How Bad Are Adobe Flash Bug Repair Stats?

It’s safe to say Adobe flash did not have the best of years, from crashes, hacks, crashes, vulnerabilities and, yes more crashes, many in the industry doubt whether this will be the year Adobe finally pulls the plug. It seems the ill-fated Flash player is constantly being fixed, but, how often does it need to be patched from the many bugs?

Well, it turns out it’s quite a lot if you take into account official data on the subject, according to the information, “Adobe have repaired Flash Player 2015 a total of 316 Bugs”. This works out at almost 1 bug a day, or to be more precise; Adobe has fixed 1 bug every 1.15 days. Prominent industry figures have been somewhat sarcastic to the point whereby they have suggested Adobe is able to only rest on a “Sunday” before continuing to fix Flash again and again.

To place this into perspective, Adobe fixed 12 bugs in Flash on average per month in 2014, worse still, “the fourth quarter of 2015 saw the repair scale reach up to 113 bugs” Oh, there is more, recently Microsoft found that Flash crashed almost any browser on Windows 10 after conflicting security patches were pushed to users.

The implementation of Flash on many websites is also declining, once it used to be the standard, but stats have shown that in 2010, 28.5% of websites used Flash, today it is less than 10%.

Will Flash make it through 2016?  Not on this evidence.

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Fallout 4’s Engine Runs Faster at High Framerates

Fallout 4 has finally been released and received widespread acclaim among RPG fans. However, technical analysis shows the console versions can drop to 20 frames-per-second, and the game suffers from noticeable bugs. Any relatively modern PC is capable of reaching higher framerates, and provide a smooth, fluid experience. Many PC gamers opt for a high refresh rate 1920×1080 panel over a 60Hz 2560×1440 or 4k monitor as they prioritize gameplay over image quality.

Unfortunately, Fallout 4’s engine ties the running speed to the framerate. As a result, the game at high refreshes dramatically speeds up by approximately 20-30 percent. This makes it an unplayable mess and illustrates how the engine has remained largely unchanged from Bethesda’s older titles. Clearly, 120-144hz gamers are a niche, but this doesn’t excuse poor programming. This personally would not effect me as I use a 3440×1440 60Hz monitor, but I can see it becoming a major problem for people using monitors like the ASUS ROG Swift.

I’m not entirely sure this can be fixed via a patch because it’s an integral component of how the engine has been coded. Furthermore, it won’t be given a priority as most people are using 60Hz monitors at 1920×1080 or less.

Do you think there is a noticeable difference going from 60Hz to 144Hz?

Warner Brothers Issuing Refunds For Disgruntled Batman: Arkham Knight Customers

Batman: Arkham Knight will go down in history as one of the worst PC releases ever to grace the platform, and continues to suffer from a plethora of performance issues. This is astonishing given the game’s budget and shockingly, Warner Brothers outsourced the port to Iron Galaxy, a studio with a terrible reputation. As a result, the PC version was produced on the cheap and ended up being removed from Steam. Once Batman: Arkham Knight had been removed, Warner Brothers attempted to rectify the performance problems and re-launch the game when it was fit for purpose. However, some users are reporting the game is somehow running worse and a huge amount of bugs haven’t been fixed.

In lieu of this information, Warner Brothers have released a post which reads:

“We are very sorry that many our customers continue to be unhappy with the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight. We worked hard to get the game to live up to the standard you deserve but understand that many of you are still experiencing issues.

Until the end of 2015, we will be offering a full refund on Batman: Arkham Knight PC, regardless of how long you have played the product. You can also return the Season Pass along with the main game (but not separately). For those of you that hold onto the game, we are going to continue to address the issues that we can fix and talk to you about the issues that we cannot fix.

Thank you,

Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment”

This is a sorry state of affairs, but at least some customers can receive a full refund. However, I’m almost certain this only applies to those who purchased the game through Steam. As a result, if you want a refund and simply entered a code from a 3rd party reseller, it looks like you’re out of luck. The same applies to people who received the game with an NVIDIA graphics card.

Windows 10 Hits 14 Million Upgrades in Just 24 Hours

Many Windows users look like they’re jumping right onto the Windows 10 bandwagon right away. According to Microsoft, more than 14 million devices have upgraded to and are using Windows 10. Given that many users on Windows 7 and 8/8.1 that are eligible for upgrading but have not yet gotten their prompt, that number is likely to balloon for the near future.

