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Aug 12, 2011

Google+ Games Launches with Angry Birds, Zynga Poker, Dragon Age Legends

Google has made the inevitable announcement, Google+ is getting a Games section. There have been plenty or rumors about this and the feature was pretty much a given, but Google has only now made it official.

It's rolling out the Games section of Google+ to all users gradually, but it may be a few days, at least, until you see the Games button next to the Circles one on Google+.

"Today we’re adding games to Google+. With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web. But sharing is about more than just conversations," Google+ head Vic Gundotra writes

"The experiences we have together are just as important to our relationships. We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life," he explained.

Google+ Games is launching with only a few games from handpicked developers, but you'll see some very popular titles in there, including Angry Birds, Zynga Poker, Bejeweled, Dragon Age Legends and classics such as Sudoku.

Google will add more games in time and will allow more developers to publish them, but it will be a gradual roll out.

The company is also taking a few lessons learned the hard way by Facebook and applying them to the Games section. 

All notifications, achievements, shares and everything else related to games are only available in the Games tab, regardless of where they come from, your friends or the games themselves.

Nothing gets into your main stream, so it's easy to just ignore the entire thing until or unless you decide you want to play something yourself.

Sharing and the social aspect of games is still important, you'll be able to share your high scores and get invites from your friends, but everything is contained within the section.

Google+ Games is not available to all users yet, but Google says it's rolling out soon. And if the game selection is not enough, more are coming, keep in mind that the entire Google+ is only six weeks old.

Apple iPhone 5 Event Kicks Off September 7th, Claims Japanese Source

A Japanese source that has previously pinpointed Apple product announcements with accuracy claims to have learned of a special Apple event scheduled for September 7th (the report said September 8th for Japan time), with the highly anticipated iPhone 5 being the centerpiece of the show.

The report in question was picked up by rumor site MacRumors which “confirmed” with Japanese site Kodawarisan that the September 7 date was not a guess.

 Rather, the intel came from “a source in the know”, according to the Mac-centric site reporting heavily on rumors and speculation.

To further add credibility to the Japanese report, they note that Kodawarisan correctly pinpointed the launch date of a new Mac mini computer in 2009.

However, it should be worth noting that Apple generally invests few resources in keeping Macintosh upgrades a secret.

Most of the times, the general public learns of their upcoming availability through part numbers moving back and forth between the assembly lines, retailers, and even Apple’s own outlets.

The iPhone, however, is a different thing altogether. Apple engineers may accidentally forget a prototype unit on a bar stool from time to time, but it’s the company’s highly-enforced policy to keep the iPhone business under the tightest wraps possible.

It is this fact alone that leads us to believe Apple will be very careful not to leak its iPhone 5 announcement plans until the few days leading up to the actual event.

Then again, the Cupertino company does have to make preparations ahead of time.

The upcoming Apple event will not only feature an iPhone announcement, but also an iCloud announcement, and perhaps will see some new iPods debut as well.

iOS 5 will also be a big part of the show.

If there’s one thing that can confirm an Apple event, it’s the invitations Apple sends to the media every year.

We’ll wait for those to start flying around and then we’ll get your hopes up in a proper manner

Apple Threatened Intel to Abandon Their Chips If Power Consumption Wasn't Improved

Apple has reportedly threatened Intel to move away from using their processors in future ultra-portable notebook designs, such as the MacBook Air, if the chip giant doesn't do anything about decreasing the power consumption of their processors.

According to the Mac Rumors website, which cites Greg Welch, director of Intel's Ultrabook group, this threat was a real wake-up call for the company.

To make sure that it doesn't loses Apple's business, Intel has recently announced a sharp revision in its product roadmap and outlined that future mobile processors will be built to fit inside a 15W TDP.

This is a dramatic change when compared to today's mobile CPU as the regular voltage models usually have a thermal design power of 35W.

To put things in perspective, the 15W TDP announced is even lower than that of Intel's current ULV (ultra-low voltage) chips, which have a power draw of 18W.

To further improve on its processor designs, Intel also plans to introduce a configurable TPD technology in its upcoming Ivy Bridge and Haswell chips.

This will enable the CPUs to surpass their maximum TDP for small amounts of time by increasing their operating frequency in order to complete heavy tasks in less time, quickly returning to an idle state when the extra power is no longer needed.

Furthermore, the configurable TDP technology will also come with a special docked mode, which will allow the processor to exceed the system's TDP consistently when installed in a special dock with extra cooling.

According to the latest findings from IDC and Gartner, Apple commends about 5% of the global computer market share, but in the US this value has reached 10.7% in the second quarter of 2011, which represents a 11.6% growth over Q2 2010.

