LWJGL 3.0.0 Released

Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2016 - 09:29 PM |
Tagged: Java, lwjgl, vulkan

Don't be confused by the date on the LWJGL post -- its release date was June 3rd, as mentioned later in the thread, not February 27th. It looks like they disabled edit timestamps. Regardless, Lightweight Java Game Library (LWJGL) 3.0.0 was just released, which is a library that binds Java code to APIs that are, normally, not directly accessible through that platform.

To be clear: LWJGL is not a library like, say, Qt, which simplifies common tasks into classes. Its goal is to connect you to whatever API you need, and otherwise leave you alone. Unless you're the type who wants full control over everything, or you're actually making a framework yourself, you will want to use existing frameworks, engines, and/or middleware for your projects. The advantage, of course, is that these frameworks, engines, and middleware now have access to newer APIs, and can justify deprecating old features.

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This release adds Vulkan support, which will provide a high-performance (and high-efficiency) base to abstract many other graphics and GPU compute tasks on. DirectX 12 and Vulkan are still being worked on, as an industry, but its mechanism is theoretically better, especially with multiple threads (and multiple graphics devices). They basically add a graphics layer to a GPU compute-style API, basing everything on lists of commands that start and end wherever the host code desires.

While Java has been taking a massive hit in public opinion lately, it is still a good platform for some applications. Gaming seems to having a resurgence of native APIs, especially with “AAA” engines becoming available to the general public, but more frameworks isn't a bad thing.

Source: LWJGL

The Wit.nes Runs in an NES Emulator

Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2016 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: nes, the witness, the wit.nes, pc gaming

The Witness, from Thekla Inc. and Jonathan Blow, caught the attention of a few of us at PC Perspective... mostly Allyn. Anywho, it's based on an island that you explore and solve puzzles along the way. I'm not talking about puzzles in the “Space Quest”, point-and-click adventure sense, but like, puzzles that you would expect to find in a newspaper, which unlock doors and turn on machinery when solved.

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If that sort of game is for you, then you might want to check out a “demake” of it, called The Wit.nes. It is created by an indie developer who goes by the name Dustmop, for NES emulators. Being a game that's based on the NES platform, the entire virtual ROM is currently 40KB. (NES titles varied between ~8kB and ~1MB). It plays from a top-down perspective in its exploration mode, rather than first-person for what should be obvious reasons, but the puzzles are apparently quite faithful to the original style.

It's free and small, so check it out at their Itch.io page if you're interested.

Just say no to Accelerator support applications; yet another Lenovo vulnerability

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2016 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, security, idiots, superfish

At some point they may learn but obviously not yet as Lenovo's Accelerator support application opens two vulnerabilities for systems with the application installed.  As it uses unencrypted transmissions during the update process and does not verify the application you receive you are vulnerable to man in the middle attacks.  There are 6 notebooks and 25 desktop lines with this issue, although ThinkPads and ThinkStations are not on the list.  If you have the software you should remove it immediately.  More over at The Register.

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"Duo Security researcher Mikhail Davidov reported the holes that would allow eavesdropping attackers to tap into Accelerator's unencrypted update channels to compromise users."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #402 - GTX 1070 Review, i7-6950X Review, AMD Radeon RX480, Aftermarket GTX 1080’s, Tiny SSDs, Computex 2016, and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2016 - 11:11 AM |
Tagged: zenfone 3, ssd, Samsung, rx480, ROG Rampage V Edition 10, podcast, PM971-NVMe, i7-6950X, gtx1080, GTX1070, computex 2016, Broadwell, Bristol Ridge, BGA, avalon, 1080, 1070

PC Perspective Podcast #402 - 06/03/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the GTX 1070 Review, i7-6950X Review, AMD Radeon RX480, Aftermarket GTX 1080’s, Tiny SSDs, Computex 2016, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Casper!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak

Program length: 2:02:07
  1. Week in Review:
  2. Casper!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 1:12:09 Aftermarket GTX 1080s are here!
    2. 1:27:25 ASUS Computex 2016
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn: Break down and organize / lookup all of those Amazon boxes.
  5. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

One serving of Micron 3D TLC NAND, hold the NVMe

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2016 - 12:26 PM |
Tagged: micron, 3d nand, tlc, mlc, DEVSLP

Micron have unveiled their new line of 3D NAND, the SATA 6Gbps TLC 1100 and the NVMe MLC 2100, although they only shared details of the former.  The 1100 will introduce DEVSLP mode, where the drives power draw will dip to less than 2mW on the smaller drives, 4mW for the 1TB with the 2TB model requiring 25mW.  The TLC used in the drive is rather impressive, the advertised speeds come very close to what their MLC based M600 drives are capable of.  Check out the full specs and more over at The Register.

