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Microsoft Announces Microsoft Defender ATP for Mac

Microsoft Defender ATP for Mac brings the same robust protection from Windows Defender to the Mac platform. Microsoft has created a "cross-platform next-generation protection and endpoint detection and response coverage" heterogeneous solution that will help Microsoft reach its goal of securing users and data wherever they are. Core components of Microsoft's unified endpoint security platform, including the new Threat & Vulnerability Management will now be available for Mac devices. The cloud-delivered, real-time protection antivirus solution is currently in preview.

We've been working closely with industry partners to enable Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) customers to protect their non-Windows devices while keeping a centralized "single pane of glass" experience. Now we are going a step further by adding our own solution to the options, starting with a limited preview today. As we bring our unified security solution to other platforms, we're also updating our name to reflect the breadth of this expanded coverage: Microsoft Defender ATP.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 21, 2019 3:06 PM (CDT)

Epic Games Announces More Exclusives and Features

At its "State of Unreal" session at GDC 2019, Epic Games announced multiple new games coming to the Epic Games store. Some of the new exclusives include The Outer Worlds, Control, Industries of Titan, Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human, Heavy Rain and many more titles. Humble Bundle has been chosen as a distribution partner for the Epic Games store which will allow it to sell Epic Games keys which will be redeemable on the Epic Games store. Epic will receive no revenue share from the sale of those games purchased through the Humble Store. Customers can link their Humble Store accounts to the Epic Games store for direct purchasing. Coming soon to early access in Unreal Engine 4.23 is Chaos; Unreal Engine's new high-performance physics and destruction system. Expect developers to create cinematic-quality visuals in real time with massive-scale levels of destruction. Epic Online Services provides a single SDK that works across any platform, game engine and store to help developers give their players a unified, cross-platform social experience. The library of tools include cloud storage, voice communications, matchmaking and more. Epic MegaGrants is a new $100,000,000 assistance fund for those people and companies doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community. Ray tracing, Microsoft Hololens streaming support, Google Stadia support and more were discussed during the opening session.

"Our success is inextricably linked to developer success, and that ethos guides everything we do," said Sweeney. "From our free Online Services and Epic MegaGrants to new Unreal Engine features, our goal is to help developers, and to equip them to give players even better experiences."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 20, 2019 3:24 PM (CDT)

HP Announces HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset: Professional Edition

HP has announced its latest virtual reality headset which is based on Window Mixed Reality (WMR.) The HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset -- Professional Edition features a 2160 x 2160 panel per eye and 114-degree field of view. It has full Steam VR support and WMR's inside out tracking. The HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset -- Pro Edition will be available for purchase in late-April for $649 and comes with a 1-year commercial warranty. The HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset -- Consumer Edition costs $599 and will have a 1-year limited consumer warranty. Pro Edition price includes: HP VR Headset, 3.5m headset cable for desktop and mobile PCs, .6m headset cable for HP Z VR Backpack wearable VR PC (sold separately), 2 motion controllers, cleanable face cushion, 1 DisplayPort to mini-DisplayPort adapter. The consumer edition doesn't include the .6m headset cable or washable fabric face cushion.

"As the commercial VR segment is expected to grow to $34 billion by 2022, customers are seeking lifelike VR viewing to help open doors to new business opportunities in product design, training, and engineering," said Spike Huang, vice president and global lead of VR, HP Inc. "The time for commercial VR is now and adding HP Reverb to our broader virtual reality portfolio is an important step in addressing this growing market." "With more than 2,500 VR experiences available and counting, Windows Mixed Reality continues to serve as the home for cutting-edge innovations that are fundamentally changing the way we work and play," said Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow, Microsoft. "The HP Reverb headset is an amazing example of the type of innovation we are seeing take place as we push forward and bring the next era of computing -- the era of mixed reality - to the masses."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 19, 2019 11:08 PM (CDT)

Microsoft Announces Variable Rate Shading Support for DX12

Variable Rate Shading (VRS) is a powerful new API that gives the developers the ability to use GPUs more intelligently. Shaders are used to calculate the color of each pixel in a screen. Shading rate refers to the resolution at which these shaders are called (which is different from the overall screen resolution). A higher shading rate means better visual fidelity at the cost of using more GPU power. All pixels in a frame are affected by the game's shading rate. VSR allows developers to choose which areas of the frame are more important and increase the visual fidelity, or set parts of the frame to have lower fidelity and gain extra performance. Lowering the fidelity of parts of the scene can help low spec machines to run faster. There are two tiers of support for VRS. First of all the VRS API lets developers set the shading rate in 3 different ways: per draw, within a draw by using a screenspace image, or within a draw, per primitive. The hardware that can support per-draw VRS hardware are Tier 1. There's also a Tier 2, the hardware that can support both per-draw and within-draw variable rate shading. VRS support exists today on in-market NVIDIA hardware and on upcoming Intel hardware. AMD is rumored to be working on support for the feature.

