Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) program – an effort to unify Windows PCs with Xbox One, amongst other platforms – may have been branded a “sneaky manoeuvre” by Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, but the company has revealed that its new UWP ecosystem will mean more Xbox One games will see concurrent release for PC.
“We’ve said from the start, we want Xbox One to be a great place for games, and also a great place for developers of all sizes, so you can create new games and application experiences,” Spencer said.
The Universal Windows Platform effectively means that writing code for one UWP platform automatically makes a game, app, or piece of software compatible with any and all systems that fall under the UWP banner. Windows 10 and Cortana have already started to roll out for Xbox One, while Quantum Break is due to hit both Windows 10 and Xbox One next week, which seems to be just the start of Microsoft’s overarching plan.
“With the Universal Windows Platform we’re able to drive it at 4K and 60 frames a second, the highest fidelity we’ve ever delivered,” Chris Tector, Senior Software Architect for Turn 10, said later. “The universal aspect that’s a real true promise for us is the ability to write our code once. We’re still going to tailor that experience so that it’s the best thing you can get on Xbox, the best thing you can get on PC.”
“But what it means is it’s reduced the development time for us and that really surfaces not only in the code that we write, but also the toolset that we get to use,” Tector added. “And that’s the thing that’s going to grow the most over time. Our goal as a first party is to make sure that platform that everyone’s running on is the best one they can deliver games on.”
Turn 10 Creative Director Dan Greenawalt agreed with his colleague, saying, “The Universal Windows Platform is great for the game developers and gamers alike. It’s going to become even more powerful as a way of delivering amazing experiences across all of the devices in the Windows ecosystem.”
New details regarding BioWare’s hotly-anticipated action RPG sequel Mass Effect: Andromeda may have leaked online. Screenshots of an EA marketing survey were posted to NeoGAF this week, which – while unverified – reveal that the forthcoming game deals with issues of colonialism, and casts humanity as the aliens in an unfamiliar and hostile galaxy.
The survey screenshots read:
“Below is a description for a possible future version of Mass Effect. Please read this and answer some questions on the following pages about this game.
There is a major battle brewing, and it awaits you. In is unfolding across a galaxy of planets, with creatures and species entirely unknown. Draw your weapon, because the fight is bigger than you thought. It’s not just for your own life, it’s for all of humanity – the ultimate battle for a place we can all call home.
Mass Effect: Andromeda takes players to the Andromeda galaxy, far beyond the Milky Way, where players will lead the fight for a new home in hostile territory – where WE are the aliens – opposed by a deadly indigenous race bent on stopping us.
Experience the freedom to traverse and explore a planet-dense but seamless open-world galaxy, rich with discovery. Play as the leader of a squad of military-trained explorers in an intense third-person shooter, with deep progression and customization systems.
This is the story of humanity’s next chapter, and player choices throughout the game will ultimately determine our survival in the Andromeda Galaxy.”
We’ve been here before, of course: at the turn of 2015, a similar survey leak occurred, which revealed that the game’s protagonist would be known as The Pathfinder, and would lead humanity into a previously unexplored area of space. With momentum building behind the game, can we expect BioWare to formally unveil Mass Effect: Andromeda at E3 this Summer?
2016 may be the year of virtual reality, but Microsoft is carving its own path with its augmented reality headset, the HoloLens, which launched its Development Edition yesterday. While the HoloLens has been criticised for its small viewing area, low resolution, and limited app sizes, a developer working with the headset has warned that the most immediate concern could be how much heat the HoloLens generates.
David Dedeine, CCO for Asobo Studio, which developed the games Young Conker and Fragments for the HoloLens, has expressed his worry that Microsoft’s AR device could become too hot to wear for long periods. Unlike VR headsets, such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the unteathered HoloLens packs its processing power into the headset itself, meaning that the processor is effectively on your head, rather than in a connected PC.
“The most important thing is to really be economical […] you would never need to do this with console or PC—it’s all about consumption of energy, battery savings,” Dedeine told PC World. “Even more important, it’s heat—to not make the whole thing get too hot, as it would be uncomfortable to the user.”
Should the HoloLens breach its defined high temperature threshold, it will immediately shutdown any app that it is running, in order to protect both the headset itself and your poor head.
It should be recognised that the current iteration of the HoloLens is the Development Edition, and as such is sure to undergo many refinements before its consumer release. Augmented reality is still new territory, and it remains to be seen whether Microsoft can do the concept justice.