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"Intel, its flash foundry partner, introduced its own 3D SSDs, MLC (2bits/cell) ones, in March with the DC P3320 and P3520, with maximum capacity of 2TB. These had an NVME interface whereas Micron’s 1100 has the slower 6Gbit/s SATA interface."

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Source: The Register

Epic Games Releases Unreal Engine 4.12

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2016 - 06:26 PM |
Tagged: unreal engine, ue4, unreal engine 4, epic, epic games

Epic Games has released Unreal Engine 4.12, which adds quite a bit, especially cinematic tools. Those who created games or mods in Unreal Engine 3 or 4 will know about Matinee, the interface to animate objects in a scene. It has finally been replaced with Sequencer, which is designed to feel more like Adobe After Effects or Adobe Premiere. They also add a bunch of features to DirectX 12 and Vulkan, but both are still in experimental preview. Vulkan, for instance, only implements rendering features for mobile, not desktop.

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Beyond Sequencer, mentioned above, Epic has also added a bunch of new rendering technologies for high-end graphics. This includes High Quality Reflections, Planar Reflections, Grass and Foliage Scalability, and Twist Corrective Animation Node. These are quite interesting for someone like me, who has been getting back into pre-rendered animation recently, but finds that typical, production renderers (such as Cycles) are quite heavy, slowing me down. Epic was interested in bringing Unreal Engine into a video production workflow, even back in Unreal Engine 3, and it's good to see a lot of attention in this area. It might be enough to move me over at some point, especially for animations that don't have a hyper-realistic style. Even better -- this level of visual quality should land in some games, too.

Unreal Engine 4.12 is now available on Epic's Launcher.

Source: Epic Games

Great, everyones bloatware is making your new system vulnerable

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2016 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: security, Lenovo, hp, dell, crapware, asus, acer

We take a quick break from telling you about all the shiny new things you can't have yet to inform you about problems with things you do have.  Bloatware is awful but continues to be popular for sellers of prebuilt systems, both mobile and desktop.  It is not just the pop ups telling you to buy the full version of whatever was installed on your system before you bought it, nor the CPU cycles these programs take up; the issue is security.  Lenovo and the Superfish issue were in the news recently and now it seems that vulnerabilities have been found in systems sold by Acer, ASUS and Dell as well.  10 devices were tested by Duo Security, all of which had vulnerabilities.  Dell and Lenovo had a single problem each, ones which we are already familiar with sadly while Acer and HP both have a pair.  You can read about what the vulnerabilities are over at The Inquirer, something to do while you reimage your new machine.

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"Duo Security identified 12 vulnerabilities across the vendors' machines. We have approached all of them to see whether they are happy to talk about the problems, which Duo described as significant."

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Source: The Inquirer

You met the Couchmaster, now meet the Corsair Lapdog

Subject: General Tech | May 27, 2016 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: corsair, lapdog

You may remember the Nerdytec COUCHMASTER Ryan tested back in 2013?  Kitguru received a similar device recently, the Corsair Lapdog for use with K70 and K65 keyboards and with enough space on the side for mousing.  Unfortunately the setup is only comfortable for right handed users, lefties will have to hope a sinister model comes out.  It has a built in 4-powered port USB 3.0 hub, not just for your peripherals as it supports quick charging for your portable devices.  Check out their video review to see if you might want to upgrade from what you currently use when sitting on your couch.

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"The Corsair Lapdog is grandly described as a ‘Gaming Control Centre’, however that doesn’t explain things very well as Lapdog is unlike anything we have seen before."