For example, foveated rendering, rendering the most detail in the area where the user is paying attention, and gradually decreasing the shading rate outside this area to save on performance. In a first-person shooter, the user is likely paying most attention to their crosshairs, and not much attention to the far edges of the screen, making FPS games an ideal candidate for this technique. Another use case for a screenspace image is using an edge detection filter to determine the areas that need a higher shading rate, since edges are where aliasing happens. Once the locations of the edges are known, a developer can set the screenspace image based on that, shading the areas where the edges are with high detail, and reducing the shading rate in other areas of the screen.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 7:07 PM (CDT)

"Back 4 Blood": Left 4 Dead Creator Announces New Co-op Zombie Game

Nobody knows if Valve’s Left 4 Dead 3 will ever see the light of day, but the franchise’s original developer may have the next best thing: Turtle Rock Studios announced "Back 4 Blood" this week, a co-op zombie shooter with a campaign and PVP mode that should cater well to L4D fans who have been clamoring for more. "We know we have some big shoes to fill, but we’re going all out to surpass everything we’ve done before."

"We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over 10 years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains. We also have some of the best teammates in the business at WBIE, who understand our development process and are equally committed to our player-first mentality. We love being able to announce, so we can start working with the community right away."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 12:30 PM (CDT)

Alphacool Announces Eisblock GPX-A Plexi Light Cooler for AMD Radeon VII

Alphacool has announced the release of its Eisblock GPX Plexi Light cooler for the AMD Radeon VII. The cooling block is made of solid copper and is completely nickel-plated. The clear Plexiglas allows owners to view the mesmerizing water flow. The water flow actively cools not only the GPU, but all the important components of the graphics card including the voltage converters, the V-Ram and other components that generate heat. A backplate is included with the cooler that protects the back of the card and contributes to the cooling performance. Strategically positioned heat conducting pads dissipate heat via the backplate. The connection terminal is unique within the industry as Alphacool doesn't rely on using Plexiglas. Instead, Alphacool uses a much harder, more resistant, transparent nylon to protect against stress cracks caused by over-tightened connections. An alternative terminal that allows for vertical mounting is included for free within the box. Alphacool is particularly proud of its patented locking screws that do not protrude and are flush with the terminal. An addressable digital RGB LED strip spans the entire width of the cooler. Each LED be controlled individually to create beautiful and unique effects and is compatible with various motherboard headers. The manual shows the installation process.

The Eisblock GPX Plexi Light cooler is a beautiful and an outstanding performing waterblock which will certainly give you a lot of pleasure. Since Alphacool also offers various custom designs, please check the following link to find the right one for your graphics card: http://www.hwconfig.com/waterblock-finder

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 3:59 PM (CDT)

Microsoft Announces DX12 Support for Windows 7

Blizzard Entertainment added Windows 10 DX12 support to its MMO World of Warcraft (WoW) and fans of the game responded with a warm welcome to new features such as multi-threading. Blizzard Entertainment contacted Microsoft about bringing the same improvements to WoW gamers that remain on Windows 7. Microsoft responded to feedback from Blizzard Entertainment and has now ported the user mode D3D12 runtime to Windows 7. "This unblocks developers who want to take full advantage of the latest improvements in D3D12 while still supporting customers on older operating systems." With the latest patch, WoW now supports DX12 on Windows 7! Microsoft is now working with other developers to port their D3D12 games to Windows 7.

How are DirectX 12 games different between Windows 10 and Windows 7? Windows 10 has critical OS improvements which make modern low-level graphics APIs (including DirectX 12) run more efficiently. If you enjoy your favorite games running with DirectX 12 on Windows 7, you should check how those games run even better on Windows 10!

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 7:33 PM (CDT)

Alphabet Launches Chrome Extension That Filters Comments With AI

Following up on the "Perspective" hate speech filtering experiment from 2017, one Alphabet's subsidiaries, Jigsaw, recently released a machine learning-powered Chrome extension designed to filter out "toxic" comments on high traffic sites. Out of curiosity, I downloaded the extension on a fresh Chrome install, and found that it features a virtual nob that lets users tune the "volume" of the comments sections in YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Disqus comment sections. Twisting the knob gradually filters out more and more comments in real time. As the developers note, it definitely misses some nasty comments while hiding other comments that aren't particularly "toxic" at all, but based on my quick test with some controversial YouTube videos, the sheer variety of language it can seemingly interpret is remarkable.

