and whether the photos were fakes or not. Well, the company has now released that Apollo 11 demo, for anyone with a GeForce GTX 970 or GTX 980 to play around with it.
The Apollo 11 demo is powered with Unreal Engine 4, and takes some serious GPU horsepower to run it.
Nine Inch Nails singer Trent Reznor is working on a special project for Apple, as he was reportedly the chief creative officer with Beats Music. It's unknown if Reznor is currently working on hardware or software technology, but said he's "designing some products" for Apple - and with Apple's reputation of being secretive - it's unknown if consumers will know what exactly he is currently up to.
Here is what Reznor recently said: "It's related to that. Beats was bought by Apple, and they expressed direct interest in me designing some products with them. I can't go into details, but I feel like I'm in a unique position where I could be of benefit to them. That does mean some compromises in terms of how much brain power goes toward music and creating. This is very creative work that's not directly making music, but it's around music."
It seems most likely that Reznor is contributing to a project related to music delivery technology, but his work will probably debut with iTunes sometime in 2015.
Apple iOS 8 has captured 52 percent of the company's active mobile devices, continually taking market share from iOS 7. From Oct. 13 to Oct. 27, iOS increased from 48 percent up to 52 percent, with some analysts saying software bugs and possible lack of additional features have prevented some users from upgrading.
The required 5GB of free space also likely doesn't help, as Apple hasn't been able to convince owners to clear much-needed space before updating.
Despite the release of iOS 8.0.1 - which caused serious headaches for some iPhone 6 Plus owners - the adoption rate for iOS 8 is still significantly higher than the rival Google Android mobile operating system. Android 4.4 KitKat was publicly launched before November 2013, and has captured just 25 percent after an entire year.
NVIDIA has just updates its GeForce drivers, bringing them up to version 344.48. They are WHQL certified drivers, as well as GameReady for some of the biggest games launching in the coming weeks.
This includes Civilization: Beyond Earth, Lord of the Fallen, and Elite: Dangerous. These new drivers are for Windows 7/8.1 in 64-bit, something you can download here. Moving on, we have Dynamic Super Resolution, or DSR support in these new drivers, for NVIDIA's older Fermi, and Kepler-based GPUs.
Benchmark company Futuremark has launched its Fire Strike Ultra, designed as the world's first 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) benchmark. Test content is rendered at 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) resolution, and is scaled down to the PC's display resolution.
Using the Ultra preset gives users the ability to use a comprehensive 4K benchmark without actually needing a 4K monitor. Fire Strike Ultra is a function available to 3DMark Advanced and Professional versions of software, and is available now. Another requirement is that interested users need to have a GPU with at least 3GB of dedicated memory, as the test will put PCs through their paces.
"And while it's always been possible to run 4K tests with customer settings in 3DMark, using a dedicated 4K test will provide a common reference point..." Futuremark noted in a press release.
Late last month AMD released their Catalyst 14.9 drivers, but now the Catalyst 14.9.1 drivers are here with a pretty serious issue resolved. AMD has fixed several issues with Crossfire in Catalyst 14.9.1, namely quad GPU rigs running four Radeon GPUs.
Before the new Catalyst 14.9.1 drivers were released, quad Crossfire users would experience BSODs when enabling or disabling Crossfire. With the new drivers, this big problem has gone away. The new update also addressed the "crashes related to driver installation" problem, but the drivers haven't fixed everything - but what driver does?
The full list of issues, resolved problems, bug fixes and more can be found on AMD's website.
As an avid Hangouts user, the news of a new desktop version excites me. Google has announced a new Hangouts Chrome app for Chrome OS, as well as Windows, which brings a slew of improvements and changes.
First and foremost, is now Hangouts looks much like Facebook Messenger with its Chat Heads, meaning you won't need to open up Chrome or Hangouts to see your chat. With the updated Hangouts app, your contacts and chats are now combined into a separate toggle window, which is super easy to get to. Google explained on its blog post: "You'll get all your messages as long as you have the app running, and your chats will sync across Hangouts on all your devices".
Better yet, the new Hangouts app includes voice and video calling, which makes it a one-stop-shop for all things communication with Google. Google added: "We recently announced you can make phone calls to any number in the world (via Hangouts dialer) and now you can do this right from your desktop. If you use Google Voice, the app includes complete Google Voice support, so you can make and receive calls, and get your voicemails and SMS messages directly in Hangouts".
AMD has just released its new Catalyst 14.9 drivers, which has a massive list of performance improvements that it provides to various benchmarks, and some of the hottest games out right now.
The biggest improvements come to games like Murdered Soul Suspect on the Radeon R9 290X at 2560x1440 with 4x MSAA and 16x AF enabled, where there's performance improvements of up to 50%. Plants vs. Zombies receives an improved CrossFire profile, with the R9 290X in CrossFire at 4K seeing 92% scaling. Batman: Arkham Origins also sees improved CrossFire scaling, bumping up to 70% improvements.
Mantle improvements are also at play here, with Mantle being supported on AMD Mobile products with Enduro technology. Battlefield 4, Thief and Star Swarm all see improvements. You can read the full list of improvements, and grab the new Catalyst 14.9 drivers right here.
Valve is moving more and more outside of your sole gaming PC, with the announcement of Steam Music Player for all Steam users. The company has also launched a new sale with six of its games in the Half-Life universe, and their original soundtracks.
Steam Music Player was announced earlier this year, which allows gamers to use Steam to player music from their computer, playing their own tunes while gaming away. When it comes to the soundtracks for some of your Steam games, these albums will show up in the Steam Music library. Part of the Steam Music launch has Valve dropping 75% off of most of the titles in its Half-Life universe.
You can get 75% off the following Valve titles: Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal and Portal 2. Better yet, the soundtracks for all of those titles, and the one for Free to Play, which is the Valve-created DoTA 2 documentary, are all available for free. This offer expires on October 1 at 10AM PT.