“I say that there is a continent of gaming, and VR is just a new peninsula on that continent,” Dedeine says. “AR is an entirely new continent.”
The FBI are known for their digital prowess, although they may require some help when it comes to breaking into an iPhone. One of their most recent successes was the tracking of people using the Tor network, but after a judge ruled that the defendants representatives needed to know how he was identified the FBI has declined to say how they tracked people across the Tor network.
The ruling was provided by the Judge overlooking the case and was provided so that the defendants experts could check that the method used to identify the client was both within the FBI’s authority and also properly identified the client amongst the thousands of users of the Tor network.
The Tor network is a system (also known as the Onion Router) which people can use to hide their true identity by encrypting their traffic and bouncing it around the world in a series of steps. The network is also known for hiding a selection of “secret” websites that can only be accessed from within the network.
The FBI claim that they have already provided enough details for the defence to figure out if they went beyond their authority. FBI Agent Daniel Alfin, states in the court papers filed by the DOJ in the case, as saying “knowing how someone unlocked the front door provides no information about what that person did after entering the house”. While a valid argument, one would also argue that if someone breaks into your house, stealing something from your house and gaining access were both things you need to be made aware, not just one of the two.
We all love to see and own things that we see on the big screen, from the same piece of jewelry that our heroes wear to jumpers and jackets that you see on the TV. In celebration of the anniversary of the release of iconic sci-fi film Aliens, Reebok is looking to re-release its classic “Alien Stomper” trainers.
Those familiar with the Alien franchise will recognise the trainers as the shoes that Sigourney Weaver wore in the first film, a design that was available for a limited time back in 1986 when the film first released. Now 30 years on, Reebok are looking to bring them back for a limited time, with the trainers available both in select stores and online.
The trainers will be released on April 26th, chosen in honor of planet LV-426 the original setting for the Alien films. With no set price though you could look to spend a pretty penny as many will be looking to grab a pair, if only to go to the cinema and watch reruns of Alien and Aliens, before going home and finishing off the showings with a collection of films featuring not only Aliens but Predators and then to experience it all over again in Alien Isolation. Available in both the classic version and the high tops that are worn by Bishop during the film, you will soon be able to run away from Aliens and Predators in comfort.
Your Skype chats could just get a little bit smarter thanks to Microsoft’s new array of assistive helper-bots. These bots were on show at Build 2016, where Microsoft demonstrated how Cortana, as well as a number of third-party ‘bots’ were able to inject information and optional actions into Skype messaging conversations. At the basest level, Cortana was able to highlight the major parts of a conversation, from which a user can select to get more details on the subject.
The bots don’t just add extra context to your existing conversations either, as at any time users will be able to switch over to a private AI chat, where they will be able to converse with Cortana and the other bots.
An example of this system in action would be part of a conversation about an upcoming event. On request, Cortana would be able to add the event to your calendar and obtain relevant locational and other vital information regarding it from the rest of the conversation. From there, the options branch out, a hotel bot may suggest a reservation in a nearby hotel or a social networking bot may remind you to catch up with friends who are in the area.
This may seem crazy and some will have reservations about the privacy of their data in the face of these AI bots, but they are real and Microsoft has already released the first wave of them on Skype for Windows, Android and iOS. The suite of bots currently available is sparse, but Microsoft plans to allow third-party developers to create their own bots for the service and will be releasing a specially designed software development kit to this end.
NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have recently been constructing a team of astronomers as part of a project to construct a powerful new exoplanet-hunting tool. The selection process involved a national competition, with the team chosen to be led by Penn State University assistant professor Suvrath Mahadevan. The next three years will now be spent developing and constructing the $10 million instrument, named NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler Spectroscopy or NEID for short. NEID, once completed, will then be installed atop the WIYN observatory located at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.
NEID will be the first piece of equipment that will allow astronomers to search for exoplanets from the Earth instead of an orbital telescope. The instrument works by detecting Earth-like planets that orbit stars by measuring the ‘wobble’ of a star, which is often indicative of an orbiting planet and the size of the ‘wobble’ making it possible to determine how big the planet may be. Once these potential exoplanets are discovered, powerful space telescopes can then be committed to the task of searching for these planets in more detail.
The goal of NEID is to assist in finding proof of life on other worlds, which is a discovery that has so far eluded us, should it exist. Whether NEID will help us find the aliens that so many of us hope to find is unknown, but should life exist out there, tools like this make it all the more reasonable that we discover it.