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Source: Kitguru

Podcast #401 - Gigabyte X99P-SLI, RevoDrive is back, GPU Drivers, Computex, and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2016 - 05:53 PM |
Tagged: X99P-SLI, toshiba, revodrive, review, RD400, podcast, pcper, ocz, msi, hardware, gigabyte, fdsoi, computex, amd, AM4, am3, am2, 303, 22nm

PC Perspective Podcast #401 - 05/26/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the Gigabyte X99P-SLI, RevoDrive is back, GPU Drivers, Computex, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts:  Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak

Program length: 1:07:00
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Jeremy: #MakeSpaceGreatAgain
    2. Allyn: [the Sequence]
    3. Josh: Last Year’s Model, but still nifty!
    4. Sebastian: A great game, remastered
  4. http://pcper.com/podcast
  5. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  6. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Thermaltake's eSports’ Level 10M has reached the advanced level

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2016 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: input, thermaltake, eSports Level 10M Advanced, gaming mouse

The Thermaltake eSports’ Level 10M gaming mouse is a new version of the original Level 10M, now with a braided USB cable and a thumbrest.  The side sports two buttons which function normally, along with a third button that is in fact a 5-axis controller to control mouse features.  If you press it in the lights change, left and right will lower or increase the sensitivity and what happens when you push the button up or down will be up to you, as they can be programmed.  The overall look of the mouse is unique and the $70 price tag is reasonable, check out Kiguru's full review if you are interested in picking this mouse up.

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"Back in 2012, we reviewed Tt eSports’ Level 10M mouse, and now there is an updated ‘Advanced’ edition. With the same striking visuals and customisation options, it will be interesting to see how the Level 10M Advanced fares as a gaming mouse in 2016."

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Source: Kitguru

X means X again, thanks Microsoft

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2016 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

It seems that taking inspiration from those nasty popups where the X button does not actually close the window was a bad idea for Redmond and thankfully they have listened to reason.  No longer will clicking the X on the Win10 nag screen be construed as accepting the upgrade as long as it is a Roman numeral, but will once again return to the clost command which it represents on any and all other windows.  The Inquirer was more than a little miffed about this which is perfectly understandable as this particular step was far beyond the pale, the other attempts to forcibly upgrade ranged from reasonable to annoying but this one was just wrong.  Thankfully Microsoft has listened and once again it will go back to asking you for a date repeatedly, until you remove KB2952664, acquiesce to its advances or hold out past July 29th when you will have to pay $120 to hang out with it.

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"Microsoft has now responded to "customer feedback" and agreed to change the behaviour of the 'X' button back to the more 'piss off' tone that we all know and love."

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Source: The Inquirer

GOATS IN SPAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2016 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: gaming, goat simulator, #MakeSpaceGreatAgain

That's right, those insanely beautiful bastards over at Coffee Stain Studios did it again, Goat Simulator: Waste of Space will be arriving tomorrow on Steam as DLC, likely at the $5.00 price point the previous GoatZ and Payday DLCs sold for.  It features a lightsabre so impressive it will throw Kylo into a sulk, romance plot lines that put Mass Effect to shame, facehugger spitting goats and plenty of self referential humour as well.  The trailer is below and you can read a bit more over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

You are a goat too!

"Then there’s the faux-Schwarzenegger narrator. “Listen to me, you bastards,” he demands. “You will stop at absolutely nothing to make the galaxy great again.” Which evidently involves licking a crew member’s face who has cherry-topped cream cakes covering their nipples."

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MSI at Computex, a peek before the show

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | May 25, 2016 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: msi, computex 2016, GS63 Stealth Pro

MSI offered a sneak peek at the lineup you can expect to see them showcase at Computex and the list is quite long, with some interesting new additions.

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For laptops you can expect to see the new GS63 Stealth Pro, with a Core i7 6700HQ and GTX970M inside.  The cooling system is also new, a five heatpipe system called the Cooler Boost Trinity with Whirlwind Blades pushing hot air out the exhaust ports.  We should hear more about what this system actually is during the show.

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The GT83 and GT73 Titan SLI laptops are built with VR in mind, as well as supporting output to multiple monitors and 4K resolutions; though perhaps not both at once.  The GT83 contains desktop class GTX 980s while the GT73 uses the mobile versions, the GTX 980M or a single desktop GTX 980 if you prefer.

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The GS73 focuses on a slimmed down design while still incorporating a GTX970M and the aforementioned Cooler Boost Trinity system.  It will also sport a SteelSeries gaming keyboard, an ESS SABRE HiFi headset AMP and Nahimic 2.0 sound system.

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Something far more unique is the 'Backpack PC', allowing you to strap a Core i7 and GTX 980 to your back so that you are not tied to a desk when using VR.  With that amount of power you will still need mains power as the weight of the battery required to power that system for more than a few minutes would be prohibitive.  On the other hand the cables from your VR headset and controllers would be connected to the backpack which would theoretically direct the cables out of your way.

