Steam Hardware Survey Shows Drop for Linux

Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2016 - 02:21 AM |
Tagged: valve, steam, linux

The current split of Steam users, according to the Steam Hardware Survey, is 95.5% for Windows, 3.6% for Mac OSX, and 0.8% for Linux. Phoronix reports that this does not count SteamOS, and there might be other “inaccuracies” with the survey, but the Linux figures are 0.04% less than they were before (a relative drop of about 4.8%).

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Windows users are up, and Mac OSX is flat.

A 4.8% drop in a month isn't promising, but it's also not too concerning. If you were intending to target a platform with 0.8% marketshare, then you can benefit from the long shelf life that Linux provides. It's not like a publisher is counting on that platform to reach two-week launch window sales figures. We'll see if the pendulum will swing back in the future, especially if Valve creates compelling, new, first-party content for Linux. They seem to be waiting to put their full weight behind it.

Mozilla Publishes Servo Nightly (for Mac and Linux)

Subject: General Tech | July 1, 2016 - 07:12 PM |
Tagged: web browser, gecko, servo, Rust, mozilla, Samsung

No love for Windows at the moment, but Mozilla is showing previews of their new browser rendering engine, Servo. This one is developed in Rust, which is a highly parallel yet very memory safe language, which are two great features for a web browser, especially on mobile and multi-core desktops. You are currently able to pick it up on Mac and Linux, although it is not ready to be your primary browser yet. Windows and Android builds “should be available soon”.

Basically, Mozilla has been spending the last few years re-thinking how to design a web browser. Most Web standards are based on assumptions that the browser is going through a main loop, and that these items will occur in sequence. Back in 2013, most of the research was to see far a browser could travel into parallelization before compatibility just stops following. Samsung, who is obviously interested in smartphone technology, partnered with them, because it's easier to add more cores onto a mobile SoC than it is to make existing ones faster.

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At the time, they weren't sure whether this research would be used to improve Gecko, the current rendering engine that has been around since Netscape 6, or create a suitable replacement for it. As far as I know, that decision has still not been made, but they also haven't bailed on it yet.

Perhaps we'll see a new wave of Web technology coming soon? Maybe even break up the Webkit monopoly that seems to be forming, led by iOS and Android devices?

Source: Mozilla

Summer Games Done Quick 2016 Starts This Sunday!

Subject: General Tech | July 1, 2016 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming

Awesome Games Done Quick is an organization that runs week-long, non-stop speedrun marathons for charity. This one benefits Doctors Without Borders, like the last three summer events. The last five Games Done Quick have raised a little under six million dollars, so this is a serious charity event.

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The event starts this Sunday at 12:30pm EDT with a half-hour pre-show followed by an Any % run of Super Mario Sunshine for about an hour and a third, and that is followed by Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for about an hour and a half. Lots of PC games are included on their schedule too, including classics like Final Doom, Hexen, System Shock, and Serious Sam. It is scheduled to go, around the clock, until Saturday at just before midnight, plus or minus a few hours.

Do you want faster WiFi? This is how you get faster WiFi!

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2016 - 04:53 PM |
Tagged: 802.11ac Wave 2

Router firmware upgrades should be arriving soon to upgrade you to 802.11ac Wave 2.  You may get support for MU-MIMO after upgrading and the new version could well double your bandwidth.  It should also have less interference as it will make more use of the 5GHz channel and it will also include a new 160MHz channel.  Keep an eye on your router manufacturers website and pop by The Inquirer for more information on the new standard.

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"YOUR WIFI could be about to get a whole bunch faster as a new improved version of the current 802.11ac standard is coming to a router near you."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #406 - AMD RX 480 Review, Huawei MateBook, Steam Summer Sale, GTX 1060 and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2016 - 10:35 AM |
Tagged: video, summer sale, steam, RX 490, rx 480, radeon, Polaris, podcast, matebook, Huawei, gtx 1060, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #406 - 06/30/2016

Join us this week as we discuss our AMD RX 480 review, the new Huawei MateBook, GTX 1060 and RX 490 leaks 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 Lenovo!