Not content to just let developers create new apps for Windows 10 from scratch, Microsoft announced last year a program to allow current Win32 applications to be ported to the Unified Windows Platform. Dubbed Project Centennial, the app converter has finally been released to the public at this years BUILD, one year after its reveal. Project Centennial will turn existing Win32 and .NET apps into the UWP AppX format.
Microsoft has remained mum on the specifics but it seems like the Centennial App Converter will simply wrap around the existing program and offer the clean install and uninstall of UWP. The Centennial App Converter sounds sort of like the App-V app virtualization offered to enterprise customers. The app remains unbound by the UWP sandbox and is free of the restrictions imposed on native UWP apps.
All of that makes it seem like UWP doesn’t have to be as restrictive as it currently is. Perhaps, the best way forward for game developers is to create a normal Win32 game then package it in the UWP using the Centennial App Converter. This allows both the flexibility and power of traditional Win32 applications while providing a more unified and simpler platform through the Microsoft Store.
By converting existing apps easily with the Centennial App Converter, Microsoft is hoping to address the biggest concern with their UWP store, the lack of applications. By moving current Windows applications to UWP, the Windows system will also become more integrated and unified. There is no word yet when the App Converter will actually launch but expect it soon.
While the release of Xbox exclusives to Windows 10 under the UWP program is undoubtedly a positive, there are still many questions about the Unified Windows Platform. Due to the limitations on UWP and making it universal and more sandboxed, certain features common to games are unavailable. Fortunately, it looks like Microsoft will be adding some of these features to UWP with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
According to Microsoft, the changes to UWP are due to the negative feedback when Microsoft first released games based on the platform. Firstly, modding and overlay capability will be added. This will allow PC gamers to mod to their heart’s content hopefully, one of the highlights of PC gaming. Overlays will bring back the ability to have Afterburner or other apps run alongside the game to provide extra functionality.
More importantly, AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia GSync support will be added. The adaptive refresh rate technology from the two graphics firms has been one of the biggest improvements to gaming in recent years and support should have been built-in from the get-go. While these moves go some way to alleviating some of the more prominent problems, the question remains if UWP is the way to go for future PC games due to their more restrictive and closed down nature.
Minecraft is a popular block-based game, featuring everything from building a little house to designing a giant industry. With the desktop version featuring a variety of features beyond what Minecraft for mobile and Windows 10 offer, people are often left waiting for more. Some of those additional features will soon be coming to mobile and Windows 10.
One of the additional features that will soon be coming to Minecraft includes command blocks. Command blocks let you perform a variety of abilities, from changing the weather to teleporting all with a forward slash from the chat window and a little programming experience.
Players on the desktop version enjoy the flexibility to include custom mods to their gaming experience, yet another one of the features that will soon come to the mobile versions of Minecraft. With schools looking forward to the creation of Microsoft Edu, a version of the game built for schools to help teach everything from teamwork to programming, the ability to add mods and additional content to their versions could let you go from teaching programming to simulating chemical reactions or exploring ancient civilizations all from the classroom.
Do you play Minecraft? What platform do you play the game on and do you play it with any mods? Share with us your biggest creation in the comments below.
We all like community content, giving us everything from new maps and worlds to explore to little details like a new weapon or car design. Sadly when it comes to games, something inside the game can often lead to disagreements and arguments, something that seems to have resulted in Automobilista pulled from Steam.
“As is known, Automobilista packages a variety of officially licensed cars and brands alongside fictionalized, originally created content. The claim in question does not make any specific reference to content present in Automobilista supposedly in infringement of the party’s copyright—until it does, our belief is that it has no merit.
We have already taken the appropriate measures to resolve the issue ASAP, but in accordance to Valve’s policy, the process may take a few days to be completed.”
The takedown may be part of Steam policy, but if you won’t mention what copyright is being breached or how it’s hard to see the claim doing anything but resulting in the game being removed from Steam for a few days.With the game featuring both official content sponsored by company,
With the game featuring both official content sponsored by the companies behind the cars, to community created content it will be hard to find out what content has caused the copyright claim if any.
With more and more people being interested in driver-less technology it was only a matter of time before it went from the streets to the race track. Formula E have already announced their intention to start a driverless championship, but you can even get a glimpse at the designs behind the first driverless racecar.