These early adopters are sure to face a whole slew of issues though. Microsoft’s touted personal assistant Cortana is currently limited to a select few countries and even then, sometimes it has trouble activating. Other bugs like the app store and other Metro apps crashing have also popped up. For instance, I was unable to install any of the Universal apps and have multiple app store crashes. Along with some other issues and privacy concerns, it’s probably not quite that time for an upgrade yet.

For those that are eager to try out Microsoft’s new OS but have not yet gotten their upgrade option, you can find our guide to download Windows 10 here. Having tried Windows 10 myself yesterday, Microsoft really should have spent a bit more time fine tuning the OS in improving the UI and bug fixes before launch. Overall though the OS is largely fine but still feels rough around the edges. It will take a while yet till we know how the public at large responds to Windows 10.

Windows 10 Cortana Only Works If You’re American?

The launch of the much-anticipated operating system from Microsoft occurred at midnight two days ago. I installed it onto my laptop yesterday and so far, I have to be honest, I’m not overly keen. The OS seems much slower to boot and load applications than previous editions including Windows 8.1 but does admittedly look quite sleek with some nice new, major features.

One of these major features is Cortana which made its debut on Windows Phone devices a year or so ago. The personal assistant is a contender in the battle against Google Now and Siri – two very good voice recognition pieces of software for both Android and iOS respectively.

This time Microsoft have released Cortana as part of their full operating system for desktop and laptop devices, and you are able to start it by simply saying “Hey Cortana” or by typing in the search bar on the left-hand side of the taskbar.

The pop up is again, black and sleek-looking with very simple icons along the left-hand side:

When it works, Cortana asks a few set-up questions and then you’re good to ask her pretty much anything. However there is a catch. On our own Windows devices we cannot seem to enable the virtual assistant. Whenever we attempt to enable Cortana we get the following error:

When we checked out our regional and language settings, they were all set to English (UK), you would think this is fine but from our own experience and after reading several Reddit comments we have found out that Cortana will only function if your device is configured in American language format.

To prove changing language to American works, here is our Time and Language screen in Windows 10 after we make some changes to English (United States):

See how it is set to English (Unites States)? Well, let’s try a command to Cortana:

Ok, so now it works – well, it does but all of the units are in Fahrenheit – not much good for us UK residents and others around the world! However you can ask “Whats the weather in celsius?” to combat this issue.

Amusingly, Microsoft made the same blunder with their release of Windows Phone a year or so ago. To use Cortana you would have to change your language and settings to United States to get her to function. This restriction was lifted a few months after the launch though, so there is hope for Cortana yet.

Microsoft have said that they are aware of the issue and it is affecting a lot of people that are now using the brand new OS. They are currently working on a patch that will be released via a system update. So make sure that you keep installing any windows updates that become available for your device, as it may fix Cortana!

However for those who are eager, you can manually change your country and region settings so you can use Cortana. To do this use the following:

  • Open the Start Menu by pressing the icon or the Windows key on your keyboard
  • Type “Settings” into the search bar
  • Click the icon that says “PC Settings”
  • This will the load up another window, here click “Time & Language”
  • On the left-hand side of this window, select “Region & Language”
  • Change the setting from United Kingdom to United States
  • Then change to the Speech tab on the left hand side
  • Change this to English (United States) 
  • Go back to the Region and Language menu on the left-hand side
  • Where it says “Will be displayed language after next sign in” Click here
  • Then select options
  • At the bottom change the keyboard back to United Kingdom
  • Done! You may need to reboot for the change to take effect

We’re currently getting mixed reports on this, with some stating that it’s working fine from the UK and other countries, so please let us know where you are from and if it’s working fine for you.

Of course, we accept no responsibility by you altering your regional settings, but we can’t see any disadvantages of doing this, but for us it is simply an annoyance that should just work, but at least Microsoft are aware and this should be rectified soon, we hope.

Wonder How GTA 4 Played With Just 59MB VRAM Looks? Wonder No More.

We have just earlier today seen how amazingly great Grand Theft Auto 5 can look on PC with the latest GTA V ENBSeries Mod screenshots and that is an achievement in itself. But there are also those that go the other way to see how big a game they can play on as little hardware as possible. In the past, we’ve also seen people strip down textures for “art”.

