Windows 10 Market Share Report and Other Thoughts

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2015 - 09:56 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

According to NetMarketShare, Windows 10 now makes up around 7.94% of all desktop PCs. For comparison, all versions of Mac OSX combined total about 8% on this survey. It is behind Windows 8.1 and Windows XP though, which sit at 10.68% and 11.68% respectively. Windows 7 is still the overwhelming majority at 55.71%.


The OS has a few controversies associated with it, though. Some are warranted, some are not, and still others lay between. The first issue is that the reservation application has been known to download Windows 10, even without permission to do so (and redownload the several-gigabyte file if removed). This isn't counted on the market share survey of course, since the OS isn't actually installed, but it can be annoying for users will small main drives or metered internet connections. For people with satellite broadband, this will probably ruin your whole month.

Microsoft has also just announced that Windows 10 will be pushed to Windows Update for Windows 7 and Windows 8.x at some point in 2016. It will not automatically install, you will need to accept the EULA, but it will automatically download. Intentionally.

There's also some (many) concerns about privacy and data collection policies. Part of it is because Microsoft is pushing a free operating system without a clear business model, which leaves a lot of room to speculate what the value actually is. Many of these concerns aren't really possible, if only because too many people would need to be involved for the lack of leaks, but some level of concern is useful. For instance, there has yet to be a sufficient explanation of what “AutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl” does, precisely and specifically. Does it pipe everything you do to every advertiser and government acronym in the world?

No. Of course not.

It is an area that Microsoft, and basically all of their competitors, should improve upon, though.

Treyarch Plans Mod Support in 2016 for Black Ops III on PC

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2015 - 08:39 PM |
Tagged: treyarch, call of duty, Activision

It's always good when a major franchise decides to add (or re-add) mod support. This time it's Call of Duty. Treyarch, who developed just under half of the titles in the main series, will bring the feature to Call of Duty: Black Ops III for the PC. An unranked dedicated server will also be available, because ranking players using modded content is not exactly... fair... for any reasonable mod tool set, across all possible creations.


They intend to allow custom maps and game modes, which leaves a few open questions. Are custom assets a part of “custom maps and game modes”? What sort of scripting options will be available? Does this mean that users cannot add custom weapons (or even vehicles)? Then you can get into more specific questions, like HUD possibilities and such. Thankfully, we have enough options for “Total Conversion” mods these days, with Unreal, Crytek, Unity, and others letting just about anyone access top-tier tools, in a variety of languages and platforms.

Treyarch is planning to release a closed alpha of the mod tools in March.

Source: Treyarch

The sad tale of the refresh that failed to quench the desires of Windows users

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2015 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, market share

Of the total PC market Windows holds just over 90%, Linux 1.57% and Mac around 8% which is about what it was a year ago.  The release of Windows 10 has not created a surge in Microsoft users, nor has it caused the migration to Linux that so many claimed they would do after the EoL of Windows XP.  Worse news for Microsoft is that there are more people using Windows 7 than there were 12 months ago, 55.71% compared to 53.05%.  Even Windows 8 users are not shifting in any significant amount, 13.22% compared to 16.8% last year.  Even with the dearth of new hardware to spur an upgrade cycle the numbers show that consumers have little to no interest in updating to Microsoft's newest platform.  Perhaps the negative press surrounding some of the contentious features which Microsoft introduced in the new OS have harmed the upgrade cycle in addition to the lack of a driving reason to do a full system upgrade.  For more on these interesting times in the PC market you can check the original story at The Inquirer.


"Things are almost stagnant elsewhere, which is a worry because it seems that, although Windows 10 is gaining ground, very slightly, it doesn't seem to be at the significant expense of anything else."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Batman: Arkham Knight Refunds Extended Through End of 2015

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2015 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: Warner Brothers, Warner Bros Games, steam, refund, console port, batman arkham knight

In a move that does nothing to inspire confidence in the future of console ports to PC, Warner Bros. has issued a statement apologizing for the continuing issues with Batman: Arkham Knight, announcing the availability of full refunds for anyone who purchased the game on Steam through the end of this year.