Roborace, the world’s first driverless series, released renderings of what their first designs for what autonomous racing cars could look like, and they do not disappoint. Designed by Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon, known for his work on Oblivion and Tron: Legacy, the designs look perfect for a vehicle that no longer has to worry about their driver, offering people the chance to enjoy great looking vehicles doing insane speeds around a track.
While we still have to wait till 2017 before we get to enjoy the series featuring all-electric cars, just seeing the first design reminds us of its potential.
With a trailer to go alongside the design rendering, when will we get to see the next design? With the ability for anyone in the automated vehicle business to take part in the championship, we could soon see designs from big names in both technology and cars manufacturing as they get ready to view and race their cars doing high-speed around tracks.
Happily for Microsoft, Windows 10 adoption is chugging along quite nicely. In fact, according to Microsoft, Windows 10 has achieved the fastest adoption yet, beating out Windows 7 and 8. Since the last update at the end of 2015, Windows 10 has added an additional 70 million users, bumping the total to 270 million, quite impressive overall. However, the numbers have slowed after the new OS hit 75 million in the first month and 110 million by the second.
The biggest reason Windows 10 has seen such growth is due to the free nature of the OS. Microsoft has allowed users to upgrade for free from Windows 7 and 8.1, driving a lot of the adoption. Microsoft has also pushed hard to get users to upgrade, with controversial methods like forced upgrades, misleading options and even slipping Windows 10 ads into security updates. The unique count of users rather than installed devices is also a difference in how Microsoft is counting installs, with the graphic above being void of labeled axis.
Even with some good numbers to share, Microsoft may be starting to get worried as the June deadline for free upgrades nears. For those users who hold back, they may never move on till Windows 7 and 8.1 finally leave support at the end of the decade. Hopefully, Microsoft will get the message and stop forcing upgrades on those who don’t want them.
Destination: Mars will be powered by the OnSight mission operations tool, a cooperative development between Microsoft and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It is capable of taking data recorded by the Curiosity rover, which has been roaming the Red Planet since 2012 and transfers the images to the Hololens which can make any room appear like it is actually the surface of Mars.
OnSight is already in use by NASA scientists, who use it to virtually experience Mars for themselves so they can better select future destinations for the Curiosity rover to visit. This new exhibit will be the first time that the experience will be available to the general public, allowing them to see the alien world in just the way a NASA mission scientist would.
The exhibition will be open at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida this summer where visitors will be able to virtually travel to a number of locations on Mars, accompanied by holographic guides like Aldrin and rover driver Erisa Hines who will point out the sites of key discoveries.
Who hasn’t heard of Final Fantasy? With a new game, Final Fantasy XV, set for release in September, fans are excited for anything to keep the series going. To help the game receive a warm reception, Square Enix are sorting people out with not one but two forms of entertainment before the game even begins.
Set for release later this year, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will be a 3D-animated film focused on King Regis. Set for a digital release in 2016 and will feature voice work from the likes of Aaron Paul, Lena Headey and Sean Bean.
Before you have to wait that long though you can start to enjoy Final Fantasy XV. Created by the same studio as Sword Art Online and Black Butler, A-1 Pictures, the anime will be released in five-ten minute episodes, straight to YouTube for everyone to watch.
If that wasn’t enough you can already enjoy the series with the first episode already going live, with the entire series reported to tie into the game demo. If you want to start enjoying Final Fantasy now you can find the episode below, a little something to help with the wait before the movie or game gets released later this year.
At Build 2016, Microsoft showcased something almost unbelievable, the Linux Bash shell running natively on the Windows 10 operating system, using Ubuntu binaries. Kevin Gallo, director of the Windows Developer Platform ran the demonstration during the keynote he delivered at Microsoft’s developer conference. This functionality is born of a collaboration between the producers of Ubuntu Linux, Canonical, and Microsoft with the goal of allowing developers to make use of Linux-only tools even when working on Windows.
The Bash shell isn’t the only thing that is coming over to Windows 10 either, with a wide array of Linux GUI-less utilities also being made available to run on the bash terminal. According to Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland “most of the tens of thousands of binary packages available in the Ubuntu archives” will run, not only utilities like cp, find, grep, and ssh, but also aptitude, apache, MySQL, python, perl, ruby, php, gcc, tar and so on.” The whole thing works by translating the shell’s Linux system calls directly into Windows system calls in real time, which should yield impressive integration with the operating system.