The machine learning powering Tune is experimental. It still misses some toxic comments and incorrectly hides some non-toxic comments. We're constantly working to improve the underlying technology, and users can easily give feedback right in the tool to help us improve our algorithms. Tune isn't meant to be a solution for direct targets of harassment (for whom seeing direct threats can be vital for their safety), nor is Tune a solution for all toxicity. Rather, it's an experiment to show people how machine learning technology can create new ways to empower people as they read discussions online.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 12:24 PM (CDT)

Intel Announces Compute Express Link

Intel has announced Compute Express Link (CXL); a new industry open standard that allows for high-speed communications between CPU-to-Device and CPU-to-Memory interconnect in next-generation data centers. CXL creates a high-speed, low latency interconnect between the CPU and workload accelerators, such as GPUs, FPGAs and networking. CXL maintains memory coherency between the devices, allowing resource sharing for higher performance, reduced software stack complexity and lower overall system cost. The technology is built upon the PCI Express (PCIe) infrastruture and leverages the PCIe 5.0 physical and electrical interface to provide advanced protocol in three key areas: I/O Protocol, Memory Protocol, initially allowing a host to share memory with an accelerator, and Coherency Interface. Some think that Intel is ready to embrace Gen-Z without embracing it outright. In the CXL announcement there are quotes linking CXL to Gen-Z. Robert Hormuth, Vice President & Fellow, Chief Technology Officer, Server & Infrastructure Systems, Dell EMC said, "Dell EMC is delighted to be part of the CXL Consortium and its all-star cast of promoter companies. We are encouraged to see the true openness of CXL, and look forward to more industry players joining this effort. The synergy between CXL and Gen-Z is clear, and both will be important components in supporting Dell EMC's kinetic infrastructure and this data era." Kurtis Bowman, President, Gen-Z Consortium said, "As a Consortium founded to encourage an open ecosystem for the next-generation memory and compute architectures, Gen-Z welcomes Compute Express Link (CXL) to the industry and we look forward to opportunities for future collaboration between our organizations."

Monday's announcement could give Intel an advantage for its upcoming graphics cards, since the chip-maker will be building CXL compatibility into its popular server processors. It is reasonable to argue that the CXL is new and that Intel has a lot of market pull. At the same time, the CXL partner list is nothing less than underwhelming. Intel got big names of its customers, but it did not get other accelerators.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 7:50 PM (CDT)

Microsoft Announces the Open Sourcing of Windows Calculator

Microsoft has announced that it has open sourced the Windows Calculator on GitHub under the MIT License. Microsoft is seeking more community contributions and ideas in the development of Windows Calculator. Reviewing the Windows Calculator code will allow developers to learn how to work with Microsoft technologies.

Reviewing the Calculator code is a great way to learn about the latest Microsoft technologies like the Universal Windows Platform, XAML, and Azure Pipelines. Through this project, developers can learn from Microsoft's full development lifecycle, as well as reuse the code to build their own experiences. It's also a great example of Fluent app design. To make this even easier, we will be contributing custom controls and API extensions that we use in Calculator and other apps, to projects like the Windows Community Toolkit and the Windows UI Library.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 7:12 PM (CST)

The USB Promoter Group Announces USB4 Specification

The USB Promoter Group has announced the pending release of the USB4 specification that is based on the Thunderbolt protocol contributed by Intel Corporation. USB4 compliments and builds upon the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 specifications, doubles the bandwidth of USB, and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols. Key features of the USB4 solution include: Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps certified cables. Multiple data and display protocols to efficiently share the total available bandwidth over the bus. Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3. The specification is expected to be completed in the middle of 2019, but The Verge is reporting that USB4 devices won't be available until 18 months later. When the USB4 specification is completed, an updated USB Type-C Specification will be made to comprehend USB4 bus discovery, configuration and performance requirements.

"Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today's simplest and most versatile port available to everyone," said Jason Ziller, General Manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel. "By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we're opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers." "The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution," said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman. "The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this experience by optimizing the blend of data and display over a single connection and enabling the further doubling of performance."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 04, 2019 11:30 AM (CST)

Amazon Announces Plan to Fight Counterfeits

Despite Amazon's best efforts so far, the retailer's online storefront is still filled with counterfeit or bogus products that are frequently accompanied by fake 5-star reviews. Earlier this month, the FTC brought the hammer down on one such merchant with a $12.8 million dollar fine, and today, Amazon announced a new initiative designed to fight counterfeit products. The company claims "Amazon Zero" allows brands to remove counterfeit listings themselves, rather than having to go through Amazon first. The counterfeits companies take down will then be fed into a machine-learning powered automated protection mechanism, which they say will "continuously scan our stores and proactively remove suspected counterfeits." Amazon is also introducing a product serialization service that can supposedly stop counterfeits that slip through, before they reach customers.

Brands provide us with their logos, trademarks, and other key data about their brand, and we scan over 5 billion product listing updates every day, looking for suspected counterfeits. We've been testing these automated protections with a number of brands, and on average, our automated protections proactively stop 100 times more suspected counterfeit products as compared to what we reactively remove based on reports from brands... Project Zero is currently an invite-only experience, and we're working to add more brands quickly.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 28, 2019 10:13 AM (CST)