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Microsoft Patent Describes a Persistence of Vision Augmented Reality Display

Microsoft has filed a patent for a new type of mixed-reality head-mounted display (HMD) called a Persistence of Vision Augmented Reality Display. The display uses movable screens to simulate a 360 degree field of view. These screens can rotate back and forth, spin around a user's head, or spin in front of the user's eyes. The device isn't guaranteed to ever see the light of day, but hopefully some of the ideas make it into other products.

Microsoft's patent FIG. 4A below illustrates a movement based display device with a movable member configured to rotate about a user's head; FIG. 4B illustrates a movement based display device with a movable member configured to reciprocate in front of user's eyes; FIG. 4C illustrates a movement based display device with movable members configured to spin in front of the user's eyes

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Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 3:17 PM (CDT)

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.

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

Microsoft Criticizes FCC Broadband Report

According to a recently spotted FCC report, Microsoft thinks that the government is a little generous when it comes to their analysis of broadband availability. Based on their own analysis, some areas that supposedly have access to speeds of over 25 Mbps really don't have much access at all, and they suggest that the FCC should draw on a "broader array of data" in the future. Microsoft told MediaPost "This draft report simply doesn't reflect the state of things on the ground," and that "The agency is badly in need of better data and a more honest assessment of the state of broadband deployment."

"In some areas the Commission's broadband availability data suggests that Internet service providers ... have reported significant broadband availability (25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up) while Microsoft's usage data indicates that only a small percentage of consumers actually access the Internet at broadband speeds in those areas..." Microsoft weighed in with its concerns several days after advocacy group Free Press said the draft report was partially based on faulty data provided by the internet service provider BarrierFree. That company erroneously reported in a December 2017 filing that it offered fiber-to-the-home and fixed wireless service at speeds of nearly 1 GB to Census blocks containing almost 62 million people, according to Free Press. The incorrect information resulted in "a massive over-statement of the change in broadband deployment at the national level during 2017," Free Press told the FCC.

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Posted by alphaatlas March 20, 2019 10:03 AM (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)

Microsoft Will Pester Windows 7 Users to Upgrade to W10 with Pop-Up Notifications

Microsoft has come up with another way to convince users to upgrade to Windows 10: corporate vice president Matt Barlow explained in a blog post this week Windows 7 users would be subjected to regular pop-up messages urging them to update to the latest version of the OS. That may not be the worst idea, as support for W7 officially ends January 14, 2020.

This is a courtesy reminder that you can expect to see a handful of times in 2019. By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition. These notifications are designed to help provide information only and if you would prefer not to receive them again, you'll be able to select an option for "do not notify me again", and we will not send you any further reminders. Just as software has changed over the years, so has hardware.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 5:00 PM (CDT)

Microsoft Proves the Critics Right: We're Heading toward a Chrome-Only Web

Chrome’s total dominance of the web is becoming more of a reality by each passing day, and Microsoft, whose Edge browser will soon be powered by Chromium, has become a clear contributor to that dark future: the company has released a new version of Skype for Web, but despite legitimate improvements such as HD video calling and recording, the service will not work on non-Chromium browsers such as Firefox and Safari. Users have managed to sidestep this by changing their user agent, which suggests laziness on Microsoft’s part, or something worse.

There's perhaps also some irony in that the Skype app is built with a framework designed to foster cross-platform development, between devices, desktop, and the Web. For those who can use the Web app, it looks extremely similar to the desktop apps, which also look very similar to the mobile apps. That's because it's built using ReactXP, Microsoft's layer on top of Facebook's React and React Native frameworks. These let you use Web technology to build applications not just for the Web but also the desktop and smartphone platforms.

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Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 3:45 PM (CDT)

Ubisoft Releases Tom Clancy's The Division 2 Launch Trailers

Ubisoft has released the latest trailers for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 and the first video showcases many of the AMD optimizations in the game. From high resolution shadows to real-time reflections, the game is shaping up to be a graphical masterpiece. The second trailer showcases the developer's vision in recreating a real-life, post-pandemic Washington, DC within The Division 2. Ubisoft researchers explain in great detail why certain wildlife, monuments, locations, camps and more are present in the game. Tom Clancy's The Division 2 launches March 15th but Gold Edition purchasers are already playing as those versions feature 3-day early access privileges.

How do you recreate a city? The Division 2 takes place in a post-pandemic Washington, DC, and bringing it to life required in-depth research and dedication to getting the details right. Learn about how the team tackled iconic monuments, incorporated real-life disaster planning into their designs, and adapted the map to create a believeable post-pandemic city in these interviews with IP Researcher Cloe Hammoud and Lead Environmental Artist Chad Chatterton.

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Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 6:49 PM (CDT)

Microsoft Reveals Project xCloud: a Vision for Game-Streaming

Microsoft has revealed Project xCloud: its vision of the future of game-streaming. As long as there is a client for the device, the service enables gamers to play the games that they want on the device that they want. Just like music where you have a choice to listen at home, on the commute to work, at work, or at a cafe; Project xCloud seeks to do the same for gaming. The only requirement is a good internet connection and the previously mentioned client, as the Microsoft Azure datacenters will take care of the heavy work of rendering and remotely streaming the exact game experience that the game's creators intended onto the gamer's device. Public trials start this year.

While our vision for the technology is complementary to the ways in which we use consoles today, Project xCloud will also open the world of Xbox to those who may not otherwise own traditional, dedicated gaming hardware. True console-quality gaming will become available on mobile devices, providing the 2 billion-plus gamers around the world a new gateway to previously console- and PC-exclusive content. We can achieve this vision with the global distribution of Microsoft's datacenters in 54 Azure regions and the advanced network technologies developed by the team at Microsoft Research. We're excited about our ability to deliver a best-in-class global streaming technology.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 10:44 AM (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)

Ubisoft Will Prevent Third-Party Digital Stores from Selling "The Division 2" after Release

According to a statement issued by Gamesplanet, Ubisoft and Epic Games have decided to ban third-party game-key vendors from selling The Division 2 after its official release. Post March 15, the title will only be available for purchase on Uplay and the Epic Games Store, so fans who want to save a bit of money may want to visit their preferred vendor straight away. The Division 2 will have a 50GB day-one patch for disc buyers, and the PS4 version weighs in at 100GB.

Needless to say that we are against this anti-consumer move from both Ubisoft and Epic Games. It’s one thing securing a game to launch exclusively on your launcher but to prevent all third-party digital stores from selling keys? That’s a new low in our opinion. Bad move Epic Games, especially when your boss, Tim Sweeney, was whining about UWP and how anti-consumer it was compared to Win32.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 12:05 PM (CDT)

NVIDIA Ending Driver Support for 3D Vision, Mobile Kepler-Series GeForce GPUs

NVIDIA has published two new support entries revealing the fate of its 3D Vision technology and Kepler notebook GPUs. After Release 418 in April 2019, GeForce Game Ready Drivers will no longer support NVIDIA 3D Vision. ("Those looking to utilize 3D Vision can remain on a Release 418 driver.") Critical security updates for mobile Kepler-series GPUs will also cease by April 2020.

Game Ready Driver upgrades, including performance enhancements, new features, and bug fixes, will be available for systems utilizing mobile Maxwell, Pascal, and Turing-series GPUs for notebooks, effective April 2019. Critical security updates will be available on systems utilizing mobile Kepler-series GPUs through April 2020. Game Ready Driver upgrades will continue to be available for desktop Kepler, Maxwell, Pascal, Volta, and Turing-series GPUs.

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Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 10:10 AM (CDT)