Okay, this isn’t Grand Theft Auto 5, it is only 4, but it’s still quite interesting.  So how does GTA 4 work with just 59 Megabytes of VRAM on an ASUS X54C. The system is running Windows 7 Home Premium and the processor is an Intel B9600 dual-core with 2.2GHz that is assisted by 4GB single-channel DDR3 memory at 665MHz. The amazing graphics card to pull the absolute low settings is the iGPU Intel HD Graphics.

It doesn’t look good and a there are a lot of graphic glitches, both small and big. Right from the beginning the ship is missing and tables couldn’t be afforded either. There are gaping holes in the ground where one usually would find the a road and there isn’t much going on at all. But it works, you can play it and the system could maintain close to 30fps throughout gameplay.

These are just a few screenshots that Redditor  and Imgur user Lubenhaigen posted. A grand total of 150 buggy screenshots of low-resolution GTA4 gameplay can be found, viewed, and enjoyed – or laughed at. Check them out if you got half an hour of spare time.

F1 2015 PC Release is a Bug-Ridden Mess

The Formula One series from Codemasters has progressed at a fairly slow pace and can only be described as iterative in its update cycle. As a sim-racing enthusiast, I’ve been completely underwhelmed by Codemasters’ latest efforts. Why? Firstly, the games are plagued by incredibly inconsistent AI cars which struggle to overtake on Legend difficulty despite having fresher tires and a faster fuel mapping cycle. Furthermore, the physics engine in F1 2014 was ridiculously simplistic and didn’t work very well with wheel setups. Codemasters argued, the advanced physics and AI computations were not possible due to the limitations of the PS3 and Xbox 360. If this was the case, why was the PC version affected? Surely, the most cogent strategy would be to produce a complex PC sim, and scale it back for the consoles. Nevertheless, F1 2015 was touted as the first major update in the franchise and coded entirely with next generation consoles in mind. However, the final result is far from impressive and utilized a terrible blurry hue which makes the graphics seem quite dated.

According to the Steam Community, the game is littered with bugs, awful netcode and regular crashing to the desktop. Not only that, it is devoid of basic features including a Safety Car, Virtual Safety Car, Career Mode, Classic Cars, detailed transitions into the various sessions and more! YouTube channel Tiametmarduk posted a video showing the absurd glitches and complete lack of Quality Assurance. The AI behaves irrationally, the 2010 pit stop bug has returned and he’s even encountered cars ramming into each other in the pit lane.

Codemasters’ Community Manager acknowledged the scale of issues and announced the first PC patch.

“Hello everyone. We are aware of players encountering some issues with the PC build, and we have just pushed a new build to Steam.”

While this has alleviated the odd bug, it hasn’t made a dramatic change and won’t alter F1 2015’s complete lack of content. Even if the patch did fix all the problems, the game shouldn’t have launched in this state! This is pretty shocking considering Codemasters’ EGO engine has been quite reliable on a technical level. Currently, the game only has 29% positive reviews on the Steam store and Metacritic reports a user score of 3 with 5 positive ratings and 11 negative.

To put this into perspective, Batman: Arkham Knight has a better reputation with players than F1 2015 and that was removed from Steam. I sympathize with F1 fans expecting a truly next-generation experience and hope they will use the Steam refund policy to get their money back. Please, do not buy this game at the moment, it is a colossal mess. Another factor to consider is Codemasters’ delicate financial standing. Insider sources suggest at least 30 members of staff were let go with another 20 being reviewed. I honestly believe F1 2015 was a make or break product for Codemasters and feel if this isn’t sorted soon, their days could be numbered.

Batman Arkham Knight Didn’t Get a Smooth Launch Either

Batman Arkham Knight has been anything else but smooth sailing for Warner Interactive and Rocksteady. The game was postponed, the Batmobile edition‘s figurine fell apart and had to be cancelled, and lastly the limited edition collectors box had to be delayed due to a missing certification.

The game in itself has now finally been released and you’d think that the folk behind it could relax for five minutes and watch the praise come in from happy users and customers – but that is far from the case. Users are reporting extremely poor performance and that even with systems that go way past both the minimum and recommended specifications.