Both Gallo and Kirkland see this move as strengthening the position of both of their platforms, with Gallo wanting to make Windows more accessible to developers while Kirkland sees it as extending the reach of Linux and Ubuntu, as well as the importance of open-source software over proprietary apps. The implications of this move by Microsoft could be quite extensive as the addition of the enormous array of open source software available on the Linux platform may, in fact, draw users away from using Windows-specific applications. However with the Microsoft Azure platform already making use of Linux and Microsoft SQL server, they may be starting to fully embrace the Linux OS and may just be a win for them in the end.
Everyone knows about USB cables. Used for everything from transferring important information from one device to another to charging your devices, they are seen everywhere and the USB Type-C Cables are no exception. Some people were put off when a google engineer fried his Chromebook using a bad cable from Amazon, a move which has now made Amazon ban bad USB Type-C Cables from its site.
USB Type-C (also known as USB-C) is loved for many reasons, from their lack of orientation, no more finding if you’ve put the cable in the wrong way round on the third or fourth time, to the fact that both ends are identical, meaning that there is no right and wrong end, there is only the right ends!
USB-C are also twice as fast as USB 3.0, a standard that barely took off before people noticed USB-C’s popularity. With speeds of up to 10Gbps and the ability to output up to 20V(100W), the USB-C is quickly gaining favor to replace the variety of USB connections that came before it. Sadly with the recent interest in the connector, some people have taken to selling some not so great copies. Listed under their prohibited electronic listings, Amazon now ban any USB-C cable that can be described as:
Any USB-C (or USB Type-C) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by “USB Implementers Forum Inc.”
With the ability to report and have bad cables removed from the site, hopefully, fewer people will have to lose their precious devices to cut price and bad quality products.
Just in case you’re not up to date with the latest gaming news, Battleborn is an upcoming first-person shooter video game that’s being developed by Gearbox Software and is set to be published by 2K games for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. The title is scheduled for a May 3, 2016 release, and its developers have just unveiled its official PC requirements. Don’t worry, this game won’t need a ridiculously powerful PC in order to run properly, as its minimum requirements ask for an AMD HD 6870 or an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 complemented by an Intel i5-750 or an AMD Phenom IIx4 945.
On the recommended side, we’re looking at the same CPU requirements, while the GPU should be an AMD HD 7850 or an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660. Unfortunately, Battleborn won’t feature support for 4K or off-sized displays at launch, but we’re hoping that this will be resolved via a future patch. The good news is that general gamepads, PS4 and Xbox One controllers will be fully supported, while Steam controller support will be implemented after launch. Below you will find a complete list of requirements for Battleborn.
Minimum System Requirements:
OS: Windows 7 x64-Bit or Later
CPU: Intel i5-750 / AMD Phenom IIx4 945
RAM: 6 GB
Hard Drive: 30 GB free
Video Memory: 1 GB
Minimum Required Video Card: AMD HD 6870/ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or better, PhysX support
Sound: DirectX 11
Input: Keyboard or dual-analog gameplay
Recommended System Requirements:
OS: Windows 7 x64-Bit or Later
CPU: Intel i5-750 / AMD Phenom IIx4 945
RAM: 6 GB
Hard Drive: 50 GB free
Video Memory: 2 GB
Recommended Video Card: AMD HD 7850/ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or better, PhysX support
Gaming has been the spawn of many unique illnesses, such as trigger finger pain, bent thumbs from excessive controller use, and so much more. Now we’re moving forward and onto more modern gaming related illnesses with Oculus Face. Wearing a VR headset for extended periods of time isn’t as uncomfortable as it used to be, the headsets are lighter, more ergonomic and more comfortable in general. However, that doesn’t mean to say they’re not going to make a lasting impression; literally.
The Oculus headset started shipping into the hands of customers earlier this week and that means there are many people out there getting lost in the world of VR right now. The only downside, at least so far, is that the headset leaves temporary red marks on the face, being comically named “Oculus Face” or the even more silly “Rift Rash”, neither sound like something you would want, but they’re obviously pretty harmless anyway.
VR is cool, but it’s quite clear it doesn’t make you look too cool afterward. Hair screwed up, face all marked with red lines and sweat marks. Perhaps Google were onto something with their ergonomic and lightweight Glass designs after all. The foam padding is pretty comfortable from my own experiences, so it’s likely extended exposure that leads to these minor issues and I doubt it’ll be enough to put many of you off of a purchase any time soon.
