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Amazon Delays Game Streaming Service, 2021 Debut Likely

Apr 06, 2020 - 8:28 PM - by Reverend
Amazon might not introduce its long-rumored game streaming service in 2020, the New York Times reports. Since the coronavirus continues spreading in several parts of the world, Amazon has reportedly decided to hold off on announcing the platform.

It'll now aim to announce 'Project Tempo' in 2021. Project Tempo, like other game streaming services, should replicate entire games to users through cloud computing. Amazon Web Services dominates the cloud infrastructure market, and thus it's not a serious challenge for Amazon to build this platform. It's just a matter of Amazon tweaking its hardware to withstand the graphical demands of high-end games.

Last year, reports suggested that Amazon wanted to offer its platform through media players such as the Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Cube. Amazon could also roll out a Project Tempo app for iOS, Android, and PCs. Twitch, which Amazon acquired in 2014, should earn an integral spot with Project Tempo and allow gamers to easily watch others or join together in multiplayer titles through minimal load times.

Stadia, GeForce Now, and xCloud exist as cloud-based platforms that gamers can try out today. Amazon might attract some users due to its name, but Project Tempo needs to offer a well-respected catalog of games in addition to reliable experience. It can't roll out a handful of unproven in-house titles and expect gamers to sign up. Without question, Amazon needs to ensure outside publishers and developers support Project Tempo as well.

Amazon plans to release a duo of games this spring. Crucible arrives in May as a science-fiction shooter, and New World joins it the same month. Based on its trailer, New World appears to be an open-world MMORPG featuring large-scale PvP combat. Both games tap into Amazon Game Studios' custom Lumberyard engine.

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WinRAR 5.90

Apr 03, 2020 - 8:42 PM - by Reverend
WinRAR is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.

Changelog

32-bit | 64-bit

WinRAR homepage
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Amazon Workers Get Face Masks and Temperature Checks Next Week

Apr 03, 2020 - 8:36 PM - by Reverend
Next week, Amazon is set to introduce better protection for workers in its warehouses and at Whole Foods stores. It follows Jeff Bezos admitting last month that it didn't have enough face masks for workers.

As Reuters reports, Amazon will make face masks available for all warehouse workers (in the US and Europe) and employees at Whole Foods stores starting early next week. Just as importantly, no-contact forehead thermometers will be used at each site to test workers as they arrive for work. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be automatically sent home. Amazon will only let them return if "they pass three days without fever."

Anyone deemed fit enough to work will be monitored inside Amazon's facilities using a combination of cameras and machine learning. Amazon is doing this to see if workers are remaining a safe distance apart from each other, but it's unclear what will happen if they are unable to.

The masks workers will wear are surgical masks, not the N95 masks that are in such high demand right now. Amazon is donating any N95 masks it already has or receives in orders to health workers, or will sell them to the government at cost. Apparently millions have been ordered by the company, meaning Amazon could end playing an essential role in supplying medical staff with the masks they need to avoid catching COVID-19.
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The combination of masks, monitoring, and temperature checks should have a big impact on reducing the rate of infections among Amazon's employees. It follows multiple cases of coronavirus infections at Amazon's delivery stations and warehouses in the US.

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Facebook Launches New Messenger Desktop App for Windows 10, macOS

Apr 03, 2020 - 8:31 PM - by Reverend
Now, more than ever, staying in touch with friends and family (and work colleagues) is important as the reality of self-isolation takes hold. With that in mind, Facebook decided to expand the ways in which you can access Messenger by bringing it to the Windows 10 and macOS desktops.

Stan Chudnovsky, VP of Messenger, has announced that Facebook Messenger is now available as brand new standalone desktop apps for Windows 10 and macOS users. It means Messenger can be used without having to rely on a web browser, mobile devices, or the old app designed for Windows 8. Facebook designed this new version for big screens, so you can relax in front of a laptop or focus on your friends and family using a much larger monitor.

The new desktop app offers the same features as the web and mobile versions including dark mode and access to GIFs, but adds a notifications feature which makes finding new messages much quicker if you're having multiple chats. All three versions of Messenger interact seamlessly, so you can switch between a PC, laptop, phone, or tablet without missing a message or call.

Facebook is keen to point out the desktop app offers free and unlimited group video calls while not requiring you know someone's phone number or email address to contact them. If you are friends with them on Facebook, Messenger chats and video calls will just work.

The desktop Messenger app is available via the Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store rather than being offered as a direct download. Hopefully that changes in future as not everyone will want to go through those stores to access the software.

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Valve changes Steam's auto-update system to help relieve the pressure

Mar 31, 2020 - 11:09 AM - by Reverend
The coronavirus outbreak has, understandably, put considerable pressure on the online services we use to keep ourselves amused while we're stuck at home. Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon have all made changes to their services to help keep the data flowing smoothly, and starting this week Valve will adjust Steam's auto-update feature to help better manage its bandwidth usage.

Steam already schedules updates for games that haven't been played recently for local off-peak hours, but those updates will be now spread out over several more days.

"Only games played within the last 3 days will be updated immediately. As always, the game will begin updating immediately if you request to play it, and you can always initiate an update (or pause it indefinitely) through the Download Manager," Valve said. "We’re also looking into additional solutions to help on our side."

The update also makes notes of user-controllable options that can help cut back on data usage:

  • Schedule auto-update windows! This will ensure that Steam doesn’t start updating a game while you’re in the middle of your work day.
  • If you don’t play a game in your library often, you can keep it installed but choose to no longer download automatic updates.
  • You can self-throttle your own connection to Steam. This might ease the load on your network connection, and may help ease bandwidth loads if network traffic in your area needs to be reduced.
  • Take advantage of Library Folders settings, so you can move infrequently-played games from an SSD to a storage HDD. This is usually better for you (and your bandwidth) rather than uninstalling the game and needing to re-download it later.


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Broadband providers to lift data caps during Covid-19 lockdown

Mar 30, 2020 - 7:55 PM - by Reverend
All data allowance caps on current fixed broadband services will be removed in a deal struck by the government and telecommunications companies to help vulnerable people stay connected through the pandemic.

It is among a range of immediately effective measures agreed by major internet service and mobile providers including BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM.

The companies have pledged that anyone who is struggling to pay their bill due to the pandemic will be treated fairly and appropriately supported, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.

The firms have also agreed to offer generous new mobile and landline packages to ensure people are connected and the most vulnerable continue to be supported. These could put users in line for packages featuring data boosts at low prices and free calls from their landline or mobile.
Advertisement

Vulnerable customers or those who are self-isolating, who are faced with priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines which cannot be carried out, should be given alternative methods of communication wherever possible, the companies said.

The digital secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “It’s fantastic to see mobile and broadband providers pulling together to do their bit for the national effort by helping customers, particularly the most vulnerable, who may be struggling with bills at this difficult time. It is essential that people stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. This package helps people to stay connected whilst they stay home.”

Watchdog Ofcom’s chief executive, Melanie Dawes, said: “We recognise providers are dealing with unprecedented challenges at the moment. So we welcome them stepping up to protect vulnerable customers, at a time when keeping in touch with our friends and families has never been more important.”

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