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The Aegis Gaming Desktop is a far more familiar desktop machine, though it too offers a nod towards VR usage by locating an HDMI connection at the front of the 19.6L case.  It will also have a Dragon Button, reminiscent of the old Turbo button from the original 8086 processor, which will boost your 'speed and performance' by 15%.  Likely this is an overclocking preset which one assumes can be enabled on the fly.

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The Vortex G65 SLI desktop is a little less plain, a round case which is a mere 6.5L in volume but still contains two GTX 980s and an i7-6700K, with their proprietary Silent Storm Cooling system.  MSI continues the pattern of building systems around VR compatibility with the Vortex.

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Continuing on to their Cubi 2 Plus, a SFF system powered by a Skylake-S class processor a wee 5x5" mini-STX motherboard.  The CPU is not BGA and so can be upgraded and there is enough space in the system for a 2.5" SSD upgrade, albeit just barely.

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On to their motherboards, first up is the X99A GAMING PRO CARBON which offers a few new features to tempt users to upgrade.  Not only does it have USB Type-C connectors but they are described as being located at the front, presumably on a header. It also sports Audio Boost 3, Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s, SEx ports and Dynamic Mystic Light, an LED systems with software that supports more than 16.8 million colors.

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For those more concerned with overclocking than having an impressive light show, the X99A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM features Military Class 5 components and a specially designed thermal system to ensure a solid overclock.  It also has support for U.2 32Gb/s drives.

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The last of the trio of motherboards will be the Z170A MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM, similar to the X99A model apart from the socket. You will get all the features of the TITANIUM series for your LGA1151 processors.

Expect to see much more information about these products and others once Computex gets underway.

Source: MSI

CRYENGINE Source Goes Public on GitHub

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2016 - 01:43 AM |
Tagged: crytek, CRYENGINE V, CRYENGINE

So, a few months ago in March, Crytek announced that CRYENGINE V would be licensed under a “pay what you want” business model, which extends down to free -- nothing up front and no royalties. It supports DirectX 12 and a Mono-based framework, which they're calling CE# Framework, that allows gameplay code to be programmed in C#. Since it's done in Mono, it looks like it can be used in all supported platforms, but I could be wrong. While C++ is typically more desirable for AAA-style games, other engines, especially Unity, have attracted a lot of attention with their C# parsers.

The engine doesn't appear to support Vulkan, though, at least not yet.

Crysis2.jpg

Hold the phone...

Today's news? The source code is now on GitHub, and not even as a private repository. It's just... there. CRYENGINE V is licensed under a typical EULA, of course, so they impose a few restrictions on how it can be used. Content must not be sexual explicit, vulgar, or “in a reasonable person's view, objectionable.” I expect that this will not be enforced too strictly in terms of violence and cursing, but it differs from, say, Unreal Engine 4, which officially permits Adult content (although they'll occasionally ask to have their trademarks removed, so their logos do not appear to be endorsements).

Crytek also prevents their engine from being used in simulation, science, and architecture. I assume those are intended to be pushed into a separate licensing structure. It would seem silly for them to just outright ban those applications.

Anywho, feel free to check out the engine on GitHub.

ASUS and Gigabyte boards see a small growth

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2016 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: asus, gigabyte

According to the information that DigiTimes was able to garner, only Asustek Computer and Gigabyte Technology will see their shipment of motherboards over this first half of the year either remain the same as last year or perhaps experience a small growth.  As neither are expected to break 20 million units this is not great news but is certainly better than the news ASRock, MSI, ECS and Biostar are expecting.  The lack of competition in the CPU/APU market is spilling over to motherboard manufacturers as customers are not immediately upgrading to the new platforms but are instead choosing premedical upgrades.  The next few quarters are going to be interesting as we see what strategies motherboard manufacturers adopt to retain sales.  New boards based on the Intel 200 series chipset will not likely be a factor until the last quarter of this year, at the earliest.

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"The sources expect Asustek and Gigabyte's motherboard shipments in 2016 to stay at the same level in 2015 and neither of them is able to break 20 million units. Since overall demand continues shrinking, the top-2 players are likely to continue taking market share from lower-tier players."

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Source: DigiTimes

Was Google holding back at I/O? Not really; but here are a few things you might have missed.