The refund offer has no restrictions on play time, allowing those who purchased the game at any time to get their money back. This unprecedented move, coming after the removal of the PC game for sale on Steam and subsequent re-release last week, dooms the PC port of Batman: Arkham Knight. With the announcement Warner Bros. Games appears to be withdrawing support, as they previously had been promising fixes for the problems plaguing the game.

It remains to be seen if Warner has simply decided to cut their losses and rely on console sales for the latest entry in the Batman franchise. The question going forward will be whether Warner attempts to port the next installment to the PC at all after this disastrous release.

It's not Logitech, it's not RAM, it's the G.SKILL Ripjaws MX780 gaming mouse

Subject: General Tech | October 30, 2015 - 07:03 PM |
Tagged: input, MX780 RGB, G.Skill, ripjaws

Trying to keep branding straight in your mind is not an easy task, especially when companies mix old branding from competitors with their own current branding for a completely different type of product.  Branding aside, the G.SKILL Ripjaws MX780 sports eight fully customizable buttons and the height, length and width of much of the mouse can be adjusted via screws as we first saw back in the Cyborg Rat 7 and other similar devices.  The software from G.SKILL allows you to program the buttons, polling rate, DPI sensitivity and the seven different LEDs on the mouse.  Check out how well the mouse performs at Overclockers Club.


"The main problem I found with this mouse is with using cloth mouse pads – lifting the mouse would cause it to stop working momentarily when sat back down as if it were recalibrating. Using a hard surface the mouse worked perfectly. I used a Ratpadz hard pad, an XTracGear Ripper cloth pad, and a Corsair Gaming Mouse Mat cloth pad. Only the hard plastic pad worked reliably when lifting the mouse and setting it down."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Google to merge Chrome and Android into their One True OS

Subject: General Tech | October 30, 2015 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: chrome, Android, google

It has been long suspected that eventually Google would merge their two operating systems into one and we now have a rumoured date, 2017.  An Android runtime for the Chrome OS already exists and almost any Android app can be modified to run on a Chrome powered device but we now have confirmation that the two will finally merge under the Android brand.  The new OS will remain open sourced and programmers may be enticed into programming more applications as they would only need to make one application instead of needing to write two versions.  Pop by The Inquirer for more speculation.


"ALPHABET SUBSIDIARY Google (still sounds weird, right?), is reportedly planning to merge Chrome OS and Android into a single platform."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Corsair's KATAR is an Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse with Pro Features

Subject: General Tech | October 30, 2015 - 12:05 AM |
Tagged: KATAR, gaming mouse, DPI tuning, corsair, ambidextrous, 8000 DPI, 1000 Hz polling rate

Corsair has introduced their new Katar gaming mouse, designed with input from professional gamers and boasting an 8000 DPI optical sensor and 1000 Hz polling rate. And the Katar also features an ambidextrous design and a retail of just $39.99.


Not many gaming mice are geared towards both right and left-handed players, and Corsair’s compact Katar mouse is also very lightweight – which may not be everyone’s preference, but still a feature for longer sessions.

“Katar’s compact and ultra-lightweight 85g ambidextrous design makes it supremely comfortable to play with all day, whether you’re left or right-handed, and its rubber side grips mean gamers always have a firm hold, no matter how intense the action gets.”

The mouse also features “Pro Player Mode”, which Corsair explains “allows gamers to take advantage of pre-configured performance and tuning settings used by the world’s top players”. There are also 4 programmable buttons and on-the-fly DPI tuning on top of the 1000 Hz polling rate and 8000 DPI sensor, making this seem like a very capable little gaming mouse.


Here are the specifications from Corsair:

  • Designed for winning: Created with the help of top pro-gaming teams around the world.
  • Pro player mode: Get up to speed with preconfigured performance and tuning settings customized by the world’s top players.
  • Compact, ultra-light weight design: At just 85 grams, it can help you react more quickly and reduce fatigue.
  • 8,000 DPI optical sensor: Extreme accuracy for FPS and MOBA gaming.
  • Zero lag interface: 1,000Hz polling rate pushes the limits of the USB protocol.
  • Ambidextrous Shape: Optimized textured rubber sides grips for left and right handed players.
  • Four programmable buttons: Take control with extensive customization -- anything from simple remaps to complex macros.
  • On-the-fly DPI tuning: Instantly adapt your mouse speed to the situation for total command of any environment
  • MSRP: $39.99


More information is available at Corsair’s product page, and the Katar will be available for purchase in November. Corsair has a pre-order page up here, and Newegg already has a product page up, with availability listed as November 16.