Rocksteady also seemed to forget to optimize the game properly for AMD hardware despite the main audience have consoles based on AMD hardware. The minimum specs were changed prior to launch and an R9 HD7850 with 3GB VRAM was the new minimum. The issues aren’t just with AMD cards though as the they didn’t incorporate Nvidia’s drivers all to well either. Users are reporting of high-end rigs with Titan X graphics cards that barely manage to score 60fps on a 1080p resolution.

The game in itself has been locked to 30fps on the PC, but this can be changed by editing an .ini file. One could however speculate that the lock was purely designed to hide the performance issues on this poorly coded PC port.

Both Nvidia and AMD have released new drivers that hopefully will help this some, but Nvidia noted that there might be issues with SLI setups and recommend that you disable them for now while playing Batman Arkham Knight. The critics on Steam aren’t pleased and the game’s reviews reflect that.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information

GTA V PC Price Drops to Under £30 for Digital Download

So Grand Theft Auto V has been out for over a week now and prices have seemed to stand around the £33 mark.

GTA V is that massive game, in terms of map size and hype, that has taken the world by storm. It was originally released back in 2013 for the Xbox 360 and PS3, then re-released on the XB1 and PS4 and now, around 16 months on; we see it on the PC.

It wasn’t long before users started seeing issues, some starting the minute the game was released due to baE install files and folders; this did require some users having to delete and restart the 60GB download again; news story can be found here. Along with that, one of the biggest games of 2015 may attract some unwanted attention and it did; in the form of hackers taking control of numerous GTA V accounts; full story can be found here.

It hasn’t been all doom and gloom, we’ve seen countless mod stories pop up, from the start of modding, Oculus VR hacked in and the most recent being the Apocalyptic Animal mod.

So what about the gamers that want the game, but are holding out for updates and a better offer? We are hosting a competition to win a steam game of your choice, that includes GTA V, just follow this link, sign up to our forums and tell us what game you want here.

If you can’t wait for the draw, fear not as the game has now dropped to below £30 for the digital download. GameStop is offering GTA V for £29.97 with the additional $1,200,000 in-game cash amount. So what are you waiting for? Go buy it here.

NASA Wants to Cut Fuel Emmisions with Bug Repellant Coating

I wouldn’t have thought of bugs when thinking of how to improve commercial airplane travel, but then again I don’t work at NASA. They did think of just that and are currently testing five different coatings together with Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757 aircraft. The new coatings are said to improve fuel efficiency by as much as 6%, which in return could mean millions of dollars saved for airline companies as well as fewer emissions that damage our planet’s ecosystem.

Bugs will accumulate on the surface of the plane and aerodynamically-sensitive elements such as the edge of the wings are specially vulnerable. The dead bugs will cause turbulent air and drag which ultimately reduces the efficiency.

NASA is also testing a new tail fin design with a reduced size and new design. It is mainly used while landing and taking off to help the planes stability, but in the air it’s just an extra resistance. The smaller sized prototype is using a setup with 31 tiny jets along the edge of the tail that can selectively blow air over the surface and generate the same stabilizing forces as the normal 17% bigger tail fin. A smaller fin would mean reduced weight as well as wind resistance, which again will result in better fuel economy.

The two technologies will be tested on 15 and 9 separate flights respectively with Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757 aircraft the coming months.

Thanks to NASA for providing us with this information

EA Promises To Learn From Battlefield 4 Mistakes, Or So It Says…

The first weeks after EA launched the latest widely known massive multiplayer shooter title, Battlefield 4, it was impossible not to spot all the bugs and glitches when playing it, rendering the game unplayable and also highly unstable. It is said that it even went as far as building massive lawsuits against EA, claiming that the publisher had misled investors with their comments claiming that all was good despite knowing in advance that the game would be buggy.

There were also speculations that EA might have learnt a lesson from all of this, something which they have picked up during their recent investor call. According to EA’s Patrick Söderlund, he stated that the Battlefield 4 title was a highly complex game and that their focus to produce a highly innovative game that also delivered 60fps gameplay resulted in problems that they did not foresee. Söderlund goes on to state that he believes Battlefield 4 is a lot more stable since its launch, and that they are “taking multiple steps to evaluate what occurred and incorporate those learnings into our development process for future products, so we don’t experience the same problems again.”

“I would close on the fact that Battlefield 4 remains an amazing game with massive innovation, and we’re confident that gamers will be logging-on to play for a long time to come.” Söderlund stated.