Subject: General Tech | May 20, 2016 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: google

The Inquirer put together a list of topics that received little to no coverage during the Google I/O keynote, though why Daydream VR was included is hard to say as it was all over the news yesterday.  The Google Play store coming to Chromebooks and Android Pay arriving in the UK were also services we knew about but which did not get a mention.  On the other hand, Google's Tensor Processing Unit really should have received more emphasis as it is rather impressive. If AMD, NVIDIA and Intel were hoping to get a contract from Google to power the next generation of Deep Dream or Google Assistant then they are out of luck.  Take a peek at the other topics The Inq wanted to hear more about here.

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"As such, here's the INQ top 10 announcements that got bumped from the I/O keynote to a footnote or out of the main speech altogether."

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Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #400 - Talking GTX 1080 Performance, GTX 1070 specs, AMD Polaris leaks and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2016 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: video, radeon, polaris 11, polaris 10, Polaris, podcast, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx, geforce, arm, amd, 10nm

PC Perspective Podcast #400 - 05/19/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the GTX 1080 performance and features, official specifications of the GTX 1070, new Polaris specification rumors, ARM's 10nm chip test and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

SilverStone's AR07, a quiet small sized cooler for a small sized system

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2016 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, Argon ar07, SFF

SilverStone's Argon series are specialized for systems built in small cases and where noise can be an issue.  It measures 140x50x159mm, perfect for fitting into a smaller system and from [H]ard|OCP's testing we see the cooler produces 40.9db(A) maximum.  This does mean the cooler is not for systems you plan to heavily overclock but the performance is good enough to support a minor boost if your HTPC needs a bit more power.  Check out the full review here.

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"The Argon Series AR07 CPU air cooler is billed by Silverstone as being, "For users looking for a no-nonsense top performing cooler without the premium price, the Argon AR07 is the perfect choice." Three heatpipes, some fins, and a 140mm fan is no-nonsense in our book, so how does it cool?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Microsoft Releases Windows 7 "Convenience" Roll-Up

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2016 - 03:40 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Windows 7, Windows 8.1

I know this sounds like yet another story where Microsoft attempts to ram Windows 10 down your throat, but it's not (apart from a potential interpretation of the last paragraph). It's been about six-and-a-half years since Windows 7 launched, and about five years since Service Pack 1. If you've attempted to install Windows 7 recently, then attempting to run Windows Update makes it painfully obvious how long that's been.

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Image Credit: Microsoft

Finally, Microsoft is making an official roll-up available. Better? It can be slipstreamed into install media, so you don't even need to go through that step with each reformat. This will not contain every possible update, though. Microsoft lists 23 patches that they excluded based on three conditions:

  • “They don't have broad applicability.”
  • “They introduce behavior changes.”
  • “They require additional user actions, such as making registry settings.”

They also excluded every update to Internet Explorer, which makes sense. Users can install Internet Explorer 11 and update it, or just uninstall it entirely if they want (after they download whatever browser(s) that they will actually use). While some of these excluded fixes will affect many users, it should be a much better experience than several hundred patches and a half-dozen reboots. It's probably better to let the user choose many of these optional updates by hand anyway.

At the same time, they also announced that “non-security updates” will be merged into a monthly roll-up for both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 (and several versions of Windows Server). They're not too clear about how this will work, but it sounds like users will not be able to pick and choose parts of optional patches anymore. Given how many of these were attempts to, again, shove Windows 10 down our throats, that's a bit of a concern. However, I suspect that this is just so Microsoft can align its release structure to how it's done on Windows 10. It's probably just easier for them to manage.

Source: Microsoft

DOOM is back

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2016 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: gaming, doom

Most reviewers agree, the new DOOM is a callback to the old days of run and gun shooters, not the overly prevalent cover shooters of today.  The speed is the key to having fun, leaping up obstacles, chainsawing demons when you are low on ammo or simply putting your boot through them.  The shotgun comes early and does exactly what you want it to, or you can choose different favourites from the arsenal you are sure to accumulate.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN were hoping for a little more variation in the common demon types and the inevitable mod to enlarge the colour palette used in the game but are having a great time already.  Check out their first impressions here if you have yet to find the time to play.

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"It’s early doors of course, so anything I say below may well become incorrect depending on how things shake out later on. I also haven’t dabbled in multiplayer yet, but will go hang my hide out for an online beating a little later today. "

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