Remember that crazy TayTweets AI that Microsoft unleashed on the (mostly) innocent users of Twitter recently? The one that quickly pick up the bad habits of many online pranksters, turning it into a genocide-denying Nazi lover? Yes, that one. Twitter users be warned, it’s back!
Microsoft pulled the AI after it descended into madness last week, taking the time to re-tool their learning experiment and trying again. Unfortunately, it’s not really worked this time either, as in true-to-form style it wasn’t long before it because a drug smoking police hater.
While Microsoft were previously tweaking the timeline to remove the most offensive posts, while also vowing to only bring the AI back if they could “better anticipate malicious intent that conflicts with our principles and values.” It’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Of course, that’s the whole point of these experiments, and I’m sure they’re not out of ideas yet.
Drug smoking references aside, @TayTweets seemed to then descend into a total meltdown, spamming everyone with the same message over and over. The end result being Microsoft setting the profile to private, effectively taking her offline again.
Personally, I can’t wait to see what happens next, more entertaining madness, or a successful AI test, either would be worth watching unfold.
Everyone uses passwords, for your emails and computers to even gaining access to your phone to play flappy birds. With so many systems at risk, we have to make sure our passwords are secure. CNBC wanted to help out with a lesson in password security, except their lesson turned from “do this” to a prime example of how not to handle passwords.
Originally the tool (which can still be found at this web archive link) requested you entered your password before checking to see just how strong your password was. Originally spotted by Google’s one and only Adrienne Porter Felt, the “secure” password checker did a little less than handle your password securely.
First up was the fact that it sent your password to google docs, meaning that not only you were seeing your password but as it was being sent in an unencrypted format, anyone watching your network traffic or in between you and the document had full access to the password.
Obviously, some people are quite upset by this, with the site not only outright lying (it has now been updated to deal with things in a more secure matter) but to also trick people into entering passwords under the illusion that the site would help you secure your account.
If you’ve ever used an online tool like this, we would recommend changing your password as there is no guarantee that the system or even the site was secure and protected your details.
After releasing a slew of Xbox exclusives on Windows 10 earlier this year, Microsoft has demonstrated their commitment to the PC gaming platform. More important than a singular event are continuous actions and Microsoft has taken steps towards this today. Turn 10, a Microsoft studio, has announced that all future Forza Motorsport titles, previously Xbox exclusives, will now also ship on Windows 10 as well.
“Moving forward, all of our games are going to be shipping on Windows 10 (PC) and Xbox”
Of course, Microsoft is doing this partially to push Windows 10 and their Unified Windows Platform. Future Forza titles for Windows will all be based on the Unified Windows Platform to enable easy porting from the Xbox to the PC. This also means that the games will only be available on the Windows Store and likely won’t be available through Steam.
While this ongoing commitment is nice, it’s still unlikely Microsoft will consider allowing their more lucrative titles like the Halo series be released on PC anytime soon. Furthermore, UWP apps are still limited in their functionality, with no support for FreeSync/GSync, modding or overlays just yet. Hopefully, Microsoft will let loose more of their Xbox exclusives for the PC in the near future.
Synology released a new NAS that is a little different that what we’re used to seeing. First off it is very tiny and it is also a bit in reverse, but with good reason. The new Synology Diskstation DS416slim is a NAS for 2.5-inch hard disk drives and drives are plugged through the rear. With its measurements, 18.4 cm x 16.8 cm x 23.0 cm, and its low weight, 700 grams, the DS416slim is a ultra-small NAS that still packs quite a punch.
The Synology DiskStation DS416slim is built around an Armada 385 Dual Core 1.0GHz CPU and comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. That is enough to allow this tiny unit to perform with up to 170MB/s read and 77MB/s write performance through a link aggregated windows connection. The CPU also features a dedicated hardware encryption engine.
As mentioned above, the DS416slim is capable of link aggregation and that is because it comes with two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports on the rear panel. Whether you want to configure them for load balancing or failover protection is naturally your choice. The NAS also comes with two USB 3.0 ports for external storage and other devices, one on the front for easy access and one on the rear for more permanent connected devices.
The rear is also where you find the four drive bays that each can hold a 2.5-inch hard disk drive or solid state drive with a height up to 12.5mm. Without any real height limitation, the choice of drives to use is yours. The power consumption is rated at about 17 watts during access and just 11 watts during HDD hibernation, which also makes it a very power efficient NAS. The noise output is rated to 20.3 dBA.