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

Program length: 1:28:40
  1. Week in Review:
      1. Power Concerns?
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Dolphin 5.0 Released

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2016 - 02:02 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, Nintendo

Okay, so I'm a week late on this, but what the heck. Dolphin 5.0 was released on their website. The project is a Wii and GameCube emulator that is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This version focuses on compatibility. They claim that about 85% of titles, including WiiWare and virtual-console games, can be played from start to finish, with about 14% of all titles doing so flawlessly.

That said, it also adds several performance features. They improved the JIT compiler, added texture pooling to prevent reloading the same texture over and over, and even added DirectX 12 support, although they don't elaborate on why that would be useful for this workload. While they have not extended support to Vulkan, they do use the “Approaching Zero Driver Overhead (AZDO)” features of OpenGL and its extensions to raise performance on other platforms.

The emulator is available at their website.

Source: Dolphin

Windows 10 Anniversary Edition Arrives August 2nd

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2016 - 12:39 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

Going by what we've seen, the general public should expect a new build of Windows 10 about once or twice a year. The OS launched on July 29th of last year, and it received its first update on November 12th. The next one is called Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, which launches on... July August 2nd. Thankfully, it's not a wedding anniversary, otherwise Microsoft would be sleeping outside for a couple of nights.

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The cake is a... oh never mind.

I'm kidding about the date of course. Honestly, with the state that Windows 10 has been in lately, I'm glad that Microsoft decided to take the extra handful of days for a little extra quality control, rather than push the update a few days early. At the same time, though, it is interesting that Microsoft's Get Windows 10 initiative wants people to update to build 10586, and then update again to whatever build number this ends up being. You would think that they would extend the free offer until at least a few days after they release their latest, and presumably best in their eyes, version. Yes, it does feel odd to point out an area where Microsoft should be more aggressive with their free update promotion.

In terms of what's different, the Anniversary Update makes a handful of nice changes across a wide variety of areas. The desktop clock will now be available on any taskbar. Microsoft Edge, which receives its updates with new Windows builds, will receive extension support and a bunch of new Web APIs. They also updated the Japanese IME, which is used to input Japanese characters without a dedicated Japanese keyboard. I'm also interested in the new dark theme.

Windows 10 Anniversary will arrive on August 2nd.

Source: Microsoft

A new card, a new driver - Crimson Edition 16.6.2 is here

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2016 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: radeon, amd, Crimson Edition 16.6.2

The labelling might be a bit confusing but this new driver is for all AMD cards from the Radeon HD 7700 series and higher, including the brand new RX 480.  It adds the Radeon WattMan overclocking tool, a Crossfire Toggle for easily switching between multiple GPU and single GPU mode as well as numerous other new features which arrive with the card.  The Release Notes do not detail too many game fixes, this release is more about adding new features to the software suite.

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You can grab them right here.

Source: AMD

I see there's still an insect loose in my station ... Terri Brosius returns as SHODAN

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2016 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: gaming, system shock, Kickstarter

The System Shock reboot kicks off today in the usual place for such things and a pre-alpha demo has appeared on Steam, GOG and the Humble Store.  Chris Avellone will be a part of the project, along with several members of the Fallout New Vegas team and as mentioned, Terri Brosius will be reprising her role as SHODAN.  The $900K goal is halfway finished already but it will take $1.7M before the real game can be realized with ammo types, RPG elements and other fun things such as dismemberment.  You can take a peek at the gameplay over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN before you grab the free demo, if you so desire.

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"A modern take on System Shock, a faithful reboot; it’s not Citadel Station as it was, but as you remember it. Many improvements, overhauls and changes are being implemented to capture the spirit of what the original game was trying to convey, and bring it to contemporary gamers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Kickstarter

Doctor, treat thyself .. or at least the hospital please

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2016 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: hospital, security, winxp, Malware

For the past few years we have heard about some rather horrific security vulnerabilities in hospitals and sadly this has not changed at all.  Indeed many hospitals are still on older, unsupported OSes such as WinXP that most security software no longer protects against the malware which was used.  In one case a hospital using centralised intrusion detection software, updated endpoint protection, and new model firewall was still compromised using very old malware. In most of the cases described by The Register it was personal data and medical records which were compromised but that doesn't mean the medical appliances and physical security systems are not also vulnerable to attack.

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"Attackers have popped three prominent US hospitals, using deliberately ancient malware so old that it slips under the radar of modern security controls to compromise Windows XP boxes and gain network beacheads."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register