ATI released their newest set of Catalyst drivers, which brings the improvements listed below. You can read through the entire changelog (PDF) if you want more in-depth information. Also, be aware that there is a hotfix released for the HD2000 and HD3000 series, which you can download along with the drivers below.
- Crysis DirectX 10 performance gain up to 20%
- Crysis Warhead DirectX 10 performance gain up to 20%
- World in Conflict gains up to 5%
- There are also multiple bugs resolved, both in the CCC (Catalyst Control Center) and in various games like Call of Duty 4.
Download: ATI Catalyst 9.2 drivers
nVidia released their latest set of drivers, 182.06, which come packed with improvements in many games and full OpenGL 3.0 support. These drivers work with GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, and 200-series cards. Here’s what comes with the download:
- Recommended for the best experience in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
- Boosts performance in several 3D applications. The following are examples of improvements measured with Release 182.06 WHQL drivers vs. Release 181.22 WHQL drivers (results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings):
- Up to 8% performance increase in Fallout 3 at high resolution and AA.
- Up to 10% performance increase in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
- Up to 9% performance increase in Half-Life 2 at high resolution with AA.
- Up to 11% performance increase in Left 4 Dead at high resolution with AA.
- Up to 10% performance increase in Race Driver: GRID at high resolution and AA
- Includes full support for OpenGL 3.0 on GeForce 8-series, 9-series, and 200-series GPUs.
- Automatically installs the new PhysX System Software version 9.09.0203.
Microsoft put out the newest version of DirectX, the newest release since August 2008. DirectX, for those of you who don’t know, is what developers use to help power games on Windows-based computers. DirectX 10.1, which is the latest version on the market, allows things in-game like motion blur, god rays, and other sweet effects. If you are currently having any problems with your games or would just like a little speed boost in-game, upgrading to the latest version of DirectX is always a good way to try and fix it.
DirectX Runtime Download (this download installs any versions of DirectX you may not have)
November 2008 Only Download (just get the latest version)
Seeing what programs you or your employees are running and actively using is valuble knowledge. For one, you can find habits in, say, how long you really sit down and play a short game of Team Fortress 2, or how much time StumbleUpon is really wasting away from your life. You could also find newer, better programs to replace your current ones; for example, upgrading from Internet Explorer to Firefox. Wakoopa gives you the power to do that and more with its easy-to-install and monitor application for both Windows and Mac (Linux coming soon) to help you track your apps.
Wakoopa recently began to track web apps as well as desktop apps, so websites like Zoho will show up in your tracked software. Funnily enough, the guys who run Wakoopa noticed that web apps seem to slowly be overtaking their desktop counterparts, likely because of laptops that have limited hard drive space and peoples’ attempts to speed up their computer by running less software.
So if you’re looking for a free desktop and web tracking application that comes with a pretty interface, give Wakoopa a try.
Scour is a great concept for a search engine. Bring together the results of Google, Yahoo, and MSN along with user ratings and comments to make sure that the first page of results is the only page you’ll need. But the results are clogged with ads and extra spacing that you don’t need.
Scour+, developed by myself, solves two problems with one script. It makes Scour have a fixed width, meaning that widescreen users have an easier time reading the search results. It also removes any and every sponsored ad, making Scour better than every to search with.
Before and After:
To use Scour+, you’ll have to be using Firefox with the Stylish installed, which is an awesome addon that lets users customize the way their browsers view webpages, and it can modify Firefox itself too. You can view more styles at Userstyles.org, where Scour+ is hosted.
Battle.net, for those of you who don’t know, is Blizzard’s online matchmaking portal and community for games including the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo series. To put it simply, you can go online with your specific game, whether it be Diablo II or Warcraft III Frozen Throne, and play user-made maps or Blizzard maps with friends. What’s intriguing about Battle.net is the popularity of it. For Warcraft III Frozen Throne, its attendance strictly from Xfire is 16,000 or so per day, making it Xfire’s #6 most played game. For not being updated since 2003, and being made in 1997, I would have to say Battle.net is a very great system.