There are also news about EA halting all future DLC for Battlefield 4 until all issues inside the current game have been dealt with (or at least the more severe ones). But what are the actual user opinions on this matter? Of course, the Battlefield 4 concept is ideal, but is the gameplay and overall experience worse that previous titles such as Battlefield 3?

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

AMD Releases The Catalyst 13.12 WHQL-certified Graphics Card Driver

We finally see AMD releasing the Catalyst 13.12 after months on end of 13.11 and 13.11 beta drivers. The release features support for the Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000, HD 7000, Radeon R7 and R9 Series cards and is available for Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1.

Highlights on new additions and improvements can be viewed below. The driver can be downloaded from AMD’s official website here.

Feature Highlights

    ​Support for the following new products:
  • AMD Radeon R9 290, 280, and 270 Series
  • AMD Radeon R7 260, 250, and 240 Series
  • ​Improved AMD CrossFire​ scaling for the following game titles:

  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (multiplayer component)
  • Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Saints Row 4
  • Metro Last Light
  • ​New AMD Enduro Technology profiles for the following game titles:

  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • Need for Speed Rivals
  • Total War​: Rome 2
  • Battlefield 4
  • Saints Row 4
  • Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • FIFA 14
  • ​Support For AMD CrossFire frame pacing

  • Frame pacing ensures that frames rendered across multiple GPUs in an AMD CrossFire configuration will be displayed at an even and regular pace
  • Frame pacing is enabled through the AMD Catalyst Control Center, or on a per application basis
  • Frame pacing is supported on DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications using resolutions up to (and including) 2560×1600 on a single display

Resolved Issues

  • May resolve intermittent black screens or display loss observed on some AMD Radeon R9 290X and AMD Radeon R9 290 graphics cards
  • Resolves intermittent crashes seen in legacy DirectX 9 applications
  • AMD Radeon R9 290 Series – Power Tune update to reduce variance of fan speed / RPM
  • PCI-E bus speed is no longer set to x1 on the secondary GPU when running in an AMD CrossFire configuration
  • Resolves incorrect HDMI Audio Driver information being listed in the AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Resolves AMD Steady Video option being grayed out in the AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Resolves intermittent flickering seen on some AMD Radeon R9 270X graphics cards
  • Resolves graphics corruption issues found in Starcraft
  • Resolves image corruption seen in Autodesk Investor 2014
  • Resolves flickering water corruption found in World of Warcraft
  • Resolves intermittent black screen when resuming from a S3/S4 sleep-state if the display is unplugged during the sleep-state on systems supporting AMD Enduro Technology
  • Resolves intermittent crashes experienced with Battlefield 4 on Windows 8 based systems
  • Resolves the display turning green when using Windows Media Player to view HD .avi format video in an extended desktop configuration
  • Resolves Metro applications experiencing frame drops during playback of interlaced video content
  • Resolves video playback corruption of .wmv format files in Windows Media Player

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Google Removes Vital Privacy Feature From Android

We have recently bought you the news on Google’s Android 4.3 Privacy Feature and how it was a must for anyone looking at blocking permissions from apps looking to gain your private information. However recently the App Ops Privacy feature has been removed by Google. When asked for a comment Google said “That the feature had only ever been released by accident and that it was experimental and could break some of the apps policed by it”. Many instances of apps “breaking’ when they are denied the ability to collect data like a location or an address book can easily be fixed via giving back a fake location or an empty address book.  As with all the other updates and new features that Google ads when newer versions of their Operating System are released, developers easily could have just updated their apps to deal with this problem of apps ‘breaking” when permissions were denied.

The App Ops Interface Removed from Android OS in 4.4.2

The disappearance of App Ops is alarming news for Android users, with the feature to now turn off app permissions being removed there is a hole once again in Android’s security model and over a billion people’s personal data could be being sucked through. In more bad news this is the same problem that Apple managed to fix in their Operating System years ago. So for the mean time Android Users will have to decide how important App Privacy is to them, if for example you would like to install apps like Shazam, Skype or Brightest Flashlight without giving it permission to know your location address book etc then a good piece of advice would to not update to Operating System 4.4.2. However this also could lead to another problem, because with the 4.4.2 update it contains fixes to security and denial-of-service bugs, so for the time being Android Users will need to choose between either privacy protection or security protection on their devices but sadly not both.

Thank you Electronic Frontier Foundation for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Electronic Frontier Foundation