What will survive from Games for Windows Live?

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2014 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: gaming, microsoft, G4WL

With the ending of Microsoft's Games for Windows Live service many people are understandably worried that they will no longer be able to access games that they have legitimately purchased.  Some games, such as BioShock 2 have been made available via Steam and so will continue to be available but there is a long list of other games for with the future is uncertain.  The list HEXUS provides is far from complete as many companies have yet to respond to inquiries about the future of their games and for quite a few the only thing we know is that the game is not currently slated to be removed.  Check the current list and keep your eyes open for updates.

e6480dad-fd36-49a4-84a1-fae634765ee2.jpg

"We last mentioned the closure of the Games for Windows Live (G4WL) service back in October when we heard about BioShock 2 being updated and the main game and all its DLC being made available upon Steam so it could continue to be enjoyed."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Hexus

If it didn't work the first dozen times just keep doing it anyways; Win 9 will be Modern too

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2014 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: win 9, win 8.1, threshold, microsoft, dumb

Even if one literal definition of insanity is to repeat the same process exactly while expecting different results, that doesn't prevent that strategy from occasionally being effective when working with PCs.   It is not always the best way to deal with all issues however, something Microsoft may not be willing to admit if the rumours about Windows 9 are true.  What was once going to be a major update to Win 8 may now be released as a newly named version of Windows according to the info at The Inquirer.  The rebranding of the Win 8.1 Service Pack implies that the changes made to the OS will be mostly cosmetic; though a facelift to the GUI would be good the chances that Microsoft will drop their new Modern interface are quite slim.  At least Microsoft is still able to claim this release did not go as badly as Vista.

microsoft-logo.jpg

"We reported on Friday that the Threshold project was being tipped as a major update for Windows 8, however according to Winsupersite it will instead be billed as a new Windows operating system version slated for release in April 2015."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

You can't take the Start from me

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2014 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: start button, win8, microsoft, dumb

Somewhere along the line the marketing departments of many companies developed a strange theory regarding consumers; customers have no idea what they want until they are told what they want.  Somehow this theory has managed to become quite lucrative in some industries but has left other companies scratching their heads as to why it won't work for their customer base.  One example of the head scratchers would be Microsoft; a once a might empire with no competitors and the ability to dictate customers desires who now find themselves confused as to why no one wants Windows 8.  One particular reason is the removal of our beloved Start button, not the prettiest or best designed interface but one we have become accustomed to.  Pretending to put it back in Win8.1 but instead making it a button that simply metrosexualizes your GUI was a dirty trick but it was easily solved as third party companies would sell you a product which restores the familiar Start menu if you somehow found yourself forced to use Win8.  According to the leaked slides The Inquirer has seen Microsoft continues in their state denial with no sign of a restored Start button which will obviously lead to a huge increase in sales as we enthusiasts finally lobotomize ourselves and start buying only what we are told we want to buy.  At least some companies may benefit from Microsoft's delusional state.

20127_9001.jpg

"According to Neowin, a leaked early build of the update has been seen in the wild and appears to change very little, having much in common with the Service Packs of older versions of Windows."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Microsoft to Trademark 'Mod'? Modern Went Metro?

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2013 - 05:31 PM |
Tagged: windows 8 style ui, microsoft, Metro

Just because Microsoft cannot use the word 'Metro' anymore does not mean they cannot 'Go Metro' (nor does it mean I cannot use double negatives in a published work). Since then, the company has not given an official name to that aesthetic and, more importantly, its underlying APIs. You may see it described as the interface for Windows 8, Windows RT, or Windows Store apps (in much the same way as you may see Prince file for a driver's license).

WindowsMod.png

Metro, for the Modern Man.

You may also see it frequently dubbed, "Modern". Of course, this is very difficult to use in conversation because of the grammar it invokes. So, feeling the Metro, Microsoft might be taking a little off the top and shortening it to "Mod". Clean. Trim. Proper. Concise. Microsoft has filed for the trademark in the US on December 9th. Mary Jo Foley is not sure what it may be used for, if anything at all, but speculates that it could finally describe the hole left by Metro's departure.

It is a little ironic, however, that 'Mod' could be used to describe the initiative that has caused the most damage to the user's ability to modify and customize their operating system. Don't mod that 'Mod'.

So, what does our readers think about the new (potential) name if granted and used as speculated?

Source: ZDNet

ID@Xbox Has Strings... Go Figure.

Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2013 - 08:59 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, consolitis

This is why certification is bad, folks.

headdesk.png

How bad? In this specific case it is not too annoying but it does limit both freedom of expression as well as business opportunities. On the Xbox 360, indie developers were required to be published by Microsoft and give their console exclusivity or launch date parity. Things are a bit more relaxed on the Xbox One with ID@Xbox permitting self-publish releases. Microsoft will work "on a case-by-case" for games that have already been released on other platforms.

But Australian developer, Witch Beam, is unable to launch on the Xbox One. They had enough resources for a PC release in January followed by PlayStation 4, Vita, and WiiU. They did not have enough manpower to include Xbox One in that second window. As such, unless Microsoft gives them a waiver based on press attention, "Assault Android Cactus" will not appear on the Xbox One.

Microsoft has been improving their policies since the Xbox 360. Still, because of the precedent they set, they can always change their agreements at any time. Retail certification? Yeah, that can be useful for end users. Platform certification? Big problems.