I personally think Battle.net is good enough to last us another 10 years, but with the release of Diablo III and Starcraft II, some technical and visual updates are of course necessary. Blizzard has not released the dates for the conversion to Battle.net v2.0, but we know it will be soon, with the release of Diablo III (not for sure) and Starcraft II somewhere in 2009, hopefully not much longer! Among some of the features of Battle.net II are:
- Excellent Ping (fast connections)
- Channels and Chat in-game
- Ladders and Rankings, secured against cheating.
- Extended stats, with possibility to see who D/C etc (source)
- Automatic/Anonymous Matchmaking
- Avatars, Images and Icons to represent yourself
- Diablo III Hardcore mode
- Friends/Ignore Lists with advanced management (see accounts below)
- Clan Support
- Automated Tournaments
Here are some screenshots of games that currently use Battle.net:
Could Google’s attempt at an internet browser be a huge success, or just a flop? Google released Google Chrome on September 2nd and they are making some pretty big claims about their new browser. I’ll start first with the mechanics behind the browser.
Chrome uses a different method behind it’s tab system. Instead of opening each tab under the same process, and lagging the computer as well as consuming memory, some of which cannot be reused until you restart, Chrome opens each tab in a new process. In this way, if one tab goes faulty, the whole browser doesn’t crash, just the tab. If you prefer to use tabs over windows, this is the browser for you. If you prefer to use windows over tabs, this is the browser for you. It’s unique drag and drop design allows you to separate tabs into windows, and windows back into tabs again. This is all done at a quick speed, and there is no lag time involved. (more…)
This week, nVidia released their first ever “Power Pack,” one of many planned to be released. This power pack comes with new drivers for the nVidia Geforce 8-series or newer, bringing nVidia PhysX to gamers around the world. Astute gamers will notice that Ageia is not developing PhysX anymore; this is because nVidia bought the company in February and began integrating the technology into their video cards. PhysX brings some really awesome features to gamers, such as:
- Explosions that cause dust and collateral debris
- Characters with complex, jointed geometries for more life-like motion and interaction
- Realistic weather effects, with forces such as tornadoes directly modifying the world
- Cloth that drapes and tears naturally
- Dense smoke & fog that billow around objects in motion
The Force Within Power Pack itself comes with a slew of games and programs to make use of the PhysX technology. From the Unreal Tournament 3 PhysX mod to Folding@Home, the pack will hopefully continue to be a showcase of ground-breaking games, mods, and programs. You can stay up-to-date on future nVidia news at The Pxl Lab.
Out of the top 5 most visited websites in the world, three of them are search engines. All of them show results for the same keyword differently though, based on different techniques to show you what they think is the most relevant to your search. But what if you could see the results from those three websites in one place? Scour is the answer. Scour takes the results from the search engines and displays them when you search, giving you the “perfect” search. What separates Scour from other sites like Dogpile are the social networking aspects of it. Scour lets users rate and comment websites, and the ratings are factored into future searches. Scour also gives users points for searching, rating, and commenting. After reaching a certain amount of points (like 6,500), you can get $25 bucks in cash sent to you via Paypal or a prepaid Visa card.
The great thing about Scour is how you can earn money for searching exactly like you used to with Google, and the results are better too. Scour makes money by sponsored links like Google does, but instead of keeping all the money to themselves, they want to say thanks to their loyal users with a little cash present.
For Firefox users: If you would like to make Scour your default search engine in the URL bar, type in “about:config”, search for “keyword” in the filter bar, then change the “keyword.URL” value to “http://scour.com/search/web/” without the quotes. Have fun with Scour!
Microsoft put out the newest version of DirectX, the newest release since June 2008. DirectX, for those of you who don’t know, is what developers use to help power games on Windows-based computers. DirectX 10.1, which is the latest version on the market, allows things in-game like motion blur, god rays, and other sweet effects. If you are currently having any problems with your games or would just like a little speed boost in-game, upgrading to the latest version of DirectX is always a good way to try and fix it.