Source: Corsair

Just Picked Up: Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows

Subject: General Tech | October 29, 2015 - 09:36 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, xbox, windows 10

As some have noticed, my recent “Just Delivered” post for the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller was not very... wireless. Simply put, the Elite does not come with a wireless adapter for Windows, because that would be useless for the console-only crowd, and its price was already high enough. While it was released on October 20th, the Xbox Canada website gave a server error for its product page until the 22nd.

It seemed like a bit of a rushed launch, to say the least.


Well, when I popped into EB Games on my walk today, I was surprised to find that they have stock. Yay. Installation was relatively simple. Open the box, stick it into an available USB port, wait for Windows 10 to recognize it, put batteries in your gamepad, turn the controller on, press both sync buttons, and wait until the Xbox logo (on the controller) turns a solid glow. From then on, you just need to turn the gamepad on and off by pressing and holding the Xbox logo, which takes about a count of fifteen to turn off.

A couple of additional notes. First, the adapter is said to support up to eight controllers. This is great, especially for indie developers who are interested in party games. Also, the ability to update controller firmware will be added via the “Xbox Accessories” app from Windows Store, which is the same one used to rebind gamepad inputs. That update will be available on November 12th (see "Headset audio issues through the controller"). Thanks to an anonymous comment for this info!

Also, this means that you pretty much should not get Xbox One accessories unless you're planning to run Windows 10.

Microsoft Publishes Windows 10 Build 10576 to Fast Insiders

Subject: General Tech | October 29, 2015 - 06:23 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

It's unclear which changes will make it into the general release November update, but Insiders are still getting features early. Microsoft has just published Build 10576, which contains a few interesting additions, but one that stands out. Microsoft Edge will be able to cast (unprotected) content to any Miracast and DLNA device on your network. This could be something like a WDTV Live or an Amazon Fire TV. It might even work with the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, but that's just speculation from a quick Google search.


So basically, it works with YouTube, Facebook, Pandora, and other sources. It will not work with Netflix or Hulu, which use EME, though.

There are quite a few Known Issues with this build, though. Volume gets ducked when the system gets a notification, some devices will bluescreen if their display resolution is odd, a few codecs are still missing (although that last issue was around for a couple of builds).

If I were to guess, I would expect that these features are targeted for Threshold 2 in November. I doubt that we have seen anything scheduled for Redstone 1 yet, but I could be wrong.

Source: Microsoft

So Twitch Bought All 403 Episodes of Joy of Painting...

Subject: General Tech | October 29, 2015 - 05:40 PM |
Tagged:, twitch, bob ross

Today would have been Bob Ross's 73rd birthday. He passed a little over twenty years ago, in July 1995, after a few years of battling lymphoma. He was best known for his long-running TV series, The Joy of Painting, which aired on PBS (and elsewhere) for just over eleven years.


I mention this because Twitch broadened their horizons a bit, creating a category for users to broadcast creative works, called “Creative”, such as painting and pumpkin carving. This seems like a large pivot from playing games, although it isn't really. For a long time, Twitch allowed users to publish game development in their Game Development “game”. I, personally, have been doing this for a little under a year, creating a game called “Check It!” entirely on video stream (it's like Chess, but with designed levels that could be even based on a 64 x 64 or larger grid, have holes and corridors, etc.). The “Creative” channel is really a just a tip-toe away from that. It's also something that people have been doing on sites like LiveStream (and probably even Justin.TV back in the day) for a long time.

Kicking off the “Creative” group is a channel for Bob Ross. Twitch purchased all 403 episodes of The Joy of Painting, and are playing them in a marathon that started at 5pm ET. As of this publishing, they just started episode 2. I don't know what they will do when they run out, but we'll probably find out in a little over a week. Hopefully it will be on a loop or something.

Hopefully, now more people will know it's there.

Source: Twitch