As this is a Synology NAS, it naturally comes with their own impressive DSM operation system. The DSM system also just got a major overhaul and version 6.0 was just released as well. You get tons of streaming and backup options as well as mobile apps and security when you pick a DSM 6.0 powered NAS.
The new Synology DS416slim comes with a recommended retail price of £222.00 including VAT or €248.64 excluding VAT, and it is backed by a 2-year warranty.
Synology released the final version of DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 after six months of beta programs and it was well worth the wait. DSM 6.0 is a major leap in the development of DSM and introduces major enhancements in every aspect including Virtualisation, Cloud Solution, Collaboration, Security, Multimedia, Accessibility and much more. Loyal readers will also have seen our review on DSM 6.0 just a few weeks ago where we had a go with it ahead of time.
There are so many improvements in DSM 6.0 that it is hard to get them all mentioned in a post like this, but I’ll try to bring you the highlights. Should you want to check out more details on the individual new function before you upgrade, then you can visit the official minisite for DSM 6.0 and check up on all the details. One of the awesome new functions that you’ll barely notice except for its usability is the new powerful content indexing service. This effective feature allows you to quickly reach all your data with a full content search for more than 700 file formats including office documents and metadata from your media files. With this, you’ll quickly find the files you’re looking for, no matter where on your NAS they’re located.
The Cloud Station Suite also made file syncing a lot easier, no matter what device you’re using. It is now all in one place and easy to setup and configure. Whether you just want to use it for backups to your personal cloud or sync it with a host of cloud storage services too, the Cloud Station Suite makes it easy.
A lot of the really new features in DSM 6.0 focus on the enterprise users, but the home users were in no way forgotten. DSM 6.0 focused highly on optimizing the multimedia experience. The redesigned Video Station with offline transcoding allows you to watch movies anytime, anywhere. Multimedia mobile apps support multiple devices including the new Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Windows 10. Media storage and access are some of the main reasons for home users to get a NAS and with these improvements you can be sure to have a smooth experience, anytime, anywhere.
The advanced collaboration tools are equally useful for home and enterprise users alike. Whether you are calculating prices for customers or keep track of your household expenses, you can do it all on your own NAS without the need for any local software. Create Spreadsheets or use the advanced Note Station yourself or share, edit, and collaborate with friends, family, and coworkers.
The concept of electronic mail is as old as the internet itself. DiskStation Manager now also comes with the all-new MailPlus and MailPlus Server packages that allow you to set up a secure and reliable private mail server as well as use a modern email client for receiving and sending messages. Again, everything will run on your own server and you remain in full control and don’t need to rely on third-party services. While this mostly is relevant to enterprise users, there are quite a few enthusiasts such as myself that could benefit greatly from this system at home too.
DSM 6.0 also offers a much greater support for SSD cache that ensures a significant boost in performance for those that need more than the average. This is mainly for enterprise users and so is the newly added support for shared folders with over one petabyte of storage space. The Btrfs file system is now also supported on more NAS models than before, which in itself adds a row of great features such as data compression and data scrubbing.
DSM 6.0 also introduces Snapshot Replication to Synology’s NAS’ that offers near-continuous data protection as well as multi-site replication for an even better protection of your files. In addition, Synology’s Hyper Backup package can now perform multi-version backups of all types of destinations.
Consolidating physical servers with virtualization technology can increase server utilization and reduce business operating costs – and it’s also really cool. DSM 6.0 introduces two new features here with Docker DSM and Virtual DSM that enables users to build a reliable and multi-tenant environment on their Synology NAS.
Virtual DSM allows you to deploy multiple virtual instances of DiskStation Manager on the same unit. You can easily live migrate virtual machines to another Synology NAS and test out DSM upgrades in isolated virtual machines before you effectively install it. There is no need to worry about downtimes when upgrading with such a feature. It also adds another layer of security as it protects the physical machine from being affected if the virtual machine gets attached.
Docker DSM is a lightweight virtualization system with data protection where you don’t have to give up system performance. It can be containerized and run on a Btrfs shared folder with little performance impact, yet provide you with a lot of benefits. It only requires 256MB memory for each Docker DSM where Virtual DSM requires 1GB or more each and the only real difference is the whether you need the ability to use iSCSI LUN and targets.