Source: Eurogamer

The complaints about the emasculated Start button seem to have hit a Threshold

Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2013 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: windows, microsoft, threshold, win 8.2

Two rumours about Microsoft are making the rounds right now, the first about the impending death of one their OSes is pretty easy to understand; there is no polite way to describe WinRT.  The second is both more interesting and also harder to believe, Project Threshold could possibly see the return of a fully functional Start button to a newly updated desktop version called Windows 8.2 as apparently Service Packs are no longer cool.  Project Threshold is bigger than just a button as the rumours have this updating Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox One with the possibility that WinRT gets rolled into the Windows Phone OS.  While there are ways to modify Win 8.1 to allow a more classical interface it will be a big step forward in usability if it becomes native.  You can follow the links at The Register to the source of these rumours.

images.jpg

"According to Winsupersite, Microsoft is planning the return of the Windows Start button under the codename "Threshold", and this will be the first time we'll see it in its original form since Windows 7."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

How Many OSes Does Microsoft Need?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 06:53 PM |
Tagged: windows, microsoft

Peter Bright at Ars Technica is wondering how many operating systems (OSes) Microsoft actually needs and, for that matter, how many they already have. Three consumer versions of Windows exists (or brands of it does): Windows RT, "full" Windows, and Windows Phone. Then again, it is really difficult to divide up what a unique operating system even is. All of the aforementioned "OSes" run on the same base kernel and even app compatibility does not align to that Venn diagram.

16-ShatteredWindows2.jpg

In my personal opinion, it really does not matter how many (or what) operating systems Microsoft has. That innate desire to categorize things into boxes really does nothing useful. At best, it helps you create relationships between it and other platforms; these comparisons may not even be valid. Sure, from the perspective of Microsoft's marketing team, these categories help convey information about their products to consumers.

... And if recent trends mean anything: very incorrect and confusing information.

So really, and I believe this is what Peter Bright was getting at, who cares how many OSes Microsoft has? The concern should really be what these products mean for consumers. In that sense, I really hope we trend towards the openness of the last couple Internet Explorer versions (and of course Windows 7) and further from the censored nature of Windows RT.

You can have 800 channels or just a single one but that doesn't mean something good is on.

Source: Ars Technica

Microsoft CEO: Choice Between Alan Mulally & Satya Nadella

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | December 2, 2013 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, CEO

And then there were two, we think?

The search for a Microsoft CEO has been intensely monitored by journalists and financial analysts alike. The recent acquisition of Nokia (which was just approved by the DOJ, by the way) suggested that its CEO, Stephen Elop, was in the front running; if you watched coverage you would think CEO of Microsoft was his fate while everyone daydreamed of Alan Mulally.

microsoftCEO-1.jpg

While not confirmed, it looks like he (and former CEO of Skype, Tony Bates) are out of the running.

The top two candidates are Alan Mulally and Satya Nadella. The former would be an "acquisition" from Ford (more like a stressful retirement from there). His fame arose from turning that company around just prior to the 2008 Financial Crisis which wrecked the rest of the US auto industry. The latter runs the Cloud and Enterprise group which successfully evolved as times change without even a peep of trouble; it is just about the only stable division the company has.

microsoftCEO-2.jpg

Personally, I must say that those were just about the two best candidates in the pool -- at least from an outsider viewpoint. Their roles as CEO seem quite different but might not be. Both Mulally and Nadella have a track record of successfully navigating a changing landscape; the difference has been the rate and visibility.

microsoftCEO-3.jpg

This should be good news either way. Journalists will not have as many exciting things to talk about if Satya will be chosen but this is Microsoft's story, not theirs.

Win7's market share continues to climb

Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2013 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: Windows 7, windows, win 8.1, microsoft

There is bad news at The Inquirer for anyone at Microsoft who is still labouring under the delusion than Win 8 + 8.1 will catch on just as soon as people see it in action.  Not only does Win7 continue to hold a larger share of the market compared to its metrosexual cousin, Win7's market share is growing faster than Win 8+ 8.1, 0.22% growth compared to 0.05%.  When people are willing to pay extra to remove Win8.1 from their shiny new toys and replace it with Win7 it says a lot about the acceptance of the new OS, currently even Vista holds a greater market share than Win 8.1, though Win 8 does have slightly more.  You should also take note that as of today there are a mere 126 days before WinXP is no longer supported.

steve_ballmer_sad.jpg

"PC OPERATING SYSTEM FLOGGER Microsoft's Windows 7 still holds more market share than Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combined."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer:

The 7 Year Console Refresh

Be sure you jump to the second page to see our recommendations for gaming PC builds that are inexpensive yet compete well with the capabilities and performance of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One!!

The consoles are coming!  The consoles are coming!  Ok, that is not necessarily true.  One is already here and the second essentially is too.  This of course brings up the great debate between PCs and consoles.  The past has been interesting when it comes to console gaming, as often the consoles would be around a year ahead of PCs in terms of gaming power and prowess.  This is no longer the case with this generation of consoles.  Cutting edge is now considered mainstream when it comes to processing and graphics.  The real incentive to buy this generation of consoles is a lot harder to pin down as compared to years past.

ps4apu.jpg

The PS4 retails for $399 US and the upcoming Xbox One is $499.  The PS4’s price includes a single controller, while the Xbox’s package includes not just a controller, but also the next generation Kinect device.  These prices would be comparable to some low end PCs which include keyboard, mouse, and a monitor that could be purchased from large brick and mortar stores like Walmart and Best Buy.  Happily for most of us, we can build our machines to our own specifications and budgets.

As a directive from on high (the boss), we were given the task of building our own low-end gaming and productivity machines at a price as close to that of the consoles and explaining which solution would be superior at the price points given.  The goal was to get as close to $500 as possible and still have a machine that would be able to play most recent games at reasonable resolutions and quality levels.

Continue reading our comparison of PC vs. PS4 vs. Xbox One Hardware Comparison: Building a Competing Gaming PC!!