New Windows 8 “Revealed” Video Released

A new video boasting to reveal Windows 8 to the public, but actually failing to deliver on that promise, is now available on YouTube. 

As the hunger for Windows 8 details grows to insatiable levels, Microsoft continues to keep mum on the next major iteration of the Windows client. 

The software giant has pointed to the BUILD Windows conference in mid-September 2011 for the first deep insight into Windows 8. 

Michael Palermo, Microsoft Developer Evangelist, which is featured in the new Windows 8 Revealed video, provides no actual information of the successor of Windows 7. 

All his answers to Windows 8 questions do nothing more but mention the upcoming BUILD event. In fact, the entire Windows 8 “bait and switch” video is more of an advertisement for InterfaceTT than anything else. 

I guess it’s a bit funny, albeit frustrating, the way that Palermo actually dodges answering Windows 8 related questions, him and InterfaceTT’s Spike Xavier looking like they’re having a blast. 

But then again, BUILD has turned into something of a “promise land” for developers, customers, early adopters, etc. looking to find out more about Windows 8. 

The conference has already been sold out, even before Microsoft posted the agenda. The software giant even canceled the pre-sessions which were supposed to be a sort of prelude to the event, all scheduled for September 12. 

While those attending BUILD will be able to register as early as September 12, the conference will debut on September 13 with the opening keynote address. 

The Redmond company is expected to share a pre-release Build of Windows 8 at BUILD, although it is unclear whether Microsoft will offer a Milestone 3 (M3) pre-Beta release, or the fully-fledged Beta. The software giant has yet to confirm anything about BUILD, except that it will be a Windows 8-centric event.

Fix Windows 7 SP1 Intermittent Crashes "0x0000007E"

A fix from Microsoft Support is designed to resolve an issue that causes Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 computers to crash intermittently. 

The software giant has confirmed the problem, and revealed that affected customers get the following stop error message: "0x0000007E."

 Not only the plain vanilla, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 platforms can experience this glitch. It appears, that Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 can also crash intermittently.

According to the Redmond company, the full error message reads: “Stop 0x0000007E (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4) - SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED”

“The parameters in this Stop error message vary, depending on the configuration of the computer,” Microsoft explained. 

The software giant has already identified the source of the problem, and provided details to customers in a knowledge base article. 

“This issue usually occurs on a file server, and does not occur when Server Message Block (SMB) Version 2 is disabled,” Microsoft said. 

“This issue occurs because of a race condition that is triggered when a NULL lease handle is accessed after the lease spinlock is released.”

In addition to accessing details about the crashes, Windows users can also grab a hotfix from Microsoft Support

The software giant stresses that Windows 7 customers can come across "0x0000007E" stop error messages that are related to other problems. In this regard, the KB 2528614 hotfix might not end up resolving some Windows 7 crashes. 

At the same time, there are bound to be customers with Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 crashing machines that will recognize the symptoms from this article and who will surely benefit from the hotfix offered by Microsoft. 

The company is not providing a manual workaround or an update. According to the software giant the plan is to integrate KB 2528614 hotfix into Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Improve Windows 7 SP1 and Vista SP2 Compatibility with Advanced Format Disks

Microsoft has been offering an update designed to improve the compatibility of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with Advanced Format Disks for some time now, and it appears that the company is now offering something similar for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. 

Well, not an actual update, but a hotfix designed to kick up a notch Vista and Windows Server 2008 compatibility with Advanced Format disks. 

In the case of KB 982018, the update is available for Windows 7 RTM and Service Pack 1, as well as for Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM and SP1. 

The KB 2553708 hotfix, which went live today, August 12, 2011, comes with support only for Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2. 

“Advanced Format disks have a 4-KB physical sector size. This hotfix is only for Advanced Format disks that have a 4-KB physical sector size and that emulate a 512-byte interface for logical addressing,” Microsoft explains. 

“Advanced Format disks introduce a larger physical sector of 4 KB. However, these disks have a 512-byte interface for logical addressing to make initial versions more compatible with current computer systems. Therefore, these disks are known as "512-byte emulation disks" or as "512e".”

The KB 982018 update for Windows 7 SP1 is designed to resolve no less than five issues – users will find download links at the bottom of this article. 

By comparison, the KB 2553708 hotfix will only deal with three problems detailed by the software giant in the knowledge base article accompanying the fix on Microsoft Support. 

The “hotfix rollup package introduces a new storage infrastructure that lets you query the physical sector size of a storage device. Additionally, the hotfix rollup package updates the Fsutil.exe tool to report the correct sector size,” The Redmond company notes. 

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