So, it might be time to upgrade your Synology NAS. You can find a full list of applied models for each function and check out the full software specification too if you want to know more. As a user that already had the pleasure to play with DSM 6.0, I can highly recommend it.
Everyone knows by know that Japan’s Astro-H “Hitomi” satellite is in big trouble, as the JAXA space agency has officially lost contact with it on Saturday. The team is still trying to figure out what happened to this incredibly expensive piece of tech, and early reports from the US Strategic Command’s Joint Space Operations Center seem to indicate that some of its parts might have actually broken off. A little while ago, scientists have received intermittent signals from this satellite, which suggests that it is not completely dead. Unfortunately, an amateur video shot by an astronomer named Paul Maley shows the $360 million X-ray telescope-equipped craft as it floats uncontrollably through space. Things are not looking good for Japan right now, that’s for sure.
Since the video footage shows the satellite flickering as it passes through the field of view, it’s likely that we’re dealing with a craft that is spinning and reflecting light off of its solar panels in the process. Maley has spoken to National Geographic about the footage and explained that these variations in brightness indicate that the craft “is not controlled and that some event caused it to begin its rotation.” You can have a look at the video in question below.
If you want to keep up with the newest patches released by Bethesda for Fallout 4, then you should definitely opt-in to receive beta patches for this game, as they can definitely improve your overall experience in the Commonwealth. The latest beta patch released by Fallout 4’s developers addresses a series of stability and performance issues, and it also adds a new survival difficulty mode, which should appeal to those of you who are looking for a real challenge. Just so you can get an idea of how difficult the survival mode really is, I’m going to tell you that it doesn’t include fast travel, and it only saves your game when you sleep.
Obviously, the NPCs are considerably more deadly, the diseases more harmful and the environment much more hazardous. As far as stability and performance improvements are concerned, Bethesda has fixed a series of game-crashing bugs, and it also made sure that robots can now be assigned as settlement vendors. Some of you might argue that the Survival Mode should have been implemented in the game upon release, and you probably have a point, but better late than never, right? Below you will find a complete changelog for Patch 1.5 Beta for Fallout 4.
New Survival difficulty
Survival adds additional challenges including no fast travel, saving only when you sleep, increased lethality, diseases, fatigue, danger and more.
Characters set to Survival difficulty appear under their own Character Selection filter
Survival difficulty characters are not backward compatible with the 1.4 version of Fallout 4. If you opt out of the Beta, do not use Survival character saved games.
General stability and performance improvements
Fixed rare crash related to reloading a save that relies on Automatron
Fixed issue with the robot workbench camera not moving properly immediately after canceling out of the menu
Fixed issue with perks being repeatedly added when reloading a saved game while in robot workbench
Fixed issue with Ada not properly traveling to an assigned settlement
Robots can now be assigned as settlement vendors
Fixed issue with “Appropriation” where blueprints would not appear properly if the container had already been looted prior to getting the quest
In “Nuclear Option,” entering the Institute using the targeting helmet on Power Armor no longer inadvertently causes the player to go into combat, and become stuck in the Institute
Fixed distance check with Robotics Expert perk
How to access the Survival Beta
Log into Steam
Right Click on Fallout 4 in your Library
A drop down menu will appear. Select Survival Beta Update
Wait a few minutes and Fallout 4 should update
When done, Fallout 4 should appear as Fallout 4 [Beta] in your Library
Rumours have recently been spreading saying that Sony would be working on a 4K variation of their PS4. Sadly it would seem those rumours were overblown but you could soon be watching 4K Videos on demand with Sony offering its streaming service from April.
The 4K films featured as part of ‘Ultra’, their streaming service, will retail at $30, including a selection of special features and will be available through Sony’s new 4K screens. Alongside their new films, people will be able to upgrade films they’ve purchased from Sony’s online store 4K versions at a “discounted” price.
Those with Ultraviolet movies will be able to enjoy them alongside their new films with the ability to link to their UV collections meaning that all those UV codes you’ve been adding to that account may finally see some use.
With 4K players costing upwards of hundreds of powers on their own, $30 a movie doesn’t seem that bad when you compare the prices. The limited collection of movies that will include the likes of The Walk, Concussion and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, may put people off but with it building upon Ultraviolet and other systems people may decide to skip the discs altogether and stick to streaming 4K content in order enjoy the latest quality in movie experiences.